Motorcycle Maintenance Made Easy

I’ve been maintaining my own motorcycle for years now. Learning how to do each task properly myself was, at times, a challenging experience. Not having the right tools, skills or even a proper understanding of what I was doing lead to some rather frustrating experiences. Back when I started down the DIY path I never considered doing a training course. The cost was too high and I couldn’t get the time off work to attend the lectures. These days though there’s plenty of ‘how to’ videos available online, but finding a reliable and comprehensive source for every task is near impossible. So what’s the solution?
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Ducati Scrambler – Russell Motorcycles

Ducati Scrambler – Russell Motorcycles

Written by Martin Hodgson.

To say the Italian’s know how to enjoy themselves and throw a party is one of the great understatements you can make, so when the 90th anniversary of the much beloved Ducati Motorcycle Company rolled around you knew the annual World Ducati Week was going to be something special. A 90 minute drive from the Bologna factory finds you in the Province of Rimini, where right next to the Adriatic Sea is the Misano World Circuit that hosts the Ducatisti from all over the world for a week of all things Ducati. From new model launches, to the endless track action with past and present GP stars ripping it up to the joys of the new Scrambler Land, just attending the event is a dream come true. But for Eduardo Iglesias of Spain’s Russell Motorcycles and his team not only were they invited by Ducati to attend the event but given a brand new Scrambler and asked to make something special to wow the crowds.

Rare Trike Oddity: 1956 Poirier Voiturette Monoto XW5

This is from the site Bring a Trailer (https://bringatrailer.com/) ...

This 1956 Poirier Voiturette Monoto XW5 (chassis 1555) was recently unloaded from a collector in Belgium, making the big trip across the Atlantic just a few months ago. It’s further said to have been taken off the road some ten years ago, but is also reported to have run a few times a year since then. Reportedly, only a few thousand of these were ever produced, filling a niche for cheap, reliable city transportation for average citizens of a recovering post-war France. Find this one here on eBay in Johns Island, South Carolina with reserve not met.

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The patina on this interesting trike is just about perfect, and it’d be ideal to leave it as-is. Apart from the worn olive paint and a few small dings, the tub looks pretty solid, and we can’t seem to spot any heavily rusted areas. A couple of notable features include drum brakes at all three corners and a prominent hand-operated gearshift lever. The windscreen isn’t currently fitted, but fortunately is included.

Other Makes Poirier XW5 | eBay

The rear jump seat folds up and out of the way to allow access to the 5 HP 125cc Ydral two-stroke single, and outward appearances suggest it should be a dead-simple unit to wrench on. It hasn’t been started since brought over to the US, so current running condition isn’t known.

Other Makes Poirier XW5 | eBay

A cool period advertisement shows that the trike was equipped for the road with a windshield, mirrors, and warning lights.

Other Makes Poirier XW5 | eBay

It’s difficult to imagine a more interesting (or geeky) runabout for in-town duties, though a scarf, leather helmet, and goggles would pretty much be mandatory to complete the look.

‘Sunmaster 14’ Yamaha SR400 – Omega Racer

‘Sunmaster 14’ Yamaha SR400 – Omega Racer

Written by Martin Hodgson.

There was a time when only two things wore raw shields of smoothed out aluminium, UFO invaders cutting through the sky to attack earth as narrated by Orson Welles and the race bikes of the big manufacturers that were as equally alien to the visuals of a real road bike. It was a time when the imagination was the only limiting factor, rules and regulations not strangling the mind as they do today and allowed the likes of Isaac Asimov to amass a portfolio of more than 500 science fiction works. It was while reading Asimov’s famous Foundation Series that Markus Pintzinger came across the name of a micro food exporting Mycogenian known as ‘Sunmaster 14’ and decided it would make the perfect name for a future build. As the head honcho at

1935 Sunbeam Model 9

This is from the site Bring a Trailer (https://bringatrailer.com/) ...

This 1935 Sunbeam Model 9 was recovered from an Egyptian warehouse in 2005 where it spent decades in storage. The seller acquired this project bike in 2015, and notes that few 1932-35 Model 9s are still known to exist. It is fitted with its factory 493cc engine, a non-original carburetor, Egyptian tires, and a recovered seat. It has been preserved by years in the dry Middle Eastern climate, and is in solid condition with an appropriate patina. Used parts, advice, and technical support are reportedly available through the Marston Sunbeam Club. This Model 9 was running a year ago and is a good candidate for restoration. It is sold with a bill of sale, but no title or other documentation.

