1961 BSA Super Rocket Rebuild

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One point on the front forks- mine worked ok until I switched to the two ls brake. Once I got that brake dialed in, it would really stop. If I hit the brake hard the forks just clonk to the bottom immediately.
This can be a bit unnerving!
I go from riding the Thruxton R with its clever Showa Big Piston Anti-dive forks to this total dive fork.
The Commando , even with its really strong Madass 6pot brake, doesn't dive like the BSA.
In talking with others who have fitted the 2 leader, the clonk to the bottom seems to be typical.
So perhaps the stock springs are just too weak when the stronger brake is fitted.
The other consideration is damping. If that could be improved it would help
It's something I intend to address at some point.
Perhaps SRM have some stronger springs or other improvements.

Glen
 
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BSA 441 fork legs have internal dampers. I am using these on my RGS.
The main deal breaker, for some, is they have the early/scrambler type rear tab fender attachments instead of the later 2 bobbin stud type.
 

MikeG

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Would love to see more photos. It’s a beautiful BSA.

Tank is from a 67. It’s going to work out perfectly. My goal is to build a bike to ride that looks great. Will pay as much detail to originality when makes sense. Picking up the tank tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Do you know what socket size the camshaft nut is? My whitworth is not fitting quite right.

cheers
If your goal is to build a reliable rider my best suggestions are
1) an SRM oil pump. I struggled with wet sumping for 15 years before I did this. Now it can sit all winter and have less than a few ounces in the sump come spring. The only downside is now I have to pull the tank drain plug rather than the sump drain to change oil.
2) SRM generator belt drive. A bit more RPMs on the generator and no more grease migrating from the drive chain into the timing cavity.
3) An electronic voltage regulator and AGM battery. No more over/under charging and cooked batteries
I've also installed an oil filter, LED headlamp such as this one: Cycle Standard LED Bulb for Lucas Headlight Unit replaces Lucas OEM 446, 414, 370, and 312 – Lowbrow Customs and a one way check valve in the intake rocker box cover for better crankcase venting. Still on the to do list is trying a copper gasket in place of the standard paper ones for the rocker boxes. I have never been able to completely seal them. I've been told this is a result of the head stays being attached to them and that this gasket will cure that. If I ever get tired of doing the wipedown, or have reason to remove the boxes again I'll try it. Otherwise it's been one of the most reliable, easiest to work on, bikes I've ever owned.
 

Jerry Doe

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Here we go.
They have an upgrade.
I need it! Progressive springs and more.
My thought was it would be a waste for you to purchase stock springs when you plan to fit the 2ls brake.

Glen
Hi Glen,

Yes, they are sold out and I spent hours looking. I finally found an Eddie Dow damping system for an A10 in Australia, so I bought it yesterday. I have ordered new progressive springs, stanchions with bushes, seals, new fork leg and new seal holders. So I think I have pretty much everything for the front end to get it as good as possible.
 

Jerry Doe

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If your goal is to build a reliable rider my best suggestions are
1) an SRM oil pump. I struggled with wet sumping for 15 years before I did this. Now it can sit all winter and have less than a few ounces in the sump come spring. The only downside is now I have to pull the tank drain plug rather than the sump drain to change oil.
2) SRM generator belt drive. A bit more RPMs on the generator and no more grease migrating from the drive chain into the timing cavity.
3) An electronic voltage regulator and AGM battery. No more over/under charging and cooked batteries
I've also installed an oil filter, LED headlamp such as this one: Cycle Standard LED Bulb for Lucas Headlight Unit replaces Lucas OEM 446, 414, 370, and 312 – Lowbrow Customs and a one way check valve in the intake rocker box cover for better crankcase venting. Still on the to do list is trying a copper gasket in place of the standard paper ones for the rocker boxes. I have never been able to completely seal them. I've been told this is a result of the head stays being attached to them and that this gasket will cure that. If I ever get tired of doing the wipedown, or have reason to remove the boxes again I'll try it. Otherwise it's been one of the most reliable, easiest to work on, bikes I've ever owned.
I agree and that is how my A10 will be
 

Jerry Doe

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BSA 441 fork legs have internal dampers. I am using these on my RGS.
The main deal breaker, for some, is they have the early/scrambler type rear tab fender attachments instead of the later 2 bobbin stud type.
Thanks Dave, that's good to know. I think I got the front end parts I need on the way now...
 
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I agree and that is how my A10 will be
You might want to do some reading on the belt drive. I was all set to install an Alton with belt drive.
Then some problems showed up some A10s with generator belt drives. A couple of owners went back to chain drive.
I had a non-functioning 6 Volt system . A friend who is restoring a plunger Superflash and wanted stock 6volt offered to trade his working 12volt armature and Podtronics for my non working stock setup.
Deal!
So my bike is still on the chain drive and I will leave it that way after seeing a number of belt drive early failures.
Power output isn't great with the 12 Volt Lucas/Podtronics, about 60 watts. With magneto ignition and Led headlight it runs a 35 wattheated vest nicely, so it's just enough power.
The 12volt conversion via 12 Volt armature does not increase power, however 12 Volt lights tend to be a lot brighter than 6 Volt. The new generation 12 Volt BPF base LEDs ,such as Goffy sells, are really bright and decent for focus.
There are some who are very happy with the belt drives but my sense was that these might be very low annual mileage bikes.
There are a lot of A7s and A 10s that only run very small annual mileages. I guess my A10 is in that club. Hoping to change that!

