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

Friday, 26 June 2020

Espresso, Triple Shot

 Out on the Guzzi and the 790 this week on consecutive days gives me the chance to compare and contrast both machines and realise that I’ve got the best of both world’s with these two bikes, the Guzzi is like a pair of worn out, tatty slippers, comfortable and just so easy to get on with, I find myself drifting when I ride it, the massive tank gives you no excuse but to click up the klicks, mile after mile of riding, the occasional down change or lightest of brushes on the brakes but the majority of the time I just roll on and off the throttle and revel in the lazy power delivery and great handling and all-day comfort offered by the ergonomics.
   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

Gary Johnson [The Other One]

Had a visit off Gary Johnson last night. Not the renowned, Macau, NW 200 and two-times TT winner and Classic TT racer, [smashing bloke, i met him last year after he broke down at my usual viewing point at the Classic TT at Quarry Bends]
   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

Talking Of Sportsters..........

My old Sporty project has finally resurfaced after a six year re-imagining, Steve has fitted XR1200 heads, barrels and pistons and a Dyna programmable ignition, he’s dug out a set of Ceriani USD forks and had the front wheel replaced to an eighteen inch rim which certainly looks a lot better than the seventeen I originally fitted and sits a lot better I reckon, he’s also fitted a six-pot Harrison Billet front brake caliper  and has an aluminium Stortz tank ready to fit as soon as he can get some mounts welded up, in a moment of synchronicity I mentioned Chad From Hull who made my tank for the old Ducati TT Fakery Formula Two project, [begat the Peaky Blinder] and so the cottage industry of bike building continues.......

Friday, 19 June 2020

Lay-By Eyes

Dodging the showers on the Guzzi and fresh from a ride into enemy territory [or Nottingham if you prefer] I carried out a stealth mission to investigate a motorcycle which I have become somewhat obsessed with since seeing it back in November last year at the NEC Bike Show. After booking a test ride online, observing social distancing and waiting to be summoned into the dealership I must admit to being a trifle disappointed to be told that the demo bike had been sold the previous afternoon, no worries, all taken with good grace and a healthy dose of craic sadly missing from this ‘customer focused’ world in which we reside.
  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...........