Saturday, 12 January 2019
A visit to the local [ish] dealer confirmed it was a bit of a munter in the flesh, the aforementioned pillion pegs and the horrible back end was screaming for a tailtidy, poking it with a stick revealed the parallel twin engine was barely wider than my 690 Duke/Smc-r supermoto, I really liked the front end, the headlight and the angular looks a nod to kiska designs ‘insect’ signature.
Be rude not to test ride it I suppose, first impressions were that it was very slim and very light, the gearbox was smooth as and the exhaust note was very crisp for a standard item, popping and crackling like a good ‘un on down shifts, but, oh my, that engine! I love the 690 singles but this thing is in a different league altogether, a flat, linear torque line from low down and then it takes off like a two-stroke as you reach 8000rpm. The handling is sublime and though I’ve seen lots of criticism about it being non-adjustable. it just works [how many riders actually adjust their suspension from standard settings anyway? Honestly? Not many if you remember that 75% of riders don’t even know what tyre pressures they are supposed to be running! Talk sag to most motorcyclist and they will think you are talking about that gap between their arse and expensive leather race suit. The electronics package is up there with the big buck superbikes, launch control, up/down quickshifter, tft screen, lean sensitive traction control, supermoto abs delete, all easy to set from a switch on the left hand bar, easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. Chicken.Ding.
Back at the dealers and I knew what was going to go down, I got a great trade-in for the 690 Duke so it seemed rude not too. I wanted the black bike, they had the traditional orange version in but, softer spunking a small fortune on both the duke and the sumo I decided to wait for the black bike instead and go more stealth-like. In the meantime I ordered evotech tail-tidy, paddock stand bobbins and axle slider crash protection and exhaust hanger bracket so I could bin the hideous pillion pegs. The standard mirrors needed binning too so a pair of Oberon performance 65mm bar-end mirrors were added to the goodies list.
So, the bike arrived at the dealers, just in time for winter. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve only done 500 miles on it. No, actually I’m not. This is only the second, brand new bike I’ve ever owned, [ the first was a honda 400 superdream if you’re asking] there’s no way I’m riding this in the winter, besides, I’m having too much fun riding the little honda at every opportunity I get.......
Wednesday, 2 January 2019
a chat with a couple of the more experienced local lads confirmed my thoughts and the suggestion to have a look at the honda crf 250l, a very popular dual sport beginner bike and perfect for green laning. 24bhp might not sound too exciting but for me it’s more than enough as I continue to learn the dark art of off-road motorcycling, the bike is, as it says on the tin, dual sport, that’s tarmac and dirt so the bike is always going to be a compromise, but saying that,i’ve been amazed at what a brilliant little bike it is, it will top out at 80mph with me on it in full winter kit and mx boots, rucksack, tank bag etc which is pretty impressive. you can really hustle it along on the B roads, just make sure you remember that the tyres are knobblies and a very thin section otherwise you may find yourself taking a short cut through a hedge to get to the dirt!
off road? well, like I said, I’m no mx or enduro rider but this thing has given me the confidence to go from the semi tarmac, unclassified roads and onto some of the more technical trails, greenlanes are great fun and i realise you don’t need a fire breathing large capacity bike to have a good time. the previous owner had fitted the acerbis hand guards, renthal aluminium bars and ali sump guard, im leaving the standard exhaust on, apparently it’s very, very heavy but it’s also very quiet and I really don’t want to upset the ramblers, horse riders or mountain bikers who share the trails so that’s staying on, the service intervals are ridiculous, this is no highly strung mx machine that requires a new piston every 30 hours, oil changes are a staggering 8000 miles. I’ll say that again. 8000 miles! that’s what honda recommend but there’s no way I’m going to run a bike for that amount of time without changing the oil and filter. valves need adjusting at 16000 miles, apart from that i’m going to invest in a washable k+n air filter and some decent tyres, there’s nothing wrong with the stockers but they are probably a little too road biased and are wearing a little thin. the bike is a tough little thing, I’ve been off it a few times and it’s also blown over while I was opening a gate on a gated road, the hand guards have taken the brunt of the damage and the plastics are scuffed as well as one rear indicator, apart from that it’s just a matter of washing it down and cleaning and lubing the chain and checking the tyre pressures.
