November 2008

Allan bought a gray frame Rocket 3.

It appeared to have most of the important bits in place, but as is the usual form, you have to perform the expected maintenance on a recent rebuild to make sure nothing is going to cause a calamity.

Retightening the cylinder head immediately exposed a stripped pillar stud, meaning the thread has pulled out of the alloy cylinder barrel. This is becoming much more a common failure due to the age and number of heating/cooling cycles the alloy has undergone. Still rather a shame that it would show up on a new build though. Suggests that quality control was hardly the main aim.

Having checked that nothing was life-threatening the bike was put into service to see what else might present itself.

It was noticed that there was some oil smoke when in use, and the clutch had a very heavy action. Otherwise, it looked good even though some of the gray paint was flaking off the frame.

The occasion of the 2009 Triples Run saw the bike in action with another of Allan's Rocket 3's, a bronze coloured black frame MkII. A very tasty pair indeed.

In January 2011 it was decided to pull the gray frame down and repair the barrel and smoking issues. Removing the head showed it to have had new valve guides fitted, but of the type which required seals. There were none. So I fitted some.

As the barrels were off they were repaired by fitting oversize pillar bolts either side of the centre exhaust port.

The oil rings that were fitted were cast iron types which have long been considered as a liability, and generally only used as a cost-cutting measure.

As I had a set of standard CR3 scraper type rings they would go in at the same time.

And then it happened.

The Canterbury earthquakes that changed everyone's lives forever. All the parts of this bike that were sitting on the bench ended up on the floor. Stuff got scooped up and boxed and sent off to temporary accommodation anywhere we could find it. It was 6 months before I got it all back and attempted to reassemble the BSA. I managed to find every last nut, bolt and washer.

Meantime it had been decided that the bronze colour scheme would go better with the gray frame, and the red better with the black frame - so that all changed.

The final manoeuvre in my care was to install 4 volt coils on the Boyer ignition to elicit more signs of life during cold starts. It failed to make a huge change, but must have helped in some way.

Very attractive machine which exhibits no smoke whatsoever.

Still has a heavy clutch though..