FAN­TIC

Classic Trial - - FRONT PAGE - Ar­ti­cle: Heath Brind­ley @r2wTri­als

A few things have changed as far as the 300 goes; first of all I have not car­ried out my plans to chop the rear loop or fit the Mikuni Carb. There are a couple of rea­sons for this, the rear frame loop is still in my mind to do but I just have this voice in my head that is shout­ing “don’t cut an orig­i­nal frame up”. And, af­ter all, I have re­sisted the temp­ta­tion to cut off and fit brack­ets to en­able fit­ment of mod­ern footrests for that very rea­son. The Mikuni carb is off the menu now as it has a new project to join. I have sud­denly and un­ex­pect­edly be­come the owner of an abused but com­plete Fan­tic 305. The plan for that ma­chine is to build a ’Saunders’ replica, or as close as I can get to the works model that Steve would have rid­den back in 1989. Pos­si­bly more on that in the com­ing months; we will see.

So it’s back to the 300. Since the last in­stal­ment I have rid­den it in four or five events. This is very im­pres­sive for me as usu­ally I pre­fer to just go out and play, but I fig­ured that the rea­son I got back into the twin-shock side of things again was not just to play with them in the garage but to min­gle with other like-minded peo­ple. Half the fun is wait­ing in a queue at a sec­tion and chat­ting to own­ers of other twin-shock ma­chines, lis­ten­ing to the tales of how their ma­chines were found or built or even that they have owned the same model since nine­teen-years-old, for ex­am­ple.

Clean

The events have, for the most part, gone well and I even man­aged to stay clean over two com­plete tri­als, los­ing no marks! Through the early few events I no­ticed that the car­bu­re­tion wasn’t that bril­liant; I had just given the stan­dard Dell’Orto a clean and popped it on, so hadn’t re-jet­ted or ad­justed any­thing in­ter­nally.

The car­bu­ret­tor from the French spec­i­fi­ca­tion model I have on the bench was in a much bet­ter con­di­tion upon closer in­spec­tion; the one fit­ted had a badly worn slide and nee­dle and it was only run­ning

‘ok’ish’ with the air screw about a quar­ter of a turn out. So I cleaned the French one thor­oughly and popped it on — what an amaz­ing dif­fer­ence! Not per­fect but so much bet­ter. A new stan­dard Dell’Orto carb is go­ing to be ac­quired in due course but for now it will do.

The very bouncy rear shock ab­sorbers just had to be looked at again; it was ob­vi­ous once I started to ride in muddy con­di­tions that grip was be­ing lost ev­ery time I rode over the small­est of roots or stone as the ma­chine ‘pinged’ up in the air. I was fairly sure it wasn’t just an is­sue with the oil weight but pos­si­bly quan­tity, and maybe the seals or other parts in­side. I stripped them apart again and no­ticed that one of the tubes in­side just let the oil freely flow out the bot­tom if you held it up and filled it. Luck­ily, amongst the col­lec­tion of spares from two other dam­aged ‘shocks’ was a good tube that held onto its con­tents. I cleaned ev­ery­thing up and re­built it but this time with 7.5 weight oil. Now the ma­chine is much harder to hop the rear wheel around when sta­tion­ary — and yes, I know we aren’t sup­posed to, ac­cord­ing to many — but now it grips and rides so much bet­ter.

The re­cent Bath Clas­sic Trial had sev­eral muddy and very slip­pery sec­tions, and I sur­prised my­self by clean­ing them no prob­lems... we will forget los­ing all my five marks of that trial by stalling the ma­chine in the eas­i­est sec­tion of the day! That five showed up an­other small, but as it turns out vi­tal, prob­lem. The clutch lever as­sem­bly had lost the thread for the ca­ble ad­juster. This was al­low­ing the clutch to ad­just it­self through­out the day, and when you use the clutch as much as I do it was ad­just­ing it­self a fair amount. Once again the spares bas­ket in the garage came to the res­cue, with a good lever mount left over from my SWM build a few years ago. I keep get­ting stick from my bet­ter half about not throw­ing things away, but this is the rea­son why I don’t!

