Delta back on the road in 2018

Back on the road in Scotland with a new name!
Photo: Colin Ferguson

Delta back on the road in 2018

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Delta hub overhauled

Delta is back on the road, after having the Difazio hub rebuilt, and overhauled in the West Country. The bearings were getting intolerably noisy, and the oil seals had long since failed. To the point where the left hand disc had been removed, to stop oil leaking onto it. The wheel spindle, the spindle carrier, and the front swinging arm were all bent slightly, so several new parts were made, and new sealed bearings fitted. The front swinging arm was adjusted using all sorts of blacksmith technology, and it became clear that at some stage, the spindle spacers had been left out. The hub was then packed with waterproof grease, so hopefully that will ensure a long and maintenance free life. Now fitted with two new tyres, the " Delta Sunbeam 928 " is now ready for the road again. I have fitted LED rear lights, and LED front running lights, and will tax it from the first of March. It will be on the VMCC stand at the Scottish Motorcycle Show at Ingliston in Edinburgh next weekend. Hopefuly give them a new perspective on what a classic bike can look like! Now 28 years old*. Thanks to Paul Blez for adding this photo. I'm afraid it's beyond my ability!


* 28 years since it was registered, but 30 years from its first appearance on TV at Wroughton! Suitable celebration required!

Nice work

Good to see this venerable FF in such good shape. We'll have to start the Vintage FF club or something equally daft - Start off trying to be innovative and end up maintaining classic vehicles! You could start the Scotland section with Andrew Strang and his Voyager

I'll be interested to see how you get on with the sealed bearings. The Difazio hubs suffer from large internal cavities, which increase the amount of air sucked in as the unit cools after use, and of course this air is sometimes wet, leading to internal corrosion and bearing failure. Waterproof grease is clearly essential (Rocol Sapphire Aqua 2 recomended grease) and the Voyager HCS design went to some length to minimise internal air spaces - 3mm clearance between barrel and wheel hub. But I chickened out on using sealed bearings and kept on with lip seals, running on steel rings. This all prevents water ingress and bearing life is still undefined, but sealed bearings would allow even more lock (than 38 degrees each side)and marginally reduce unsprung weight - so it's a thought for future HCS designers. If it works. The Difazio unit is a severe and hence valuable test case.

Noting the intake in front of the headlights (heater?) I must mention that there's room for a PV Polo (mk1/11 etc.)heater matrix behind the headlights, hot air exiting below the hand control. Probably the most effective rider comfort feature available. It's got a water valve so heat can be adjusted for summer

Scottish Vintage FF Club

Hi Royce. I am already the Scottish section! With or without Andrew. I have tried several times to get in contact, but so far no luck. Maybe he'll come to the bike show at Ingliston, Edinburgh. As regards the heater, I really don't have room. Don't forget, it's not a Voyager! Or in fact any need for a heater. It's really quite cosy even in cold weather. The air vent is for the ( one and only ) radiator which is right behind. Interesting comments re the sealed bearings - we'll just need to wait and see. BTW, the original bearings had no wear in them - only corrosion. They won't corrode through lack of use - it's too much fun to leave in the garage!

HCS bearings

Corrosion, rather than wear, was always the problem. Jack started off with grease lubrication but used conventional grease, this tended to 'soap' with water ingress, leading to serious corrosion, hence the move to oil lubrication, that tended to leak. This problem was very prominent when Bob and I were designing our respective 'updates/copies/developments' (whatever) of this HCS system. Waterproof grease was an obvious next step but reducing the ample air space inside the hub seemed also essential.

Later, one of the Voyagers was stored after being used as the demo bike and it had been assembled with conventional grease, counter to design specs. The result was classic track corrosion at the point of contact with each ball (and consequent rapid bearing wear) , where a bead of water-contaminated grease is trapped. So waterproof grease may be the most important feature.

Apart from corrosion the large bearings used in all these HCS, Difazio, Tait and Voyager, are massively understressed. I seem to remember that the max. bearing speed in the Voyager unit allows for a max. speed of 357 mph, with grease lube, and one bearing could easily carry the front wheel loading. One day someone will wear a set out, but we're looking at 100,000 mile plus life.

Bearing Life.

As the original bearings have lasted 30 years, lubricated by what little oil stayed inside the hub, I reckon this new arrangement will outlast me! However, it is very interesting to hear a technical assessment, just what this forum is so good at encouraging. BTW, this particular Difazio hub is one of the last, if not the last one produced by Jack Difazio. Number 85, if I recall correctly. Andrew, if you're reading this, it would be great to meet you if you are going to the Scottish motor cycle show at Ingliston next weekend. I'll be on the VMCC, Central Scottish Section stand all weekend, in the club section of the show, in the Lowland Hall. The Scottish show is now on the 7/8th of April due to snow postponing the original dates. Colin