Balls and all
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.