The Painting Begins

Since buying the BMW the paint finish has annoyed me. There are patches where the primer can be seen, cracks where the parts have flexed and the paint hasn’t, and a horrible mark left on it when someone removed the cover off the front brake and promptly let brake fluid drip down the paint.

Last weekend I started to take the front end apart and have spent the week teaching myself FreeCAD so that I could design some spacers to fill the hole where the indicators go as I have been using large washers for now.

Outer, Middle and Inner spacers. To be cut from Perspex using my 40W Chinese Laser Cutter
Parts ready for sending to my Laser Cutter.

There is a storm planned for the weekend so today seemed like a good time to get a few bits done outside leaving me tomorrow as to play with the Laser etc.

A bit of wet and dry and some scotch bright to flatted the surfaces down, I have tried to remove some of the marks from the old paint job and the runs.

I am using the rattle spray cans of “Plastics in One” from Buzzweld that I picked up at the end of the summer.

I will inspect the parts once they are dry and I hope that they flatten off as currently its a bit orange peel in texture. I suspect that was because I wasn’t waiting long enough between coats.

I am not an expert painter, but the only way to learn a skill is to try it. I still have side panels, fuel tank and now I have seen the red, a front mudguard as well.

More light Igor

This weekend I visited the local bike show where I bought this BMW but this year it was more of a club event rather than autojumble etc. So disappointed that I didn’t buy another bike (part of me was a reasonable sized 2 stroke) I returned home and thought of what else to do.

I have been thinking about the lighting or lack of lighting on the bike for some time. So recently I purchased a LED Driving/Fog 300mm Light Bar thing for not a lot thinking it would mount to the tabs that the oil cooler mounted on but are free now I have moved the cooler. Well, I test fitted it to the bike.

Test Fitting of a cheap LED driving/fog lamp.

But that looks just silly. Therefore my plans are to mount some round lights up on the crash bars around the headlight. I have some LED work lights that I think should do the job.

The other part of the problem is the headlight I have on the bike. It looks to be out of position by a fair amount, and I have been testing a LED headlight bulb that has the same issue I had with HID, nice and bright but once the light starts to drop off it almost feels like it has gone over a cliff edge. I ordered some Osram Nighbreakers as I have them fitted to the Land Rover and are rather nice so I began the task of getting to the bulb, then I thought I better look at the adjustment screws for the lights and the next thing I know.

Part of the reason behind removing it all was the panels needs to come off before I paint them. The crash bars could also do with a bit of paint. The headlight screws are rotten and don’t adjust. Also in the process or taking bits off I noticed some more bodges by the previous owners and I would like to fix them.

While I also have the clocks off I am going to look into replacing the dash lights with some LED stuff. Not for brightness but because every amp I can save gives me more amps for other things.

Two Steps forward, one step back.

Over the weekend I ventured into the shed, admired the offerings to the Geds that hang on the garage door. But I had to stop as I was getting cold and I wanted to do a bit of work on the Matchless.

First, the battery came out, and that proved that after 5 years that the battery is ducked, well its showing 1V, I will give it a go on the charger but holding my breath.

Then it was time to have a look at the task I was in there for. Recently my Dad has restarted working on the bike again, but after breaking a piston ring we had to wait until I could track down some replacements. As he was getting ready to do that he then mentioned that some of the threads holding the rocker cover down are the best part stripped,

Now I made the mistake of going onto the forum for the Matchless owners club and looking up the parts diagram and finding the bolts stated “Rocker Box Cover Bolts” and that part number relates to a list of bolts. The mistake was assuming that the data was correct, and it is if you own a twin. So I ordered the wrong thread inserts. That meant I had to measure them at which point I got the right ones. Remember the Matchless is pre Unified so you have BSW, BSF & BSC all on one bike, thankfully these days I am a bit more clued up on threads so it doesn’t daunt me as much now. Armed with more info I ordered the correct inserts, and some extras as well.

Cycle Thread 26tpi

and more. Some of you will notice there are two taps in the case, that is something I have now learnt, you have the tapered tap and a second tap that is for finishing the thread off.

BSF Thread

But back to the Matchless, after attacking it with a drill I had a clean hole.

Then some tapping,

Then a quick insert,

I even used cutting oil which does half make it easier,

Need to think about getting or making some more bolts like this as these do look a little second hand, I have found stainless ones but that isn’t wise with an Ally Engine.

After all that I wanted to rest for a bit so I found a bag of random bolts we picked up at an event and I took to sorting them.

Yes, I am a sad person, I have all of them sorted by size and length this is supposedly called Knolling. They go into neat storage boxes so I can find them when I need them. But these are Metric so not much use of the Matchless.

