Old Japanese proverb say: ‘It is dark one inch in front of you’… the more cultured followers of this tale of the ten-inch wheel obviously know this translates to ‘no one can see the future’. So, predicting a mild and dry Saturday morning in late November to colour the Chaly proved tricky, it was 10 degrees and raining as Alan stirred the carefully measured heavy gloss black hue into a plastic pint mug. The body of our mini Honda has enjoyed several more coats of primer since our last communication, a thicker grey gave her a more industrial look but this sanded down to a super smooth finish. Spraying any vehicle within the confines of your own garage presents issues, most of which we have dealt with before, but the most important thing (as mum always says) is cleanliness. The walls were lined in paper and the floor scrubbed in the hope of a dust free environment. Followers of our previous restorations may remember it’s at this point we normally get ‘Sprayin Bob’ in to apply the finish but he has been under the weather of late so we decided to fly solo; he will be back and soon we hope. We chose the two-part solution with a 50% addition of hardener and 10% thinners, the latter could have been omitted as we just didn’t have the heat available for quick drying and therefore a pair of large ‘runs’ joined the party.
Decision time, stop and plan for another day or carry on and take a chance on my flatting talents later? Remember the other Japanese proverb ‘he who chases two rabbits catches neither.’ Well five days’ after painting several sheets of 500 grit were sacrificed chasing the double runners that had become twin black curtains; but it worked. As one of the images confirms, my flatting process removes any chance of a quick shine from the dull, but smooth frame. Armed with tons of patience plus a bar of fragrant green soap (I must remember to buy her another one) warm water and 1500 grit the process was repeated; then again with 2500 grit before the hand application of compound paste. Whilst it takes ten times longer by hand, the fear of polishing through at this stage was so great it would cause me to commit hari-kari.
Top Tool – Super Shine
My trusty mate arrived with an air powered mini mop (borrowed from someone who knows what they are doing) and a selection of various soft heads. The final gentle cut was followed with a black polish and the shine just got deeper and brighter until it achieved far more than we expected just the week before. Having the right tool always pays dividends and this clever little chap would be worth having in your tool chest if bike restorations were a regular feature. Bacon rolls and back slapping all round followed as reconstruction began in earnest; Alan reinstalled the main wiring loom whilst I tried to work out the air filter fixings. We struggled with the air tube from filter to carb and this would continue to offer resistance once the motor was back in place. Having the body bolted to our bespoke frame/bench has made the whole resto easier and the engine installation proved a doddle, pivoting the front in any position allowed the motor to be correctly situated prior to the bolts sliding through.
The CF70 unit enjoys a pair of small bolts either side near the barrel plus two larger fixings to the rear but with space now restricted loads of non-religious phrases and cut fingers followed as the hoses and pipes were reunited with their appropriate parts. Biggest threat to success came from the aforementioned airbox tube which at 35 years of age, like me, is not as supple as it once was, the solution came by loosening the carb mount which gave enough leeway to secure the hose before re-tightening everything down. The swing arm benefited from a similar plan; loosen engine mounts before slotting into place and now we are really on a roll. Our final treat before the light retreated from the dull skies was to refit the foot rest frame to the base of the engine; this now showed no signs of the damage it endured by being thrown up the road in its distant past. Alan managed to correct all the angles whilst its rusting metal fresh from the blasters shone after several coats of thick gloss finish. Beer o’clock arrived along with the football results on the Beeb, combined with an hour of congratulating ourselves on a good day’s labour.
Shocks, Wheels and Worry
The postman is now camped on my doorstep as the parts flock to my abode and courtesy of Shire Bikes a lovely pair of 340mm shocks with black insert and five position adjustment…bold and blingie, just as they should be. A pair of rubber footrests and a chrome nut for the headstock arrived at the same time. A couple of weeks before, I took a flyer on a set of handlebars originating from Hong Kong, via the magic of the inter-web and a bloke named ‘Gostopxu’ they arrived and were everything I had hoped for. The foot rubbers are original Honda and thus fit, I made sure my size 10s wouldn’t alter the fixing with a healthy blob of Gorilla glue before bashing them into place with my trusty rubber mallet. Meanwhile, Alan took on the task of relocating several exterior fittings (flasher relay and resistor pack etc) under the rear seat. The rear lighting and fittings are no longer wanted so he rather smartly used the existing battery box to secure these and associated wiring out of sight.
