Davids Diary

Thursday 31st December 

Last ride of the year, and it was nice, the Bantam did NOT suffer any clutch slip, and the air screw being unscrewed half a turn returned the plug back to a nice colour ! rode the the Kings, and Raverleys - ended up having a coffee at the Abbotts elm, and trying ( again to film with s selfie stick. I'll put a short clip up. This is my last Diary entry of 2015. What a year it's been. 



Wednesday 30th December 2015

Well the day was dry, bright(ish) and very very windy. Storm Frank had arrived. I bagged all the rubbish up, moved the ancient panniers to the back and covered the sprint up. I will need to do a run to the tip before long. The compressor has been moved to the front of the garage, and I will need to take a close look at the racking at the back. I will certainly need to consolidate the bantam parts, both old and new.

Rode to the BP filling station to deliver the returns for Amazon, and then into Huntingdon to look at the Iphone 6S Plus. Had a bargain find. 170 euros in the Sprint tank bag !!! - just under £125 pounds.

Garage was so dark that i could not check the front of the barrel on the BSA. will do that tommorow.  

Tuesday 29th December 2015

Well, what a lovely day I started my morning by flying the quadcopter out of the old airbase in Upwood. I lost, it. But due to the return home feature it landed within a metre of take off. Phew !! - Anyways. The afternoon was sunny, and I decided to take a look at the Bantam. What a clutz. When I fitted the new throttle cable I had twisted the throttle slide so it was only opening up a third of the way. I soon corrected this and the bike ran a lot better. Several trips up and down the main road proved the bike was working fine. 

I then took a look at the centre stand. It's two fingers width too long, so it needs shortening. Not only am I hitting the stand on bends, I have ripped off one of the end feruels completely. I shall have to sort this over the next few days. I didn't do this today as I helped Matt service his car. 

My Bantam in the Winter Sun after adjusting the Carb Slide 


Sun 27th December 2015

What a shocking day, weather was very wet. Don't think it stopped for more than 30minutes. Have decided to order another front tyre, as It'll aid the front mudguard once it's repaired ( I am taking it off to get braised ? ) prior to painting. I am odering 2.75 x 18 - presently I have fitted a 3.25 - which TBH is a struggle on the mudguard. Hope this makes sense. 

Sat Continued.  - might have made progress. 

I have always had a problems with the clutch slipping. I think I might have sussed something by simply been bored and reading the forums. Below are a few links. But I think its due to a cup washer being worn and the spring not working correctly. Any ways. Perversely I am rather excited. 



Saturday 26th December 2015

Well, took the BSA out, had a nasty leak on the top of the cases, turned around and tightened the cases up. All was well, but again massive clutch slip. I have found an interesting article. Link below. 

I shall purchase the items needed to effect a complete rebuild. 

1. Thrust Washer 90-1736 £3.16
2. Brass Hat Bush 90-1733 £5.09
3. Circlip 90-24 £1.74
4. Kickstart ratchet spring retainer 90-40 £4.03
5. Kickstart ratchet spring 90-39 £5.94
Total incl. VAT £19.96


Friday 25th December 2015

went flying rather than riding, seemed to make sense as it rained heavily late morning. However this evening, I did some research regarding Nikel Plating. This was a very useful hour, I'll try it on the carb strangler.

Thursday 24th December 2015  - Bargain ? times ..

Well after lunch I walked past Cash Converters, and noticed a dual set of the SMH5 - aware that both pairs of my SMH-10's are now several years old I thought I'd step out and check the price out. They were up for £70, retail at about £209, and I offered £60. They bit my hand off. I have the units to the left of me, and I am struggling to see where they have been used. I have 60 days warranty. so will use them then. I was attracted to them due to the ability to update the firmware via their USB connector. All but only one of the SMH10's can do this, as I have ver 1 of the SMH10. They are Bluetooth 3.0 not 2, and have no pins. I now own three full sets of twin intercoms, and TBH I don't know why I have so many, but at £60 I had to grab another bargain. 



Wednesday 23rd December - Ride BSA into St. Ives. 

Well true to the nature of the Bantam the clutch slipped like buggery, in fact possibly the worst it's ever slipped. To make matters worse the clutch cable came off the arm, and I got blathered in oil in trying to re-seat it. Made it back home only to notice an oil leak coming from the top of the engine casings, I need to spend some time investigating. Doesn't look pleasant though. Might be an engine out job. Oh No !! At least it's an excuse to take a close look at the internals as its close to two years since i rebuilt the gearbox and primary drive. Thank goodness it's happened in deepest winter. Time to clear the shed out and prepare the work surface for a post mortem.  

Tues - Late Evening. 

Received this post, from a chap on the FB Bantam site, telling me how he fitted a Kwak Z400 side-stand successfully to his D7. Looks rather neat, this post is really for reference only. 

Tuesday 22nd Part Two - MoT Day

Well, this time the bike was loaded up, aided by Jonathon (nxt. door)

I gingerly made my way to Gravely and much to my initial concern, my usual tester, Barry was not around. Nervously I unloaded the bike but then Barry turned up. Alas Barry started the MoT, more nerves though as the bike went onto the roiling road. It was as close as I can understand a full MoT, never the less my work must have paid off as it passed. More of a surprise was the mileage, the MoT stated 1100 miles, but with the speedo being more than 25% out I reckon 13/1400 miles is nearer to the mark. Anyway trailered the bike home, and had a quick trip out, only as far as the top of the cul de sac. Tomorrow is predicted to be sunny and warm. I've left the day clear to take the BSA out into the fens. 


Tuesday 22nd December 2015

MoT day on the bantam - will report back later, this is what i've been up to this morning.Trying to eek some life out of a new centre stand, and address an issue that all bantamites suffer. 

Problem = The centre stands are tubular mild steel. Not cast.So they wear away, causing the bike to become unstable, and the stand effectively useless.useless. I've bought a new stand ( £50 ) and simply didn't want the tube to wear away.

So i thought I'd fit a cheap walking stick ferule to the new stand, and swap it out. Hoping it's protect the new stand. Not so simple.

The BSA does not have a stand stop, it merely clatters on the bottom of the exhaust. The ferules being rubber would burn, or worse catch fire with the heat of the exhaust.

So I fabricated a really rough stop ( final one will be plastic coated, and somewhat more refined. Anyways, the photos below show my completed stand stop ( beta ) the new stand and the 50p Ferules as bought from Wilkinson's.

Hopefully it'll save my stand. Needless to say I've bought a few ferules. I'll keep a spare in the top box.

Very happy to report the BSA is very stable and not likely to blow over in the wind. The old stand will be repaired with new tubular feet.


Monday 21st December 2015

Offered the bantam onto the wooden stand i made yesterday. Fits fine, need to think about the next version adding a little stability. But the purpose of removing the centre stand on this occasion it'll be fine. 

Had a look on EBay for a narrow width rear paddock stand. Only one I could find was one for a money bike. Hardly suitable for a bike with upto 19" wheels. will keep looking.


Sunday 20th December 2015

The weather continues to be balmy. I started to look at the centre stand. Rode ! yes rode into Huntingdon, and managed to get some walking stick ferules for the end of the centre stand, and start to access the stand stop. Presently it merely stops against the exhaust. This will burn off the rubber stop. I spent an hour in the shed fabricating a wooden rear axle stand. Lets hope it supports the bike whilst i remove the old centre stand. Had a top tip from a painter this afternoon on the FB page - Simonz Enamel paint. Made a lovely job of the barrel. I shall give it a go. 


Sat 19th December 2015

Wooo Hooo  - new centre stand has turned up, made in the UK. Just searching for some 19mm ID black piping to slip over the bottom feet, to protect its tubular construction. Sorted the wiring, and fitted the old clutch cable, many thanks to Jonathon for lifting the bike a little higher than normal.  Took it for a brief run round and I do need to relocate the clutch cable. I am convinced that it's not seated correctly.

davidwith the bantam

Wednesday 17th December 2015

Prior to today's very important hospital appointment, I tackled the front brake cable on the Bantam. It fitted !!! yahhh. Then with the very mild weather ( 14+ ) I decided to tack the wiring. Fortunately Jonathon next door offered me the use of a 480W soldering iron. Several cables were extended and heat shrink ( black ) was used. I then discarded the chocolate block connector, and created a single earth point. Drilled the CDI mounting plate out, and then spent a few minutes cutting down the long M5 nuts. One will be used as the earth post, the other on the CNC under tank mounting plate. 