An­other Bar­gain

Lee came up trumps again with an­other bar­gain from some­where in Europe: a com­plete air cleaner as­sem­bly. Well al­most com­plete, as the top tag was miss­ing, but I haven’t seen one yet with the orig­i­nal still on there. My ma­chine came with a re­paired air­box, and un­til I re­moved it and com­pared to the newer one I never re­alised how much filler had been used in its re­pair. The com­plete lower part, the bit that on a 240 is the tool­box, was ac­tu­ally solid filler and fi­bre­glass! I think the ma­chine sud­denly lost a kilo in weight when I re­placed it. And the air-fil­ter lid fits prop­erly now as well.

You have to re­mem­ber that I paid a bar­gain price for this ma­chine so find­ing parts like this to re­place is par for the course, and when es­sen­tial items are tracked down for what are also bar­gain prices you get a nice warm glow. You can pur­chase some lovely hand-made larger ca­pac­ity air-boxes but they don’t fit in with my ‘orig­i­nal wher­ever pos­si­ble’ ethic … but I was think­ing of get­ting one pow­der-coated in black so peo­ple may not no­tice … The tank side-pan­els are an­other area I have re­turned to, for no rea­son this time other than I wanted the ma­chine to be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to most that I now see at events.

Funny how, when I first thought about re­turn­ing to a 300 Fan­tic there were never any oth­ers at events, and now they ap­pear to be every­where! Amongst the well tricked and changed 300s out there are many orig­i­nal look­ing mod­els in the stan­dard Fan­tic red colour, so this one is now in the white ’Michaud’ replica style. Hav­ing had a spare set of pan­els sprayed by good mate Bob Wal­dron and stick­ered up with Anglia Vinyl art graph­ics, as men­tioned in the pre­vi­ous story, it was now time to un­der­take the heinous crime of cut­ting large chunks out of them.

You will no­tice if you look at the team ma­chines from the day that there is al­most al­ways a large area just un­der the top yoke miss­ing out of the tank pan­els ei­ther side. It may not look pretty but it is the only way of get­ting the 300 to turn around cor­ners. Well, at least the turns you find on a nor­mal twin-shock route any­way. The fork stan­chions and top yoke will crash into the plas­tics be­fore they hit the lock stops in stan­dard trim, so enough has to be re­moved to give those vi­tal few de­grees of turn. I have in the past seen a Dremel tool style of cut­ter used to do the job but didn’t trust my­self not to crack them in the process or take too much off, so I have a small saw that is meant for cut­ting tiles. It has a round blade that will cut in any di­rec­tion, and whilst need­ing a bit of el­bow grease to com­plete the task it was more con­trol­lable and safer. Know­ing how much th­ese side-pan­els can cost it was still a funny feel­ing cut­ting them about, but this mo­tor­cy­cle is for use not to look fancy stood hid­ing away in the garage.

Work in Progress

The orig­i­nal gear change pedal was not look­ing happy; it was twisted a lit­tle from rock con­tact and also the tip re­turn spring was miss­ing. I have to ad­mit to now hav­ing an af­ter­mar­ket one on there. It is a shorter and much neater alu­minium pedal from mark@squire­on­line.net with a good ro­bust springy tip and does look very nice. Th­ese ones are not on gen­eral sale but I think for un­der forty quid in­clud­ing postage they will be seen on more Fan­tics very soon. I had a spare rear sprocket or two lay­ing around so have low­ered the gear­ing a bit, as I do like a very low 1st gear and then a 2nd gear that can be used for al­most ev­ery­thing else, and 3rd gear for big blasts. On the gear­ing that was fit­ted when I bought the ma­chine only 1st was use­able, 2nd re­quired con­stant clutch work

and as I have no clutch light­ener fit­ted I need a bit of help to stop me run­ning out of fin­ger strength by the end of the first lap! So the ma­chine is now geared with 12 tooth front and 42 tooth rear sprock­ets.

On the sub­ject of the clutch I have un-hooked the clutch arm re­turn spring, and this cou­pled with a Ven­hill ‘Feath­erlight’ ca­ble at least gives me the cor­rect feel with less fin­ger power re­quired. I would love to find some ad­justable-reach brake and clutch lever assem­blies that fit in­side the orig­i­nal Domino shrouds, or maybe fig­ure out a nice mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the orig­i­nals to al­low such ad­just­ment.

At present this ma­chine is what I use; a new set of Miche­lin X-lights and new wheel bear­ings have been re­cently fit­ted and, apart from the even­tual re­place­ment of the car­bu­ret­tor with a new one, the only area I want to im­prove is the to­tally hor­ri­ble stan­dard footrests. I refuse to cut the frame posts off and fit mod­ern style U-brack­ets. So the only choice is to find or make some mod­ern-style pegs that will fit the nasty orig­i­nal mounts. I have a man on the case armed with CAD soft­ware and ac­cess to a CNC milling ma­chine … we will call this a work in progress.

