Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Aussie Triples Rally 2013 Winning BSA

Travelling 2,000 kilometres by motorcycle is a feat in itself but when the trip is completed on a classic bike then it makes the expedition even more courageous.  This is exactly what Gerry Rowley did in 2012 to attend the Triples Rally when he rode from the Gippsland area of Victoria to Ballina in the Northern Rivers region of NSW where the rally is held annually. He would have repeated the trip in 2013 too but due to various circumstances he ended up taking two bikes on a trailer along with a mate to ride the second one.
This year he brought his 1969 Rocket 3 and his 1969 Triumph Trident T150 to Ballina and both bikes are beauties. Gerry keeps them in tip top condition. Obviously everyone else who participated in the rally thought so too as he took home rally awards for both motorcycles including Best BSA 2013 for the Rocket and Best Drum Brake Trident for the T150.

Gerry says he’ll probably ride up for the 2014 rally because he knows that whichever bike he rides, it will cover the distance without a hitch. He’s that confident because he’s got Tri-Spark digital electronic ignition systems installed on both bikes. Whether he rides one of these bikes or his 1974 Norton Commando 850, which also has the Tri-Spark system installed, he knows he’ll get to his destination no matter how far away it is.

 So delighted is Gerry with the trouble-free riding he now enjoys that when he takes delivery of a Rob North BSA currently being built, it too will have a Tri-Spark system installed before a final tuning on the dyno.  For him a Tri-Spark system has become a mandatory component.

“I tried other units before I discovered the Tri-Spark system and I just wasn’t happy with them,” Gerry explained. “I like to keep maintenance on my bikes to a minimum and Tri-Spark does the trick giving me superior starting and better riding especially on the three cylinder models.”
Gerry says initially Tri-Spark was recommended by another satisfied customer. Since then, he has recommended Tri-Spark to at least three other classic bike riders.

“It’s a very easy system to install so there’s just no reason to put up with inconsistent starting, kickbacks or backfiring.” Gerry said. “I can set out on a trip knowing I can enjoy the ride without a worry.”

Aussie Triples Rally 2013

Our roving reporter Norma Flint attended the 2013 Aussie Triples Rally in Ballina NSW where Tri-Spark was a hot topic amongst rally participants. Riders who had Tri-Spark Digital Electronic Ignitions Systems installed on their bikes were so pleased with the trouble-free riding they were experiencing that they were happily sharing the reason why with other riders.
One of these was Danny Ryan who was delighted with the way his bike had performed on the 200km Saturday ride. He said he’d tried various options in the past before discovering Tri-Spark “but, they just didn’t perform as well,” he stated. 
It was a lucky day for him then when he bumped into Steve and Joanne Kelly at the Triples Downunder Rally some 7 years ago!  He purchased a Tri-Spark system soon after and hasn’t looked back. “Tri-Spark fires individually unlike other options making it much more reliable,” Danny explained.
As a result he now has Tri-Spark units fitted on his 1968 Triumph T150T and his 1972 T150V and more recently, he’s installed one on his 1981 Bonneville and he’s a happy man.“My bikes are easier to start now and run much more smoothly,” Danny said. “Also, when I place an order with Steve a unit soon arrives and they are easy to fit.”
Similar comments were repeated by several of the 55 plus participants throughout the three days of the rally.  It’s good to know that Tri-Spark has improved the riding pleasure for so many classic motorcycle enthusiasts.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tales From Your Long Distance Ride

I've been asked to give a presentation so I'm looking for stories about long distance riding - something I did years ago across Canada. I recall some great scenery but also some back pain and stiff muscles and plenty of petrol stops! Some days all we asked for was one more petrol station around the corner to keep us going on the journey. Do you have a travelling story to share? email me with your tales! The wilder the better (before September 20 2013)

Kenny Dreer VR880

Owned by one of our local Adelaide Tri-Spark customers, this exceptionally rare VR880 Norton Commando is number 1 of approximately 50 made by Kenny Dreer in the USA to a very high standard and fast according to the owner.

After a question or two about the setup and lots of talk about the Kenny Dreer Nortons, this bike fired right up and no doubt woke up the neighbours and their dogs and cats!

Talking to the riders and hearing their stories is one of the pleasures of the business - I'm getting an education every day I come to the office. Keep those calls coming!

Roger's Matchless 750

Sent in by one of our USA customers, this beautiful '68 Matchless G15 CS is an example of a bike seldom seen in this condition and just like the Norton N15 CS, our Classic Twin ignition fits behind the cylinders in the spot where the points used to be.

