The BSA A7-A10 Forum

Bikes, Pictures, Stories & more => Chat, Offtopic, Meetings & Everything Else => Topic started by: groily on 30.05. 2011 16:50

Title: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: groily on 30.05. 2011 16:50
Haven't posted anything much for ages because I've been in that happy land where my beesas just seem to keep on working.

The A has now been running with almost no attention bar usual maintenance for several years.
Things I can think of that have had to be done are few. Had to put a condenser in it last year when its expensive recon mag went sick at a pathetic 10,000 miles, and had to replace the top gear pinion and make a new sleeve gear bush in 2008 or was it '09. Can't grumble about that. Apart from those things (and some head and barrel stud-work and clutch and primary-side bits when I first got the thing, plus a DVR 2 as a matter of course), absolutely nothing bad has happened in over 25,000 miles. Oh, and a gear-change return spring broke just when I was going to get a Cross-Channel ferry to the UK - fiddly gearchanging for a few days as I recall. My B31 has been just as reliable since the day I extracted the 350 Ariel piston (I think - no oil control ring anyway) the last guy had put in and swapped it for a correct one. Total, total reliability.

Whenever I think I ought to lavish more tlc on these beesas, same story - there's nothing worth doing (unless I wanted to polish them which I don't). Valve clearances stay put to within a thou, oil stays in and doesn't get used between 1000 mile changes, bits don't fall off, they start and run the same all the time, and often with all sorts of other people riding them. The A's on its 5th rear tyre in my hands and it's 3rd front (starting point was 'both worn' and current state is 'both quite new'), I treated it to a new rear sprocket with its 2nd new chain, and a front one with the first one. All just routine stuff.

The A's bottom end was an unknown quantity on acquisition. I've been ready for trouble ever since, although it looked pretty good ages back when the top end and timing + primary sides were off. It's so far refused to give me any reason to dismantle it.

The longer this excellent situation lasts the better obviously, but as the miles mount I keep asking myself how long a road-going, mildly-tuned, regularly maintained, ridden a lot but not thrashed (60mph cruising suits it most of the time) iron-head A10 can be expected to last? It has already, as they say, 'Exceeded Expectations'. By far actually, day and night rain and shine. It owes me nothing as it was a cheap bike. It isn't shiny, nor correct in many details. So I shan't mind at all when it wears out or even if it goes Bang. I don't have an external oil filter, or even an air filter, which I know I should. I use decent 20/50 in everything, there are no modifications apart from the belt drive dynamo and a sump plate with a plug. No smoke, no bad noises, no nothing to talk about. No snake-oil additives in the fuel, bog standard 95/85 Octane juice, etc etc. Bit of wet-sumping depending on mood, tiny drip from chaincases after a good run, bigger drip from speedo cable connection, and a bit more general wear in the 'box than's ideal, but all faults that are easy to live with and fix when necessary. A definite case of If It Ain't Broke . . .

But For How Long??
Should/could we say that on average the bottom end of a road-going standard-tune sort of motor (this is basically a Flash) should do about 50,000 miles? That's about what I have had between tear-downs on my had-it-for-ever mega-mileage AMC 500 twin - so I guess an A should do the same? Or more? Or Less?

