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No luck coordinating schedules with my wife today, so instead of a shakedown ride on the Ariel I used the time to, again, put away the box of Ariel special tools (which probably jinxed the Ariel) and consider possibilities for how to reconfigure the garage for my next project (which, if the tools didn't jinx the Ariel, making plans probably did).

There's also the issue of what will be my next project. Specifically, whether to jump right into a huge one that has been waiting for 30 years for me to find time, or first see what brought the Matchless G80 to a halt a couple of years ago, or finish the BSA Spitfire Scrambler and "Alloy Clipper" projects before starting on the major one.

The major contenders for attention are the Big Project and the Matchless, with me leaning 60/40 toward the BP. It's not exactly an embarrassment of riches, but more like an embarrassment of decrepit metal. I'll be very interested in learning what I decide to do.

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HI All,
Shane,
Yes, this past week or so has been largely overcast with showers. The weather pattern has changed a lot here in recent years to cooler and wetter !!

Gavin,
Some years ago when We did some bike touring in Scotland we hit the hottest week of weather in a long time
What do you do with all the warm biking gear that cannot be stored on the bike when its nudging 30c? Sweat !!
Had a great time though

MM,
Happy test ride!!

John

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Hopefully the BP is ancient and can capture the interest. The other postwar stuff is just the sort of thing you do to keep your hand in. The world really isn’t in desperate need of yet another Matchless or BSA but an interesting BP of something at least prewar if not proper vintage is altogether different.
C’mon, what is it? Don’t keep us in suspense.

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For the one or two days like that, I have one piece leathers with vents, they are not ideal, orange and kevlar belstaffs, out after 19:30 for quieter roads.and the football is on. Then spend a morning cleaning off bug splat..
Nice choice of next projects, have fun.


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So what exactly is it that keeps you from the BP for 30 yrs? Some sort of trauma? Whatever it is…. get over it.

#hypocrisy

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Originally Posted by Villiers
The world really isn’t in desperate need of yet another Matchless
Counting the Ariel, I have four large British singles of various configurations to ride, so it's not like I "need" the Matchless running. But, it served me well for over forty years, until it didn't, so it's a shame not to fix it.

Originally Posted by Villiers
an interesting BP of something at least prewar if not proper vintage is altogether different.
C’mon, what is it? Don’t keep us in suspense.
It's prewar, but that would be Korea not II. Actually, it was BS when I wrote BP. BS, as in Black Shadow.

To the best of my knowledge a total rebuild down to the last nut and bolt, like that of the Ariel, of a Vincent Black Shadow has yet to be documented anywhere in print or on the web, so there's a "need" for it. However, although there are different pros and cons to posting my Total BS™ rebuild here or on the Vincent Owners Club site, I'm strongly leaning toward the latter.

As indicated by the 1.15M views, content of the type in this Ariel thread attracts readers. However, it takes a significant amount of time to write the material in a way that people want to read it. For example, of the 724 threads in the Projects forum, there are only 24 (3.3%) with more than 100k views, and the fact that 21% of those "high view" threads are by just one person (me) shows that not many people spend the time that's necessary to document their projects in ways that generate significant readership. Reading about projects on BritBike is free entertainment; writing about them is unpaid work.

That said, I do get payback for the time and effort for that content creation in the form of helpful comments by a relatively small number of people, for which I'm grateful. However, there are more people who are in a position to give helpful comments about the internal workings of Vincents on the VOC site than there are on BritBike. Unfortunately, their 'Projects' forum is in the members-only portion of the website, for which club membership is the price of admission.

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I call BS.


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Originally Posted by Hugh Jörgen
I call BS.
"British Single", or "Brough Superior" ?


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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
BS, as in Black Shadow.

To the best of my knowledge a total rebuild down to the last nut and bolt, like that of the Ariel, of a Vincent Black Shadow has yet to be documented anywhere in print or on the web, so there's a "need" for it. However, although there are different pros and cons to posting my Total BS™ rebuild here or on the Vincent Owners Club site, I'm strongly leaning toward the latter.
Only you can decide what to do but my opinion is to go for the BPBS

Originally Posted by Magnetoman
............content of the type in this Ariel thread attracts readers............. However, it takes a significant amount of time to write the material in a way that people want to read it.
Originally Posted by Magnetoman
Reading about projects on BritBike is free entertainment; writing about them is unpaid work.
Originally Posted by Magnetoman
That said, I do get payback for the time and effort for that content creation in the form of helpful comments by a relatively small number of people, for which I'm grateful. However, there are more people who are in a position to give helpful comments about the internal workings of Vincents on the VOC site than there are on BritBike. Unfortunately, their 'Projects' forum is in the members-only portion of the website, for which club membership is the price of admission.
Again only you can decide but my opinion is to do it on the Vincent site because, as you say, it takes a large investment of effort to write these threads so I think you will get a better return for that investment there. I am not saying you wont get a return on here but I bet the BPBS will have a few quirks that the people over on the other site will know more about than on here.