But back to the Matchless, we removed the valve springs etc so I could clean the head and so that we could re-lap the valves. Upon re-lapping it was noted there was a slight issue with the valves.

Yup, that’s right. They are bent. To give you an idea of the failure we are talking about here is some pictures of the state of the piston.

So this week I have been awaiting new valves, which turned up tonight with a tool for fitting the springs as the special G-clamp we have died.

The tools use is still to be tested but the manual does show how to use it.

That is it for now, this weekend is the Classic Bike show in Shepton Mallet and I am trying to avoid buying another basket case bike, last year a BMW R100GS PD followed me home.

Brake Light Mod

While working on the bike I had noted the rear brake light isn’t standard and just an old Britax one from a trailer. Even worse the bulb holder isn’t properly seated so it rests against the lens and is starting to make a mess of it. I looked into buying an original(ish) one but they aren’t cheap for the whole unit and as the rear mudguard has been cut I doubt it would fit anyway. There is LED kit for it but again that would end up with me spending almost £101.40 for a rear brake light.

So I asked if anyone had tried to make one and I got told it isn’t worth the effort etc. That lead me to think OK, I will just buy a tidy looking cheap one from China to replace the one I have and for £3.50, I did. It arrived and was much smaller than I would have preferred.

Sod it I thought, let us have a go at making one. I dug out some LEDs I had bought for a project and set to the task of making an insert to hold the LEDs. A bit of measurement here and some Illustrator there I had a fairly good idea of what I was after, I did design it to have even more LEDs but I only had 20 so had to reduce it down a bit.

I am able to cheat a little as I have a Chinese 40W laser cutter and some Perspex that can be used. It took 3 runs to cut all the way through but it is a nice neat cut and does the job.

The LEDs aren’t standard shape therefore I used a hotglue gun to stick them in place. Its not neat but this is more a proof of concept.

Now time to tidy the wiring up.

Then add pick which ones I wanted to use for standard tail and brake.

I soldered the wires and then used some Wago connectors to go on the end. They have a nice latching system and it means easy removal if it doesn’t work. They are also rated enough for the task I want.

A quick fit to the bike, and time to test.

Then fitted its even better.

FYI the LEDs I had have all got little resistors so they run fine on 12V. I may have another go with a neater solution later. I could possibly use some of the LED strips you can buy.

My Location History 2019

While looking about on Reddit today I spotted an interesting post and it made me want to look at my own Google Location History as a heat map. I downloaded my history from Google and fed it into here,

Below is a general map it produces based upon the 2,782,249 datapoints I added.

But if you zoom into the map you can get a bit more detail. I did this but I had to use photoshop to stitch the tiles together but that was quite therapeutic for me. (link to imgur file if it is easier)

This then leads me on to think, I need to do more exploring of the UK. My challenge for 2020 is to get some colour into those places in the UK I haven’t taken a smartphone with GPS before.

Phone Holder – Quad Lock

With the new bike, I am searching for a navigation solution. The KLR has the Garmin Zumo550 but there is an issue with the cradle and I can’t seem to find any other ones about. I might be tempted by newer satellite navigation devices but its a big spend for a something I just for use on the bike. I use Waze on the phone when driving the car and at work so I started to look at a way to hold the phone on the bike.

With the Black Friday deals the other day I spotted a deal on the Quad Lock phone holders. The system they use has been recommended to me via several friends so I took the opportunity to order one. It isn’t cheap but it is rare to find something to mount a mobile phone to the handlebars of a motorcycle securely.

They make holders for quite a few different phones but my Note8 is no longer on the list so I opted for the universal fit, but somehow I managed to click something wrong so I ended up with the case for a Note9 which fits close enough to be happy.

Fitting is rather straight forward and I do like that they have some thread lock type stuff on the bolts to reduce the risk of the bolts coming out/loose. This kit comes with all the bits and tools for fitting it, even different rubber things for going over the bars. The hardest bit was finding a location where the phone wouldn’t fowl the screen etc. I haven’t been for a ride yet to test it as it was dark by the time I was done.

I have somewhere in a storage box a 12V to USB (fast charge) that I will fit on the bike at a later date so that I can charge it as I ride along.

Inspection of the altenator

While looking about the Matchless it was noted some of the wires on the alternator looked a little cracked. Well, the wire has died, in places, the insulation has gone hard and cracks upon flexing.

A quick search on Vehicle Wiring Products website and I have ordered a length or two of 3 core wire. Plus some crimp on 4.7mm Bullet connectors. I may well be able to unsolder the old ones but I don’t want to make the assumption I can.

