Sunday, 12 July 2020
I traded the Moto Guzzi and Srad 600 and with a little cash injection courtesy of Mrs B, sorted by some ‘creative’ financial juggling which, with hindsight, would leave Robert Maxwell gasping for breath at its sheer inventiveness I am now the proud owner of a 2019 Indian FTR 1200.
But there’s more to the story. The bike was originally purchased by a newbie, direct access geezer. After riding a small capacity Honda commuter he decided to buy an FTR. The dealer tried to persuade him that it was the wrong choice and point him in the right direction. He wasn’t having any of it, macho pride getting the better of his decision, 300 miles later he was back begging to trade it for something a little more civilised. There are NO rider aids on this machine, no six-axis traction control, no anti-wheelie or any of the other safety net features that are standard on bikes today. It’s just you and you as the rider, there’s no ‘rain mode’ to soften the power delivery, nothing to rescue you and make life easy and to be fair to the P.O. This can be an intimidating thing, 123bhp and 80+ foot of torque are serious figures and definitely not a newbie bike.
This was my first ride out on the bike, it’s totally standard and I will give my considered thoughts when I’ve ridden it for longer than the quick 150 miles that I put in on Saturday afternoon, what I will say is that on my initial ride I was braying like Donkey in the Shrek movie. stay tuned fight fans.....,,,,,.,
Saturday, 11 July 2020
Sunday, 5 July 2020
Sat in the shed Friday, Bob the Dog snoring gently at my side and drinking my second strong tea of the day, 6-Music chugging away in the background on the dab and it’s a squally, windy morning, it’s still early, a quarter-to-five in the a.m. [some habits are hard to break] 45 years of getting up early-doors to go to work and the internal body clock still kicks in and shouts ‘HELLO, TIME TO GET UP!’ So, I’m sat there and happen to glance at the calendar and notice that the m.o.t. [the annual Ministry Of Transport test for vehicles over three years old to make sure that they are safe and roadworthy for our foreign readers] had expired yesterday. Post breakfast and I call in at the village garage on my return leg of my daily Bob the Dog walk.
I’ve known these lads for what seems an eternity, three generations of the same family, I’m met with a torrent of abuse. Same as it ever was. Of course they can do my m.o.t, just drop the bike off and leave it with them, I get a bollocking for riding up in my shorts, trainers and t-shirt, ‘you should know better Bailey!’ Yada, Yada, Yada. I set to and get my chores out of the way returning late afternoon to pick up the bike. ‘It’s passed but your brake light isn’t illuminating, get it sorted’ here we go, the annual wind-up. Let me explain, I go through my bikes with a fine tooth comb before I take them in for a m.o.t. There wasn’t anything wrong with it before I took it in. They look at each other, straight faces to a man, ‘it was ok when I bought it in lads’ I reply.
I try the foot brake, no brake light, what-the-actual-fuck! I’ve literally ridden it half a mile, what could go wrong in that short ride? The brake light illuminates off the front brake lever. I kneel down and root around.It takes a second. They’ve only dropped the spring off the foot brake lever so the brake light is inoperative. I feign outrage and apologise for missing this glaring defect. They tut and look stern. I go all Otis Redding and we try to keep a straight face for at least 30 seconds before we all crack-up laughing. fucking wankers!
So, I’d like to say that’s where it end’s but after a fifty mile ride home, [suitably attired rather than the t-shirt, trainer, shorts combination from earlier] I decided that the Srad was toast, I put it on ‘a well known, internet auction site early Sunday morning and it sold four minutes later returning a healthy profit. Deep Joy. Why do I do this? It was a great bike, brilliant handling, the induction noise intoxicating and fast but I’m still searching........
Friday, 26 June 2020
Don’t get me wrong even for the modest 50ish bhp available you can have some serious fun with this bike, I love the ‘ssscccrrrish’ as the pegs touch down and you can have a good time at sensible speeds, I love it, great bike.
And then there’s the KTM 790 Duke, the absolute opposite of the Guzzi, like a lairy, pissed uncle at a wedding you know this fucker is going to upset someone straight away, seriously I have tried to be responsible but as soon as you assume the position you know that shit is going down. The view from the saddle is the tapered aluminium bars, very similar to my old supermoto, there’s the TFT screen and that’s it, no headlight or front wheel visible, your elbows spread naturally, the pegs are high and rearward orientated which throws your body over the front wheel in a proper ‘take no prisoners’ stance.
I seriously doubt that there are many bikes that could live with one of these on a twisty, potholed, cow-shit strewn excuse of a ‘b’ road in the UK, granted a thousand cc sport bike will gobble it up on a trackday but oh my this thing just turns me into an instant arsehole, espresso, triple shot.
So where am I going with this? Well, I’m still lusting after the Indian FTR 1200, I could sell all four bikes and buy one with the proceeds but I’m questioning if it’s going to be enough? Sometimes I want to chill, ride the little Italian bike and the destination fades into insignificance but on the other hand if I want that fix of adrenaline I can ride a hundred miles on the 790 and come home giggling, sweating and offer praise to whoever that I’ve not been arrested or smashed my old, flaccid body into a stone wall or a tractor turning into a field, I’ve got the little 390 for trackday fun and the Srad for my analogue connection, am I being too greedy? Do I need a new bike or should I just appreciate what I’ve got instead of keep searching for that elusive perfect ride..........
