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  #1  
Old 18 Apr 2011
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Stroker touring - tips?

Have just bought a 1967 BSA Bantam D14 for some modest tours in the UK and europe, which, as most people will know, is a wee two stroke bike with a 175 cc engine.

Any tips from people who ride strokers for touring? I'm used to riding 4 stroke Yamaha XT and Enfield Bullet, so the Bantam is going to be a new experience.

One thing I was wondering was how the two-stroke engine (especially one that is 44 years old) will cope with long days on the road. I believe the Bantam was quite a tough wee beast, but it is wee and I want to be sure not to ask too much of it.

I'd also like to hear of any neat solutions to carrying and measuring oil for your petroil mixture on the road. And how easy is it to get two stroke oil on the road in Europe? (West and East)

And more generally - riding small and underpowered bikes - top tips to ensure the experience remains enjoyable!

Cheers,

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #2  
Old 18 Apr 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
I believe the Bantam was quite a tough wee beast, but it is wee and I want to be sure not to ask too much of it.
Tough is a relative term Matt. When i bought my first 2 stroke in '72 (YL1) the Bantam was considered archaic then (and quite rightly so considering it was NSU 1940's vintage technology) and only suitable for commuting with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
I'd also like to hear of any neat solutions to carrying and measuring oil for your petroil mixture on the road. And how easy is it to get two stroke oil on the road in Europe? (West and East)

And more generally - riding small and underpowered bikes - top tips to ensure the experience remains enjoyable!

Cheers,

Matt
The very first words I learnt in German were ' zwei tacht url' (or something similar). Having ridden an RD350 from Australia to Europe, then down south into Africa, in the mid '70s, I can tell you that proper 2 stroke oil is not always available.

Just use whatever oil you can find.
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  #3  
Old 18 Apr 2011
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Some of the petrol caps had a container on the underside that was a measure for the oil.You could find a small plastic bottle that holds the right amount for a "fill up ".

If you use synthetic two stroke oil ,you can reduce the mixture strength .In fact some chainsaws run on a mix as low as 100:1.
If you can't find 2 stroke oil at petrol stations ,then look for chainsaw and small engine dealers - oh- and motorcycle dealers of course .

If you don't use two stroke oil ,you'll probably foul the spark plug .Two stroke oil is designed to burn off in the combustion chamber .

Have fun blue smokin'.
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Last edited by Dodger; 18 Apr 2011 at 14:42. Reason: ying pa dop dop ,ying pa dop dop!
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Old 18 Apr 2011
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This guy had an adventure getting from the UK to Egypt - on his second attempt.
Maybe you can pull a few tips of his website.

Overland To Egypt Blog: Archives
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  #5  
Old 18 Apr 2011
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Just about all of my early "voyages" were two smoke tours. Mostly Japanese machinery (exceptions were a Lambretta scooter and an early 250 MZ) and ranging from a TS100 Suzuki trailie up to a T500 Suzuki. Many of them were two up and loaded down. 175cc is plenty for solo travel - I've been to eastern Europe on 100cc and seriously considered going two up to Greece on a 125cc Yamaha. Below are a few of the things that need to come further up your priority list if you're new to 2Ts -

Don't push it too hard - particularly if it's Brit tech. Full throttle up a hill loaded down on a hot day is a recipe for piston seizure, even with the right amount of oil, correct timing etc. They do give out warning signs that disaster is close but without 2T experience you may not pick up on them. Lightning reactions to pull the clutch in is normal two stroke practice. I still do this even on my 4T bikes when things don't feel right; old habits die hard !

2T oil used to be everywhere but not these days so, as others have said, you'll have to use car oil. Plug whiskering is said to be the downside but I hardly ever had it. When it did happen it was usually when the engine was idling, very rarely on the open road. Mostly it was on the bikes with the more marginal ignition systems (magneto rather than battery / coil)

Our Jap 2Ts were very prone to ignition timing problems (old skool points wear). Too advanced and you'd hole a piston (never had it happen on a road bike, only on the track), retarded and the engine lost power. I spent many a happy hour in campsites reading plugs and checking timing. Bantams may not be quite so critical but it's still not something to ignore.

