To those who ‘revel in restoration’ and especially if you ‘treasure the ten-inch tyre’ may I bid you a very warm welcome… from a rather cold garage. Since my last ramblings the Chaly has enjoyed a transformation in appearance, but even so progress has been slower than we had hoped for. The main time-consumer has continued to be removing the vast amounts of crud, corroded paint and grease that must have contributed to the weight of a small child being hauled around. The ancient Greek saying ‘a wheel that turns gathers no rust’ maybe true but ours had collected two decades of greasy filth instead. No wonder the performance was limited when I added my 15 stone to the mix; therefore, to enjoy every one of our 5.5hp my grouchy old mate Alan would enjoy stripping and cleaning the world’s smallest carburettor. I took an age to de-crap the wheel centres, we are way beyond the bucket and sponge stage, consequentially whirly wheels and wire brushes came to the rescue. Once again, the wife’s greenhouse was put to good use being the perfect venue for the application of several thick coats of zinc primer that not only brought some ‘bling’ to the wheel hubs but also gave much of her flora and fauna that pre-Christmassy look.
The World’s Fastest Monkey Bike
Now, many of you may not be aware that a Czechoslovakian named Ivo Kastan, aboard a Mini-Honda, achieved a rather wobbly 97.45mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2009 (rather him than me) but his Monkey machine was bored out to 175cc. With just 72 inside our original motor we will be most impressed with 30mph, downhill with a tail wind, being towed by a Fireblade. Therefore, our next task was to ensure the beast will run with reliability obviously and that means a clean oil filter is a priority. The element is as tiny as the rest of the bike and its location under the side cover allowed us to clean the final remnants of ancient lubricant; plus, some strange gloop caught by the gauze filter. The timing chain was checked for the correct tension and whilst disassembled I fitted a new front sprocket before starting the job of cleaning, paint removal and polishing the alloy of this 35-year-old engine. Now, I could bore you to death recounting the hours I spent with wire wool, flatting paper and polishing cloth but instead I bring you a Monkey Bike joke.
A guy parks his Chaly outside the local pub and whilst sitting at the bar supping his lager-top a lovely young lady approaches and asks ‘are you a real biker?’. ‘Well’ he replies, fancying his chances ‘I spent my whole life riding that monkey bike, my mother rode one when she was pregnant with me and my father taught me to ride on that very machine, so I think I am’ he replied. She then said, ‘Well you don’t impress me cause I am a gay biker, I spend all day thinking about ‘bikes n babes’, from when I wake in the morning, work, watch TV, eat and sleep, two wheels and leather clad women is all I think about’ she downs a shot and leaves. Shortly after a tough looking Hells Angel walks over sneers at the guy and says ‘so you think you’re a real biker do ya’. Chaly rider replies ‘I used to… but I just found out I am a lesbian’.
Rims, Hubs and a Big Grin
A trip to my favourite motorbike shop in Goring offered a chance to quiz those at Sussex Rolling Road that know about rubber; my plan was to buy cheap, hoping no one would notice but I ended up with a pair of rather costly white-walls by Continental with tubes to match! It will be worth it, I kept telling myself on the way home but the vision would only impress if I could get the paint finish pro-sprayers lust after. The steel rims had already faced the blaster and the alloy hubs were clean enough to eat a ‘pukka pie’ off; the task completed and after several coats of primer its roughness faced a 500 grit flattening. The choice of Claret red for the hub sections was chosen to contrast the gloss black, my idea of a classy touch which would then contrast with the white wall rubber. It may be a rare thing, but you know those days where everything goes without a hitch… ‘wheel paint day’ was my 8 hours working in a ‘cock-up free’ environment. So, whilst I know folk prefer reading when everything goes wrong, as the saying goes ‘I’m as happy as a tornado in a trailer park’. The weather played ball and the primer didn’t run, whilst the colour choice was right and even the lacquer stayed put; just like a ‘full eclipse’ such an event won’t happen again for another few years but ‘I have seen the light’! Four coats of primer were followed by five for each colour; I lost count of the lacquer applications but it all took 3 days to be dry enough for reassembly. The rims are secured together by six smaller nuts and bolts and three larger which also attach the hubs; every fixing and washer had to be ‘whirly-wheeled’ to its factory finish before the refit began. Fiddly! You don’t know the half of it…let me explain.
The inner tube goes inside the tyre whilst the two steel rims are squeezed together enough for the nut and bolt to connect, all this with the tyre half fitted. At this point ‘her indoors’ starts moaning as the floor is now like an ice rink covered in soapy water whilst my fingers become dislocated pushing the rubber into place. The bolts are slowly tightening with the assistance of a desert spoon pushing the inner tube away from the closing jaws of the steel rims. All very dramatic and the true test arrives with addition of air, if they pump up and remain inflated then its ‘beer o’clock’. If not, I will become deflated along with the punctured tube. Just before cracking a cold one the hubs are secured via three additional hub bolts and even though its November a trickle of nervous sweat descends from the end of my ‘schnoza’. Just the brakes, speedo drive and rear sprocket to refit, these fought not to return, especially the circular clip that secured the sprocket, the consequence two tiny ‘touch-ins’ needed and the sort of language my neighbours dislike.
Bits n Bobs Arrive
So far, the costs on our Jap midget motor have been kept in check but now it’s time for the plastic to suffer; the first thing we need is a replacement for the basket carrying- frame that secures the head light plus everything else to the front. I binned it in favour of standard fitment headlight brackets allowing for a new round light to be installed. This plan to replace the original frontal illumination was dealt a blow when the new brackets arrived and the gap to accommodate a new lamp was measured (bolt to bolt) at 16cm. Guess what? No sensible round headlight enjoys that size thus I checked the sad looking original…yep perfect fit, more prep and paint for me then. Next, one 12v battery which is very small, barely larger than a six but the internet came through with a solution at £18.00 delivered! My Enfield replica speedo failed to arrive from Amazon and I ventured into the unfamiliar world of 2K paint at Mountspace Ltd my regular suppliers of all things top coat.
A new gun courtesy of the world wide web with gravity feed instead of my trusted ‘suck it up’ model will face a black gloss combined with 50% hardener and 10% thinners. Alan returned the foot rest/side stand combo that attaches to the base of the motor, this has endured a serious and much needed blast then lavished in thick coats of colour; much improved from the nasty item he took away. Handlebars, indicators, foot rest rubbers and new shocks are also on the shopping list but I have already purchased the vinyl covering for the seat from Falcon Fabrics in Chichester. A deep Claret to match the wheels etc…we don’t just throw this stuff together you know. So, armed with everything required to park my 100 kilo derriere in comfort, my pal was off to ask his sister to stitch it all together. Good luck with that one! So, as you leave us for another 30 odd days the garage has been cleaned in preparation for painting day, the walls decorated in brown paper and anything that could enjoy miss-directed colour has been protected. The one part of any resto I dislike is the pre-paint, takes days but if you don’t get it right… the final result will suffer and right now we could do without disaster.
- Mini disaster; fresh paint displays more runners than the Olympics.
- We refit the shiny motor
- What a tool! I borrow a mini-mop from a professional.