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