July 2022

This is Gregg's little Duke, and little it certainly is. He told me to take it for a ride when I had sorted the electrical problem, but it is so tiny I figured I would be hard pressed to fit my frame over its frame without swamping it. Like a stepthrough with clipons.

So, time to get to grips with a 6 volt charging system that was repeatedly blowing fuses. I thought at first it might be tail light wiring which had come in contact with the rear tyre, but there was plenty clearance between the two, so unlikely.

Next port of call would be the headlight, as that is a junction for much of the front end wiring. This bike appeared to have a BSA headlight shell of the type which usually features a large rubber boot at the rear. With space being minimal, the boot was not present, and in quick time I found that the wiring had now made contact with the sharp edge of the shell. I repaired the wiring insulation, and fitted a piece of rubber edge trim to discourage it from ever playing this game again.

The ignition key had been lost, so we needed a solution to that, although the bike has self-powered ignition, so he was able to ride it in, but without any niceties like lights or a horn. The horn is fitted in front of the battery, so that needed to come away first, after which the battery was coaxed out by rotating it through 45 degrees. Not a spare cc of space on this thing. After that, a cinch to remove the ignition key.

I was actually able to find a key with the correct profile to fit the lock, but of course it would have been a miracle if it had actually turned.

I decided that I would fit a small bypass switch directly across the wiring on the back of the ignition, and leave the key issue to a key cutter which Gregg could organise. The charged battery went back in, and the other bits reinstated. I also moved the rego label holder from poking up from the right side cover, to share the same mounting bolt as the horn, before it caused somebodys premature castration.

That got us to here. The small toggle switch is perched below the ignition, next to the new battery terminal.

A few trials with the electrics showed that the headlight would initially work a few times, then suddenly cease. A search for the missing voltage led to the battery terminal lugs, so I replaced them both and now we had reliable electrics.

At this point I treated the controls to some overdue lubrication, as the graunching noises were a tad unsettling.

Nothing for it but to button everything up and take it outside for a pic or two.

There is no mistaking the purpose this machine was intended for. Purely function with speed being the main aim.

A very capable front brake on a bike twice the size I imagine, and nice touches like the footpeg and gearlever end which both fold to clear the kickstart action.

If you consider that this 450 desmo engine produces around 30BHP in a tiny frame, the power-to-weight ratio is magnificent. No wonder they "stuck it.." to many larger bikes in the 70's, and even today.

Choice for smaller persons than I..!