French Spec­i­fi­ca­tion

My at­ten­tion has now been switched on to the French spec­i­fi­ca­tion ma­chine and it has be­come fairly ob­vi­ous that the French spec 239cc pis­ton kits are very hard to find. It doesn’t need one but as I will prob­a­bly sell this ma­chine soon I can see an is­sue with any­one in any other coun­try apart from France want­ing to pur­chase it. Good old eBay came to the res­cue in the shape of a man with a com­plete 249cc top-end, along with, as it turns out, a very good con­di­tion Dell’Orto and sev­eral other items in­clud­ing an orig­i­nal Fan­tic ‘long ride’ seat. I will hope­fully be rid­ing my 300 in the Jer­sey Two-Day event early in 2016, which has a fair amount of road­work … you can see where I am go­ing with that one; you may as well be comfy!

So as you can see from the im­ages, the French en­gine will soon be con­verted to 249cc. While I am at it I have or­dered some copies of the orig­i­nal en­gine ID plates for var­i­ous Fan­tic mod­els in­clud­ing the 300s, so the side cas­ing will get a re­fresh. In fact both ma­chines need the side cas­ings re­painted to look a lit­tle less scruffy. My orig­i­nal idea of dip­ping out of events dur­ing the win­ter so I can strip my own ma­chine again and pow­der coat the frame, fork low­ers and yokes has been de­layed, as I am really en­joy­ing rid­ing the Fan­tic. Of course it will only take a few events sliding back­wards into a bog to make me have an­other re-think!

As with the orig­i­nal Fan­tic build some Clas­sic Trial Mag­a­zine ad­ver­tis­ers have been a great source of parts and ad­vice. Bob Wright once again sup­plied many of the nor­mal run­ning gear parts. And, as is the way of the world th­ese days, where would we be with­out the interweb thingy. The ‘Hard to find twin­shock tri­als and air-cooled mono’ Face­book group is full of help­ful souls and al­ways good ban­ter, and I even started up an ‘Ital­ian Air­cooled Tri­als’ group my­self so we didn’t have to just see Bul­ta­cos, Mon­te­sas and Yama­has … Whilst the price of some stun­ningly fin­ished twin-shock bikes seems to be climb­ing I think I have proved that if you get lucky you can still find a nice ride­able mo­tor­cy­cle that is com­plete but needs a bit of love and care for less than a £1,000, and af­ter not much more than a nor­mal ser­vice you can be out there in your lo­cal twin-shock class be­fore you know it … of course this then seems to in­stantly mean the ar­rival of sev­eral other sim­i­lar ma­chines in the garage and be­fore you know it you have an ad­dic­tion — and a lack of space!

So then, where do I start with the story of the Fan­tic 305 that sits in sev­eral boxes in the cor­ner of the garage …!

The very bouncy rear shock ab­sorbers just had to be looked at again; it was ob­vi­ous that grip was be­ing lost ev­ery time I rode the ma­chine.

The clutch lever as­sem­bly had lost the thread for the ca­ble

ad­juster, which was al­low­ing the clutch to ad­just it­self.

You may re­mem­ber Lee from part one of this fea­ture. He came up trumps again with an­other bar­gain from some­where in Europe: a com­plete air cleaner as­sem­bly.

My Fan­tic 300 came with a re­paired air­box, and un­til I re­moved it and com­pared to the newer one I never re­alised how much filler had been used in its re­pair!

Amongst the well tricked and changed 300s out there are many orig­i­nal look­ing mod­els in the stan­dard Fan­tic red colour, so this one is now in the white ‘Michaud’ replica white style.

RIGHT: It was now time to un­der­take the heinous crime of cut­ting large chunks out of them. I have a small saw that is meant for cut­ting tiles. It has a round blade that will cut in any di­rec­tion, and al­though need­ing a bit of el­bow grease to com­plete the task it was more con­trol­lable and safer. ABOVE: The fin­ished job giv­ing the Fan­tic 300 more steer­ing lock.

So then, where do I start with the story of the Fan­tic 305 that sits in sev­eral boxes in the cor­ner of the garage?

Amongst the eBay parts which ar­rived was an orig­i­nal Fan­tic ‘long ride’ seat

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.