Friday, December 30, 2016

Harold Dean

Tues.,  I was informed that Harold Dean had died.  I mentioned in my last post that I had stopped by to see him at the rehab facility that he was in, but he was asleep and I didn't wake him.  I left him a note and just before I got back to Doug and Amy's house he called and told Amy that I should have awoken him.  Now I feel a little guilty and sorry that I didn't as I won't get a chance to talk to him again.
I mentioned that I was riding the 175 C-Z that he had given Doug.  Years before, when Doug was visiting Harold (who lived 5 or so miles away) and checking out his extensive bike collection, Doug commented that his first bike was a 175 C-Z.  A few days later, Harold dropped off the bike and told Doug that it was his.  Doug and Harold had know each other maybe 20 years before when they both worked at New Haven Tweed airport, but had lost touch until Doug and Amy moved to Haddam.  Harold was a pilot and had once flow to Alaska in his Cessna with a Triumph Tiger Cub in the plane, to get around on the land.
Harold had been a top Enduro rider in the 60s and had been sponsored by Jawa/C-Z.  He used to drive down to there warehouse, first in Long Island City and later in Plainview, N.Y., pick up bikes and deliver them to dealers in the Northeast.
He had an extensive collection of bike that included many BMWs, mostly airhead twins, but at least one single, a couple of Sprints, a couple to Tiger Cubs, a late '40s 125 C-Z, a Horex Regina, and a Hercules 175? 250? 7 speed enduro, among others.  He had recently given his very close friend Al Anderson his '31 Henderson 4 cylinder.
Harold rode into his last (85th) year and often accompanied us on the Tiddler Tours with his cheater BMW Twin.  But, when you're in your  80s, you can ride what ever you damn well please.
It's the end of an era and Harold will be missed.

T-day weekend

I've been nagged about not having posted about our family's ancient Thanksgiving tradition of putting the bikes away for the winter.  The tradition involves running each bike, then draining the oil and fuel, then lowering it into the basement.
First up was the '67 Moto Guzzi Stornello ISDT Regolarita that Douglas has started to restore for Pete Swider.  Pete's dad, Mike, had used the bike for enduros and had modified it extensively.  The plan is for Doug to tidy it up and bring it back close to stock.  They're pretty rare as only 75 of this model were made.  He'll ride it and, if he likes it, will buy it from Pete and, if not, Pete will sell it.
The Certain forks and Suzuki front wheel are among the non standard items

Next was the '65 C-Z 175 which hadn't been run since it we pulled out of the basement last Spring.  There were those who wanted to leave it in the basement all Summer, but I argued 'Why have it if you aren't gong to use it?'  And, I promised to use it.  It's routsheet holder had the sheet from the '15 Roper TT, so I decided I do the Afternoon route.  This was 54 miles on the west side of the river and I added a good 6 miles with a detour to visit Harold Dean, who had given the bike to Doug and Amy, at the rehab facility he's at now.  But Harold was asleep and I decided not to wake him and pushed on.  The C-Z is a great little bike if you're patient--comfortable and with good handling and the brilliant automatic clutch release when one moves the shift lever.  It's not very quick, but I saw 62.2 mph on the bicycle electronic speedo, which is plenty for snotty New England roads.  Just after I got started, I remembered that I had forgotten to check the tire pressure before I left, but it seemed to be handling fine, so I carried on.  When I got back, I checked it and there was 11psi in the front and 20 in the rear.  I guess neither it or I are very sensitive.  We drained the fuel and down it went.
A couple of the iconic stickers on the C-Z

It was a dry, but cool day, and Amy accepted my offer to ride her '71 CL 350 Honda.  All these bike have charging systems that can handle an electric vest and gloves, including the C-Z, which has the Power Dynamo 12V, 150 W system upgrade.  I did check the tire pressure this time.    The CL 350 has been 'CBized' with a low exhaust and disc brake, but I returned it to its roots by taking it on some dirt roads, some quite rough, after adapting to the enormous power after the C-Z.  32.6 miles (including Cedar Swamp Rd.) and it ran perfectly.  Gas and oil drained, it went down the hatch.
The Honda Cl 350 hadn't gotten a lot  of use recently either, as evidenced by the cobwebs on the mudguard

Working my way up the power curve, I next 'rode Amy's '16 Moto Guzzi V7 II Sport Stone.  With Amy being short, the bike has the lower seat, which make the 'bars seem high and wide for me.  But otherwise, it's comfortable and throughly modern.  Being a 90 degree V-twin, it's smooth, but with a pleasant thudding lugging at low revs.  Just under 30 miles and, after draining the oil, but not the gas as we couldn't figure it out with fuel injection and fuel pump, it went down in the basement.
The heart warming scene of a girl and her motor
The next day, I fired up the '53 Moto Guzzi Airone Sport.  I had last used it in the Fall Giro, where it leaked and burnt a tremendous amount of oil, like a gallon over the two days.  Doug left it on his trailer to leak for a couple more weeks, then powerwashed it and put it on some fresh cardboard to leak for another week or so.  So, this was the perfect opportunity to try to figure out where the oil was going.  Shortly after I started it, I noticed the exhaust rocker spindle wiggling back and forth.  So, I just rode it for a mile or two and drained what oil was left in it.  Further inspection found that the rocker spindle bore was wallowed out and oil was definitely leaking from there.  But, I was also missing three rocker cover screws, at least one of which gave direct access to the valve spring chamber and it's oil.  But, this didn't explain the smoke that everyone told me was coming out of the exhaust pipe, rather than off the outside of the pipe.  I pulled the head off and the bore didn't look bad, though full of oil.  Initially, the piston looked good, too but, on closer examination, I saw that the ring land was broken between the top and second ring.
With my beloved Airone Sport.  Amy Roper photo

Sunday, I rode my '59 Horex Resident to the British Iron Association breakfast in Colchester.  After breakfast, back in Haddam, Bill Burke showed up and pulled his trick Sprint out of his van.  We headed to Rich Hosley's shop in Branford, where he said he'd be working on his La Salle.  I was dead reconning and hit the Shore too far east and we had a bit of a tedious slog along Rt.1 and 146 behind some slowpokes.  I actually overshot Rich's shop and we stopped at a gas station to figure out exactly where we were and the best way to get back.  While sitting there idling with my electric vest and gloves plugged in, the Horex motor died.  The motor didn't want to start and when I pulled out the plug, I could see no spark, though it was a bit hard to tell in the sunlight.  Several people stopped to help, but I couldn't get it started.  We called Rich and he drove his van over and we loaded the Horex into it.  When we got it into his shop, I tried starting the Horex again and it fired up.  Odd.  After we had a good smooze, Bill and I decided to head back.  I fired up the Horex and plugged in and waited idling while Bill got organized and started his Sprint.  The Horex died again and we started connecting the dots.  We checked the battery and it was well down.  The 150 W Power Dynamo charging system could keep up with the load of the electric vest, gloves and lights at idle.  So we put a charger on the battery for 15 or so minutes, then started back without me plugging in.  We had a relatively high speed blast towards Haddam and the Horex ran fine, so I plugged back in for the last 5 or so miles.  The Horex got it's fuel and oil drained and it went down.
 In the meantime, Doug had just idled his Guzzi LeMans, Norton Electra, and Benelli 250 getting them hot, then draining the oil.  Eight bikes down in the basement is a little tight, but the winter projects have begun.