Christmas came early as at my door two large bike boxes arrived. Brad investigates...
I got the bike sent from the land of the cuperteens and in hopes that this rare bike wasn't in as rough shape as I feared...
I soon came to realize two things: 1. This is a really bizarre moped 2. It needs A LOT of work!
History Lesson: Vespa opened a factory in Spain that birthed the Vespino. It was widely popular throughout Spain but few were exported outside the country. This one came to California in a shipping container.
The case...huge transfers, case inducted that comes up from the bottom of the engine. I'll take better photos of of this engine mounts soon you can get a better idea.
Reed Cage...Rusty old, two petal...honestly it seems like a lot of material that restricts what could be a HUGE intake.
Frame: Sort of ugly, hollow tube frame that hides cables and wires, forks use sealed bearings and have a weird scooter type fairing (which is being ditched)
Wheels...Awesome! Sealed bearing 5 stars.
Rear Clutch...Big and thin. Here it is compared to the stock vespa size. Looking forward to what sort of power I can get out of that.
Other things...The bike came with performance variator and metrakit. More on those later. I was looking for a winter project and I got it.
There's a lot of updates coming shortly, but for now I'd like to tell you a story about the giant ass moped warehouse that everyone knows about but doesn't REALLY know about because if they did, they'd crap themselves. That's right, I'm talking about Handy Bikes. It looks like this:
Look familiar? That's because it's the warehouse from Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Seriously! I swear it looks JUST LIKE it...Except instead of state secrets and ancient religious artifacts, it's full of new old stock moped parts. Every nut, bolt, and rare part you've ever lost while working on your moped at night or in a low lit area can be re-discovered in this warehouse of mystery and intrigue. Shelves and shelves of forks, fairings, fenders, clutch parts, CEV electrical components, throttle assemblies, tanks, carburetors, engines, decals, pedals, and other parts, parts, parts!
While the the ark of the covenant could not be found here, the wheel room that's bigger than my apartment blew my face off.
A little while back my bike began running like total garbage. MAJOR air leaks. Since it has been steadily getting colder and colder, I sort of put the problem on the shelf. I wanted to open up the engine this winter anyway to see what sorts of improvements can be made. INSERT: lighting coil here.
Tonight I scratched the surface of a magical land. I thought I'd share my discoveries here.
Our journey begins with the Port of Simonini. This holy land is treacherous and is fill with many ports spanning the cylinder.
BEHOLD! The spectacle of ports!
Peer further into the inner cylinder with this port map as your guide
Next we cross the expanse separated from the Port of Simonini and head to Transfer Town. Scientists have many theories as to why the transfers of Transfer Town and the Ports of it's neighbor line up so perfectly. They explain this phenomenon as case matching pangea.
BEHOLD! The awe that is Transfer Town!
Next we head to Coil and Case Caverns! COMING SOON!
1977 mopeds went to a huge conference in Europe and came back with some awesome photos. These in particular caught my eye...
In case you didn't notice, it's got the same simo engine that I have on it. I know that these are already posted on their blog, but its just too cool not to post up here as well. I don't think I'd ever really go for the dirtbike style but I still think its pretty awesome.
I sold my sparkly red maxi this weekend. I'm "puch-less" and fully committed to vespa. I really hadn't ridden my maxi in some time, but still had it around as a back up. After I sold it I got sort of sentimental and looked up old photos. Here's after bringing home my first moped. This was the day after picking up my bike. My car had died for the final time and I decided to do something different; something that I had to fix because I couldn't get it repaired anywhere else; something I could get my hands dirty with.
I'm soooo dorky in this photo and have come a long way in regards to moped mechanic knowledge and intuition.
After I got hit by a car, the bandits rescued me. We picked up my mangled bike, salvaged and scavenged parts to make a red maxi.
Now it's "Italy or Die!" With my Italian brand of choice being the Vespa. More to come on that soon...
Fall is here and the weather dropped yesterday causing my bike to go the fastest yet. I realize that I've probably been extremely rich with my jetting (mostly for caution). But with the temperature drop I finally got to taste the potential of this bike. And Holy Crap was it fun.
I just kept pushing it; going harder and harder for longer and longer and the pipe just kept going. At one point I felt the bike strangely surge. I looked down and saw this...(click on the picture for a close up view)
If I'm going to ride this thing as regularly as I have been, I'm going to need some new belts...
I've been meaning to post this for some time. This was the last issue I had to overcome in order to get my bike ride ready. The simo engine has HUGE compression, but no decomp...leaving one to wonder how the hell to start the thing. I've seen video of euro dudes run starting their bikes (see pink ciao) I couldn't really wrap my head around how this can be done so smoothly. The first time I started my bike (after the whole drill/exploding variator situation), some Bandits helped me use the rear wheel of another bike and ran it up against the variator so that it'd turn the flywheel...It worked, but it was definitely not something I wanted to do at every gas up.
I know that rufus had tried a number of pull starting methods. He had mentioned that he was most successful with a stock ciao pulley. Without seeing pictures (at the time), and with the help of some fellow bandits, we plotted a method using that as inspiration.
What we came up with was to weld the variator nut (final nut that goes on the crankshaft to one side of the pulley. Then we welded a larger nut on the opposite side so that the pulley could be impacted on. The pulley spins with the variator, but is light enough not to make much of a difference. You'll notice that it looks similar to Rufus' set up, except that mine doesn't fly off every time you start the bike...
So the seat setup I was running has been failing...miserably. There wasn't really any true support; it was just a hack job mounted to the seat post (on the frame) with some nuts and bolts. While this worked for a while, the seat started to bend the frame due to pressure. when I took the seat off to fix this problem further I discovered this.
Too much stress on the frame...cracks! Thankfully Nate Bandit came to the rescue with a great idea.