Tuesday 15th December 2015

Managed to get hold of JJ Cables in the Midlands £16 for a bespoke clutch cable including return postage and a midpoint adjuster. Front bespoke will cost the same. Guess their going to get my business. They came highly recommended via the BSA Bantam Facebook Page from someone who has used them in the past. 

Tracked down my centre stand, it'll be sent out middle of Jan. Not ideal communications, he claimed not to have heard then said he'd replied. Then that a JCB had cut through some of the wires. .... let's hope the stand is better than their communication. ...

Mon 14th December 2015

Managed to get hold of Carrot Cycles, and they quoted £25 for a clutch cable. Initial shock sucumbed to the thought, that a decent one on Ebay costs £12.  I have held off for a moment, one last email to a prosepctive supplier. 

Sun 13th December 2015

What an awful day, was going to drive to Normous Newark, however the weather was damp, and drizzly all day. Getting a little wound up with the fact I have spent so much money on control cables but they simply don't fit correctly. Wandered down to the garage and re-measure, and double then triple check the measurements. The throttle cable as ordered was fitted a few days ago, and it fits. But the clutch is hopeless. Anyway after much head scratching I have ordered ANOTHER brake cable from Ebay ( reputable classic seller ) I have oredered one with the outer and inner EXACTLY 1" longer than the current one fitted. IMO the one fitted is tight, and an extra inch never hurt anyone. Anyway the link is below, for if it fits then I'll be a happy man. 


I've brought the clutch cable as fitted to the bike, not the new one, but the original as I am unhappy with the one recently posted. At this rate I'll own every BSA control cable possible. Had a thought walking back from the Garage, I'll take them to the next meet. Sell them on for £5. Try and re-cover some of the money I have wasted. Grrr. 

Sat 12th December 2015

Spent an hour fabricating the earth strap ( see below ) bracket and fixing it to the bike. TBH. It simply does not look right. It's cold and raining outside. I shall have to re-think my plan. Never mind, the beauty of old bikes.

Friday 11th December 2015

Well the cables turned up, so despite continued time in hospital I fitted the throttle cable. The new cable was 2" shorter, but does seem to fit. Only time will tell, hopefully this weekend.

After returning AGAIN from hospital  I decided to fit one of the two clutch cables, tbh neither were the same length, and after much struggling I managed to fit one. However I am sure it's too short. I also started work on the earth bridge ( see photo below ) which will hopefully allow me to tidy up the wiring. 

earth loom

Tuesday 8th December 2015

Well after a unexpected glitch ( health ) my latest charger turned up. All batteries are now being fed on optimates. Hopefully this will mean these batteries out live the winter and their enforced lay up. 

batteries on charge

Sun 6th December 2015

Well with so much confusion about the cables, and the wind having dropped and the temp was a balmy 14.5 degrees I decided to remove the petrol tank, and measure the throttle cable, and checkout the throttle body. Along of course with the others. Had to take the seat off, and simply try and work the wiring out. I need to re-look at all the wires. so once the cables have been sorted. I will sort all the earths out and once and for all ensure that their soldered and heat shrinked.  Rex Caunt did call me, but the reception was so bad I had to tell him that I would call him back tomorrow. What service. A few photos from today. 

found a new chinese made tyre, that'll make the bike "look" a little more like the old Avons. 


Sat 5th December 2015

Still dry, still very windy. I decided to MoT the bantam this morning, what a fiasco. Having brought the generator up the drive to pump the trailer tyres up, I moved the BSA and the throttle cable snapped !! what a waste of a morning prepping. I spent an hour or so trying to identify the correct cables to re-order. I spoke to Rex Caunt and he's looking into supplying the correct parts. 

Here are the dimensions of my cables ( approx) all measurements are for the outer cable. 

Front brake cable outer - 29" - Believed to be 90-8585

Clutch Cable outer 38" - Believed to be 90-8603

Throttle Cable outer 34" - Believed to be 90-8589


Sun 29th November 2015

Dry, warmish ( 7 degrees C ) day, consious that rain was coming in later in the week, I made a big effort to get out and sort the headlamp out for the MoT - which is due early December. Anyway I refitted the W clips and although the headlight did re-fit I couldnt get the light to work. Previous efforts showed that an earth to the headlamp shell sorted the problem. To this end i re-routed the earth cable to the inner headlamp shell. Bingo ! it worked. Anyway here's a very short video of my morning. 

Sat 28th November 2015

Although it was windy, it was dry for the first time in a nearly a week. I popped on the old high viz jacket, and set about a few tasks. 

1. Tightened the chain on the ER5, ran the engine. 

2. Ran up the generator and moved the wiring for the bulb further back into the garage. Took a while for the generator to run properly I think it might have been damp. But did stabilise.

3. Took the Bantam out, and attempted to adjust the clutch, I perservered, and think i might have just sorted it. 

4. Oiled with ACF50 the nearside of the thunderbird, I need to do more on a better day, I removed the battery and will now have to swap the batteries around as I dont have enough chargers to keep all my bike batteries charged. Dooh.

** Just ordered another Optimate 3 charger from a German motorcycle shop. Even with the postage it's still £15 cheaper. ! 

Sat 21st November 2015

Bit too ill to do anything significant, albeit made some significant changes to the CSS on this website to change the look of the site. Larger banner, remove the white space. Hopefully looks a little nicer.

later in the afternoon I popped out to try and fit the headlamp W springs, they were considerably larger than the one that's fitted.  I'll need to re-order. Grrrr and a lot of Brrrrrrr.

Sunday 16th November 2015

Mild Sunday, so I swapped the fuel washer, the fuel tap for the first time faces the correct way, ended up using a fuel tap washer from the generator plug. I took the opportunity to swap out the fuel lines, doing away with the braided turbo lines I'd bought from Veririties in St. ives several months ago. Whilst the new lines are a tight fit I will have to fit some small clips to secure their connection. I fear in heat of the summer the pipes will simply "slip" off. 

I also took a look at re-fitting the side panel, and whilst I managed this, the fitting is not great. I'll have to re-visit this at a later date. 

My continuing problems with the headlamp main bulb not working has been traced to a bad earth within the shell itself. I will take a look at the wiring this coming weekend, and perhaps attach another earth to the unit. The bulb does light when I touch it's metal side to the Nacelle. I may have overlooked the route to earth on the headlamp connector. 

Note: Checkout the speedo bulb and the rear brake arm position as the rear brake light ( footpedal ) moves far too much before the light illuminates.

Also check out the nearside riders footeg, as it seems very loose - I suspect the mount is worn.

Sunday 8th November 2015

Took the Bantam round the block to show Dad the work todate. Started easily enough. If the weather is better this coming weekend then I really need to do the following:

  1. change the fuel tank washer
  2. put the side panel back on.
  3. Adjust the clutch so that it is not dragging.
  4. re-fit chrome strips on the tank.
  5. Kawasaki - Winter protection on the bike. 
  6. Thunderbird - remove the battery and rotate it on charge 

Friday 6th November 2015

What a change, the morning was dry ( after a night of rain ) the temperature was a very pleasent 14c it's mornings like this that really make riding in very nice indeed. Note: check the rear brake shoes out when changing the tyre.

Wed 4th November 2015

Wetter than a wet thing at a wet convention, donned the waterproofs for the ride to the train station this morning, apart from the visor misting up it was an enjoyable ride. NOTE: need hi-viz waterproofs for the commute. Will be digging out some of the old hi viz kit. Look at fitting panniers to the Kwak to take the additional clothing for the winter commute. 

Sun 1st November 2015 

I read today that yesterday was the hottest November day on record, what a corker it was. I took the Bantam out, just around the villages. Bike ran like a dream, photographs capture the wonderful colours. 

