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Improving Albion Gearbox's

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Improving Albion Gearbox's
Started at 08:48pm on the 8th November, 2018 by Andy C
Andy C Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
My old 612 which I recently bought back is fitted with a 4 speed albion box, the only improvements it had had is the close ratio gear set, sealed bearings, and the stiffer outer cover to improve clutch action. When I used to own the bike the gear change action was just about acceptable but it never really fully complimented the performance of the 612 motor. Since buying the bike back the gear change action is not as good as I remember it, could perhaps have been abused by the last 2 owners or has just worn. I am contemplating a 5 speed box, but given the expense involved I was wondering if anyone has any experirnce of improving the action of these box's which I could try before making any decision. Appreciate that the albion will never be as good as the 5 speed box, or a modern jap box, but the way it feels at the moment there has to be room for improvement. Thanks
Posted: 08:48pm 8th November, 2018
Mark M Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Andy, these are pretty agricultural gear boxes as you know and I don't think there's a way to make them comparable to most other period British boxes let alone modern ones. However, as you say, they can be improved but it would help if you could describe what is wrong with yours specifically?

REgards, Mark
Posted: 10:51pm 8th November, 2018
PeteF Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Most gear change problem are clutch related. The Albion is pretty crude but will perform reasonable well if the clutch is spot on. Trouble is, the clutch is pretty awful as well😕 I'd make a start by overhauling the clutch.
Posted: 07:05am 9th November, 2018
another Allan Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
My bike had a standard 4-speed box. It seemed to work ok (the bike only had 1000 miles on it when I bought it,) and the gearbox had the closer-ratio conversion.
However, no amount of tinkering/adjustment/modification would give it a quick, clean gearchange every time. The clutch would slip (despite adjustment, outer cover stiffener, ATF fluid, stiffer springs, etc.
I bought a 350 on Ebay which already had a r/h change 5-speed gearbox fitted. I stripped the bike and sold all of the bits except the gearbox and recouped nearly all of the purchase price. I replaced the 4-speeder in my bike with the 5-speeder and also fitted Hitchcock's 5-plate clutch.
Others who have fitted a 5-speeder have commented on the total transformation of the bike and I completely agree.
(For info, my bike has a bored and stroked 625 cc engine, which is probably relevant to your situation.)
I realise that budget considerations are very real to all of us, but sometimes there is another approach!
Posted: 08:18am 9th November, 2018
Mark M Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Just to clarify, Andy C has posted elsewhere about this bike. He has bought it back after 2 owners and, it seems, little mileage. However he's found that the POs have inflicted all sorts of abuses on the poor thing, many in places which shouldn't have needed attention in such a small mileage. So I'm guessing that he's trying to get ideas about what might have been messed about with before investigation rather than start a debate about the (let's face it,) awful Albion box. I am currently working on a Bighead project and after investigation (and if needed a rebuild,) I'm going to refit the Albion box that came with it but I'm seriously thinking that if it plays up I'll just go and buy one of our Host's modified 5 speeders. They are not all that expensive and I've decided life's too short for remanufacturing pig's ears!

REgards, Mark
Posted: 09:52am 9th November, 2018
Bullet Whisperer Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
The 4 speeders [even the Indian ones] should work quite well when properly set up. This one on a tuned 350 changes fast and doesn't miss gears, although it could benefit from the close ratio conversion. ...
Posted: 09:54am 9th November, 2018
Mark M Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Paul, I'm not saying it can't be done, I am quite prepared to put in the effort and mine all work well including on the Interceptors. I have ridden a 60/5 and thought the gearbox was a real improvement, not only because it is smoother than an Albion will ever be but the 5 speeds (which I expected to be over-kill,) really suit the Bullet. However, the one I was riding still had an occasional false neutral going 5th to 4th, so nothing's perfect!

REgards, Mark
Posted: 10:10am 9th November, 2018
Adrian Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
PeteF's comments regarding the need for a well-adjusted clutch are also relevant to the 5 speed Indian-made box.

Had my big head Bullet bitsa been built as a proper Fury replica it would have had a four-speed box, but having ridden both four speed and five speed Bullets, I decided that some things were non-negotiable.

If, however, you have an original Redditch classic or don't want to throw too much money at a Chennai Bullet, I can see the point of taking the time to get/keep the four speed box working well.