Great job on the Ariel, I cant wait for you to test ride it. Again.

John

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Originally Posted by George Kaplan
do it on the Vincent site because, as you say, it takes a large investment of effort to write these threads so I think you will get a better return for that investment there.
Although there's a certain amount of BS information posted on Britbike, not much of it is about a Vincent BS...

Originally Posted by George Kaplan
I cant wait for you to test ride it.
Me neither. One thing or another keeps getting in the way but, as has been the case for several days, it still looks like that ride will happen mañana.

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As MMan is aware I bought a Vincent last year.
As I am not one for BS I bought the other variant— the fast one if I remember my schoolboy French.
Seriously— I joined the VOC and frequently visit the club forum.
There is an absolute wealth of information and knowledge on there— and I have to say it— much more so than Vincent info on Britbike.
So my vote for your BS restore would be to do it on the VOC forum.
Just my two cents worth of course.

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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
....Reading about projects on BritBike is free entertainment; writing about them is unpaid work.....
Which forum pays the best?
Originally Posted by Magnetoman
.....However, there are more people who are in a position to give helpful comments about the internal workings of Vincents on the VOC site....
Who knows, maybe those VOC folk will decide to spend a little time slumming over here. I bet they would if it's interesting.
Originally Posted by Magnetoman
Unfortunately, their 'Projects' forum is in the members-only portion of the website, for which club membership is the price of admission.
I don't see how you are going to achieve your typical blowout numbers from behind a paywall. Methinks your loyal rabble would just say no.

And you can't nominate us into cheapie memberships because we don't live at your address.

So maybe the question is.... Do you want to be a prince among knaves......or just one more swell among the nobles. Tough choice.

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BS. BS. BS.

Regarding shakedown ride, wouldn't this be a good opportunity to give the trailer a shakedown run, with the Ariel inside?

As for knavery, you know the answer to Stuart's not-so-rhetorical question.

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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
I don't see how you are going to achieve your typical blowout numbers from behind a paywall.
Traffic that a thread generates helps a site, not the writer. What helps me are the number of useful comments.

Originally Posted by Magnetoman
Do you want to be a prince among knaves......
Although I originally wrote it would be a BP, as in big project, it's a Black Shadow (BS)...

[Linked Image]

...not a Black Prince (BP).

[Linked Image]

The BP model came later. I don't believe there was a Vincent Knave, but I should double-check on that to be sure...

Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Which forum pays the best?
That's exactly the point. Since cash isn't on offer, my payment for writing is in the form of helpful responses to my posts. The VOC site has had 138k posts, which is far fewer than the number on BritBike. However, the figure that is relevant is that 62k of those posts are in the VOC forum devoted to technical advice for post-War Vincents, whereas the Britbike Vincent forum has had a total of just 1.3k posts. For those who don't have calculators handy, that's a factor of 48× in favor of the VOC.

Originally Posted by Tridentman
There is an absolute wealth of information and knowledge on there— and I have to say it— much more so than Vincent info on BritBike.
Interestingly, the VOC 'Projects' forum is fairly new, with only two threads in it so far, both of which are basically archived rather than active. So, there's a good chance a new thread posted there would generate a fair amount of interest. In any case, where best to post my Total BS™ rebuild thread does seem pretty clear.

Originally Posted by NYBSAGUY
wouldn't this be a good opportunity to give the trailer a shakedown run, with the Ariel inside?
Other than scheduling, the only obstacle to the shakedown run is the heat (it was 108 ℉ yesterday). Getting the trailer hooked up and loaded (and then unhooked and unloaded) would just add to the time spent in the sun. I should say that I'm only planning on a ~5-mile run. If it passes that without anything significant arising, I'll park the Ariel and swap places with the BS so I can start on it.

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Technically BS is the reader’s digest version. It’s actually TBSTVHRDSR. Which is technically a Rapide with porous crankcases.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]4E572B75-C6C7-4221-8668-8274F3AE1171 by First Last, on Flickr

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I don't blame you for choosing to document the BS restoration on the VOC website, especially as it's a site dedicated to Vincents, so will likely draw plenty of useful comments from other owners.

I wouldn't even mind paying the £6 nominated membership fee, if only I knew someone to nominate me. If I actually owned a Vincent I would probably join anyway and pay the full fee, but since the price of a basic Comet in need of major restoration is way more than I can afford at present, that way is looking doubtful.

