I have done a load more work on the 1976 Suzuki GT250 and my mind turned to registration. The law changed fairly recently to say that any vehicle that is more than 40 years old becomes tax and MoT exempt. Personally, I think that is nothing short of sodding ridiculous – surely a vehicle that old is more likely to have faults that an MoT tester would pick up than a vehicle of less age? Anyway, regardless of all that, the Suzy is old enough to qualify so I set about finding out what you have to do. If we lived in a sensible word it would all be automatic but of course it isn’t and you need to apply for historic status or risk the wrath of Mr Plod.
The rules are a little bit different if you live in Northern Ireland but it’s still pretty simple, you need to do the following:
Go on to the DVLA website and print off a copy of form V112 – Declaration of exemption from MoT – you don’t need to do this if your bike has a current MoT. If you are applying because your bike is 40 years old, you need to put the letter R in the category box.
Make sure you have the V5 in your name, you will need this.
If you are in Northern Ireland you will also need a valid certificate of insurance.
Just take the above to any Post Office that does road fund, tell them you are requesting historic status and that’s it.
Ii know that sounds very simple and it is as long as it’s all straightforward – things are more complicated if your bike has been heavily modified since it was built. It is fine if it has a different engine – it doesn’t even have to have the same cubic capacity but it must have the same number of cylinders. So, if for example you have dropped a 400CC RD engine in to your RD250 frame, that’s ok. You can still get historic status and not have to pay road fund. If you try and drop that same RD400 engine in to a CB125 frame you may be politely told to piss off..
The V112 form tells you more detail and there is inevitably some grey areas but for most people with standard or near standard bikes, it’s a doddle.
Another bike that has been waiting for some attention for some time now is the Beeline SMX SuperMoto Aprilia rip off that was stashed in a corner of the workshop. I had stripped a couple of bikes so noow had room in the main workshop to bring this one in. It’s a right old state but I wanted to at least get it going so that I knew exactly what worked and what didn’t. Not a lot did. The front brake was shot, as was the back – booth master cylinders had failed. I couldn’t get it to start and there were no keys with it, no problem, I just hot wired it and checked for spark. The spark was good and there was tons of compression but it wouldn’t run unless I squirted easy start down it’s throat – not good practice on a 2 stroke – put a drop of oil in with it unless you want to destroy it in double quick time.
I took the carb off and cleaned it out but I found the choke wasn’t working – these things have electric choke. What happens is that there is a plunger activated by a bimetallic element. When the engine is cold the plunger is retracted in the carb body and the choke circuit is opened to enrich the mixture. The unit has a coil of about 40 ohms resistance – this heats up all the time the ignition is on. As it heats up the plunger, which has a spring acting on it, extends in to the carb body, blocking off the enrichment circuit. It’s a pretty crappy idea because if you leave your ignition on for any length of time without starting the bike it won’t effectively have any choke on and will be a bitch to start.
With that sorted I was able to start it and was quite pleased with how well it ran. When it got hot, however, it became apparent that all was not well in the head department – boiling water poured out and so I had to shut it down quickly.
I took off the head to have a look, this is what I found:
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that will never seal in a million years – it all had to come off and be replaced with the correct seal. Although I had a seal set that was supposed to be for one of these the seal was way too small – I think this may be a 70CC conversion, although I can find no markings that confirm that. I have a seal making set so I made one of the correct size, it now holds water as it should.
The next probllem, however, was only 3 minutes away, as I torqued up the head bolts I heard a sickening “tink” sort of sound and knew immediately either a head bolt or thread had given way. Fortunately it was just the cheap Chinese nut that had lost the will to live. Unfortunately it was a 7mm x1mm thread and I haven’t got any. I have ordered a set of 4 so the risk of the others doing the same is eliminated. I can’t do much more with the engine until they get here.
Article provided by David Powell of Boston Bike Bits.