Friday, June 9, 2017

bultaco alpina

Nick from Moto-fied Cycles in Milwaukee and my friend John McGeen picked up a Bultaco Alpina for me a couple weeks ago. John also picked up a newer Alpina from the same owner. Jill and I were planning a trip to Illinois for out annual Cemetery Hop Family Reunion and I was planning on picking up a couple tools that I had left with John, so I drove up and met John so I could pick up the bike. We had just driven twelve hours from North Carolina the day before, so I headed out for Wisconsin early two Saturdays ago in the morning to meet John. I met John and Nick before noon to pick up the tools and the sweet "new" Alpina. 

It was so good to see John and to meet Nick and give him the KZ breather covers that I made. I have really missed seeing John and i was bummed that I couldn't stay long to chat or see his Triumph Cub. I needed to get back in time for a family dinner so I was trying to hustle. I also wanted to catch up with Eric in Chicago for just a bit. It was so good to be able to run past his place and see his family. I look forward to being able to visit his new shop when I am able to stay for a bit longer. 

I got back to Illinois in time to meet up with the family and then I stayed up late with my Dad and we worked on the Bultaco. The clutch side flywheel was loose so I tightened it up. When I did this I ended up realizing that the piston was seized. The owner had said that the bike turned over and in fact it did since someone had loosened the flywheel bolt. I popped the exhaust pipe off and popped the head to discover that the piston was in good condition as was the cylinder. My Dad and I heated the piston and cylinder a bit with a propane torch and then sprayed some penetrating oil in the cylinder. I put a little pressure on the kickstarter and things freed up instantly. The rings must have been temporarily frozen. There was no ridge on the cylinder so I steel-wooled the interior to removed any debris and buttoned things back up. I cleaned the carb and checked for spark. Things looked good so I kicked it over a few times and was able to get it running. I soon discovered that the spark would eventually fade as I kicked the bike repeatedly. This indicated a bad condenser to me so I was going to have to pop the magneto to be able to access the condenser. The Spanish bikes are notorious for having failing condensers since they are exposed to the heat inside the engine cases. Removing it and mounting a new condenser near the coil on the frame would solve my issue and get a nice fat spark back. 

Since we didn't have the proper flywheel puller, I decided to button up the cases and call it a night. I loaded the bike up after our family reunion and we drove back to North Carolina with the Bultaco on the back; you can see Jill above at a gas station in Indiana scratching her head trying to figure out why she married the idiot with a motorcycle addition. I got some looks on the way home and when we stopped at rest area a guy offered to buy it from Jill when I was inside. Luckily, she didn't take the offer. 

I got the bike home and this past weekend, I installed new DOT approved tires. I would like to be able to ride the Alpina to the studio from time to time so I'm looking forward to working on it. I'm not going to do a restoration on it; I just want to get the fuel tank sealed and ride it. I used a little 3M buffing compound and the tank's gel coat came back nicely to a nice shine. The flywheel puller came in on Wednesday this week.

Thanks to John and Nick for picking up the bike for me.

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