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#704981 - 08/14/17 3:24 pm A65L Frame -- Is it bent?  
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TR6Ray Online content
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I wound up with a pile of crusty parts that once was a 1968 BSA 650 Lightning. I am curious about the plate that wraps around the headstock on the frame. This bike got chopped at some point in its history, and has extended stanchions. I thought at first that the plate was added as a stiffener when the rake got changed. A friend who has a number of BSA's tells me that this is an original part of the frame, so maybe the hack who owned it did not change the rake, but merely put in some long tubes.

Anyway, this one looks bent to me, since it sort of pooches out on the LH side, and not on the RH. I have done some searching, but don't find much info on it. What do you BSA people think -- has the frame been tweaked badly to one side?

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
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#704987 - 08/14/17 4:16 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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gavin eisler Online content
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argyll. scotland, uk
A straight edge on the down tubes will show if they are bent , A pair of winding rods , one through the Swing arm pivot, and the other at the rear and or front axles will show if the frame or swinging arm is twisted, , combine with a plumb bob at the headstock to see if all is square.


71 Devimead A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
The poster formerly known as Pod
#705039 - 08/14/17 11:53 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: gavin eisler]  
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Thanks, Gavin. I don't know how soon I'll mess with this thing, if at all, though I guess a straight edge on the down tubes would be a quick check. I'm mainly wondering if it is abnormal for that plate that shrouds the front stem to have a gap on only one side. Also, what would be the purpose of the two small holes in it? Is there supposed to be a S/N plate on there?


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
#705050 - 08/15/17 12:34 am Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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The two small holes maybe anti condensation or drain holes,, the bulge does look a wee bit suspicious, perhaps a front end shunt would do this, hence the non stock front end, the straight edge should show whether the down tubes have curved or not. As well as being a stiffener , the wrap around is a "shame plate " , in that it hides some pretty untidy tube ends, who knows whats under there? i would be tempted to grind off the welds to free the plate and have a good look.


71 Devimead A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
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#705068 - 08/15/17 1:40 am Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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If by "shunt", gavin means a front-end collision, I would agree that that may have bent the gusset. If that's the case, it would also have twisted the steering neck to one side and/or pushed it straight back, thus steepening the steering angle.

Last edited by Mark Z; 08/15/17 1:42 am.

Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
#705099 - 08/15/17 12:33 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: gavin eisler]  
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TR6Ray Online content
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Thanks Gavin and Mark. I did lay a straight edge on the down tubes, and found them to be surprisingly straight. "Shame plate" sounds a little scary, but I can pretty well guarantee that if I grind off the welds, I will destroy whatever is left of this frame. I guess its possible that the plate was made this way. I'm not sure of the purpose of the tab with the hole in it, but the right side doesn't have it. Maybe the plate extends out on the left to position that tab for whatever it does?

[Linked Image]

I took a look through the service, parts, and owners_manuals, but didn't see that tab used specifically. The service_manual shows all the frame dimensions and how to check it on a surface plate, but it doesn't show any detail of that "shame plate". I know a guy who has a 1970 T-Bolt.I'll go take a look to see if that one looks the same way.


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
#705112 - 08/15/17 2:35 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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Au
Key

#705132 - 08/15/17 4:52 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: markoz]  
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Originally Posted by markoz
Key


Bingo! There's my answer. Thank you! Maybe this old derelict bike is worth the effort to rummage up a title. It doesn't really look much like the 650 Lightning I always dreamed of, but there's a lot of it still here. The number on the frame matches the number on the (empty) cases.

[Linked Image]



'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
#705152 - 08/15/17 8:27 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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If you take a piece of string and run it taut from the middle of the steering head nut across the top of the bike to the mid point of the back end of the frame, step back and eyeball how things line up, you will get a pretty good idea whether the frame is bent or not. If it passes that test and you are feeling industrious, take the front end off and stick a broom handle, or something else that is long with a diameter pretty close to the steering head stem, through the neck of the frame. Step away from it and eyeball it, any problems will be pretty evident.

Ed from NJ

#705169 - 08/15/17 11:46 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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Both sides of the gusset (forget that "shame plate" nonsense - yes, it conveniently hides wires & such, but its main purpose is to strengthen a very highly stressed point on the frame) should be flat. Yes, the loop on the left is for the power switch.

