29 September 2014

Classic Cycles Picnic 28 September 2014

I think the ride over to Classic Cycles' picnic in Kingwood, NJ yesterday is going to be the last long riding day before the weather changes and I go back into full commuting mode with the bike. Weather was sunny and dry, albeit a little bit too warm for my tastes, but all in all a great day. The Classic Cycle guys really can throw a good party.

Obligatory pics

First stop, Bayhead - Surf Swap Meet. I don't know anything about boards, but it was a nice ride down. Dave is looking suave and Chris is talking shop. For the first time in history some guys were interested in my bike. One guy used to have an R51/3 Polizei bike, R75/5 toaster, and '74 R90/6, another has an Isetta and an R65. I spent about the whole time at the swap meet talking BMWs which was nice, because about all I could comment on the surfboards was their shape and color.

Vintage surf car, with hot rodded engine. I'm so used to seeing Nomads this was kinda nice.

Arriving in style and taking the VIP parking by the Pirate Cupcake truck. I really should have gotten a Maple Bacon cupcake before leaving, but I still have tons of cake from my daughter's birthday party that needs finishing.

Pretty good turnout, and about 8 guys left upon arriving.

Complete with rockabilly band. These guys were pretty excellent, but no one seemed to care. 

Race winning flat/dirt trackers. Other than the Norton and Velocette pictured next, these were getting the most attention at the show.

This Velocette (rear) was awesome. Apparently the guy who bought it found it in Europe and was a pilot. The whole bike was said to be too heavy to stow in cargo, so he took the engine out, loaded the everything else, and then took the engine on as carry-on luggage. When confronted about it he claimed that it's his plane, so either they let him get on with his carry-on or the plane doesn't leave. Whether or not this is myth or fact, it's a great story.

exposed rockers and carb detail

Italian bikes were also present. Excellent MV Agusta 750S (w/drive shaft) and MG V7 Sport. There were actually a few more Guzzis, a 70's El Dorado and a brand new California that took off before I could get pictures. I wound up talking a bit to the owner of the BMW R90S behind the Guzzi. Years ago I remembered seeing that at the local BMW dealership and finding out that they had just took it in as a trade and immediately sold it off. I wasn't interested in buying it at the time, but the green tint and pinstriping left an impression.

Factory accessorized H-D shovelhead. The big license plate bracket on the back is actually a vintage factory alarm system. Apparently it had weights that sensed when the bike was taken off the side stand and put in a vertical position which then triggered a switch and engaged the alarm. Other than looking like ass it's not a bad idea.

A number of Enfields were present, but I dug this one.

This BSA is supposedly bone-stock and super-rare. I don't know enough about BSAs, but what separates this one from more common ones was the white-frame. I guess this is sorta like finding a /2 in the US with original factory paint other than black.

I always appreciate seeing an R69S

26 September 2014

Oil Analysis - BMW Performance 20W50 vs. Porsche Classic Motor Oil 20w50 (PART 1)

If you ever get bored and want to witness an epic battle between old BMW enthusiasts, bring up oil.

The crux of the argument really stems from this mysterious compound called ZDDP (Zinc dialyldithiophosphate). In a nutshell, ZDDP protects the internals in our flat tappet engines and modern oils lack it.

As far as BMWs are concerned, I used to use BMW conventional 20w50 (SG/SH) rated when it was blended by Spectro, then I switched to Liqui Moly Racing 4T, and then back to BMW as a result of Kurt from the BMWMOA's excellent Oil Analysis Project. While Airhead gurus recommend Golden Spectro 20w50, the test results actually showed that BMW and Spectro 4 were excellent conventionals (no surprise since they were blended by the same company) concerning ZDDP levels, and Mobil 1 V-Twin and Redline topped the synthetic list, Golden Spectro was actually fairly consistent with the conventional Spectro oils which was disappointing considering it's semi-synthetic. All this being said, every oil tested met minimum BMW specs and unless you are extremely anal, like most BMW owners, any oil would get the job done.

Since the testing was done back in 2012, BMW has dropped Spectro as a blender for BP/Castrol, and Porsche has come out with their own "Classic Motor Oil," intentionally designed for old, flat tappet boxers. This is unique because all of the oils tested in Kurt's run were one-size-fits-all concerning motorcycle use. The BMW bottle (when it was Spectro and even now) says it's OK for "all" R-bikes - a very bold statement given the various engine configurations over the years. So who cares?

Well, back when Kurt got his test results, Castrol 4T SG rated conventional was on the lower end (but still meeting BMW specs) of the spectrum concerning ZDDP, although quite good concerning TBN and viscosity. Coincidentally, when BMW changed from Spectro to Castrol oil, the API rating went from SG/SH to just straight SG which matches the Castrol 4T rating. The question concerning this oil is whether or not the new BMW oil is a unique formulation or just a rebadge of Castrol 4T; if found to be the latter then it could save people some money since Castrol is about half the price of BMW oil. But what about the Porsche oil?

Porsche oil tells you nothing about it except that it's designed for old engines. You won't find any API rating and as far as I can tell, no ZDDP levels. It also seems that no one has yet had this oil analyzed (based on extensive google searches), so there are no proof for BMW (or Porsche for that matter) owners that this oil is any good other than Porsche's word. If their word is good, and since this oil is priced similarly to BMW's oil, this may prove to be an attractive oil to use for our old classic boxers.

