Mark’s General Tips

Bertie Simmonds
August 24, 2018

Mark Haycock is back with answers to all of your burning questions, but here are some of his general tips!

Our very own wizened sages, Messrs Mark Haycock and Steve Cooper are here to answer all of your woes, be they mechanical or spiritual. Every month we will be giving advice, as well as some general tips. Don’t forget to send in your own tips too!


Be safe with your batteries!


Battery terminals can cause trouble. Although the voltage they carry is quite small, the current a lead acid battery can produce is very high so it’s vital the battery is never short-circuited. For instance never be tempted to put a spanner down on the top of a battery, however careful you think you are.

If the battery or its carrier are not quite as the manufacturer intended, you need to be careful that the seat pan (or anything else) cannot touch the terminals. Finally, when connecting the battery, it is safer to do the earth (ground) terminal last. When disconnecting do it first.


Know your threads!


One great thing about the system for metric screw threads is that they are a universal standard. Or are they? There are different series for coarse, fine and extra fine threads, which have different thread pitches for the same nominal diameter, but there is also the question of the JIS system. JIS stands for Japanese Industrial Standard and was in use by the Japanese manufacturers until 1967. If you have a real museum piece, watch out for 3, 4, 5 and 12mm threads which have a coarser pitch for the JIS system.


Get your bearings!


If you arc changing your headstock bearings, you will need to remove the races from the frame, and the usual way to do this is to use a hammer and drift on the overhanging edges to knock them out. But, if the bearings are the taper roller type, the races seem to be designed to prevent this, as the simplest way to create an overhang is to run a ring of bead round with an arc welding set. This also has the effect of contracting the race to aid its removal.

About the Author

Bertie Simmonds

As a child Bertie (well, Robert back then… blame his sister for the nickname) was exposed to motorcycles thanks to his uncles. They would show up at his house with a lovely lady as pillion throughout the 1970s and 1980s. After a naughty time on field bikes (it’s what we did back then) Bertie passed his test in the early 1990s and became a reporter for MCN in 1995, moving to the sports desk and covering World Superbikes in 1996. With a change to Bike Magazine in 1997, he stayed until 2000 as news, features and road test editor. Moving into PR with Cosworth, Bert was bored with cars and returned to bikes in 2001 with Two Wheels Only, becoming editor in 2002 and leaving to be freelance at the end of 2004. With almost a decade freelancing, Bertie joined Mortons in 2013 and became editor of Classic Motorcycle Mechanics, a post he’s desperately clung to, to this day. And no, he’s never had a pretty girl on the back of his bike.

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