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Old 01-06-2014, 12:48 PM   #1
MIOB OP
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1953 Ariel NH 350

As not to pollute the Vintage Brit Bike thread too much I'de like to start this thread about a recent purchase: A 1953 Ariel NH.

I know there are more suitable forums for this bike to register on, but there still is a lopt of Brit bike knowledge on this fo=rum (of which I've been a member for years) and I thought you guys might like some of the experiences, photo's and video's I have and will produce.

That's the short intro.

Here's the bike as I first saw it at a jumble:



I fell for the patina straight away but I did not have the opportunity to buy it then. I wrote down the guys number and gave him a call a few weeks ago. He still had it. I went, had a look, fell in love again, managed to agree upon a very acceptable price and took it home.

I changed all the fluids, checked the oil circulation, cleaned and greased all parts that needed grease and cleaning and tried to fire it up. I had a hard time doing so until, after some tips on this forum, I swapped the pre mono bloc Amal for a Concentric.

Here's my girlfriend having a go:



That's how far I got when it was time for my first decent test ride last Sunday:

Ice cold start (1 kick):



You'll notice that it starts running better fast after I lift the choke a bit.

Took the time to take some photo's:









It runs (ran) fantastic. It ticks over great at idle, it sounds magnificent and it feels very, very lively (for some unexplained reason it is much faster than my 350cc Enfield).

So far, despite having some trouble with it, I am a very happy owner

The plans are to not restore it. I love the patina and will do my utmost best to keep it as much like it is as I can.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:51 PM   #2
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In the first post I say it ran very nice. I used past tense since on the first test ride I had to walk the last mile home, pushing the bike. It stalled at a traffic light and no matter what I did, I could not get it to start or even make a single noise.

I have no clue what happened. The carb is clean and gets fuel, I can see a spark and it has plenty of compression.

I suspect something is out of order with the timing. It has an advance lever on the handle bars and the lever has less travel than it used to have. Removing the cap over the points reveals that the plate only slightly turns and does not return after I move the lever a bit to the retard side. I checked the cable, it is fine. So something must be wrong inside the timing unit.

I hope to have time to take a look at it next Saturday, tips are always welcome!

I have a hard time figuring out what could cause the limited travel of the timing plate:



And even with that I am surprised that the bike doesn't do anything at all. Even is the timing is (way) off I'd expect something liek a bang in the exhaust, a kickback or backfire.
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:05 PM   #3
England-Kev
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Very nice, what a great looking bike.

and I guess you know the rear suspension is called Anstey link suspension...



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Old 01-06-2014, 01:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by England-Kev View Post
Very nice, what a great looking bike.

and I guess you know the rear suspension is called Anstey link suspension...



I actually did know that!

But I still have to learn a lot.....
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:16 PM   #5
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Awesome find. Are you're completely correct ... that patina is incredible. *swoon*

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIOB View Post
In the first post I say it ran very nice. I used past tense since on the first test ride I had to walk the last mile home, pushing the bike. It stalled at a traffic light and no matter what I did, I could not get it to start or even make a single noise.

I have no clue what happened ....
I have a hint for you:


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Old 01-06-2014, 01:19 PM   #6
England-Kev
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It sounds great too, see you at the John Bull rally then....
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:24 PM   #7
usgser
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Absolutely gorgeous motorcycle. Great you like the original well earned patina. You'll get the ignition sorted and again be enjoying the ride pretty quick.
Dayum I'll bet she's fun to ride.
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:30 PM   #8
Beezer Josh
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I love the sound of the bike. Thanks for posting that video! Congrats on deciding to keep the patina...it only has it once. It's a beautiful bike!
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:30 PM   #9
MIOB OP
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Thanks guys! It really is a great feeling to ride that bike, it feels royal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beater View Post


Awesome find. Are you're completely correct ... that patina is incredible. *swoon*



I have a hint for you:



Ummm, well, actually.... The Ariel came with a sealed beam headlight. Illegal in Holland (and broken), what u are looking at is the light of my '76 Enfield that I installed on the Ariel.


But I do get a spark... so hopefully the problems aren't too bad.
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:35 PM   #10
nick949eldo
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Terrific. Loved the video (what on earth gear did you start off in?). Love the patina too.

Great pictures, especially:

which could easily be one of the best photos on another thread we all know.

Nick
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:08 PM   #11
Thumpermeister
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Quote:
Originally Posted by England-Kev View Post
and I guess you know the rear suspension is called Anstey link suspension...

AKA "plunger" frame. I think that was the last year for them on Ariels before they went to swing-arm frames.
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumpermeister View Post
AKA "plunger" frame. I think that was the last year for them on Ariels before they went to swing-arm frames.
In my part of the UK, we made the distinction of using plunger for the BSA and Norton frames.

The Ariel was a superior beast so was usually described differently.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:06 PM   #13
Twotaildog
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Thumb

Very nice.
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:04 PM   #14
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Excellent.
Nice to see a machine with natural "patina" and kept that way.
Thankfully some "hack" didn't get their hands on it.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:20 PM   #15
Scrivens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIOB View Post
I have no clue what happened. The carb is clean and gets fuel, I can see a spark and it has plenty of compression.

I suspect something is out of order with the timing. It has an advance lever on the handle bars and the lever has less travel than it used to have. Removing the cap over the points reveals that the plate only slightly turns and does not return after I move the lever a bit to the retard side. I checked the cable, it is fine. So something must be wrong inside the timing unit.
Check the outer cable is fully seated in the cup on the adjuster on top of the magneto and also in the bar lever slot - and that the lever itself is working OK. There's a lot of slack in the cable generally as the full lever travel is much more than the cable movement. Simple test is to remove the cable from the lever then yank the entire outer cable up (So the inner cable comes as well to full extent) while looking at the plate and see what movement you get. Should be a bit over 1/4" - 30 degrees or so. The points gap may have closed up as well - remember I mentioned that initially the follower can wear quickly as built up crud is worn off. Check the gap and reset if out and try to start; if not, or it doesn't start, check the timing and tappets.

Riding the bike with the air slide down that far can quickly foul the plug and there's probably a lot of old carbon on top of the piston as well which can flake off and short the plug or keep one of the valves slightly open. Well worth pulling the head and decarbonising it seeing it hasn't run in some years. Drop in a fresh plug and see if it starts - a decent run/push in 2nd or 3rd gear (ignition fully advanced) will turn the engine over quicker than kicking it. I can't think of anything off the top of my head that would stop the advance/retard plate turning apart from cable problems, but pulling the points apart is an easy job - refer to the AJS manual you downloaded earlier.

Oh, and most of the Brit 350s were pretty peppy bikes, lowered geared and freer revving than the 500s. Don't vibrate as much either as they rev out.

Scrivens screwed with this post 01-06-2014 at 10:25 PM
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