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How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? #669715
10/01/16 6:26 pm
10/01/16 6:26 pm
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Magnetoman Online content OP

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For those of you reasonably familiar with rebuilding pre-unit BSA singles, I have a question for you that, let's pretend, is hypothetical. If you knew all of the (used) parts needed to assemble a bitza machine based on a rigid M20 frame with ZB34 engine were jammed onto 6 shelves, along with parts from a half-dozen other ZB and BB 31/32/33/34s (and at least one M20), how long would it take you to piece together a fairly complete bike?

The shelves are labeled with the approximate contents of each (e.g. on one shelf there are "(4) ZB heads, (6) push rod towers, motor mounts, rockers, (10) stamped primary covers, ...") so there's at least some organization to assist finding things, and frames, wheels, an assembled gearbox, and oil & fuel tanks are adjacent to the shelves. Along with just about everything else the engine is completely apart with components mixed with those from a half-dozen other similar engines.

I'm not asking how long to restore the bike, but rather how long to identify needed parts on the shelves that would be functional for this bitza and loosely assemble them onto the frame so if anything was missing you would be able to spot it prior to starting serious work.

So, hypothetically, you walk into the garage at 8:00 am to get started. How many hours or days later would you walk out with an essentially complete ZB34/M20 bitza that is now ready to come apart again to be restored?

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Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669756
10/02/16 7:12 am
10/02/16 7:12 am
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Sydney Australia
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Well it will depend upon how competiant you are at reconising the right bits
I am assuming you will have little trouble with the engine & have a better idea than I about how long that bit will take
Unless there are 2 or 3 of you I would not bother trying to do a dry assembly, holding bits up trying to line up bolts in some one elses garage is going to take a long time, But if the cases are apart then might be doable.
I would go in with some parts diagrams exploded up to a very large size , say A2 at least and lay the parts on the floor as per the diagram.
Get the parts diagrams laminated and then put them on the wall of the shed when you are doing the resto.
I got some blown up to A1 size many years ago and we used them for raffel prizes at club meetings they were very popular and all who ended up with them found them very handy.
The girder M20 primary is about 1" longer than the B series and a bit taller at the back.
B series usually have a valance at the front to cover up the mounting bolts , M series usually do not as it fouls on the breather.
Measure the width of the engine plate mounting brackets at the rear frame and make sure the box you pick is the same width.
The pre-War and some war models were narrower than the post war.
AFAIK the gears are the same width, just the case was smaller.
The grider frame has a longer front town tube than the tele frame.
If the forks are in pieces make sure you get the scroll that goes under the spring they are unobtainium now days and really difficut to fabricate.
You will have to offer up the mudguards to the frame.
If you remember what mine looked like, they are off a plunger & do not actually fit.
If they are correct, the middle stay will be vertical.
Yours will be the 2 piece design , not the hinged one But as this is going to be a rider, get a hinge fitted.
If there is a 38 top clamp with the loops for the rubber mounted bars, buy it they make a massive difference to the comfort level.
Oil tanks are not much of a problem but if you go for the late box with the speedo drive then you need to get the tank with the cut out for the cable otherwise M20's ran the speedo off the front wheel, so there are 2 different front hubs at least.

Without a full dry assembly I rather think you will be driving home in the dark


Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669772
10/02/16 11:44 am
10/02/16 11:44 am
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Posts: 1,157
Lucan ON Canada
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Hi MM
I personally spend more time looking for stuff than actual building. I spend a lot of time looking for bolts. I am not all that organized though. But properly organized dry build I don't think it would take that long, a day. Jeff

Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669774
10/02/16 12:04 pm
10/02/16 12:04 pm
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Posts: 7,174
Laredo (South) Texas, USA
GrandPaul Offline
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120 hours.


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
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Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
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Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669776
10/02/16 12:23 pm
10/02/16 12:23 pm
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Magnetoman Online content OP

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Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
holding bits up trying to line up bolts in some one elses garage is going to take a long time, But if the cases are apart then might be doable.
The horde is in my own garage. It would be easier if located elsewhere since, if it were, the rusty pile of worthless junk... er, I mean, priceless parts wouldn't be tempting me to do this every time I walk by.

Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
I would go in with some parts diagrams exploded up to a very large size , say A2 at least and lay the parts on the floor as per the diagram.
This (and others you made) is an excellent suggestion. Thanks.

Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
Without a full dry assembly I rather think you will be driving home in the dark
Originally Posted by jfligg
I don't think it would take that long, a day. Jeff
As I said above, it's in my own garage. Unfortunately, this thread already has given me an idea that could cause me to pursue this folly.

To digress for a moment, twenty years ago I spent a day with the late Bob Shantz at Domiracer/Accessory Mart. A lot of his inventory had come from purchasing old dealer stock, not all of which came neatly identified. At one point when we were walking around the warehouse we came across a jumbled pile of parts on the floor. He said that whenever he or his main employee Jonathan White walked by it they were supposed to take the time to identify at least one of the parts and put it into inventory. Rather than the daunting task of trying to identify everything in one sitting this made the task manageable, although spreading it out over months or years. Also, something one of them might see in the meantime in the course of their normal work could trigger recognition of a previously unrecognized part. End of digression.

I have a 2'x4' rolling assembly stand which for several years has held only a bare Matchless G15/45 frame (all the parts for which are in boxes on shelves). Since I have no delusions that I will start on it for at least several more years, I could swap it for the M20 frame. Assuming "after dark" or "a day" estimates translate to ~12 hours, if I spent only ~1 hour/week identifying parts from the shelves and moving them to the stand, it could be done by Christmas. Thanks (I think...), for seeding this idea.

Another digression: My interest in doing this can be traced to having rebuilt the magneto and doing the wiring of a B34/M20 bitza for a friend earlier this year. Riding that bike before shipping it to him was a thrill unlike that with other motorcycles. The Gold Star cams in the ZB34 engine gave it loads of acceleration, and with the rigid frame and girder forks bouncing up and down in my field of view, 20 mph felt like 60. Plus, it looks great in an Industrial Revolution way. [Linked Image]
The bitza had been built by someone whose widow sold me my BB and Catalina Gold Stars, and the parts filling the shelves in my garage came from the same source. The guy was an OCD "collector" of pre-unit singles and parts, leaving his widow with a dozen complete bikes and parts from many more. A friend had sold the bikes and all the valuable parts for her (e.g. Gold Star heads and cylinders) but still had a lot of much-less-valuable items to deal with. Since it takes as much time to list and ship a "Gold Star head" as it does an "unknown rusty part probably from a B33 or M20") I told him that when he reached the point that the cost/benefit of listing the remaining items on eBay no longer made sense, to decide on a lump-sum price for the remainder that was fair to the widow and I'd take it all. This resulted in my current quandary.

Originally Posted by GrandPaul
120 hours.
If you're right it would be (especially) foolish for me to start on this. But, although I've never kept track of hours (e.g. in piecing together my 1957 Spitfire) I think you're overly pessimistic. That said, the "rule" for evaluating the competence of possible consultants is to believe the one who says a project will cost the most and take the longest.

Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669780
10/02/16 12:41 pm
10/02/16 12:41 pm
Joined: Feb 2008
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New Jersey USA
Tridentman Online content

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In my view---about 20 hours.
Based on:
-- It is you doing it and you know your way around these bikes.
-- It is in your garage so you know where the "missing widget" is likely to be.
-- My experience in doing something similar many years ago with a BSA pre unit twin.
-- A minimum shift time of four hours. IME it takes 10-15 minutes to get into the "groove" so periods of less than several hours are not very productive.
Just my two centsworth and best of luck with the project (the fact that you have posted this thread means that you have decided to do it and are looking for confirmation from others--this confirmation is hereby granted!).

Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Tridentman] #669781
10/02/16 1:18 pm
10/02/16 1:18 pm
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Magnetoman Online content OP

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Originally Posted by Tridentman
-- A minimum shift time of four hours. IME it takes 10-15 minutes to get into the "groove" so periods of less than several hours are not very productive.
For years I've told my students that if they work 40 hours/week they will make no progress at all toward their degree. It takes that many hours to have coffee, have lunch, repair broken equipment, read the mail, talk with friends, call suppliers, fill out purchase orders, etc., at which point they've not done any actual research. Based on the first 40 hours not accomplishing anything that counts toward their actual progress, someone who works 50 hours will make 2x the progress of someone who works 45, and 60 hours will make 4x the progress. Unfortunately for the students who don't believe me, my advice to them is based on years of experience.

As for the bitza, my hope is there won't be any loss of 10-15 minutes. I'll only work on it when taking breaks from whatever else I'm doing in the garage, so those wasted 10-15 min. segments for each garage visit will come from whatever project I'm "really" working on, not the bitza. To some extent, gathering bitza parts will fill the 10-15 min. that otherwise would be wasted. Or so he optimistically/unrealistically deludes himself...


Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669786
10/02/16 3:07 pm
10/02/16 3:07 pm
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New Jersey USA
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Actually the 10-15 minutes refers to "getting into" any one project--although I would accept the argument that the time increases as one gets older (at least that is my excuse!).
Otherwise I agree with you---particularly the delusional bit! (Brit humor).

Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669792
10/02/16 4:38 pm
10/02/16 4:38 pm
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Well in my shed it will take till chrismass to make space to lay out the frame sick
And bring I have the retentive memory of a gold fish and ,, umm what was I saying, oh yeah that's it get side tracked at the drop of a hat there is no chance of me doing as you intend.
But I will offer another suggestion.
As each bit is found, mark it off the parts diagram , put a coloured spot sticker on it and slip it into a box near the bike stand that way you will not have to find parts in any particular order.
If you have not already done so, download & print out the Stainless Fasteners BSA fastener file and before you start, mark all the bolts on the diagram with their sizes I set the depth gauge on my verniers to length when looking for a specific sized bolt in a box of bolts ( & I do have a few of those kicking around )


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Trevor
Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: GrandPaul] #669794
10/02/16 5:34 pm
10/02/16 5:34 pm
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Magnetoman Online content OP

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Originally Posted by GrandPaul
120 hours.
120 hours, hah! The photograph shows how far I got in 90 minutes and, as anyone can plainly see, it's essentially done...

[Linked Image]

Trevor, don't look too closely, as I did this today mostly as a proof-of-principle for myself. Rather than, say, trying to rummage through 50 lbs. of fork internals at the back of a shelf I grabbed what was easiest. The same for the oil tank and mudguards (and fuel tank). In all cases there are plenty more where they came from, including the front half of the hinged rear mudguard. Also, in doing this I discovered one of the two barrels I have is for a 500.

Interestingly, there was a plunger ZB34 on eBay until earlier today that was less complete than this one already is. With over a day to go before it was supposed to end it was already over $1500.

Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669806
10/02/16 7:16 pm
10/02/16 7:16 pm
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argyll. scotland, uk
gavin eisler Online content
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Nearly there, I spat my dram out when I saw the pic. Nice one.
Nuts and bolts ?


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Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669813
10/02/16 8:45 pm
10/02/16 8:45 pm
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Tridentman Online content

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90 minutes--nice one MMan!
But the old saying is that the devil is in the detail---like small brackets, fasteners etc.
IMHO that will take you exactly 18 1/2 hours giving a total of 20 hours!

Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669816
10/02/16 8:49 pm
10/02/16 8:49 pm
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Sydney, Oz
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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
Originally Posted by GrandPaul
120 hours.
120 hours, hah! The photograph shows how far I got in 90 minutes and, as anyone can plainly see, it's essentially done...

[Linked Image]

Just needs finishing...

Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Shane in Oz] #669823
10/02/16 9:54 pm
10/02/16 9:54 pm
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Magnetoman Online content OP

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Originally Posted by gavin eisler
Nuts and bolts ?
Originally Posted by Tridentman
the devil is in the detail---like small brackets, fasteners etc.
I'm in pretty good shape with fasteners. I have a cabinet with maybe a half-dozen bikes' worth of them in drawers, sorted by dia. and somewhat by length (although, BSF, BSW, and CEI are mixed together), plus one drawer filled with "special fasteners." Since it's a bitza A/F fasteners will be fine for many purposes, and I'm in good shape with those, too. As for small brackets, there's a box I labeled "small brackets" when I organized things on the shelving unit although I didn't look in it today. Mudguard brackets are in a pile on another shelf.

Originally Posted by Tridentman
IMHO that will take you exactly 18 1/2 hours giving a total of 20 hours!
A large box holds the pieces of a half-dozen clutches and already I can see that piecing together a matching clutch from the contents is going to be one of the more time-consuming tasks. There's still more to do, but all of it should take an additional 18 hours, making your 20 hour estimate widely off the mark.

Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669831
10/02/16 10:55 pm
10/02/16 10:55 pm
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should = shouldn't?

Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669833
10/02/16 11:14 pm
10/02/16 11:14 pm
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If you want to use girders that is the wrong frame.
They will fit but there will be a big hole between the frame & front wheel and it will handle funny under braking.'
Hold still forget that thre is no braking on those wheels what was I thinking. laughing
The jelly bean box does not fit with the girder engine plates, from memory you can not get to the 3 rear nuts
The give away for the plates is the spacing of the saddle tube bolts, girders are wide, teles are close and the holes are CEI cut into the forged lugs.

