Author Topic: The Covid Thread  (Read 1135 times)

Offline SteveD CB500K0

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Re: The Covid Thread: Steve's first 500/4
« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2020, 04:23:02 PM »
This is the tale of a 1972 Honda CB500/4 - NGK62L

I bought this bike on 28th September 1977 with the help of my great mate Paul Churcher. I had admired a black 500/4 that was owned by a member of the Bedford Eagle Motorcycle Club for many months and Paul had been on the lookout for me. I don't know where he found this (he may) but the two of us went round to see it one evening and I had a short test ride. It was running on three cylinders but every now and then #4 would chime in and away we went - it was brilliant. Paul reckoned that an ignition fault would be pretty easy to fix, so I offered the guy £350 and rode it home.

I have no photographs of this period (sorry) so I'll just sprinkle the ones I do have...


50,000th Birthday 1st February 1980

To start with it was fairly standard, had 20,855 miles on the clock and needed a bit of TLC (not to mention a good service...)

Over the next 5 months, I fixed the ignition and brakes, fitted finned covers, crash bars and the Rickman fairing, added the rack, an MOT, tax and insurance and on 21st February 1978 we hit the road!


50,000 miles (bike) - 22 years (me)

I soon discovered that a neglected bike would require ongoing care as first the cam end cover oil seals started to leak (only 48p each but left oil all over my legs as it ran onto the cylinder head and was blown backwards by the slipstream).

Then the starter solenoid melted (it was full of water). £7.50 for a new one and a new set of fuses.

Then the front fork oil seals (£1.00 each) and a top end overhaul (£10.50 for a gasket set)

This was all in the first 2 months - but I was using it every day and had clocked up 3,000 miles by then.

In May 1978, I bought a CB550K3 seat (£15) and tank (£25) from a guy in Portsmouth who had bought a brand new K3 and was converting it into a cafe racer. The tank was slightly larger than the original and the seat hinge/latch were in a slightly different place but hey, I was doing engineering at Uni and we had access to a complete workshop staffed with skilled technicians!

Summer 1978 was supposed to be our Spanish holiday. One of the guys in our shared house was from Madrid and had "invited" us all down. Unfortunately, a trip to Camber Sands in June of that year resulted in a cam chain tensioner failure that caused the cam chain to gouge aluminium from the inside of the cases, which blocked the oil filter, which destroyed the main and big end bearings. The engine didn't sieze, but just got harder and harder to rev as by that time the pressure release valve in the oil filter had opened and the oil pump was busily pumping a cocktail of engine oil and aluminium shavings around the engine.

So no Spanish holiday then. Just a big receipt from Parks of Lewisham for parts:


Parts list for engine rebuild pt1


Parts list for engine rebuild pt2



This picture shows me and Nik working on the engine. Having recently rebuilt the top end, I didn't want to open it all up again, so carried out all the work by removing the bottom crankcase. Note the method used to store and recognise the various crankcase bolts. Also note custom (student) engine workbench. Mileage now 25,400

For the next 6 months and 5,000 miles I did nothing but change oil, filters, worn footrest rubbers...   and ride it.

At the time I was President of the University Bike Club and negotiated a discount at our local Honda dealer Redhill Motors (more about them later). The guys in the parts department always (jokingly) complained that as we always came in with our helmets on, they couldn't check our IDs. So we had these IDs made up:


Bike Club ID Card 1978

As there was no Spanish holiday, Beverley and I decided to go camping in Cornwall. We loaded up the bike (two tents - her father insisted) and headed off into the rain. As we crossed the "border" into Cornwall, the sun came out and stayed out for the duration of our stay. Here we are loaded up for the journey home.



More pictures from 1978:


Beverley on the CB500/4 in 1978


Beverley on the CB500/4 in 1978



January 1979 was cold and icy. Nik was riding my bike while I was away in Derby (with Beverley) and discovered exactly how bad those stainless discs were in the rain and sleet. A car pulled out in from of him on a mini-roundabout and he T-boned it. Bent forks, broken headlight and fairing screen, scrapes on the exhausts (where he had layed it down). The estimate from Redhill Motors in Brighton (our Honda dealer) was £235. It took a couple of months to grind through the insurance companys but in May 1979 I finally got the go-ahead to get the repairs done.


Receipt for accident repairs

Note the two silencers at £37.67 each...

