Friday 30 August 2013

Mystery bike

Haven't had a Mystery bike for a while, so here's two mysteries:

The mysteries are:

1. What is it?
2. Why, just why????

Friday bike

Bet you've never heard of this one!

Vostok S-565

The Vostock was a 4 cylinder 500cc Grand Prix racer built in the Soviet Union.

The engine was a very MV like DOHC four with 3 valves per cylinder (1 inlet, 2 exhaust), and it produced around 80 bhp.

It competed in a number of GPs in 1968 and 69, with its best result being a 4th. Then it was withdrawn and never seen again.

Very little information on the Web, almost everything here has been stolen from this website.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Friday bike

Sometimes a bike is launched to much fanfare, but never really catches the public's imagination. This usually results in poor sales, a short production run, and it quickly disappearing from people's memories. One bike that fits into this group is the Yamaha TR1.

Launched in 1981, the TR1 was a 1000cc V twin styled to look similar to other bikes in Yamaha's range (XJ650, RD 350, etc). It was Yamaha's first four stroke bike with single shock rear suspension, and was touted as a 'sports tourer'. I particularly remember it as I had an SR 500 at the time, and the TR1 was (in concept if not mechnically) 'two SR 500s'. Its 'unique selling point' was an MZ 2 stroke like fully enclosed rear chain, aimed at increasing chain life.

In many ways it was almost a 'Vincent of the 80s' - large V twin engine, triangulated rear suspension, minimalist frame, but unlike a Vincent it was also quite cheap. You would think that this would have been an attractive package to buyers, but it sold in very small numbers. I think I only saw 1 or 2 at the time (probably at shows), and didn't see another one until about 2 years ago. I remember at the time there was the story in the press that unsold TR1s from the UK ended up being sold cheaply to the Greek Police, but I'm not sure it that's true.
Interestingly, it had a slight restyle very early in the production run. In the top picture the bike has a rather truncated rear end and a 'hugger' style mudguard, but later ones (all the one I've seen), had a more conventional setup.

The engine eventually ended up in the Virago custom models (possibly the ugliest bikes Yamaha ever built), and the TR1 disappeared into history.
Talking of a 'Vincent of the 80s', looks like someone had that idea!

More reading here, and there's an owners' website.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Car show

I'd seen an advert in my local supermarket for a car show today, so decided to go along. It was organised by Clydeside Cruisers and was in Lochwinnoch, the next village to where I live. It's only about 5 miles (8 km) away, and as there is a cyclepath (built on an old railway), I had planned on cycling. However, I decided to walk it as this meant that I had the option of a 'cross country' route home.
The walk there was very pleasant, it was a bright day with only a few minutes of rain, and the cyclepath was particularly busy. I was passed by a group of tandems which appeared to be taking visually impared riders out on the back for a ride.
Once at Lochwinnoch I went for a wander round the show. It was fairly small, but there was a good selection of cars.

Old Ford Anglia - if you look carefully, that's a BMW engine in there!

A slightly cut down old Vauxhall

A Bonneville - but not as we know it.

Work in progress!

Love that leopard skin roof!

My favourite.

There were a few bikes there, but the only one worth mentioning was this Harley trike.

While I was at the show it started raining very heavily causing people to scatter and look for shelter. Luckily I had brought my 'walking waterproofs', so I stayed dry. As the rain didn't look like stopping for a while, I abandoned my plan to talk a 'cross country route' home and headed back along the cycle path. The rain never really stopped all the way back, and there were huddles of cyclists sheltering under all the bridges. 15 minutes after I got in the rain stopped and the sun came out! Typical.

Friday 16 August 2013

Friday bike


No, I don't know why either! If you can read Turkish, there's an article here.

Thursday 15 August 2013

CL 350 update

Thought I'd write an update of some work I've done on the CL 350.
I haven't really done that much since the last post, just cleaning things and giving them a coat of paint. I always have the problem of when I'm working I have the money but not the time, and when I'm unemployed (like now), I have the time but no money!
The outer cases of the engine look a lot better now.



