In this blog I will be sharing my classic Motorcycle retoration projects and experiences starting with a 1961 BSA Super Rocket coversion to a BSA Rocket Gold Star Cafe Racer. Followed by a 1961 Ariel "Golden" Arrow Super Sport. I also have a 1960 Lambretta LI150 and a 1954 BSA Bantam 150 Major.

If you are renovating a classic bike and using this blog for help, please read the whole blog first, as I make mistakes and then have to correct them. It will save you doing the same.

Monday, 20 January 2014

2. Ariel Golden Arrow - The First Strip

Not a bad day, as bike stripping goes! After reading the web on anything relating to the Ariel Arrow, I discovered one crucial thing to check. Apparently a front end collision can cause the bodywork around the headstock to buckle. The way to check this is to measure the distance between the front mudguard and the engine at their closest point. The space should measure 2.5 inches (63.5mm). Bearing in mind the wobble that I felt when I first rode it yesterday I was worried that this might be a problem. However the tape measure revealed a healthy 2.5 inches so that was panic over.

After removing the loose silencers again, I set about removing the seat. Not too difficult this just two strange sideways opening hinges and a fabric strap and it was off. However removing the dummy tank requires a lot more effort as the handlebars, including the handlebar yoke has to be removed and the headlight, which is full of lots of wiring. Also the tool tray inside the dummy tank and the clutch and front brake cables that pass through it and finally the fixing bolts. After all that the tank lifts off to reveal a surprise hiding underneath.
At some point in the bikes history someone has fitted electronic ignition and a 12v electronic voltage regulator. Fairly good news I thought, at first. The voltage regulator was bolted to the chassis but the electronic ignition was held in place with BlueTac and a cable tie!

Next to be removed was the rear mudguard, chain guard, back wheel and final drive chain. These were closely followed by the inner rear mudguard and the shock absorbers.

The next task was the right side chrome cover, but in order to remove this the exhaust pipes have to come off first. These are held into the cylinder with threaded bushes with notches around the edges. These were in such bad condition, someone had tightened them by hitting them around with a drift of some kind, that I had no worries about hitting them again to loosen them. They will need replacing anyway.

With the exhaust pipes off and the footrests, the chrome cover could be removed to reveal the clutch mechanism and the carburetor (air hose hanging off).

I then decided to remove the wiring loom and this involved investigating the ignition cover on the left hand side, It was then that I noticed a strange spacer between the engine an the cover. It was painted silver but did not appear to be metal. After removing the cover all was revealed.
It was in fact "chipboard" and surrounded the electronic ignition pick-up circuit boards that replace the points. I am now undecided whether to revert this bike back to original points ignition or make a proper aluminium spacer.

Finally I drained and removed the petrol tank that hides inside the frame and slides out from the back and reveals the cavernous interior of the frame.
So that's it for the first day. More follows as the engine and gear box are removed and finally the front forks are stripped. Then it will be off to the painters for shot blasting and a new coat of paint.

Copyright K. Hopcroft  20.01.14 All rights reserved
You can contact me on: hopcroftscoot@gmail.com

Sunday, 19 January 2014

1. Ariel Golden Arrow - Restoration

For anyone who followed my BSA A10 restoration, you will be expecting my next project to be my 1954 BSA Bantam. However I just couldn't resist this Ariel "Golden" Arrow super sport that turned up on EBay.
So the Bantam has gone on hold and this new project awaits. After doing the restoration on my BSA A10, I had no hopes that this bike would be as good as it looks in the photos. I know that it will need a full strip and hundreds of hours labour to bring it up to the standard of my other two bikes and fit to show, but that's the bit I really enjoy, to take a 53 year old bike and restore it to better than new condition.

I collected the bike yesterday from Kent and put it in my box trailer for the 168 mile trip back to Nottingham. I was only 30 miles from Nottingham when I decided to take a look in the trailer and see if the bike was still OK. It wasn't. Despite having used 8 ratchet straps to hold it in place, the bike was virtually over on it's side. A quick inspection revealed that the rear lifting handles, to which I had fixed four of the straps had only been held in place with domestic rawl plugs and  screws, which hadn't held. My only choice was to hook the straps onto the bodywork, which fortunately held for the rest of the trip and didn't damage the bodywork. However when I opened the trailer I did find that both silencers had dropped off and one of the rear silencer mounting brackets.

So today was just a case of studying the project and learning about Ariel Arrows. The first thing I couldn't resist was to see if it goes. A few kicks achieved the odd cough so I tried a bump start and to my surprise, it started. It does not sound well and is very smokey, but at least it started. So I took it for a quick spin up the car park. First impressions are not good. The engine is reluctant to run and the bike has a definite wobble, which feels like a buckled wheel. Lifting the seat revealed a 12V battery (not connected). So it looks as though it has had a 12v conversion at some point in its life, it remains to be seen if 12v is actually being delivered to the battery?

Tomorrow, with any luck, I'll start the full strip and see what other nightmares are going to be revealed.

 Copyright K. Hopcroft  19.01.14 All rights reserved
 You can contact me on: hopcroftscoot@gmail.com