running to stay free

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Making things work when you don't have a welder and you're alone at the leovince pipe wasn't mounting as easily anymore for some reason. It just wouldn't sit flush into the exhaust port. So I took an old seat post that fit into the inner diameter of the pipe and fits snuggly on the outer diameter of the exhaust port.
It works for the most part. I slabbed on a little "right stuff" to seal it up a little bit more after mounting.
Nate Bandit welding up this pipe for a friend. Cheap tools make great braces...
Then he welding up a rear variator for me as my super ciao had destroyed two in a matter of 3 weeks...later I grinded down the welds to fit in the frame.
And then DISASTER!!! While on a ride through the park, I came to a stop sign and heard a strange grinding sound. Worried that it was some sort of engine issue, I looked down but didn't see anything (initially). I took off from the stop and the bike went 5 feet and was SUPER wobbly. it felt as if my bike was made of rubber bands rather than steel. I came to a stop and on further investigation saw that I had cracked my frame. After taking the engine off I realized the extent of my problem...
Thank God I was at a stop when this happened...and that I had a cross bar...otherwise it would have broken completely in half! Going to need to add some steel for stability....Super ciao down!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Under Pressure...UPDATE!!!

So after battling with the vespino on and off for years now, we made some great progress lately. I have been stuck with low compression. No matter what I tried I could not get above 90 psi. I took the bike over to Nate's and being an old hobbit expert he thought of a possible fix. In previous posts you'll see that I plugged the decomp on the head. However the tiny little decomp on the cylinder was still leaking. When we put a drill to it you could hear the little whizz/hiss. We drilled the hole out a little and tapped it with an m5 set screw. After seating the set screw deep I put it all back together and WHAMMO! 180 PSI!!! How's that for a fixed problem! Celebration came momentarily however as it now appears that I have some sort of gas flow issue. Oh well. It had old ass gas in it so that's the next step. Clean up the whole fuel system. What i know is that now I have compression and I have spark. So basically we are ALMOST there. It's the closest the bike has been since creation. Sadly its been a long hard road...but I also don't have much time to put into it with nursing school. Regardless, I'm super stoked.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

we have the power...we can rebuild him...

So in light of my car dying and someone stealing my bicycle, I am able to prioritize working on some mopeds again. I already put the yellow ciao set up on a grande and have that as a daily rider, but now I'm working on salvaging even more of yellow ciao. It was my first vespa and having it back on the road in some formation would be awesome. I replaced the forks with a random pair of ciao forks that I salvaged from one of brad's abandoned, old, rusty ciao frames. My frame was twisted and a little gnarled. When I hit that downed tree it was like the impact went through the forks and conducted all the way to the back book rack where it twisted. After looking it over however, I think that the frame itself is not trashed. Since the book rack was trashed i found a way to cut off the twisted portion in order to salvage the seat post. i reattached it to the frame using a few bolts and for now it has some integrity. I know that the weight of a rider however will put a lot of force on the bolts I used. In order to strengthen it later however, I'll have to weld or bolt on braces. Next I worked on building up an engine. I put the 65 malossi on rebuilt engine I had laying around on it. I had trouble getting the kit sleeve in the engine cases however. I noticed that the crank also wouldn't turn freely. My intuition told me that the bearings were seated properly. So I took a torch to the cases for a little while and tapped them with a rubber mallet. This helped to position the bearing slightly enough that the crank was able to spin freely and the kit fit in the cases. It was a little snug still, but it worked. I mounted the engine and installed a 13.13 dellorto. Here's the bike thus far:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's been way to long

Thought I'd post up a minute here as its been way to long. Let's see what happened...well I quit my job and went back to school to study nursing (hence no posts)...I got to go to the guns rally and made this:
which never gets old...then more school and we're up to date. The weather was 60 degrees yesterday (in January!) and all I could think about was being outside. I was able to find some garage time and Oh by the's the new garage space...
and my work space...
We've been in here for a while but it dawned on me that I hadn't posted it up. Shared with 5 other bandits which we rent from a mutual friend named Joe. It's awesome having so much more room. While there I tried further diagnosing the vespino...yeah i know...I've been working on it for years. But really not years. I only get time here and there. But I just can not figure out what the hell is going on. I still have really low compression (90 on the tester). I've replaced gaskets, tightened it down, and permanently plugged the decomp and still...90. hmmm. My latest idea is that the brand new 65cc metrakit head I got from spain might be warped. My old one has a stripped plug hole, but oddly enough I just got an email from Rocky Malin (who is the only other person I know who has vespino parts in the US). So hopefully I can try a few more things. I'm so over this moped being stupid...

