1988 Honda Bros – Part 2

There wasn’t meant to be a part two, but there’s a new problem for Bros-Rider’s diminutive Honda Vee-twin. Or Vee-single, it seems…

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I wasn’t expecting to have a part 2 to tell, but unfortunately I have.

As I said before, I thought I’d Fixed It; I think I probably have Fixed It. What I think I have now is a New Problem.

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I rode the bike to work yesterday, it got me half way there and cut onto one cylinder, I wasn’t worried, it’s happened before, it always picks up if I rev it some more.

It didn’t.

It still hasn’t

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It’s 48 hours later; the bike is still on one cylinder. I have a 200cc sloping single directly coupled to what is to all intents and purposes a 200cc compressor.


Having spent 6 hours last night Trying Things I have run out of ideas.

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  • 1) I have fuel; the plug is black and wet with fuel.
  • 2) I have sparks, at least if I take the plug out it sparks on the side of the engine.
  • 3) I have compression
  • 4) I have timing
  • 4a) If I didn’t have timing the front cylinder wouldn’t work, it does.
  • 4b) I have checked the timing using the method described in The Book.
  • 5) I have run out of ideas.

    The strange thing is, it seems to be firing at idle every so often, but it won’t run on the back cylinder until it’s nearly at the redline.

    I have feeling what I have is some kind of air problem (air, much like sex is not a problem unless you are not getting any…)

    At the moment I am on confusion overload.

    The front cylinder is as perfect as I’ve ever seen it; beautiful tan coloured plug, the bike idles beautifully, but will not pick up as it’s dragging round 5kg of dead weight 2nd cylinder.


    SWMBO has taken to standing at the garage entrance with her hands on her hips and in That Tone Of Voice saying “Well it was alright when I had it”

    ...which is because they are.

    Lessons learnt

  • 1) Don’t be complacent
  • 2) Don’t think you’ve succeeded until you’ve gone for a long test ride
  • 3) I need some new obscenities, I’ve run out
  • 4) I need asbestos fingers
  • 5) Don’t buy bikes from members of your close family.


    This time I went back to the drawing board, I ripped the 600 carbs out in disgust, screwed all the new internals back into the original carb bodies and bolted the whole perplexing mess back onto the bike.

    Will it start? Yes!

    Will it idle? Yes!

    Will it run properly? Apparently Yes!

    You can't have everything.


    What’s Next?

    As I mentioned before, the bike is softly sprung, actually the word is probably squishy, It bounces at the front when you roll off the throttle and squats at the back and rises at the front when you roll on, and as for braking, say hello to the bump-stops at the bottom of the fork travel! I am used to having my bikes set up with a fairly soft front end but with lots of slow damping and a back end, which is almost lock-out solid, I cannot achieve this with the forks/shock I have on the bike at the moment.

    I could Frances around (think of the nickname for Francis Barnett) buying up various weights of fork oil and keep trying them until I have a damping rate I’m happy with, and I could spend £80 on a set of Mr Hagon’s best progressive fork springs, and I could spend time (and money) putting 10p’s under the top caps for preload adjustment, BUT, What Everyone Else seems to do is to fit a CBR600 front end in its entirety and rebuild a rear shock from a Fireblade. I don’t really want to wheel the front end from a CBR on, as that looks really suspicious from an insurance mod point of view, and plus the fact the curvy spokes on the Bros wheel look nicer.

    Once again, through the miracle that is eBay I have a set of American Racetech forks coming, these utilise all the good bits of the Bros/Hawk forks, such as the sexy polished yolks and the really nice single 4-pot calliper but replace the totally lame ‘oil n coil’ internals with nitrogen damper cartridges with proper adjustment on them, and all for little more than the cost of a set of springs and a bottle of oil. Also via eBay I have purchased, at very little cost, a genuine Fireblade rear shock which I will rebuild when it arrives.

    Stay tuned for the tuning of suspensions! (Yes, yes RealMart, I promise it will include the one thing at a time technique)

    Random Bros Stuff on eBay.co.uk

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