Practical Sportsbikes (UK)
Searching for Mojo Morini
Sir Alan struggles to summon strength for the closing stages of a long, long, long resto
There is no more effective tool for social distancing in the workplace than a two-metre hydraulic workbench; that’s supposing the prospect of graft itself isn’t enough to put clear water between individual employees.
So having done our own risk assessment pitting common sense against incoherent government Covid guidelines, magazine Morini ‘expert’ Mark Graham offered to see what he could do to chivvy along the glacial rebuild of my 350 Sport.
However, the thing that prevented MG getting over to my workshop to help in this task was sticking chokes on his Yamaha FZ750, a problem he had previously sought my assistance in solving, and an issue I’d failed to get around to sorting.
Serves me right then, that I again found myself alone, staring at the Sport and wondering what the hell I should do to it next. You might gather that I have temporarily lost my mojo for this build. It also transpired that
I had temporarily lost my Morini workshop manuals, having taken them home to study.
So there I was, friendless, helpless and lacking in instruction. Then I remembered that the internet had become a thing, even in the time since I first acquired the Sport, so I should be able to access some amount of useful information thanks to the brilliance of my smartphone.
As the last thing I’d done was sort out the shimming of the clutch hub in relation to the basket, it made sense to carry on in that general area. Sifting the contents of the boxes nominally allocated to the project unearthed one complete and one almost complete set of clutch plates. One of these would be original to the bike, the other salvaged from a Kanguro I bought cheap primarily for its barrels. There were also two sets of springs, cups and nuts, and a brace of pressure plates.
Enough to assemble a decent, useable single set. Inspection of the complete set of driving and driven plates revealed that there was one thinner friction plate and a dished plain one. These last two were paired together on the outside of the pile of plates that I’d been organised enough to cable-tie together. So it seemed safe to assume that is how they should go. The question now was whether they should be closest to the back of the basket, or the pressure plate.
One thing to know about seeking answers on the unfiltered and unbounded internet is that it can be folly to accept the first one Google offers you. The second thing to know is that it’s best to scroll past the more forceful and slightly menacing views of certain forum warriors and seek consensus among friendlier posters.
After 10 minutes squinting at my ancient iphone’s tiny screen displaying a PDF of the manual I found the following: the manual suggested they go in last while referencing a ‘semi-lined’ plate to be fitted before the others, which I knew I neither had, nor had been in there previously; a Surflex diagram that showed them first in; a Morini Riders Club post said that the Cagiva-era manual showed them going in first correcting an error in the original workshop book; and that the dished plate should be fitted in a convex position. I decided not to be drawn into any heated internet debate on why this last edict might or might not matter.
Acting on the authority of Surflex and the corroboration of someone who had studied the later Morini manual, I now knew what to do – just as soon as I’d tightened the clutch hub centre nut. That meant another smartphone scroll of the PDF manual to establish the factory figure of 5.5kgm (54Nm or 40lb.ft), somewhat lower than the 9kgm someone on the internet was suggesting.
This lower figure is within the range I deem more or less achievable singlehandedly without causing personal injury, having once caused myself a concussion trying to achieve 80lb.ft on a Norton Commando rotor nut. On that occasion the torque wrench flew from my grip and into my eye socket.
Nut tightened, lockwasher bent, pushrod in and plates installed, I referred to the manual again to see how far the nuts holding the pressure plate should be tightened. No mention of them at all. On old Brits you have to adjust them so the pressed-steel pressure plate runs true and I suspected that might be the case here. Missing the company of my friend and colleague Mark Graham, I decided I might call him to ask his view. He said they should be tightened all the way up. Somewhere in an old toolbox I have a slotted tool that allows the threaded spigots on the clutch hub to come all the way through the
40LB.FT IS WITHIN THE RANGE I DEEM ACHIEVABLE SINGLEHANDEDLY, HAVING ONCE CAUSED MYSELF A CONCUSSION TRYING 80LB.FT ON A NORTON COMMANDO ROTOR NUT
nuts. However this, like the manuals, was at home. However Pete O’dell of Motorcycle Works notoriety let me rifle through his odd tools box where I found something suitable.
By now I’d spent three hours on a 20-minute job. The internet doesn’t necessarily make things quicker but at least in this case it made the task do-able. Next time out I’ll waste a morning refitting the flywheel or something.