After a year or so lurking on the forum, I thought I had better introduce myself. After a thirty year hiatus - just checked the last MOT 1979 on my VH plunger, the bug bit again. Having always lusted(?) after a VHA, thanks to John, I traveled to Denmark, Jorgen had one in pieces, a deal was struck. So last year being the best summer in the UK for many a year, the VH was dragged out of its resting place at the back of the shed. The oil had turned to black jelly, so I changed the tank, having another on the shelf, Timing cover and sump plate off, pump, oilways and sludge trap cleaned. Also did the cam lube mod. Petrol tank cleaned, PTFE tape wrapped around the corks - even tho I'd soaked them, there was no way they were going to expand - hardly surprising! Carb off and jets cleaned, had to resort to a bit of copper wire, 30 year old fuel deposits are rock hard. Does the mag spark? Well bless my soul, it did! Now, how did I start it again? Tight or slack cable to advance? Quick squint at points, ah. Decompresser and ease it over compression. Second kick and it thumped into life. Up and down the road a few times, trying to regain muscle memory, not happening, oh well.
As I had got back in early summer, I decided to do some restoring/refurbishing. The forks had always been a bit of a problem, keeping me and the bike nicely lubed with 20 weight. After reading the forum, a few e mails to Pete Colings, and a rather large order to Drags, problem sorted.
What colour to paint it? The inside of the tin engine plates were looking pretty sparkly, so I got some 2k custom mixed (Abacus in Parkstone, Dorset). Not trusting my own eyes, I had the Bloke in the shop, and a couple of customers involved in an impromptu poll. Very helpful people. The 2k is pretty easy to spray, hi build, never even had to cut it back. Please read the safety instructions tho, organic filtered face mask is a must!! Showed my father the results (had a '51 rigid VH) and he thinks its a pretty good match.
I changed the exhaust pipe and silencer, the old goldie swept back had ruined more than one pair of shoes. Those nice guys at Armours found that a BSA B series pipe with a couple of inches welded on would allow me to mount the silencer in the original position. All stainles, no more chrome if I can help it.
Has it been worth it? Well I thought to save a bit by not going out for a few beers. Didn't have time for that, and besides, not a lot of cash left anyhow. Interest wise it was a great delight. Funny how everyone wants to know what is that old motorcycle? Riding back in the 70's no one wanted old Brit bikes, in fact I paid £12 for the VH, and remember paying £15 for a new H/C std Hempolite piston and thinking that was expensive!
I must come clean and tell you that the VH is actually an NH, but I bought it that way. The VHA is pretty well past its rebuild date, so the plan is to use most of the 500 innards in that. So I will be looking for 350 crank assembly, barrel, piston and head, or complete motor ('53) to do the transplant.
I have been living in Thailand for the last 10yrs, and spent the last twelve months securing a settlement visa for my wife, convincing UKVI that she is a nurse and hasn't been dancing around a chrome pole in Pattaya.
As I mentioned, I had a great summer. I had an absolute blast riding around Dorset. Traffic is moving faster these days tho, and I feel that I could really do with at least a tls up front. I have encountered a real sense of friendship between the members on this forum, I hope you have room for one more.
- VHA project
- Road ready(almost)
Paul Appleton '53 VH plunger, '53 VHA rigid - in many boxes, '58 H.D. pan/shovel rigid