Friday 8 October 2021

The Final Build of the AJS V-Twin: Part 4

All the shiny bits came back from chrome plating at Castle Chrome and my engraver, who lives about 5 minutes away, engraved the end cover for the positive stop gearchange. I was very pleased with the results. 

The petrol tank, which was also chrome plated, needed some black paint and gold lining to complete it. I duly masked the areas for spraying and, to ensure the paint adhered properly to the shiny chrome finish, first used a 2k epoxy etch primer followed by 2k gloss black. Rather than painting the gold pin-striping, I have an excellent sign writer that lives close by and uses gold leaf which, in my opinion, looks better than either gold paint or tape.

The completed tank, together with the exhaust pipes, kickstart, handlebars and all the cables and controls that had previously been made were put onto the bike.

The bike was then taken off the stand and put onto the starting rollers - but with no fuel, to get some oil circulating and to check that the starting rollers would turn the engine over OK. And a few more picures with the bike in the garden outside the workshop...

Apart from some final checks that all the nuts and bolts are tight the building of the bike is now finished and it will soon be time to start it for the first time.

I’ve just made a rough calculation on how much time it has taken me to build this bike. One advantage of taking digital pictures is that they are dated; the first picture, which was the start of the crankcase patterns is dated 11th April 2018; the last picture – today – is the 8th October 2021. The elapsed time is therefore ~ 3 ½ years. If I subtract the time spent on other projects during this period, namely restoring the early Model 18 Norton (10 ½ months) and putting the Marshall supercharger on my MG PA (2 months), that leaves about 2 ½ years spent on the AJS V-Twin project. I work a fairly consistent 6 hours a day, 6 days a week and, as much of the project has been carried out since the outbreak of covid with the associated lockdowns and lack of travel since March 2020, I have easily spent 46 weeks of the year on the project, giving a conservative working year of 1400 hours per annum. The total number of hours is therefore around 3,500 to build this bike.

Was it worth it? I’ll let you know when I get to ride it

Incidentally, if anyone that reads my blog feels inclined to make a similar bike, I have a spare set of crankcase and timing case castings that they can have at cost price.

Although I have thorougly enjoyed building this bike, I don't plan on making another V-Twin ...just yet.