Sun 25th October 2015

Well as ever what started as a simple task ( so I thought ) Thinking i could take a radiator cover off, but alas it was the tank off. I nearly fractured the fuel tap. Long story short, i flushed with 50/50 mix vinegar to flush, then water. Then put comma red in 50/50 checked the levels and after a couple of hours it was sorted. Couldn't believe how slack the chain was, sorted the tension, sprayed with chain lube. 

Whilst I waited for the Kwak de-pressurise I took the Bantam round the block, wondered why i got odd looks, then remembered I'd removed the lens, returned and put the lens back on. My lights worked. Tiresome day, with an overly complex under tank radiator cap. 

Radiator Cap Under Kawasaki 500

Tues 20th October 2015

Blimey, it was cold this morning I did worry that last nights ride home in the dark I noticed what appeared to be the bottom half of the headlamp was dark on the road, fearing that the reflective material had "faded" I checked it this morning, and only the glass needed a quick wipe. Phew, right back on track the weather was down to single figures, so my work trousers will soon no longer cut it. With the temperatures dropping I started to think about the coolant, and changing it. To that end I've ordered some Comma Red and will replace the coolant this Sunday post visiting Daniel. 

Sun 18th October 2015

Well I never, the rusty Wipac Switch I bought for £1 seems to work, little ACF50 - GT85 and the switch works. I've left it soaking for the week, and will take a better look next weekend. Went around the block a couple of times on the Bantam. Lovely but tiring weekend. 

Wipac switch bought for £1 Stafford Bike Show

Sat 17th October 2015

Although it was a long way I visited the Stafford Motorcycle Mechanics show, at 125 miles each way it proved a long day. With over 100 stalls, there was simply too much to see in one day, next year I'll book a hotel room, and pre book tickets as the ques were long. Bought some fuel piping, some spanners, and a wipac switch. A throughly enjoyable day. Gallery below. 

Sat 10th October 2015

Had a run out around the village, the Bantam is transformed. Lovely smooth acceleration, can cruise at high 40's now. Adjusted the timing on the Bones, and whilst i am not sure its made a difference the carb and the bones have made a significant difference to the bantam. As the winter approaches I'm getter ever more confident that the work done on the BSA will lead to cosmetic work in the dark winter nights. 


Friday 9th October 2015

Fitted the new Amal Carb, was very dissapointed at first, but a quick call to Amal and removal of the 375/61 choke assembly ( cub ) and it ran like a dream, had a quick run around the block. Will do a longer run and tune tommorow. Amazing transformation to the acceleration and running of the bike. 

Sunday 4th October 2015

After a late start, not helped by falling off the step ladders whilst picking apples, I decided to see if the 5/16th x 1 3/4" nuts and bolts could be replaced by metric bolts. Yep, M8 seemed to do the trick. Took a while but I managed to cut some down to fit.  Also tightend the strangler and took the nearside side panel off as I was unhappy with the current fit ( vibrates ) 

engine bolts replaced with metric nuts d7 1966 bantam

Sat 3rd October 2015

Met Ant & Jo on the great white at Ramsey fat boys brekky.

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then rode to the 40's weekend. Met up with Steve Kilbey and David Groves, had a wander round then rode home. Lovely day. discoverd the vibration on the engine was due to the engine bolts vibrating out of the engine.

missing bolt 

Lovely day. 

Sunday 27th September 2015

What a wonderful day. Earlier in the week Brian Soulby contacted me to ask if i'd be willing to take my BSA to Stilton to let his 80 year old Father in law ride a bike again after a break of 53 years.

The weather was fantastic, must have been close to 19 degrees, and the Bantam started second kick, I made my way to Stilton, to be met by Norman and his wife, Jo and Ants.  We rode through Stilton to a private road, where Norman had a go on the bantam, then onto the 500cc Triumph speed twin. Post the run on the bike, ants and I had a wonderful ride to a lovely Garden Centre just outside the village of Oulton?? where Norman treated everyone to coffee and cake.  All in all a wonderful day. Note to self: clutch is binding, and there is still a drip from the carb. Although I suspect having checked the gaskets that the drip is from the fuel line to the filter. I will order a new gasket for the Amal carb, and a needle as well. But the video below captures the day well.

Monday 21st September 2015

Must be getting soft, it was raining drizzle hard when I stepped off the train, have decided to take the car to work tommorow. 

Sunday 20th September 2015

Wonderful day, rode through several villages on the bantam. Spent the morning fitting a top box, and a 3L fuel can. Then rode through Alconbury weston, with the idea being that I'd film myself riding through the water splash. However upon arrival it was dry... so proceeded in the late summer sun through several villages. Noticed a little fuel on the engine throughout the day, just under the main jet. Tightened up and the idle jet, will monitor. Photos below.

Tuesday 15th September 2015

Well as the nights draw in, weather watching becomes an hourly obsession trying to work out if I'd be able to make it to the Pub. As it happens it was touch and go. My train came through St. Neots and the rain hadn't come this far North. Better still on getting home the 2BA screws had arrived, so for the first time since the Bones I had an engine casing on. Woooop Wooop !!!! - Rode to the Pub, but only two other bikes were on the car park. Grrrrrrrr. Stayed for one coke, then rode home. At least I got out for an hour.

Sunday 13th September 2015

A day in the saddle, Jonathon texted to ask if i was still up for a run, I rolled the Sprint out of the garage, could we get it started ? no. We bumped it, and left it on charge for 30mins, but it wouldn't go. In the end we used the jump leads on the the Tbird battery and she started. We had a brisk run to the Krazy Horse cafe, JMW didn't know the roads, I'm afraid the pace might have been a little brisk. We returned seperately but the day was fun. I then went out on the Bantam and had dinner at the Mill, returning home in the last hours of daylight. Another blessed day in the saddle. throughly enjoyed it. 

Todays Route

Average speed: 39.2 mph  Average moving speed: 43.8 mph Max speed: 105.2 mph 

Sat 12th September 2015

Awoke to complaints of fuel being smelt in the front living room, opened the door to see a large puddle of fuel under the Kawasaki, put some clothes on over the PJ's and noticed that the primary fuel line had split. Bought replacement lines from Verities. It seems to be okay now. Only time will tell. Took the DSLR - Nikon 3200 out and filmed the bantam passing left to right - close to the pink pub. Close shot of the bike being kick started. 

Friday 11th September 2015

Fitted top box to the bantam, bought for £10.99 from ebay, didnt expect too much, but it's okay. Has a quick release plate, but the standard fitting kit will need looking at as I'm not convinced of the quality.  Dad cast doubts in my mind as he had concerns that it would spoil the look of the bike. The Jury is still out. ..

Tuesday 8th September 2015

Probably the last but one trip to the pub on a Tuesday night, but what a run. Matt and Jon came, Jon following later, the BSA Bantam was well married with the Yamaha. I used the GPS and Google my tracks application to work out the true top speed, only for curiousty value. I reached 50.66mph on the mad mile. that aside it was nice to get to the pub, and wander around the bikes. Certainly more than last week.  Decided that I'll run the tank dry, and attempt to rethread the fuel tap so it was facing the correct way. Fuel pipe to the carbs need looking at and fuel clips need to be sorted. 


Quick list of Jobs that need sorting.

1. Centre Stand needs straightening.

2. Cables - measure and order replacements.

3. Engine casing 2BA x 11/16"

4. Speedo Bulb.

5. Fuel lines replace and use clips.

6. Fuel tap - rotate.

7. Tyre Pressures - Check 

8. Gearbox Oil - top up. 


Sunday 6th September 2015

Day in the saddle, can't remember doing so much riding since Italy earlier in the summer. Rode to meet Coach at Peterborough Services on the Kwak, and rode to Jack Hills in Towecester, then onto the Super Sausage, then home only to jump onto the Bantam, and ride locally - definately better now that the air / fuel mixture is running a little leaner. Close to 200 miles today. Weather was lovely.