Now, as a regular at Redhill Motors, I knew that they had a brand new sexy Piper 4-1 exhaust hanging in their warehouse. It was priced at £64 and I suggested that they fit that in place of the two standard Honda exhausts. Mileage was now 34,876


Piper Exhaust


The line-up during the summer of 1979

This was the summer of our final year at Uni in Brighton: L->R
Richard's CB550K3 (I bought this off him later)
Carrol's CB500/4 (blue metalflake)
My CB500/4
Simon's CB400F (Rickman Type 1 fairing)
Nik's CB750F1

By autumn 1979 I was working for Racal in Bracknell but still "commuting" to either Bedford or Derby most weekends. The service record shows  oil changes every 1500 miles, tyres, chain and sprockets etc

The final record in my service book shows tax renewal on 31st January 1980 (£7.35) with a mileage of 50,000

As a salaried employee, I decided that it was about time I bought a newer bike. I also fancied something a bit quieter...

The bike was traded for a CB550K3 at HGB in Ruislip for £200


2015 Tiger 800 XRT
1971 CB500K0

Offline Andrew-S

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2020, 04:52:24 PM »
Great story and period photos, love stuff like this - sadly I lost a lot of photos of my old bikes, mates and girlfriends many years ago.  :(

Interestingly, or not, I worked for Racal (BCC then) in Wembley in 77 and 78.
Bikes: 1970 US CB750 K1 and a UK 1976 Z900 A4
Cars:  1958 Triumph TR3A and a 1972 TR6

Offline MrDavo

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2020, 06:16:19 PM »
They've both been on here before, and are the only photos I have of these bikes, owned when I was 19 or so.

First what is thought to be one of the handful of UK CB750 sandcasts, bought from Sports Motorcycles in Manchester. With a Yoshimura cam and pipe (and a K2 front end, apparently), it could wake the dead. It tried to kill me a few times, but I eventually got rid because my license was in tatters, the cops had plenty of warning I was coming. In those days it was nothing special, just another second hand Honda.



I swapped it for this, a 750cc Norton Atlas racer, in a genuine Manx frame. Another I should have kept, I'd only need to source the right engine to make a very desirable classic racer. There was no such thing in those days, Whittaker's in Blackpool had a row of obsolete Manxes, taken in part ex as the Yamaha twin racers became universal. The owner did describe them as his pension, and he wasn't wrong, I bet he had a comfy retirement.



It was run and bump only, a skill that came in handy when I went classic racing, I had a cycle clip in my pocket to stop my bell bottom jeans from getting caught in the primary chain. When I first got it, it wasn't registered and I used a made up number, by the time the photo was taken it was taxed and tested. I did see it years later, on the prom at the TT, it may even have had lights by then, I was like Cinderella, trying to get home before dark. Note the bulb horn, but if you couldn't hear it coming you deserved to be run over. There was also an Avon top half fairing, but I never used it on the road.

On the Covid front, everyone here has panic booked all the supermarket delivery slots, you can't get food delivered until after Easter, and they won't take new registrations for click and collect as they are swamped. We took a rucksack on our statutory daily walk and bought some stuff at an excellent local shop, and found out they will deliver to us no problem. My elderly Mum's friend who shopped for her, texted me this morning to say that she has left for the countryside with her toyboy. I rang her local small supermarket and spoke to the manager, they will take a phone order and payment from me, and deliver to her, bless them, saving me a major ball ache as I'm 70 miles away. Now I have to persuade her to get the groceries off the doorstep before someone knicks them, she won't answer the door to strangers.

I just heard that 1,000 of Greater Manchester plod are self isolating, so I doubt I'll get knicked if we go for a second walk.

1969 Honda CL450 'Scrambler'
2005 Harley XL1200R Sportster

Offline SteveW

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2020, 06:17:11 PM »
I worked for Racal-Dana in Maidenhead, then we moved to Slough and became Racal Instruments. Started my electronics apprenticeship with them in 1984 and left 1997.
1974 CB550 K0
2000 CBR929RR Fireblade
1966 Lambretta LI150 Series 3
1980 RD350LC

Offline SteveD CB500K0

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #49 on: March 24, 2020, 06:29:58 PM »
Racal Communications Equipment Ltd

I was a design engineer on their military electronic countermeasures systems (jammers)

One of the four lab models of our new microprocessor controlled jammer systems was bolted into the land rover of the Royal Marine Commandos and shipped out to the Falklands.
We never saw it again


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1971 CB500K0

Offline SteveD CB500K0

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Re: The Covid Thread: Steve's 2nd 500/4
« Reply #50 on: March 26, 2020, 08:52:41 AM »
1972 Honda CB500/4 - CJF937K

Originally published January 2009



Here she is in when “new”, 5,627 miles on the clock and MOTs going back to 1982. The engine is not original as the number suggests that it is from a K2, whereas the frame/VIN is from a ‘72 (”K0?”)

