Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Velobanjogent's recent additional Velocette special......

I've been a Velocette man since I was 18 and I'm 70 now and always had a Velocette or two in my shed...several years back my collection was finally reduced to two...a Venom converted from a Viper ( done by "others" and exchanged for the last of my Mk.8 KTT parts around 1996)...
And a KSS/ Viper scrambler framed special I acquired in the US and used on the annual North American Velocette OC week long Rally/rides yearly...usually somewhere in the Western side of Canada or the USA....something I enjoyed for the nearly 20 I attended and allowed me to see much of the wonderful countryside....
  I brought it back to Sydney some three years ago and the two together with a 1987 Honda XBR500 have been my motorcycling "stable" and what I assumed would "see me out" motorcycling wise.....when the two exhausts on the honda rusted out I had a siamised stainless steel exhaust pipe setup made to suit a Velocette silencer, and yes it does sound like a Velo.....
 Until several months ago when a special Velocette friend in Los Angeles, Mick Felder, mentioned that another of our friends in the LA area wanted another KSS/RS MAC framed special to return to Australia from where he purchased it in 2005 following the Centenary of Velocette National Australia Velocette Rally in October that year.
Now I knew the bike and the builder of it, the late Jack Hogan a great engineer, a bachelor and a successful Velocette racer in the 1940's/50's in Australia...in fact he rode the last Velocette to win a title/GP/TT event at Bathurst in 1955...the lightweight NSW  TT on his 250 DOHC Velocette that utilised a cambox from one of the 1936 factory Velocette 350cc racers...Jack passed away some years back aged 90....
I'd helped Mike pack the bike for shipment, obtaining a metal crate frame from Honda to do the job....but first Mike rode it south into Victoria to see Velo friends there and to experience riding it through the Australian countryside. 
Overcoming the import difficulties in Long Beach Port in California, Mike fettled the bike a little to his liking, removing the indicators Jack had fitted, replacing the electronic ignition with a magneto, the generator was upgraded to a 12v conversion with a special "box" enabling the bike to run without a battery as it still does....
Concerned at the time delay for the oil pressure to build up in the top bevel box of the mk.2 KSS cylinderhead and deliver oil to the cams, he fitted a special hand pump into the lid of the oil tank and before starting the bike some 20 strokes of the pump sees some 12 plus psi pressure in this area where a permanently fitted 15psi oil guage indicates the pressure....
Jack built the bike as a 400cc  rather than the 348cc the mk.2 KSS is. He utilised a local tractor piston which resulted in a compression ratio around 7:1.
Mike changed the piston in time and used one from a Ford V8 239cu.in flat head, again the CR is in the region of 7:1.
Well it sure pulls well......
After a months trip by ship across the Pacific it arrived without issue into Botany Bay, the now working port for Sydney....following government clearance issues I collected it and arranged for it to be inspected for historic rego and with plates collected from the RMS and fitted took it for a spin locally...
I then attended to a few small items to suit me...Mike is a tall chap and I altered the footrest position, changed the handlebar bend and rear view mirrors and will change the rear tail light in due course to the later Miller type...more for safety reasons....
come for a photographic stroll with me through some of its history.....
Gordon Harper helps Jack Hogan fettle his Smith framed ( copy of a UK Beasley frame) 250 DOHC Velocette racer in early 1950's..
 Jack in action on the bike...
 Jacks 250cc DOHC Velocette engine shortly after he'd sold it....
 Jack at the 2007 NSW section VOCA, Velocette Display day...
 Jack's 400cc KSS special in his shed......


Mike leaves DQs house for his Victorian trip...note the indicators still on the bike...

The KSS prepares to leave Australia....

Occasional pics by DQ of Mike in Los Angeles with the KSS....
 The KSS back in Sydney in a customs holding shed prior to my collecting it.....

The KSS as it arrived into DQs shed....

 The oil pump arrangement in the oil tank cap....it pumps via pipe visible into the top bezelbox and cams...20 or so strike before starting see 15psi on the guage, illustrated below...it is glycerine filled and this is ideal to stop pointer fluctuations...the reason it is half filled is the air bubble is necessary to stop internal pressure of the glycerine when it heats up affecting the bourdon tube mechanism. Liquids don't compress whereas the air bubble will.

Cylinder barrel specially made by Jack for the 400cc larger bore...
 Cylinder holding down studs are of the same principle as the pushrod Velocettes rather than the normal KSS/KTT  type.

A beer can "has a thousand uses".....
 No battery..its all done from this box...
Nifty aluminium gear lever via Mike and a roller kickstarter cover.

2 comments:

Grandpa Jimbo said...

Hello Denis!

This is my annual notice as to how much I enjoy your blog. Especially the historical stuff. But….
In regards your Fishtail Honda, you’re not the first. In 2009 when I took a tumble with my sidecar, I badly bent the fish part of the tail. When I got home I ordered up another and meantime used a railroad maul and the curb to pound the kinks out as best I could. Then fitted it to my 2002 Royal Enfield Bullet. Drilled one hole and it bolted right on. And you are true to form in mentioning that your Honda now sounds like a Velo! I took both bikes to the rally in Utah and when I rode it into the camp grounds I was hailed and asked, “Hey Jim, what model Velo is that???”. So now I have three bikes that sound like a Velo but only two are the real thing.
Keep up the good writing, I rmn & etc.. Jim A., Tucson, AZ USA

p.s. As soon as I bolted on the Fishtail the primary began to leak oil…. Odd..

The Velobanjogent said...

Good on ya Jim....always welcome to hear from you...our paths will cross again, perhaps next year at Cambria.....DQ