Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southern England
Thanked 53 Times in 43 Posts
Old Mechanical Tales
It's cold and wet here today and I've got time on my hands so, in response to Thomas M.Daley's recent comment in another thread about liking to hear tales of mechanical challenges, here we go. I'll start off with the tale of the Honda 400/4 I owned briefly 30 or so years ago.
I was 18 going on 19 in the summer of '83 and through the break from college had a job selling ice cream on a local beach. For over a month the sun shone continuously and being paid commission I made very good money. In just 4 weeks I managed to save the £375 a friend was asking for his 400/4. It wasn't just any 400/4, it had been bored to 500cc and given the full Yoshimura treatment. It was quicker than anything I'd owned up until then but didn't take long to show signs that the previous owners had had the best of it. An oil seal blew, and engine noises got worryingly louder.
I quite easily found a replacement engine for sale in a breakers not too far away and as they had the whole crashed bike I bought the airbox and pipe to return mine to standard. They were still removing the motor from the frame when I arrived and were in a bit of a mess as the junior mechanic had apparently taken the sump off without first draining the oil.
I got the motor home and over the next few days got it and the other parts fitted without scuffing too much frame paint and went for the first ride. It fired up and ran fine. All was well until I changed into third. Nothing. There was no drive there. Fourth, fifth and sixth were there but going back down through the box third was still missing.
The breaker was very apologetic and didn't have another complete good motor but did have a gear cluster. Being 19 and keen I offered to fit it myself. I'd got the motor in and out of the frame once so how hard could it be?
Well as far as I recall it all went quite smoothly. 33 years have dulled my memories of the details but I'm sure I'd remember anything I really struggled with.
Finally I had a running bike. Well, almost. The spoked rear wheel was starting to collapse (too much Yoshimura power?) and as luck would have it a local shop had a set of Super Dream comstar wheels kicking about that they fitted for a reasonable price.
The bike ran well and looked smart but being young I hated the way the performance felt flat after the Yoshi motor so just a few weeks later I part exchanged it for one of the last Yamaha RD350LCs.
Ahhhh, peaky two strokes. If you've never ridden one you won't fully know what I mean but you'll just have to believe me when I say that you've sadly missed out on a rather special chapter of motorcycling history.
Last edited by Keith; 02-13-2018 at 07:30 AM.