Friday, September 23, 2011

$10 moped

What does a $10 moped look like? Well it looks like this...
In other words, it looks like a Kinetic Magnum held together with zip ties and bungee cords with an extra Puch E-50 strapped to it.
Oh and it also came with a box of random parts... Sort of random, but I ran into someone who used to ride mopeds who no longer does and they sold me this for $10. The engine turns over just fine, and if you didn't notice, its a variated Kinetic. Didn't know these existed. It's literally in pieces, so i'll have to put the whole thing together, but its in relatively good shape. The paint is good, the seat is light of my recent accident, It might just be getting my old ciao setup...When I find the time that is...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yellow Ciao...R.I.P.

Its with great sadness that I report that my humble, reliable yellow ciao has been destroyed. Late Monday night (early Tuesday morning) Elliot, Raymond and I went for a late night ride and none of our bikes returned...What started as an amazing ride ended in tragedy. Our last leg was to go up a large hill in Iroquois park to see the Louisville skyline. There is a gate for this road, which was thankfully open. Unfortunately this road is not intended to be used after dusk and so there were no street lamps. As we gained confidence by our tiny headlights we began to go faster and faster. And then it happened... Elliot was riding in front of me when I heard this loud POP! I saw his head light quickly point down. All I had time to think about was "what happened to Elliot" before I too wrecked; and Raymond behind me. I felt the impact on my shoulder and helmet (thank God we were all wearing them). At that point time had stopped. It was pitch black and as my senses started to return, all I could hear was the moaning of my compatriots laying on the pavement around me. While the gate was open, there was a downed tree covering the length of the road. We each hit the tree going somewhere between 30-35 mph. I flew the farthest (I won the moped rider throwing contest). I tried standing up but found myself lying down. As I stared up at the sky I realized that I was "spacing out" and in fact had passed out for a moment. I sat up and made Elliot keep talking to me. I was "out of it" but apparently "with it" enough that I directly Elliot in how to put my arm into a sling. The pain was excruciating. Nate Bandit came to the rescue and rushed me to the ER with what he thought was a broken collar bone. After waiting a while, the x-rays came back negative. I am lucky to walk away with only a sprained shoulder. It's still very sore and painful, although I regain some movement every day. Thankfully we were all wearing helmets and no one was seriously hurt. All of our bikes are toast (at least the forks and front wheels). My yellow ciao however (i am told) might be unrepairable. They aren't made from that great of material anyways. Here are the photos Nate took of the bikes in the back of his truck.
check out my front wheel...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How'd you break your moped?

So I got a sweet deal on a fully loaded grande; malossi hit, carb, pipe, variator...the guy I bought it from had been having trouble with it and when drill starting it, sucked the decomp into the engine. Apparently it wasn't put together correctly and shot into the cylinder. I knew that this wouldn't have caused much problems because it can't get passed the piston. I tried convincing him to keep the bike and that it was fine, but he insisted that he wanted to sell it. So i jumped on it at a unbelievable good price. The decomp situation should have been an omen... I took the engine apart and the first thing I noticed was that HE DIDN'T PUT ANY CIRCLIPS ON THE PISTON!!! WTF!!! Did he just forget? Did he think they weren't necessary? Who knows...sure enough on inspection of the cylinder there is a nice mark left by the piston pin.
It's not scored that badly and isn't raised. So other than a slight loss of compression, it should still run. Wheh! And then we get to the crank...notice anything wrong here?
let's give you a close up...
WHAAATTT??? That's're looking at A BOLT that was WELDED on the crank. The crank must have been broken in the past and the "fix" was to just weld a bolt upside down in there. Unfortunately the crank is hardened and so the weld isn't actually welded. It's only a matter of time before it just breaks off. Other minor issues of note: no case gasket...just slathered some indian head on there...nuts for the front wheel were finger loose as well as the front fender... All in all however I'm getting this thing tightened up and rebuilt. Should be another reliably fast bike (fingers crossed)