Clas­sic Cob

From the shed

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS -

In this day and age there are so many tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances that it is im­pos­si­ble to keep up with them. Some­times when I get to hear about them they are al­ready outdated. I have de­cided that I will briefly look at who is pro­vid­ing ser­vices and prod­ucts for the old and new in the mo­tor­cy­cle ig­ni­tion field, that is, mag­neto or elec­tronic ig­ni­tions.


Firstly I called to see Chris ZOCH, a re­tired In­dus­trial Chemist who worked in the tex­tile in­dus­try and re­cently moved to Harrington on the NSW north coast. As a young­ster he toyed around with old ra­dios then later with hi-fi am­pli­fiers. As a child the fam­ily lived on a farm in Vic­to­ria when his fa­ther pur­chased a 1942 Chevro­let Am­bu­lance which had an ex-PMG BSA Ban­tam in the back, and when he was about 16 he started play­ing around with this ma­chine. How­ever he did not re­ally be­come an avid mo­tor­cy­clist un­til about 1995 when he had a ride at Ama­roo Park on a ma­chine loaned to him by the late Brian Kemsley. This re­sulted in him pur­chas­ing a 350 Gold Star. About this time he got to meet the late Ivan Brown who I also had deal­ings with. Ivan was a very as­tute and knowl­edge­able auto elec­tri­cian who at that time was in the Pen­rith area be­fore mov­ing to Mudgeer­aba, Queens­land. Chris de­vel­oped an elec­tronic reg­u­la­tor which he supplied to Ivan for ap­prox­i­mately ten years. He tells me that he started spend­ing time with Ivan and learn­ing about the restora­tion of mag­ne­tos and gen­er­a­tors. Sadly Ivan passed away in July 2010 and Chris pur­chased the stock and equip­ment which he then moved back to his then res­i­dence at Seven Hills, Syd­ney. Chris is able to un­der­take re­pairs to mag­ne­tos, gen­er­a­tors and reg­u­la­tors. With mag­ne­tos this in­cludes both pri­mary and sec­ondary rewind­ing, mag­netis­ing and bear­ing re­place­ments. He tells me that wind­ing is the most crit­i­cal part, en­sur­ing that it is done prop­erly and then in­su­lated. He pointed out a cou­ple of other com­mon prob­lems such as the worn cam rings caus­ing a vari­a­tion in the tim­ing be­tween the two cylin­ders. These can ei­ther be ground or re­placed with new cams. Also wear can take place in the pivot pin for the points which fre­quently goes un­de­tected. In some in­stances he has had mag­ne­tos sent to him where the owner had been un­able to ob­tain the cor­rect one for his ma­chine. One in­stance of this was where one for a JAP was to be used on an early model Harley-David­son. This re­quired re­vers­ing the direc­tion as well as shift­ing the tim­ing. He tells me that the funny side was just af­ter he had re­turned this mag­neto he got one for an early H.D. to con­vert to run on a JAP. Had they both been at the same time with the cus­tomer’s approval he could have ex­changed the com­po­nents and in­volved less work and cost. Chis can be con­tacted on (02) 6556 1521, 0424 011 767 or email [email protected]­

Elec­tronic Ig­ni­tions

Steve Kelly is the pro­pri­etor of Ade­laide-based firm Tri Spark and is a Cana­dian who mi­grated here in 1995. In Canada he qual­i­fied in Elec­tronic Tech­nol­ogy and un­der­took de­sign­ing and build­ing sub-sta­tion mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems. When he came here he brought with him a 1986 Tri­umph Tri­dent which he still owns. He toyed with this ma­chine where at times he found there was a sup­ply of poor qual­ity parts. In 2005 he be­gan to toy with the Tri­dent ig­ni­tion sys­tem, and spent about a year toy­ing around test­ing and mak­ing changes.

Tri-Spark is not self-gen­er­at­ing and needs bat­tery power to start; it does have a built in ad­vance and re­tard mech­a­nism. The coils have a dou­ble spark hence there is the wasted spark. Steve has a small body to carry this sys­tem which will re­place the ear­lier mag­neto hous­ing, how­ever it does not have the ap­pear­ance of the Lu­cas or BTH bod­ies. This type he has supplied to Godet in France for fit­ting to Vincent ma­chines. The ma­jor­ity of his buy­ers are those want­ing these sys­tems for Norton Com­man­dos and Tri­umphs. How­ever they can be adapted to any con­fig­u­ra­tion of cranks with him sup­ply­ing them for those who have un­der­taken a 76 de­gree con­ver­sion for Tri­umphs or Nor­tons. This utilis­ers the Fire­Box Pro kit which is also used on the Honda Four ma­chines.

Tri-Spark re­quires the re­moval of the points sys­tem and can usu­ally be fit­ted by the ma­chine’s owner in half an hour or so by fol­low­ing the in­struc­tions supplied. Steve points out that these sys­tems have a con­sis­tent static tim­ing. Steve can be con­tacted on (08) 8371 1664 dur­ing busi­ness hours or email [email protected] I point out here that there are many own­ers of ear­lier ma­chines who wish to re­tain the ma­chine as was orig­i­nally man­u­fac­tured, in which case they will stay with the mag­neto. Bear in mind that mag­ne­tos have proven over many years to be op­er­a­tionally ef­fec­tive and given many years of good re­li­able ser­vice. I have pro­vided this in­for­ma­tion to give a very brief over­view of what is avail­able and from whom.

See you next is­sue, Pete

LEFT Chris Zoch at work on the au­to­mo­tive test bench he ac­quired from the late Ivan Brown. ABOVE The Tri-Spark hous­ing to re­place mag­ne­tos.

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