This Chaly enjoys a hand operated rear brake cable which is much easier to refit before we reinstall the freshly painted fuel tank and connect to the carb. All this takes place under the seat with little space but with some cable taped to the fuel line very little blood was spilt and we tightened everything down and slid the new battery into place. The repainted top engine cover is now refitted and I can’t wait any longer, so in go the new shocks which arrived on their softest settings. Now, I know folk attack this job with screwdrivers or even a punch and hammer but the ‘C’ spanner is so much easier and all the chrome stays with your suspension; which must be a bonus. Obviously, neither of us are delicate ‘Tinkerbelles’ so the shocks get wound up a couple of notches; we will start with the 3rd setting of five. Before we forget and try and start the engine prematurely, 0.9 litres of Motul’s finest fills the sump of our 72cc beast and she even gets a new plug cap. The rear wheel took some ‘jiggering’ getting everything to line up but one thing we didn’t foresee was that when choosing the inner tube I selected a side entry valve; easier to attach an air-line especially with a 10 inch rim. The only problem came about when the fancy valve cap with built in removal tool catches the hub, fortunately we noticed before any test rides. This was resolved with a standard plastic valve cap from Alan’s VW Golf…he won’t miss it.
Some Bits Fit, Some Don’t
Freshly painted parts start to go back on, except the rear mudguard. Now, I don’t mind admitting failure but this is just embarrassing; primed, painted and lacquered I managed to drop this item (mid-spraying) not once, oh no twice!! It would now have less floor debris on it if it was a stick of chewing gum; it’s all got a bit emotional to be honest. Anyway, the chain guard won’t fit with the new shocks and we are both flummoxed with the new light unit; great item to purchase, bloody useless if we cannot secure it to the machine. I decided to let the ‘Silver Fox’ spend some quality toilet time thinking about our options…as always he came up with a solution. Now we are ‘cookin’ as the exhaust is mounted followed by the Chinese ‘Dragon-Slayer’ bars new grips and a pair of custom mirrors that have rattled around the workshop for years; primed and coloured we bolt these on with the freshly polished switch gear. Alan returns from a week of contemplation and sets about the seat catch and associated parts, basically he marks out what we need, the rest gets the chop. Using the original mounts, he installs with a homemade rear light bracket with custom attachments for the rear indicators. Clever boy, and once we know this fits it is down to me for more painting. I solve the chain guard issue with patience and the Dremmel grinding tool, then touch-in the damage which is hidden behind the shock anyway.
The DID chain is too long, sure it will work but eventually must face the link remover; the single connector gives up without a fight and adjusts up nicely. It’s not all toil and strife in this garage and over a tiger roll stuffed with ‘Porkie Whites’ sausage with brown, whilst we consider the front mudguard. It has ancient damage and thus we need to cut accordingly and matching the rear one for size and shape requires a marker pen and one short disagreement. Alan wins the discussion and then proceeds to try and refit the birds nest of wiring back into the headlight cowl with all the connections working; luckily, we marked them all several weeks ago. The rear stop & tail is all good but the new indicators fail to blink, this may be due to the wattage of the new bulbs or the two-pin relay which is taken apart for diagnosis. Once the innards are revealed it is obvious we have no idea what we are looking at, so Al takes it to work where an electrician will give it the once over. Meanwhile, I tap in my credit card number again so a new lower wattage unit can find its way into our postman’s bag. Thus, with a glass of ‘Kroney’ each, yet another cold day’s labour comes to a close. Hopefully, by the time the next (and final) instalment of the Chaly Challenge hits your screens we will have solved the electrics, replaced the front suspension and annoyed my neighbours by blasting up and down the road like a couple of 16 year olds.
The final push…our Chaly enters the tunnel with a light up the end.
Our seat returns from Alan’s sister…ooh how she enjoyed that job!!
We try to make a bespoke paddock stand from two old ones.