Sunday, April 03, 2016

Fiona is road-worthy

I rode Fiona for a couple of hours today, ranging not far from home just in case, she ended up doing great!

The only incident was one block from the house when the engine died.  Turned out, I forgot to open up the fuel petcocks.  As they would say in the Army, it was a user "head space and timing" problem.

I think I have the fuel distribution issue sorted out, Fiona pulled very strongly in all gears and had more throttle to go as she powered up the local hilly portions of road.  Her engine and exhaust growled sweetly as I rode along, easily keeping up with cager traffic and sometimes even passing them as they gaped at the sight of us.

She idled smoothly right from the first start of the engine too.  She really picks up speed very easily and I had to remind myself it's just drum brakes all around with Fiona, not the powerful disc brakes that Scarlett, my 2014 Patrol is equipped with.


Fiona and I ranged as far east as the Cherry Creek Reservoir, as far north as the Plains Conservation Center and as far south as Inspiration Drive with not one hiccup on her part.

At speed her oil pressure gauge read 80 PSI and at idle 40 PSI.  I am hoping to learn what the baseline behavior is with this rig so I know when something is amiss in the future.  I am finding having a real oil gauge on the motorcycle a real plus, and will probably add one to Brigitta, my '87 BMW R80 as well.

A cheapo tachometer is on order for Fiona so I can also monitor her RPMs as she cruises along.  Speaking of RPMs, with the '84 BMW R80 engine on her, her RPM limits have gone from 5400 on a URAL engine to 7000!  Gobs more torque and I believe 10 more horse power.

Of course, one still needs to drive the rig like it's a URAL, the final drive is URAL and really not designed for high speed (constant above 60 mph speeds) driving.

 I remain ambivalent about the big red star

Still a bunch of work to do on Fiona of course:


  • Install Tachometer
  • Finish wiring inspection and determine what blew out the fuse which caused her to go dead yesterday
  • Figure out a proper air box for her instead of using cone shaped air filters attached to the carburetors
  • Re-do her fuel line assembly so each petcock supplies fuel to both carburetors if needed.
  • Order and eventually replace the main drive shaft with a newer one with coarse splines instead of the fine-splined version presently on Fiona



17 comments:

Steve Williams said...

Nice reflection on your tour with Fiona. Appears the work has paid off and you have a capable rig on your hands.

I saw the red star and immediate thought, "Geez, first he's lining up with the Russian, now with the Red Army. Has all the big communists covered now." You just need to get a hammer and sickle for the URAL.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Charlie6 said...

Some Uralisti, Steve, have gotten a sticker similar to the hammer and sickle used by the Soviets, but the hammer is replaced by a engine's piston....it's quite funny actually.

Mark Corwin said...

or as they say in the pits "insufficient torque... loose nut behind the wheel"

Charlie6 said...

Mark Corwin, in IT its a similar expression: LNBK: loose nut behind keyboard

Arizona Harley Dude said...

Great news on getting Fiona on the road! That big red star might be what keeps you from having to use those drum brakes. It just may catch the eye of a drowsy cager and prevent them making that dreaded left turn in front of you.

Charlie6 said...

AZ HD, thanks....I think it's actually the weird shape of a sidecar rig that catches unwary cager's attention when one is approaching an intersection. It's wide enough to register in their tiny minds as "possible threat" and they actually focus on your. Regular motorcycles just don't present a wide enough profile to "register".

And yes, lights help but I've been cut off while riding with a modulating high beam headlight so take that for what its worth.

Ry Austin said...

Have you considered upgrading the brakes to discs? Is it possible?

Also, is it possible to somehow enhance / strengthen the final drive? No doubt it would be nice to be able to fully exploit the engine's power.

Charlie6 said...

Ry, thought about it but its not economically feasible. There's a mod I'm exploring which involves using a Triumph cable to replace the URAL front brake cable, apparently quite effective.

As to the FD, it was designed for input from a 27HP engine I believe....so it's already being stressed by usage from a URAL engine, much less the more powerful R80 engine.

Most rigs I've driven get a bit squirrely above say 70 MPH so not sure the goal here is to increase highway speeds, the idea is to enjoy the ride, not race. :)

I will, however, order the more robust drive shaft with coarse splines in due course.

SonjaM said...

Nicely done, Dom. I find the Star quite fitting, it is a Soviet steed after all.

Looking forward to your new adventures on Fiona.

Charlie6 said...

Danke SonjaM but most of the credit goes to BURAL aka Richard Winter, master mechanic, who did the transmission conversion that made this possible. He provided much help via phone/email whenever I got stuck.

Trobairitz said...

Looking good out in the wild. Glad she is mobile.

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Trobairitz, we'll see how long before she's trust worthy

motoventures said...

Glad to hear you're up and about Comrade! :-)

Ry Austin said...

:D "First the Crimea, and then Colorado! Oops--I mean, and then the world! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!"

Charlie6 said...

Motoventures, thank you Comrade....

Ry Austin, ssshhhh, it's a secret, and moose and squirrel may be readers of this blog....

David Masse said...

Nice work Dom. I wonder what the Russians think about all this. Reliable and balanced fuel delivery, tons of torque... Have you checked your blog stats? Why do you think you're getting that huge audience from mother Russia?

Charlie6 said...

I am pretty sure, David Masse, my name is presently being added to the "excommunicated" list in Mother Russia.