Ethanol in fuel means goo

Its got to be down to the high ethanol content in the 97 RON rate fuel thats been in the tank recently, which I think has a higher ethanol content to boost the Octane rating. The seam of the tank has failed and there were strips of down-stuff in the tank (a new feature!).

Its been widely reported as a problem and for people with classic tanks that need preserving there are some liners, including one from Caswell’s .


I’d read about it, but not seen any signs of of problems before this week. Interestingly the tank seems to be failing by delaminating and there was no goo or muck in the carb which I’d cleaned out.

I’ve managed to repair the tank (for now) with some two-part araldite like adhesive. I’ve left some petrol in the tank overnight and will check if it is still solid tomorrow. Will then drain the tank before the weekend and top up on the day of the event. I do have the original plastic tank for the Beta, but it is not only big, its not in a good state and I’ll need to re-adjust the seat fitting.


The rest of the bike seemed okay and though the bike is looking a little ‘tired’ after 3 years of trials, it still goes well. I replaced the airbox with a spare I had, as there were some gaps between the two sections where the riveting had moved.

The carb was clean, though I used the air line to check this was the case. I also reseated the exhaust, as it was blowing slightly after the Gwent trial a couple of weeks back.

Really a bit annoyed about the fuel tank, as I should have drained it on a regular basis, as I had read about problems. You never think that it could affect you also.

A Beta Twinshock in France

Stuart in France got in touch, after recently acquiring a fine a Beta TR240 twinshock

With my own Beta looking a little tired after two years of road trials, it was nice to see some pictures of one recently acquired by Stuart in France.

Beta TR240

Some comments (and history) in an email from him….

did you know Sandifords were the first
importers of the bike while Harglow inported all the spares. Sandiford
did’nt keep it long and I told David Weatherill to take on Beta when his son
was a works Aprilla rider and David had left the company we both worked for,
he hesitated and it fell to John Lamkin via a deal with Roy Carey from
Fantic. Peter Cartwright was the works rider for Beta with one of the very
first 240’s it ended up in a box of bits at Jefferies Motorcycles in Shipley
wher I bought it and made it into the first 260cc using a 72.5 mm pisto from
a Montesa 247……………the bike is still around in the Paris Region,
and in use………..


Passing the Scruitineer….

At the Ilkley Trial, the scruitineer rightly picked up on a few loose spokes in the rear wheel. This turned out to be more that just a few (lets say 40%…) and with the nipples being rusty and worn, simply tightening them wasn’t an option

Basically the wheels needed to be re-spoked. Mark mentioned that was a guy in Bedwas (near Caerphilly) who’d done some wheels for him, so I dropped them down their on the way to Cardiff for a meeting. Day later, got a phone call to say that the wheels had been done. 55 quid per wheel for the rebuild with heavy duty steel spokes.


You can contact Gerald Pettit (no relation to Kevin) who did the work: 02920 861452. Excellent job.

Beta TR240 Twinshock

Its not an SWM, but its still Italian and too good an opportunity to miss.

The latest acquisition isn’t an SWM I know and maybe I’m getting fed up with holes in clutch covers and that kickstart design. However its still Italian and in this case pretty stylish.

Beta TR240

The main thing you notice is the weight of the bike; its a lot less than the SWM Jumbo and less than the SWM TL320. This is mainly down to what seems a smaller frame and a much smaller power unit.

The engine is a Beta designed and built unit and is much smaller than the Rotax units in the SWM (and other 200-300cc trials bikes of the period). It gives a much smaller bike feel when riding it and also has a steep, sharper steering angle.

Beta Engine

Beta Rear End

Things to do:
– the side panels are a little vunerable, and a couple of trials have scuffed up already, so need to take some urgent action to either remove them for trials (shame), or potentially cover them with clear plastic frame protector (available from all good MotoX dealers)
– clutch action: its stiffer than a TL320 and much stiff than the Jumbo. Shouldn’t really need it for classic trials (I suppose) but looks like its possible to extend the actuator arm
– rear shocks: are Betor gas units, but of the older type without the variable spring rate. Work nicely enough, for my riding anyway, but look at alternatives
– tyres: currently on a Pirelli rear, which is ok, most of the time, but as the most recent trial showed, hasn’t got the grip of a softer compound.

Early impressions are good, but will see how the upcoming trials (including the Classic Experts) go.