Another option might be to purchase some obscure model like the Amanda Watercraft or industrial engine, which would at least earn me the kudos of being a Vincent owner, and then I could post annoying comments on your restoration.

More details of the Amanda Water Scooter Here

[video:youtube]
[/video]

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Originally Posted by Cyborg
Which is technically a Rapide with porous crankcases.
If you can't fix it, feature it. And charge extra for having plugged the leaks with black paint.

Originally Posted by gunner
I wouldn't even mind paying the £6 nominated membership fee, if only I knew someone to nominate me.
That's no problem. If you happen to know anyone who lives at the same address as you, just get them to join and you will qualify for the discounted nominated member rate, saving you £30. Even better, if you move out of the UK, doing the same thing will save you even more, £36.

Originally Posted by gunner
Another option might be to purchase some obscure model...
Unfortunately, the name 'Vincent' adds quite a bit to the price of those obscure models.

Originally Posted by gunner
since the price of a basic Comet in need of major restoration is way more than I can afford at present
For what it's worth, ignoring technicalities like net present value and inflation, the Black Shadow I bought 30 years ago, in need of major restoration, was a bargain. And, had I not bought it, my wife just would have squandered the money on other things (home repairs, shoes for the children, books and supplies to educate them, ...).

On the subject of price, in 1950 a new Black Shadow retailed for $1,185, the most expensive BSA, a Road Model Gold Star, for 30% less at $827.96, and a 650 cc Triumph Thunderbird for 42% less at $687.48 (plus tax and shipping from the East Coast for all three). Interestingly, what were 30–40% differences when new are factors of 4–6× today.

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I confess to some disappountment.
The Ariel project interested me because it was a rebuild involving a non-negotiable deadline for completion then a severe test of your work over a set route to a fixed time table (the Cannonball).
We then had a postmortem to find out why various things happened and shown how they were resolved.
To complete the cycle needs another Cannonball to prove the latter work whereupon the Ariel can go into honourable retirement regardless of the outcome.

I have mixed feelings about the Cannonball. In some ways i see it as a good proving run but a goodly part of me is not enthusiastic about a diet of pulled pork and being a performing seal at H-D dealrships. It's not a high price to pay but I get very grumpy when tired (so my wife tells me) and wouldn't want to be the Cannonballs known PITA entrant.

So, is the Ariel project going full circle or are you content?

As for the BS? It was all down hill at Vincent once they stopped making the Model 'W' but you'd expect me to say that wouldn't you.

.

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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
In any case, where best to post my Total BS™ rebuild thread does seem pretty clear.



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Whatever you decide, I hope the restoration goes well, and I might even join the VOC to see how it's progressing.

When it's finished I'm fully expecting a series of high-speed runs including a Rolly Free impersonation, bathing suit, and cap.


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Originally Posted by Villiers
To complete the cycle needs another Cannonball to prove the latter work whereupon the Ariel can go into honourable retirement regardless of the outcome…. So, is the Ariel project going full circle or are you content?
Maybe I've written this here before(?), but even so...

The year before the 2018 Cannonball my subsequent-year Cannonball partner Tom and I spent a week riding two of my Gold Stars across a large portion of south Texas in a sadly now-ended British Singles Ride that had been organized for a number of years by Vincent owner Alan Johncock. During the week, we covered around one-third the miles of the Cannonball in half the time, so at some point I asked Tom, who had ridden two previous Cannonballs, if the experiences were somewhat similar. He smiled and said, not at all. He was right.

Up at the crack of dawn, breakfast in the lobby of a budget motel, pack suitcase, load it in the U-Haul, hit the road before 8am at a timed start for ~250 miles navigating a set route with timed stops, stop for whatever food that can be found for lunch (or, pulled pork at a mandatory stop at a H-D dealership), check into the next motel, unload suitcase, do bike maintenance, eat whatever food that can be found for dinner (or, pulled pork at a H-D dealer...), sleep, up at the crack of dawn.... It's a very interesting experience, and I'm very happy I did it, but two weeks of it takes a toll on man as well as machine.

Anyway, enough time may change my mind, but three years hasn't been enough to decide to do the Cannonball again. However, I really like riding the Ariel. So, in its future will be trips around the Southwest after hauling it to interesting locations along with a Gold Star or two to entertain a few friends and me in self-organized "events" that will be more like the leisurely days on the British Singles Ride than the scheduled days on the Cannonball.

The Cannonball revealed five failures that I can think of:

1. Timing slipped
Solved by a drop of Loctite.

2. Two exhaust guides wore
Solved, I expect, by using Stellite to repair divot that wore through the case hardening on the rocker, resulting in considerable side thrust on the valve and guide. Plus, Ni-Resist cast iron replacement guide.