A long rod through the steering neck will show whether or not it's vertical left to right, but it won't show if the steering angle is correct. You will have to find out what the correct angle is between the steering neck and downtubes (sorry I don't know what it is) and find some way of measuring it. Some time ago, someone posted a blueprint of the A65 frame, so I know it's out there somewhere.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
#705172 - 08/16/17 12:11 am Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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The 'shame plate' remark was not nonsense, but the plate should have encompassed the whole of that choppered piece of garbage.
The workshop manual has a drawing of the frame with dimensions.

Last edited by NickL; 08/16/17 10:27 pm.


#705180 - 08/16/17 1:55 am Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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Ok Nick, that was a bit harsh; I just wanted to stress that the gusset does serve a function besides hiding some ugly stuff.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
#705199 - 08/16/17 9:19 am Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: Mark Z]  
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Originally Posted by edunham
If you take a piece of string and run it taut from the middle of the steering head nut across the top of the bike to the mid point of the back end of the frame, step back and eyeball how things line up, you will get a pretty good idea whether the frame is bent or not. If it passes that test and you are feeling industrious, take the front end off and stick a broom handle, or something else that is long with a diameter pretty close to the steering head stem, through the neck of the frame. Step away from it and eyeball it, any problems will be pretty evident.

Ed from NJ

Thanks Ed, that sounds doable, and would give a "ballpark" idea. The book shows how to make up a mandrel for checking frame alignment. I suppose anything less is by guess and by golly. Here's the factory recommended tool.

[Linked Image]

But if you go to that much trouble, you wouldn't want to just eyeball it, you are supposed to set the mandrel into a couple of vee blocks on a surface plate, and level the frame up with precision jacks. I don't think I feel quite that industrious. Here is the setup:

[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by Mark Z
Both sides of the gusset (forget that "shame plate" nonsense - yes, it conveniently hides wires & such, but its main purpose is to strengthen a very highly stressed point on the frame) should be flat. Yes, the loop on the left is for the power switch.

A long rod through the steering neck will show whether or not it's vertical left to right, but it won't show if the steering angle is correct. You will have to find out what the correct angle is between the steering neck and downtubes (sorry I don't know what it is) and find some way of measuring it. Some time ago, someone posted a blueprint of the A65 frame, so I know it's out there somewhere.

Mark, you can't really describe this plate as "flat". It is a formed, U-shaped piece that curves around the steering stem. There are some gentle contours on both sides of it to match the neck and down tubes that it encompasses. What originally caught my eye is that the formed plate stands off the steering stem more on the left side than on the right. I now think that it is made that way to allow more room for the ignition switch and related wiring. The easy thing to do is compare it to my buddy's Thunderbolt, but I can't do that till Friday. I will post a picture for comparison if possible.

Like NickL said, there is a drawing of the frame with dimensions included in the workshop_manual. It will not directly tell you the angle between the steering neck and down tubes, although I suppose it could be calculated. The drawing is a little nebulous to say the least. The usual angle that they specify is not the angle between the neck and down tubes, but the rake angle. In this case, I think it is 27°, although the number on the print is faded and hard to read. Measuring the actual angle on the drawing with a protractor, it is drawn closer to 21°, but I believe 27° is the correct angle.

[Linked Image]

Now . . . knowing that angle and accurately measuring that angle on the physical frame are two different matters. (See mandrel and surface plate diagrams above.) The rake angle is measured between the centerline of the neck, and a line drawn perpendicular to the centerline of the engine. Study the drawing for datum points from which to begin your measuring process, then figure out a plan to do the measuring accurately, and you begin to see what I mean. Suddenly, Ed's idea sounds a lot more plausible.

[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by NickL
The 'shame plate' remark was not nonsense, but the plate have encompassed the whole of that choppered piece of garbage.
The workshop manual has a drawing of the frame with dimensions.

Originally Posted by Mark Z
Ok Nick, that was a bit harsh; I just wanted to stress that the gusset does serve a function besides hiding some ugly stuff.

Mark, in this case, "choppered piece of garbage" is pretty accurate. NickL usually says what is on his mind without beating around the bush. Obviously, this old BSA has had a rough life. However, aside from the long stanchion tubes, it doesn't look all that much worse than my TR6R did at one point, and that came out O.K.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

I'll go take a look at that neck plate on the Thunderbolt on Friday.