So, there you have it, the little honda has been a revelation, it’s opened up a whole new world to me and proves you don’t need a big adventure bike to have big adventures and more capacity doesn’t necessarily mean more fun, it’s definitely improved my riding skills and its keeping me ‘bike fit’ apart from that, it’s become my go-to ride, any excuse and I’m out there on it......
Saturday, 29 December 2018
KTM. No other manufacturer can hold a candle to them in bike design, kiska design is like nothing else out there for me, edgy and a tad dangerous and a bit ‘marmite’ I love them me, the 690 lc4 engine in both the supermoto and the Duke are brilliant, 70+ bhp is ridiculous from a four-valve, single cylinder motor, fast, torquey, light and high end components, brembo radial brakes? check, wp suspension? check, just the perfect motorcycle for brexit britains pock-marked b-roads, so, why aren’t these two bikes still in the loveless shed then? Well, as you know, I’m not averse to fettling old British wankers, [superbike magazine circa 1984] Italian exotica, [step forward aermacchi and ducati] but when you shell out on a new bike should you really expect to have to replace three speedo/tachometer units? [both bikes] or two water pumps and seals [the duke, at the 2017 manx gp/ classic tt, resulting in having to fill up the rad every 30 miles and a special mention to the nightmare journey home from heysham at stupid o clock in the morning, stopping on the hard shoulder of the m6 to refill the poxy rad by torchlight as articulated lorries thunder by is no fucking joke] great bikes, just let down by reliability issues, I suppose you shouldn’t really expect anything else with them being so competition focused and to be fair to ktm everything was sorted under warranty even though in the case of the duke I was three months out. so, these two are gone, moved on to be replaced by err, two more ktm’s and a fucking japper.......
Friday, 28 December 2018
So, even though I no longer own a motorcycle older than 2015, [full update on the three bikes currently residing in the shed coming soon, you might be surprised, you might not be.....] my obsession for the east german mz marques is almost palpable, the tough, teutonic, two-strokes just tick a box for me. I’m trying to broker a deal with a bloke who has an old ts250 rotting away in his shed, he isn’t budging on his price because he’s discovered, courtesy of the fucking internet, that he has a ‘classic’ motorcycle.
Now, I’m sorry, I grant that the mz is a ‘classic’ machine in the sense that it’s nearly forty years old but really? No, no, hear me out here, let’s say he paid £600 on the road for it, on the road, a new helmet, rack and top-box fitted included in the price, he rides it every day for fifteen years, backwards and forwards to work until it finally gives up the ghost through a complete lack of maintenance so he sticks it in a damp shed for the next twenty five years and all of a sudden, boosh! It’s now worth £1500! the old bastard isn’t budging on his price, I’m not trying to rip him off just offering a fair price for a bike that needs a lot of work, I’m never going to restore it but have the seeds of an idea for another ‘special’ [be quiet Julian!]
Once upon a time, before the interweb you could buy a local paper or ‘loot’ or the other one who’s name escapes me and pick up a bike like this for a reasonable price, unloved, unfashionable and utilitarian, the owner just pleased to pick up a few quid as a bonus to creating shed-space, you happy until you got home and realised you’d bought another fucking money-pit. surely it’s better that these bikes are back on the road in whatever guise they may take on, cafe racer, scrambler or immaculate, nut and bolt resto job rather than rusting away?
Wednesday, 26 December 2018
The world is a very different place to when I last posted anything on the loveless blog, almost two years have passed since I sacked off the blog. I didn’t so much run out of steam but rather just got sick of all the ‘look at me’ rubbish being posted on a lot of the blogs, furthering ones ‘personal profile’ holds no interest to me, like my whole instagram experiment which at the time was being lauded as the way forward I just found it really tedious, gaining likes and ‘followers’ never really appealed. for me the blogger format was the equivalent of a punk fanzine, a way to share ideas and builds with like minded people but then economics entered the fray and all of a sudden it became about shifting ‘merch’ and gaining social standing instead.
I think that when big business gets involved with any venture it’s time to check out, all credibility is lost as soon as pound/dollar/yen or any other currency you care to mention appears on the horizon.
As soon as you get a monthly magazine extolling the ‘handcrafted retro-style custom,cafe racers, scramblers, trackers, brat-trackers or bobbers’ you know it’s all over. I found myself reading and re-reading the ‘built’ magazine blurb and just asking why? ‘It’s for riders who like to be different. you can ride in gangs, hang out in bike shops or mingle with the crowds at big events, but motorcycling is fundamentally an individual thing, it’s about you, your bike and the road.’ So, you’re that much of an individual that you need to subscribe to a magazine to check out the listings and events pages to see what’s cool and where to be seen? give me strength...........
