Looking forward to Winter! 28 Oct 2018.

Yes, really. It has been a fantastic Summer for riding but there’s always been lots of other stuff going on. It’s taken me ages to get my garage/workshop back in order after rebuilding half of it. Then the central heating oil tank developed a crack, resulting in a new tank in a different place (regulations, you know), moving the green house, etc, etc. I’ve also been working one or two days a week at Internal Fire – Museum of Power as much as my wrist will allow and been busy with helping to organise the Red Kite Weekend with my local branch of Moto Guzzi Club GB.

I’ve still got to sort out the gearbox oil leak on The Racing Rhino, my V7Sport. I know what the problem is. It’s the O-ring where the clutch push-rod goes. Then, last weekend, I realised that the rear brake on The Fire Bike, the V7 700 was sticking on and dragging. I managed to do the 75mile round trip without touching the rear brake pedal. I use it a lot normally. As I’ve said before, I think the V7 700 is getting a bit tired.

There’s also another Guzzi in the workshop.

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No. It’s not mine. It’s a slightly modified 850 LeMans (often referred to as a mark 1 although there never was such a thing) belonging to my friend, Seb. His brother owned it for many years but Seb is now custodian of the beast. The plan is for me to dismantle it over the Winter so that it can be refurbished. Having said that, it’s fairly tidy although I have noticed there are a few electrical gremlins. I did take a look at it in the Summer after it stranded Seb due to a dodgy charging system. The fault was traced to a loose earth (we think). I intend to leave the engine and gearbox internals untouched but will clean and service everything. This is a machine which has evolved over the years and, although it likely will be repainted, the current paint scheme will be retained. Seb’s plan is to maintain the bike’s current style and not to restore it to original. I like that.

The bike was first registered in 1978 and having checked the frame and engine numbers I can confirm that it is a genuine “Mk1” LeMans.

It’s going to be a good winter in the workshop.

Finally, four years on from the crash which saw the demise of Rhino’s Friend, the 750S3, my personal injury settlement has been agreed. Hoorah!

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No more Photobucket. What a shower! – 30 Jun 2017.

Well folks, Photobucket have changed their terms and conditions without giving me any notice. In the past I have put up with the clunky, interrupted service from them because they allow 3rd party image hosting for free. I received an email today to say that, to continue it will cost me $400 a year for the top price package. None of their other options allow any 3rd party hosting for blogs, forum posts etc.

I won’t be coughing up the cash for this given that traffic to my blog is pretty low. I have downloaded all my photos from Photobucket so none will be lost and, although I see photos are showing in the blog posts at the moment, this won’t last as they will soon cut me off.

Their action has caused a lot of anger in the blog community with some people not even being able to access their own photos or download them.

The upshot of all this? It will take me some time to rearrange the hosting for my photos and to edit all my old posts. Until then you may be met with a lot of broken photo links. Bear with me.

The wider implication is that, when searching the web for information, the photos will be gone. Photobucket has been used to host photos on forums and websites for many, many years. Not everyone will go back to update all their posts.

Other stuff

I’ve got behind and have a number of outstanding posts to write. I recently had a further operation on my wrist and was intending to get up to date while I was unable to ride or work on the bikes. However, I found typing at the computer difficult as well! I’m mended now and have even been away on the bike but, you know how it is…

New Year 2017.

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately but there’s not been much to report. Some time ago, The Racing Rhino was cleaned, polished, sprayed with ACF50 and put away until the Local Council stop putting salt on the roads. The Fire Bike is still being ridden now and again. That way there’s only one bike to keep clean.

I’ve only done 986 miles on my V7Sport this year (actually from February to October).

There’s been a little change to the workshop in that I bought a massive, floor-standing Pollard Corona drill. It was 3-phase but it’s now running off the domestic supply. It was also built as a high speed drill so a new pulley was made to slow it down (the new motor was half the speed of the old one as well which helped) and I’ve successfully drilled a 13mm hole in steel with it as a test. As it’s floor-standing I had to change the work bench arrangements and that then led to more fiddling about. I’ll make some repairs to the drilling table soon then give it all a coat of paint.

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My personal injury claim following the accident in September 2014, which led to the demise of the S3, is still unresolved. Hopefully it won’t be too long now. I’ve got used to having daily issues with my right wrist and hand plus the constant need to change the way I do things. However, I’m noticing more aches and pains.

