Restoring a barn-fresh 1966 Sears Allstate

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’74 850 Commando – start at the fenders.

I’m getting the ’74 850 Norton Commando ready for sale in the spring. Phase one is to dig out the parts and see what’s missing, what needs help and generally what’s what. I’ve never had the bike running as I bought it in mid tear-down and just dragged it all home and put a tarp over it.

Today I got out the fenders and realized they are dirty (paint overspray), dented and looking pretty sad. I decided to do a quick fix on the front fender dents from a bottoming out – the bike came with two front fenders and I think this was the spare. I was in a rush (not much time theses days…) and the final product isn’t perfect but good enough – I forgot how picky stainless is to polish – very similar process needed as with Platinum.

The bike has chromed covers – not my cup of tea but it’s not looking so bad cleaned up.  I see one reason the bike was apart, looks like the oil tank was brazed, needs a lick of paint.

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It’s not you, it’s me.

It feels like I cheating, like contemplating a breakup. I’ve seen something that excites me, that thrills me with the possibilities, the curves, the fine family, the brains balanced with beauty.Makes the old girl look plain, boring and frankly a bit English and horsey.

I want a BMW.

I think I was skirting the issue with the Puch, as lovely as it is it ain’t no BMW, but the Puch will stay. The 250 makes a great stable mate for the BMW (mixing metaphors…) Nope, the one to go will be the 850 Norton Commando. My first love is the 750 Norton, the Puch is just too much fun and cheap not to keep, so the 850 project will go.

Sorry, it’s not you, it’s me.

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Parts are collecting…

Well,  summer went by and I didn’t get much done on the bikes, didn’t get much riding in either.  Discovered a nice road just out of the city on an evening ride, up and down country lane at dusk – quite beautiful.

PING tinkle tinkle… was the sound I heard when I pulled my clutch lever. It was a lovely Friday afternoon and I thought I’d zip up the highway to a meeting- alas I didn’t make it as I got stuck in stop-and-go traffic when the clutch cable nipple went flying.
Luckily I didn’t rear end the car in front of me as I was only going at a walking pace, uncharacteristically I was positioned in the curb lane and rode up the shoulder to the next exit- whew.
The DVP rightly bears the nickname Don Valley Parking Lot, it was built for 60,000 cars a day and regularly sees 100,000. Needless to say,  the Norton gearbox was not happy about that ride home. On the bright side, I only had to stop twice – once on the off ramp and once for a delivery truck on doing a 6 point turn…  I avoided lights on major arteries by ducking into the residential streets, making my way by rolling stops and shifting fairly smoothly with throttle blips and careful foot work.

Last weekend I attended the CVMG Milton Swap meet, it was a bit chilly and we arrived late, so the pickings were slim and vendors were packing up. I picked up a new clutch cable for my Norton Commando and met “Drago” who is the local Puch expert. I’ve heard his name mentioned and now I know how to find him! He had a few bins of Puch parts. No doubt I will contact him as I dig into the restorations.

250 SGS piston - twingle parts

Puch M125 Transmission cases

There were very few bike for sale, a nicely restored AJS scrambler, just begging to get dirty.

Restored AJS Scrambler

The other extreme was this Sears badged Gilera. It is always nice to find bikes in worse shape then you own…!

more then a little Autosol needed here...

1960's Sears Gilera

Today I received 1.8kg of nuts and bolts. They will come in handy for when I reassemble the Puch 250 SGS.

369 screws, bolts, washers and nuts

369 screws, bolts, washers and nuts

I also recently received the seat springs for the solo seat for the Puch 250sgs. It was far more complicated than it should have been. The springs made it from Austria to Germany, into my father’s suitcase and finally to me. It was faster and easier to just ship 3.8lbs of nuts  directly to my door.

Lesson learned.

Puch 250sgs parts - so far....

Puch 250sgs parts - so far....

My plan is to get the ’66 SGS up and running – sort out the sidecar mounts (weld?) and then when all is fettled and sorted, do the body work, paint & chrome. Here’s my secret weapon- sandblasting pressure pot. I was going to make one – but it seemed like alot of work when this was on sale. Just need to make a blasting booth.

Princess Auto special....

Princess Auto special....

posted by Fastback in events/shows,parts,rants & rambling,restoration,Uncategorized and have Comments (9)

Puch Factory Racer: Type 262 RS

I found this interesting but somewhat sad story about the race development of Puch 2 cylinders made by marrying two single M125 engines. I thought I would share the English version.

The attempt by the Graz engineer Albin Sterbenz and the very talented mechanic and racing driver Alois Hofer, to design a competitive twin-cylinder racing bike in order to later on build a good production model from it, deserves its own chapter in the Puch racing sport history. Unfortunately this chapter is also the saddest one, because it marked not only the end of the company’s engagement in racing, but racing also claimed the life of Alois Hofer, born 1933.

One could tell a lot more, but here is just a brief summary: The twin-cylinder engine consisted of 125M engines. Experts know, but a brief reminder, we are talking about single-cylinder engines. After a lot of work they finally obtained 50 PS in the performance test, a tremendous result at that time.

Since such an engine had never before been put into action, it required of course an appropriate frame. It was a tubular frame patterned after the Norton Featherbed  frame. For the transmission a 6-gear dog clutch unit was used since the bike was primarily raced in the mountains.

For the engine number the birth date of Alois Hofer was chosen: 28633, i.e. June 28, 1933.

Many national races were won in 1968 but this year was also fatal for Alois Hofer. A crash that was relatively harmless cost him his life because his suit caught fire. This caused Puch to withdraw from racing and it was also the end of the races on the Gaisberg. The original bike unfortunately burnt but the spare bike still exists today in Austria (see picture).

Type 262 RS

Type 262 RS

Translated from German by F.E. Krueger
link to original in German

posted by Fastback in cool bikes,mechanical,Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

Alloy Cleanup test

Wanted to know how difficult it will be to clean up the exhaust tips. I’ve polished just about any material but this oxidization was deep and crusty.

First I removed the surface crust & dirt, the surface underneath was dark grey.

I broke out the 60grit alum oxide paper and gave it a whirl on the sander.

Gave a super quick rub with some water and 400 wet/ dry.


A quick buff and viola! Looks good.  Now to do it for real.


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