Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Bantam improvements-the conclusion (for now)

I realise I forgot to finish off the bantam posts on here. Still not done the drawings, they'll come later. But for the wandering bantam botherer who is curious how well all that machining and that went, here's a quick summary.


Admittedly I'd not rode the thing for nearly 2 years before rebuild, but my memory was of a bike only a mother could love. Sloppy handling, slow, painful position...I've now cured the first one. The steering is a dream, smooth and stable, quite safe to take your hands off the bars to scratch your arse or whatever. I'd recommend the head bearings, the sub-frame dowel and the tighter fork bushes to anyone reading. The slack swing arm should, of course, be done correctly in the first place!

Electrically, I rewired it (again!). This time I used nice chunky cable (think it was 0.25Sq mm), plenty of sleeving and heat shrink and japanese style bullet connectors, crimped AND soldered. The latter was the only slight let down. On the Enfield I used brass british style bullets, where you solder male ends on all the wires then join them up with either 2 hole or 4 hole connectors. The japanese style ones have male and one or two hole females, which is much less versatile. However the sleeves are better, obviously designed to actually keep rain out. Also fitted an upgraded stator, which you can buy from Hitchcock motorcycles as a RE 250 Crusader part. Again, well worth it. Whilst I'm on the subject, if you want an ignition key buy one of their Lucas repro ones. I tried using a small maplins key switch, which fell apart embarrassingly on the A52. The lucas one seems to be designed for turning on power stations, so should last.
Picture below shows the relocated electric in the seat hump, and the crappy piddly switch. Note also the neat little fuse box, available from most car shops. One fuse each for the battery and generator output, then two spaces for spare fuses.

And under the seat, showing the 12v reg/rect mounted in some air flow. I used big multi connectors for major junctions in the loom (seat, headlamp and bar switches), this works really well. Only slight flaw is I was over generous with the wire lengths, so have saggy bits of loom sticking out. Still, too short is far worse!

Had some carb problems once I got it going, after many weeks, jets, slides and rages I realised that the oval bore kawasaki KX80 carb was far too big at full throttle-about 36mm! Bought a 26mm brand new mikuni off Rex Caunt, which runs fine. Turns out japanese carbs are deliberately made with funny size slides and needle jets for different bikes, thus ensuring only stock bits fit. Buy a new aftermarket carb and you can get whatever you want. Lesson learnt!

Thundersprint was great on the saturday, despite being on such a tiny bike. Only downside was the lucas style coil crapping out on sunday, followed by torrential rain all day. So I didn't get a go, but wasn't all that bothered! Definately going next year, just have to decide between the bantam or the KH250(and a bit). Massive thanks to mates who turned up, and to Pat who took me in his van.

Here's a few gratuitous bike shots, taken by my Mum:

This bloke said the Gorgeous Biker Chick sent him. You either know who she is or are utterly baffled.

This turned out to be a good pic to get, No. 71 was ridden by Heather Barraclough, who won outright! She has owned the bike from new and rides it pretty much every day. This would explain how she was confident enough to thrash her road going, rainproof tyres whilst high end, uber-trick machines on semi slicks wobbled round the flooded track in great panic! Good on her.

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