Saturday, 28 February 2009

47 years old and still going strong....

Trev aka Store not only owns the Mongrel. He also has it's older sister. She is 47 and still going as strong as ever. She is a stunner for her age. She is not afraid to get herself cold in the snow and the slush of a UK winter. Here is his 1962 R69S.

".........had it 16 odd years and its utterly brilliant and reliable. If you realise its only 600cc and a 1955 design and then put it up against modern machinery, today, solo, it will hold its own hour after hour on the motorways fast enough not to be intimidated by the main flow of traffic. Not the fastest accelerating vehicle ever built mind but can stay at 'high' speed for a long time. The brakes are stunners too."

Photos from February 2008 Dragon Rally.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

The Mongrel......

Trev aka Store from the BM Riders Club has been building The Mongrel. This BM started life as a humble mild mannered R80/7. Trev can tell us what he has been doing to it on full moon nights....

Style ; Anonymous 70's twin shock road bike.
Priorities : Anti rot parts for easy cleaning, riding all seasons. Ridability/drivability, using the best aftermarket components and the best mix of genuine parts to achieve excellent fuel economy, braking and handling. Top speed is not a priority but the ability to happily cruise at 90mph is required.

This started out as an 80/7 owned by a friend of mine whom I used to help set up his bikes and advising which parts to use. I'm the workshop and stores manger at Motorworks BMW you see.

It was originally built for pulling sidecars as efficiently as possible (which it never ended up doing). Anyway, he sold up to buy a boat to live on and knowing this bike and man well got first refusal on it. It was very scruffy but ran brilliantly.

All I've really done to it since is clean it up and set it to ride solo with an 81 on light flywheel/gearbox internals conversion. The rest is really cosmetic but after owning it a year realised I could possibly jet it down further. You jet down and retard the ignition with twin plugging, we used 80/7 jetting in '300' series carbs. On a steady run we both could 58mpg and on a very fast cruise or just town work would see it drop to 45mpg as it stood..

So the parts :
Originally a 77-78 80/7 converted to a twin plug 1000cc engine.

Because its twin plugged you have to have electronic ignition, in this case its a 'Boyer' and use PVL 356 1 00 dual output coils that you can use on the 81 on bikes too. They're cheap and reliable.

Barrels are 81 on nikasil type but you have to machine the o-ring lip off to fit into these cases. They're lightweight and last for ever.Pistons are 76-85 high compression type.

Heads are 88 on R100 mono type for smaller valves unleaded seats and smaller 32m carb inlet tract. The inlet tracts are cast as a more efficient shape too on these. These are very efficient heads. They are of course drilled and tapped for twin plugging and have a speedy rocker cover removal conversion on them too developed for sidecar racers who like to adjust their valves on the grid. Valve gear is converted to needle roller thrust type for less friction, again developed from the sidecar racing mob.

Gearbox has been rebuilt along with the bevelbox (resplined) by Roger Bennet to post 83 internals for better selection, aided by the nonadjustable 'direct' lever, and the 78-81 'wasted' swing arm and cushdrive driveshaft. The 81 on light flywheel also aids pick-up and drivability.

Suspension and brakes : Progessive fork springs in the 81 on Brembo fork/brake combination, far superior to the ATE forks and brakes and cheaper brake pads too! Koni adjustables keep the rear sorted. Also it has the cop 81 on 2 rib front wheel to match the Brembo forks properly. The spoked wheels are around 3-3.5 Kg lighter than cast apiece and look nicer.

The rear has a /5 stainless cover on it to neaten up the appearance and help it keep cleaner. You have to machine down the later hub and use the smaller /5 seal carrier to make it fit so there's no weight penalty. It has an 81 on subframe too which is marginally stiffer than the earlier bikes.

It has an 85 on handle bar clamp/master cylinder as it takes pre 81 twin pull throttle cables which make it easier to keep in carburettor balance with the much better and cheaper 15mm post 81 master cylinder. Pipes are by Goodrich to and from an 81 on under tank splitter.