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
No, this is the other Gary Johnson, ex-miner, Ram’s fan, Jack Russell owner, Northern Soul aficionado and the owner of the cleanest T5 VW I’ve ever seen. Oh yeah, he’s also got a beautiful Lambretta Li 150 that he’s just finished rebuilding. The eagle eyed will recognise this bike as the rare 1964 Winter model, [check out the headlight, it has the ‘squared-off-pie-crust’ shape rather than the normal round one] the grey paint on the side panels and horn casting were apparently a nightmare to get right, [and Gary being Gary, now he has the correct paint colour code is going to get the bottom half of his T5 sprayed to match his bike]
But, that’s really only half the story, this isn’t just a really nice resto job because underneath those panels lurks a 225 MB Developments tuned engine coupled with a big carb and an MB Clubman exhaust, Michelin S1’s keep it shiny side up and Gary has spent an age dialling in the gear selectors [hand-change, left hand bar for none scooter riders] and getting the cable operated brakes up to scratch to deal with the increase in performance.
Two-Stroke’s. There really is nothing to compare with them, you don’t need big CC’s to compete, I love ‘em me.......
Sunday, 21 June 2020
Friday, 19 June 2020
I did though get to have a sit on the machine and have a really good look around it, first impressions? Total Quality. Everything fits properly, no unsightly panel fits, no tie-wraps holding hoses/cables/wires, instead q/r button through rubbers, nice fasteners, Brembo brakes, decent suspension, [Paioli I think?] Pro-Taper bars, lovely Dunlop tyres, deep, deep paintwork on the frame and cycle parts, very, very impressive to these jaundiced old eyes.
And then? Well let’s talk performance figures, 123bhp with 85 foot torque! Mental. [to add a perspective my nutter KTM 790 Duke is 105bhp with 64 foot torque] OK probably not a fair comparison due to the difference in cubic capacity but seriously? Twice the bhp of a Harley Davidson Sportster for almost the same green folding!
So, that’s why I end up sitting in a lay-by in rural Leicestershire, swigging a bottle of Pellegrino, doing some sums and desperately thinking how I can try to persuade Mrs B that I really need another motorcycle in the shed...........
Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Monday, 25 May 2020
And whilst we are at it and I’m feeling particularly self-righteous and I’m half way down a bottle of fine red, what’s with all the ‘waving’ bollocks? We aren’t ‘brothers in the wind’ never have been, never will be, stop living out your Sonny Barger fan boy alternative lifestyle, I love motorcycles, I just don’t like the majority of motorcyclists. I must admit to laughing my swede off today when a fellow ‘brother’ on a Bandit actually slapped his chest above his heart as he approached me today, hey bro, I know I’m looking cool, i get that I might be your man crush, I’m a good looking bloke, fast approaching 61 but fit as a butchers dog, I may be folically challenged but that’s the testosterone coarseing through my system, I’m riding a Moto Guzzi, [yeah, making ‘good progress’ and chamfering the souls on my Doc’s] but for fucks sake keep your eye on the road instead of trying to catch mine..........
Friday, 15 May 2020
They are mostly replicas of the toys that were originally manufactured in Germany after the Second World War but I think that most of these, with the exception of the 93 racer bike which was made in India, are of Far East origin.
The models are a combination of ‘friction’ and wind-up items, the friction models you just rub on the ground to make them move and the wind-up models are clockwork with a small detachable key, the 93 racer is quite interesting as the rider bobs up and down under the fairing screen as the model goes forward!
Saturday, 2 May 2020
So, here’s the shed, four bikes, three road bikes one track/race
bike, just waiting.........
Wednesday, 8 April 2020
Tuesday, 7 April 2020
I’m blessed. I live in a rural location, cross the road, onto a footpath and miles of empty fields, woods and forest roads all within walking distance of my home. Bob the Dog and I can walk for miles without seeing a soul, although he sometimes trespasses into a private wood to steal sticks but give him a break, he’s only nine months old and can’t read yet...................
Sunday, 29 March 2020
I’ve been regularly charging the batteries on my collection of bikes, I’m not a fan of the ‘optimate’ chargers and would rather start my bikes regularly or let them discharge naturally and charge as appropriate. Battery’s, like everything else have a finite life, for all our advances in technology I think that the modern batteries don’t seem to last as long as they used to? Anyone else think the same?
Anyhoo, I knew that the Guzzi battery was ready so decided to bite the bullet and invest in a new one so I could avoid that embarrassing chhhkkkk, chkkkkkkkkk, cccchhhhhhhkkkk that you get when you’ve called for fuel and the bastard won’t start, you have to call the Mrs to pick you up, go home, get tools and ask if it’s ok to do the ‘walk of shame’ and push your motorcycle across the forecourt out of the way whilst you get it sorted.
So, I invest in a new battery, no cheapskate bollocks here for team loveless, a genuine Yuasa quality item, terminals greased, fitted good to go. [this is pre-lockdown folks, last Sunday] Sunday dawns bright and dry. All indications show that lockdown is coming so probably best to get out for a ride while I can, which is what I do, avoiding all the biker haunts and hitting the Staffordshire moorlands and more remote Derbyshire roads, no hardship, that’s what I prefer anyway, a quick 70 mile blast and i don’t realise how cold it is until I’m home, change out of my bike gear and brew on, that’s when I notice the smell, acid, battery acid, it’s all over the back end of the Guzzi, wheels, frame, swinging arm, bastard! Battery disconnected and wash the bike down, initial inspection reveals a slight dulling of paint finish on the wheels/swing arm.
First world problems, nothing in the scale of what’s happening in the world, first reaction is to strip it down and rebuild it finishing it back to standard, then a little voice in my head says that this is the perfect time to just chop the fucker up and make it into a special, then there’s the ‘love it and leave it’ thing that I’m currently favouring, let it evolve naturally, after all I can always do option 1 or 2, it does seem a little strange to me being ocd but I’m liking the natural progression and I’m digging the sound of that shagged battery ‘ffffizzzzzzzznnnnnnnnnnnn’ on my bench................