A plunger guard in a rigid frame ( as per my bike ) will not mate up with the frame behind the oil tank so will be able to pivot about the rear axel which is why I had those funny brackets under the seat springs and the gearbox filler tube misses the indentation in the guard and fouls when it gets towards the back.

On the subject of the seat, the center bolt will be flogged out oval at each end.
I drilled mine out ( remember it is a forged bracket ) then turned a bush down to fit, cut it in 1/2 welded each side to mounting plate for the seat then filed down the joining faces so the 2 halves just touched when the plates just touched the side of the frame bracket. This stops the seat swinging left right at the nose so it only moves un & down at the back, a lot more comfortable.

If the only bum on the bike is yours you will get away with it but if you put a pillion on the seat pad the middle stays will bend ( weight dependant ) unles they are dead vertical

90 minutes well spent if you have another 90 minutes I have a C10L & B2 in boxes that I would love to ge the far on as i was hoping to have one or the other ready for the 2018 international.

Last edited by BSA_WM20; 10/02/16 11:16 pm.

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Trevor
Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: BSA_WM20] #669835
10/03/16 12:07 am
10/03/16 12:07 am
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Magnetoman Online content OP

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Originally Posted by Tridentman
should = shouldn't?
= should. But, after today's 90 minutes of activity things are going to slow down and those 19-some total hours -- way less than the ridiculous 20 hours you estimated -- are going to be spread out over upcoming months.

Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
If you want to use girders that is the wrong frame.
I'd love to have girders on a bike like this, but all I have are telescopic components and they'll do just fine.

The aspect of this bitza project that is particularly fun is piecing together a functional bike from whatever is on the shelves (i.e. not from a single bike I disassembled myself) without any concern for correctness (although, not a rat bike).

Last edited by Magnetoman; 10/03/16 12:15 am.
Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669854
10/03/16 6:33 am
10/03/16 6:33 am
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Brisbane, Australia
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My son and I use a term "three-dimensional jig-saw puzzle" usually for wheel building. Equally appropriate here. I like jig-saw puzzles. smile


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Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: BSA_WM20] #669908
10/03/16 4:33 pm
10/03/16 4:33 pm
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Magnetoman Online content OP

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Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
I would go in with some parts diagrams exploded up to a very large size , say A2 at least and lay the parts on the floor as per the diagram.
This morning I scanned 8 appropriate pages from the parts books dealing with ZB33 and ZB34 engines and M20 frames, cropped them to near the black frames with Photoshop, and took the jpgs to the quick copy center in the building where I had lunch. Photocopies on 11"x17" paper (i.e. ~75% enlargement of the actual images) are 30 cents each. Anything larger requires their large-format plotter, with a minimum charge of $24 each. I left there carrying 8 photocopies. The size of the images on the photocopies is more than sufficient for present purposes so I'm not going to bother looking for cheaper, larger enlargements.

Because of the components I have the bitza will have a ZB34 bottom end, ZB33 top end, and M20 frame. Everything else will be whatever is on the shelves that fits and is in best condition.

As the earlier photograph shows, right now it looks like the remains of an exploded airliner the FAA has pieced back together. Floor space is at a premium so it sits on a rolling stand that is very easy to pull into the working area when adding parts, and shove back out of the way when I'm working on something else, leaving the floor space free.

Originally Posted by BrizzoBrit
"three-dimensional jig-saw puzzle" ... Equally appropriate here.
Indeed it is.

Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #669958
10/04/16 5:13 am
10/04/16 5:13 am
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What ?
No large format printer /plotter at work ?
Need to find someone in architecture with the right past time.


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Trevor
Re: How long to assemble a bitza pre-unit single? [Re: Magnetoman] #670017
10/04/16 3:15 pm
10/04/16 3:15 pm
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For me to find 20 hours to assemble this puzzle over the next few months is one thing, but it would need at least 10-20x that long to then restore it to good condition. Because I have other projects and time commitments, once it is assembled it will sit complete, but unrestored for the foreseeable future.

Although I have no intention of selling it, a few recent eBay listings have made me curious what such a bike is worth. When I'm done it will be more complete, and in no worse condition, than this bike that reached $1500 before the auction was terminated a day early.

Or this one that sold for $2800 in July.

So, what are your guesses/estimates of what this M20, B33, B34 hybrid bike in complete form would sell for on eBay?


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