First we had to kill this ginormous spider lurking outside the garage.
Seriously it was HUGE. Biggest spider I've ever seen in the U.S. outside of a zoo or pet shop. I know the picture is blurry, but I didn't want to get any closer than this. Apparently its harmless, but still scary.
Next we had to harvest a new tab from an old seat post.
I cut this one off and Nate welded it to the frame to mount in the existing holes on the seat pan.
(I love how this photo came out)
Lastly Nate rigged up a mono-shock from a pocketbike(I think?) to my seat pan...
...with the other end mounted to a steal plate welded to reinforce the cracked frame, I now have a much more reliable and smooth ride.
So I'm way behind in posting updates on the ciao...
1. Disc Brake failure...again. I was running the bike up and down the alley tuning the carb. On my last trip of the night I let her rip, but when i went to hit the brake...POP! The aluminum tab I was using on the forks broke off, leaving the caliper to hang and ping back and forth on the snowflakes. Thankfully I was wearing decent shoes and had a bit of room to stop myself. I meant to add a bridge and knew the tab was not a complete fix...but I pushed it too hard.
2. So once again I had to David Bowie the disc brakes (cha cha changes). Some stock alluminum, some dremel work, and Nate Bandit's allumium welder and whalla! We have a better braced, better placed, and more ugly disc brake setup.
3. Ghost Ride! Was able to take the ciao for it's first rally debut. Loaded up the bikes in the volvo and headed for Grand Rapids. The rally was awesome! It felt like more of a vacation than a rally. Sara Mier was an AMAZING!!! host. For some reason everywhere we were housed that weekend was a pool and a hot tub. The rally was super chill and I had a great time getting to know some more TBS members as well as chill with Ghost Riders, Guns and a few gen forum favs. While my rigid ciao didn't like the absolutely terrible Michigan roads, (it was like riding a bucking bronco)...
...the ciao wasn't running as fast as it should. I need to continue on working on the carb tuning. PHBG is new to me. I also noticed that it shreds belts. I'll need to keep some spares or drop some cash on something super strong. The belt's also not variating out the entire way so I'll have to tinker with the weights. Either way I was loving it. I'm not as comfortable with fast bikes yet, so I'll blast to comfort for now.
The final stages of my disc brake setup...I meant to take photos of the process, however for some reason I forgot. So this is what I have. I used a hobbit variator plate to work as a brace. I had to use a dremel to widen the hole in the middle of the plate so that it would fit around the inner axel.
I then drilled 3 holes in the plate and 3 holes in the opposite side of the wheel. Then I bolted it all together nice and snug. Thus holds the disc on the wheel.
NOTE: Drilling holes in the super duper hard metal that makes up the hobbit variator plate was VERY unsuccessful at first. We went through many drill bits; crappy bargain supply ones first and then nicer ones. I had to go out and buy another set.
Thankfully mounting the calipers wasn't too difficult. There was an extra set off of a chinese scooter in a box that Ryan Nichols had in the garage that fit nicely. In order to get it to mount I had to turn the forks inside out for spacial reasons. Then thankfully there were already tabs on the forks that lined right up with the calipers. MOPED LUCK! One bolt, a spacer and a few washers later and it was ready to go...After going through the whole brake fluid bleeding process.
So while I'm finishing up with "pt. 2" I thought I'd Pulp Fiction this particular project for a second to let you know what DIDN'T work the first time around. In my first attempt I tried to simply mount a disc directly to the wheel hub itself.
I had to grind down the hardware to fit snugly inside the hub so that I could bolt it down.
This however did not work because the outside of the hub is curved rather than flat; making spacing just about impossible. The disc would bend at different points making it uneven (which would not work for the calipers). Sorry no pictures of this.
So that's the reason for going with the ridiculous "pt.1" method shown below.
*Side note: The 100cc Simo engine does not have a lighting coil. Rufus runs a battery for his lights. Since there is now a rotating flywheel in my front wheel hub the Bandits are going to help rig a system so that I'll be able to get function (rather than just mounting method) out of the flywheel.
You know...something like a coil mounted to the forks so that it will run a LED headlight...it's going to be awesome. The only downfall will be that the front wheel will have to be spinning for me to have lights...but that's nothing an extra little battery couldn't help with.
In an effort to save my already powder coated frame (purchased that way) I wrapped the frame in tinfoil to help prevent as much "pocking" as possible. Since welding involves molten metal it often leaves "Pock marks," little extra bits of molten metal that spark out and bind to areas you don't intend.
Frame Modification phase two: Welding. So I got some help from fellow bandits to help up the newly prepared piece. Here it is welded up nicely.
Then we cut inside frame out to create the pocket for the simo engine's large fins. Since it doesn't have fans on the flywheel it needs these large fins to cool the engine instead. While a lot of people cut them off to get them to fit, most then have cooling issues. I wanted to preserve these as best I could.
After mounting the engine it took a series of measuring, marking and cutting to get to fit just right. Here you can see that I had to cut further material to allow for the side intake to be mounted post engine mounting.
Here's the complete mount with engine, side intake and carb.
Thus begins the odyssey. After some measuring and talking with some Bandits it looks like I've come up with a solution to my engine fitting problem. I need to expand one side of the frame, without loosing structural integrity. I need a piece to extent the frame. This was harvested from a junk ciao frame thanks to Gabe (Shout Out!)
I cut the opposite frame side off from the gas tank down about half way.
Zack and Gabe explore the caverns of a rusty carcass.
Aerial view of the excavation site...Are those hieroglyphics and a petcock sarcophagus?
I then trimmed off the remaining metal that composed the gas tank. This will be in the way.
After some cutting and grinding the piece is now ready to be welded to the frame...
Coming up next time... BUT WAIT! ISN'T IT ALREADY POWDER COATED!?!?