28 April 2014

Gathering of the Nortons 2014

I spent so much time talking with people I haven't seen in awhile and checking out rare stuff, that I neglected to take any pics.

so here's some I stole from the internet

via Bill Braile. All the cool kids have black leather and sunglasses, I guess that's why BMW riders aren't cool . On arrival everyone was chipper, Chris swore he saw Wayne Carini, but it wasn't

Then there was a lot of good conversation with good friends, good bikes, good beer in New Hope, some other things, and then...

Like Philly Rockers vs Mods, Chris' magneto shaft broke on Rt. 33, so it was a roadside shaft replace and retiming. 77 Bonnies have an appetite for hardened shafts... I'm just checking plugs and showing off my ass. Dolce's Triumph won a Trophy for best Norton, and then won a trophy just resting on the side of the road

via Tommy Dolce

And then I got home and the bike died in my driveway. Thought that was weird, but it started right back up. Went to take it to work today and I couldn't get it to start. Puzzled at why my bike has been acting so un-German this month, and running late, I had to drive in in my car. Got home and did a basic mechanical check, valve lash good, carbs looking good, plugs looking good, but couldn't find the issue. Then noticed the tach bolt at the trans (where the bike grounds) was backed out and the threads in the trans case were stripped, the bike wasn't making a good ground - common Airhead issue. Relocated the ground cable to the sub-frame and voila, I'm ready to invade Russia.

Also found out today that the title work is in for the 57 R60, looks like I'll be picking up the frame and bare case on Friday

Come play at war, man, and bring your best toy

22 April 2014

American craftsmanship...

There are only two parts on the Aermacchi that are American, Harley Davidson built. The tail light, and the bracket for the tail light. These are also the only parts on the bike that aren't metric, which made me add another wrench to what I thought was a complete tool kit for the bike.

When I built the Aermacchi, I actually planned on putting on a smaller CEV tail light and making my own bracket, but having found a cheap NOS Guide one still in the box, and already having the stock bracket I figure why not retain the only American flavors of the bike and this is how H-D rewarded me.

This happened after a 6 mile ride, at the end of my block (thankfully). The tail light bracket sheared off, and the whole assembly got caught in between the wheel and the frame, seizing the bike. When this happened I initially thought I really had seized the engine, or the chain jammed up somewhere. Since everything was stuck, I literally lifted up the bike and moved it to the curb to muscle out the housing.

The real kick in the ass is this isn't the first time this bracket snapped... Back in August 2013 it happened, but just sorta hung off the fender. I welded the bracket back together (see below)

and attributed the whole thing to a possible existing crack in the bracket that I neglected during the build of the bike. Well, this time it sheared about a cm behind the weld I made. So it's just a crap part that obviously wasn't engineered for the vibrations of an Italian thumper.

Now I will be making my own bracket, and putting that CEV light on the bike. I hope the steel is Chinese and the light is made in India.

Good thing the starter for the BMW came back from rebuild is whirring like the turbine on an ME262.

16 April 2014


They love manuals.

From my old VW, my new VWs, to my BMW Motorräder I've never seen such wonderfully technical shop manuals and detailed parts catalogs. Need the size of a locknut an obscure one year model reflector, they've got you covered.

I had to take out mein alter BMW Behelfs-Katalog from to research the front bearing bushing and bolt lengths for the unusual 3-bolt bearing carrier/oil pump housing that was used in the transition from /3s to /2s (Germans do weird things with model ranges too), and everything was there, in 4 languages, clear as day. Took all of 20 seconds.

It took me a 20 minutes looking for torque values on the Harley-Aermacchi shop manual after I stripped the threads on the head where the oil line banjo bolt goes when I was reassembling the top end only to realize that they weren't in the book. No where. I don't know if this was left out when Harley made their manuals or if it was never included in the Italian Aermacchi originals. I completely forgot about THIS too...

So kudos Germans, I'm proud to have descended from your tribes