5 years later

Many years ago I broke the Matchless on the way home from a weekend in Wales. The piston crown came off and bounced around the top of the engine, this meant the engine needed to be stripped down to find all the bits in the bottom.

This didn’t take very long but as we have a collection of bikes and some rather repair intensive 4×4 vehicles (Land Rovers) the Matchless was left at the wayside. I am reluctant to take on the task of rebuilding it as I didn’t take it apart and many of the parts have been sat on the bench alongside the AJS parts that were gradually going back together ready to go into the AJS.

This week my dad had the chance to spend a bit of time in the shed and managed to get a good part of the bike back together. Sadly he snapped a piston ring as it tried to refit the rebored barrel and new piston. These where originally for the AJS so had been fitted for that engine.

Sadly we pushed the kickstart over, on the engine a few times and there seems to be a lack of compression so we suspect that piston is also cracked, or the barrel.

I did make a gasket for the chaincase as that was another thing we needed to do. I used the old chaincase gasket as a template but I had to tape it down as its been in a folded state for a few years. It was then traced and cut out with a sharp knife.

The oil pipes need to be looked at as they seem to be a bit too loose and potentially could leak. I plan to source some clear pipe of a suitable diameter.

Another task is to resoldering the wires on the alternator as the 1960 wire insulation is starting to fail. I haven’t tried to do this yet as the parts need a clean before I tackle it with the soldering iron.

This meant today’s plan was to have a bit of a tidy up in the shed so I could get to the parts cleaner. But while at that I did some paint restoration, and with in keeping of the military treatment I didn’t go overboard on prep before painting. The parts were cleaned and just with a small brush and some enamel model paint I repainted a few parts that were originally painted red, though a slightly deeper red than I have applied.

A few miles are done, the list is growing.

Now that the bike has an MOT etc I have been making use of the bike and visiting friends etc. During this time I have started making notes on things I would like to do to the bike.

The one thing that needs doing sooner rather than later is the front fork seals. The bike handles fine but it is weeping a little from the left hand fork leg even though the picture makes it look otherwise. This I plan to do a full clean and change of fluids. Partly thinking of fitting some new springs but as the bike hasn’t been used much it might be an unnecessary expense.

Other things such as the paint have taken a step forward. I met up with Craig of Buzzweld in Bristol and took his advice and purchased some very nice red and white colours that are RAL colours (RAL3020 Traffic Red & RAL9016 Traffic White) and not your mixed paints like I would get if I asked for a BMW Alpine Red or White, so I should get a stronger colour from them. But I will be using a paint they supply called PIO aka Plastics in One with only a bit of scotch bright it should go straight onto the platics and its flexible. Got a tin of back to do the seat as that could do with a bit fo a tidy up. But that might be a Xmas break type of project.

After visiting Buzzweld I then went over to Castle Coomb circuit and spoke to the people at Merlin Motorsport where I picked up some oil pipe and the connectors I need to change the pipes so I can hopefully get around the issues I have with the relocation kit I bought.

Other little things like a Surefoot side stand as I can’t get the stand down while sat on the bike, I am a little short and the bike is rather tall.

Plus looking for a new rear brake light as mine is melting, but to fit a pattern replacement could cost 50 to 100 pounds so thinking of alternatives.

But I did fit a part to the bike and that was the cruise control adjuster. Not 100% sure how to use it but might be handy if I ever make the mistake of going onto a motorway.


For a time I have been thinking of fitting some sort of luggage system to the BMW. It allows it to be a more practical bike. I am a fan of being able to ditch the bike kit and wander about the shop/town without getting a sweat on because of all the bike clobber.

Having asked a few places about pannier kits for the R100GS PD BMW I found not many sources of new kit. There were offerings from Motorworks but my eye was caught by a firm I saw many years ago at the Dirt Bike Show and that was Metal Mule. They thankfully still sell the pannier kits for both the BMW and the KLR. But I initially was a bit worried that the panniers and rails etc would come close to 2k for what I wanted. But after a bit of searching on the bay, I managed to find a pair of second-hand boxes for less than the cost of one box. Next thing I know, I have some panniers and a new set of rails on the way to me.

Fitting is fairly easy task but I did end up taking more of the bike apart than I wanted. Because the get the RH footpeg off I needed to remove the rear wheel. To get at the LH rear most bolt I needed to remove the mudguard.

In the process, I also managed to find another piece of the puzzle that is the history of this bike. Looks like it’s been down on the LH side hard enough to bend the rear subframe, bend the handlebars (in two directions) and snap part of the original pannier frame. I know this as the pannier frame rails matched up fine on the RH side but LH was a 2cm out of alignment. I managed to get it to work bu using a longer bolt and pulling it together that way.