Stu Thom­son plainly en­joys a chal­lenge. Not con­tent with restor­ing a Gil­era Gi­u­bileo to the road, he’s now tack­led some­thing even less usual – at least in the UK. And here’s rid­ing the re­sult! First im­pres­sions…

Stu Thom­son plainly en­joys a chal­lenge. Not con­tent with restor­ing a Gil­era Gi­u­bileo to the road, he’s now tack­led some­thing even less usual – at least in the UK. And here’s rid­ing the re­sult! First im­pres­sions…

Real Classic - - What Lies Within -

Hav­ing re­built the MI-VAL 125 GS/GL it was time to road test it to see how it per­forms – and of course have a bit of a shake­down to see if ev­ery­thing works as it ac­tu­ally should.

I de­cided to have a ride up over the York­shire Wolds on the back­roads to Se­aways Café, a pop­u­lar meet­ing place for bik­ers close to Fri­daythorpe. To­tal mileage about 75 miles, that should sort it out. On the route there were a few in­ter­est­ing hills and nar­row traf­fic free roads, ideal for a first ride on a strange ma­chine.

When fill­ing up the tank and adding the 2-stroke oil, I de­cided to use the mod­ern rec­om­men­da­tions on the oil bot­tle I bought, as I felt that the MI-VAL rec­om­men­da­tions were a bit heavy on the oil. I am sure that the oil has im­proved in the last 62 years. Af­ter about 18 miles I did a quick plug chop just to make sure the mix­ture was OK and the colour was per­fect; a nice light milk choco­late ( just for TP) brown, per­fect and no oil blow-by.

First im­pres­sions are in­ter­est­ing, cer­tainly com­pared with a 4-stroke of this pe­riod, and bear­ing in mind that I am run­ning in a new set of rings and have to take it steady for at least a cou­ple of hun­dred miles. The bike revs up re­ally quickly, with no great fly­wheel ef­fect, and of course when the throt­tle is shut there is no en­gine brak­ing at all (a bit wor­ry­ing to be­gin with). There is very lit­tle torque low down but lots of in­duc­tion noise, so much that it is slightly em­bar­rass­ing, even though there is very lit­tle en­gine noise – no clat­ter­ing valves here. How­ever when the revs climb the torque im­proves dra­mat­i­cally and the bike fairly shoots along (well to 45mph at least, I am run­ning in) and is very smooth. But the MI-VAL has the stan­dard small Ital­ian bike gear­ing with 1st and 2nd quite low and 3rd and 4th quite high for tour­ing, so there is quite a big gap be­tween 2nd and 3rd.

When I parked at the Se­aways Café a cou­ple of chaps came over for a chat and the first things they asked were; ‘What is it and where was it made?’ I ex­plained and they said they’d never heard of MI-VAL or ever seen one be­fore, but now they Know a lot more than they did…

The bike han­dles re­ally well with its light weight, very stiff frame and 19” wheels. The front brake is very good, the back not so good and the sus­pen­sion quite stiff. The only is­sue on the ride was that af­ter about 60 miles the chain de­vel­oped some slack (cheap chains?). Oh, and my head hurt from the noise of the in­duc­tion roar…

I sup­pose I should ex­pect the ma­chine to be sim­ple in op­er­a­tion as 2-strokes were a sim­ple de­sign in this pe­riod. The ex­haust seems to have very lit­tle re­stric­tion but a very large bore, so I think it was be­fore the ex­pan­sion cham­ber the­o­ries were put into prac­tice. Maybe with an ex­pan­sion cham­ber the per­for­mance and torque would im­prove. Might have to see a spe­cial­ist!

On the speedo side the new old stock speedo I fit­ted along with the Moto Morini driv­ing mech­a­nism seems to be read­ing a lit­tle on the slow side – which is un­usual for Ital­ian speedos, they are usu­ally very op­ti­mistic. But hav­ing said that, I did no­tice that the ig­ni­tion sys­tem seems to af­fect the bike’s speedos some­times (proximity of the coil un­der the tank pos­si­bly af­fect­ing the bike speedo).

So my over­all im­pres­sions are that it is ac­tu­ally re­ally good (if rather slow) fun on two wheels!

Now what about the next project? Well I com­pleted the Bianchi Bern­ina 125 shortly af­ter I fin­ished the MI-VAL. Watch this space, be­cause that is an in­ter­est­ing bike in­deed. And I have fallen once again for a small Ital­ian (bike not fe­male), this time an MV Agusta CSTL 175 ohc ma­chine from the mid-50s, so…

Job done. The MI-VAL is surely one hand­some mo­tor­cy­cle The next project. It’s an ohc 4-stroke, so it’ll be back to ba­sics with a nice un­com­pli­cated 4-stroke. Although it’s ohc, so maybe not that sim­ple... Above: This was a 1 in 4 hill – hon­est! But it does not look like it from this an­gle…Be­low: Up on the top of the Wolds with the Vale of York in the back­ground. It is a mir­a­cle – the bike has man­aged to keep all of its 2-stroke oil in place!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.