Monthly Archives: December 2018

Two Thirds, Two years, Part Four

So here we are again, two views of the NSU Konsul, or rather Svalan M 100, I bought in late August of what is just about this year. A beauty, right?

Well, it passed the ten foot test, but not more. Already at the first viewing my son and I saw that there was a LOT amiss with this bike, really a great deal, so we declined to buy it at first and only a week later changed our minds and got it.

Pros: It was nearly complete, we thought; it ran, sort of; it has EU documents, it was relatively cheap, parts availability is better than for many ten year old Japanese bikes, and there would not be too much paintwork to be done as I don´t really care about the looks of a bike as long as it´s reliable and doesn´t rust. I was able to buy an unrestored Konsul, a rare thing indeed, and would, compared to a restored bike, not have to buy thousands worth of chromium plating which I don´t want, and a possibly not too well done engine/…, which I do want to be reliable above all.

Cons: There was a lot to be put straight, which is the subject of this post.

First impressions

Already at the first viewing we found that there was a slot where the head gasket should have been. Exhaust gases could be seen escaping between the cylinder and the head.

They had left an oily, glazed surface on the topmost cooling fin over the years. Good news in a way as Konsuls have the habit of developing cracks between the topmost and the second fins as the head is bolted onto the top of the cylinder, no bolts run from the head down to the crankcase.

Next thing I noted was the loveless way the engine mounting bolts had been replaced. Things like that are never a good sign.

Somebody had completely f….d up the steering head. The races notched badly, the top nut was butchered,

the steering damper had been secured with oversized bolts just powered into the alloy of the front fork´s lower bridge. The bolts are probably one size fits all with the engine mounting ones.

The exhaust was home made and again rusted out,

plus the exhaust threads on the cylinder head were stripped entirely. Actually somebody had put screws through exhaust and threads, right through the exhaust gas stream. Wonderful.

The seat was obviously home made too, and while we knew that Svalans have no German style single “Schwingsattel” but a British looking seat, this specimen looked very odd, with a wooden platform and tiny struts badly welded to some frame.

Also the ignition condenser had been bolted underneath it, in the wrong place and not very safely either.

Further issues

But that was only the beginning.

The next weekend we started the disassembly of the bike for a complete overhaul. The clutch had ceased to work completely, it had no function whatsoever by the time we had the bike home, adding to the difficulties.

Looks nice, no? Don´t be deceived. The brake has no function, one might as well put a glove on the tire for braking, and the wheels had been built up wrongly, but we found that out only later. When viewing the bike we had just marveled at the shiny new spokes, but looking very closely we might have seen this:

Konsul wheels need to be built dished to accomodate the outboard brakes. The former owner had not known this, or not cared, took too long spokes anyway and ground them down after wheelbuilding. Hell, that came unexpected. Next issue were the front fork telescopic struts, both weeping oil. Crying oil, more like it.

Tires of course were goners too, but luckily easily replaced due to the size being a popular one. Avons are available off the shelf, great.

More unexpected daftness was the electrics. It was homemade and had a number of elements in the wrong places, like the horn, and also the central switch is all wrong, note the little lamp socket on the right, under a place in the lamp shell in which there is no window for the light to shine through:

This is the earth connection, it´s where the horn should be in real life:


Then look at the speedo, or rather the way it was fixed the the lamp shell. Ugh. Leaving that though; anything connected with the lamp is crazy expensive. Buy lamp shell, reflector, glass, speedo, central switch, and you´re looking at nearly 1.000€.

More stocktaking, also positive

So at the end of the first day, my Konsul looked like this:

OTOH, the bike also had its strong points. The former owner had indeed thrown some money at it, like finding a perfect rear brake drum, which daftly also carries the rear chainwheel.

The chain was good too, as was the sprocket at the gearbox exit. The next good thing was that the rear wheel was held perfectly straight by the suspension. They will hopefully be easy to overhaul.

But then disaster struck again. The bike must have had an accident, or was dropped, once in its long career, as the frame was damaged. The footrest on the right hand side was held by a strange bracket, I had noted.

The Konsul frame is a marvel of framebuilding art, brazed, lugged, cast lugs everywhere, just wonderful. Only it´s less wonderful when a part of one of the brazed in castings has broken off, as had happened to one of the footrest attachments. The top half had broken off, hence the odd bracket. A acquaintace of mine is a welding and brazing specialist, and he will try to execute a repair, but it´s all not very nice.

Good thing for a change? Somebody must have fitted an Amal carb to the bike sometime, or perhaps the Swedes did right at the start when assembling the ckd Konsul parts. I love Amals, so I found that a great piece of news.


And lastly, nobody has been daft enough to amputate the attachments for the single seat I intend to fit in the place of the Swedish seat, Svalan or no Svalan. It´s all there, and should work fine.

So that´s it until next year. ATM the project feels as if it´s never going to work out, all in bits, so much still  to do, so many bad surprises still possible. But I´m not giving up hope, I know it´s going to take some time.