Saturday 5th September 2015

Rose late, due to copious amounts of Alcohol, when I did I fitted some of the new Stainless nuts and bolts. I also adjust the air screw on the Amal, and learnt that I do not have to flood the carb before starting the bike. i must take note. I took a brief run to the Parkhome estate on the Bantam then bobbed around the estate. The bantam is certainly proving easier to start and run than pre electronic ignition. Matt did his CBT today. 

Tuesday 1st September 2015

Made my mind up to go to the BSA Owners meet at connington this evening, and appart from flooding the bike - which took an age to sort the trip went okay. Not many bikes there, but boy the bike attracted attention. Feeling pretty pleased with myself the lights worked brilliantly. Wanted to say that I'd made it to the pub this season. And I did. Turned round as the lads I've been talking to made it later, popped back and shook their hands. Below is a video on just how effective the lighting is on the Bantam.




Sun 30th August 2015

Awoke and decided that today was the day to test the BSA - with a trip to Ely I set off with grey clouds via Earith and the villages progress was good, with limited clutch slip, however it was still present so needs to be sorted. Pushed the bike onto the green oposite the catherdral. Forgot which way the ignition switch worked and flooded the bike, no amount of drying the plug, flushing the engine cases would get the bike going. A couple of eastern europeans assisted in bump starting me, and the bike started and ran like a dream all the way home. However the heavens opened and I arrived home happy but totally soaked. Below is a short video that explains my trip in greater detail. Lovely run, spoilt by typical british bank holiday weather. 


Sat 29th August 2015

Took the Yamaha XT for an MoT in Gravely. Had to buy a new rear number plate, and tighten the chain beforehand. But no adivsories. Lovely day. I think the cush drive may need replacing.


Surprised how many mild steel nuts and bolts are on the bike. Anyway it passed, and thats the main thing.

28th August 2015

Took the Kawasaki to the station, plan to measure up for a front prop to aid the removal of the front end ( forks ) later in the year. 

27th August 2015

Well work finished early today, and I've got the old cover, the foam and the seat pan together and going to give it a go this afternoon. Photos will follow.  

PM - Took the Bantam for a spin with the seat, and headed out on my usual test route - riptons via Upwood.  On returning home Sherwood called to ask if I was up for going out on the TBird to a local pub. So we rode to the Star & Garter in Chelveston, and then rode home. Evening was tarnished by two ladies? fighting in the pub, and the very damp roads as it had rained heavily whilst we ate dinner. 

26th August 2015

Finished painting the underside of the seat pan, and the foam has arrived. I ordered four inches when the original was 3 inches. It's the reconstituted foam, and feels very firm. Lets hope I can shape it successfuly. I'm struggling to find someone with an electric carving knife. Ho hum. I'm sure I'll work it out. Went to Halfords to price up a rear number plate for Matts Yamaha XT125R. £15.99 seems rather steep. 

25th August 2015

Collected the seat pan from the Station Work Shops - usual trade of rich tea biscuits and a jar of coffee. Pan looks wonderful, and I've liberaly slapped it with Hammerite. Rode to the docs to get blood taken, then rode home. Knackered. 

22nd August 2015 

Bones CDI Arrived, and within a couple of hours the bike was running after the third kick. The following day I sat and worked out the modifications needed to the loom to make it 12volt. 


Eight Weeks of not updating the blog - I've been so busy, and here's a very short update. 

I rode to Lake Como in Italy, and i'll post my photos on a dedicated gallery on the left. The Sprint was the bike of choice, it's not late August and I'm just starting to edit the video clips  ( on a monsterly powerful MaC)  I'll cover off the holiday in the gallery page. Upon returning I decided to throw time, effort and money at the bantam although the lads in St. Ives Engineering did a wonderful job at not only fitting the new brass stator bush, they also made a tool to allow the next one to be fitted. Short synopsis. Bantam was rebuilt, still no spark to speak of. So I bought a bones CD system and I've spent the last several weekends putting it together, converting the electrics to 12v negative earth and  only last weekend took it for it's first trip. Wonderful. Still have clutch slip but the bikes starts wonderfully. So I have started once again in my attempt to make the BSA Engineeringly reliable before the winter comes in and I strip to do the paint work. It really is a rolling restoration. Last night I pulled the seat off and have stripped all the old foam off with the intentto sort it out. Seemed like an easy job. but is anything to do with Motorcycle restoration easy ? I dont think so... Anyway workshops welded the broken parts, and shot blasted the old foam off. The photos are below. I will try and update the blog. But I've been too busy recently riding. 25th August 2015.

25th June 2015

Brass bush for the crank support has arrived. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend. It's also the St. ives Bike festival, so I'll be popping down to take a look around. All accomodation is booked except the last one. Time to find some accomodation close to Arras. Read an interesting article about Brough replicas being built in France, and Sam Lovegrove doing the final tweaks. Whilst old brit bikes are fustrating as hell, it's nice to spend time researching how to get the best out of them. i.e. getting them to start reliably. .... struggling with the morality of replacing unseen 1950s technology with CDI - and upgrading the electrics to 12 volts. .....

23rd June 2015

Had a useful conversation at the bike night, it seems as though the brass bush being worn will have significant impact on the timing. Only time will tell, lets hope the weather stays warm. Would like to ride the Bantam to bike night.

22nd June 2015

Removed the stator, the cam and noticed that the bronze bush internally has worn. I have ordered another from RCR c/o Ebay. Hope to fit this weekend. 

21st June 2015

Well I'm confused and becoming fustrated. Suspecting I had set the points incorrectly, I proceeded firstly by opening them up, then almost closing them. The bike then started, and I rode for the best part of 30mins around the estate, stopping and starting and generally the bike was performing well. Tidied up the ramp ready to put it back and lo and behold I could not start it. 

15th June 2015

Have posted the photograph below to several sites, hoping someone will point out the error of my ways. I am convinced that the "corrosion" is far more than that. Time to study photos and if necessary fit the old rectifier whilst I sort the wiring issues out. Have sent an email to Rooster ignitions with the photo below. Perhaps they can help....

14th June 2015

Fitted the new lucas coil, and in doing so found severe corrosion on the rectifier unit, the earth lead was completely oxidised. Cleaned off the effected area and put a new connector on.


Removed the old lucas coil, and after a little difficulty fitted the new Lucas replacement unit. Then took a the new points and fitted additonal washers to ensure the points top and bottom were aligned. Matthew, although not feeling very well came out and turned the engine over. I reset the points as recomended to 00.015 thou. I noticed ( and I was glad to see this ) that the E setting definately got a bigger spark, confirming that the battery was indeed low. Cleaned the battery contacts. And the bike started on the first "E" kick. I adjusted the tickover to a little higher than normal to get some power into the battery. Took it up the road, and it seemed to be getting better. 

coil wiring

13th June 2015

Fitted the new points, dissapointly their did not appear to be anything wrong with the points I removed, very very minor pitting. Lets hope the coil will sort this, if not then I'll have to seek advice. 

31st May 2015

I've ordered the following items to try and erradicate my starting / running problems.

Underseat 6v coil

New Braker Points

New 6v Horn

New HT Lead

New Unsuppresed plug cap

I'll update my diary once they've been fitted.


Bank Holiday Monday 25th May 2015

Defeated, deflated and wondering what might have failed, or that I've done to cause the bike to not start, let alone run when bump started.

I've checked the carb, even swapping out the needle and checking the bowl, and the needle valve, again checked the banjo bolt filter, and the cleaned all jets again.

I reset the points initially to 15 thou, and then closed them up slightly after cleaning what did appear to be pitting on the points. I've rechecked the connections to the coil, and the ends of HT lead from the coil to the plug head.

I have noticed the pilot light when battery power is applied is very very weak, and have attempted to start the bike on "E" there is no apparent increase in the quality of the spark.  Theirs only two earth mounting points on the loom, and these have been checked.  I am begining to think that theirs either a main coil issue or for some

Sunday 24th May 2015

Mixed some double strength fuel up - twice as much oil, to prevent any risk of the engine seazing. Took her for a spin, but it missfires something awful. Starts on the first kick as long as full throttle is applied. Plug did show the expected colour - black. Tommorow I will check all electrical connections. 