Other mods include an easy-clean satin chrome top yoke plate from a 90S with bare alloy handlebar clamps but still hidden by the rubber crash pad. Various wiring mods to help stop the damp getting in and make switch testing easier.

Stainless nuts, bolts, battery cage, indicator bar, brake pivots front and rear, exhaust and brake line brackets some of these replica parts you can't get off the shelf. Powder coated frame, body work by 'Dream machine'.

So, that's 'my' version of a BMW.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Rallys in the 80s... Roo River Rally

Roo River Rally. Held in the very lovely Kangaroo Valley on the banks of the river that flows from Lake Yarruga. Great camping site and about 200 meters of dirt road. The rally was held in May.

Mist on the way down into Kangaroo Valley.

Every rally must have a local pub.

Wonderful rally site.

Who says you need a modern bike to go to a rally. Early Brit AJS outfit.

Big Yellow Leadwing. We called Goldwings Leadwings back then.

Rallys in the 80s... Coastal Rally.

Coastal Rally run by the New Tech MCTC was held at Hawks Nest up on the Central Coast of NSW. This one is a blur in my memory. Too much beer that weekend and it was a long time ago. At least I have some photos from the rally.

The touring machine of the 80s. XS1100.

Into town to stock up. Beer and food in that order.

Maureen's 1920s Rudge. From memory she raced this bike. Took it to rallies. She was Postie back in the 80s.

As the Rally was close to Sydney old Brit Iron made the trip.

How can you tell there is a Rally in town? Look for the bikes lining the main drag near the pub.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Another ride rave from AirBear...Part the two

Day 3, and it is 30kms to Omeo to refuel – last available fuel was at Mitta Mitta, 150kms back. The road to Omeo is a cracker, very twisty and well engineered, but soft in the heat.

The black streaks on the surface at corners is melting tar. The bike was feeling a bit insecure, and I stopped to investigate. I could push a stick right into the tar. I adjusted my riding accordingly.

I refuelled at Omeo and headed for Mt Hotham, another High Fun Area – long high-speed sweepers punctuated by squiggly bits.

Wearing a jacket was difficult, so I packed it away and greased up with sunscreen. (I know, I know). I took to just purring along, rather than pushing hard. It’s a great road.

Near Hotham. The advice on the sign seemed pretty good.

The road from Hotham down towards Harrietville was very black and soft enough to be a worry. I had to go easy, treating the blacker corners like gravel. From Harrietville the road was easier but the heat was insupportable. It was like riding in an oven. I hopped from swimming hole to swimming hole on the way home, swimming in the Ovens, then crossing over the Tawonga Gap (another beautiful road) to the Kiewa River. I finally stopped for about 3 hours on the Kiewa River, finished my book and food supplies and swam and swam.

As the sun went down I pushed the last 50kms on familiar roads to home, just across the water now. It was 45C (113F) here.

Total distance travelled was 480kms. It was a great run, with lots of adventure. We went down and back up some absurdly steep tracks, through creek crossings and over the occasional log. Brunhilde proved again to be very sure-footed and competent.
Ps: Some camping tricks – I’ve taken to carrying 3 lengths of 6mm SS rod, to tap into the ground around a stove to help keep things balanced. Tent pegs work the same way for my little alcohol stove. Also, a mattress folded up and sat on some stones or whatever, and leaning against the front wheel like this, makes a very comfortable easy chair.

BMW provides. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Another ride rave from AirBear...

This is a long rave, going into some detail, particularly on the available good camping spots on the Omeo Highway in Victoria. This is excellent riding country, and I wanted to investigate and record the best locations. Here goes.

On Thursday with the temperature at 42C and with 44C (111F) predicted for the following day, I got it into my head that a ride into the high country would be more comfortable than trying to stay cool at home.

