Quattrini 210 – Tuning, breaking and mending an Eibar Lambretta – Part 2 | FEATURE
We introduced this little Senorita a few weeks ago, you can recap on the story here but it was brought by me, direct from Spain as a one-owner from new machine with plenty of history. As you can see it’s in great condition for its age. That originality and the history it came with left me with a conundrum though. Do I keep it as it is and probably not use it, or do I upgrade the engine and make good use of it?
Initially, I decided to go for a standard 200 engine transplant and leave everything else untouched. Then Max Quattrini put a spanner in the works by releasing a new smallblock Lambretta kit, the M210. I was invited to ride the first one in the country at CST – Chiselspeed Tuning. That test ride sealed the fate for my Eibar.
I remember riding the test bike thinking, ‘I have to have one of these.’ It still took a month or two agonising over the decision and convincing myself to part with a hefty wedge of cash to buy into an as yet unproven engine. The need for speed won and Chiselspeed were given the job of recommissioning the Eibar 150.
No stopping me
At this stage I still planned to keep everything else as it was, including standard brakes and suspension.
Thinking about things realistically though this was a 1961 150cc Eibar Lambretta being brought into the 21stcentury with a potential horsepower of 23-25bhp. I changed tactics slightly and decided to go for a front-end strip.
We used Scootopia progressive fork springs, plus all new Scootopia internals. Whilst the forks were stripped I had them powder coated by Trev Harrison at Midas Touch, he also did the original rear hub and wheel rims (they weren’t in bad condition), all in black. My thoughts being if I’m going to alter things on the scooter I’d not try to make them look original but I wanted them to blend in whilst looking a bit sporty.
Stopping and handling are two points you really can’t skimp on, especially on a bouncy old Lambretta. I didn’t want to graft some chunky master cylinder on to the handlebars though and wasn’t really sure if a semi-hydraulic front disc with hidden master cylinder was worth the expense, would it work as well as a full hydraulic system? I also didn’t want a flashy outboard disc brake so the CST inboard brake fitted the bill nicely.
All the gear
Chiselspeed stripped the engine back to bare casings and had them vapour blasted before Russ rebuilt them using new high load bearings and viton seals throughout. The major enhancements include a 58mm Chiselspeed crank with 112mm KTM conrod. It also had an AF Rayspeed cassette clutch, Casa Performance chain tensioner, new chain and sprocket, 30mm PHBH Dell’Orto carb on V-Force reedblock, with CST side panel air filter, BGM stator and MTEC programmable ignition, new gear pawls, selector and spring.
CST 10 – Curly exhaust
The exhaust is one thing I was a little concerned about. An ordinary expansion chamber would mean cutting the rear floorboard but Martin Cook had a plan for that so he turned one of their CST 10 exhaust configurations into a curly reverse pipe with a forward exiting muffler beneath the floorboards. A perfect compromise without losing power.
Of course none of this would be complete without the all-important Quattrini cylinder kit. Martin matched it to my Spanish casings (they’re a better choice for this type of work because they have more meat around the inlet, although Chiselspeed have fitted the Quattrini to 125/150 Italian casings as well with no problems).
Whilst the scooter was up there I also had a long-range tank fitted, this was another concern. I wasn’t sure it would fit without grinding the battery tray off, something I didn’t want to do. The scooter still had what looked like the original battery in place when I got it. I wasn’t planning to run a DC system but wanted to keep the frame intact. With a little bit of alteration and a fabricated bracket Russ got the tank in with no cutting required.
I wanted to have the scooter back and run in, or at least have some miles in before the first rally at Easter. On the 22nd of March it was finished and set up on the Dyno, it was making a healthy 23.7bhp. I was up to Leeds like a shot and took it out for a test ride. I wasn’t disappointed, at this stage it was still on the standard suspension and already I knew I’d need to upgrade it but my earlier concerns over a semi-hydraulic brake were put to bed. The CST semi-hydraulic worked a treat.
One week later
It’s the night before Whitby and I’d managed to put a few miles on the clock (well not actually on the clock because the original speedo is broken). Daft as it may sound, I struggle to ride just for fun and spend more time typing about scooters than riding them, other than for rallies or work. I’d done about 70 miles. The scooter was running great, although I wasn’t sure about the gearing at running in speeds.