When I ride the bike it cuts off when i throttle off. Electrical........ or carb ? hopefully tommorow will tell. Little fustrating as the weather is nice for riding. 


Saturday 23rd May 2015

Popping into Huntingdon to sort a Simm Problem out, then start to fit the parts to the BSA. Note: remember the BSA has no oil in the gearbox at all. Got home from Huntingdon, and put the new shell on the headlamp, and secured the nacelle switches. However on a run around the estate, I found the bike would only run after a few minutes on full throttle. On closer inspection the plug was nearly white. Tommorow I will take a look at the fuel, and the others areas, carb and timing that could be the cause. Did I inadvertantly pickup a fuel can with no two stroke oil in ??? 

Tuesday 19th May 2015

Bantam headlamp surround turns up - looks to be of resonable quality. Spent my lunch hour pricing up the BT021 V's the BT023 tyres for the sprint. Ordering on Friday am.

Monday 18th May 2015

AM: Received a very useful update from the Face Book BSA Bantam owners page, it might have been the carb needle retaining clip that came loose and consequently ingested into the engine. It's reportedly a commonish issue. Tonight I'll be taking a close look at the carb !!

Update on the carb.  - Everything was checked, cleaned and the bike runs. I haven't a clue what happened a short road test to the top of the close confirmed that the bike worked. Headlamp surround ordered. 


Sunday 17th May 2015 - Disaster Strikes

Set off to the grass track racing and the bike started to make an awful noise. Pulled over in the field, and was rescued by Matt, Maria and Cody. Came home and checked everything over, and could not spot a problem. Put the bike back together and could only bump start it with full throttle. Suspect the carb / timing. Need to clean the points. I am also going to change the coil as it does look original incase it's breaking down. Hard to test. 


Friday 15th May 2015

Went to the dentist on the Kwak, had trouble parking in St. Ives, day didn't start well as a Bus pulled out on me at the junction in St. Ives. A few expletives were passed to the driver.  This afternoon after lunch I'm going to take a look at the Bantam horn. 6volt positive earth. What the heck !!!

PM: Attempted to sort the horn out on the Bantam, managed to get a decent honk out of her, but when reassembled into the battery box area then the bloody thing stopped. Adjusted the chain as it was too slack, then adjusted the rear brake switch activator spring, as the travel on the pedal was too much for the light to come on.


Late afternoon I took a ride down to Houghton Tea rooms, and sat a while in the sun under the trees. Several people wanted to talk about my Bantam.



Thursday 14th May 2015

Rode to the station on the bike, the weather was not as bad as predicted. HOWEVER on riding home it was raining heavily, the buffalo top is not at all waterproof. I do need to pack my waterproofs. Think the larger top box is called for. Still raining after dinner, so my hopes of sorting the BSA Horn was dashed. 

Wednesday 13th May 2015

Adjusted the rear brake rod on the Kwak, I now have resonable rear brakes. Enjoying the ride to the station, albeit the Buffalo jacket is NOT WATERPROOF. 

Tuesday 12th May 2015

Yah ! I have indicators ! cold run to the station, but nice to have sorted the indicator. Note: need to adjust the rear brake as the lever is having to be depressed too hard to take effect. Hoping to ride to the White Swann at Connington to the BSA owners club. Spent last night trying to find images of a four speed clutch basket over a 3 speed. Had a look at the foxes biscuit tin of parts, and I am strongly thinking that I might have a four speed basket. 

PM: Met Gaz at the filling station in St. Ives and rode to the Swann at connington, lovely evening - two highlights. Old Harley combo, and a balloon inflater powered bike. Sat on the GSXR felt very old.

Monday 11th May 2015

Rode to work on the Kawasaki, tickover is erratic, once warm. This needs investigation as it does appear to be getting worse. I'll do some googling, as accessing the carb is a pain.... Indicator needs sorting. Doing it this evening.  

PM: tackling the indicator issue on the Kwak, bulb is okay. Connector is okay under the tail fairing. Must be the splicing under the tape. Grrrr. Bought a 3 speed clutch basket from Ebay change from £15. Desperate to sort the slipping out. Will email the clutch builder to check on the progress. Sorted the indicator out. Kawasaki bullet under the seat is slack. Bodged the rewire up though as I ran out of tape and had to reuse the original.


Sunday 10th May 2015

Bike run south to meet the brothers from London, classic bike show on the village square in Blackmore village. Hoping to go on the Sprint.

Well what a fantastic day, still on a high ! rode at a pace to Blackmore in Essex to attend the British bike meet, went on the Sprint the M11 was busy and the ride whilst not technically challenging was okay in the sun. Never been to the Blackmore meet, met up with friends from Iceni Chapter, and ended up in the Prince of Wales pub. Lovely chip butty, then called in at Weald airfield to pay my respects. When I came home popped out on the Bantam down to the Mill at Houghton, said a quick hello to Steve Bellis - ex photog. All told a lovely day. 


Saturday 9th May 2015

Sat here trying to motivate myself. Very tired, going to sort the indicator out on the kawasaki, possibly remove the rack ( panniers from the Kwak, and sort the rear indicator out.  Noticed last night that the rear foot pegs were worn out on the bantam.



Friday 8th May 2015

Again, rode to work on the Kwak the rough tickover has gone, although I do need to take a look at the clutch adjustment as the lever is nearly out before the bike moves.  INDICATOR nearside rear - must sort it this weekend.

Thursday 7th May 2015

Went to the station on the Kwak, tickover seems a little rough on tickover, and I think the clutch needs adjusting. Oh boy, the list is growing. That indicator still needs sorting. 

Wednesday 6th May 2015

Have spent sometime looking at the fork rebuild process. I think one has to take great care not to damage the fork bushes when stripping the units down. It is unclear to me if I have the lightweight fork version. I am sure that one or both springs have fractured. 

I have also been looking at Carb rebuilding, keen to use this coming winter optimally. 

Tuesday 5th May 2015

List of jobs to do this coming winter 

1. forks on BSA rebuild.

2. Seat base repair - include refilling.

3. 12 Volt electric conversion.

4. Stand - rethink - it's far too fragile.

5. Front Mudguard - weld.

6. Rotate the bloody petrol tap !!! doing my head in ! 

Bank Holiday Monday 4th May 2015

Did 40+ miles on the BSA today, having fitted the rack last night, I packed the Nikon onto the rear rack and set off for St. Ives, of course forgetting the bank holiday! dooh, anyway after a few minutes on the waterfront I departed for somersham then over into Chatteris, calling in at Upwood then back home. Plug was loose, and the tyres needed some air, but all told a very pleasent run out.

bantam on the waterfront st. ives cambridgeshire


Sun 3rd May 2015

Fitted rear rack to the Bantam, some of the fixing screws were a little short ( i think ) next Autojumble I'll replace them, and the top shock nuts and bolts. Hoping to get out and ride with camera bag to Grafham tommorow.



Tue 28 April 2015


Mon 27 April 2015



Sun 26 April 2015

20150425 201047


Sat 25 April 2015

DSC 0027 2


Friday 24 April 2015

Today's the day, didn't sleep at all well, never do before a trip. Always worried about the ride. Haven't been able to print the latest insurance policy due to the Epson printer going pete tong. Bikes already on the drive and panniers are in the hallway. As every I'm wondering where the remainder of the kits going to go. Waterproofs etc. Weather at 07:00UK - not a cloud in the sky.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Trip approaches and i've spent a couple of hours cleaning the thunderbird, TBH my hearts not into polishing chrome. I think it might be compounded by the fact my 19K bike can't compete with a 30K Harley in the bling stakes. Fugly panniers fitted and removed in a dry run. Simply need to check fluids and tyre pressures before putting her away for the night. 

Have checked fluids. The bike post a complete oil change needed topping up. I have double USB charger fitted inside the man bag, and after dinner I'm putting the brand new Yuasa Battery on. Turns out that the rear tyre was 41psi, instead of 38. But shes ready to rock and roll. All the tech is being put on charge straight after dinner.

