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RD 5 NZ VMX - Mokauiti, 23 Februray 2019

RD 4 Vinduro NZ - Maramarua, 2 March 2019

In the Garage

The Christmas break providing some rest from riding but was not without some work and effort. Some time in the sun was required undertaking deferred maintenance on the TE 185 and progressing the project DKW 125 towards its completion. 

As the Marton VMX came right on the heels of the Vinduro at Whangaruru, the TE 185 was looking a little sad, neglected and dejected and I had certainly pushed the maintenance envelope a little bit too far on the bike. Generally the TE has held up well over the season but I did note in the final few races at Marton the exhaust flange had come loose and one of the studs holding it place had become seized in the barrel. Not a good sign but quite common Suzukis by all accounts. Also after being unceremoniously dumped in a corner I also made a pledge that I had to replace the tyres – they were well worn and in fact the front tyre side knobs were randomly peeling off in places.

Upon getting the bike home, I tried to coax the offending exhaust stud loose only to have it move for a little bit then have it turn to liquorice and snap. This left me with no choice really but to remove the barrel and get the stud removed. Not really having the tools to do this I handed the barrel over to Mark Boyle at Boyle Kawasaki who worked his magic – in this case a heli-coil was required to freshen up the threads. While this was being done I also had the barrel deglazed and fitted a fresh piston and rings and then put on a set of fresh tyres. This should see me through to the end of the VMX and Vinduro season in May. 

Over the last few months I have also been plodding along on the project DKW and then accelerated my efforts over the Christmas break. When I last updated you on this project I was waiting on my crankcases to come back from being welded. A common fault with the Sachs engines is that there is little protection from when the chain derails; should you be unlucky for this to happen it also probable that the chain will punch a hole through the centre case and the magneto cover. Most Sachs engine cases you will find will probably have this damage. For this type of work I passed the job over to Karl at CEMECK engineering in Petone. As usual he did a wonderful job welding and machining the cases and magneto cover – they pretty much look like new. 

While this was going on an email to Al Beuhner at Penton Parts USA secured the necessary ancillaries I needed to complete the engine build – this mainly being shims, bearings, seals and gaskets and of course a case saver! I had previously acquired an first oversize piston on eBay which was remarkably cheap and had passed both the barrel and piston over Karl to undertake the rebore.

Sooooo from there its simply been a case of reassembling the engine.  I shouldn’t say simple really as the engine had been a part for some six months and I sort of forgot how it all went together. And one must be honest in that the Sachs engines come with a certain reputation of being a bit finicky to reassemble. The reputation is made worse in that there is very little documented in a modern and clear format on how to assemble these engines. Therefore I found myself peering into old photocopied manuals that were complex, in black in white and were generally difficult to understand the blurry images contained within.  I did however manage to luck in and find an original 1960s Sachs Mechanic training film of 1 ½ hours long on You tube which covered the rebuild of a 50cc engine. Surprisingly the engines are remarkably similar and despite the film being in black and white, it was useful - the only problem being that the whole thing was in  German! 

Now having said all that the engine did go back together very easily and in fact while they are quite different from Japanese bikes they are quite simple in nature. The only real complexity comes in two places -  basically every shaft in the engine is shimmed one way or another so it is necessary to undertake a bit of measuring to determine the required end floats. And then there is the dreaded gearbox shifting mechanism that requires adjustment to provide for the correct engagement and lever throw. There is much written on this latter topic and in practice it’s all a bit difficult to come to grips with. So at this stage I have largely left the set up as I found it and will experiment as I put a few miles on the bike. That aside some further research on this matter has revealed a probable fix to the renowned Sachs false neutral issue but it requires relieving some the gears of some metal to provide greater opportunity for the gear selector keys to engage. Sounds sort of logical so next text time I have the case open I will ponder this.

I have elected to run with a new aluminium silencer from Damon Gruenwald of Cycleworks to keep things nice, light and compact. I have also made my own alloy exhaust heat shield in the same funky shape as the original and for fun I may just tattoo this with a drill bit sometime in the future. Then a visit to Para rubber secured some neoprene rubber sheet which I built the `skirt’ to run between the seat and upper side rails - this provides protection to the high mounted air filter which sits directly beneath the seat.

The shocks have been mounted, the rears are about right in terms of spring rate but the front end is too stiff. So for the front I will swap the springs over from the original Boge units. For the shocks I simply used some basic oil units procured on Ali Express – for the complete set (front and back units) it cost approx. $200 all up landed in NZ.

I was pleasantly surprised that upon the assembly the bike started on the third kick. However first snick into gear has revealed that the clutch plates are thoroughly stuck so test riding quickly came to end. Removal of the clutch was a simple proposition and the plates were unstuck then the unit was reassembled again. The next ride up the road revealed everything is operating as intended - remarkably no false neutrals to report so far but the gear lever throw going up the gears seems a little  too long so I can see some tinkering will be required.  

There are few loose ends to complete before I can say the project is complete. First I need to unstick the clutch, I note also one small oil leak that will need to be sorted which I will fix when pull the clutch, and I note the float needle is leaking so that will require replacement. And then it’s a case of fitting the rear brake lever with new bushings and swapping the front shock springs. So we should all be good to go by round 5 at Mokauiti. 

Next Events

As noted on the VMX FaceBook our land owner at Mokauiti is kindly hosting us again on 23 February for round 6 of the VMX series. Reg and Trace Davey will again be setting up a course for us and based on previous experience you can expect that they will set up a wide and flowing track that will be lots of fun. 

Regrettably the rounds at Huntly and Whakatane remain up in the air at this time after the landowners have either sold up or re-designated the use of their land. The committee is now working to establish alternative rounds and will advise in due course on what options are available. If you know any alternative venues that may be available and suitable for VMX please make contact with Darryl August at Darryl August Motorcycles.

On the Vinduro side, round 4 of the series is locked in for Maramarua (the week after Mokauiti) by Greg Power of Power Adventures on 2 March.  Greg is an ex NZ Enduro and Trials champion and always puts in place an excellent event well suited for the older bikes. It’s been a few years since I have made to this event but have locked it into my diary and will make the long haul north. If you have never attempted an vinduro before and are based in the upper north island this event is well worth attending. 

Next Project

Yes there will be a next project. Remember how project DKW came with three frames and a whole bunch of spares? Well I hope to assemble the best of what’s left into a very odd vinduro bike. The concept will be similar to the Hercules K180 military bike that was used by the German Army. Should be interesting. More on that in later months.

Andrew