Considering this was a bonus to the deal for the other two bikes …… I cant stop visiting this lovely old girl!
Good luck smiled upon me as the same weekend i picked this up I found an engine on FB market place for a great price, with a load of extras (wiring loom etc) and the lovely fella then delivered it to the door. It fit like a glove amd I cant believe how many parts I’ve got “in stock” that fit straight on…….. well chuffed!!
Prior to the new (Workshop) build my good friend Mike offered my a couple of bikes and a rolling chassis. An XS1100, a Suzuki Savage and a rolling Chassis which we think used to house a Z750 Twin engine.
So finally …. time to empty the tent , cellar, shed, spare room etc etc and move everything in. Floor painted and oooooohhhhh sooooo smooth! no more losing nuts / bolts/ small children down the gaps between the brick floor …. Heaven!!
So, as mentioned previously, the “shed” that was previously a forge (as we found out whilst digging out the floor) made a long long time ago , was held up by prayers! The wooden beams supposingly holding up the structure had rotted out 6-8″ from the crumbled away brick wall upon which it once sat. So the decision was made to pull it down before it fell down!
Once down my old school friend Chris did a brilliant job of constructing a whole new two story build.
So the Dnepr has ended up becoming a bit of a money pit. Pretty much everything mechanical has been replaced (sometimes twice – as per the carbs … now fitted with a pair of Mikunis and the electronic ignition – now on its second coil pack)) but with the help and skill of my mate and old school mechanic John the old girl is running lovely. Its been to a few shows and seems to confuse even the old school “expert” who seem to confuse it with a wartime BMW (yes I put a distressed BMW badge on the tank) R75 or R51.
To confuse things further I was able to source (from the Ukraine) a pair of BMWesque valve covers!
After what seems like an eternity , we’re back.
After the ‘Big C’ de barcle and having to build a new workshop before the old one fell down we’ve been in a period of stasis where nothing was built!
All projects and completed bikes were shipped out to a container at a secure location and only the beloved Dnepr was kept at the house before being moved to a neighbours garage when the building started.
So …………….. got some catching up to do!!
I just love this Bike. I wish I knew more of its History. Whilst working through it with my boy, we never cease to smile at the previous keepers ingenuity as how he managed to keep it on the road / Field.
Whilst emptying the oil from the engine / gearbox / final drive we we genuinely take aback by the mudslide descending from each orifice…. how this thing ever ran is beyond me!
Anyway, on clearing out the gearbox we had to wonder what the selecter lever was for…. it transpires that you can change gear by hand on the right side of he bike too!!
So I thought I’d put a side stand on it given that the bike was designed to be glued to a side car and the centre stand secretes itself so far up into the frame its nigh impossible to get down when needed. Simple (I thought) buy an off the shelf jobby to fit this model ….. Oh no…. no idea who designed it but I’m guessing that when he / she did there were no exhausts on the bike! – Enter the marvellous Heisenburg and later Alex with Oxy Torch and a new bracket was forged to accomodate the stand
Mistake – NEVER pick at the “chrome” on anything Russian
So. New oil in all receptacles, relocated the battery into the faux petrol can, new side stand, some more WW2 German- esque modifications around the bike and it’ll soon be ready for the re-enactment festival coming up ….. Looks like the bike Tom Hanks dies up against in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ now.
So, The XS Cafe Racer is a close to finished as it can be, just needs oil and the timing setting. I should have taken more photos as I went along as this build has been extremely time consuming (and expensive) John Slenzak came up trumps again with the engine despite having to totally rebuild it in the end due to the previous owners attempts at spannering resulting in what looked like an internal explosion of miss matched parts ……. I cant believe that it ever ran . anyway … all new parts now covered in a lovely coat of black.
Wolfy waved his magic welding stick over an old 2-2 exhaust I had in the work shop to produce this lovely little number then it was down to fettling all those awkward parts that so often see bikes in the “90% finished project” adverts. My boy did a wonderful job of the black art that is wiring .
Then ……. I was offered an XS frame ……. this time with a log book so it was out with the angle grinder again, then off for powder coating and rebuild part two. Luckily I had my mate Alex to help me get the engine into the frame as I’d run out of ideas as to how to get it in (literally) single handedly.