Monday, 24 December 2018
So, while the rest of the great british public sit awaiting their amazon parcel deliveries but bitching and moaning because the shops are closing down and the local ‘retail consumer experience’consists of bleak, black-mamba addict, piss-stained empty units, hooded, extra-strong lager swilling ‘yoot’ and fat, fluorescent vest wearing security guards go through the motions of intimidating each other and the few people who can be arsed to frequent these sad monoliths to a vision of corporate consumerism, I just went for a ride on my bike..........
Friday, 30 December 2016
After serious thought and much imbibing of alcoholic beverages ( purely for medicinal purposes of cause, ahem ) it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that the loveless blog has shuffled off this mortal coil, yes folks it's true, just when you thought 2016 couldn't get any worse, the year we lost Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Rick Parfitt, Carrie Fischer and my Instagram account I've decided to sack the blog, that's it, it's over, finished, thanks to everyone, toodle-pip, ta-ta.............
Wednesday, 16 November 2016
HThank you to everyone who has been in ,touch about my descision to kickstart the blog again, I am somewhat gob-smacked that anyone was still interested in my rants and ramblings and as for a reading it again from the start, get a life you saddo's! ( warning- irony alert, thank you I really am touched) I am mulling over the next project at the moment, as I said the 'not a Ducati tt replica' was sold a few weeks ago after doing the Morini Riders trackday at Cadwell and thrashing it around Jurby in the Isle of Man at the Classic TT. I currently have two KTM's the Supermoto and a 690 Duke which I have 'lightly modified' ( pictures to follow, I am struggling at the moment and having to post from my iPad as the blogger format has changed and I cannot access my photos from picasweb, please bare with me, I will sort it out) The Ducati certainly got some attention on the island, my favourite was one ' expert' pointing out all the classic Ducati Pantah racing history to his mates until Dangerous shot him down in flames by informing him it was actually a fuel injected super sport looky-likey! Any suggestions for the next project gratefully received, so far for consideration- an old Brit, restore a japper, another sporty, another 'inkley bonneville, a dirty two-stroke of some description, big gs thousand or katana ama super bike replica, perhaps a trackday bike? Never done a streetfighter either so what about a gixxer? Let me know folks, I can't decide at the moment. Dangerous has had an operation on his shoulder and has had a plate fitted, he's in quite a lot of pain and is grumpy as fuck but I never noticed to tell you the truth as he's always like that's! I've stripped the damaged bits off the Scrambler and ordered up all the replacement parts so not really sure if it's his shoulder hurting him or the fact that the tight gits had to get his purse out. Anyhow, here's some pictures of the finished Ducati, thanks again and keep your bowels open and your tongue out..............
Sunday, 13 November 2016
Saturday, 12 November 2016
wotcha, I tried with instagram I really did, under the drty_nails pseudonym I posted, what? fifty odd pictures but I'm sorry it's just not for me, I got 'likes' ( whatever the fuck they are) wannabe supermodels and fourteen year old girls who really know what an MZ two-stroke race bike is. I thought about just nuking the loveless blog and starting again but why? It's been a big part of my life for the past few years, there's loads of history here, (well for me anyway) Instagram just felt a bit, well, 'false' to me, it seemed that a lot of the users are more interested in 'followers' than actually putting anything real out there, there's too much emphasis on selfies and inane bollocks than people building stuff and posting about their experiences. No posts since april so here's the skinny, sold the Ducati hypermotard, bought a KTM 690 duke hooligan machine, did the Morini owners club trackday, sold the Ducati tt2 replica, (after doing the festival of jurby in the Isle of Man) had a stonking Classic tt festival, been to Arizona for the annual Bailey family holiday and dangerous had a big off at Mallory Park last weekend on the Ducati and smashed his collarbone to atoms at the penultimate English trackday before the winter shutdown. Any comments welcome as usual, send cheques and duffel bags full of used 'twenties, carbon fibre goodies, titanium doo-dads and racy magazines or dvd's to the usual address, my e-mither address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need to contact me, if you are easily offended better fuck off now and find something more suitable, oh yeah, here's some advice, listen to marvin gaye, I recommend trouble man............