Reader review: The ramblings of Ranty McRantface CST light clutch & exhaust | FEATURE
It’s great to get some input from SLUK readers, especially when it comes to products you’ve used and swear by (or not as the case may be). ‘Ranty McRantface’ sent this one in and it’s already prompted me to make sure I try a Chiselspeed ‘Super Light’ clutch to sort out my own very heavy clutch in the Quattrini. My wrist still hurts after spending two weeks on it riding to Ibiza and back last summer. If you’ve got any product recommendations for SLUK readers let us know about them…
It’s been commented on over the years by ‘People in the know’ that if you’re quiet when I approach, you can hear something and it’s not my arthritis. It’s that I am so tight, I squeak when I walk! So, me spending big bucks on a fast engine will require someone with a particularly ‘silvery tongue’, alongside a pretty long pry-bar to get my wallet open. Although once open and relieved of its contents, it does allow me the opportunity as owner, to give an honest opinion of the parts purchased, and if I am sold shite, I won’t be shy and will blagh, loudly too!
A year ago, a well known Yorkshireman called Martin boasted he could supply me “A 30 bhp torque monster with a clutch an 8-year-old child could operate with one finger, and an exhaust with views to die for, although you’ll have to wait a while as we have to test it all thoroughly first”. That’s some promise to make to a limp-wristed perfectionist, so let’s see then shall we!
To have a reliable, usable 30 bhp Lambretta will ultimately require an uprated clutch (any clutch) with the strongest springs available for it, and an expansion chamber allowing the tuned cylinder to operate to its full potential. I had informed Martin that I wasn’t interested in getting one of the new Casa side casings (good as they are) due to financial constraints and my love of the aesthetic on the original side case. For me, there are two very good reasons for not having 30 bhp on tap. Number one is a limp left wrist; the other is my love of the aesthetic.
The weak wrist was sustained 16 years ago after re-taking up skateboarding at the ripe old age of 38 and then suffering two broken left wrists in six months. So, pulling the clutch in can at times be painful, especially on cold winter mornings. Even when running a standard 4-plate clutch with only slightly stronger springs.
Having built an S3 dressed as an SX 200 ten years ago I had tried the “Clutch easy” mechanism from LTH, where the mechanical advantage is enhanced. Yet I still had problems pulling it in, and that bike only had 25 bhp. Not to mention the bitch of a job changing the cables by the side of the road in the dark might be!
It was a good fast bike, running a Gori clubman and a TMX35, but due to my wrist issues, was no fun at all to ride, so I sold the complete machine to a friend in Norfolk called “Tolly”, for a price less than the cost of the engine, and for a squeaky Yorkshireman, that was even more painful.
The majority of Lambretta expansions on the market today offer huge improvements over standard pipes but are mounted in such a way, that on most scoots you’re required to cut/trim panel work. Alongside the fact that with most pipes fitted, you cannot see/view what I regard as one of the best bits, aesthetically that is, of the Lambretta scooter, the scallop on the lower edge of the right-hand side panel. Put there for when the engine moves up towards the side panel when you go over any bumps in the road, and there are many.
Most mufflers hide these curves, which is a shame, as it really is one of my favourite lines on a Lammy and one of the reasons why I tend to run BGM Clubmans on my road going scoots. That and speed humps, as I have in the past, torn off a brand new £300 expansion from the cylinder spigot after 17 miles when forgetting the issues with ground clearance and speed humps. Although on reflection I think it was the excitement of having more power that dimmed my memory that day!…
Nevertheless, I haven’t used an expansion since, and am on my fifth BGM, a top, top exhaust in my book, and well worth every penny.
The pics below show a standard Lambretta GP side case with the magic Chiselspeed mechanism hidden on the inside, with an exhaust allowing me to see the scallop, “An exhaust with views to die for” as promised! The pipe has the same-ish routing as the old “underneath Fresco” exhaust and doesn’t foul anything, so no cutting nuffink, Result!
In fact, it has more ground clearance under the main body of the pipe than the original Fresco had, so speed humps shouldn’t be a problem. The bike had a fraction over 23 bhp with the BGM fitted and 30 with the “Limited edition Yorkshire Fresco” as I like to call it! So that’s a no-brainer then, a 7 bhp increase for £475, bargain!
Martin did make a point of reminding me: I would have to remember the muffler would be prone to damage from kerbs if I again forgot about it when riding off of pavements, or zig-zagging through speed humps; forewarned is forearmed as they say.
The all-new clutch mechanism kit from Chiselspeed can, in fact, be pulled in with one finger and works a treat. Changing gear is no longer a problem, and for the first time, I am able to use an upgraded selector spring with a 5-speed Cyclone, without then struggling to select the correct gear when changing, making it a proper delight to ride.
If I am honest, the clutch upgrade has blown my mind, in as far as I’ve never ridden a Lambretta, tuned or not, that is as smooth and effortless to ride up and down through the gearbox, be it through town, or on the motorway. Until you’ve tried it, and compared the difference, you won’t believe the arse ache and unwanted stress that having a stiff clutch action brings. For me, a stiff clutch certainly spoils the experience of riding my/any Lambretta daily.
No wonder Mick and Russ had grins like Cheshire cats when I arrived to pick it up. Once they finished building the engine, they had obviously been taking turns going out to play and having a feel, and what a top job they did too, they both deserved a go, and I can’t fault their engine building prowess. Look it up Russ (he’s from Rotherham you know). It compares very favourably with the soft feel of riding a P-range Vespa and the ease of which they change gear, something I hadn’t even considered prior to road testing the Lammy, I still can’t get my head around it!
I have an S1 I use daily for work, its got 15 bhp, running an AF clutch with a BGM exhaust, and I can tell you this, she’ll be getting one too, as soon as I get my hands on another GP side case to send up for modification, and save up the very respectable £180 for the pleasure.
So, Mr Cook from Leeds did, in fact, live up to his boast from this time last year and supplied me some products that do actually do what they say on the tin. One having been successfully tested throughout last season’s British Scooter Racing Championship before being made available for public consumption; I think they call that product testing in a harsh environment. Well from what I have been experiencing since getting me scoot back, it’s now “Proven” and I’ve put my order in for another one, nuff said!
New products always in development…