Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Velocette Venom petrol tank from India reviewed

The Venom had been off the road for a shocking three years with the main issue being a leaky tank. The tank needed two coats of petseal to fix a few years back which then started to dissolve thanks to ethanol. My search for a leak free original 3.5 gallon Velocette tank proved to be a thankless task so I decided to go for a brand new repro tank from India.

A few years ago I used to import vintage & classic bike parts from India and get parts made to pattern. I knew that tin wear is something that is done pretty well in India. I remember having BSA Gold Star tanks made and visiting the guy making them. He would spend a week on each tank painstakingly beating them out using a shaped out tree stump as a form and then welding them together. The end results were pretty good.

I picked an ebay supplier with good feedback (Vintage India), made an offer, (which was slightly too readily accepted and made me think I should have offered less!) paid with paypal and sat back and waited. Here's the result.....

The tank took about three weeks to arrive - I guess it was probably
made to order.  Here's how it was packed.

Really no compaints at all about the packing. There was no
damage to the tank in transit.

Here it is unpacked. The chrome and paintwork are excellent.
It came with a cap. When you look closely you can notice a
few slight ripples in the finish that are a giveaway that the tank
has been rolled rather than pressed.  This is being fairly picky though.
An all painted tank would probably be harder to spot from an
original than a chrome one.

The front mounting lugs are a bit roughly finished though
in reality you do not notice this once fitted to the bike.

Less good was that the studs for the front brace were roughly
cut and bent. A shame that this let the side down a bit as
otherwise all was good. I had to sort these out with a thread file
in order to run a nut down them.

Underside of the tank.

Fitted to the bike. The bike looks a lot smarter and importantly
is back on the road with a non-leaky tank. The tank fitted
perfectly and everything lined up. The only snag apart from the
bent studs noted above is that I am getting some leaking from the
petrol cap. It seems to be that the tolerance on the height of the filler
is poor and there is not a good seal with the cap's washer. A change of
cap didn't help so I'm going to experiment with a thicker washer.
Overall verdict. Delighted. The tanks are good value and we've got to be thankful that there are guys out there making these parts and keeping our old nails on the road. With bikes like the Velo hitting their sixtieth birthdays it is no wonder that they are getting leaky (thanks to ethanol too...) and if these tanks weren't available fewer would be out on the road. Advice - don't be shy on buying one of these tanks but choose carefully who you buy from based on feedback (there are some suspiciously good prices advertised from folks with low scores) and accept them for what they are - very good but not perfect replicas of a part not otherwise available and very reasonably priced.

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