Ray


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
#705214 - 08/16/17 2:19 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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edunham Offline
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If the frame passes my suggested tests, I suggest that it is probably straight enough to use on the road. These are not high tech machines and I doubt many brand new frames from the factory would be any more than reasonably close to the dimensions on the factory drawings. I wouldn't worry too much about the steering head angle. First, if the neck is bent, you will probably see a hump in the frame backbone. Second, it would be a very unusual front end collision that bent the steering head back without tweaking it to one side or another.
When I got my Velo, it was in bits and pieces and the frame was tweaked from being thrown down the road. I could not afford to send it to a specialist. I straightened everything out using string lines, a four foot level, a large adjustable wrench, a 4' pipe, and a few 2"x4"s. The most difficult part was strapping it down level so that I could get repeatable measurements after applying pressure. I make no claim that my frame's dimensions would match Velo's drawings, but all the bits fit, it goes down the road straight and handles just fine.
Don't let "perfection" get in the way of "good enough."

Ed from NJ

#705251 - 08/16/17 10:25 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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====Don't let "perfection" get in the way of "good enough."====


Absolutely spot on with these old heaps. They were the Ford Cortina of the day not the Aston Martin.
A piece of scaffolding tube and some strong rope can suffice as 'straightening tools' most of the time.
Over the years i've looked at a few new jappers and found swinging arms that have loads of play, forks way out of line etc
the blokes that were riding them never noticed anything untoward, so, i rest my valise.


That's a very nice looking Trophy there Ray.



#705259 - 08/16/17 11:35 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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Mark Z Online content
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Ray wrote: "Mark, you can't really describe this plate as "flat". It is a formed, U-shaped piece that curves around the steering stem. There are some gentle contours on both sides of it to match the neck and down tubes that it encompasses. What originally caught my eye is that the formed plate stands off the steering stem more on the left side than on the right. I now think that it is made that way to allow more room for the ignition switch and related wiring."

I just went down to the garage and checked out the gusset on my A65. A straightedge laid horizontally across the gusset shows that it is perfectly flat for about three inches between where it starts to curve around the steering neck and down tubes. Both sides are exactly the same.

Last edited by Mark Z; 08/16/17 11:39 pm.

Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
#705442 - 08/19/17 12:23 am Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: Mark Z]  
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TR6Ray Online content
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Thanks, Mark. That doesn't bode well for this old heap then. I couldn't go look at the T-bolt today. Planning to go tomorrow.

Ray


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
#705504 - 08/19/17 10:24 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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TR6Ray Online content
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Originally Posted by Mark Z
Ray wrote: "Mark, you can't really describe this plate as "flat". It is a formed, U-shaped piece that curves around the steering stem. There are some gentle contours on both sides of it to match the neck and down tubes that it encompasses. What originally caught my eye is that the formed plate stands off the steering stem more on the left side than on the right. I now think that it is made that way to allow more room for the ignition switch and related wiring."

I just went down to the garage and checked out the gusset on my A65. A straightedge laid horizontally across the gusset shows that it is perfectly flat for about three inches between where it starts to curve around the steering neck and down tubes. Both sides are exactly the same.

Okay, I finally got a chance to look at the steering stem on a normal A65 frame -- a 1970 Thunderbolt that belongs to a friend of mine. It looks the same as the way Mark described his A65. It does not look like the one I have. frown

Knowing this, I would not use this frame until an expert had put it in a jig and inspected it. I think Gavin had a valid point that it would be good to know what has happened underneath that front plate. I don't have a title anyway, so the frame has little or no value. At least now I know.
{Edit: I was giving up on this frame too soon. After reading Allan Gill's post (see below) there's a good chance my frame is just fine!}

Just for reference, here are some comparison pictures of the front plate that wraps around the steering stem and braces it to the frame tubes:

1970 Frame:

[Linked Image]

My Frame:

[Linked Image]

1970 Frame:

[Linked Image]

My Frame:

[Linked Image]

I'll back-burner this pile of parts. It's very rough, but After reading Allan Gill's post (see below), there may be some hope for it yet.

Thanks for the input.

Ray


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
#705750 - 08/22/17 9:01 am Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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Allan Gill Offline
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There are a lot of differences between the pre 67 frames, 67-68 and the 69-70 frames so i wouldn't read too much into that gusset plate.. If you wish I can photograph mine for you and email them to you? (Im not setting up another photobucket/type account) mine is a 68 model also.

