Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Vespa On Big PIne

I had chores to do on Big Pine Key and Cheyenne was well walked and tired so I figured I could work a bit more on the running in program for the new/old Vespa. Cheyenne kept an eye on things as I fiddled with tire pressure and added some temporary luggage capacity on the form of a crate I had lying around. I will probably switch to a top case later but for now, a crate and a cargo net over it work fine.

 I went by the bank and figured I could take some time to myself and ride around. One not-so-short-cut required some travel by dirt road. Easily done:
Per my instructions I varied the speed as I motored the back roads of Big Pine Key working hard not to over tax the new engine by running it in properly.
The bridge between No Name Key and Big Pine Key was lacking its usual complement of anglers so I stopped for some pictures of my 1979 Vespa 200. 
 It seems to run quite well however the down shifting especially between 3rd and 2nd gears seems to continue to be unnecessarily notchy. I had tried to adjust the clutch but on mature reflection I think I have  a loose gearbox cable. Naturally there is a video on U-Tube describing the fault and the remedy.
A German company that ships vintage Vespa parts worldwide has a series of how-to videos for old Vespas. SIP does a lot of these tutorials dubbed into English by a heavily accented German voice. They seem to be very useful:  so far so good.
The Vespa changes gear by means of a clutch which operates in the normal way on the left hand grip. But also on this side of the handlebar are these marks, 1-N-2-3-4 so that when you pull in the clutch you can twist the grip, and by doing that you pull or push two cables on a tube inside the handlebar grip. It is ingenious and simple and when properly adjusted, very smooth. It also means my feet aren't fiddling with a pedal to change gear and sit protected behind the huge leg shield. Just like the designer planned it to be: not like a motorcycle.
I seem to have assembled quite a fleet. I have never had so many two wheelers at my beck and call. Next to the Bonneville is my wife's 150ccVespa ET4, a four stroke automatic capable of almost 65 mph. I hope my vintage Vespa will yield similar performance on Highway One.
I have to ride quite a few more miles before we will know the real top speed of the latest addition to the fleet.