The Blog Oldracers posts - Grey Flash Diary December 2012

Grey Flash Diary December 2012

Vincent Grey Flash

Time came to revisit the Albion gearbox for the final assembly. Anyone visiting this task would be well advised to visit Hichcock motorcycles Royal Enfield web site. This site has not only many appropriate parts for sale, but there is also the illustrated parts list on line (I looked at a 1950 ridged 500 box most of the time). In the technical section is a reprint of a Don Morley article on rebuilding a similar box. Unfortunately the typesetter in the original article had lost his way on the section about shims, and the exploded drawings on the site are not quite up to Vincent standards. This therefore means that with the differences in construction of a racing box, and my use of updated components, the articles can really only be a reasonable guide, and they need sympathetic interpretation. Once you know how to put the ‘stirrup’ in, the actual assembly of the gears is quite straightforward. And, (since most Vincent owners have a pocket full of them around), its design has the good sense to use ¼ whit cheese heads to secure the gasket less covers, (I used 5 X 1”, 3 X 1-1/4 “ And 4 X 2”).
The gear selector mechanism on the Albion (which I received in a cardboard box) is a strange assortment of parts; some are recognisable as cousins of the Vincent twin box parts, and some like the ‘spoon’ that works the ‘stirrup’, are just plain weird. Let’s just say it took me some time to reassemble. Fortunately I have a few Albion road boxes about, so I could look at what the assembled mechanism should look like. I also noted with some trepidation, that the notes I have were eager to say ‘mark the positions of the various parts on disassembly’. The same notes however, were not so keen to say how to set the parts up if you were starting from a slack handful of bits. For me to say “Come back Burman all is forgiven”, would take a lot of aggravation, but I was definitely getting there. Finally it now seems to select the gears correctly on the bench, but I know from bitter experience that the true proof of the correct setting will only come when it’s tested with a running engine.
I then turned my attention to the foot change lever; the one shown in ‘obscure components’ (G78/1) is labelled as if it had been intended just for the Lightning. General drawing MO62 in the parts list book also shows it in conjunction with connections for the twin box. I get no real clues from the parts list itself, as G78/1 is not shown at all and of course the Flash is not represented in model designation columns of the list. Some contemporary pictures however do show a remote gear change lever on Flashes, and they do appear similar if not identical to the G78/1. My conclusion is that it would be doubtful, that another similar design was present just for the few Flashes that were made. What finally decided me was the similarity of the other pivot components (G108/1 etc) to those I had made for the brake lever. So a G78/1 is the one I decided to make. In fact the more I play about with these multi-adjustable levers the more one appreciates how superior they were to contemporary racing controls, and I fully expect to be making some more for other applications. To complete the gear change I also have a selection of clevis joints and rods with a suitable 1940’s patina that I bought from an ex WD stall at the last steam fair I went to, and making a lever fit the Albion lever spindle should not be too difficult.
It’s at this juncture that I have to depart from the replica ‘standard’. The footrests F72AS and their update F72/5 are of course no longer allowed in the ACU regulations, (well at a stretch F72AS with rubbers might be), but there is nothing worse than an argument with a scrutineer. So alloy rests with a ball end are what I shall fit. I also have to fit a shark’s fin over the point where the chain reaches the rear sprocket, but that particular modern accessory can wait till the very end.
Work on the Brakes progresses, but if any subject (apart from breathers) has been more discussed in these hallowed pages, I can’t think of it. So to prevent grandmothers smashing all the eggs, suffice it to say that I use Saftek Ltd to reline my front shoes with their AM4 replacement competition linings. I always ask them to use material thick enough for me to turn to fit the drums. This is the same lining material we use on the Comet racer it seems almost as good as AM4 with the advantage that it only squeals when pushing the bike around at walking pace. . I also attached the front brake scoops to the alloy plates sandwiching some metal gauze in little edge protectors made from thin alloy (to be truthful a cut up Coke can) positioned between plate and scoop and very neat it looks too.
On the back brake I put on any road lining since under hard braking with a closed throttle I have always found traction of the rear tyre the weak link in the process, not the brake lining. Certainly I think the twin back brakes on a Flash were overkill.

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