9th May 2012
Two new items for your shopping list: ethanol-resistant carbs for British bikes, and snazzy jackets for British bike riders...
Continental Waxed Cotton Jacket
We tried the Chequered Flag wax cotton trousers last year and they've been doing sterling service since then, keeping wind and water at bay (although it does have to be said that their sizing is somewhat on the snug size. Err on the generous side if you look at the leggings). Now Chequered Flag have introduced a new high quality wax jacket, based around their existing designs but incorporating additional features and improvements from customer feedback.
This top of the range jacket is made from fully breathable 12oz black waxed cotton with black corduroy inner cuffs and collar, and inside zipper pocket and traditional tartan lining. Duel storm flaps to the front pockets and front zipper help to keep water from creeping in, and the cuffs are similarly protected. The material is reinforced at the shoulder and elbows where it wears the most; all the stitching is twin needle tight, and there are pockets so you can fit Knox body armour for more protection. The traditional style is enhanced by the brass zip and roller buckles - and to cap it all you can choose which flag you'd like to fly on the pocket.
This video demonstrates those features. The Continental Waxed Cotton Jacket costs £169.99 and is available in Small to XXL; see their site for size guides or try one on in person at a show. Chequered Flag also have several other, less expensive wax cotton jackets in stock, so you can choose the type which best suits your budget. There's a joke waiting to be made about not having to tighten a belt too far…
JRC Engineering of California acquired the inventory and customer list of Triumph in the USA after the company folded in 1982 and has been making and selling parts for classic British bikes since then. They have developed an advanced carburettor kit specifically designed to replace the original Amal carbs fitted to most Britbikes up to the early 1980s, and to overcome the problem of ethanol in modern fuels. These carbs are now available from Brill Bike Bits in the UK.
The JRC unit is designed to replace the Amal Concentric Mk1, Mk2 and Monobloc carbs, so covers a vast range of classic British bikes from the 1950s to the early 1980s. The problems with ethanol in modern fuels are well known among enthusiasts. Ethanol, like any other form of alcohol, attracts or retains water and tends to dissolve plastic fuel lines, fibreglass tanks, varnish and rust on steel and corrosion on aluminium. The resulting sludge settles at the bottom of the tank until it is dragged through the system into the engine, clogging filters and gumming up the carburettor.
Among the features of the JRC carburettor are its use of modern alloys designed to resist this corrosive action and a flat, hard chrome-plated slide, which gives a smoother action than the original round-section design. The JRC unit also has a 'fuel enrichment device' rather than a conventional choke, which provides better cold starting. There is also a cable conversion kit, which allows the cold start device to be operated from the handlebars.
The JRC carb comes in three throat sizes; 26, 30 and 32mm. The 26mm and 30mm carbs are available in kit form at £120 including VAT and comprise the JRC carburettor, fitting instruction, fuel filter, air filter, throttle cable and a selection of jets to allow tuning for specific installations. All parts of the kit are also available separately, with the 26 and 30mm carburettors coming in at £84 including VAT, while the 32mm size costs £103.20 and is currently only available as a separate item.
Ken Drinkwater, founder of Brill Bike Parts, is a mechanical engineer by background and a lifelong British bike enthusiast. He discovered the JRC unit when he needed to replace the carburettor on his own BSA A7 Shooting Star 500cc twin. 'Given the higher ethanol content in American fuels, I was impressed by the track record of JRC Engineering and knew that their design would work at least as well over here.
'I have been selling the carbs to enthusiasts who, I think it is fair to say, all find their bikes run more smoothly and start more easily. In fact, some have even been fitted in lawn-mowers and, in one case, a Messerschmitt bubble car!'
Ken is happy to offer advice if you're unsure whether the JRC carb is suitable for your classic.
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