another perfectly good motorcycle ruined.......

Sunday, 31 May 2015

behind the bikeshed [for consumers by consumers]

i think the new ducati scrambler is brilliant. i'm not just saying that because dangerous has decided that life is incomplete without having one in the shed, no, seriously i think ducati have hit the proverbial nail-on-the-head with this bike. had to laugh when i nipped into the local triumph dealership to pick up an oil filter for the 'false' triumph, i usually just go in, order what i require and fuck off. as i'm standing at the counter waiting my turn i tuned into a conversation one of the salesmen was having with a potential triumph scrambler customer, he was trying his hardest to get the punter to buy a triumph and decided to bring me into the sales pitch. bad move. i just told the geezer the truth, the ducati is 100 kg lighter straight out of the box, it has 75 bhp against the triumphs claimed 50 and the duc is two grand cheaper! i'm sorry, but whats not to like about those figures? no-brainer really........ anyhoo, surfing the net and i see our old friends over a the bikeshed motorcycle club [bikeshed m.c. really? m.c.?] have six ducati scramblers that have been 'customised' by, er, some motorcycle customisers. i follow a link to the london evening standard newspaper. apparently, the bikeshed show started as 'an underground movement hosting custom events for a select handful of dedicated 'shed builders' so undergound that they attract 300,000 followers on social media and a weekly audience of over a million? [these figures from the same article. underground? bollock's, courting little 'shed builders' like ducati, triumph, yamaha and harley davidson! the best statement comes from the head honcho 'dutch' 'the world's best independent, [independent? for fuck's sake!] motorcycle show, run by consumers for consumers' consumers? is this really what it's all come down too? i really don't give a fuck that someone has spotted a business oppurtunity and decided to make a few bob out of it, but, please don't take us for mug's, you really don't give a fuck about people building stuff in shed's. how do you think we went on before motorcycling was invented by you three years ago? the manufacturers must be loving it, you get people to send you a photo, blow some smoke up their arse and invite them down to your show, the factory boy's steal the ideas and bingo! why employ an r and d department when you can get some sucker's to do it for a photo on a blog and a cup of barista coffee! pump some of the money from the bikeshed show into sponsoring a racer, or perhaps the motorcycle action group fighting fund against prohibitive legislation if you are really concerned about the future of the 'underground' scene. enough ranting. got the wiring sorted. hate wiring. backlight / brakelight works, as does the speedo, numberplate mounting sorted. mot time is coming......

Saturday, 30 May 2015

eat the baby

evil-bay, i hate it me, my 'bargain' e-bay oil cooler cost me fifty quid, then 25 quid for the cooler to an6 hose adaptors from earl's. four runs on nelly's dyno at cornerspeed, one for the base settings, one for the rexxer ecu re-flash and two for tweaking, fourth run and the cooler splits on the bottom row of the matrix.bugger. the tuesday after the bank holiday i'm on the dog to earls for a replacement, 34 quid, including the cooler to an6 adaptors and 7 quid next day postage! bloody ebay, i get sucked in me. with hindsight, [yes, yes, i know, hindsight is a wonderful thing, i've got an 'ology in it!] i should have just gone straight to earls, but, hey, beat me up, i can't feel any worse about paying almost double for a faulty piece of shit! anyhoo, sorted now, check out my earls push-fit hoses and fittings, can't recommend them highly enough, you literally just cut the hose's to length using a very sharp knife, dip the fitting in clean engine oil and push the fittings and hose together. simples. will stand 250 psi, [the ducati desmodue's run around 60 psi so loads of safety margin] the red and blue anodised fittings are a tad tart's handbag for my liking, but, apparently they are trade-marked to earls and if it does the job then timmy's a happy bunny. spun up some mounting spindles to support the cooler matrix which mirror the tacho mountings and some brackets to mount up a numberplate and rear light so we can get a daytime mot on this thing, found an led tail / stoplight in my stash which originally came with the rg tail-tidy that we fitted to the 'false' triumph, it fit's in better with the look of the 'peaky blinder' bike i reckon, [and anyway, i want to keep the little round tailight previously pictured for my next project, oh, squeeze me, baking powder, did i say that out loud?] onwards and upwards, not sure about the '70's style ducati typeface on the side of the tank?, comments welcome as usual, it's not lacquered on yet as i can't decide............ nearly there now, got to mount up the plate and the gps speedo, a little bit of wiring-up for the mot and i can get out on the road and scrub in the new tyres for cadwell in a couple of weeks time. these little odd's and sod's seem to take forever, but, it was all worth it when i pushed the button, the bike sounds crisper than a bucket full of 'walkers' being rolled in by a fat bloke, the jack russell's are howling, my mum, mavis-from-next-door-but-one comes round to bollock me, a couple of the local horse-riding gentry give me the evil-eye as their mount's shy and best of all, the old witch next door almost falls in her pond and me and dangerous are wearing shit eating grins...........