“Wrong” bits [anorak mode ON]

* Tank paintwork and lack of pinstripe
* Seat (no strap)
* Hagon shocks
* Front mudguard has only rear stay so must be from a later model (probably a 550)

[/anorak mode]

After 500-odd miles in the first year of ownership I was shocked to fail an MOT! The tester informed me that one of the steering lock stops was missing (broken off) on the bottom yoke which meant that the bars touched the tank on full lock. It had obviously been like this for years, but the tester was adamant and I had to take it away and get it fixed.

David Silver had an NOS bottom yoke in stock for just £23.50 and a set of taper roller bearings for £27.61 - yes, the bearings cost more than the yoke!



Here's a picture of the instruments



The grab handle



Front brake



It has been suggested that the Japanese script on the front brake master cylinder cap says "Stop looking at this and watch where you are going!"

By January 2009, I'd had an MOT Advisory for the last two years about my front tyre which was badly feathered and almost down to the wear lines. I decided to order up a new one from Gary at www.gsmotorcycletyres.co.uk - he supplies and fits tyres for all my bikes (as well as being my IAM Observer when I was training and all-round good bloke).

I've gone for a straight replacement of the existing Avon Roadrunner. Thought about having a ribbed front (like in the old days) but decided to stick with the pair.

Front: AM20 90/90H19
Rear: AM21 100/90H18

Here's a picture of Gary "struggling" with the installation (no quick-release stuff on these old bikes...)



Since then, the bike has hardly covered any miles (see my exploits with VFR Hondas and Triumph Triples) but has been begging me to sort out the gearbox, which jumps out of third gear when under load. This is bad as third is the "powering out of roundabouts" gear!

This is a common fault on these early fours and may form part of the explanation as to why the model only lasted 2 years before the "new" CB550 came along with an extra 50cc and a redesigned clutch and gearbox...

The problem lies with wear to the selector forks. These are now "unobtainium" but I have managed to pick up a complete 500/4 gearbox from Warehouse Motorcycles, a breaker in Godstone (Surrey), not perfect but between the two I should be able to put together a working replacement.



The bike is currently on SORN - I spend too much time riding my Sprint!

CJF was sold to a fellow enthusiast Malcolm Avery in September 2011. He was looking for a 500/4 that was good but that needed a bit of work. He took the gearbox bits and promised to let me know how he got on. I first met Malcolm at a Classic Bike magazine photo-shoot. His T150 Trident was being featured alongside Eamon's CB750K0 and a Mach III Kawasaki in Jim Moore's "Back to 1969" copy in July 2009. It was sad to see her go, but I needed the money to put "Goldie" back on the road.

I'll post a photo of the proud new owner when I can get one.
2015 Tiger 800 XRT
1971 CB500K0

Offline taysidedragon

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #51 on: March 26, 2020, 12:55:43 PM »
I dug out some old photos.  They're not great, being digital photos of old prints from the seventies. 🤔
BSA Bantam D7 was my first bike, T100 was bike number 3 (with temporary wrong front mudguard). I bought that one from the Polish guy in Penlline Rd Cardiff who had a yard full of old British stuff. I bought a lot of stuff from him over the years. The dog wanted to be in the photo too!
The Bonneville was number4, originally gold and black, I had just painted it after a SMIDSY with a Ford Anglia. The car came off worse. 😁
Just for a laugh the last one is me and the wife to be on our way to a fancy dress party. Any other embarrassing photos out there folks?
Gareth

2010 Street TripleR
1977 CB400F

Offline Bryanj

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #52 on: March 26, 2020, 01:47:29 PM »
Cant seem to transfer the sepia ones

Offline SteveD CB500K0

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #53 on: March 26, 2020, 02:00:21 PM »
Ah the days when you could just put on a bin bag and go to a party


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Offline MrDavo

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #54 on: March 26, 2020, 04:49:54 PM »
My first bike was a  Bantam D14/4. My first trip was to celebrate my 17th Birthday, I fell off on the way home because no one had told me about leaning over around corners.

It was as unreliable as any umpteenth hand Brit bike of the day, and I soon got into the idea of having to fix the bike using what was in your pockets and what you could see around you. When the Bantam’s points cam woodruff key snapped, I got a few miles nearer home using a piece of matchstick.

