See What Lurks Around The Corner As The Next Project…

…Not as much work needed here but this bike was something I lusted after when I was younger.  Plenty of cosmetic work to do as well as replacing and repairing what is needed…follow the link…

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Edizione Finale…

…So just before I ride off into the sunset in a slightly smoky haze, I shall pick up from last time.

The seat.  Well, I have found someone local to me that are Master Upholsterers and have made plenty of motorcycle seats previously.  Take a bow the guys at Crowther & Sons who have done a fantastic job.  After visiting their showroom and looking at the different products I went for a tan leather in a specific style that is somewhere on another blog entry.  To keep the cost down my dad and I did some preparation work to the seat base which involved gluing some battens to the lip of the base which the leather would eventually be secured to…



…and it turned out pretty much okay, a couple of bits needing only slight adjustment by the seat maker.

Attention then turned to the intermittent starter motor problem whereby it would not engage correctly, requiring a little tap to help matters.  I know that’s not the right thing to do so decided that a reconditioned unit might be required but tried a local auto electrical specialist first.  There was a dry soldering joint, a misaligned something or other and a droopy spring…so that has all been resolved now.  The chap who did the work knew from when the starter motor originated from 10 feet away but was surprised how heavy it is.  Thanks go to Electro-Mec for sorting it out.

As some paint was on the mating face of the starter motor I decided to take all the paint off.  As time has gone by I have got less and less enthused with it so have spent a few hours with Dremel and drill and a variety of flap wheels and wire brushes to polish it instead.  I think it looks a lot better for it too…




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…and AFTER


A period of shakedown tests will commence very, very locally before I venture too far afield.

So how does she look now that she is complete?  Well, I am slightly biased but think she looks gorgeous and has been worth every millilitre of blood, sweat and tears, not to mention ££££’s it has taken to get to this point, nearly three years after first starting this way back in August 2012…But, I shall let you judge the success of the completed Little Goose.









The next project is yet to be sourced.  It might be a bike.  It might be a car.  Who knows?  But whatever it is, it will be built with a passion for bringing back to life that which had previously been neglected.

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The Man From The Ministry…He Say ‘Yes’.

The bike has now received a ‘Pass’ of the Ministry of Transport Test and is considered safe to be on the road now that the weeping oil seal has been fixed.  I take responsibility for that failure point as I had ‘butchered’ the two oil seals when I re-assembled the forks quite some months ago now.  Lesson learnt…I need a proper bearing driver set rather than use a similar sized socket!  Anyway, fork oil seals replaced and no more leaks.

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The P-clips arrived in M10 form so I could mount them on the lower yoke pinch bolts.  They are just perfect for moving the braided brake hoses away from the fork legs which was the other failure point.  And with all that done she was given a ‘Pass’ certificate for one year. 

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The Red Bull can went the way of the bin and in its place went an un-required Brembo brake reservoir with a single side exit which was perfect for the job.  A little hole was drilled in it to release pressure and vapours.  This is only a temporary measure as the home-made oil catch tank has its vent to atmosphere at the bottom which means fluid is going to come out of it…it should be at the top.  I shall have to try and locate a properly fabricated one to fit in the very small gap I have.

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This is the first bike I have ridden since 2006 when I sold my Ducati 748.  The first few miles I felt quite vulnerable but I think that was as much to do with riding a bike that I don’t know and the thought at the back of my head that I actually built it and not renowned for my practical skills!!  Or common sense as I ran out of petrol on the way back…thankfully half a mile from my brother in law, who once again has been a diamond bringing me out a few litres of fuel.  I shall now experience range anxiety for the rest of my life!!

At the weekend my 11 year old daughter helped turn the tip we call a garage into a useable storage space…


…all it was missing was the Guzzi.