22:37hrs - Helmets charged, and cameras packed. Have revised the route to cassel ( france ) bypassing the German V2 factory.


My Tech List for tripNikon DSLR 3200,Mini Tripod, Go Pro 4 with chest and helmet fittings, Selfie stick laptop, with assorted memory sticks. Gorilla smatphone tripod.

Tuesday 21st April 2015

Rode to and from work, bright but cold. This evening I fitted the pannier carrier assembly. Fitted a third USB Charging socket behind the rear seat, then went for a brief bimble on the Bantam around the estate.

Note to self:

1. Kawasaki rear nearside indicator not working.

2. Oil level and fluid check on TB

3. Rear tyre on Bantam - possible puncture

4. Spare allen keys for trip 

5. Puncture kit for the trip - transfer from Sprint.

6. European A5 Map into TB


Monday 20th April 2015

Blessed with another lovely day, foggy in the morning rode north to the office on the Kawasaki again, went via the A47 and called in at Morcott services for fuel, very happy with the overall fuel consumption of the kwak, came back home via a few of the villages before joining the A1 at Peterborough services. Map below shows my route home. Stopped off to look at the new born Lambs. Lovely ride home.  

Sunday 19th April 2015

A LOT of googling showed that the Triumph thunderbird key is the same as a 90's Saab key, with only days before the trip I went to timpsons in the Hampton shopping centre, they could not help me....grrrr. With the weather prediction now showing rain, I've bought some overmitts. Lets hope they arrive on time. I'm going to try and and get one cut from an independent supplier in Peterborough tommorow.  Off down the garage in a min ( 16:00 ) to fill a carrier bag with rubbish. Well it didn't happen, looking at the GoPro 4 Black on my office shelf, and the selfie stick on the shoe rack, gawd knows why but i decided to go out on the Bantam, and on a private road have a play with the Bantam. Note to self: checkout the lose screws just below to the cylinder head.

Saturday 18th April 2015

Well it's a lovely day, sun high in the sky, little evidence of any clouds, struggling to motivate myself as todays plan was to continue to clean and degrease the thunderbird, it wasn't until after 11.30 that I came out of the office and started to clean my bike. Broke for lunch at 12.30 then went on the Kwak to Huntingdon to pickup cleaning cloths and bought a new selfie for the coming trip. Continued to clean the bike and eventually broke at 16:00hrs to get ready to go out. 

man cleaning thunderbird 1600

I don't like cleaning bikes, never have. But there was something satisfying about getting the bike cleaner after over a year of being covered in oil. The alloy wheels are of poor quality and will never look new, but having seen many Thunderbirds their approaching as good as I've seen. One thing i've noticed is that whilst White Diamond polish is good, it does not remove corrosion. I'll take a look at products later. Just after packing away I took the Bantam out on a short 3 to 4 mile run up the mad mile, and back again three times. lovely to get out. Many smiles from people as they saw the old bike chugging along.  

Friday 17th April 2015

Commute to work on the bike, getting the miles in this week. My faithful Buffalo Jacket is 1. getting scruffy, 2. Getting tight.  Need to plan itinerary for next weeks break.....OMG.

Cold ride home, adjusted the tickover to around 1100rpm, from 1300rpm. Bike does sound rough, but Googling tells me these bikes do at tickover.  

Thursday 16th April 2015

Lovely day, headed to the Office up North on the bike, took the A1 from Spittals on the Kwak, nice upto 75mph, anything more and you had to leave enough time building up to an overtake. Took the route suggested by Stu Sherwood, A47 then abrut right to the office. Nice route.  I really do think pound for mile that my little bike is excellent fun. Spent a few minutes looking at the Ducati Monster in the car park at the offce. Lovely alternative to the Speed Triple ( in looks ) Spent the evening booking hotels and trains for the summer holiday. Collected the Belgium tour t shirts, lovely job. 

Wednesday 15th April 2015

AM With the weather predicted to hit a high of 23 degrees, and last nights work on the Kawasaki I decided ( again ) to jump on the Kwak and ride to the train station. What a lovely experience, with merely a T shirt under my faithful Buffalo jacket. I did notice that the bike was a little uneven at tickerover, and having had a recent core service wondered if the carbs need to be balanced. Sat on the train I pondered that if the drive chain and sprockets were so badly worn is it perhaps time to change the jets out. Their not expensive, and the bike has 31,000 miles on the clock. Note to Self:  Back brake rod needs tightening up, pedal goes down too far. 
PM rode the bike home in lovely sunshine, then pulled out the Sprint for the ride with Jonathon spent most of the train journey home thinking of a route to ride. Anyway I thought the B660 would be a good route to ride. It was a little darker than I thought it might be, the Sprint performed flawlessly. I desperately tried to keep well within the speed limit, and did so 98% of the time. I think the stats read the true picture. A pleasent bimble through the villages. 




Tuesday 14th April 2015

Well my new chain and sprockets arrived for the Kawasaki, had to call into Toolstation and pickup some new gloves, but a lovely evening, so didnt even stop to get tea. Got the bike up on the ramp, then Jonathon arrived on his bike, and we got stuck into getting the old kit off and new sprockets fitted. We spent half an hour tightening the front sprocket. Quick call to Al and we popped the sprocket off. All told once the sprocket was off it was plain sailing. Kit looked to be of resonable quality, had to use a make shift nut and bolt for the rear arm retaining strap. But all told a great evenings work. Front sprocket was very badly worn, it looks like the original. New parts came to £51.  Checked the rear bearings out they looked good, but the rear shoes were well glazed. Need to take a slow time look at them. But for now the Kawasaki having had a recent oil, filters and plugs and now sprockets is set for the coming summer and this years winter.


Monday 13th April 2015

Had a late tea, with the aim of cleaning a little more of the Thunderbird, however yesterday ride in the high winds hurt my back. So i set the simple task of sorting the USB charging lead. Turns out I'd forgotten to connect the leads to the battery ! Leon helped me locate the battery, as my back was hurting. Anyway the Thunderbird now charges the USB devices.  Note to self: the power is taken from the battery not the headlight. 

Sunday 12th April 2015 AM/PM

The day was lovely, the sun was out early on and the roads were dry. I headed to Sandringham in Norfolk on the Thunderbird, and whilst dry and bright it was very windy. A lighter bike would have struggled. Fortunately the weight of the bike made the riding a little more bearable. A good day, my Thunderbird has now completed over 200 miles since being put back on the road after the winter lie up. Note to self: The front USB charing lead does not work. rectify before belgium. 

Sat 11th April 2015

AM - Rain, had a useful post on the facebook forums re a yamaha clutch conversion to the bantam, and a trusted cable supplier. Links are below. Tried to replicate yesterdays wonderful run on the bike, but Google maps keeps trying to drag the route to a common sense option. Given up. Links below. 

Yamaha clutch conversions , the chap you want is Harry Stanistead , you will need too call Neil Walker for his number 01788811919 ..£130 ish for the clutch conversion

Good to hear you have got to the bottom of it. The man for a top quality cable is Mr Tom Johnson of JJ Cables Ltd. Telephone number 01926 651470 e-mail is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. He knows about the Bantam clutch cable issue and will sort you out.

Keeping an eye on the weather as I really wanted to test the bike this afternoon, lets hope it's better weather later today.

PM - Matt gave me the nod that the weather had improved ( i was in the home / office ) and I promptly jumped on the Bantam, keen to test yesterdays clutch. I rode via Upwood to Broughton, paused for a few photos by the village lockup. Clutch was a lot better, I would say theirs still some slip, but certainly not bad. I wore an arm GPS unit and confirmed my thoughts the speedo on the bike is reading well below the actual speed - top speed today was 45mph and on the dial of the bike it was bairly showing 32mph. 


Friday 10th April 2015

wonderful opportunity to ride a bike to a customers site today, went up the A1, but came back via the backroads parrellel to the A1, my route is on the link at the end of this post. Had 21+ posts re the bantam clutch slipping, turned out it was the cable. Trimmed a little off the outer cable allowing the cable to be fully home on the clutch. was a little over zealous and now have two temporary spacers until I order a new one.  Whilst riding the Kawasaki I heard a nasty noise, turns out the chain and the front sprocket are badly worn. Ordered a new complete set from a reputable Ebay seller £51.00 all in including postage. Lets see how long it lasts. Mileage on the Kwak is approaching 31K. 