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Marston Sunbeam motorcycles were known for their quality and performed well in early TT races on the Isle of Man. Sunbeam motorcycles of this era were used by the British military in the Middle East, and this example is believed to be one of those bikes.

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The motorcycle shows its age with surface rust, particularly on the chrome pieces such as the handlebars and levers. The petrol tank and fenders are believed to have been repainted in lacquer and are in fair condition. The frame and wire wheels still show some original lacquer with chipping and surface rust.

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The Egyptian tires testify to the bike’s past, but the seller recommends replacement if the next over intends to ride it. The seat cover was replaced, though the seat frame is original. The optional tank clock is missing and the ammeter is not working.

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The seller had the bike running a year ago, and rode it for a short time. The engine reportedly performed well, and the non-original carburetor has been sorted. The petrol tank was cleaned, sealed, and internally coated. The magneto was also refurbished, and is said to make good spark. The fuel system, oil system, and brakes are all said to work. The clutch has been adjusted, and new clutch plates are included.

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The seller notes that the lack of a speedometer (the front hub is not machined to accept the speedo drive) is unusual for the model, and suggests that this may be attributed to the military specification.

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The 3-speed AU-style Sunbeam gearbox has been rebuilt and all bearings replaced. It is said to shift smoothly through all the gears, and the starter ratchet mechanism is working. The fitted clutch inspection cover was crafted by a local tinsmith, and the sale includes a cast aluminum replacement cover that has not yet been installed. The dynamo still needs to be installed and though original exhaust valve lifting pin is missing, one has been crafted.

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A broken clutch mechanism is believed to be the reason for its decades long storage. A section of the clutch rod has been sourced from a Triumph 650 and seems to fit. The clutch hub uses a press-fit roller bearing on its outermost point with thread damage where the locking disc screws in. The seller has used a spring to allow the clutch to operate properly. He has located an NOS threaded disc and the bike is now said to shift well through all gears.

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The seller has enjoyed being the caretaker of this bike, but does not have time to complete the restoration and has decided to pass it on. Included in the sale is the rear number plate, an NOS replacement tail light, valve train components, and a number of spares.

Sunmaster 14 – Omega Racer Yamaha SR400

There was a time when it seemed that every other custom build to roll out of a workshop was built on a Yamaha SR400 base. Over the past few years though the SR has dropped out of the limelight with people turning their attention to other popular models like CB750’s and the R series airheads. It’s hard to know exactly why that is, but if you asked me put together a list of bikes that are best suited for customisation the SR would still sit somewhere at the top of my list. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some new SR builds appearing in my inbox and todays definitely piqued my attention. This bike is the work of Markus Pintzinger from Bangkok based ‘Omega Racer’ and it’s the result of 18 months of hard work and product development. Here’s how it came together…
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The Royal Racer – Kikishop Honda CB500

Issue 10 of Tank Moto magazine has just hit the shelves and we’ve been given the opportunity to publish this exclusive story here on Return of the Cafe Racers. This bike was a collaboration between French motorcycle apparel retailer ‘The Royal Racer’ and one of our favourite French builders ‘Kikishop Customs’. Just like the Kikishop Suzuki GSXE this Honda CB500 is a rolling work of art adorned in top quality and highly functional modifications. Here’s how the story went…
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‘Tigra’ Honda CBX 250 – Lucky Custom

‘Tigra’ Honda CBX 250 – Lucky Custom

Written by Martin Hodgson.

The majority of the world was largely ignorant of the passion for motorcycles that exists in Argentina until a small film called The Motorcycle Diaries was released in 2004. It tells the story of the legendary Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado riding their 1939 Norton 500 as they adventure throughout South America. Not only do you begin to realise the importance of a motorcycle to young Argentinian men as a rite of passage but discover that little repair shops dot the landscape. So nine years ago to feed this appetite for motorcycles, Lucas Layum founded

The Phantom – Clockwork Honda CB750

There’s an elegant beauty to Clockwork.  Dozens of handcrafted components working together with micrometer precision, in a movement that is more than the sum of its parts. Gazing at the motorcycles painstakingly pieced together by Samuel Guertin it’s little wonder he adopted the name of “Clockwork Motorcycles” for his Montreal based workshop.

We’ve featured the work of Clockwork Motorcycles before and once again it’s another of Samuel’s timeless CB750s that have caught our attention. Simple, uncluttered, and exceptionally pretty. As Samuel explains it, this end result is a long way from its origins…
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