AF CLO5E ratio gearbox review - ' A born again..'
If you want a completely different riding experience, buy a 5 speed. I have done about 20 miles on mine and and cannot believe the difference it makes to the overall riding technique. The performance of the engine is transformed in the way in which its able to delivers its power and therefore maximising the use of the little torque in which our beloved two-strokes normally produce.
Beyond the immediate 'feck its close between each gear' thing going on at the handle when you first venture off and the fact that by habit you hang onto each gear a little too long and therefore run them out at max revs all the time, it soon all;becomes second nature and the glee takes over.
I have ridden 5 speed scooters before a couple of times but they have never been mine, or on a scoot that I knew well and were therefore a bit of an unknown to me to be able to say one way or the other. They always seemed a bit of a short term inconvenience when your trying out a mates new build. However, having it there to explore yourself and be able to experience the comparison of before versus after is where the joy exists.
The real learning experience happens when you first enter and exit a corner. I know my 4 speed gearbox and engine configuration really well as well as the weight and braking capability but this box significantly increases the whole range of options of how to ride it. The 4 speed now feels somewhat antiquated when working through a bend with 5 in the drawer. You can always be in exactly the right gear to drive the corner and be similarly in exactly the right gear to then pull you out irrespective of the severity or gradient your tackling. Fecking awesome fun believe me and makes you giggle every time. It does of course help having a hefty number of horses and torques available to make the whole thing more death-like and challenging when feeling brave but will bite if you are not smooth and considerate. On the whole the gearing really helps you to ride smoothly and therefore ride more assured when the cornering does become hot.
The perfect rev things works also on the straights of course and vastly improves acceleration and therefore times in reaching top speeds. Perfect gear ratio differentials mean it is more efficient in achieving top power as the engine never has to work really hard. The engine is nearly always working on your 'up and over ' part of the curve so to speak.
I am running 19/46 final drive and running a 35T 5th gear option and on my first limited trip it seemed to be near perfect considering the general tour duties the scoot is called upon to perform. I certainly wanted a long 5th gear just for cruising and Motorway work and now i can pull it by shortening the jumps between gears and certainly versus my old third to fourth jump on the LI150 box.
In conclusion, I am convinced this a no-brainer on so many levels. I have been waiting for the AF 5 speed for well over 2 years and trust AF to get this right. The risks to AF are great if the thing fails as we have witnessed with other manufacturers and the lessons learned. Gearing is my background and upon inspection these are well engineered parts. It is well made and well finished. I had heard that they were thoroughly testing the things over a good 18 months or so and that a few variations of build were tried. The key for me though was the fact that it was ran all season in a Group 6 race class engine that nailed my decision. Not a hint of a problem. In fact, a couple of road scoots have been using them in commuters and covering a fair few 1000 miles doing so without any probs. I know nothing more other than than this but sounds great.
They can be a piece of piss to fit or a complete cunt... One or the other really but this is normal with Lambretta parts, even the original shite. They come with a comprehensive guide but you do need some semblance of engineering nous to fit the thing. If you can build a standard gearbox, well.you know, like not leaving out bearings from clutches or other for example, then you can build a 5 speed. Solid layshaft fitting, replacement of selector bearings and spring will improve assembly and running. A couple of important points are made especially around gear selection testing. This needs to be followed to the letter. I would recommend that anyone having the fortune to buy one of these then fit it. Its an important part of the fun and ultimate satisfaction but you can also fix the fucking thing on the side of the road or in a field if needs be. Its a piece of piss really just be methodical and check everything as you go. There could be some grinding involved however if your unlucky with gear selector wishbone manufacture accuracy.
Therefore, If you want to re-learn how to ride, want to take up the challenge of 5 speed fitting / maintenance, willing to afford the inconvenience of having your scoot off the road for a couple of weeks/months and able to stomach the now lean and more presentable price point of £495 then its an easy choice in my opinion.
A final point worth considering. The engine will be operating more efficiently which means better fuel consumption. Most engines are most inefficient at low revs working hard to gain power and this a bygone with 5 gears to play with and two-strokes like to sing.....
I feel like a child again - a born again...