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Old 05-13-2010, 07:38 PM
BigJohn BigJohn is offline
Motorized Bicycle Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 32
Wink Re: Just starting out, but addicted already!


I pointed out before that I am a total Noob, right? Well, I am...but I am enthusiastic and learning as fast as I can. There are so many little things (possibly fatal things) that I don't know yet. I don't even know what questions to ask (or look up). I think this would be easier if I knew what "right" looks and sounds like. (I watched all the Youtube videos I could find, but I have no idea who has a tuned engine and who has a dog). I keep getting the vague feeling that this is possibly an insanely dangerous least the way I am doing it.

My Jackshaft bike (the "blue bomber") is getting easier to start. It was a beast the first few times, but now it's getting easier. Thank goodness. I burned about a half a tank of gas today after work and started it up about 10 times without reaching exhaustion or having a stroke.

I just got back from a series of long-ish rides around the neighborhood and had a rash of maintenance issues to deal with, but mostly it was smooth sailing and oodles of fun. This thing is fun with a capital FUN! I would love to start riding it to work, but It's still frighteningly new, so I am having to work through all the little issues as they come up. Once I work through the bugs, it's going to be my main ride!

First, and most annoying: I have had 2 rear flat tires so far. I looked for the cause, but couldn't find anything that would cause it. The hole on the inner tube looked like a cut or a pinch mark on the inside (rim side). Maybe I caused it while I was mounting the tire? I don't see how, but who knows. I taped the rim inside with electrical tape even though there were no spokes sticking through the black rubber thing. Everything was smooth in there. I hope I am the cause because otherwise, this has me stumped.

I also had a fuel leak from the carb bowl. My engine is leaning WAY back because of the slant of my seat post. I think my carb may be tilted too much and the float wasn't cutting off the fuel flow when it got full. The fuel was leaking from the bowl rim. I cut off the gas, drained the bowl and removed it. Then I worked the valve a few times and replaced everything with my fingers crossed and it seemed to work. Anyway, it's not leaking right now. I may have to figure out a way to level my carb a little if it starts leaking again.

Third and most sobering: My shaft gears BOTH came loose on the road. I guess I didn't take SBP's warning to use threadlocker on the little locking screws seriously enough. No harm done, but my key almost came out of the right sprocket before I noticed. The gears were still turning the shaft just fine, but I shudder to think what would have happened if the shaft had pulled off the bearings at high speed or the right gear had come off the shaft. I can only imagine the chain snarl that would have caused. That would have sucked.

Everything is tight and threadlocked down now, but I am still a little spooked. It goes SCARY fast even without winding the engine. In top gear, going down a hill, it goes BONZO fast without going to high RPMs. When I get it going fast enough to wish I had a wind screen on my helmet, a little voice whispers in my ear: "Your bike was made to go 20mph max, you idiot". I may not be using my top gear much unless my "little voice" shuts up. Anyway, this bike is much faster than I anticipated. I will try to clock it when the engine has a few more hours on it and I can really cut loose.

I followed Fabian's advice and got the 9 tooth power sprocket, but I have the standard sprocket on there right now. It may turn out to be too fast. I assume the power sprocket will slow down the top speed by a few MPH. That advice may turn out to be a life saver.

I am still learning to shift smoothly. There is a knack to easing the power back on to avoid the little "clunk" from the free play in the chain drive as the engine catches up with the gears. Maybe I should tighten my chain a little? I have very little play in it right now. Is this a fault I should try to correct? Or do I just have to learn to shift correctly?

I did a poor job mounting my muffler too and the bike is slightly louder than my other one. I used copper pipe fittings to extend and curl the exhaust pipe around the front engine mount and it turns out that knowing how to forge-weld heavy steel has no possible relevance to working with thin copper tube. I don't know how to braze worth a darn. My joints shook loose on my first ride. So, I got impatient and used "JB Weld" and pop rivets to hold it together. It seems to be holding up pretty well now, but it looks like some kind of hillbilly still. Of course, I think it looks fine, but others will disagree. If my exhaust pipe leaks a little, is that bad? I saw a lot of conflicting advice on this site, but no consensus. Do I need to worry about a little gas escaping through the joints?

I noticed an issue that might be nothing (or it might be potentially fatal, who knows?) This bike seems to vibrate more than my other one and has a kind of cyclic sound to the vibration when I am in a high gear. The engine speed seems to vary by a few RPMs about once a second. Has anyone ever experienced that? Or am I being too vague?


PS. A neighbor stopped me and wanted to chat about china-girls. He wants one bad after seeing me buzz around on mine. He is at the rationalization stage where he is trying to justify the cost and time. He pointed out gas savings as a good reason to buy one. I just had to laugh. I think I have saved maybe 2 bucks on gas so far if you don't count the gas I have burned joy riding! At that rate, I should have my two bikes paid off in about 20 years. (unless I build a couple more).
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