Monday, April 12, 2010

making spotlight: nathalie in freiburg

my friend nathalie has been busy making stuff between university classes in freiburg, germany. the little guy was a birthday gift for her boyfriend and presumably the magnets were for a refrigerator somewhere. i'm always happy to see my amazing friends being creative.

i was going to link back to a post with nathalie the day we made bowls and stuff out of vinyl records, but apparently i never made a post. anyway, here are some pics from last year when nathalie and i melted some old records and bent/cut them into different stuff. this was followed by her famous crepes.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

moped shop update

well the garage (aka "the shop") is now 5 mopeds deep. anthony and i have been busy scrounging up junky mopeds from all around boulder/denver. in order to reduce confusion we've named the bikes (as opposed to saying "the red ciao" or "the blue ciao" all the time). naturally they are getting female names that are native to the country of manufacture. here are our current projects:

1979 puch magnum (made in austria)
about: this is the only bike we bought in running condition. the engine was in great shape, but the bike had been wrecked a couple of times, so there was a bit of body damage. there was also a fair amount of cosmetic rust. so, we took everything off the frame, scrubbed off the light rust with scotch-brite, attacked the worst of the rust with naval jelly, and degreased the engine. we cleaned the carb, but the float valve was damaged, so we found a 14mm bing carburetor at a motorcycle junk yard in longmont. because this a bigger than the 12mm stock carb i had to order some larger jets because the engine was running a little on the lean side. i'm hoping this will increase the low-end power as she's a bit slow off the line. the good news is she tops off at around 35mph on level terrain, which is great for a stock ped with only a single gear. basically she just needs a little detailing and tuning and she'll be ready to sell, which is going to be a sad day as top tank mopeds are few and far between.

1974 batavus va (made in the netherlands)
about: we bought annika off a nice guy in south denver. he said he had it running the summer before, but it hadn't run since and he hadn't figured out why. batavus are a bit maligned in the moped world, but she is a beautiful bike. i have never seen one that old with mint paint and chrome. anyway, i hate electical problems and annika drove me nuts for a few days. the plug was sparking, but i later found out that it wasn't firing consistently. because the condenser and the ignition coil are attached to the stator plate, they are tricky to test with a multimeter as they are hiding behind the flywheel. eventually i decided to bypass the ignition coil and i strapped ingornada's (see below) ignition coil to the outside of the engine. despite the frankenstein nest of wires and components, she kicked over on the first try. it is such a good feeling to get an engine running again. anyway, i threw on the exhaust and back wheel and took her around the neighborhood. now i just have to put it all back together. my only big decision is whether or not to buy a new internal ignition coil or find a clever place to mount the external one i stole off ingornada.

1981 vespa piaggio ciao (made in italy)
about: ingornada is in rough shape and we got her for real cheap. she is basically a parts bike as we have another ciao (giada) and a vespa piaggio grande (francesca). maybe she'll run someday.

1977 vespa piaggio ciao
about: giada has been anthony's pet project. they are a bit annoying as the engines are not easy to access, so you have to take them off the bike to do much with them. we believe giada has compression issues, which may mean swapping out the engine (or at least the cylinder) from ingornada. unlike annika and elise, the vespa piaggios will need to be painted in order to make them presentable. this will be a giant pain, but a good learning experience.

1979 vespa piaggio grande deluxe
about: francesca is in pretty good mechanical shape, but when we bought her the front variator assembly was missing (fyi: a "variator" is a type of transmission where the diameter of the drive pulley and driven pulley change based on the speed of the bike. this gives it a smooth transition from low to high gear. see explanation). so, there is a new variator on the way. once the drive train is hooked up i can start dealing with the engine.