Thursday 9th April 2015

AM Due to Amex issues I rode the Kawasaki to Stuart Sherwoods this morning, this small and unasumming bike always surprises me. I wish Triumph would make a gearbox thats so smooth and as easy to use. Must remember to sort the indicator bulb, despite buying them I still have not had time to fit a new one.
PM Weather is fantastic, rode home to find the replacement screws for the engine casing had turned up, changed one before loss of light. Have posted up on the forums about the clutch slip. Already had some good suggestions. Looking forward to riding the bike to work tommorow.

Tuesday 7th April 2015

Via the wonders of Google, I tracked down Dave Flintcroft via an article in classic bike, Dave manufacturers 8 spring clutch mods for the bantam, giving 30% better grip.

8 spring clutch

I spoke at great length to Dave about his new clutch and types of Oils. Having fitted new plates, and heavy duty springs I decided to bite the bullet and order one. Dave tells me that it'll be four weeks tracked down Dave's recommended clutch oil/ 75W gear oil, andbought some from Wheels motorcycles. Also bought new indicator bulbs for the Kawasaki - note to self. Halfords Huntingdon sell them £2.49 to two. I paid SteveLynn £2.00 per bulb.



Then popped to Halfords to get some more gasket sealent.

7027176 orig


Initial run still shows the clutches slipping, however i was convinced that it was gettting better as the engine ran. Only time will tell. I have spent most of the late evening googling and pouring over diagrams I cannot fathom what I might have missed when the unit was rebuilt.

bike night 7th april 15

I rode down to the Marina as it's bike night. Only four bikes turned up, rode back before dark. Whatever niggles I have with the BSA there is something endearing about trying to sort the niggles. I'll persevere whilst I still enjoy learning. 

Monday 6th April 2015

Woke up realising it was time to tax and insure the bikes for the new season. Weather was gorgious so took the sprint out to Oundle and beyond, lovely ride but boy was it cold on the return  I had one final go at the last set screw on the Bantam. It came away with ease. Upon getting the case off all looks as though it should. Will try in the morning to obtain the screws as most of their heads are badly damaged.

brekky 6th april


Sunday 5th April 2015

Rode the Bantam home, and the clutch all but gave away. Top speed was limited to 25/30mph. Enough is enough and I decided to strip at my earliest opportunity.  

5th April after ely run

Late morning went out on the Thunderbird to Ely, lovely market and better still free Costas. Returned home to investigate the failed clutch on the bike. despite my and Jonathon ( next door )  we wouldn't free one of the set screws keeping the engine casing on. Will tackle tommorow. 

Saturday 4th April 2015

Rode the bantam several miles, and the clutch was provnig problematic. 

bantam 4th april 2

bantam 4th april run

Friday 3rd April 2015

Fitted the newly painted grill to the Thunderbird, and took the Bantam for a spin. Clutch seemed a little dodgy, slipping

Wednesday 1st April 2015

Second coat of paint applied to the Thunderbird Radiator. Proved hard to paint, most of the black paint dropped through to the surface of the work bench. Does look promising though.


Tuesday 31st March 2015

Managed to get the radiator grill painted with high gloss VHT paint, proved difficult due to the grill, most of the paint dripped straight through, but will give a second coat on Thursday night with the idea being I'll re-fit over the easter weekend. 

Ordered a twin USB high rate charger, and a GoPro Black body case so i can drill out the original case for mains power and microphone.

Sunday 29th March 2015

Well today was a physical write-off. I've come down with a cold, and last night Andy and I went for a meal, started to feel rough last night. This morning cold, and runny nose. Suffficient for it knock me down. Went into the shed and wired brushed the radiator grill. I don't have a small enough brush to make a good job of it but I'm sure in a day or two i'll be well enough to paint her. Weather meant my run to see the brothers was cancelled.  Really need to think about making the aerosol carrier I've been promising myself.  Whilst sat at the computer I found a very useful piece of software for $49

Saturday 28th March 2015

Day started off with great intentions, but a bit of beer and some rain has put a stop to my plans. Managed to get the battery back on the sprint, and fitted seat secured and ready for the proposed run tommorow. Removed the Thunderbirds Radiator Grill ready to repaint. Going to try VHT Gloss paint in the shed later this weekend should the rain not go away. 

radiator grill for repainting

Below: Sat in the Garage waiting for the rain to stop.

400px waiting for the rain to stop 


Friday 27th March 2015

Chanced my arm today as the morning was dry and bright, rode to the Rialway station and their was only my bike and the GS1150 I usually park next to. Really need to sort the rear indicator out. Noticed the tickover was a little rough. New plugs were fitted not so long ago, So I'll have to take a look under the tank. Might be a coil on the way out, or carb diathram.  

Thursday 26th March 2015

Despite the very heavy rain I opted to ride the ER5 to the station. Had only one hairy moment when the bike aqua planed on the front wheel.

Something can't be wired in my brain though, because despite the this I still stepped off the bike with a big cheesy grin. Just wish the rain would disperse off the visor a little faster, at commuting speeds it does tend to stay on the visor impeding vision. Also noticed the backlight bulbs on the speedo have blown. Best order some up today. From a quick web search typically their not "standard" bulbs. Go figure. .. Looks as though i'll be getting wet later though as the Rain.

Ride home - lovely in the sun, but my leather gloves were still wet from this morning, having had a day in the top box they didn't smell too good either....

Wednesday 25th March 2015

Took the Kawasaki to the railway station, just above freezing, but puts a smile on my face so worth every minute.

Tuesday 24th March 2015

Dropped the BSA rear rack off at station workshops, Pete the metal did an excellent job at welding the rear part back on. Can't wait to get it plastic coated. It'll allow me to carry my camera gear on the bike. was looking at old Craven top boxes to match the look of the bike. Had a quiet night, messing with Photoshop, the result is below. many comments on the BSA Forums. All positive.

BSA Bantam in St. Ives Square Cambridgeshire March 2014


Monday 23rd March 2015

Rack has turned up, will ring the station workshops tommorow and see if their willing to braise the rack. With the extended daylight I managed to degrease 80% of the remaining grease on the front wheel. Theirs little evidence of deep corosion, so i'm hopeful that the white diamond polish will bring the wheel up just fine. I did a small patch experiment between the Muc-Off and the less expensive wilkinson branded cleaner, their does seem to be little difference in their ability to remove oil and grease from the wheel. I shall replace the more expensive brand with Wilkinsons alloy wheel cleaner.

Sunday 22nd March 2015

Bright morning, but how the brain plays cruel tricks, as soon as I stepped out I came back down to earth with a bang. It was still very chilly. Never the less I rode to Ely on the Kawasaki, and parked in the town square, picked up a thermal under-top for £2.99 reduced from £20. Bargain! then irritated that the Sat Nav appeared to have lost the power feed from the loom proceeded to strip the bike down. Only after completely stripping did i remember that the feed was taken from the headlamp supply. Anyways after 20mins I had power to the tomtom rider 2, and was winding my way back through the villages. Almost as soon as I'd returned I decided to get the BSA out and take a ride to St. Ives for Lunch, wow people were actually crossing the street to look at the Bantam.

for-the-blog tonemapped

Sat on a park bench and elderly lady using a walking frame came over and sat with me. Now I'm used to people approaching me with stories of bikes, and some to be honest are very obviously bull. However this lady lit up and started to tell me how she used to ride, and her ride was a Rudge, she rode it to Scotland but the bottom end seized. Her words not mine. I wish I'd stayed a while longer but was keen to get some more photos down by the river, alas it wasn't to be. My phone battery was flat.  I sat on the bench for several minutes, chatting to a couple and their son who had travelled from Chesterfield.  Whilst there a TOMCC member bumped into me and pointed at the state of the BSA's chain. I have to confess it was rather a mess. Needless to say I returned and liberally covered it in oil on the bike lift. Note to self - get a larger battery on the phone, for if the BSA conks out you will not be able to call for help.  