What’s the most off the wall improvised roadside repair you ever did or saw? I’ve seen fence wire used to lash up a broken exhaust, and a holed piston and it’s rod removed from a Triumph twin outfit to make a ‘get you home ‘ single.
1969 Honda CL450 'Scrambler'
2005 Harley XL1200R Sportster

Offline flatfour

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #55 on: March 26, 2020, 05:29:40 PM »
I have just asked my wife to read the script on the master cylinder cap (she is Japanese). She says it reads "specialized for disc brake fluid please use".

Offline SteveD CB500K0

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #56 on: March 26, 2020, 05:47:33 PM »

What’s the most off the wall improvised roadside repair you ever did or saw?


A couple spring to mind:

Camping in Cornwall with my mate and his Mk1 Cortina. Cooling system blew a leak at the thermostat housing. Tightening the bolts only managed to strip the thread...
So we took the thermostat out to reduce the internal pressure and tied the thermostat housing together with a wire coat hanger and a steel rod (like a tourniquet)

Riding my first 500/4 home to Brighton from Derby and engine started rattling. It was dark so pulled onto the forecourt of a car dealer and started taking bits off.
Removing the top cover of the engine showed that the recent rebuild had neglected to sufficiently torque the bolts holding the camshaft sprocket onto the cam. Indeed, one of them was missing (presumably in the sump!)
Called the RAC and the patrolman spent a while marvelling at how small the parts of the engine were - presumably he was used to Morris Marinas and the like.
Long story short - he scavenged a bunch of different bolts from the cars on the forecourt until he found one that fitted...   No CCTV in those days.
Those of you with particularly nice anoraks will know that the bolts in question are special having a smaller head than the norm. That may be so - but it worked!
2015 Tiger 800 XRT
1971 CB500K0

Online matthewmosse

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #57 on: March 26, 2020, 07:35:13 PM »
Improvised repairs, me and some mates decided to pushbike to Snowdon aged 14, one of my mates bikes had a bad inner tube, past patching, so to get us to the next town, we stuffed the tyres with grass. My cb550k3 dropped a valve, resultant carnage holed a piston and the valve head punched though the crankcase under the starter motor, I swapped the head for a slightly less battered example, replaced the barrels and pistons with some less disreputable used examples and used mastic to seal under the starter motor - as a temporary fix it was amazingly effective and the bike did many more years commuting - it was intended to last a week or 2 as a mate wanted to buy the bike and had a decent engine at his end. My wifes  Vauxhall cavalier ended its days rolling over 3 times in a corner -  gearbox selected 2 gears at the same time and locked  up mid corner. Current count of vehicles now driving around with bits of that car incorporated into repairs is now past 20, only 1  Vauxhall. I used the brake lines to repair petter engines oil lines on a dumper truck, the anti intrusion bars inside the doors were spot on right for frame repairs on one or 2 motorbikes, sleeping inside to  re enforce butt welded repairs. The mate who was going to buy  my ratty cb550/4,  had a cb550/4 chop that took pride in being improvised from scrap, those gray steel plug outlets seen in industrial setups as airbox, Massey furguson tractor exhaust and a gaffa taped sponge and scrap  steel sheet seat were a few examples. We had a manky collection of bikes but still had fun on them.
Got a 500/4 with rust and a sidecar and loadsa bits. nice and original and been round the clock

Offline Andrew-S

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #58 on: March 26, 2020, 07:48:05 PM »
Ah the days when you could just put on a bin bag and go to a party

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Talking of fashion, this was my party gear (left off the Belstaff Trialmaster though) and riding gear in the late-70's, note the sewn turn-ups and Dunlop Green Flash.......

Bikes: 1970 US CB750 K1 and a UK 1976 Z900 A4
Cars:  1958 Triumph TR3A and a 1972 TR6

Offline MrDavo

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Re: The Covid Thread
« Reply #59 on: March 26, 2020, 08:37:49 PM »
I just remembered the Triumph T110 I filled with Hypoid 80 gearbox oil to quieten it down while I sold it. In the end I sold it cheap to a mate who rebuilt it, but when I’d advertised it in MCN a Manchester patch club turned up on my doorstep to buy it. I wasn’t too keen on the consequences of selling them a lemon, so I was quite relieved that the bike refused point blank to start, and they left empty handed.
1969 Honda CL450 'Scrambler'
2005 Harley XL1200R Sportster

 

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