Tag Archives: Spondon

Roger’s Flying Squirrel racer – some pictures

Whilst I work out the port timing calcs, here’s a very early picture of Roger’s Flying Squirrel racer frame to illustrate his description in the comments to the post ‘The evolution of the Super Squirrel racer’

Top triangle was a design to remove the role of the standard frame's lower rails to retain rigidity.
Top triangle was a design to remove the role of the standard frame’s lower rails to retain rigidity.

The crankcase in this shot is, I believe the last standard Scott case that he ever used but fitted with the four bearing crank he made to help stem the tide of standard longstroke overhung crank induced engine carnage. Note the odd shape of the doors with the bolts in the middle. These are just blanking bolts; once removed a slide hammer can be attached to the doors to extract them as they obviously have to be a good fit to support the crank assembly.
The strength of the crank assembly was proven in quite extreme circumstances when there he started it at a meeting and it fired on one before hydraulic locking on the other cylinder, in which there had been a water leak. The contest of strengths was lost by the crankcase, which split across the main bearings. So much for sorting the crank problem.
Another interesting thing to note is the blind head block, which I believe was aluminium. This didn’t have any kind of higher compression inducing form work in the top to match the pistons, as his detachable heads do, but it would have been lighter than standard and running Silk pistons as we still do now.
just found some photos of the whole assembly:
Aluminium block and EN24T four bearing crank assembly. That's a titanium rod as well, in about 1977!
Aluminium block and EN24T four bearing crank assembly. That’s a titanium rod as well, in about 1977!

Also here’s a picture of him working machining a crankcase for Ted Parkin’s Scott. I believe this has extra large doors to take a set of special extra long stroke cranks.

Thicker sections, bigger port tracts, better material and designed to take replaceable main bearings with modern oil seals.
Thicker sections, bigger port tracts, better material and designed to take replaceable main bearings with modern oil seals.

and here is Ted’s racer with new engine in place.


The weekend’s spoils

The main point of this weekend was to go up to Worcester to pick up the lathe that I bought from a fuzzy picture on ebay. It’s a Smart and Brown Model M Mk2 toolmakers lathe from the 1950s and is soon to be manhandled (400kg?) into my little workshop. I’m going to need to get a phase converter as it’s three phase but I am really pleased. I think you can get much more for your money if you buy three phase.

It looks better blurred...
It looks better blurred…
This cost me less than ¬£200 (although a phase converter will probably cost as much). It’s a proper little tool-room lathe and it’s got collets and a three jaw chuck. I’ll just have to start picking bits of tooling up here and there and hope the thing works when it’s all in.

Also, I went up to see my dad to pick up my Scott racer’s cylinder block which he’s had to inspect. I thought I’d bring a few more Triumph bits down too but what I didn’t figure on bringing down was another bike; A Silk Scott.

Ten years ago or more, he bought this Silk Scott from Roy Lambert (not the late John Underhill as I had originally thought. Apparently John had owned it and sold it on previously).

The Silk Scott had been George Silk’s first incarnation of a Scott based motorcycle and had applied 1970’s two stroke tuning theory to the ports and the pipe of an otherwise pretty standard Scott engine. The cranks had been improved and the crank chamber sealing was done with a conventional rubber seal instead of the spring loaded metal to metal gland seal that the original Scott design used. He also created a better oil pump using, I believe, a modified best and lloyd pump design from the vintage period. He had a frame made for it out of Reynolds 531 by Bob Stevenson at Spondon which was basically a copy of the frames Spondon made for the small Yamaha racing bikes.

Yamaha AS-1
Yamaha AS-1

Here’s a picture of the Silk Scott prototype.

Silk Scott prototype

The road bike’s rolling chassis was finished with Spondon 38mm forks, a single sided twin leading shoe front drum and a mechanical disk on the rear. Aluminium rims and a light alloy tank certainly kept the weight down here at least.

Basically it’s a complete racing chassis, built to house an engine which had changed very little from 1928.

The soon-to-be Moss Silk Scott racer!
The soon-to-be Moss Silk Scott racer!

George undoubtedly released more power from the engine, but at a cost. Scotts are not a ‘Schnuerle loop scavenge‘ engine, they are a crossflow engine with the exhaust port and transfer ports opposite each other in the cylinder and using a deflector on top of the piston to send the transferred inlet gas into the top of the combustion chamber, thus scavenging the cylinder.

Deflector piston
Deflector piston

The Scott is notable as a two stroke for having a great amount of torque at low revs, probably because the design does not depend so much on gas velocity to achieve a decent scavenge. Loop scavenge engines, with the transfer ports adjacent to the exhaust port can be susceptible to losing charge directly through the exhaust if the revs aren’t high enough. There are other factors at play, but the torque of the deflector piston Scott really surprises people used to later loop scavenge designs.
If however, as is often done when tuning a loop scavenge engine for greater power, you raise the exhaust port and the transfer and extend the inlet duration, you tend to lose the bottom end. Maybe that’s ok when you’re able to get a engine producing a significant amount of power a bit higher up the rev range, but Scotts aren’t so keen to rev with that massive hump on top of the piston and also have completely unbalanced cranks, relying only on flywheel damping.
Plus the fact that the standard (long stroke) Scott only ever had a three speed box, and the Silk Scott only a four speed box doesn’t enable you to cover a narrower powerband and you start to see where modifications to the original design require an overall consideration of how these things link with each other.

Our plan is to build the Silk up with one of my dads racing engines, which only slight differences to the original port timings but has much better gas flow, and work to make a decent set of exhaust pipes to exploit the low rev range available.

We originally planned to make the Silk Scott a test bed for the engines we built for people so we modified the frame with the intention of doing a detachable front cradle to aid engine swapping.

It’s going to be tight to get it done this year, but I’m going to get on with it and see how it goes.