Part IX: Back On Track

Mechanical Meditations

In my last update the MB5's fate was uncertain. I'd discovered that the frame, swingarm, and both wheels were bent. Well I'm pleased to say that things have taken a wonderful turn. Immediately after realizing my stuff was tweaked I turned to that inexhaustible online resource – Craigslist. The planets must have been aligned that Friday afternoon, because my search returned an entry entitled "MB5 parts". I fired off an email and later that afternoon drove out to Thousand Oaks to pick a straight set of MB5 wheels. Shortly thereafter I received an email from a concerned Mechanical Meditations reader (thanks Steve!) who suggested I contact Dr. John the frame doctor, a Los Angeles-area magician renowned his ability to straighten twisted metal.

With the frame at the Doctor’s office and a good set of wheels in hand, there is hope for the little Honda! This hiccup nearly spelled the end for the MB, but the project is back on track and my eagerness to see the little bike puff blue smoke has redoubled.

So with nothing to do to the bike mechanically, I turned my attention to the electrical system. When the MB came to me the wiring harness had been butchered. There were frayed wires where the ignition switch, ignition coil, battery, and left-hand switch cluster should have been. I found suitable substitutes for everything at Sudco International; a universal switch cluster (for an enduro bike), a reproduction ignition switch for a CB750, and a Nology hi-voltage ignition coil. I'd already picked up a replacement battery from Bikemaster, so all that was left to do was spend an evening at the kitchen table with an ohm meter and soldering iron. Thanks to a little guidance from Sport Rider's Andrew Trevitt (he has an Electrical Engineering degree, so he's a lot better at reading electric schematics than me) everything came together perfectly, and when I clicked the key to the "on" position a light on the dash winked on. The MBs nervous system has been restored, and I've seen the first sign of life!

I had ordered one more part while I was on the phone with Sudco – a Mikuni VM22 carburetor. The Mikuni’s 22mm maw and superior metering circuitry is a big improvement over the stock 16mm unit, and critical in getting the most out of that fancy Malossi 70cc jug. I don’t have any idea what the jetting should be, but as long as the slow-speed system is close it’ll work for the initial break in. Sudco stocks loads of Mikuni jets, so if I need to make any changes they’ve got me covered.

The MB5 is getting close to completion, and once the frame comes back I imagine things will move along pretty quickly. Check back soon to see how it goes!

Resources

Sudco International
Replacement electrical components, Mikuni VM22 carburetor, perveyor of quality replacement parts for vintage bikes
sudco.com

Michelin Tires
Gazzelle moped tires
michelinmotorcycle.com

Caswell Plating Epoxy tank sealant - the best there is!
caswellplating.com

Treatland.tv
Malossi 70cc kit. Moped parts superstore.
treatland.tv

Perk LLC Case gaskets and technical advice. Supplier of hard-to-find moped parts.
perkllc.com
(317) 371-8530

Rusteco
Rust removal treatment for the MB5's gas tank.
rusteco.com
(800) 787-8326

Haynes Manuals
-Invaluable technical information and diagrams.
www.haynes.com
(800) 242-4637

Huntington Beach Honda
Various OE parts such as gaskets, grommets, and seals.
hbhonda.com
(714) 842-5533

Ari Henning grinding motorcycle part
Ari grinding down the partsMotorcyclist
speedometer
SpeedometerMotorcyclist
MB5 motorcycle pieces
Coming together.Motorcylist