All that remains now is to source someone to make up the seat that I would like.  I am planning to visit someone tomorrow about this.  There is also a little intermittent problem related to the wiring whereby the lights/horn stop working…so I will attempt to trace that in due course.  And then that will be that.  Another project is being considered along different lines, perhaps a GPZ900R or 1100 Zephyr that might attempt to replicate the artworks that AC Sanctuary produce or maybe a late 80’s early 90’s icon such as a FZR1000, CBR600 or a 250 stroker if such a thing exists at reasonable money.

So all being well the next blog will be the last one with all the little paint jobs tidied up, a spit and polish and a lovely new seat.

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Warps, Weeps and Wing Mirrors.

Before today’s scheduled MOT test some bits of the bike needed to be sorted out.  Firstly, it was discovered that a brand new front brake disc was warped that the previous owner of the bike had fitted it.  How it became warped is unknown as it had not been used in anger, but it was definitely warped.  This was discovered when on a short shakedown test the front brake worked fine the first time it was used but then the lever came back to the bars the next time it was pulled.  The warped disc was pushing the pistons back into the caliper as might be experienced with a ‘tank slapper’, requiring the lever to be pumped again rapidly before the front brakes became effective again.  The bullet was bit and a new brake disc rotor was bought.  So out came the front wheel again and the disc replaced.

20150416_115801 20150416_132631 Once replaced the braking was sharp and progressive as it ought to be, enough to warrant another test ride by my insured brother-in-law. 

So that was the warp done.

The wing mirrors, or more accurately the bar end mirror, was dealt with last week.  The quality of the Halcyon mirror and its assembly was really good but it was fractionally larger than the internal diameter of the clip ons I am using.  After a fruitless attempt at reaming out the clip on a little attention was turned to filing down the assembly of the mirror…

   20150401_13405520150401_134019…first by attaching the assembly to a regular drill and using emery cloth against it.  This was tediously long but effective, however metal files were eventually utilised!

  20150401_135836 20150401_145710 Either a small bar end weight will be used the on the other bar or the matching mirror I have sitting in the garage!  Not sure yet.  So that’s the wing mirrors done.

And so to the weep.  The offside front fork seal was ever so slightly weeping when the bike was tethered down to the trailer when it was first taken around to my brother-in-laws garage.  Due to the pressure exerted to compress the forks fully by the ratchet straps we though that was a one off cause but then it was noticed again yesterday.  Given that the fork oil is purely for lubrication of the damper rod and spring assembly in the slider and not at all used for the purposes of damping it was a considered risk putting the bike through the MOT.

So today at 1300 the bike was ridden up to the scheduled MOT testing station and the bike put through its paces.  And the man authorised by the Ministry of Transport, he say…”Nice, but failed”.  Oh.  Although I was nervous for the MOT test I felt that it may fail on that fork seal, which it did.  The only other points of failure were the braided brake hoses requiring securing so as not to rub against the fork stanchion.  I had some P-clips for this very job but they were too small so decided to still go ahead with the MOT test. 

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Although not a failure point the MOT tester stated that the speedo cable needed to be further away from the stanchion.  It is held in place by a metal clip which would only require bending 90 degrees to enable the cable to be moved away from the fork.  P-clips are being ordered tonight.  It was also suggested to me that a more robust oil breather catch can should be employed rather than the empty can of Red Bull!!!  So I shall be trying to locate one of those tonight also.


Thankfully we already had a brand new spare set of fork oil seals handy so that job will be completed very shortly and that will be the weep done.  And when all of those jobs are complete the bike will be put to the MOT test within the next 10 days or so, then it will be time to commission a lovely leather seat and she will be finally finished which will spell the end of this almost three years long blog.