Saturday, 23 May 2015


what a strange day. me and dangerous head out on the triumph's. first stop is cornerspeed to check in with nelly and check the progress with the 'peaky blinder' which is up for the ecu re-flash and a run on the dyno. good news, the motor is making a very healthy 76 bhp at the crank and more importantly, 59.9bhp at the back wheel, good figures for an air-cooled ducati 750. more important is the gain throughout the rev range, a flat torque curve and the rev ceiling raised by one and a half thousand rpm. bad news? well, there's always bad news isn't there? the e-bay, 'bargain' earl's oil cooler has split at the seams and spewed it's guts all over the dyno! bugger. luckily there was no drop in oil pressure so no engine damage occured, but, i need to get a new cooler sorted and plumbed in before the morini owners club trackday at cadwell in a fortnights time. why do we always end up having to work to a very tight deadline? especially after weeks of inactivity, i suppose that's just the way it goes. so, we wend our way over to lincoln and the moto-italia shop to check out the new ducati scrambler. i'm a cynical bastard me. it comes from years of being lied to, ripped off and being done down, false promises and disappointment. if the glass is half-full, well my glass has been drained, spat back in my face and smashed on my head. today, i think i had some of my inbuilt cynicism nullified. a proper motorcycle shop, no attitude, no pressure from salesmen with targets to meet, just a cheery greeting and as much free coffee as you could sink and a genuine interest in your bike, run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. dangerous tentatvively ask's about a test ride on the scrambler 'icon', five minutes later he's out for a ride, thirty minutes later he's back and dropping a deposit on a new bike, hopefully ready to pick up in time to go to the isle of man on for the classic tt / manx gp. me? well, let's just say, if my lottery numbers come up saturday night i'm back over to lincoln to buy the treble-eight racebike that takes the pride of place in the showroom. along with the ducati moped. and a superleggera. and one of those panigale's. and a big monster. we ride out to the cafe at raf waddington for a brew, sitting in the late afternoon sunshine and checking out the vulcan bomber that delivered it's ordinance to devastating effect during the falklands war, the ride back is one of those life affirming things, almost empty roads, a 'brisk' pace ensues, fingers and toes buzzing from the vibration, fly splattered, sore eyes and bikes greasy cool from road film. a couple of cold ones in the shed before the clincher, 'bailey, look at the size of those dandelions'.........

Friday, 22 May 2015

a legend in his own mind

just a quick update from the loveless shed. the 'false' triumph is almost road legal, nige at nrp exhausts has made us a new baffle to subdue the rather 'fierce' exhaust down from an ear-bleeding one hundred and twenty decibels, [i thank you, i'm here all week] to a much more muted, one hundred d.b on the old noise meter, i'm rocking a massive yellow and black reg plate, [which i reckon is knocking 15mph off the top end] and i'm seriously trying to behave, [except when a knob on a cbr 600 passed me and dangerous at sixty in a thirty limit and i saw red and stuck it up him on my favourite left-hander on 'our' test road, i wonder if he told his mates he'd been dicked by a bloke on a 'inckley wearing an open faced arai, levis and cat boot's?] anyhoo, i've sold the red 900ss ducati, why? well, although it was a great bike, i reckon i needed to spunk around 1500 to 2000 english pounds to bring it up to my obsessive-compulsive standard, i got a good offer for it and dangerous has decided he's going all hipster on me and can't live without a ducati scrambler, so, i've bought his yellow duc off him because, er, well i like it and it's a lovely bike and er, it's yellow. ah yes, 'the peaky blinder' ducati trackbike project you say? well, it's currently up at nelly's, [cornerspeed], for a re-flash on the ecu and a dyno run, i'm keeping my finger's crossed for 57-58 bhp at the back wheel and around 155 - 160kg which will give us a good power to weight ratio and should make for a very entertaining daytime mot / trackbike. having a ride up tomorrow to find out, stay classy...........

