BEN’S RUDGE: FRAME UP
STEP 1 FORK PREPARATION
The first job on Ben’s bike was to assemble the frame and forks. There’s a lot of fiddly bits on a Rudge fork – but having been through it with my bike, I already know what goes where.
STEP 2 LATERAL LINKING
There’s a lot going on with the top fork link, which incorporates a hand-wheelcontrolled friction damper. It works by crushing the fork legs together slightly, which is a bit weird...
STEP 3 THE BAR BECKONS
Once assembled, I checked the frame by inserting straight bars through the axles and the rear engine mount – if the bars lined up, the frame wouldn’t be far wrong. Great, they do.
STEP 7 GETTING IT SNAILED
Another nice idea: the 500cc models have snail-cam wheel adjusters. You simply loosen the axle nut and twist the wheel spindle, which is conveniently provided with a tommy bar.
STEP 8 A BIT TOO BEEFY
But, just like most of us, Rudge put on weight in the mid-’30s. This big metal plate is a bit much, just to hold the tool box; so are the massive chess-piece pillion footrest hangers...
STEP 9 QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS...
... and come to that, how does the tool box go on? There are four holes, but only one threaded lug on the plate… and this mystery big bracket. Time for some detective work...
STEP 13 CRACKING ON
The rear mudguard is in perfect condition, apart from a few surplus holes and this long crack going down the middle. Holes have been drilled at either end to stop it spreading.
STEP 14 DAMAGE LIMITATION
I decided to weld on the inside to minimise damage. I did it a little bit at a time in order to keep the heat down, otherwise the guard may become brittle enough to crack again.
STEP 15 FILING SYSTEM
I also welded up the extra holes. To dress the welds and achieve a flat surface, I find filing is much better than grinding. When using a file you have more control and feel.
STEP 4 COAT COUTURE
Ben wants a functional, non-shiny, paint job, so I used my favourite garden-gate satin brush paint. Spray satin looks too uniform, brush satin gives a more authentic dulled finish.
STEP 5 GETTING A BIT CRANKY
Before I can get round to bolting the rear frame together, this curious piece of metal needs to go in between the rear engine plates. It’s the crank adjuster for the primary chain.
STEP 6 ADJUSTER MINUTE...
The connecting link on the adjuster attaches to one of the gearbox throughbolts, so turning the crank moves the gearbox forward or back to tension the chain – a clever idea.
STEP 10 DOING IT BY THE BOOK
The small holes match up with two on the box and the strap lines up here. Just as well the Rudge Enthusiasts Club has parts book officers to help you work out what bits you need!
STEP 11 THESE TOOLISH THINGS
One hole left and the the label says ‘toolbox support stay’. It attaches to the pillion rest, so it’s probably fair to say that the Rudge toolbox is something of an afterthought!
STEP 12 SMART PARTS
The scruffiness of motorcycles compared to cars was an issue at the time the bike was built, prompting Rudge and others to start cleaning up, fitting engine covers and more protective mudguards.
STEP 16 HAVING YOUR FILL
Filing flat means you only need a light coat of filler to fill in the odd pit in the surface; angle grinding can leave dips that need thicker applications of filler, which can sink under the paint.
STEP 17 MOVING ALONG NICELY
Don’t get too excited, Ben – there’s a long way to go on this project yet, but at least the bike’s back on its wheels and has moved on a long way from its years underneath the bed.