Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

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chris.vredenbregt
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Re: Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

Postby chris.vredenbregt » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:55 pm

I have checked my gearbox sprocket and it is 21 teeth as subscribed for export models and hilly landscape I don't know what effect it has on the gaps between the gears but I always have a feeling that the bike could go faster its strong enough so if I could find a 23 sprocket I love to try it out.
black ariel model G special 1930 500 OHV

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Re: Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

Postby cmfalco » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:12 pm

chris.vredenbregt wrote:I don't know what effect it has on the gaps between the gears
The three sprockets on the bike have no effect on the gaps. That's entirely determined by the internal gears of the gearbox. Where the sprockets do have an effect is on the ability to start out on a hill carrying a load, for which low overall gearing is needed, and the ability to cover long distances on flat highways at reasonable speeds but with low-ish rpm to minimize wear on the engine, for which high overall gearing is needed. Since one can't have both low and high simultaneously, compromise is needed. In my case, I expect longevity to be more of an issue than slow speed riding, so I will be gearing for a high overall ratio to keep the rpms down while covering the Great Plains at 50 or 55 mph.

Where the internal gearing matters a lot, especially with only 3 speeds, is in the mountains. If the motorcycle can't hold the speed in top gear it will have to drop back into 2nd. If the gap in ratios is large the rpm will go way up unless the speed is reduced. However, when on a highway it's dangerous to be traveling significantly slower than the car and truck traffic. That's when a narrower spread of ratios is highly desirable.

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Re: Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

Postby marcus whatling » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:40 pm

Like cmfalco I have the early non speedo drive Q box . Mine is from the front wheel . You could check your speedo with a modern GPS type thingy . Hopefully with the High ratio gears you can use a larger engine [primary] front sprocket .

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Re: Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

Postby cmfalco » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:59 pm

marcus whatling wrote:You could check your speedo with a modern GPS type thingy
I'm doing my best to ride this event using 1928 technology except where that would be impossible (e.g. using 1928 oil) or unsafe (e.g. using a tiny stoplamp). The only real exception to this that I can think of is my bike came with a magneto but instead of swapping for a magdyno I'll use LED bulbs and a battery that I'll recharge overnight. However, that's actually not much of an exception since light bulbs are the only modern technology and they don't provide any substantive "performance advantage" for the machine. As I wrote previously, use of the Chronometric instead of a period-correct speedometer is for the sentimental connection with Val Page's later work.

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Re: Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

Postby marcus whatling » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:13 pm

So you don't fancy the pyrotechnics of the acetylene lights .

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Re: Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

Postby cmfalco » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:27 pm

marcus whatling wrote:So you don't fancy the pyrotechnics of the acetylene lights .
Although they never quite mastered it, Lucas had discovered electricity by 1928 so lighting with actual light bulbs was an official option for my Model C.

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Re: Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

Postby nevhunter » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:32 am

Generally I refer to a close or wide ratio gearbox when discussing these alternatives. You spend most of the time in top gear where the gears are only turning without load, so your top gearing must be close to optimum for the conditions. If you have the wide ratio you will start up hill better (in first) but getting up hills once your top gear is not able to pull it is working the gearbox and the engine if you are trying to keep up a fair pace because it's quite a jump in the wider box. to second gear..
I would prefer the narrower ratios If you can achieve it. You just have to work the clutch more if you are starting up hill..
Gearing too high will make it critical if there's a long shallow upslope or headwinds. You might need to retain some flexibility in top gear, to save running in the lower gears every time there's a slight rise.
I've had a friend do the event you are doing twice and I've ridden across Australia on a veteran Indian, (similar distance) Myself. The USA one emphasises speed so your engine needs to stay on song for a long time. Valve guide wear is the thing with open OHV engines.. IF you get a lot of guide wear you can drop a valve. Usually the exhaust one if it's going to happen.
Also I oil the front chain about every 100 miles where it's not in an oil bath. Over doing it, but saves it. My chain ( Front one) did not need adjustment at all for the entire trip, which was a pleasant surprise. How much dust you encounter will affect that. Preparation is everything .Re Tighten all nuts, screws etc till they settle in. You could break a seat spring valve spring or a spoke or two, crack a mudguard stay or a handle bar so check all those things each day. Good luck.. Nev

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Re: Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

Postby cmfalco » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:49 pm

nevhunter wrote:Generally I refer to a close or wide ratio gearbox when discussing these alternatives.
I agree, but "high" and "low" is the terminology that Ariel used, and that also is used for the club's reproduction gearset, so it's probably best to use it here to minimize the chance of confusion.

nevhunter wrote:The USA one emphasises speed so your engine needs to stay on song for a long time.
From a table in the original Ariel manual I infer that they considered redline to be ~5500 rpm. With its current 23T engine and 19T gearbox sprockets, running it at 50% of redline would be 48 mph, and with the 21T gearbox sprocket I intend to fabricate for it (I already have the sprocket, but need to broach the splines), that would be 53 mph. At a more modest 43% of redline(*) the speed would be 45.5 mph with the larger 21T gearbox sprocket.

