Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Rearing to go (Rear Wheel)


Unfortunately this blog is a little out of order, but i have received some questions on what has been done to the rear wheel, so here it is.
Hub Prepared.

An original Royal Enfield 8 " hub was obtained thanks to the evils of Ebay (Gary thanks for this)
This happened to be an original Brough Superior Rear hub that had a pressed steel brake drum and has suffered some over use.
The cush drive assembly was serviceable, however the brake drum and spoke flanges had been pulled, and deemed unsatisfactory.

This was not a major concern as the brake and flanges were in the wrong location, so it would have required re-work anyway.
I still have the spun brake drum and this is serviciable, and should  go back on to a Brough if anyone can trade me something for this.

Bearings being Fitted.
The bearings had also spun on the inside of the hub and been rectified with a centre punch.

The quill was turned to accept Timkin Taper bearings, and a new brake drum was machined along with a spoke flange plate


The photos above show the Hub assembly.  The alignment was obtained both it the sprocket and the brake drum.
Rubber shock cush drive rubbers were purchased from India (as they still make them) for the sprocket.

The next step involved brazing the hub together, and for this help was obtained by a John.

John is a wizzard and welding and wheel construction, so the task was undertaken.
The rims used were second hand WM 3 x 19 and these were pressed back in to uniformity and concentric prior to building the wheel.

The smile on Johns face says it all, he is quite a specialised wheel builder, and knows his stuff backwards.
We used 9 Gauge spokes, for strength with zero offset  for the technical minded folk.
The spokes were new , being custom cut and rolled for the application.

With the rear wheel built the brakes and sprocket needs to be closed out along with th speedometer set up.

The spokes were ground down on the inside and POR anti rust paint placed in the inside of the rim.

A quick squirt of colour to the spokes, to provide some uniformity, and the tyre was fitted.

This is quite a large task, and one that i am happy to have completed.

Hopefully this will provide reliability for the rear wheel, and eliminate some of the tyre and gear box issues, or at least reduce the loading on both.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Be Caned in Wicker

After months of waiting the Wicker sidecar body is finished.

 I always intended to fit a wicker body, however this is not the designed body i had in mind, but as time is growing short and this body is on hand it was decided to fit this and continue.

These bodies are built by a local craftsman that specialises in period restoration and wicker work, and it is a work of love, and cannot be hurried.
The materials and workmanship is second to none, and the work is done by traditional methods by hand.

It is pleasure to watch these come together, however i can confirm that that there is no hurry in any of his work, as the material basically dictates the time it takes, and this how long it takes.
They are made wet and built in layers similar in construction to a boat, with ribs or bucks holding the form / shape.

I am pleased with the shape and design of this sidecar and i trust that the consensus is that this compliments the Invincible Jap.

I intend to coat this with a shellac, and tone down the patina slightly to make this look not quite so new, and blend in with the Invincible Jap.
Traditionally the Wicker sidecars lost favour after the first world war, due to fact that the skill levels learnt during the war were large, and the typical coach built bodies were superior in weather protection and simplicity of manufacture.
These coach building skill were in large supply just after the first world war, and the wicker sidecars were deemed inferior due to the poor weather protection and this skill set went the way of the Blacksmith and were lost. 

There are many photos of Wicker sidecars being used for racing into an up to the late 1920's.

These wicker bodies are available in limited supply and i would be pleased to pass on the details if any reader is interested.

They can be supplied in L/H or R/H configuration, however are made to order.

WIlliamstown Bikes By the Bay (Preview)

The local Williamstown Motorcycle Club ran the annual show and shine on the 18th March 2012.
The theme this year was the celebration of the Vee-Twin and these were displayed in force.
We decided that this would be a good place to show the Invincible for the first time in public.

With a lot of work still required, the bike was starting to take shape, and with the supply of the wicker sidecar body it was decided to make this show.

We worked day and night to get this prepared for the show and while there are many areas that will need to revisited the end result was a very positive response from those who attended.

Oz People were there in force and took many photos, as did local and interested parties.
There were several machines that were in the public eye, and the Invincible was certainly one of them.

Many of the public asked for photos to be taken with them astride the machine, and we accommodated them.

It is beginning to look like a bike.
Just needs some more TLC, and some late nights and it will be running on Love.

Steve's 1919 2 owner Harley Davidson with is Son ready to go.  (Steve is the Second Owner)
 A good pal who also owns an invincible decided to bring his 1919 Harley down for display.

His son is shown astride this with a firm grin of yesteryear.

It is good to see the younger generation interested.

I would like to thank the WIlliamstown Motorcycle Club for another great Bikes by the Bay and this is an event that i would recommend all clubs put in to the calander for next year.
It is well run, and very very family friendly and couldnt be run any better.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Tyres To Bead or Not to Bead.

