Friday, 18 September 2009

Have transport will travel - WARNING! - For Vespa freaks only


Here's the boring bits about my Vespa.
If you are not a vespa freak, I would skip this part

It's a 1974 Vespa Rally 200. I bought this over a year ago as pictured above. The engine was in a box of bits, rusting away. The body work had the usual rust for a 70s Vespa. I wanted to save the original paintwork but it was flaking off in between my fingers on some parts and the rust needed to be treated somehow. Lacquer wasn't going to work.
So I found an Orange 'hammerite' type of paint and used a roller brush to apply it. It was missing both side panels but I finally managed to source them. Thanks to all who helped me find the elusive engine side panel I needed. Also thanks to James at Classic Scooters for almost giving me the other panel needed.
But no thanks go to the next guy...
Nil point

I decided to let a 'professional' (I use that term loosely in this case) rebuild the engine. I wanted it totally standard as I knew way back then that I would probably ride it to Morocco or somewhere further than the shops.
Unfortunatly it took the 'mechanic' almost 12 months instead of the 4 weeks he quoted me to finish the engine. And finish the engine he did.
It is no more.
Monkey spanner

He tried to fit the 150 Super gear box instead of the standard gearbox I supplied him. It worked long enough to get an MOT but not much longer. He never changed all of the bearings or seals, copper plumbing pipe was used to make the primary drive shaft fit, nothing was cleaned, blah blah blah, moan moan moan. I could go on and I probably will. Basically he took an extremely long time to do a very bad job.

Since then I've had to rebuild the engine myself. The engine now has the proper gearbox and I fitted a cosa clutch as the cheap copy I had, although new, just didn't work too well.
Another thing that is not standard is the upgraded 12 volt ignition. The lights are still rubbish but at least they won't attract too many insects.
Most of the parts in the box of bits were past the wear by date and covered in rust so I had no choice but to buy new parts.
I wanted to do this cheap.

Cheap as chips

It now has MOT, tax, I've re-registered it as it had no documents, have run it in (650 miles in 4 days) and now need to change the 'new' main bearings.
This was the only piece of work that the 'mechanic' had done which I didn't re-do myself. This time I'm getting a highly recommended chap by the name of Ian to change all the bearings and seals for me as I don't have the tools or the knowledge to do this. Then, re fit the engine and we're away. This will take a couple of weeks.
In the meantime I've been re-adjusting my rear carrier that I nicked off my SS180. I needed something to carry my tent, sleeping bag, clothes etc. It now fits after I found a big hammer and a drill.
Tomorrow I will attempt the Front Carrier Manoeuvre.
Another assault on the SS180 I'm afraid.

Pictures coming soon

Thursday, 17 September 2009

First we need some transport

Giggity giggity
"You're mad",
"Where are you going to break down"?
These are a few of things we heard when we told our friends we are riding to Morocco.

So what's the plan?
Last week we booked a ferry from Portsmouth, UK to Bilbao in Spain. I'm riding on my recently rebuilt 1974 Vespa Rally 200. Kev will be taking his 1991 C90 to Portugal in his van and riding it to Morocco from there.
'Why is he not riding to Portugal'? I hear you ask... He needs to take him and his van to Portugal anyway. That's a good enough reason to go for a ride on my scooter too.
To save money, as we're on a tight budget, we'll take the ferry to Bilbao as opposed to riding through France. This would be too expensive.
At the moment I'm not entirely sure which route I'll take for the return journey. Kev will probably stay in Portugal so I'll be on my own. Getting there is always the memorable part but coming home is not necessarily the best part of any trip.
That's a long way off as yet.

A long way off

Break a leg
We talked about a trip like this many times in the past so it was time for action. I was in the process of restoring a Vespa Rally 200 scooter so that would do for me, while Kev was restoring his liver.
So I had some transport and he had some transplant.
He stopped going down the pub and was on the look out for a cheap Citroen 2CV. Budget was the key issue here. We later found out that there seems to be no such thing as a cheap Citroen 2CV. Ok. How about a motorbike? C90? Do nicely.

A long way off

Shake your tail feather
We found out today that Kev had the winning bid for a Honda Cub 90. After telling the seller our plans, he chuck(l)ed in some waterproofs, helmet, gloves, spare tyres and tubes and a few good lucks. As Kev doesn't even have his CBT bike licence yet, let alone any equipment, this was a right result! Thanks Tony. Haven't seen the bike yet but getting all the extra gear is a good start. I started riding my other scooter again last year so I have most of the basics already.
Oh no! I've sprained my typing finger. This could potentially be the end of this blog.
We leave in 8 weeks time. We need to get these machines roadworthy.