Roger adds  BTW, I rode that Matchless with my wife on the back from St. Louis to California on as much of Old Route 66 as possible.  That's 2100 miles to our house in Thousand Oaks.  The bike purred the entire way without a hard start or even a hiccup.

And with the leaves on the grass we're reminded of cooler weather on the way. For our northern customers, make sure you get out and do some riding before the cold weather sets in and when you do garage the bike for the last time this year remember to make a list of what needs attention before the next riding season. Some folks have a routine for storing their bikes like draining the fuel and putting the battery on charge in a warm place. Whatever you like to do here's a reminder to DO IT!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ben's 850 has a History

Ben Woolven dropped by to see us at the All British Rally this year with his very tidy and completely original Norton Commando Interstate 850. He's quick to point out that there's a story behind this bike which he imported from a collector in the UK.
It turns out that this is the actual bike that was displayed at the NVT stand at Earls Court London in 1975. Ben will not hesitate to compare serial numbers and show you the photo of a very pretty model sitting on the bike at Earls Court. Good on you Ben - thanks for a great story!

All British Rally 2013

In Newstead Victoria once again the riders were blessed with clear weather and a warm evening for camping out. This event keeps on getting better!

This is our opportunity to meet the riders and see their bikes and understand their chalenges.

It's a good thing I brought a few tools to assist with the installations and repairs going on around our site. We installed ignitions on a T150 Trident, Norton Commando and a Triumph Bonneville - all humming along nicely after the transplant!

The Trouble With Batteries....

Your electronic Ignition relies on power from the battery for its operation so it only makes sense to look at the battery when trouble arises with engine performance.

If batteries just lost a bit of capacity as they aged we would notice this and plan to get a new one in due course. Unfortunately they die in strange ways and sometimes suddenly, resulting in some of the most common troubles with our old bikes.

Here's what can happen. A battery with no load on it (everything turned off) may check out OK close to the nominal 12 volts but once the lights are switched on it may suddenly drop below 10 or even lower down to 8 or 5 volts. This is typical of an aged battery that's heavily sulphated but we can check for this by load testing the battery.

A bike shop can load test your battery or you can simply monitor the voltage with a meter for a few minutes with the headlight on (motor off). A good battery will power the lights for several minutes while maintaining above 12 volts.

Sometimes a battery can have one cell that dies resulting in really strange things happening.  The lights and horn may still work OK giving the impression that the battery is good when in fact it's struggling to function. The damaged battery can cause the ignition to misfire as the voltage fluctuates wildly under charge from the alternator.

In some cases we've even seen batteries that have short circuited to the frame or seat, burning out the wiring harness as a result. This can happen on some triumph twins if the battery posts are facing forward toward the fuel tank. Take care when buying a replacement battery that the terminals (positive and negative)  are the same way around as the original.

If your battery fails to maintain its charge it should be replaced without delay to avoid future headaches.

Technical - Idle stabilisation

" How does idle stabilisation work on the Tri-Spark Classic Twin Ignition?" a customer asked recently.

We know that it does work because we have a box of mail from customers including Michael from the USA stating that his 1972 Norton Combat went from being a little temperamental with the (other brand) of ignition to rock solid and a top performer with the Tri-Spark. He says:

"She started immediately and strobed one or two degrees off.The idle is a thing of beauty at this point.Confident is how I would describe the idle now.The progression through the rest of the rev. range is smooth, powerful and again, confident." - Mike Jetty

So how does it work? Without going into too much detail it works on the principle that the idle firms up with more advance and weakens with less. With digital control over the advance in the idle range from 500 to 1200 RPM we can get a result that continues to impress even the most discerning enthusiasts.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Customer Review March 2013

review by Graeme Hay (England)

"I have a restored BSA A65 Lightning, originally built in May 1971.  The bike was fitted with an early electronic ignition system made by another company.  Starting was unreliable, despite checking everything many times, replacing spark plugs, stripping and re-building carburettors etc. it never seemed to improve things.  Acceleration was filled with misfires and riding the bike, with confidence was difficult.  A friend of mine who had fitted a Tri-Spark system to his Triumph T140, in response to having his ankle broken by a kick-back, recommended it highly.  

I ordered the Tri-Spark ignition unit on Monday evening and I received an e-mail the next day to advise me that delivery was likely to take up to two weeks.  The unit was with me the following Monday.  Fantastic service - thank you.

Installation could not be more straightforward.  I am sure that it can be done in less than 30 minutes - in my case it took a couple of hours because I chose to follow the excellent advice to check and tidy-up the wiring, before fitting the Tri-Spark.  Setting the ignition timing was clearly described and very easy to follow.  On my bike I had to trim 5mm off of the supplied bolt, which secures the most robust rotor to the shaft - this was anticipated, in the very clear instruction booklet. 