With the front hub nearly finished a serious decision was needed on what tyres to run.

Should we run Beaded Edge (Clincher Tyres) or go for Well -Based (Modern tyres).
Again what size and what profile should be selected.

This question was asked from several notable sidecar riders and former racers, and the replies were to fit modern sidecar tyres that are designated for the task.

19" tyres are fairly close to the 26 x 3 rolling diameter, and will not look out of place fitted.
We are planning on fitting WM 3 rims, and these will also suit the tyres selected.

It is obvious that the sidecar adds much load to any machine, and that any problems seem to show in
the tyres and wheels.

We contacted several suppliers, and found that we had little choice, as these are available in one size only. (19 x 3.5 Sidecar)

The dollars are starting to mount, and any sponsors would be welcome.
Something new !

Front Wheel Construction

Please note that this Blog is slightly technical and is more a show and tell of the modification of the front hub.

If you are interested there are enough details to see how this has been achieved, but basically we modified a 7" Web hub and fitted Timkin bearings to suit. 

The problem we have with the original set of wheels for the Invincible Jap is lack of functional brakes.

Wheel as found

There are absolutely no brakes on the original front wheel and only one band on the external of the rear wheel.
While these were  functional in 1925, it was decided to modify these to a functional specifications for 2012 and retain the originals.

Please note that the forks on the Invincible Jap are an Australian copy of the Henderson set up so might help another Henderson owner somewhere.

I obtained a Webb 7" front wheel less bearings, lased to rim at the last swap meet from a vendor for sensible dollars along with brake shoes and plate.

The wheel is shown opposite.
This hub is far to wide but will provide the base and brake drum for the front wheel.
It was decided that we would fit Timkin Taper bearings, modern rubber seals and narrow the flange down to obtain the width required.
With the spokes remove (Bolt Cutters) the hub was narrowed and the smaller spoke flange bored to slip back on the centre of the existing hub's spool.

The bearings and seal diameters were turned in the same set up and the brake drum face skimmed to ensure concentricity.

Hub modified
Indian 741 scout front wheel bearings were chosen and these were on the shelf so were suitable for the task.
As it worked out we only required 0.035 " to be bored out of the diameter to fit.

A custom inner axle quill was made to fill in the gaps with new lock nuts and seal bearing surface nuts also machined.

Once all this was machined, we assembled the front hub and checked for uniformity (central latitude) between the front forks.

This is important as ideally we wanted the rim to be laced with Zero offset. (ie central to the flanges)

Quill Details

The three photos below show the hub in position and fitted.

The hub flanges were made to be central to the fork blades and this hub is basically finished with the exception of the brakes and rim.

This will be the basis of another blog.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Sidecar Connection.

The sidecar fender is taking shape, and Adam has offered to help fit the sidecar to the bike so we can hang on this fender.

Well this is a welcome opportunity, and one not to be knocked back.
I loaded the bike and onward towards my pals house, for a few hours of help. ( wasn't this an under statement)

The Goulding sidecar has typical mountings and ours has three points.
The first being located securely on the back of the frame, the second being held under the seat, and the third being at the front of either the engine plate or the upper frame.

We quickly sorted through the available fittings,
and presto, found the correct one for under the seat, and with slight work, we were able to secure the rear mount for the sidecar chassis (Thanks to Albert for these fittings)
We finally had a datum but it became obvious that the sidecar was from an larger bike and this was not going to be a straight forward fit.
If you look at the photo you will see the front tube will never be short enough to fit.

A rubber mounted front fitting is being used to provide some elasticity on the outfit, and hopefully put less strain on the Invincible Jap's frame.

We tried over several hours to bend and re-set the front tube, but basically there was too much pipe, and no where for this to go.
It was decided after a few beers to cut this and then get a new front tube bent and spliced back.

A plate was welded across the tubes to hold this is position to ensure we had the correct location to align the outfit.

With all this going on we still had not fitted the sidecar fender, which was the original purpose of the visit !

The sidecar fender was finished, however it was not fitted as time was growing short.
I would like to thank Adam for his patience, and support, for without help i would be a long road

This just outlines the magnitude of the task ahead, and we have a deadline !

Footnote: The sidecar is now finshed, repinned and painted.
It awaits a body, which is another Blog.

Till later


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Thoughts on wheels

It was decided right at the start to make the Invincible Jap reliable, with out compromising the originality.

The Invincible currently has an original pair of Beaded Edge wheels, with original brgs, and dust covers.  These are all in serviceable condition, and were restored some 10 / 15 years ago, and are pretty cherry.

It seems a pity to pull these apart and fit later tyres and brgs, when they are so nice.
This is restorer's curse, as it would have been easier to just re-rim these, and fit tyres, but then the originality is lost forever.
For this reason it was decided to build a complete new pair of wheels for this machine, and store the other wheels.

