Real Classic - - Letters -

Teething prob­lems are to be ex­pected with a ‘new’ bike that’s nearly fifty years old, but I’d been lulled into a false sense of se­cu­rity by the sheer ex­u­ber­ance of this diminu­tive mid­dleweight in a light­weight’s cloth­ing.

Then it hap­pened. As I ac­cel­er­ated away and changed up, the bike stopped do­ing what it does best; rip­ping up the rev range like a tom­cat with a ten foot head start on the vet’s snip­pers. It was as if the brakes were sud­denly on. The air­box was still howl­ing like a ban­shee, but the in­crease in speed was pedes­trian com­pared to nor­mal. I checked the plug caps in case one had popped off, but all was OK. So fir­ing it up again (eas­ily), I turned back for home think­ing it felt like it was only run­ning on one pot.

Checking the down­pipes, one was much hot­ter than the other, which seemed to con­firm my sus­pi­cions. Out with the plug from the cool side, and it looked wet… well, wet­tish, re­ally, but not ex­ces­sively so. Turn­ing the engine over showed a fat spark, so I aban­doned ideas of a wire adrift from one of the coils. The wet plug im­plied that fuel was get­ting through. ‘Ex­ple­tive!’ I mut­tered, won­der­ing if I’d holed a pis­ton. It is a late 1960s Ja­panese two-stroke, after all.

Com­par­ing kick­start re­sis­tance with each plug out in turn showed no dif­fer­ence. I hooked ev­ery­thing back up and tried again, just in case it had been noth­ing more than a plug track­ing, and fid­dling had maybe sorted it (I’m an in­cur­able op­ti­mist). It sounded OK when fired up, but as soon as I rode away it was plain that all was not well.

Back home, I got the first clue. The cooler ex­haust was hot, which it shouldn’t be if it wasn’t get­ting any fire through it. Was the carb only op­er­at­ing at tick­over? I sus­pected a bro­ken ca­ble and pulled off the seat and tank (with its oc­to­pus-like bunch of hoses. There are only three re­ally, but they get in each other’s way as if there are more) but where would the break be? And where would I get a mul­ti­ple throt­tle ca­ble set for a 1969 bike by the week­end? It looked like the sol­der­ing gear would be com­ing out, and some fid­dling about mak­ing the right-size nip­ples ’cos the originals are cast onto the ca­bles.

How­ever, all was not lost. The vis­i­ble parts of the ca­bles looked OK, so I un­screwed the carb top and pulled out the slide – and there it was. The ca­ble had un­hooked it­self from the slide. It was noth­ing more than that.

Re­assem­bling it, I no­ticed that one of the hoses (run­ning to the other carb) was only just long enough. You could twang it like Duane Eddy’s gui­tar string and it was in dan­ger of pop­ping off. So a trip to the lo­cal bike shop is in or­der, but test rid­ing the bike showed all was back to nor­mal in the per­for­mance stakes… un­til it went onto re­serve.

Good grief! Have I used a whole tank­ful al­ready? I only filled the bike up on Mon­day… but it’s been a lot of fun. Chris Par­rott, mem­ber

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