Rick hits a clas­sic pit­fall – what do you do when you can’t come up with a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem?


Bother­some BSA brakes, gas­ket queries and the big MOT de­bate

I knew this would hap­pen; the rear brake mod­i­fi­ca­tion I made re­cently on Perry Bar­wick’s 1925 BSA flat-tank project turned out to be a com­plete waste of time. Spac­ing the mech­a­nism in­board to line up with the brake rim sim­ply caused it to rub on the edge of the wheel rim. Com­par­ing the dimensions with my com­plete orig­i­nal bike re­vealed that the mod­ern 21in rims we have fit­ted are a smaller di­am­e­ter than the orig­i­nal beaded edge, so where the mech­a­nism orig­i­nally fit­ted in­side the rim cir­cum­fer­ence, now it’s along­side.

So what now? Why not aban­don the orig­i­nal brake and fit a drum, as I did on the pre­vi­ous BSA for Ian Wil­son? BSA fit­ted drums from 1927. Ah yes, but Ian’s bike had a wider 1926 rear frame, the only drum that might fit it would be light­weight with a moped-size chain and these BSAS use 5/8 x ¼in (520) and guess what, I can’t get sprocket blanks in this size. I ad­mit, I’ve ground to a halt. I guess this is one of the clas­sic pit­falls: in­abil­ity to fo­cus be­yond the cur­rent prob­lem. There are plenty of other jobs I could be get­ting on with in the mean­time; a so­lu­tion for the brake prob­lem will come along even­tu­ally, but if I down tools now in a petu­lant sulk, those other jobs could be­come the next downer – es­pe­cially if there are any other tricky prob­lems hid­den among them.

I was dis­cussing this reve­la­tion over a beer with my mate Gary Wil­liamson, who’s a chap that gets a lot done. He put very it suc­cinctly. “You have to con­cen­trate on what you can do, not what you can’t.” Now why didn’t I think of that?


Last year’s Barn Find win­ner, now in a workshop rather than a barn

Footrests: check. Mud­guard stays: check. Perry’s bike’s get­ting there… just don’t men­tion the rear brake

WHO IS RICK? Rick Park­ing­ton has been rid­ing and fix­ing clas­sic bikes for decades. He lives and fet­tles in a fully tooled up shed in his back gar­den.

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