The first thought was what tyres should we run!
Then onto the rims, and then the Hubs.
We decided on 19" Well-Based tyres suitable for the sidecar, and decent brakes.
We spoke to a few pals, and ex racing guru's who recommended fitting a cush drive in the rear. This sounded logical, and then a pal made a statement "My Brough runs these wheels and the brakes actually work"

So the wheels will be made in true 1920's style, and upgraded to suit the application, based from a 1928 Brough Superior. (Thanks Terry)
The front will be a 7" Webb, laced up to a WM 3 English rim, with a floating brake plate, while the rear will be a 8" Enfield Cush drive also laced to a 19" WM 3 rim.

This will at least allow for decent brakes, and some robustness in the cush drive.

What we didn't allow for is that these wheels are in short supply, and our forks are Henderson style, so there is little room between the rockers to fit anything substantial.

Now the work begins.

More later.

Sidecar Fender

Fender Braces
The sidecar fender is under way.
A stay / brace was located in a pal's shed and was kindly donated for use. (thanks Mick) , and this has be modified to suit the fender's radius.
The plan is to use the original Goulding fender that was also donated, but had been run over both ways by some inconsiderate farmer.
This was hand beaten back into usable form.

The plan was to fabricate a valance to fit over the fender similar in style to the later Indian valances.
This valance will provide a neat location for our cannonball no (16) and supply room for our sponsors advertising. (We are waiting)

I should stress that this work is well beyond the home restorer, and my pal (Adam)  was tasked with this, as he specialises in reproduction fenders for vintage and veteran motorcycles. His work is world class, and it seemed logical to get a professional touch on this as this was well beyond anything i wished to or could achieve.
A valance was hand made to go on the outside of the fender, and this was designed with the Cannonball No in mind as this will be painted directly on the fender.
A valance was also fitted on the inside of the fender, to fill in the gap between the brace.
The end result is a fender that is rock solid, rigid and structurally stronger than they ever were new.

Valance in position.
(Note this has been hand beaten with a wired edge)
With this being done the next task is to fit the sidecar to the machine and then fit the wheel and fender.
It is still a long way off, but i know sort of have a fender, and it is beginning to look like i have undertaken a monster of a project with about 3 - 4 or 5  months to complete this.
It will be tight but there is nothing like a deadline !

I am extremely happy with the end result, and this has resulted in an original fender that compliments the Invincible Jap.

I wish to thank Adam for his patience and skill in restoring this Fender back from the dead.
Meanwhile we work on the sidecar wheel and the sidecar chassis.

As i mentioned putting the cart before the horse !

Friday, 9 March 2012

Invincible History

Thank you for the support and questions about our 1925  Invincible Jap we will be taking over to to do the 2012 cannonball.
Rather than answer these questions off line, we thought it would be fitting to provide some facts and figures for those who are interested.

The Invincible Jap was one of Australia's larger manufacturer's of motorcycles using proprietary components (Motors, Gear Box, Seat, Magnetos and Carby) with the rest made and assembled in Melbourne.

Made between 1922 (actually first sold as 1923 models)  and 1925 they are one of the rarer Australian machines, yet surprisingly there are quite a few examples in collections which are tightly held.
There are many thoughts on the total production numbers made with production figures suggested of between 350 and 800 in total.
It has been suggested by a local reliable source that the company actually built the invincible in small batches and as such skipped a significant amount of numbers.
I believe that 350 would be closer to the total production quantity however we will never know.
Rear Section of Our 1925 Invincible Jap.
Note: Harley style Messinger seat (which will be replaced with a sensible Big Ar-se saddle)
The Invincible was introduced in 1923, and sold reasonably well, however the design was not changed in any significant form and by 1925 / 26 with the Invincible Jap become aged and died a natural death. There are several reports of later Invincibles being sold up to the 1930's but these were most likely aged stock that was being run out similar to the vechile sales today.

We do know that there were several significant updates on the models to try and keep them looking modern.
These include the introduction of  26 x 3 rims in 1925 (to fit "Balloon" tyres which were a fashion item on Excelsior and Indians of the same year.)  to replace the larger 28" x 3" used earlier.
Other changes include a Best and Loyd oil pump that tided up the tank layout, rather than the Enots pump used on the earlier models.

Several Brake modifications were also made, but again the brakes were not well equipped and didn't work well. (This is one modification we will need to make on our cannonball bike).
I will write on this in the future.

