Monday 28th September 2020

A run on my BSA C15 to the Struie Viewpoint (23 miles).

I bought my wee BSA over a month ago down near Sheffield. When I got it back home it caused me a bit of grief getting it to run nicely. I don’t know what the previous owner did to get it to start second kick and run when he demonstrated it to me. The electronic ignition did not run correctly, producing a broad stream of sparks instead of single sparks. This turned out to be due to poor connections at the ammeter in the front nacelle. Wee blobs of solder applied between the wires and the connectors sorted this. Also the ignition pickup coil could go to infinite resistance and change its resistance if pressed on. I replaced the whole pickup assembly. Then the carburation needed sorted a bit. I have it running at a nice tickover but the pilot air screw is almost right in, maybe a quarter turn out. The pilot jet has been cleared out. Also the carb was ultrasonically cleaned thanks to my neighbour Stewart. I cannot get a 0.4mm drill bit into the pilot jet so I presume it is fitted with a 20 pilot jet instead of a 25. This I think is hindering fuel flow at low throttle opening. I may replace the carb as the pilot jet is pressed in and very difficult to replace.

I have taken the bike out twice for a wee run, once to the Alness roundabout and back and once up the Struie road and back by Strathy and Glaick. Two short runs. Now it was time for a slightly longer run. Just slightly.

I am very wary as it haemorrhages oil – check the start and end of the video.

I left the house just after 4.00 and headed up the Struie road. This is ready for off. Tied to the back is a camera tripod to take pictures and videos.

Heading up to Newbridge.

Climbing from Newbridge to Ardross.

Here is the Strathy road where I reached the last time, but today, even though I almost felt like bottling out, it is further on.

And reached the bridge over the Strathrory or Balnagowan River.

I stopped beyond the cattle grid just up a bit to take a video from of the bike. This made me stop and start it. I am getting a bit braver but I still need to put it on the centre-stand to start it. Being older, having a bad back and suffering from a hernia makes kick starting a challenge.

Heading up to Struie Hill.

I went as far as the viewpoint. This is just coming to it.

I didn’t stop as I would like to do. There was another motorbike parked with its rider vaping. I couldn’t face the uncoolness of kicking if it didn’t start! So I just turned and headed back home.

Heading back from Struie Hill.

I stopped at the windfarm entrance – the Coire na Cloiche Windfarm; we always knew it as the Beinn Tharsuinn Windfarm. I again stopped to take some video footage. The short time the bike was idling as I recorded a video left a small puddle of oil under it. This seeded worry in my mind – was there much oil left? I listened to every strange sound from the bike after that. When I got back into the garage and checked there was still plenty engine oil in the tank. This bike is kind of like a snail – it is slow and leaves a trail.

Back on the way again.

A lovely end of September day.

This is on the corner at Stittenham where old Mrs Allison lived. I used to enjoy visiting her. She was a wise old lady.

And down to Newbridge.

Climbing up from Newbridge.

Safely home and was I relieved! Again there were a few drips of oil coming from under the bike.

Well what do you make of that? It is such a different two wheel experience and I am loving it. I took my Etrex 20 in my pocket to record the journey. When I plotted the GPX track when I got home I found that my maximum speed was a staggering 40.6 mph. The speedometer on its wobbly indication of speed had me believe it reached 50!

I love it. The frame feels very rigid and it handles really nicely. I am struggling with the gear change on the right and the brake on the left. Years of Japanese, Chinese and Czeck bikes have me conditioned to do it the other way. And scooters? You don’t change gear at all!

I think I will have to rebuild the engine to try and seal it a bit better to keep the oil in. I am hoping to get Rupert Ratio’s book to help with that. I am putting a bar end mirror on it as it is a struggle for me to look behind at my more advanced age. My neck has a much narrower turning circle than it once did. Some people will frown at this but I am going to fit indicators. It just does not feel safe relying on hand signals. Left is fine. Right is so difficult, you need to keep a grip of the throttle. Most drivers think the slow down signal is inviting them to overtake! The bike does have a stop light on the foot brake but I am relying a lot more on the hand brake as my mind still hasn’t adapted to the British controls.

How fortunate I am to own this bit of British motorcycling history. What a great run.