Thursday, March 15, 2012

the Bridgestone lives!

Last nights ride was awesome. Yesterday we were in the mid-70's in Milwaukee, with the slightest hint of breeze and a cloudless sky. Basically a perfect day in all regards. I was watching Lyle, so he and I got a lot of work done on the Bridgestone. My goal was to have it running for the ride, Caitlin's folks agreed to babysit so we could go out with the Cranks and celebrate finishing up midterms.

I didn't take good pictures because I was rushing to finish the bike, but I'll snap some better photos and maybe get a ride vid tonight or tomorrow.

I've edited the Bridgestone page to have most of the info up to last weekend, and I'll add the final details as soon as I get some free time.

The ride itself last night was great. It was the first time Caitlin and I have ridden together in over a year, since before she got pregnant, so it was pretty special. The little Bridgestone is going to be a great bike, I can tell already. I got the lights working just as it was getting dark, we hopped on the bike and rolled to fuel. On the way, we had a minor hiccup, Carlos must have removed the bolts from the chain guard and left it sitting in place, I never noticed it wasn't bolted down. If you haven't experienced a chain guard/chain interaction on a motorcycle, you are lucky, its a completely terrifying sound and handling experience. Especially on a tentative first ride about half a mile from home! I pulled the chain guard off and stashed it in a bush to get on the way home.

The rest of the ride was really uneventful. The TMX has a dual rear sprocket, like many enduros of the time. With the amount of power this thing has (really surprising for a 1960's motorcycle- blows any comparable honda out of the water) the short gears are pretty silly. It is revving uncomfortably high at about 40 mph. I'm sure it could rev out higher, but I'm afraid that it is a little lean. The rotary valve induction has the carb sitting in a little box off the crankshaft. The air comes in from the air filter, through plumbing, into that box, and there are about 4 or 5 different plugs to cover up clutch, carb, and oil pump adjustment holes... the cables also come in through a wierd rubber snorkel dingus, and the fact that all this stuff is over 40 years old probably means that it is leaking somewhere. I dont mind the leaks because i'm not driving through mud, dust and water, but I will have to up-jet to compensate for them.

Pretty dissapointingly by the end of the night i could tell that the pressed-in kickstart cog bushing thing was slipping. Carlos, being trained as a machinist, informed me that it was obvious that it was going to slip, and he would have done it differently- thanks buddy hindsight is 20/20, right? I'm a little nervous because when that bushing slips out, the clutch basket pulls forward allows for some misalignment in the gears... not the best situation.

On friday, before frozen snot, i'm going to have to fix it again. I came up with the idea of drilling out a hole on the interface of the two surfaces and jamming a brass pin in there.. I'll probably also knurl the bushing a bit, and use some Loctite Retaining compound (aka bearing glue) in order to give everything a bit more hold.

All in all, i'm really happy with this little bike. Its very well designed in a lot of ways, the 4 down rotary shifter is an awesome idea that more bikes should have- you just keep stomping the gearshift until you get into the right gear. Going from 4th to neutral is accomplished by one click down, and if you do ever have to 'downshift' in a turn, its a lot easier to flick it up once than most bikes where you are constantly wearing out your boot going up and never go down.

I can tell already that the points need some atttention, i'll try to dress them but lately i've been of the opinion that points should just be replaced all the time. Its not worth the headaches they cause. (see Peugeot).

All in all, it was an awesome night.. nights like these remind me why I work so hard to get bikes running and keep them running. Sometimes after a long winter, especially one where you have 5 active projects, and no running bikes, you get lost in the shop time and forget why you're doing it. Being out with my girl, on a bike that I brought back from the dead, and riding with my best friends, is really the whole point isn't it?

That said, with 3 people on motorcycles at moped night, I did feel a bit like we were cheating. I cant wait to be back on a moped again. Motorcycles are cool, but mopeds are still more fun.


  1. There is no fun comparable to going as fast as you can on a stock bike with your friends on stock bikes.

  2. I just got my uncles 394 mile rockford taka (w the 100cc Bridgestone). My kick start is slipping just as you described. Did you ever figure the kickstart / clutch issues ?

  3. I just got my uncles 394 mile rockford taka (w the 100cc Bridgestone). My kick start is slipping just as you described. Did you ever figure the kickstart / clutch issues ?