3. Exhaust seat receded
Solved, I expect, by installing Kibblewhite's most robust, powdered-metal, seat.

4. Leaking gearbox
Solved, I expect, by installing a sealed bearing.

5. Loose drive-side bearing
Solved, I hope, by using a modified metric roller bearing that will allow angular misalignment due to crankshaft flex.

I have a high degree of confidence the first four have been solved. I expect the fifth has been solved as well, but can't be as certain of that. Only time will tell.

As for the Vincent, I started the rebuild thread on the VOC site yesterday, and my decision to post it there was quickly affirmed by the appearance of 12 comments and 13 'likes'. The VOC has the right audience for it.

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Returning to a much earlier topic, I've spent a fair amount of time trying to determine the optimum roughness a valve guide should have. The ever-helpful Mike Perry of Kibblewhite deserves credit for an exchange of useful emails, but he's not responsible for anything I write below. All roughness values are rms.

As background, in an FAA-approved bulletin Continental specifies a maximum 63 µ" for intake guides installed in one of their aircraft engines during overhaul, and 125 µ" for exhaust guides. The Kibblewhite catalog says cast iron guides should be honed to 33 µ" or better.

Sunnen supplies 280-grit stones with their Honall valve guide hone, which a table in their catalog says will result in 12 µ" in cast iron and 33 µ" in bronze. Evidence is that bronze guides can perform well even if smoother than cast iron, and 500 grit stones can achieve ~12 µ" in them, which is what Sunnen's data says should be achievable with stones of that grit.

Anyway, based on what I've been able to find, my opinion is that cast iron guides should be honed with 280-grit stones, but bronze guides could benefit from 500-grit. Even without an instrument to measure the resulting roughness, using these stones should give the desired results. Roughness in the range 12–16 µ" for both types of guides should result in the best possible performance and longest life that can be expected in an air-cooled motorcycle engine.

Based on the above, I now have on order a set of 500-grit stones for my Honall, to have on hand if I have to work with bronze guides in the future.

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I suspect my hobby to be more light engineering than motorcycle but the early motorcycle world neatly encapsulates all that fascinates me about it. I think you have successfully captured this with the Ariel plus Cannonball providing the proof of the pudding.

The whole exhaust valve saga is a case in point. For years I have circled around the replacement modern piston in an old bike question. To fit or not to fit an oil control ring in a total loss oiling system merely because the modern piston has the extra a groove. Whether I do or don't how can I decide it's a good move or not. I know I have sticky exhaust valve issues from carbon and muck build up on my total loss Model R Matchless but wiil an oil control ring cure that at the expense of some other problem? I've successfully resolved my sticky inlet valve issue, do I need to worry about the sticky exhaust valve when it is really just a nuisance value problem.

Along comes this Ariel rider with the same issue who enters a measured and timed endurance run. He's fitted an oil control ring. He's running my experiment! Whacko. He clarifies my suspicions that fitting an oil ring cuts out even that smidgen of lubrication to the exhaust valve and guide and is Not A Good Thing. In my mind he also demonstrates that pushing an unlubricated valve down an unlubricated guide in a hot environment is detrimental to the rocker gear so it wears excessively. He also takes great care to record and publish what he has done to resolve said issue. Whacko again.

All he has to do to round things off is run the experiment again to confirm the initial findings but he wanders off to play with some vee-twin thingy! What's a bloke to do?

The other Ariel issues are of a different calibre. Slipped timing is minor. The leaking gearbox is merely an excessive demonstration of BART (British Anti Rust Treatment) again easily sorted. The drive side bearing is of concern and I believe Ariel did beef up the crankcase and bearings in due course so is a recognised area to watch carefully.

In short I've immensely enjoyed the Ariel saga. It's a bike from an era I enjoy exploring. To me it's of more interest than the next generation 'classic' era as the people involved were still learning their craft.

Thank you MM.

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Why can I not see all the minor spelling and typing mistakes when I read the preview but they leap out as soon as I push the 'post' button?

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Originally Posted by Villiers
Thank you MM.
You made my day. Yours may be my favorite post in this entire thread.

1928±5 years seems to be a sweet spot in motorcycles. Earlier ones aren't really suitable for riding on modern roads, and later ones are basically as fully developed as Britbikes of the 1970s. As you say, in 1928 engineers were still figuring out what to do, although they already had figured out enough to make the machines useful and interesting.

Having to fabricate springs, weld Stellite, grind rockers, etc. allowed me to do things I've never been required to do on a modern (i.e. post-1950) motorcycle, so the rebuild and re-rebuild were great experiences. As was riding a rigid-framed, girder-forked, tank-shifting bike across the country. Not many people get to do either the work, or the riding, so I'm fortunate to have been in a position that I was able to do both.

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