The initial static setting is made much easier than anything I have previously fitted by the provision of an integral LED, on the stator.  Simply line up the full advanced marker on the crankshaft, ease the stator around, until the red light comes on - brilliant.  The kit includes a good few extras, which may or may not be needed.  I used a couple of the supplied Lucar pattern connectors, these are high quality items, too; they crimp very easily to a sound joint.

The Tri-Spark unit that I bought includes the new "Test" facility.  By gently depressing a small switch on the stator, with a ball point pen and then switching on the ignition system I was able to observe the full function of the coils, leads, spark plugs etc.  When doing this I found that one plug was intermittent in its operation - bingo, another problem clearly identified and easily solved.

The lack of any additional "Box of tricks" is a real benefit with the Tri-Spark.  This is especially so, on an older British bike, where mounting electronic gadgets in a safe place can be tricky.  In my experience such gadgets usually end up rattling to destruction at some point.  The Tri-Spark simply replaces the points; the only connections being an earth to the stator securing screws, one wire to the coils and one to the ignition circuit.  Elegant design, by any standards.

My 1971 BSA A65 Lightning now starts with ease, hot or cold; idles reliably and runs beautifully.  Acceleration is crisp and strong, in any gear in any situation.  I have complete confidence in overtaking slower moving traffic and am happy to go out on lengthy trips.  I can't prove this but I reckon she runs much cooler, too. 

The Tri-Spark is undeniably dearer than some other systems but it represent significantly better value for money, as soon as you fit and use it.  I have a Triumph Trident T150V, from 1974 in the garage and that will be the next machine to receive the Tri-Spark magic."
Graeme Hay (Wiltshire England)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Classic Twin Redesigned for 2013

In our efforts to maintain our reputation as a supplier of a high end system our research and development regime is rigorous. That effort has paid off and we’re pleased to say that we’ve developed what is without doubt the simplest and easiest ignition module for British twin and singles that is available on the market today. What’s more, you’ll be pleased to note, the redesign has enabled us to reduce our costs leading to a better price for you. Now they’re ready for you to order.
What’s different?
There are quite a few terrific improvements on the earlier system. And, we know that it delivers what we promise because we’ve conducted extensive testing. Apart from looking a little different, the stator unit works and fits the engine in the same way but the internals have been simplified and strengthened. What you get now is –
  • A new test mode that allows for easy testing at the press of a button, on the bike or bench.
  • Higher fault tolerance to high voltage spikes.
  • A robust module encapsulated for moisture, oil and vibration resistance using a new softer material (long exposure to water and oil is not recommended).
Tests have proved that the system is able -
  • To withstand 24 volts continuously for 10 minutes, at operating temperature.
  • To withstand up to 200 volt DC spikes on the power input.
  • To withstand reverse polarity continuously.
Some things haven’t changed. 
  • Mechanical fitting is the same.
  • Same wiring colours and connections.
  • Same ignition timing, dwell control and idle control.
  • Same coil compatibility.
  • LED for static timing and testing has been retained.
With a 3 year warranty on parts, subject to conditions, and better pricing you can’t go wrong.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Classic Twin Temperature Testing

Our Temperature cycling oven has been working overtime for most of 2012 testing sample batches of the new Classic Twin stators. Cycling the heat on and off 12 times per day up to 100 degrees C we are able to verify that the materials used in the manufacturing can stand up to the harsh conditions inside an engine.

In addition to high temperature, the ignition modules are tested to withstand reverse battery polarity, continuous over voltage up to 24 volts DC and voltage spikes up to 200 volts DC.

Even the adhesive on the labels gets evaluated. This is one way we can ensure we are making the best possible product for your bike.

New Classic Twin Test Mode

Troubleshooting an engine when the problem could be the carburettors or the ignition or a mechanical fault has been a time consuming exercise until now.

At the press of a button the Classic Twin will spark the coils for 10 seconds allowing you to check for spark at the plugs and see how the system is functioning with the coils and spark plug leads and spark plugs all working together.

A second test checks the magnetic rotor and pickups in the module thus giving a complete test of all the ignition components.
Read more in the manual page 9

Updated Classic Twin Manual

Changes to the Classic Twin instructions including:
* Engine compatibility              8
* Specifications                       8
* New wiring diagrams             7
* Use the new test mode         9
* Troubleshooting tips            10
* Warrantee policy                 11

Click here to read manual