I've been talking to Rick back and forth for a couple of months and we were finally able to get started on his '75 Commando that he bought and hasn't ridden due to multiple issues. I drove to Houston last Friday, after dropping off 2 frames and a bunch of parts at the powdercoater's in San Antonio.
We pulled the bike out of his storage on Saturday morning (parked between his immaculate '74 Trident and nifty '66 BSA Fire/Bolt), and brought it out in the sunlight to discuss particulars. After a quick look-over, I decided to dump a gallon of gas in it and give it a go. Rick mentioned having seen a puff of smoke from under the tank when he tried to start the bike after installing a new battery some time back, so I was careful to look under there when turning on the key, ready to turn it right back off should the need arise. No smoke.
I tickled the carbs and started stabbing at the kicker, and it WANTED to fire, but just wouldn't catch. I asked Rick to tell me more about the new battery and the smoke as I started to pull the battery out of it's dark hole, and immediately found the problem: he had connected the dual red wire to the positive terminal, but had neglected to connect the heavy red ground cable! The red wires were pretty toasty everywhere I could see them; the damage was done, but it was not affecting normal operation once I re-connected the heavy ground cable.
ONE TOUCH on the starter, and it was ticking over quite nicely, although puffing significantly on the left side. As it warmed up, it started smoking on the right side as well. The oil was a bit over-full, so it hadn't "wet-sumped". Possibly intake valve seals dry or off their seats, and/or worn rings (although compression was good).
The bike is a "good ten-footer"; looks nice from about 10 feet away. Any closer and all the minor rust spots, flaked chrome and dry tires show themselves.
The bike's paint is in very good condition, and the engine and starter work well, so this SHOULD be more of a refurbishing than a restoration.
Many pix coming...
author "Old Bikes"
too many bikes to list, including:
JPN, 952 Prototype, MkIII Interstate, Combat Dunstall, VR880 SS, Triton