Glen
 

baz

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You might want to do some reading on the belt drive. I was all set to install an Alton with belt drive.
Then some problems showed up some A10s with generator belt drives. A couple of owners went back to chain drive.
I had a non-functioning 6 Volt system . A friend who is restoring a plunger Superflash and wanted stock 6volt offered to trade his working 12volt armature and Podtronics for my non working stock setup.
Deal!
So my bike is still on the chain drive and I will leave it that way after seeing a number of belt drive early failures.
Power output isn't great with the 12 Volt Lucas/Podtronics, about 60 watts. With magneto ignition and Led headlight it runs a 35 wattheated vest nicely, so it's just enough power.
The 12volt conversion via 12 Volt armature does not increase power, however 12 Volt lights tend to be a lot brighter than 6 Volt. The new generation 12 Volt BPF base LEDs ,such as Goffy sells, are really bright and decent for focus.
There are some who are very happy with the belt drives but my sense was that these might be very low annual mileage bikes.
There are a lot of A7s and A 10s that only run very small annual mileages. I guess my A10 is in that club. Hoping to change that!

Glen
On my A10 I had a vee belt dynamo drive conversion this was rubbish, I changed it to an srm toothed belt drive, this has been very good but I am a low mileage rider
I have a 12v regulator on the original e3l dynamo and with led headlight and tail light it starts to charge at around 2200rpm with the lights on from memory
 

Jerry Doe

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I am not sure what to do about the dynamo or mag yet. Its quite a way down the road. I am still struggling to get the barrels off due to someone using some crazy goop on that surface.
I'll probably go with electronic ignition, alton dynamo, belt, 12v etc. Its just money, so if it takes longer to save up $ it will, but want it all as good as possible.
 

baz

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I am not sure what to do about the dynamo or mag yet. Its quite a way down the road. I am still struggling to get the barrels off due to someone using some crazy goop on that surface.
I'll probably go with electronic ignition, alton dynamo, belt, 12v etc. Its just money, so if it takes longer to save up $ it will, but want it all as good as possible.
There's a lot to be said about a magneto
I bought a reconditioned mag and a reconditioned AAR unit for mine a few years ago
It was money well spent imo
 

baz

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Hi Glen,

Yes, they are sold out and I spent hours looking. I finally found an Eddie Dow damping system for an A10 in Australia, so I bought it yesterday. I have ordered new progressive springs, stanchions with bushes, seals, new fork leg and new seal holders. So I think I have pretty much everything for the front end to get it as good as possible.
I have the Eddie Dow damping kit it works very well
In fact the forks work better than any other BSA I've ridden
One thing that does make a difference is if the fork oil quantity is slightly different between the fork legs the forks make a metallic sounding knock
 

Jerry Doe

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I have the Eddie Dow damping kit it works very well
In fact the forks work better than any other BSA I've ridden
One thing that does make a difference is if the fork oil quantity is slightly different between the fork legs the forks make a metallic sounding knock
Baz

How much oil do you put in?
Do you use SAE 20?
 

baz

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Baz

How much oil do you put in?
Do you use SAE 20?
Oh Christ now you are asking me something!! I know I have ATF in there
I can't remember the quantity, next time I'm in the garage I'll look in my manual may have made a note
Cheers
 
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I think I'll keep klonking for this year. It's good to know help is out there.

On the mag, I agree, a good mag is hard to beat. No charging system needed, gets you home even when the SRM dynamo belt pulley starts slipping on its shaft:)
I had a look thru some of the dynamo drive complaints. Most were about the drive pulley slipping on its shaft. These cropped up over a few years with SRM and other suppliers, SRM may have solved it by now.
On the mag, my mag had a tired condenser. I was going to go for a Thorspark EI. Several owners on the A10 site had done recent installs and we're thrilled, as we initially tend to be when we buy a new thing.
The Thorspark needs a working charging system, which the bike didn't have at that time. I was holding off buying the Alton after reading of various dynamo belt drive issues. So I held off on the Thorspark purchase too.
Then I read about the Easycap condensor replacement to fix old Lucas mags. This will only work if the old condensor is the only problem. Apparently , this is often the case.
After ordering and receiving the Easycap ceramic condensor, I took the mag to a club friend who specializes in Lucas mag and dyno repair.
He installed the Easycap and now the bike is an easy starter, cold or hot.
The working charging system was added about a year later.
Prior to that I just used the bike for daytime runs with the battery running deadloss to a pilot light and the brake light. It wasn't a problem for the bit of riding I did, but it feels good to see that ammeter needle now bouncing to positive as nature intended!
I added a Sparkbright voltage monitor as well.
I've since read of a number of failures with the Thorspark ignition.

Glen
 
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MikeG

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I agree 100% on keeping a working magneto. I had mine rebuilt when I restored the bike 25(?) years ago and have had no issues other than a cracked pickup arcing to ground. Starts hot or cold easily, and it's manual advance so if I get some questionable gas or am in a situation where I have to lug the engine a bit I can with out any pinking.
 

Jerry Doe

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Yes, I think I might keep the magneto too.

Today I got the cylinders off. Lots of sludge everywhere and it has about 30 thou end play on crank, so the oil pressure must have been bad. I have decided that I need a lot of machine work on the bottom end as well as the timing side roller conversion, crank re-grind etc. Is there anywhere state side I can send the bottom end away to be fixed up? I am out of money now for a bit, but that is my preference since I don’t have the right tools.

Not sure what to make of the pistons with the machined rings. It looks like someone has had a go a balancing based upon what i see of the flywheeel.

Here, some pics of the sludge




 
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I have exact same +20 norton they are "MC" brand. Don't know if jap or taiwan. Mine are quite old as they are shallow ring groove type. Of course norton MC pistons are not nearly as high a dome as BSA/triumph style.
 
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