Sat 21st March 2015 

Well big smiles all around the Thunderbird passed it's MoT this afternoon at Gravely garage, interesting to note that it did a little over 2000 miles last year. Well below my predicted to the Insurance Company - Previous year was over 5000 miles.  

thunderbird in malham                             

 Sat part two - researching windmills to explore whilst were on the Dutch border - link here - http://www.molendatabase.nl/nederland/zoekprov.php?res=kaart&welkeprovincie=Utrecht

Here's a link to the one that were planning to visit on our day trip to Holland. I've been to the village once before, but never visited the mill before.


Friday 20th March 2015

Noticed that the two GoPro tripod mounts had turned up yesterday. I thought they'd got lost in the post, but despite the EBay seller saying he was UK based they came from mainland China. Dissapointingly their once again made of plastic, and I fear will not live upto the stresses of filming on a bike. I note with interest that GoPro discontinued this item. Wonder if they could be printed with a 3D printer ?


Thurs 19th March 2015

Bit of a bike fest today, rang A&D Verity to enquire about the level of misting on the fork leg I can get away with for the MoT on the Thunderbird this weekend, sounds like an advisory to me.

Lets hope so as I land in Europe for my first trip this year in a matter of weeks. MoT next week, subject to the weather. 

Started programming the SatNavs for my trip to France, Belgium and Holland. I preload the units with Itinerary files generated using a free programme called Tyre - allows all the route plans to be uploaded from Google Maps direct to the Sat Navs.

I always take two bike sat nav heads with me. Bit of a junky when it comes to SatNavs for bikes - I own three  2x TomTom rider 2's, and a recent purchase, a Garmin Zumo Gumo 350LM  - link to the Tyre software can be found here - free version is good enough - http://www.tyretotravel.com/

Being a recent convert from Drift HD cameras to the GoPro4 Black I'm buying two of every accessory I need,  I always lose one on trips.  

This mornings post had 2 x Ebay straps for the remote - 99p instead of the GPro price of £10 each.

Their really well made and the sellers link is below the photo. I feared due to their price that I would not be able to get it round my wrist with several layers on. I need not have feared, it fits a treat.



Wed 18th March 2015

I've always been a bit wary of club forums, but thought I'd post a request on the Bantam owners site asking if anyone had a bantam rack for sale. Within minutes I had one offered for £25+ £5 postage, bargain. Needs the back bar brazing on, but tbh that'll be an easy job for the Station Workshops. 


As fitted to the owners bike - i like the lightweight bars - many are far too over engineered. Ideal for carrying a picnic hamper or my camera case. 


Mon 16th March 2015

New manfrotto arm came for the magic clamp, ideal for bike photography. Wonderful piece of kit. Spent my lunch hour reading up on various memory cards for the GoPro Black camera. Very confusing. Sent photos off for a quote on re-chroming two parts on the Thunderbird.

Sun 15th March 2015

Started the long job of degreasing and preparing the Thunderbird for it's MoT - removed the double seat, rear footpegs and part of the rear carrier, as theirs a hairline fracture on one of the rear footpegs. It won't pass an MoT with that, so it'll go through as a single seat machine. Used the White diamond on a small area of the front wheel - very promising, took her for a spin. Then whilst out in the car bought five litres of fuel, and mixed for the Bantam. Still early so took her out down the thicket, and then onto the mill. See photos below. Quite a bit of attention on the old BSA. Nice to see people looking at her. 

2Houghton Mill - Houghton, Cambridgeshire.


Sat 14th March 2015

Front Brake shoes have arrived for the TBird, I'll be fitting them and prepping the bike for it's MoT at the end of the month. £17 per set from sportsbikeshop.co.uk  

Friday 13th March 2015

Took the bantam out down splash lane, then through Houghton and Wyton back up Mick Georges Hill. Adjusted the clutch, much nicer ride. brake shoes for the Thunderbird have not turned up so looks like the MoT has gone back a week. 

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Due to ACF Penetrating into the pads, i've bought some organic EBC replacements at a £16.00 a pair - front only - twin disk. I simply forget that over the winter the oil gets in, the pads being replaced are new. Grrrr. will I every learn. 

Sunday 8th March 2015

awoke with all good intentions, but my only riding today was on the Kawasaki Er5, the conditions were windy, but I did enjoy the ride. need to think about looking at the front caliper, and adjusting the rear brake. Something ain't right.... 

Saturday 7th March 2015

Well today was the day to put the battery onto the sprint, and take her for a quick run. gopro video says it all really.

Put a big smile on my face, people carrier pulled out whilst I had committed to an over-take. Just goes to show how a layup for the winter can cloud your radar and not make allowances for car drivers who don't check their mirror.

This afternoon went over to Wellingborough, and collected the Thunderbird, having had its belt tightened. Lovely run back. Then went out on the Kawasaki. Indicator problems have lead me to question if the cheap indicators really were so much of a bargain.

Need to think about brake pads on the Tbird, they do appear to have become saturated in ACF over the winter, so much so that the dealership didn't think I had any brakes ! rode back okay to me, but will take a look next weekend. 

Thursday 5th March 2015

Thunderbird going in for belt tightening at the local Triumph dealership. Their even collecting the bike.  1/2hr. labour charge. Means I'll soon be able to ride her. 

Tues 3rd March 2015

Was able to finish work a little earlier today, and completed the rebuild of the thunderbird. No problems starting or running. Tank put on, sat nav mount connected. Seat installed. Bike was put away until taking to the dealership on Sat with Matt. Rear nearside indicator on the Kawasaki has failed, blown bulb. Grrr.  

Mon 2nd March 2015

Ordered two GoPro Tripod mounts, one spare one to replace the one I broke a while ago. Not official parts. 2.49ea from eBay. 

Sun 1st March 2015

Sun is high in the sky, GoPros are on charge, and I'm itching to get out on a Bike, but which one ?  Sprint looks like it has a slow front puncture, so I'll take that down the garage first. 

Sunday - Postmortem

Spent the morning trying to trace a noiose coming from the TBird post the service. I believe I traced it to small vacum pipe. Only time will tell. Went for a ride on both the Kawasaki and the BSA. The video I show is below. 


Sat 28th Feb 2015

Thunderbird oil change done - new filter new sump gasket. put 4 Litres in, needs checking before a run. Another 200ml to be added before use.  Rear rack finished on the Kawasaki, took Matt and I ages as I'd tighted bolts before putting the rear tail assembly back on. Was a right swine to sort. Just got to tidy a few loose ends. 

27th Feb 2015

New Battery has arrived for the Thunderbird. It's lasted 5years, three in a cold winter garage with little effort by me to put the it on charge despite owning two Optimate 4+. By all accounts that's around the life expectancy of a battery on a 1600cc bike. I avoided all the clones and bought the Yuasa for £69. 

25th Feb 2015


Yipee the magnetic wand has turned up it'll allow me to recover the spark plugs from within the very deep recess on the Thunderbirds head. This coming weekend should see me complete the service on the bike.  

23rd Feb 2015


Up early researching a service kit for the ST1050 Sprint - £113.00 is a lot better than the dealer £250+ Ordered a magnetic pickup tool to recover the very deeply placed spark plugs in the Thunderbird, listening to the weather this morning it might be a while before I get to finish the Thunderbirds Service. Also looking a professional brake bleeding kit. Four bikes all need their fluids changing, might as well invest in the correct tools. 

22nd Feb 2015


Having spent the previous day getting the tank off the Thunderbird, today I had to get an 18mm thin wall socket to get the remaining plugs out of the TBird. 

A set of indicators were pourchased from Finedon, and loosley fitted to the Hepco rack.  Work will continue on both bikes the following weekend. 

21st Feb 2015


Started the Thunderbird service, replaced the Air Filter, and removed the petrol tank to gain access to the Plugs, it's not going to be easy. Hepco Rack fitted to the Kawasaki. OEM Rear indicators will not fit. New ones will have to be purchased. Never an easy job.