Later that night I was in the garage fitting my new BGM front and rear suspension. I’ve used BGM on my Framebreather for the last 4 years and know they look great, last well and most importantly they work well.
It’s a bit tight getting in to put the front dampers on with the Eibar turning front mudguard and I managed to strip the thread on the damper mount. Luckily my local Lambretta man, Rob at Simply Retro was open on Good Friday.
Good/bad Friday – Whitby
The plan was to have a steady ride over to Rob’s, put a few extra miles on the new engine, get a new screw in damper mount and go home to fit it before setting off.
On the way to the shop the scooter started to misfire and wouldn’t clear itself. Time was running out, we were leaving to meet the rest of the club at 9.30am. Rather than risk the new engine and not having time to look at it, I opted to take the Series 1 instead. I broke down on that as well on the way there and ended up going home with the nice man from Green Flag to get the GTS, six hours after leaving home.
More Dyno time
I feared an ignition fault was causing the misfire so took it back up to Chiselspeed after Easter. Within one minute Chris Cook diagnosed a much simpler more embarrassing fix… he changed the spark plug, my semi half-hearted running in had fouled it.
Whilst the scooter was there though Martin stuck it back on the Dyno, adjusted the needle and gained some extra horsepower. It was now reading just shy of 25bhp and was much cleaner through the rev range. That’s a good few horses more than a bolt on TS1 225. It also made the scooter much more responsive on the road, that 10 minute Dyno session transformed the scooter even though I thought it was good fun when I first got it.
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Between Easter and May Day I managed to do a few more miles of running in locally but still not as many as I should have done. Even so, my right hand got the better of me and I gave it a little blast on a dual carriageway between two short junctions and recorded 76mph on the GPS with a fairly strong headwind. This thing is going to be good fun…
265 miles to Tenby, riding with a mixed group of scooters, Lambretta TS1, Vespa GTS, Gilera Nexus etc. We had 100 miles of motorway to cover first of all on an engine that had up until this point done about 120 miles.
I decided to play it safe on the way there and stick behind my missus on her 200 Lambretta. I was good and resisted the urges within me. Ok I had a little blast here and there once we got on to the stunning Welsh A roads but still hadn’t had the scooter flat out. But boy is this thing quick. It obliterates a Vespa GTS and a TS1. It climbs hills, the torque is immense. It powers out of corners, doesn’t suffer too much in a headwind and remarkably sips fuel. Linsey was using slightly more fuel on her stage 4 200 than I was, Matty on his TS1 225 was guzzling more as well (as you’d expect). I was impressed.
The heat is on
After a good weekend, we set off for home on what was the hottest May Bank Holiday ever, 28º.
After 60 miles Linsey had a problem with her scooter and it ended up in the backup van. She jumped on the back of the Quattrini. It still pulled like a beast. Now that I wasn’t having to follow her I decided to have some fun. I got carried away, overtaking every scooter in my sights, also dispatching the odd bike along the way, scraping the underslung exhaust on the right-handers and generally enjoying every mile of the perfect twisty roads.
We had our second fill up after 100 or so miles and we set off again. I must mention as well that the Quattrini sounds immense through the CST 10 pipe, it’s as crisp as any two-stroke race bike you’ve ever heard. A lovely, addictive soundtrack to summer. It fires up first kick every time and was running like a dream… It was always a dream that was going to end badly.
You make it, I’ll break it…
In the past I’ve broken the unbreakable. I killed a new PX 200 within months, I also totalled a 5,000 km old GTS engine, snapped a Dragster engine, blew a few autos up, set fire to my Vespa 152L2 in Germany last year, I’ve got a stash of holed Malossi pistons for my 210 and it’s fair to say I have a bit of a reputation for scooter destruction. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wilfully trying to break these things. I just love riding, I love riding hard and fast and maybe I’m not as mechanically sympathetic as I should be.
We got onto a section of dual carriageway and I was riding behind Steve Foster who was flat out on his GTS. I foolishly decided to be sensible for a bit so rolled off the throttle slightly. Seconds later the engine stopped. Clutch straight in, as is instinctive on a two stroke but it certainly didn’t lock up. It felt like the carb had dropped off, or HT cap. I coasted to the side of the road in time-honoured fashion, no drama and gently released the clutch to see if it’d bump start but it didn’t even try.
