Gawler Swap meet... first ride with my new springer

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Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5965
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia

Gawler Swap meet... first ride with my new springer

Post by Prof » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:26 am

This year has been a real challenge. Just overcome one hurdle ove and two more would smugly present themselves.

My own project of building a new springer for the shovel (intended since day one of the shovel build 18 years ago!) has been a very much on again off again affair; grabbing a few hours or a day here and there in between workshop jobs and everything else that has demanded preferred treatment. However, I was determined to have the shovel and springer on the road for the Gawler Swap Meet. This meet has produced the most interest in Choppers Australia of any of them, so I felt it was important to get there.

The new springer was finally sitting proudly in its intended position a couple of weeks before the meet, but the shovel gearbox had suddenly developed a bad oil leak the last time I rode it. Assuming it is just the main seal, I pull off the primary cover. Yeek!!!! No oil in it and my new primary chain and compensating gear and original clutch plates all well and trully stuffed! Frantic calls to my suppliers get most parts on the road but no compensating assembly. More calls. Finally find one but have to pay full retail. Overnight does not seem to mean what it says any more, but finally get all the parts. Get it all back together plus a new gearbox seal and... my first triumphant ride crumbles to disappointment as oil pours out all over the back wheel.

Starter motor had also given up the ghost. Put a new one in and then blow a fuse every time I hit the starter. Damn! I carry most starter parts for shovels so through in a new solenoid and relay... and this time it all works.

An operation on my pate now sets me back with an very swollen head, excruciating headaches and sore eyes. Very hard to concentrate, but some heavy duty pain killers which I hate to use, gets me through.

Pull all the primary gear off and look carefully again. No obvious cracks or leaks though the mounting studs. To keep a convoluted story short, assuming an inner seal has failed I seal in behind the transmission sprocket with silicone gasket maker. That plus a super nut will hopefully do it.

The swap meet is three days away and with my head like it is I reluctantly let everyone know I will not be able to make it. But, I am determined to get the shovel on the road at least. Fire her up Friday. A quick spin. Springer fine though a bit stiff. No oil leaks. Loosen of the headstem a bit and chopper now rides fine. 7.5" trail, but with the long curved rockers she is lighter handling at low speed than most stock bikes. Hurray!

Friday night, Rilda has the brilliant idea of trying an antiinflammatory on me and unbelievably I wake up Saturday morning with the swelling gone and not sore eyes or bad head! Ok. Its on again. Ride the chop up to the market, then to McLaren Vale for chook food. Check all nuts and bolts... fine. Go back inside and draw up a CHOPPER MUSTER leaflet and print out a pile plus more CA info pamphlets. I need to make a couple of bronze spacers for the rockers and a small one for the brake plate side of the axle. Back out to the workshop and only get the rocker spacers done. Now half an hour to leave.

Grab my camping gear some clean clothes, food and water and say my goodbyes. Shovel fires up instantly with the new starter bits and new plugs. Without even the customary "snick" slip it into first and swing out down the drive. My small windscreen which was broken and super glued some months back is dirty and I run my gloved had across it. Snap! Bugger. Down the drive, tight u turn at our gate and back to the house. Leave motor running, side stand dwon and race in and grab some clear packing tape. A very quick and rough job! Should hold it. Gloves back on and blast dwon the drive. Now over half an hour later than planned.

Traffic is fairly thick and I steadily cruise past cars along the express way and get ahead of a lot more through all the lights along south road. Didn't have time for lunch and soon get the Pooh Bear "rumbly tumbly". Persist until the Caltex past The White Horse at Bolivar.

Whilst riding has been enjoyable, I have been checking everything as I ride and when I pull up. Chopper seems a little unsteady at low speed. Pull up by the air hose and check rear tyre pressure. OK. Check for loose rear wheel. Fine. Check over front end. All good. Oh well. Go get something to eat. Hit starter. Nothing. Rats. Check ingnition fuse. Fine, but a couple of small burn marks on the prongs. Ok. Give it all a wiggle. Fires. Job for when I get home.

