a new record… and it’s broken again

Sir Walter phut phut, that is.

I say broken again but since making him legal, he’s done over 100 miles without serious problem. Not exactly JD Power top 10 performance but not bad for a 65 year old relic of the 1950’s. “Shake down testing” is the way I look at it. In preparation that is, for the Coast to Coast in June, over 2 days, East to West against the wind, with an overnight stay (or re-build!) in Alston.

And the testing, or development, has gone quite well. Sir Walter has proved he can climb some fairly severe hills with pedal assistance. And we have plenty of those in North East England, like the one below with Weardale in the background.


Early on, it became apparent the engine was running very rich as fuel consumption was far short of the reported 240 mpg and the engine had a tendency to “4 stroke”. These small 2 strokes are often called buzz boxes due to the high pitch noise they make and when they 4 stroke, well, they just don’t buzz! Carburetor flooding was the cause and a sticking float needle was the culprit, quickly resolved by cleaning it and lapping the needle seat with Brasso.

As part of the “shakedown”, I found that Sir Walter pulled better with more ignition advance and started easier with a smaller contact breaker gap of 0.012″/0.014″compared to the spec of 0.018″.

Which leads me to the record of .. top speed.

First run, I got 24 mph. Not bad as the rated top speed is 20 to 25 mph. After correcting the fuel level, I got 28.5 mph. Then I achieved 29.5 on a long downhill with a tail wind. There was a “fast” left hander in the middle of the hill, with a sunken manhole cover that I hit. I’d like to say the suspension coped well but Sir Walter doesn’t have any, so it didn’t and I had more shakes than Shane Shakey Burn (BSB hero google him). Great fun.

Final try. After a bit more running in, I found a steeper and straighter hill, complete with left hander but no manhole cover this time. I gave full throttle and he revved out well. I even got down behind the bubble (i.e. headlamp) to improve the aero package. I got to the bottom safely and was hopeful I’d set a new record, when cough, splutter, phut phut … he died.

First thought were, seizure, melted piston and broken rings due to throttling off from high revs and loss of lubricating oil.

But I was wrong. Fortunately, on checking, I found that a screw had came out of the contact breaker assembly and I’d simply lost the points gap and spark. Better still, this is the Endomondo screen shot:


So I’d hit the magic 0.3ton! A new personal record.

But you’ll notice my AVG. SPEED is low. And that’s because the screw was stuck inside the flywheel on the magnet and I had no puller to get the flywheel off, so I had to pedal home.

No support team for me, as I continue the British obsession for land speed records and tread in the steps of other famous daredevils. But at least Sir Walter and I have our own personal record; for now at least.


Michelangelo I’m not..

but as the great man said, “Genius is eternal patience” and that’s what’s needed to paint the Cyclemaster engine cover – patience that is; not genius.

So, after a quick rub down with “wet and dry” sandpaper, it’s on with the primer. I used Rust-oleum  for no other reason than it was cheap. I was unsure whether it was suitable for a cellulose based top coat but decided to find out!

For the top cost, I chose a silver that was close as possible to the original Polychromatic grey, then had it mixed at a local motor factors who supplied in an aerosol for a very reasonable £11. It went on well but dried to a flat finish as I’d got paint without lacquer. I did because cellulose lacquer is not resistant to ethanol and it would most likely lift on the petrol tank.

So the next problem was how to paint the red lines on the embosses and the black on the background of the Cyclemaster badge.

I started with the engine cover and found that a magnifying glass and a mascara brush worked well. Yes it’s the first time I’ve used a mascara brush, even though the result looks like I’m a pro!

The foam pad worked well on the raised embossing as it didn’t wipe down the sides like a brush would. However, the red flashes on the petrol tank and carb cover are different as the embosses aren’t flat topped – they are V shaped. So the first job was to mark the lines and I used my vernier set at 4.5mm to make some very small scratches. I then applied 6mm wide masking tape to form the straight sides. Now, the curved ends were a problem and I came up with what I think is a nifty solution; I used a hole punch to make a semi circle on pieces of masking tape.

These were then positioned to close the ends of each flash and the flash painted with a fine brush.

I removed the tape before the paint was dry, to prevent it from bleeding under the tape. Some “experts” recommend leaving it until the paint is dry but I was also concerned the tape may then pull the red off.

The final detailing job, was the black background to “Cyclemaster”. This was a really delicate job that I did with the smallest brush I could find. For some of the detailing around “MADE IN ENGLAND” I used the old cocktail stick trick; for example to apply the dot to the A’s – not easy.

TIP Boyes has a good supply of paints, brushes and masking tape etc.

The final job was lacquering and the big problem here is that it needs to be ethanol proof. The best lacquer for this is two pack and I found an aerosol called Pro2KClear made by Capella Solutions Group. It has a clever little ring pull on the bottom that releases the isocyanate into the paint to start the curing process. This worked really well, the lacquer went on easily and the results speak for themselves.

So far the lacquer looks very durable – scratch resistant and not yet affected by petrol spills.

However, as I said, “I’m no Michelangelo”. But a Cyclemaster is no Sistine Chapel and I’m as happy with the result as the Pope is with his ceiling – job done.

PS TIP Don’t use Humbrol Enamel for the highlights as it wrinkled a little when the lacquer was applied. At one point I thought it was going to have to start again. However it dried OK and the wrinkles can only be seen when examined closely which won’t be a problem when I zoom past at at least 20mph!

a pearl of wisdom for starting a warm cyclemaster – or it may be baloney..

you decide.

This probably isn’t new to experienced Cyclemaster riders but I’m not one of them, so to me it’s a discovery. A discovery, from the need to stop pedalling up and down the road, to start my Cyclemaster “Sir Walter” and annoying the neighbours.

The first 15 mile ride has noticeably improved the engine, it even sounds crisper and it was definitely going better at the end. However, it does have a problem starting after standing for 10 to 15 minutes. Starting from cold – no problem. Starting straight after stopping – no problem. But after 10 minutes it just takes a lot of pedalling before it fires. My Cyclemaster friend, John, tells me he also has the same problem and I know from the internet that others do, so what’s the cause?

Well, I’m thinking the motor runs a fairly weak mixture as it gets 240 MPG and this makes it reluctant to start when it’s cooled a little. I’ve tried the choke but this just floods it as I can smell petrol when pedalling and it doesn’t have a float “tickler” to raise the fuel level and richen the mixture.

However, it seems to start really well “kick-started” as shown below

and I have an explanation and it goes like this.

When you kick-start the way I did, the bike and motor are tilted to the left. Now the float bowl is on the right of the carburetor and the petrol exists the float bowl on the left. So when you tilt left you raise the fuel level at the main jet and this richens the mixture – like “tickling” the carb.


This theory may be a load of gibberish or baloney (or rotvälska for my swedish followers) . Or it may be a pearl of wisdom. So I’d be interested in your views and whether it works for other Cyclemaster riders?

You could of course, pedal in a fast, tight circle to the left and this may work as well but I take no responsibility if you get dizzy and fall off!