Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Transplant Deemed Complete Success

The patient was released from the convalescence ward on Sunday following extensive transplant surgery. The most radical surgery undertaken by Paul was the grafting of the Rex Caunt ignition system into the bowels of the engine, it’s single umbilical chord being successfully routed via the new coil to provide a healthy spark at kick-over. I’m reliably informed that the timing adjustment was simplicity itself and technical support was always readily available at the end of the telephone so what could have been a difficult birth actually went very smoothly. As the patient was wheeled out on it’s two wheels, it did sulk momentarily while the surgeon tried to persuade it into life, but subsequent prods on the new, folding, kickstart provided instant response each time.

The alternator, the Boyer system, and all the associated control boxes etc. have been removed and once I’ve had a shake-down run or two will be placed on Fleabay to try and recoup some of the costs. As a totally self-generating system, the weight savings alone from ditching that lot and the battery must be worth a couple of seconds a lap!

The gearbox had proven slightly more troublesome but after a little cutting and grinding, a new pinion and a couple of bearings and everything meshed together well. The new kickstart folds well out of the way so that partial engagement whilst riding should be a thing of the past as it’s well away from my boot, so no more lock-ups, hopefully. It also seems plenty sturdy enough to deal with the increased compression resulting from the removal of the compression plate previously fitted. How the removal of such a thin piece of metal makes such a difference is beyond my comprehension but it will be interesting to see how this translates to power through the back wheel and driveability.

Reverting to the original ‘silencer’ also seems to have allowed the engine to breathe more freely, and restore the ‘bark’ to it’s soundtrack. Whether that will translate to even more power remains to be seen and I suspect I will need to be a bit wary of the noise meter at the next few race meetings! It does look a lot more purposeful in it’s matt black coating so hopefully I’ll get away with it.

The clutch is now silky smooth, complete with new rubbers, and is just a two finger operation (compared to the two hands when I first bought the beast!). That, and my new found determination to cheat at the start should see me near the front at the first bend which reminds me, I need to reverse the actuating arm on the front brake and adjust everything so I have at least a fighting chance of getting round the first bend!

Just a couple of bits and pieces to sort out and it’ll be ready to run. The bashplate, also in a tasteful matt black now, needs refitting and the cable to the kill switch can do with a bit of tidying – although it’s a logical path for when the ‘bars are attached I’m just a bit concerned with potential chafing when I remove the ‘bars for access through to the back garden, so either a quick reroute or a plastic sheath is needed. The clutch cable needs tucking away a bit so it can’t catch on the odd wayward leg or handlebar and I reckon I’ll be ready to roll.

The cosmetic upgrade has all come together quite nicely but I suspect the non-standard race number plates will cause mild apoplexy amongst the Club traditionalists but as I only run in the Clubman class I don’t think it really very important. The seat and sidepanels fit well and are comfy (the seat, that is) and the new handlebars and grips have a much better bend on them than the originals so I should have a bit more control and space. It’s all very well looking nice but will it deliver the goods on the track? Only time will tell.

The GLW dropped into the conversation this morning, in that faux disinterested, ‘I don’t really care’, sort of way that you know is going end up requiring a defensive answer, “Did the B50 end up costing more than you expected?” A non-committal reply around the need for a couple of extra bits for the gearbox seemed to head her off at the pass but I’ve got a strange feeling that this is going to come back to haunt me! Looks like I’ll need to do some garden tidying up and landscaping to earn sufficient brownie points to help soften the inevitable blow.

Oh well, you’re only young once and you can’t take it with you!

Unfortunately I’m certainly no longer young, and the GLW is quite content for me to leave it behind for her to enjoy.

See you on the start line.

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