The above makes 2Ts sound like a marginal technology not really suited to distance riding but it's not true mostly, it's just that they have a number of weak points (or the 60s / 70's ones do anyway) that you need to keep an eye on. On the up side they are great fun to ride (may not be applicable to a Bantam ) and all other things being equal put out more power than an equivalent 4T.

Last edited by backofbeyond; 18 Apr 2011 at 15:56. Reason: fumble fingers
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  #6  
Old 19 Apr 2011
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As an MZ rider I have a pump, so no measuring but you can buy containers on e-bay that include either a measure or a thing like a pub spirit measure.

Most supermarkets (Morrisons, ASDA, Wilkinsons, Sainsburies, B&Q to my experience) sell smoke oil. You won't get the synthetic/semi-synthetic/non-synthetic/pathetic/made from Leeds virgins blood choices you'll have on line but makes a weeks tour simple enough.

The trick is tip top condition, especially timing (can you fit electronic ignition?) and varying speed.

Enjoy

Andy
Living in a Blue haze as much as practical!
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  #7  
Old 19 Apr 2011
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Thanks for the replies folks. I will certainly look into the timing etc. and have a search on ebay for measuring doodah. It's also good to know I can use regular car oil in extremis and I'll definately keep an eye out for those warning signs of nipping up. Slow roads and taking it easy are the order of the day, I reckon.

I'm well aware the bantam isn't the ideal touring moto, but that's kinda why I bought it. The cycle of my life now means I don't have the extended periods of time necessary for monster trips abroad over many months, so taking my XT to Africa or Asia just isn't on the cards (for a while at least!). I've now taken a reliable jap bike to europe enough times that to do it again would be a bit 'samey'. So to inject a bit of 'adventure' into a trip to Ireland, France or Germany (or possibly further east into europe) I decided to get a bike that would make the ride a bit more challenging. Perverse? Maybe so - but this site is full of perverts! And actually, back in the 60s Bantams were regularly used by folks who would now be known as 'overlanders' or 'adventure motorcyclists'. Quite a few Aussies rode them home from the UK and there was one quite famous case of a lady who rode hers in all sorts of places round the world, including one trip round Canada and the States carrying her dog in a box on her parcel shelf!

Oh, Backofbeyond, rest assured the Bantam is fun to ride! With skinny tyres, no indicators or mirrors and a tiny lightweight frame and tank, it's like someone strapped a 175cc motor to a bicycle!

Thanks again for the info folks. I'm in a position of total ignorance about strokers at the moment, so its all good!

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 19 Apr 2011
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The Zed has a whopping 290cc's and even a disc brake, but you might want to add the following to your survival kit:

Spare plug: They shouldn't soot up especially when warm, but get the wrong conditions, bad fuel, slip with the smoke oil bottle and it's far quicker to whip the plug out than mess about with;

Wire brush: Get caught in slow traffic or short journies and you'll need to clean the plug. The pureists will say a wire brush will do harm, but you can get one the size of a tooth brush and with a bit of scrubbing keep the spare plug clean.

Can of Coke : All two smokes sieze in the end. If you are lucky you grab the clutch and get off the road. Take the plug out and let it cool down for about ten minutes. (You can drink half the can of coke if so inclined). Tip the other half down the plug hole and wait. If you have a nice gentle top end nip up it'll now free on the kicker. Kick the coke out, clean and refit the plug, add more oil to the petrol or set the carb richer and ride home slowly (the extra oil cleans out the coke). I once rode 4000 KM on an MZ motor that had had this treatment. When I finally stripped the head there were marks from a really text book 4-point top end sieze.

Spanners/goo for the exhaust system, leaks can cost you half the power and with 10-20 HP on tap we need all we can get. Same goes for the crank shaft seals. I've no experience of Bantams and would expect plenty or warning of a seal failure on an MZ, but the exhaust spanner is vital.

Andy
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Old 19 Apr 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post

So to inject a bit of 'adventure' into a trip to Ireland, France or Germany (or possibly further east into europe) I decided to get a bike that would make the ride a bit more challenging. Perverse? Maybe so - but this site is full of perverts!
Matt
Matt, re the timing device, For the Jap stuff you need a proper dial gauge but the Bantam may not be so critical. It needs to be mounted at right angles to the piston so if the plug goes in at an angle you'll have to take the head off to do it. Unlike a 4T it's not a difficult task on a smoker; on the Bantam it'll be four bolts and reuse the gasket.