Once the timings done and its had a good shake down then it’s up for sale and I’m back onto the Harley FXR project.
I have let things have slip …… literally …… the reason for no update for some considerable time is mainly through laziness and a hatred of computers but also due to an ‘Off’ I had whilst green laning. A slow speed wobble that turned into a tank slapper which turned into a cartwheel. Unfortunately for me the weather had been good for a few weeks and so the ‘mud’ I fell into was like concrete resulting in me smashing the ball of my humorous into four pieces. 13 weeks later the doctors realised that it wasn’t mending on its own …. oh and they’d missed that what was left was also dislocated and so I was in for an op within days and hey presto a new shoulder……. bugger!!!!
Couldn’t resist …. like one of those ugly puppies that just stands there with it’s sad eyes and yards of drool.
Would transpire that as soon as we started pulling the bike apart to check it over … that the engine is made up of all manner of types of the model. We did wonder why there were two sizes of carburettors to start with and so sought advice from the fella who sold us the bike who very kindly sold us some later K68 carbs as the 301’s were mullered anyhow and not the best design. …. strange how the bike ran so well….
Whilst awaiting the carbs the front wheel was stripped, new bearings and brake shoes and a bit of shed engineering to get the cable to sit in an adjuster that didn’t slide through the drum housing. Josh hit the electrics (all six wires) – but more to do on this …. when the sun actually shines and everything isn’t covered in snow …. It’s great to see some of the antique / agricultural technology on the bike …. like the cable on the handlebars to the headlight … that operates the high / low beam ….. brilliant.
Rear wheel checked and greased …. it was then that we realised that all the wheels (presumably on a side car too) are the same with drive splines in the hub …. make perfect sense really .
The K68s had horizontal bolt patterns and the 301’s vertical so a set of adapter plates were aquired …. however on putting the new ones on we saw that the cylinder heads also mismatched. Photos on a ‘Soviet steeds’ forum suggested that one cylinder is from an MT- 9 and one from a K650 – both having different valves and compression so swopping one or both was a no brainer….. this of course then rang alarm bells as to why the exhausts didn’t sit right …….. time for new exhausts.
New exhaust acquired – came in bare metal so treated to lashings of VHT paint and are now stored up awaiting the cylinder heads to arrive from Russia.
In the mean time the tank has been cleaned of 50 years of rust courtesy of some dodgy industrial strength chemicals (Thanks Heisenburg) and an internal coating of tank sealant. …. what to do next?
How’s about some panniers?? Shiny Givi jobbies wont do on this bike (with so much ‘Patina’) so onto ebay …. two used jerry cans for 17 quid posted, a couple of hinges, a clamp and some edging and hey presto a pannier. Not sure whether i’ll do two or just mount this one for now… who knows.
Got my “new / Old stock” cylinder heads from Russia today …. Wrapped in a thick layer of some orange grease and 50 year old grease proof paper. Now this is real shed therapy …. sitting for half a day with a toothbrush and some petrol cleaning orange scum reminiscent of six month old ear wax out from between the cooling fins.
Unfortunately whilst unwrapping one cylinder hear it became obvious that a lower fin had not survived the trip back from Russia … hardly surprising given the state of the box it arrived in.
Well after some weeks of Sh1t weather my boy and on seized the opportunity to take advantage of the sunshine and crack on with the project.
New heads on, torqued down properly (two of the bolts were finger tight when taking them off) both heads now have valve caps (none on before) and the valve gaps sorted. Oil in (after removing and cleaning the sump as below) and it seems to be staying there to avoid any further arguments over the pool of oil on the patio.
Carbs on, new fuel lines with filters (as the tank had to be cleaned and sealed) but I will need to get some new rubber hoses as these no longer marry up due to the new carbs. Exhaust on and treated the girl to a new set of rubber boots as the old Russian ones were a little tyred and pickled (see what I did there?) Bought some 4.00 instead of the 3.75’s which look great but were a bitch to get in the rear as you now have to rmove the nearside shock absorber so that you can wiggle the wheel back onto the dif. Looks awsome!