(*)My emphasis on the rpm to maintain ~50 mph is based on instructions from the organizers that state "... average around 250 miles per day,.. will need to maintain at least 43-50 mph on straight, flat roads." I recently did a 1200 mile ride on my 1954 BB Gold Star, with the final day a 300-mile slog back to home base. I kept the bike at 3000 rpm (43% of its redline) and the engine felt like it had plenty of excess power and would last forever at that rpm. The Gold Star is more highly tuned than the Ariel so has a narrower powerband resulting in only ~10 h.p. at 50% of its redline. A calculation/estimate shows that a motorcycle of the size and weight of the Ariel + rider only requires 6 h.p. to maintain 50 mph so it shouldn't be overgeared even with the 21T gearbox sprocket. However, if tests in the spring tell me that's not the case I can always drop back to a smaller sprocket.

nevhunter wrote:Also I oil the front chain about every 100 miles where it's not in an oil bath.
My Arial has an open primary case, but it also has two breathers with outlets that drip its "total loss" oil on the primary and the main drive chain. However, there's enough side clearance for me to use "maintenance-free" X-ring chains for both and they should last the length of the Cannonball without lubrication.

nevhunter wrote:Preparation is everything ... Good luck.
I agree completely, which is why I'm rebuilding the bike from the ground up. I've finished the girders and front wheel, as well as the rear wheel, so the "only" things left are the engine and gearbox... Since I'm doing such thorough preparation, fingers crossed that, with luck, I won't need good luck. Touch wood...

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Re: Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

Postby brenton.roy » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:47 am

I think you'll do the 400km OK, but it'll be close to the limit of sun up till sun down travel. 500km in one day for me involved some very scary moments in the evening - with oncoming semi's lighting up the road to see what I was.
I'm not sure whether you'll be carrying your gear - but if the event is catered etc, you'll probably be able to move along more easily.
Note the airhawk in the pic's..

My feeling is that whatever you do with gearing, you'll hit the point between available power and wind resistance at somewhere around 50 or 55mph on the flat. The close ratio gearbox will no doubt be better, but these motors have really nice low - mid RPM torque. You don't spend a lot of time in second.
Primary chain wear is more pronounced than for drive chain. Take at least one spare.
You could reasonably expect valve/guide issues, no matter what you do to avoid them. This is not just to do with oiling. Part of it is a lack of heat dissipation around the combustion area. Running a little rich on the main will help.

It's an obvious thing to say, but these motors weren't designed to be driven in the way you intend. :)
To a large extent, you'll need to adapt to it, rather than the reverse.

I've attached a couple of photo's for your jollies. These long rides are fantastic adventures, and not to be missed. The prep is part of the adventure.
I was lucky enough to meet Nev in Adelaide, when he set off from there to Darwin on a pre WW1 Indian. What an amazing ride. I think he's done North South and East West on this bike - which is flat out legendary..

It's awesome to be prepared, but just as important to enjoy the tiredness, breakdowns and drama's as they occur.
Can't wait to see your pic's.
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'51,'56 Squares, '48 VH, '27 Model C, R67/2, Mk IV Le Mans, '06 Super Duke and Ariel projects.

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Re: Is QH gearing "better" for a Black Ariel?

Postby cmfalco » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:29 pm

brenton.roy wrote:I think you'll do the 400km OK, but it'll be close to the limit of sun up till sun down travel.
A seven-day, 1200-mile ride I took in October on Gold Stars gave me a small taste of what I'll face. Although the bikes are "modern" by comparison, they aren't all that modern. A friend had flown in from Europe to accompany me but the daily maintenance of both bikes fell to me so I know the feeling of a succession of long days followed by evenings in the parking lot keeping bike(s) in good condition for the next day.

brenton.roy wrote:Primary chain wear is more pronounced than for drive chain. Take at least one spare.
I'll be taking lots of spares (three extra of everything I won't end up needing and none of what I do...) but X-ring chains of the correct size deal with more than 5x the maximum h.p. of the Ariel so wear may not be as significant as you fear.

brenton.roy wrote:It's an obvious thing to say, but these motors weren't designed to be driven in the way you intend.
Indeed. When I found myself with an entry and started looking for a bike to use -- it has to be at least 90 years old -- what I didn't want was a Harley or Indian because "everyone" else would be on one of those. Initially I looked for a British V-twin but I didn't see myself "investing" Brough Superior levels of money for this Cannonball folly... er, I mean rally, and other possibilities were elusive. Anyway, I ended up with the 1928 Ariel. It squeaks in under the cutoff date so has just about the most modern technology that's eligible.

brenton.roy wrote:I've attached a couple of photo's for your jollies. These long rides are fantastic adventures, and not to be missed.
I arrived in your fine country just a week ago. However, no possibility to organize any motorcycle riding because I was there for only three days. Two years ago a friend loaned me a Gold Star for a day-long ride on the roads to the west and south of his home at the western edge of Sydney and it was a spectacular day. I may be back next November for the BSA International in Grampians National Park, but after 4000 miles on a rigid-frame bike in the September Cannonball there's the chance I'll never want to get on a motorcycle again for the rest of my life...

brenton.roy wrote:Can't wait to see your pic's.
Can't wait to take them.

Thanks very much for your post. Although Australia is only an island ;), it's inspiring to read about people riding old bikes across it.


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