Friday, May 30, 2008

German MOT

today a short rant - or more correctly sad story with a happy ending about my attempt to go thru German MOT (TüV = technischer Ueberwachungsverein) with my green Skorpion.
My German text is attached.
Last week, I took the bike to a local car mechanic shop (good one) where the TüV person comes every Tuesday.
I laid out the paperwork (registration etc.) but he didn't even look at that. Went out to the bike and starting at the front, once he was satfied that all the lights work, critized:
-the headlight is not original - it is in fact, unlike what was originally in bike;
-footpegs don't fold up - no they don't and never have and I wouldn't have a bike that does. The rearsets are listed in the registration that he didn't look at.
-What silencer ist that!? what can I say - the absolutely original L&W
-Where's the certificate for the carbon fiber hugger?
etc etc etc.
Ended with, "I refuse to renew the MOT. Nothing but the frame and engine are original on this thing."
Well, the frame is one thing that is original MZ alright but definitely not stock; it is frame number 004, the first prototype frame for the Replica that the good people at MZ decided was too light and weak. No need to go into the engine.
I have attached scans of the registration certificate.
The most important part is the second page on which is flatly stated that,"this certificate was issued to Heinz Weber(etc) for the vehicle made of MZ parts which he has built himself. This certificate was issued on 15.06.1998 vom TüV Verkehr und Fahrzeug(traffic and vehicles) official techical inspector "Ochs" (his name)."
The other pages list all the stuff that differs from the Skorpion and, on the third page, "Parts and frame MZ Skorpion Replica."
Like I said, he didn't even bother to look at at that.
Yesterday, I tried again, this time at a different shop with a different inspector.
What can I say? He actually checked a lot more than other guy, actually looked at the registration and gave his OK without reservation.
Same bike a week later!

original text:
Beim Treffen habe ich vom mislungenen Versuch TüV zubekommen erzaehlt.
Vorm Treffen war ich deshalb bei einer Autowerkstatt hier im Ort, zu der der TüV Mensch ins Haus kommt.
Angefangen hat's, nachdem er die Lichter auf Funktion geprueft hatte, vorn mit der Meckerei:
-der Scheinwerfer ist nicht original - tatsaechlich ist aber wirklich original, das Glotzaugeding, das nichts taugt
-die Fussrasten sind starr - die sind eingetragen
-Was ist das fuer'n Daempfer? der voellig originale L&W, nicht irgendwas lautes wofuer ich evt. bekannt waer.
usw usw usw.
Letztlich sagte er, " Das Ding nehme ich nicht ab!, Da ist nichts ausser dem Rahmen und Motor original."
tja. Ausgerechnet der Rahmen, der mit der Nummer 004! von MZ aus dem Versucht stammt.
Bleibt noch nachzutragen, dass er den Brief (siehe jpgs) gar nicht erst angesehen hat.
Gestern neuer Versuch, diesmal bei meinem Lackierer, Juergen Bender, da ausnahmsweise der DEKRA Mensch wegen eines Anhaenger zu ihm ins Haus komme.
Kurzer Augenschein, dann die Papiere angesehen (anders als der oben!), dann die technisch wichtig Sachen wie Lenkkopflager, Lichter - Standlicht? ach so das ist ja gar keins, OK - Bremsen usw.
Dann, Fahren Sie das Moped warm, damit wir messen koennen. Auch OK.
Stempelt erteilt - ohne Beanstandungen.

Wohlgemerkt, dasselbe Motorrad eine Woche spaeter.

Ein krasseres Beispiel fuer Behoerdenwillkuer beim TüV kann man sich nicht denken.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

a 1978 Ducati 900SS

And now for something completely different.

Two years ago, we rebuilt a 1978 Ducati 900SS belonging to a friend of mine. He bought it from the first owner in 1982 and has had it ever since. But after 25 years, it was in need of serious work.

We decided to rebuild the cylinder heads, making the necessary modifications for lead-free gasoline. The valve seats of the vertical cylinder were shot anyway. When we dismantled the engine, the valve seat rings could be turned easily with a Seegerring pliers. No wonder that cylinder had no compression.
New seat rings were made from scratch of sinter material. New valve guides were also made of sinter bronze and of course new valves were fitted. The seats for the seat rings had to be milled square and clean to accept the new rings.
The carbs were cleaned and all seals and the accelerator pump membranes renewed. Otherwise, the engine was in good condition.

I decided that it would be a good idea to make a new wiring harness since the owner had more than once been stranded with an empty battery for no apperent reason. Italian electrics are questionable at best. Using the Silenthektik automatic fuse box and SilentHektik controller, I made a new harness. Only the ignition remained original. Although there is no starter, I chose to fit a Hawker SBS8 battery. It is almost indestructable, needs no care at all and fits the bracket perfectly.
The owner had fit an aluminum tank from Sauer shortly after he bought it, one of the first Sauer made.