Nearside of the Machine, Note the similarity to Harley , Excelsior and Indian.
There are reports of New Old Stock (NOS) components being sold off up to before the second world war, and this could well be correct, but cannot be supported.
The heart of the bike is the motor, which was offered in different sizes to suit the buyers budget and use.
The largest size engine fitted was the 8 Hp, being 85.4 x 85 mm stroke which totals 990 cc.
This is the motor we have in our machine, so i guess that could make it a class 2 entry for this years cannonball ride. (I will need to check this with the organisers.)

They also offered a sports motor of the same size, but with the larger Ricardo or KTR (R for racing) cylinders that were quite the rage for the sporting rider as Bert Le Vack was busy trialing an building go machines.
These motors are quite different, and were basically the same configuration that were fitted to the period Brough Superiors of the time, in various 2 cam and 4 cam styles.
A pal has a 4 cam KTR motor here that he is trying to build into a Invincible and this is also another article in this.

The main components used are listed below

1.             Motor ( Jap 6 or 8 Hp)
2.             Gearbox Burman
3.             Seat Messinger
4.             Magneto (Thompson and Bennet / Lucas made  or Bosch)
5.             Carburetor (Cox Atmos or Schebler)
6.             Electrics (Optional but P & H Nominated)
7.             Frame (Local)
8.             Forks (Local)
9.             Fenders (Local)
10.           Rack (Local)
11.           Pedals, Bars, Luggage Rack (Local)
12.           Tanks (E B Brothers Local)
The Lighting was optional, and the suggested system was a P & H Generator (Similar to a Splidorf) that ran off the rear of the clutch and resulted in a cut out in the lower part of the tool box to accommodate the generator.

Like most local built machine's of the day, the sales team was not going to loose a sale if the customer wanted something else fitted.
As a result the Schebler carburetor was used on most of the Invincible Japs, due to the acceptance of these as they were also used on Harley's and Indian's.
The Cox -Atmos carburetor which is itself a interesting item actually works well, but has many levers, air/ fuel ratio's adjusters and complicated rotary throttle assembly, (not unlike a racing Schebler).
These were deemed overly complicated, and for this reason we plan to fit a Schebler DLX to our Invincible.
I will also write another article on the Cox -Atmos carby as this is piece of work, and is original to our machine.

There are published lists of Frame Numbers, and the JAP motor Nomenclature holds true for most Invincible's and this is readily available from a number of sources.

I hope this answers some of the questions !

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Sidecar Information

There is much to do, and building a bike suitable for a trans-country crossing is a daunting task.

As i mentioned in the previous Blog, our intention is to take a Goulding Outfit (Sidecar) and install a reproduction Wicker Body.

This is good in theory, but in practise it requires much planning and obtaining all the components to make this happen.  It is particularly hard when some of these items are made from the antique motorcyclists rarest mineral "Un-obtanium".

I was lucky to locate a suitable Goulding side car chassis some months prior to contemplating the Cannonball.
While this is good news, it still is not a straight forward task of bolting anything on.

A wheel had to be located, together with a suitable Hub cap, Fender, and all this needs to be mounted securely, and surface finished prior to accepting a Body.
This is just the sidecar !

Side car Chassis with Wheel fitted (as found), nice and rough, worn out, but rebuildable.

A good pal was approached with the hope of finding the un-obtanium.
This resulted in loan of a suitable fender and a couple of fittings that provided me with some options.

I managed to locate a rather mangled fender. (it had been run over both ways by a tractor in a field) so was pretty sad but unfortunately this fender was missing the brackets and the plan was to fabricate these.

A wheel was obtained from another pal and the parts laid out so i can get a glance of what we have to work with, with the pieces all laid out it actually begins to look like it is taking shape. (Not in really, but at least i have a kit of parts).

We plan on fitting this to the machine, re-pinning the springs.
It sounds fairly obvious, but fitting the wheel, fender, and getting the whole assembly to compliment the motorcycle.

It is also worth noting that in Australia we fit sidecars on the LH side of our motorcycles, as we ride / drive on the LH side of the road.
This is not the case in the USA, and as such the road cambers are slightly different.

We plan on taking the LH side car over as this is what we have, and will incorperate adjustments to optimise the handling and rideability.

Cast foot plate

The sidecars are pretty unique items, and were designed and sold in Melbourne, Australia.
Goulding later went over to the US of A and set up a successfully business over there supplying the major companies.

This side car is circa 1924/5 and was originally sold by Rhodes Motors in Elizabeth St, Melbourne.
There are many pieces in a sidecar and many more in a body.
It seems like a logical place to begin, and yes i do suppose that i am putting the cart before the horse, but the plan is still on track.

I have the sidecar fender being knocked back in to shape by a competent sheet metal guru.
He specialises in motorcycle Fenders and his work is world class.

The plan is to hopefully visit him within the week, and see about fitting the sidecar and fender.

Meanwhile the fender takes shape, and the sidecar wheel can be overhauled.

Watch this space as i will post updates on the progress and work done.