However doing all the measurements is really what matters as you know. And I wouldn't say that the Triumph turned out "OK", It turned out a darn sight better than "OK" bigt


beerchug
#705822 - 08/23/17 12:27 am Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: Allan Gill]  
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TR6Ray Online content
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Hi Allan,

Thanks for the offer. I certainly understand your reluctance with picture accounts since the P-bucket fiasco. I'll PM you my email address. I've been admiring your bike for a long time now. It's strange to consider the different paths that your bike and this one have traveled since they left the same factory about 50 years ago, eh?


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
#705861 - 08/23/17 10:27 am Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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Originally Posted by TR6Ray
Hi Allan,

Thanks for the offer. I certainly understand your reluctance with picture accounts since the P-bucket fiasco. I'll PM you my email address. I've been admiring your bike for a long time now. It's strange to consider the different paths that your bike and this one have traveled since they left the same factory about 50 years ago, eh?


Yes the photobucket was a sore point for me when it hit, when you think of all the photos on there (and despite its slow use and plaigued with adverts) we still kept using it.

My 68L had an uncertain past and I could only assume that someone tried racing it, with it having the devimead head, beltdrive and end fed conversion. I can't say I have given it a better future (Although when the racer is built I will return it to a standard US spec bike) but it has been built properly and gives good reliable service (fingers crossed)

I'll be dragging the old girl out of the garage in an hour or so, so I will do some photos then. smile I'd be interested to know how close the SN's are? I found out mine was built in november 67... or was that the bantam crazy


beerchug
#705873 - 08/23/17 12:34 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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Hi Ray, I have uploaded them to the Britbike gallery which should be easier for anyone wishing to view them.

The photos aren't showing it, probably because of the glass black and the camera angle restriction but the shape of the plate or rather belly appearance half way looks to be the same as yours. If you've checked top tube and down tubes then I would say your good to go

Link to photos


beerchug
#705901 - 08/23/17 5:07 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: Allan Gill]  
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Allan,

Thank you very much for jumping in on this topic! Your pictures show it quite clearly. I am amazed. I would have thought there was zero chance that my frame was "normal" after seeing my friend's 1970 T-Bolt. Your pictures tell me that there is a strong chance my frame is O.K. So now I guess I can't just scrap this pile of crap. I'd better do something with it, especially since the case and frame have matching numbers. It still won't happen for a while, but my main concern has been answered.

Next step will be to try and get the cops to check the S/N against their "hot" list. This BSA basket case found its way to me from out of the clear blue sky, and I have no clue about its history. Speaking of S/N, you mentioned wondering how close this bike is to yours. My number is A65LB195_, where I have omitted the final digit. My buddy with the T-Bolt has Roy Bacon's Restoration Guide, which tells me that L=Lightning, and B=1968, and that the starting serial number for each BSA model that year was 101, or A65LB101.

One more frame question, if you don't mind?


On both rear frame rails, it looks like the frame tube has been cut and then welded back together. I assumed this was part of the chopper-izing process. Now, I'm thinking it may have been normal in the world of BSA?

Maybe it was easier to form the two tail-end pieces separately and then weld them to the rest of the frame? The picture from the FSM that I posted earlier seems to show this welded joint on both sides of the frame, though not quite in the same position as on my frame (generic line-art picture error?). I circled the welds I'm talking about:

[Linked Image]

Here are a couple pictures from my rust emporium, with the seat tabs and weld joint positions interchanged:

[Linked Image]

A little closer view of the same thing:

[Linked Image]

Do you have these weld joints on your '68?

Thanks a million, Allan. Virtual beers to you! pint pint pint pint pint pint


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
#706395 - 08/27/17 4:33 pm Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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^^^ {Bump}

Here's a shout out for Allan Gill or anybody else knowledgeable about a 1968 A65L frame. See my last previous post, starting where it says "One more frame question, if you don't mind".


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
#706474 - 08/28/17 2:52 am Re: A65L Frame -- Is it bent? [Re: TR6Ray]  
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Mark Z Online content
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There are no welds there on my '67 or my '70 frame. From a frame construction point of view, there would be no point in having a seam there. My guess is that the frame was cut there (which is not an uncommon "chop" for a solo seat adaptation), and then the ends, possibly from a donor frame, welded back on.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
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