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Sorted? Not Too Far Now…

Okay, so the last time I posted there was a problem with the Guzzi firing only on one cylinder.  Fuel was clearly coming through the carburettor as the flame in the exhaust and the rather loud misfire was testament to.  So a couple of days ago the left hand spark plug was pulled out and held against the engine with it being started to check on the strength of the spark which on inspection was considered very good.  So today the float bowl was taken off again to check that the float wasn’t set too low and running lean.  It was fine.  We changed the spark plugs over and checked their gaps too to find that one was way out…could this be the culprit?  Indeed it was as we are firing on both cylinders and the exhausts are hot on both sides whereas the left one was previously stone cold.  Sorted!

The next issue was the intermittent starter motor which was requiring a ‘tap’ with a screwdriver handle to ensure the solenoid engaged properly.  The starter motor can be seen below picked out in a lovely shade which will need re-painting…or replacing!


So the starter was taken off and the solenoid taken apart to inspect and clean the contacts which are the likely cause.

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Once back together tapping on the solenoid casing was still required, however it then started to engage as it should without any tapping needed.  I am hoping that this situation continues and that a new starter is not needed…it could be that the contacts have bedded in slightly from their earlier cleaning.

Next up was a bit of fabrication and welding for the seat pan…none of which I have the skills to do, so these tasks were handled by my brother-in-law again who has done a smashing job as usual.  Now the seat pan will be secured in the middle and has an extension at the front that was welded on today that hooks under a lip at the rear of the tank.

20150330_135447  A piece of box section welded to the underneath of the seat pan raises the hook enough for the pan to be correctly seated…


…and temporarily fitted…


rear plate …along with the rear light and number plate mount which requires a little adjustment to centralise it.

The gear lever needed some adjustment as I had positioned it too high originally, but as these lovely rear sets have plenty of adjustment potential I am sure I can fine tune it as required.


And finally…away she goes!!!

So, what’s left then?  Well, some adjustment to the seat pan to centralise it better and in due course a lovely leather upholstered seat will take the place of a small square of race seat foam!  But for the purposes of the MOT the foam will suffice.  The bar end mirror needs milling down a tiny fraction to go inside the clip-on tube.  There is a problem with the front right brake calliper binding on so the front wheel is going to be coming out again to try and find the cause…then it will be MOT time, hopefully within the next couple of weeks or so.

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Nearly There…

…well it feels that we are closing in on the finish line.  No doubt there will be more issues to resolve once the finish line has been passed.

The first issue that came to light once a 50m test ride showed was that something was holding the bike back.  This was traced to an everso slightly too long pair of bolts holding the rear brake caliper on…might have been my fault that…picking up the wrong bolts.  The disc has been slightly scored as a result but nothing major that will impact upon the braking operation.


As can be seen from the photo above some bits of paint are going to need touching up where brake fluid has got on it whilst bleeding them.

As can be seen from this photo below the brake calipers are in my ideal position behind the fork legs, simply aesthetics.  However, reversing them to this position has the unintended effect of making the speedo needle try and run backwards.  Also, as I didn’t get the tyre taken off and reversed the correct rotation direction is now back to front.  I could have spent an age looking for an anti-clockwise speed drive and taken the tyre off and turn it around, but it was easier to put the fork legs back as they were from the factory.


The white residue that can be seen on the wheel and mudguard is from using brake cleaner to remove brake fluid…it will all tidy up by the end.




The process of removing the front wheel, whipping the forks out and bleeding the brakes was surprisingly straight forward.  The brake lines will be clamped to the forks with p-clips to tidy it up.

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Considering how useful the centre stand is I am thinking that although it keeps quite a bit of weight on the bike I may keep it on permanently…not sure yet, but whilst debating the pros and cons I thought I would put another spring on it…not a lot of skill required.


After a little tweaking we now have a working throttle assembly from a Honda 250 crosser.

…and whilst balancing the carbs the throttle is working perfectly. 


Once the brakes had been filled with fluid and bled using the back bleeding method with a syringe on the caliper bleed nipple the front brake lever still travelled too far back to the bar.  As the span adjuster screw was in as far as it would go it was decided that the actuating rod that enters the master cylinder could do with being longer.  So a slim bolt was cut down and shaped and has firmed up the lever with enough travel to work the front brakes without going back to the bar.




