Back in the olden days, in a time when we lived with 3 TV channels, the fear of nuclear war and metal dustbins, trying to solve a scooter problem, you would usually have to phone a friend from the house phone, bodge it or guess how to fix it. When it was fixed, we had to run the gauntlet with the local bikers and casuals and relied on hope to keep our motors running. The good old, bad old days.
Thankfully, time and technology have moved on and one of the greatest resources is the Internet. It’s a remarkable source of information to help solve carburettor problems, engine builds and restorations. It’s still not always the answer though. Some forums and Facebook groups can end up giving you a multiple choice of answers, including the wrong advice and ruin all your hard work.
Back in 2004 Martin “Sticky” Round published his Lambretta manual. The Complete Spanners Manual. There have been other manuals around but nothing on a par to this. I remember the Lambretta Home Workshop Manual, lots of words and not a lot of images to help guide me through engine work. Now things were going to get better for me and those like me who needed all the help we could get with a completely fresh look to a Lambretta manual.
Then in 2010 Martin released the 2nd edition with a lot of important upgrades. It still kept to the same working format and it was well received in the Lambretta community.
Last week, Martin released the 3rd Edition of The Complete Spanners Workshop Manual. There’s a lot of changes and additions to what has now become an essential part of a Lambretta owners possession but still keeps to the winning format.
The one thing this manual has above anything before and probably will ever have, is that it’s universally accepted due to the extensive research and input of the manual from many mechanics and tuners who have helped shape the Lambretta to its current form as well as help those who persevere to restore their Lambretta to its original form.
With new parts and upgrades released all the time and Martin has included the latest parts released up until the end of August 2018 with a large section on aftermarket products.
There’s a greatly improved piece on chain alignment. It can’t be understated the importance of this. I limped home the last few miles from an LCGB rally in 2012. When I inspected the engine after I got home the chain was very loose and slipped badly. On fitting a new chain and checking alignment, it was well out.
The Electrical System section has been improved and expanded with more advice and instruction, including new electronic components like Scootronics CDI’s, Pick-ups and flywheels.
There’s information on improved building techniques throughout the manual including what is also became essential, Leak Down Testing.
More wiring diagrams, including Full DC Conversion diagrams.
Plus a whole lot more.
It also has to be noted that the quality of the paper and the binding has meant that the manual has always been the same and held together well as they get fumbled through with oily hands, dropped on garage floors, trod on and spilled blood, sweat and tears, it’s still held together.
If you’ve never owned it, buy it. If you’ve already bought the 1st and 2nd editions, buy it. It’s definitely worth it to keep up on the advancement of the Lambretta in all its forms and still the definitive, complete Lambretta manual.
The Complete Spanners Manual can be purchased at Scooterproducts
Here’s a Direct Link
The manual is also available through most Scooter Dealers
The price is £24.99 and the ISBN is 9780954821654
Maintenance and the usual checks are usually essential on a Lambretta. Gearbox oil, cables, tyre tread and air pressure, carburetor, spark plug, petrol flow, filters, connections, the list goes on, but have you ever been complacent when everything seems to be ticking along nicely without a worry? Have you ever got lazy when checking for the simple things like the wheel nuts? I have, a lot. About a week before I was heading to France for my Western Front Run I “dodged a bullet”.
The video will show me pulling up to traffic lights at a junction. These lights are the bane of my local scootering. It’s about a mile from my house and I use it a lot when going to Belfast City Centre and other places. This time the junction that annoys me so much, may have saved me a nasty experience on the Lambretta.
I left home on my way to the city, as I was coming up to the lights the front end felt odd, when I reached the lights (that take a lifetime to cycle through the sequence) I lent over the headset to take a look, giving the headset a wobble to see what was going on. I couldn’t see properly, but I thought I’d ride on and check at the next opportunity. The lights changed to green and as I set off the wobble returned, so I rode off the crossroads and pulled over onto the pavement.
I stopped the engine and got off. My first thoughts were steering issues or fork problems. I was in for a shock.
Three of the four SIP nuts were gone. The last one turned in my fingers. The last thing I thought it could have been was the wheel nuts. It’s the first time I’ve ever had wheel nuts come loose.
Now, I’ve been running SIP Tubeless rims for a while now and I’ve had no problems like this (there’s that complacency I was talking about). It was suggested to me by Martin Hyland of Just Lambretta some time ago that I could use Kart nuts. These are M8, but they take a 10mm socket and the important bit is, they fit the well the nut goes into. More importantly, you can see easier for any loose nuts. I had forgotten all about these (which I had already ordered). I replaced the SIP nuts with these as soon as I got home.
What if the lights at the junction were green when I reached them? Knowing me, I’d probably had ridden on until I stopped for a proper look, but the wheel would have come off long before that.
When was the last time you checked your nuts?
Watch the video linked below.
The Oil Sight Glass lets you check your oil level without having to take out the oil level plug to see if you have enough oil in your engine.
They’ve been around before, but for a while, they always seemed hard to get a hold of, but Oiltek are selling the Chaincase Oil Sight Glass.
The window on this one is made of glass, but they do also come with a plastic window. It also has a piece of alloy behind the glass to make viewing of the oil level easier so you’re not struggling to see the level in the darkness of the engine.
A point to add. You do have to wait for the oil to settle after running the engine for obvious reasons.
You can order them here from Oiltek
I’ve updated the Links page with more links.
Added are links to various Lambretta Clubs around the world.
AF Rayspeed have issued a product recall on their own Clo5e Ratio 5 Speed Gearboxes after a couple of failures at Mallory Park Racing practice Friday on Friday 23rd March.
Link below to the news on the SLUK website.
Anthony Tambs of Scootronics continues to add to his portfolio of Lambretta electrical hardware and the latest item is a DC CDI.
I spoke to Anthony about its merits.
“It gives a constant spark energy right from tick over to full revs which results in easier starting and much smoother low down power. No LT coil to worry about and it can be used with internal or external pick up. The spark energy is approximately 90 Millijoules output compared to a standard CDI that give out approximately 40 to 60 Millijoules output. The CDI will rev to over 25000 RPM not that you’ll ever get that high”.
Fitting it is easy enough, You need to drill a hole for the single bolt and an exchange of a few wires, but you do need to add a cut-out switch as the CDI will drain the battery. Instructions are included with the CDI.
I put mine on the right hand side rear frame strut and extended the necessary wires required to fit.
After a couple of weeks riding with the new DC CDI, the Lambretta is continuing to start first kick and revs well through the gears.
I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to electrics, but having spent some time with Anthony’s devices for my Lambrettas, I can trust him more than enough and will continue to use his products. He answers questions quickly and understands not everyone is on the same level with electronics.