The original owner had already done away with the original cockpit, fitting a DIY stainless steel item, clumsy and not nice. The original item was fiberglass and cannot be had new for whatever price. Only poorly made copies are to be had now. I milled a new one following the original form out of aluminum which was then anodized black. The owner had replaced the original Smiths instruments with Veglia, utilizing an original and coveted "Competizione" tach like those found on all 50ies and 60ies Italian racing motorcycles. Of course these were kept. The owner does preserve the original Smiths clocks as well.
This 1978 900SS is something of an oddity; it is one of the first original left side gear changes but it has original Borrani wire wheels. Officially, the left changers were not delivered with wire wheels and those few made prior to 78 for the US market with a left side change were right side shifters with a clumsy linkage from the left to the right through the swingarm axle.
Also this one appears to have always been red but there never was officially a red Ducati at this time. It is very probable that this one was specially built to order by the German importer.
All mechanical details were seen to, the shift and brake linkages repaired and bushed.
To complete things off, we mounted a new chainset, new Bridgestone BT45 tires and new Ikon struts. these are the successors of the world famous Koni struts.

The best part is saved for the end: the owner wishes to sell the bike unto responsible hands.
Any serious inquiries whould be directed directly to me be email:

The bike is stored in my shop, is licensed and can be, weather permitting, test ridden any time.

Monday, February 11, 2008


not much to update. The bike has still not been to inspection and so I haven't been able to register it yet.
But the weather is greatly improved and so I rolled it out into the sun last Saturday to take a photo or two:

It is running and appears to be ready for the inspection, so I need to borrow a trailer (I no longer have the van) and tow it over to Karlsruhe to Heinz Weber for that.

I am still not satified with the carburator settings, but my experience tells me not to expect too much with the quiet can installed. After getting the stamp, the can will be replaced with the other Remus which, while much louder also has much less backpressure and is easier to jet.

I also recently fitted a pair of PVM 3-spoke aluminum wheels to a Skorpion Tour for a friend.
Both brake calipers as well as the front pump were changed to Brembo units. The front rotor is a Spiegler with cast iron ring.
Besides fitting the much better wheels, I also installed a lightened flywheel/freewheel assembly.

all for now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Now that I am getting old and pedantic, let me make a few basic comments.
Get the best tools you can afford. They are the cheapest in the long run.
In Europe, these are in the order of my preference:
Gedore and Dowidat (same company)

In the States, I would say Snapon and then Craftsman. Because I have various antique machines including English, I also have a basic set of Metrinch tools.
The best side cutters I have ever seen or used were from Utica. They no longer exist, but you do see the tools on eBay.

Use box wrenches wherever possible. Don't use offset wrenches when you can avoid it. They slip off too easily and tend to ruin the nut or bolt head. In that, they are not much better than open end wrenches.

My main rachet drive is a Snapon 3/8", now over 30 years old, the chome wearing through to the nickel underplating. Both 1/2" and 1/4" ratchets are also Snapon. I use 1/2 sockets for the impact wrench and of course 1/4" sockets for smaller things and hard-to-get-to places. Try to get and use 6-point sockets instead of 12.

Two tools I find indispensible now that I have them are T-handle socket drivers. I cannot recommend these highly enough.
Likewise, T-handle Allen drivers are very handy.
Facom also offers them and I prefer these. The ONLY ball-end Allen drivers worth anything at all are from Snapon and they are so good, even aluminum bolts are not ruined.

Do not use zinc-plated screws because the galvanic treatment weakens the alloy. Try to use 10.9 or better 12,8 grade bolts, especially for Allen-head screws and bolts. That will alleviate a lot of headaches later.
Another pet peeve: don't ever use helical spring lock washers.

Where ever possible, use so-called Schnorr safety washers. These are serrated disc springs. Although they look harmless, they actually hold much better than other designs and do not ruin the part or the bolt. Use them only once!

Critical fasteners (and those the race inspectors demand) should be wired or splinted. An example; the rear axle nut; use a castle nut and a spring clip.

Use a torque wrench and the proper torque and above all, use a suitable grease such as Microlube GL 261 on the threads or you don't even have to bother with the torque wrench.

Here is table of torques to download and paste in the tool box.

Try not to use Loctite 270.

Self-locking nuts are a good idea in most places. they can be the usual nylon insert type but I much prefer KayLock nuts. Like the Schnorr washers, they can be used only once - or rather as often as you want but are then no longer self-locking. They have no insert, instead they are deformed slightly. They are also of much better steel and are smaller as well; a M6 nut takes a 7mm socket instead of the normal 10mm. Thus, they are nearly as light as titanium nuts. For hard to get at things like the exhaust studs they are ideal.

will be continued...