With a little stutter we tried the Little Goose up the road…in the second clip you can see flame coming from the nearside (left) exhaust silencer….hmmm…unburnt fuel for some reason?



Can’t beat a misfire late at night!  Consideration is being given to the float possibly sticking in the left carburettor as the left hand cylinder and exhaust silencer were both barely warm compared to the other side which was as hot as you might expect.  So a clean of the carb is on the cards…again.

Next time more fabrication on the seat, fit grips to the bars and pop a bar end mirror on…then we might be ready for the MOT once she runs right.

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I Have Seen The Light…

…in the form of a Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welder, wielded by someone who knows how to use such a beast. 

Yesterday was a pleasant three hours tackling the seat fabrication mainly and adapting a throttle assembly.  Naively a couple of blogs ago I thought the finish line was within touching distance.  I liken this to the same way I find that it is the last mile to any unknown destination when using a Satnav that is the hardest to navigate; so it seems is completing a motorcycle.  To be fair, what I am learning now is that when deviating even a little from the original specification will no doubt require quite a bit of problem solving for the seemingly smallest of tasks.  Greater planning at the beginning of the next project, as there will be a next project, will hopefully be tackled with more forethought.


It was decided that in order to mount the original seat pan securely it would need a bracket to be welded to its underside for the most forward mount.  So a spare piece of flat bar that used to be the homemade regulator/rectifier bracket on this very bike was pressed into action as a seat mounting point.  Skilfully, my brother-in-law used the MIG welder to fill a previously drilled hole that was in the wrong place, so that a hole could be placed in the right place, allowing this bracket and therefore the seat to mount to the frame.  Welded to this were a couple of captive nuts for the locating bolts to attach from underneath the frame into the seat.  I describe this as I forgot to take photos of this bit but will post some next time.


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20150307_143511 …welding on the captive nuts.

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…some grinding to prepare the seat to accept the newly made flat bracket.

Another bracket was formed to hang from under the rear of the seat that mounts the rear light…curiously not seen in this photo! 20150307_151149

A new, supposedly ‘twin-pull’ RFX throttle assembly had to be modified as it was not a twin pull…it was a ‘push-pull’ type.  So another channel for the second throttle cable was formed in the assembly with an angle grinder making the cables both go in the same direction, transforming it into a ‘twin pull’.  As the assembly has the correct 90° bend in it, the cables will be routed correctly behind the headlight and along the main frame tube neatly.  The length of the plastic grip was also not long enough so the sealed end was cut off to all the throttle to meet up with the front master cylinder.


And just to be sure that the cable barrels/nipples I got last week, a quick solder proved they fit this throttle assembly just fine.

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…and fitted securely in the throttle twist grip.  Brilliant.


So, what remains to do now?

  • Clean out the carburettors , adjust their float levels and balance them if required.
  • Clean out the remaining shot from the petrol tank when it was shot blasted.
  • Use shorter fuel pipes from carburettors to the petrol tank taps, possibly with an additional set of glass fuel filters.
  • Mount the rear seat to frame bracket with any welding if required.
  • Continue with bleeding the front brakes.
  • Put fluid into the rear brake system and bleed.
  • Finalise the routing of throttle cables and ensure they work smoothly in the new assembly.
  • Upholstering the seat is going to be left to a professional.
  • Ministry of Transport Test!!!
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It’s Always The Little Things…

…that throw a spanner in the works.  This time in the form of leaky carburettors.  They were a little gummed up and have been given a bit of a clean out but there’s still something sticking that is making fuel torrent out of the overflows.  So, some work there needed, with maybe some more adjustment on the float height and cleaning.

Seen in the daylight proper for the first time in a while, resplendent with a super new loom…back of a trailer doesn’t really count.


