Friday, 4 November 2016

Hacking: The great Neval strip

I read with interest Miriam Knight’s contribution (Sept/Oct) on the amazing reversing Cossack. Amazing yes.

I work for an engineering firm and through my work come across a wide selection of machines in many shapes and sizes. Not long ago I pulled the shortest straw - it was a Neval (a Cossack in disguise, I believe) 650 flat twin combo.

The owner had seized the engine and thought it a good idea to put a BMW engine in its place. Much easier said than done, but that’s what we were there for. My god, what a motorcycle! After wheeling the monster into the workshop my first impressions were rapidly confirmed.

I must say that we’ve all had quite disturbing laughs at the horrors of this motorcycle. The parts were removed, or rather fell off, to take the engine out. If the standard of the cycle parts were anything to go by, then I could well imagine what was going on inside. The air filter box, for instance, was held on by a six inch nail with a thread on the pointed end - cheapness or what?

In taking the air filter box off, I came in contact with the carbs and recoiled in horror... but mustn’t stray. I forgot to mention that the bike only had 6000 miles on the clock. I think Miriam is right when she says they need rebuilding. I must confess to being tempted, in the past, by the package on offer - 650 flat twin, shaft drive, sidecar and gun mountings, but after working on this one I wouldn’t have one if it was given to me. Oh dear, what a bike, just beware when buying one of these awful motorcycles if this one is a typical example of Russian engineering or your hard earned cash will be wasted.

I had to take the gearbox apart to work out how the casing could be matched with the BMW engine which the owner had supplied. Every bearing was knackered and the gears looked like they had been hand cut with a file, I've never seen such a sight in all my years as an engineer.

This may not be a good example of the marque but how many of the dinosaurs do you see being ridden around? Hardly any, and if you do see one you never see it again.

We haven’t completed the conversion yet (let us know when you do - Ed) but I’m dreading test riding it, just have to fill up the sidecar with wine to turn it into a happy occasion.

Barry Garnham

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