GOLD STAR CLINIC

Get­ting the power back into Rick’s Goldie was a mixed bless­ing, high­light­ing other prob­lems. Plan­ning to take the bike to the Clas­sic TT, is there time to get it all sorted once and for all?

Classic Bike (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Af­ter last month’s dyno ca­pers Rick’s in­fected with the BSA bug. It’s time to make it shine again

Ihope you’re not get­ting as fed up with this story as I am. Get­ting old bikes work­ing as we want them can feel like a very fruit­less ex­er­cise – why do we bother?

I can only con­clude it has some con­nec­tion with that pe­cu­liarly hu­man de­ter­mi­na­tion to con­quer the sav­age beast that saw our early an­ces­tors grap­ple with wild eyes, flared nos­trils and flail­ing hooves to pro­vide their very first means of per­sonal trans­port. The trou­ble is, while my other bikes rest hap­pily in the sta­ble, con­tent­edly munch­ing their hay, the BSA Gold Star still won’t take a sad­dle. Last month saw im­prove­ment; a run on Hitch­cocks’ dyno re­sulted in it go­ing bet­ter than ever, apart from some un­pleas­ant pink­ing on hard ac­cel­er­a­tion. But the in­creased speed re­vealed that the forks top out, the gear­ing was too low and even at speed the rac­ing-ra­tios of the RRT2 gear­box are close enough to be an­noy­ing. The Club­man DBD34 was re­ally a prod­die racer that even BSA coun­selled against rid­ing on the road. While that was pos­si­bly about the best ad­ver­tis­ing pitch ever, it was also true – fast road rid­ing and track work re­quire dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics. The ex­tra-close ra­tios kept the revs within the rel­a­tively slen­der power band – but at the ex­pense of an ab­surdly high first that de­manded slip­ping the clutch up to 30mph. It’s like hav­ing a fivespeed box with no first; no prob­lem on track, but a real pain in stop/start traf­fic.

The Goldie’s leg­endary abil­ity to top the na­tional speed limit in first was re­ally a weak­ness, ex­ploited by twin-cylin­der riders who knew that a Goldie was only dan­ger­ous when rolling. In a drag start it was hope­less, as I found af­ter re­plac­ing the STD (stan­dard) box I orig­i­nally fit­ted with an RRT2 I swapped for a shed (wooden, not two-wheeled).

I ditched the high first by swap­ping the pin­ions with a pair from an STD box. This gives a 25% higher first than in a stan­dard box (due to the RRT2’S in­ter­nal top gear ra­tio) but makes pulling away much eas­ier. Un­for­tu­nately there’s now a

‘RAIS­ING THE GEAR­ING WAS EASY, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GO­ING ON WITH THE FORKS’

fair jump to sec­ond – so it’s still a fivespeed box, but this time with sec­ond miss­ing. Even the STD box has enough of a gap be­tween sec­ond and third to be irk­some on the peaky Goldie, es­pe­cially if low-speed pick-up isn’t spot on.

There is an al­ter­na­tive: fit a five-speed box with all five gears. Nova Rac­ing (01403 711312) make one, it’s very pop­u­lar and fairly priced at £1810 (plus VAT) in­clud­ing all gears, shafts and selec­tors – but I can’t jus­tify the ex­pense, es­pe­cially with all the other prob­lems.

It was an easy job to raise the over­all gear­ing, but I don’t know what’s go­ing on with the forks. These late ’60s dou­bledamped units should be bet­ter, not worse, than stan­dard Goldie items. I thought I’d found the prob­lem a while back when I re­alised I’d used ear­lier stan­chions, but no. So I stripped the dampers for a closer look.

Then, just to com­plete the cir­cle, I started fid­dling with the carb again. Now I un­der­stand how Hitch­cocks’ dyno works, I re­alise my mis­take in hop­ing to use it to sort out a poorly-run­ning bike; it’s more suited to fine tun­ing. Stupidly I just bolted the GP on for the test, ne­glect­ing that the set­tings were way off stan­dard with a very low float height, weaker slide and lean­est nee­dle po­si­tion, so I wasted my dyno time…or did I?

The trou­ble is, my carb’s a bit of an un­known quan­tity. It came from my ex-goldie-own­ing un­cle; maybe he took it off his bike for a reason. It has al­ways run much too rich on stan­dard set­tings and the dyno ses­sion con­firmed all it needed was a larger main jet; the rest of the range was OK so maybe there re­ally is some­thing wrong with my carb. Again, new ones are avail­able; again, I can’t re­ally af­ford one.

92 Rick’s Beeza: parked in frus­tra­tion or po­si­tioned for ad­mi­ra­tion?

WORDS AND PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: RICK PARK­ING­TON

Rick’s de­ter­mined to make his Club­man DBD34 less of a pain to ride on the road

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