Just add fuel…


 20150228_113754 The nearside carb was whipped off and given a cursory clean whilst a puddle of petrol can be seen under the offside carb in the close up.

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…and then back on and and off with the offside carb.  Cleaning and what I think will be the start of a process of elimination with float height ended with both carbs pouring fuel out.  So the carbs are the ‘little things’ that have chucked a minor spanner in the works along with the starter motor solenoid which was previously suspected as being a little sticky and requires a gentle bash from time to time to waken.  This will require a strip, clean and re-grease in the none too distant future.

So that was Saturday morning…Friday night was more productive with the correct braided brake line fitted at the front and partially bled.  Not having done this before on a bike, I was surprised how long and delicate a task it is…probably half way with the fronts being bled and just the rear brake to do.  The banjos on the front calipers are orientated so that there is ease of access to the pads…which was a great idea…not thought up by me I hasten to add!

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And just to prove that Friday nights are better than Saturday mornings, a quick video of the bike alive and breathing with lights and sound.

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The End is (Al)Most Definitely Nigh…

…accelerated by the magic of electricity.  I need to now start making plans for the Little Goose as she will be nearing completion soon.   

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The rear light is in a rough position but all lit up along with nice wiring blocks also to the rear indicators…

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…the taping up continues apace…before and after shots…



Working methodically from rear to the front of the bike with the fabric loom tape…


The clocks have come off to make the final bit of wiring easier and tidier.


Tape loom and shrink wrap applied…


…and applied to the LEDs of the dash lights


Much tidier.


…and finally another 10 second video of lights and sound…


All being well tomorrow should see the brakes completed and mounting holes drilled into the seat pan.  Then Saturday I will be taking said seat pan to an upholsterer’s to see if they can make the seat how I want it…watch this space.

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(Dash) Lights…(My) Camera…(In)Action….

…for now at least.  The wiring is moving at a pace thanks to my brother-in-law Leon…a completely new loom is taking shape with wires that match the colours on a great A3 sized Guzzi wiring diagram I have compared with the random colours used in the botched loom. 

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This is where the main loom joints together front to rear…

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…some tidying required around the back of the headlight bowl as this is temporary to check that everything works…


…which it does!  This is an Osram Nightbreaker bulb and is brilliantly bright.

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The dash is coming on also…the clocks are back lit but are quite dim so will look at changing them to LED’s if possible.


The dash LED’s are are super bright, particularly the High Beam.  Both the indicator dash lights are working and the Neutral light leaving only the Ignition/Charge light to wire in.  The front indicators, with their LED’s are working just fine…


…leaving the rear Stop/Tail light and the rear indicators to wire in and that should just be about it for the wiring loom.  It will then be wrapped in fabric wiring tape to keep it all neat and tidy as well as protected from moisture and grime.


One of the jobs left to do is to de-link the brakes as I mentioned in a previous blog.  So the nice people at HEL made me a brake line up that would do the job…except for the fact I forgot to specify a 90° bend in one of the unions…doh!  So I have now ordered another brake line but this time from Venhill (remembering the 90° bend!) whose unions are screwed onto the braided line rather than swaged on like the HEL ones meaning they cannot be removed successfully by someone at home.

Jobs to do…

  • Fit the brake line when it arrives and put fluid into the braking system and bleed.
  • Balance the carburettors.
  • Check the nearside fork seal, as it wept when tied down on the trailer…too much compression!
  • Commission a new seat for the old seat pan…below is my preferred option seeing as I cannot go Street Tracker with it due to the tyre cut out in the seat pan…safety over aesthetics.  I have ordered a 20cm square of race seat foam that I will stick to the bare seat pan to get it to the MOT (Ministry of Transport) safety testing station.

brown hump

  • Check all nuts and bolts…add medium strength thread-lock, then torque tight.
  • Bin the current fuel pipes with their crossover and run a single fuel hose from each carburettor to each fuel tank tap.
  • Take it for its MOT test…job done.
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