So let the analysis begin.

Kurt used Bently Tribology (now Cashman Fluid Analysis) back in 2012 for his Oil Analysis project. I opted to use the same labs, with the same equipment, so my test results could be directly comparable to his. The cost was exactly the same as Blackstone Labs, and like Blackstone, their services include a free kit that they mail you.

Here's the two oils being analyzed.

And here's the sample kit.

Pouring out the oils into the kit revealed quite different appearances, but what this means I really don't know.

When Kurt had his testing done it took about 2-weeks to get results. As I sent mine out today, I should be expecting results sometime around 10 October. Will update with the results on here and the BMWMOA once they come in.

22 September 2014

BMW Fender Eliminator

Way back in March 2013, when my 2nd stock BMW taillight bit the dust, I decided to go aftermarket, lost the stock fiberglass fender, and make my own bracket with painted mild steel. This would have been all well and good, but since I ride all year, a few things became readily apparent.

The first was that although my Giuliari replica blocked all the wash from the rear tire from getting on me, its seat pan was suffering. I don't know why I waited this long to correct the issue as I was constantly cleaning off dust and dirt from it. The second was that lightly painted mild steel doesn't last very long once NJ road salt gets at it.

This is what is left of the homemade carbon steel bracket, besides all the lost paint and rust notice the stress crack near the larger hole (for wiring). This was 16 gauge steel.

The solution was to make a hidden fender + built in bracket out of stainless. This has been done a million times by others, so no biggie. I used 14 gauge 304 stainless, which was probably overkill. I didn't realize that stainless hardens with heat until I melted 2 regular steel drill bits - forcing me to go buy titanium ones which cut through it like butter. The finished product.

It's still a little rough around the edges, but only in the places you can't see when the seat it down. The taillight area benefited quite a bit with the 14 ga. as it no longer vibrates during riding. I still have 2' of stainless sheet left, I may make up another one (a finer one) and put it up on eBay or something or maybe I'll try my hand at hammering out a stainless fender for the 57 R60.

20 September 2014

Ocean Grove Brits on the Beach 20 September 2014

My wife and I have been going to Brits on the Beach in Ocean Grove, NJ for the last 4-5 years or so and every year the weather seems to be perfect, the amount of interesting cars plentiful, and the atmosphere fantastic. This year, barring a light scuffle prior to the show, was probably one of the better ones of the bunch. Although much of the usual cast from prior years was present, there were still some interesting cars I hadn't seen at prior shows. I'll let the pics speak for themselves:

beautiful OG, NJ

A more intesting 3-wheeler than the more commonly known Morgan. This is powered by a front mounted boxer-twin. Didn't get much information on it, but I doubt the displacement could have been any greater than 650cc.
V12 Power!

I think this is my favorite little detail from the car show. If you don't get it, you haven't known enough people with English built cars/bikes. See HERE

 Note the Supercharger ^

13 September 2014

Motor oil, lowbrow weirdos, rolling chassis

Picked up a Heidenau K44 from Lowbrow to replace the Metzeler Lasertec on the R90. Ever since I rebuilt the front end of the bike + got the new bearings/shims the Metz was totally out of balance at high speed (80-100mph). As it was nearing the end of its life anyway, I figured I'd just change it out instead of getting it rebalanced and then having to replace it again months down the line (and I'm going to use it on my R60 rolling chassis so it's not totally going to waste). Never ordered anything from Lowbrow before, but their price was right on the K44 and the shipping was free, so I figured why not. As I was taking the empty box out to the garage I noticed some stuff in the packing slip, and it wound up being a comb, coaster, and sticker. Nice touch, now Lowbrow Customs earned a sticker spot on my coveted tool box.

The K44 definitely looks vintage. The tread pattern is completely different that the K36 I have on the rear of the bike, but then again the Lasertecs were completely different patterns too. I'm really into this tire, excellent grip, great tracking, and hopefully just as durable as the other Heidenaus I'm using on the Aermacchi.

Also came to the conclusion that I won't be putting Earles forks on the R60 project. Yes, I know now the bike is going to become a "bitsa," but telescopic forks will allow me to use more stuff off my shelves, and since the bike isn't ever going to be a hack, the Earles forks would be overkill anyway.

These /5 ones will need modification, and I'll need to get the special adaptors to convert the ball bearing races in the steering head to tapered bearing races (31 42 2 000 001) and the corresponding bearings (/5+ ones won't work). These will also need a total rebuild as I found some water in the fork oil after buying them. So yes, it's a bitsa, but now I'll be able to use the /5 alloys and 19" wheels, the left over steering stuff from my R90 before I put on clip-ons, and once I figure out what I'm going to do with the rear, I'll finally have a rolling chassis. A pretty empty crankcase, but a rolling chassis.

Now oil. The most debated topic on the BMWMOA. A guy posted this video about new Porsche 20w50 designed for the older cars, 356s, early 911s, etc. I still think any SG rated motorcycle 20w50 is adequate for old VWs/Porsches AND the motorcycles it's engineered for, but this is kinda neat. I'd be curious to see if someone buys a liter and sends it off to Blackstone labs for analysis. Nowhere on the internet can I find if it's SG/SH rated or not and that kinda scares me off from even trying it out on my bike, but we'll see.