I know what you mean about injecting "adventure" I've been planning a short trip called the "retro tour" for a few years and involves all four family members and two of the most unreliable vehicles ever conceived by the mind of man. My wife would go with my daughter in my 60's Lotus Elan and I'd go with my son on my 1970 Kawasaki H1 500 two smoker triple. The destination would be the Ypres area of France / Belgium - if we were lucky . Last time I went out on the H1 with my son we just about got back from the Ace Cafe - a 100 mile round trip (at 25mpg!). Started out on three cylinders and got back on one. The Elan broke its water pump in northern France last year and had to be rescued by the AA. As the kids get older they're starting to see the flaws in the idea .
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Old 19 Apr 2011
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I've been planning a short trip called the "retro tour"...

Cool, sounds like a great trip. Sure it will be full of incident!

I have a bit of a pipe-dream of persuading my dad to come with me to Morocco in his 1932 Riley special. Big wheels, massive chassis, lightweight body, pre-selector gearbox, good ground clearance - I reckon it would be fantastic fun. It took him over ten years to build though, so not sure it's the kind of thing you could abandon in the dunes if it all went pear shaped...

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #11  
Old 25 Apr 2011
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I am still on my trip, but so far I've done around 28.000 km on a two-stroke. It's a minsk. Year unknown, engine might be early 70s, frame is 90s, but the technology of the engine never changed since the first generation in the 50s.


The oil measuring-stuff is crap, leave it at home. Get a bottle that has a transparent index line on the side. Penzoil is one biggy to have that. Also their caps don't leak and are bottle sized, so less spilling. It ain't smoke reduced, but hey, let the people know what your up to .

Now for small tips (no guarantees here, just own experience):

-the exhaust spanner, as mentioned above, is vital. The vibration willl rattle it lose. And not only do you loose power, but you also give your exhaust-side show and pants a nice oil coating.

- close your petcock when refilling then shake well and ride a hundred meters or so before opening it again, if too much oil gets into the carb it can block the carb and you'll need to clean it out. (Try filling it with a little petrol, blowing in and kicking it through for a while, if it's still striking you'll need to take it out. Don't forget to let out some mix of your tank until it's not too oily anymore, otherwise it won't start

-On long decents I prefer to sneak into neutral and let it roll, if very long I even turn it off, cools the engine and the engine-break will not damage your piston, rings,... if it's getting too steep and not enough mix is coming in

- before you use engine oil I would use 4-stroke oil, usually you should find that at every pump. Someone onced told me it's almost the same as 2-stroke. Don't know for sure but I always carry spare 2T for over 1000kms, so never needed to do that.

-make the mix a little richer if you going off-road or alpine

- don't know about your bike, but if it doesn't have any extra metal weight-pieces in the handle-bar, just fit something, it reduces the vibration on your hands a lot, at least on mine it did.

- for cleaning the sparkplug you don't need to cary a speacial brush. Just always keep some wire, check it fits inside your plug, can always come in handy on old bikes anyways. I wrapped mine around one of the the tyre tools. If it's too dirty pour some petrol into it and scrub around with the wire. Do it again and it should look like new.

cheers
Tim
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Old 28 Apr 2011
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Excellent tips guys! Love the can of coke tip!

Have ordered an exhaust spanner and will pack some wire or a wee wire brush. The bike came without a toolkit so I'll need to sort something out soonish.

Hopefully will get out on it this weekend!

Thanks again!

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 29 Apr 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
Excellent tips guys! Love the can of coke tip!
Have ordered an exhaust spanner and will pack some wire or a wee wire brush. The bike came without a toolkit so I'll need to sort something out soonish.
Hopefully will get out on it this weekend!
Thanks again!
Matt
Don't forget the cable ties, super glue, rubber glue and gaffa tape.
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Old 30 Apr 2011
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Don't forget the cable ties, super glue, rubber glue and gaffa tape.
Tell me about it! Still no joy this weekend! And the sun shining! Back on ebay for more parts...

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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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