Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017 Gilmore Car Museum Vintage Motorcycle Show

The Gilmore Car Museum Vintage Motorcycle show is one of the largest of its kind in the region. It is hosted by the Wolverine chapter of the AMCA, the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, and the Battle Creek BMW owners club. All great organizations that do a nice job with the show. The great thing about this event is for the price of admission you also get access to the automobile museum which is one of the finest in the country.


The show has something for everyone; a swap meet, a judged "Masters Class" and categories for "Exhibitor's Choice" awards. My Hornet was entered in the "Masters Class" while the 1970 BSA lighting was in the "Exhibitor's Choice" area. The Lightning highlighted its upgraded electrics featured on this blog. While there is a lot of interest in this topic I find some purist quite put off by modern electrics. I think there is a place for each and will continue to embrace both. My Interceptor will be true to the core and retain its points, Zener diode, and rectifier while my daily riders will be upgraded. To each his own.

Lined up for judging with a mostly original 1913 Indian twin in front. 

The 1970 Lightning set up and ready to go.

My brochure showing what's under the Lightning's covers. 

Backing up a bit...... the Sunday show is preceded by a Saturday ride through the country surrounding Hickory Corners Michigan, which is the show's location. This is an area with many lakes traversing  nice farmland. The ride features the twisty roads us motorcyclists like to explore. There are slow groups and fast groups consisting of about 20 bikes each which are led by AMCA members. A great ride to partake in if the opportunity presents itself.

Nice country for a motorcyclist. 

The Lightning barely made it to the end of the ride last year due to electrical issues. I didn't want to repeat that performance at this year's event or anywhere else for that matter. During the past winter I upgraded the BSA electrical components to make it a solid rider. My effort paid off with an uneventful ride from a maintenance standpoint. I hope this holds up throughout the season. A couple of pics from the ride follow.

A 1964 Ducati. Check out the tank...a work of art. 

A 1955 Triumph Canadian Military motorcycle. The flat head twin ran quite well.

Now back to the show....once again it was one to remember. The weather was sunny and 90 degrees F with a bit of wind to cool things down. The swap meet was quite large this year and I was able to bring home a Lucas 679 tail light lens for the Interceptor. It needs to be polished out but has no cracks. Score! The Japanese and custom classes continue to grow as a new generations of enthusiasts enter the scene. There were a great number of bikes to check out no matter what marque you prefer.

One of several very large and packed parking lots. 

A sizable main show area - people's choice contenders. 

A fine line of machines. A Craig Vetter Mystery Ship, A Triumph Hurricane, a Gold Star, a Norton Production Racer Replica, a Kawasaki Z-1 Turbo, and a John Player Norton. Wow!

A 1950's BMW factory racer and one of twenty four made. 

A '63 Bonneville in the Masters Class. Don Hutchinson Cycle's last retail paint job and a fine one at that. The Bonneville was built and shown by Jack Pine Cycle.

A fine looking JPS Triumph in the Custom Bike Class. 

One of my favorites. A 1946 Indian Chief  in my preferred color.

Masters Class judges giving the bikes a once over. 

The detail work I completed last winter paid off as I took home 1st in the Masters Class. I will give the Interceptor a go here next year if all goes well this winter.   

Another side track.....At a previous swap meet I found a new tire to replace the Norton's rear which had about worn through its rain grooves. This should have been an uneventful early Sunday morning job but was not. The axle was a bugger to get out requiring me to fasten a puller and slide hammer for its removal. It was rusted in between the drum and wheel bearings.

Pulling the Norton axle with a slide hammer. 

Out...lets remove the grease and see what we have. 

Although it was greased when installed there was rust between the wheel and brake drum which had to be pulled through the wheel. 

The cush drive buffers were rough too. 

Cleaned up and ready to go. 

With all of the bonking the bearings will need to be replaced at some point. The chain and sprockets are also in need of attention soon but will make it another 500 miles or so along with the bearings. It's all back together, it's summer and time to ride.

All cleaned up and back together with a new tire and buffers. Lets go riding!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

BSA Wiring & Mechanical Upgrade - Follow Up

The upgrades completed on my 1970 BSA Lightning last winter required a bit of tweaking but are working well so far. (links to previous posts are below) The spark is good and the Beezer starts well with the timing set at the factory spec.

The lights all work as they should including oil pressure and high beam indicators. The head and tail lights are bright at idle including the brake light. The bike will not start if the lights are on which  I accounted for by wiring a setting on my headlight switch that turns all lights off. I confirmed this was necessary when I was showing a friend how well my new setup worked and I couldn't get the Beezer started. Off with the lights and it started right up. The LED headlight has not failed as it did last year when I first went battery free. My starting capacitor blew just before the LED failed which may have contributed to its early demise. I have four hours on the bulb now and will report on my "LED Headlight" post if it goes out again.

Off, pilot, and main beam settings work well. Nice and bright at idle.

The LED tail light showing up quite nicely at idle. 

What didn't work? The horn blew its 5 amp fuse promptly and was replaced with a 7.5 amp unit which blew as well. On to the internet for a bit of research. It seems that Lucas horns draw 3.5 amps each which make a 10 amp fuse a reasonable choice. It is installed and both horns are working now. The only problem is that the engine must be at 4K RPM before an audible blast is made. The horn button almost substitutes as a kill switch as the bike cuts out when its pressed below 4K RPM.  One reasonable argument for a battery in the system I guess.

Sorting through fuses to set the horn right. I like the individual circuits. 

The bike ran a bit rough at the start of the season but smoothed out with a bit of jet tweaking. The heat sync for the Podtronics unit works well as it gets a bit warm but not hot and I will declare success on the this setup. I am running 90 octane RV gas (non ethanol)  with Marvel Mystery Oil to lube the valves. Although I do not have spark knock I am looking for higher octane RV gas since knocking may occur when the weather heats up this summer.

No speedo.....Time to take the drive out and see what's wrong although I think I know. 
Let's grease the cables while we're at it. 

The speedometer gear drive cogs looked a bit rough when last apart and I thought they may be an issue this year. When the speedo quit working this spring I knew what the likely culprit was. Apart it came and my suspicions were confirmed. A new unit was purchased, the cables greased, and it all went back together and is working fine now. 

The bad Beezer unit on the left next to one with its drive cogs.

The 21 tooth counter-shaft sprocket which replaced the 20 tooth one puts me a bit under 4K RPM at 60 mph which is perfect for the roads I like to ride. I took the BSA up to 70+ MPH but don't want to tempt fate by running there very often. The new cork clutch plates connect well and have eliminated the sticking plate syndrome I had with the old ones. The SRM tapered roller bearings in the steering head are silky smooth and will be put in all of my Beezers. Finally, the welded cracks on the headlight and fender have held up so far. I am not ready to declare success but am feeling good about them. Time to go riding....