I’m not one for making resolutions. I expect things will just carry on as usual. However, I do have a few plans for the year ahead;

  • To get to more rallies and events.
  • Make some modifications to The Fire Bike’s generator mount.
  • Design and build a tow hitch for The Racing Rhino… I know, I know.
  • Hold some sort of camp around my 60th birthday in August.
  • I’d like to get a lathe (will have to be cheap) and learn how to use it.

It’s not much of a list but it’s all I can think of for now. Like everyone, my bike stuff has to be fitted around the rest of family life – being a husband, dad, grandad, having aging parents, owning and maintaining the house and just getting on with enjoying life.

So, happy New Year and I hope 2017 treats you well.

I’ve bought a trailer – 11 Jun 2016.

As indicated in my last post, I have bought a trailer to tow behind my bikes. I know many motorcyclists can’t understand why anyone would want to but, I like my comforts when I go camping! I have a large tent, take an air bed, like to have a comfortable chair and loading this onto the bike with sleeping bag and a few clothes leaves no room for cooking equipment or anything else.

Moving my luggage from the bike to the trailer will get rid of the top-heavy load secured with various straps and will provide some security. Also I won’t have to squash as few clothes as I can get away with into as small a space as possible and, as the trailer is water tight, I don’t have to use a lot of individual waterproof bags.

I’m not a fast rider so the speed restrictions imposed by towing don’t bother me.

I bought the trailer from a friend in the local “Old Cranks”motorcycle club who’s given up camping. He used to tow it behind a Panther single so my Guzzis should be able to manage it.

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Sorry Brian, but I’m going to have to remove the panther stickers!

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It’s a motorcycle specific trailer designed to meet UK regulations which state (as at Jan 2016);

  • You can use motorbikes with an engine size of 125cc or more to tow small trailers.
  • Your motorbike has to be clearly and permanently marked with its kerbside weight.
  • The trailer must be no more than 1 metre wide and must be clearly and permanently marked with its unladen weight
  • When the trailer is loaded it must weigh no more than 150 kilograms or 2/3 of the kerbside weight of the motorbike – whichever is lighter.
  • When hitched, the distance between the end of the trailer and the rear axle of the motorbike must be no more than 2.5 metres.

The trailer doesn’t have anything to show its unladen weight. I’ve spoken to two other people with similar trailers and theirs don’t either. The Fire Bike’s not marked with its kerbside weight (243Kg/536lbs) either but I can make up the plates easily.

The bike has swivel hitch so there is no restriction when the bike leans over.

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The trailer was made by Consett Trailers who are no longer in business. However there are still plenty of their trailers in use here.

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It’s made of plastic mouldings mounted on a steel chassis with rubber-in-torsion suspension.

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It has a lockable lid which should keep the water out.

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The trailer can be stored on end to save space.

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I weighed the trailer at each wheel and under the front prop on the bathroom scales then added the figures together to establish an unladen weight of 50Kg. This gives me a luggage allowance of 100kg behind The Fire Bike, which has a quoted kerb weight of 243Kg, but I have no intention of carrying that much stuff. It’ll be more bulk than weight.

I’m guessing that the trailer was made in 2002 as the date codes on the three tyres are the 13th and 14th weeks of that year and I suspect that they are the originals. The spare doesn’t look like it has ever been used.

I offered the trailer up to The Fire Bike to see how it would look and took some measurements to work out the tow hitch height but more of that another time. I found that it’s actually only 40mm wider than the fairing but I don’t think I will be doing much filtering!

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I’ve given the trailer the “once over”, re-greased and adjusted the wheel bearings, pumped grease into the swivel hitch and tested the electrics. There wasn’t much else to do. I’ve just got to get a registration plate made and should make up something to show the unladen weight.

A little facelift – 7 Feb 2016.

Regular visitors to this blog may have noticed that things look a little different today. I’ve been considering changing to a new WordPress theme for a while and I finally took the plunge today. I chose the previous theme on purpose because of its “grubby” look but became a bit tired of it. The blog now looks cleaner and clearer. It’s also now responsive and should be easier to view on smart phones and tablet computers.

Although it makes no difference to the functionality of the blog, I have given up on Photobucket as a repository for photos and videos. It has become slow and difficult to use with a constant string of failed uploads and other issues. It never seems to stay fixed for long.

Recently I’ve started using Imgur for my photos and Vidme for videos. Both these sites allow me to store my photos/videos privately while allowing access to individual items through links embedded in the blog posts.

I hope you approve of the changes.

Update 29 Mar 16: I’ve had to stop using Imgur to host my photos because hot-linking to them from my blog goes against their terms and conditions. I’m going back through all the posts which had Imgur based photos and changing the links. I’ve returned to using Photobucket which now seems to be behaving itself again.