Balls and all

Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

Re­gard­ing the story in OBA 76 on the Honda C71Z (page 64), whilst the large rub­ber balls on the ends of the pressed steel clutch and brake levers may look un­usual, it was com­mon prac­tice for early Ja­panese rac­ing mo­tor­cy­cles to have pressed steel levers with rub­ber balls moulded on the ends with lever perches be­ing al­loy. The most pro­lific users of this style was Yamaha fit­ting them to their TD1/A/B pro­duc­tion rac­ers as well as the works rac­ers un­til be­ing re­placed in 1965 by the tra­di­tional al­loy ball ended lever. Yamaha street bike levers of the time were al­loy but had a “barb” end rather than a ball end to stop the rid­ers fin­gers slid­ing off. The photo shows a Yamaha TD1 pressed steel lever with rub­ber ball end but as rub­ber con­tin­u­ously cures bits have started to flake off with the lever as­sem­blies on the bike hav­ing the rub­ber ball sep­a­rate from the lever. Once you know what to look for the steel and rub­ber levers are eas­ily recog­nised but it is an area just about all early Ja­panese race bike re­stor­ers over­look and use late model al­loy ball levers. Early Ja­panese think­ing is of­ten puz­zling as why not just weld a ball to the al­loy street levers with­out hav­ing to make tool­ing for the steel lever and a mould for the rub­ber ball? These levers also ne­ces­si­tated dif­fer­ent ca­bles. Ge­of­frey El­lis Noar­lunga, SA

Yamaha TD1 pressed steel lever with rub­ber ball end.

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