What have you other (road-riding!!) people managed in long-term ownership I wonder?
And when should I start thinking I'm on borrowed time . . . .?
Title: Re: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: muskrat on 30.05. 2011 20:38
G'day Groily, from another happy customer.
                                                          How long is a piece of string? I would imagine you would get 50-60K out of a bottom end.
I rebuilt my '51 in '84 with new (almost) everything. The crank was OK so remained std. She got a '57 top end in '98. I don't rider her as much as I used to (only once or twice a week now) and she's getting close to 50K. Wet sumping is getting worse so won't be long till I take a look inside.
I think regular oil changes are the key.
Title: Re: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: groily on 31.05. 2011 11:47
And I just have the faintest impression you might be harder on some of your motors than I am Muskrat! So that's good to read. 50-60K tallies in with one or two others' thoughts too. I know it's a piece of string thing but I reckon I've got a lucky long bit with these beesas, especially the A. Hell of a tough beast.
Apart from doing frequent oil changes, one thing I don't do if I can help it is Short Trips (like a couple of miles round the block), nor do I start things in the shed and then go nowhere.  Mayonnaise-for-oil guaranteed, bores awash with fuel and early death to everything that moves.
Depending on what miles were on the crank when I got the thing, maybe there's another 20,000+ miles in her - best get out there then and try to find out!
Title: Re: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: muskrat on 31.05. 2011 13:14
Who ME !!
She had a hard life for 8 years when I lived in the bush. Once we towed a TT600 with a rider and pillion about 10 miles up some bush tracks that would make an ISDT rider worried, and my cattle dog only jumped from the tank on one creek crossing. She was my bush basher/daily ride/rally bike.
They are tough little mothers if treated right.
Title: Re: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: groily on 31.05. 2011 17:49
So I've got to take one of the dogs with me - and tow 1/4 of a ton as well - up a dirt track - across a river - to test it properly? Kinell! Reckon I'll get a million miles out of mine then! It's a while since I parked carelessly in a river, well, a six foot dyke full of very cold water. They don't float yer know. No harm done, just a snapped frame as well as forks, a matchwood sidecar and a lot of bramble rash. No dog though - and the evidence was removed by friendly white van man before anyone could inquire into the cause. That's when I bought my first set of number stamps I think, for the obvious and necessary purpose of making sure the replacement bits were original.
Title: Re: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: Topdad on 01.06. 2011 10:56
Thats shows how tough these bikes are despite what some say. Going back a long time t,when I was 16 in 1966 my first bike,a plunger A10 was just as described by muskrat ,it was a '53 and wnet like stink it was supposed to have a double adult chair on it to satisfy the parents but I used to take down the road to an equally mad mates and off would come the chair on went an old garden door and hey preston racing outfit ...well we were young!! point is for nearly 18 mths that bike was tharsed, over revved ,gears dropped by maybe 3 to slow it down minimal servicing except keeping oil up mark and changing every 1000ish miles I went to London many times ,kent  the lakes every weekend we went somewhere boy did I get a sore backside ,my dad estimated that it did nearly 26000 miles of that abuse before it let fly and to my shame even that was my fault ,we'd gone to london from Liverpool via wrexham for a party ( brother in uni great parties ) got to banbury and the spring link disapeared ground to a halt about 200 yds from Eddie Dows place .I had a link with me but couldn't find it until we'd waited for nearly 3 hours and the stores opened ,well got fitted and away needed  make up time so grip to the stop whenever poss onto oxford bypass and in outside lane down wheaton hill really flying when big bang and oil cloud followed by panic as tried to get to side of road. the rod had not only come through case but had seen to the dynamo as well.  but the real problem was me I'd forgotten to check the oil returning to the tank in my haste tank was empty and the oil had built up in the sump hence the cloud of oil which had covered my passenger about 5 pts  , so my tip for longliveity ,make sure the oils returning all the best Bob. ps the know it alls would shudder at using multigrade in them but certainly I've run 'em on it without problem got to be better than none ??
Title: Re: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: groily on 01.06. 2011 13:36
Now, you don't want to be starting another one of those Oil threads do you Bob?!  Some of that on here somewhere - if you want to do a bit of pot-stirring! I'm just sticking quietly with 20/50, same as I always have, 'cos I've never had any trouble I could relate to using it, it's cheap and it's, more to the point, available. If, like me, you're doing oil changes every few weeks, you don't want to be having to order the stuff up (haven't seen monograde in a shop in my neck of the woods in the 10 years I've lived here), remembering what goes in what, etc etc.
There are several givens in my shed which help me avoid making pigs' ears of things too often - like 20/50, positive earth, solid state regulators (dc or ac), Renolds chains, Avon SMs for workhorse bikes. Few frills, regular maintenance and constant use - it's a recipe that works for me, although I was caught red-handed recently with a tin of polish in me 'and - that was because nothing more interesting needed doing that day. I'm taking tablets for it and a full recovery is expected. The odd shiny bit is quite appealing, though - but no, mustn't go there, that way lies expense and 'can't go out 'cos it's raining'.
Title: Re: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: fido on 01.06. 2011 13:52
With all those bike to choose from, how do you manage to clock up so many miles on the A?
Title: Re: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: groily on 01.06. 2011 17:32
'Cos I go out most days on something for an hour or two Fido! Often several, serially, because I am a middle-aged unemployable juvenile delinquent and shed-addict. The heavier mileages, especially in winter, get done by the Beesas and my old favourite scruffy Model 20 AMC. But also the A gets a lot of 'extras' as it is the best thing to lend people. Foible-free, dead easy to ride and keeps up with the traffic - reckon half its miles this past year or so have been done by my daughter, friends, any classic rider who's here with a licence really and wants to go for a blast. Much as I like it myself, to be totally honest I like my B more, there's just something about them (if you're not in a hurry). Really, though, I just like riding and playing with all and any old bikes I guess - keeps me out of trouble and out of the way.
The worst of it all right now is the cost of the darn fuel, which has got ridiculous. 1,53? a litre I paid yesterday (supermarket price, 95 octane) to fill one of the Ajays - and on a weekend if you can find a rural service station (there are a few) you can pay up to 1,70? and it's the same on the Autoroutes  . . . don't want to think about it!
Title: Re: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: fido on 01.06. 2011 21:10
On 19th May I paid 1.28 Euro at the Auchan supermarket in Calais but that was for diesel. Fuel prices are dropping slightly here in UK, its about £1.36 at our local Tesco just now.
Title: Re: How Long do Things Last?
Post by: groily on 02.06. 2011 06:31
you're right Fido - at least our diesel prices are slightly better, about 1,30? a litre at the moment. Relatively few petrol-engined cars out our way. Even so, one bloke in the village told me it is 'getting to the point of choosing between food on table or fuel to get to work' - not a good place to be and not much sign of improvement any time soon.