New parts, wheel building - even some polishing

1. The first polishing

Once the alloy came back from the water blaster it was just a matter of time before we gave the polishing a go! Curiously the water-excluders (brake plate covers) on the hubs are of two different materials. Chrome plated steel on the rear and aluminium on the front. Not sure why. The alloy plate polished up well and the top triple tree even better. As on other parts the corrosion has left some deep pitting which it is better to ignore but we are very pleased with the result. Our first few attempts at the engine covers have not produced the sort of mirror finish that can be achieved on Japanese and British bikes - is this a difference in the Czech aluminium alloy we wonder?

2. Spokes too!

A week to remember. Not just a shipment from Jawashop but also polished stainless steel spokes from Central Wheel Components in the UK. Another diversion from originality but we have fitted these spokes to all our bikes. Polished stainless steel spokes are easy to clean, never rust and look great twenty years after they are fitted. Sure, they are more expensive, but zinc or chrome spokes have a limited lifespan. We don't plan to restore the bike twice.

3. Rims

Pictured are the fork legs - fresh back from the chrome plater - and the new rims. In the case of the CZ 175 the rims are the same size as many Japanese lightweight bikes and good quality rims can be obtained from Thailand (ebay) at very reasonable prices. No, they are not stamped "Made in Czechoslovakia" but we will live with that. We lost all our concours points on the stainless spokes anyhow!

4. Wheel building

We've had more questions about wheel building than anything else. Common sense, patience, a digital camera and reading up on methods of wheel building on the net will make you an expert in no time. It is not a black art. We can spoke and true a wheel to within a few thou in a couple of hours. Better yet, find someone in your classic club to show you. The most important tip: DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT pull your wheels apart until you are certain you have measured all the offsets and all spoke patterns (for both sides of each wheel) AND just to be sure, make sure you also take multiple photos. What can go wrong. Gulp.

5. Wheels: DONE

At the same time as we were building the wheels for the CZ 175 my neighbour appeared with his new rims and spokes for his Jawa 350 Type 634. If you are doing two wheels you might as well do four so the team put the wheel jig on the table and took turns with the spoke spanner. It took less time than we expected and the CZ 175 rims - which were the "ebay specials" trued up to less than 5 thou. Great result. I have a video of the wheel spinning in the jig but as my hobby is motorcycles not web design I'll have to determine how you go about embedding it!

6. Zinc plating at home

The first batch of zinc plating for the bike has been completed and is excellent. Home zinc plating plants are easy to build and give great results if you follow the directions to the letter. Expect very poor results if you cut corners. Our plant is a small 5L plastic tub and so is limited when plating long objects like axles. As we have mentioned, many of the original nuts and bolts simply snapped off when we were stripping the bike down. These will all be replaced with stainless. Other fixings, spacers etc., are zinc plated.