I whipped the panels off, hoping for a quick roadside fix but everything looked good. I tried prodding the kickstart, it was solid. You could stand on it. Either I’d caught a seizure very early, or it locked up as I coasted to a stop and the heat built further. Either way, it was broken with just 400 miles under it.
Yes, the rider is a complete and utter twat.”
Although at this stage I was still hoping for some strange mechanical mishap to be the cause, rather than rider over exuberance. Especially as I’d been warned by my other half under no uncertain terms not to break it.
That left both of our Lambrettas in the backup van, not ordinarily a worry but as I sat uncomfortably on the back of Snooty’s GTS for the next 160 miles home I began to ponder. We needed both the scooters for the Spanish Euro, which at this stage was just four weeks away.
Back up to Leeds, wishfully hoping for a simple fix and diagnosis that wouldn’t leave me in the dog house. It took a few days before they had time to strip the scooter. Time was ticking away on the Euro countdown.
Too much, too soon – May 17th
Martin messaged me to say the scooter was ready to collect. He wouldn’t tell me what the problem was and was quite cryptic with his answers. I went to collect it.
It turns out the engine had suffered a classic four-point seize, “Too much too soon” said Martin. One downside to this job is that I’m too honest for my own good and had written in the Tenby write up about racing a few GTS’ and TS1s going to Tenby, Martin was one of the thousands who had read that report. I could hardly deny it.
I’d totalled the piston and barrel. Thankfully he’d at least shown a little mercy so rather than paying £600 for a complete new top end he charged me for a new piston and for a re-plate on the damaged cylinder, calling it my “Get out of jail free card”. He put a new top end on mine and would use the repaired barrel for racing (Chislspeed are running a Group Six Quattrini this season).
Regrets? I’ve had a few
I left with my tail between my legs and the rebuilt Quattrini in the back of the Transit. He’d also ‘fixed’ my exhaust grounding issue… by tightening the locking ring on my rear BGM. I’d adjusted the height when I fitted it but hadn’t locked it off properly. It had unwound itself during the trip to Tenby, making the exhaust sit lower than it should be. I never claimed to be a mechanic, did I?
As I drove home, feeling like I’d been given a second chance I received an angry phone call from Linsey. Apparently blowing up a £3500 engine after just 400 miles isn’t a good thing. It also doesn’t matter that you loved every one of those 400 miles and even though you’d do exactly the same thing again it wouldn’t be good for your health if you did. After the call of doom, I broke the repair cost down into pounds per mile, did a quick equation in my head and worked out that it was still worth every penny and the grief I got.
Two weeks to go
Here we are, both scooters are fixed and we got a few careful running in miles done at the weekend. Linsey even laughed as we sat outside a pub in the sunshine and we talked about breaking things, so I think I’m in the clear. I’ve done about 60 miles on the new top end so far, I aim to get out on it nipping here and there before we leave for the ferry on June the 6th.
Taking the Eibar home
It’s a Spanish built Lambretta, that lived the first 56 years of its life in a small Spanish village near Burgos until it’s owner died and it was passed on to a family friend before being sold to me.
The Euro rally is in Spain this year so it has always been my intention to take it back for a little holiday. On our first night in Spain I aim to take it to Burgos and to meet up with the man who sold the scooter to me. Sentimental maybe but when I bought it I told him I’d look after it and take it home one day.
I’m not really a gambling man and as you’ve read I’m not a fantastic scooter mechanic but in two weeks a group of seven of us will be riding our classic machines to Abejar for the rally, then we’ll head south to Valencia and catch a ferry to the party island of Ibiza.
We’ll be riding (or at least I hope we will) 1000 miles in Spain. Our group consists of five Lambrettas and two Vespas. Three of the Lambrettas are untried, or recently built, the other two are mine and Linsey’s. We have no backup van, we don’t have any European breakdown cover and at least half of us don’t have a clue.
Will we reach Ibiza? Will we meet up with our man in Borja? Will all seven of us get home under our own steam? We’ll have to wait and see but we’ll have an adventure along the way. Read about it soon on SLUK.
Words and photos: Iggy, additional engine build shots: Chris Cook, Action shot: Linsey
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