I left home at about 6:30pm, heading south along the Omeo Highway – magnificent sweeping bends and sections of tighter twisties - through Mitta Mitta and onto the dirt up into the hills. The road here is very twisty and the gravel is a bit chunky in spots. It requires concentration, but there is a nice river running beside the road and the cooling effect is appreciated. I stopped for a few swims as I went and checked out the campsites. This stretch of river (Lightning Creek) is popular with fisherfolk, and there are many places to camp. I used to fly-fish along here about 20 years ago, and it was good to see that some of the old spots are still good. Some have been improved, and the state gummint has even installed some toilets at the more popular places.

With nightfall approaching, I went down the Hollaway Log Track (about 5kms south of Granite Flat) for a km or so and found a comfortable enough spot to spend the night.

This site was a bit dilapidated; some good Aussie bushman with a chainsaw had cut the seats off this picnic table to feed the fire. Since they normally cut down the nearest green shade tree, I guess this should be applauded.

I drank some cold beers, cooked up some sausages and vegetables, had a final swim and slept well. In the morning I explored the immediate area and found this superb spot, just 300 metres from where I camped. With a couple of tables, a toilet and a big deep pool in the river, it’s a spot I’d like to return to.

On the road, and just 5kms further south, is The Walnuts. This is a popular spot, with deep shade and a lovely stretch of river. There was nobody here so I had a chance to explore. There are quite a few little campsites with tables and there are toilets at the well-shaded main area.

A few kms further on is the Lightning Creek campsite. This one is really big, with toilets and many tables. It’s close to the road and a bit too exposed for my liking, but would be comfortable enough.

I pushed on into the heat, heading into the high country. I couldn’t bear the idea of wearing my jacket. It was hard enough to wear gloves. I’m sure it was cooler up here than at home, but adjectives like ‘searing’, ‘sweltering’ and ‘blistering’ came to mind.

There is a lovely twisty section of sealed road on the way up towards the high bit, and then it’s back to dirt for another 30kms or so.

Here’s the route, courtesy of Google Maps.

The B flag is near where I camped on the first night, and where all those lovely campsites are, all within a few kilometres. I wanted to get to Angler’s Rest for the second night, and check out the campsites on the way.

After Glen Wills the ragged dirt road suddenly becomes …. FUN. These signs are a dead giveaway.

This stretch is superb, with broad views of dry and inhospitable bush, with the Mitta River far below. There are a few campsites along the river as I get closer to Angler’s Rest, but in this heat they don’t look very inviting. Australian eucalyptus do not throw much shade. Their leaves hang vertically - very sensible in the circumstances – the smell of hot eucalyptus oil and melting tar is a feature here.

I stopped for lunch at this spot (The Joker Campsite). In cooler weather this would be lovely, with about 8 tables and deep pools in the river. At least the river is cool and inviting, but it is impossible to walk across the rocks in bare feet.

Another two similar campsites follow before reaching Angler’s Rest (flag C on the map). It’s the home of the legendary Blue Duck Inn, on the Bundarra River, near where it meets the Mitta. There is an excellent campsite here, with about 8 tables and fireplaces, and a couple of toilets, starting just 100 metres from the pub. The river is crystal clear and I could see some of those pesky trouts lurking in the shadows. Bastards. I still don’t have my fishing gear organised, and I’m out of gelignite. I sat in the river for some time and caught up with some reading, sipping cold G & Ts.

Later in the afternoon, and still stinking hot, I explored the Bundarra River, going about 10kms along it, looking at old favourite fly-fishing spots – I caught my very first trout on a dry fly here in the mid 80s. I remember that moment well.

I set up the tent and kitchen. I did more G&Ts and a few smokes and lots of reading. Cooked eggs and beans with chunky bread and slept like a log. In the morning it was actually cool, almost cold.
This is a great place. I’m thinking it would make a good meeting place for the Oz Boxerworks boys (southeast division), perhaps in a month or two. Whaddayerreckon?

Bloody hell. As I write this it’s 3pm on Sunday afternoon and it is 44C again.

A cooling image. More to follow ….

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