So I'm running late, as I want to get to Swap Meet well before dark and sky is getting pretty dim. Park the chopper again and race in to grab something to eat...

Just a custard tart will do. A couple of people at the counter. I go to the cash register, say good day to one of the customers. He points to the back of the servery at an attendant and says something indistinct. Other girl comes to the counter. I ask for a custard tart and get rather tersely told to get at the back of the queue. The bloke I just spoke to indicates and mutters indistinctly again. Seems he was pointing to back of the queue... He's definitely wasted!

Wait for ages and finally get my turn. The girl finally asks what I want and looks incredulous as I say, "just a custard tart thanks"! Probably realised she should have just served me first!

So finally get back on the road and blast off again steadily passing traffic at every opportunity. Getting very dull and go through some drizzle, but jeans are dry by the time I hit the Gawler turn off. Swap meet at last. Lady at gates thinks my chopper is "cute" and begs me to put it in the show and shine. No way. We have a stall to run.

I'm going to sleep in my sleeping bag under the north sheds and as it is forecast to rain in the morning decide to make this our under cover stall as well. Others come prepared for a more comfortable night...

Wayne rolls in on his newly acquired evo to chat. Rob who was also going to camp and bring his heritage springer has the flu, so rolls up on four wheels to keep us company for a couple of hours...

After a reasonable sleep I am rudely awakened at 6am by Wayne's noisy machine (his chopper is in pieces atm). Wayne had very little sleep so figured he might as well be here...

Swap meet is biggest I seen for Gawler. I pick up a few things including a nice HD back wheel, leather jacket and wow! A dozen 70's Street Chopper and Choppers mags. We get a lot of interest. Springer has a lot of blokes looking closely at it over the morning.

Here's a couple of pics of the show and shine for you blokes who like 70's muscle cars...


By 10.30 things are quietening down and Wayne leaves to catch up on some sleep before work tomorrow I begin to pack up...

Terry has some things to do and takes off...

Packed up and ready to go, I cruise slowly through the thinning crowd and finally out on the streets. I want to catch up with Victor who is just off Greenhill Rd and another mate who has after three months in Flinders finally been moved to the Repat. So through Elizabeth and the city it is. I tend to ride routes that will have a lot of people in them. The more people who see a traditional chopper on the road the more likely someone who has or is wanting to build one will see mine and be encouraged to get on the road with it.

Hungry again and pull into Sefton Park Foodland. I refuse to shop at Coles, Woolworths or Aldi, the former because of the way they screw our farmers. Foodland is a bit dearer often, but locally owned and source as much Australian produce as they can. Unfortunately camera focused on my boots not my chopper!...

After eating, check front end. Front brake anchor bolt is loose. Tighten it and back on the chopper. I am really beginning to enjoy the new springer. It handles quite differently to what I have been riding for 15 years, so I am taking my time to get used to it... Very easy to over steer because I am used to a much heavier steering feel...

Spend an hour with Victor. Ask him to take the chopper for a ride and give his opinion of the new springer handling wise. He comes back with a tick of approval... especially of the light steering characteristics...

Spend half an hour with my mate at the Repat. A couple of his friends come in and turns out one of them went to Western Teachers College and SA School of Art a couple of years before me. Bit of fun discussing the various lecturers (lecherers we called them).

Sky where I am heading is back as pitch. Although I am a bit damp from a couple of showers on the way here, I drag on my water proofs and rumble off once again. Riding right into it out of Old Noarlunga...

Roads are soaking wet and if you look closely at this pic you can see the water flying off the front end and running heavily off the front cylinder. If you ride in the rain a front guard is a must...

Chug back up our driveway in steady rain and into the workshop water dripping off everywhere. Been a great time, enjoyable riding, successful Swap Meet and so nice to be in the wind away from the daily chores that take up so much of our mental energy. Viva la choppers!
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

El Skitzo
Posts: 802
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:40 pm
Location: Perth, WA

Re: Gawler Swap meet... first ride with my new springer

Post by El Skitzo » Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:36 pm

Hope you're feeling better mate!
'65 Triumph Chopper (project)
'64 Triumph Chopper (project)

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