Posted: 12:11pm 9th November, 2018
Andy C Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Just to clarify. 1. Has the close ratio gear set from our hosts - big improvement. 2. It has our hosts stiffer end cover. 3. Sealed bearings - oil and not grease filled. 4. Has a Bob Newby Clutch fitted and setup properly. Symptoms: 1. It is a bu**er to get into 1st to pull away. 2. All change are crap - usually have to take 2 or more attempts to find a gear. 3. Jumps out of gear. When I owned it originally it had none of these issues - agree nowhere near a modern box (or a 5 speed Bullet box - I have ridden one), it seems to be a bag of intermittent hard to find gears. Have to admit to not looking at anything yet, perhaps I should pull the whole thing apart and rebuild from ground up - that way I will be able to see / fix anything obviously wrong.
Posted: 12:29pm 9th November, 2018
Norm Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Hi Andy, many years ago I made up a plate to replicate the f/c stop plate and spring retainer but I cut most of it away so that it would hold the shifter mech together but allow me to see what was going on as I shifted it through each gear up and down. I found it the best way of getting it to work. On one box that did my head the only way I could end up getting it to work believe it or not was to move each tooth on the inner ratchet (grind,weld,grind again ) until I got each gear selecting on both the upshift and downshift perfectly. Without the plate I made there is no way you can see what is going on. As far as I know that bike is still running around fine, at least it was the last time I saw it.Problem is I lent the plate to a mate so I think it is gone forever, but there is no way I could set up a problematic box without it
Posted: 09:56pm 9th November, 2018
Steve T Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Hi Andy just a thought for you, if you go to a 5 speed box I think you will find that the bob newby clutch will not fit, as I asked Bob when I picked mine up for a 4 speed box.
Posted: 10:56pm 9th November, 2018
Adrian Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
The Newby clutch is available for 5 speed as well as 4 speed gearboxes, both options are sold by our hosts, it will have a different clutch centre depending on which type of mainshaft it is meant to fit. I'm sure Mr Newby could be persuaded to sell you a 5 speed centre separately to save you from having to buy a whole new clutch, if you were to replace the gearbox with a 5 speeder.

Posted: 12:37pm 10th November, 2018
Freddo Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
My Thunderbird 350 has the 5 speed gearbox. My only knowledge of the 4 speed Albion gearbox was derived from reading this article:
Posted: 05:57am 11th November, 2018
Andy C Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Seriousley thinking about going down the 5 speed route - the bike is going to be a keeper this time so it would be money well spent. I'll have to see what our hosts say about the clutch centre etc.
Posted: 08:23pm 11th November, 2018
PO51UHD Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
I did the 5-speed box conversion on my 350 Bullet Superstar last month. Huge improvement, and I went up 1 tooth on the gearbox sprocket. The ratios are ideal and I don’t miss gears anymore. You’ll definitely need the clutch basket from a 5-speeder too as the input shaft splines are different. I bought both second-hand from MrH. Mine’s a keeper too now I’ve done the mod...!
Posted: 09:55pm 11th November, 2018
Alan R Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Hi Guys--------Hi Mark M , how's the cats ??.........Down the years I've had 2 Albion bikes and 2 Bullet '65 machines...and as you folk have found out there just is no comparison..The 5-speed box has a nice, even spread of ratios which seem to match the 500's performance at all levels......Acceleration is improved particularly where that 3rd---------------------------------4th "Grand Canyon" used to be.. Yes, they like any other piece of machinery can current box tends to overshoot into a false neutral going down from 4th to 3rd..........Paul tells me it's wear in the selector mechanism..he has a very good Youtube vid. showing him at work on this type of fault but I'm sorry to say I can't remember the link !!--Paul, can you help here ??.........Hi Andy C--- Mines definitely now a keeper and have just sold the Honda XBR 500 and Triumph T140 750 to make room....It's now in the process of having reliable internals fitted ....Which reminds me}---- Paul H you haven't replied to my last E-Mail yet ...£££'s waiting just for you --grin !!
Posted: 02:52am 12th November, 2018
Bullet Whisperer Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Hi Alan, sorry, just replied! I have two videos about the 5 speed gearboxes, here they are ... and ... ... Regards, Paul.
Posted: 10:03am 12th November, 2018
Andy C Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Decision made, I'll be ordering a 5 speeder. Aparrently our hosts can supply a replacement hub that will fit the 5 speed shaft splines and fit the chain driven Newby clutch. The old 4 speeder will be consigned to the shelf !
Posted: 08:45am 17th November, 2018
PO51UHD Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's
Good choice Andy!
If you want to read (and see) how I did mine, get hold of a copy of this month’s RealClassic mag. It shows step-by-step how I did it, including a couple of things I wasn’t expecting. Not including your clutch adapter of course...!
Posted: 08:56am 17th November, 2018
mauri Subject: Improving Albion Gearbox's

parts needed and more info in this thread.

Posted: 11:14am 17th November, 2018

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