Saturday, 9 May 2015

change your ways

the police do a great job, dirty, dangerous and distressing, no, i'm being serious, i have a lot of respect for them, if some toe-rag is breaking into your house at night you ain't going to be calling 'ghostbuster's' to sort shit out, imagine having to tell someone's nearest and dearest they won't be coming home tonight due to a serious road accident? what about keeping the peace so we can all go about our daily lifes? nah, not something i could do, some low-life piece of shit gobbing in your face? could you keep your temper? i know i couldn't.
           but, [there's always a but, usually before the bullshit] let me tell you what is happening in god's own county, or derbyshire as we call it. there seems to be a campaign to get the local bike night closed down. m.f.n. or, 'miles from nowhere' hosts a couple of bike nights a week during the spring / summer months, monday usually attracts more classic / custom / harley owners, wednesday is more geared towards the sportsbike crew, but, on a hot summer night basically everyone is welcomed from the local scooter lads to panigale trackday refugees, basically anyone interested in anything with two wheels. it's all cool, no attitudes even from the local hells angels who have a ride down every now and then, most people are supping an ice cold coke rather than quaffing vast amounts of ale, noshing a burger and chatting, chilling and checking out the bikes. m.f.n is the former shipley boat inn, situated down a private road and next to the erewash canal, it's literally 'miles from nowhere' no near neighbours to disturb, unfortunately the surrounding roads to m.f.n are all 30 limits through residential areas and the locals are up in arms regarding the noise and 'speeding bikers'.
        i noticed it late last year, heading home after a couple of hours at m.f.n, the police camped at the end of the private road, not just the local bobby but traffic officers, they had the occasional ride down through the pub car park, almost like a show of strength, a.r.v's [armed response vehicles] and a quite intimidating prescence. i started to hear rumours of bikes getting stopped going to mfn a couple of weeks ago, then, i ran into big steve and gadger last week and they told me of their experience. both lads ride harleys, they aren't tear-arse's, just normal, bike riding blokes, [steve has six harleys, a suzuki sportsbike and an old sr 500 yamaha cafe racer in the shed, gadge has two triumphs and two harleys] on the ride to m.f.n they got a tug, the aforementioned a.r.v and v.o.s.a [the vehicle operating standards agency] the police can stop you, v.o.s.a can inspect any vehicle. steve and gadge had a torrid time, small number plates, [steve responds with 'thirty quid? i'd pay that everytime rather than ride with a placard on the back!' bad move, the fine is now sixty quid, but, they can give you a ticket for what they want, ker-ching! that's a hundred pounds then! me and steve go back a long way, he's always been a gobby fucker, but, i'd trust him with my life. the v.o.s.a man decides to inspect his bike further, vance and hines pipes! he shines his torch up the pipe and states 'ahha, there's no baffling in here, no noise retention at all, i can see your exhaust valves!' further investigation reveals no b.s marks on the pipes. a n.i.p is issued, [notice of intended prosecution] then the clincher, the v.o.s.a man informs them that they can impound ANY vehicle that they own, it's a £500 pound tow in and then forty quid a night 'storage' fee per bike, the 'administration' or, sorting the paperwork usually takes six week's! now, i'm no mathematical genius, but, even i can work out that's going to cost you a lot of hard-earned especially x8 bikes that you own.
   the horror stories continue through the week, an old boy on a '55 / '56 velocette barn-find gets a tug by the same mob, no bs marks on his exhaust, [which incidentally he has bought through the velo owners club] he stands his ground and argues the b.s. stamping wasn't even out when the bike was made, no chance, a hundred and fifty quid fine for non-standard pipes!
      mid-week i decide enough is enough, i go and buy standard, legal reg plates for all my bikes, they are horrible. i'm not trying to out run the law, the smaller plates just look better and are more aesthetically pleasing but i'm fucked if i'm going to risk having my bikes impounded.
   fast forward to bank holiday monday, me and dangerous are sitting outside a well known bike shop, polystyrene cup in hand, quaffing hot tea and watching the bikes come and go. to a man, sportsbike / harley / streetfighter / cruiser / bmw, hard panniered, top-boxed tourer they gun it from the shop, rev limiter kicking in, wheely's and just anti-social behaviour, all in the 30mph speed limit.
    i love motorcycles me, they are my passion, i wake up dreaming about them, go to sleep at night reading about them, spend thousands of hours working on them and making stuff for them, but, i feel we may be a tad responsible for our own downfall after-all?...............