I cleaned the cases with degreaser then removed any corrosion and marks with a wire brush in an electric drill. I then smoothed the surface with wet and dry, gave  them a wipe with alcohol, then a couple of coats of Hammerite Smooth Silver.
They came up better than I thought they would, and certainly as good as they would have been when they left the Honda factory.
I've also stripped one fork and painted the lower.

I've ordered some fork seals (unlikely the existing ones will still seal after being unused for about 20 years), so when they arrive I'll paint the other fork and rebuild them.
Hopefully, I'll get enough for the tandem to allow me to buy steering head races, swing arm bushes, and brake shoes, bearings and tyres. This will allow me to build the bike up to a 'rolling chassis' and it'll take another step towards getting back on the road.
More soon!

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Goodbye, wee friend

Unfortunately, today my cat Misty had to be put down due to kidney failure. She must have been at least 16 - 17 years old, a fairly long life for a cat, and I'd got her from the local Cat Rescue about 8 or 9 years ago.
Always an 'indoor cat', she rarely went outside until the recent good weather, and had always been content just to seek out the warmest and most comfortable spot in the house. She had a very gentle nature and had been a very good companion to my late wife, Kathleen, during her later years when she was housebound due to disability.
It's strange how attached you get to pets, and Misty will be sadly missed.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Tandem for sale

My Orbit tandem is now for sale on Ebay. Bid early and bid often!

Brodick Highland Games

Had a day out at the Brodick Highland Games on the Isle of Arran yesterday. It was partly a 'working day' as I'd agreed to help one of the stallholders, but I still had plenty of time to see what was going on.
Arran is just off the Ayrshire coast, and I'd arranged to get the 7:00 ferry. As the Highland Games was being held about a 15 minute walk from the Ferry terminal in Brodick, I left the car in Ardrossan (just next to Saltcoats on the map.)

Arran is a particularly scenic island, very popular with hillwalkers and cyclists. I would estimate that they made up about 70% of passengers of what was the earliest ferry.
The crossing only takes about an hour, so I was soon at the Games and helping to put up a stall.
Once the stall was up I was free to wander round the games, checking occasionally on the stall in case they needed anything.
For those that don't know, Highland Games consist of a group of very large men in kilts who do a series of events, mostly involving throw large metal objects as far as they can. Only exception to this is 'Tossing the Caber' which involves throwing a large wooden object.
First, and easiest(!), is the shot put.

They move onto throwing things as far as they can – a metal ball attached to a short chain with a handle, a 'hammer' - a large ball attached to a long stick, and throwing a 56 pound (25 kg) squarish weight. There are a number of events where they throw the weights in differing styles, but the most spectacular (and potentially dangerous) is swinging the 56 pound weight between their legs, then throwing it backwards over a high jump type bar. Winner is the person who throws the weight the highest, (and doesn't have it land on their head!)
They then move onto 'Tossing the Caber'. The object of this is to throw a long wooden pole so it land on its upper end then falls away from the thrower. The winner is the person who can throw it so it lands closest to a straight line away from the thrower.

They had 2 sizes of caber, and some of the competitors couldn't throw the bigger one so that it fell away from them.

While all of this was going on, various other events were taking place. There were four pipe bands, including one from my village, who performed both singly and together.

There were also a large number of races, mostly for children and arranged by age group. Starting at 25 metres for 3 and 4 year olds, to 1500 meters for 15 and 16 year olds.. There were also 'adult' races for anyone over 16.

There were Highland Dancing demonstrations and even a children's fancy dress competition.

Around the Games area there were lots of stalls, some commercial and some raising funds for local charities and community bodies. Plenty of places were selling food and drink, many from Arran's local 'craft companies'. I would personally recommend Arran's superb ice cream!
At the end of the afternoon I helped take the stall down and pack everything into a van before making my way to the ferry terminal. There I saw another treat – a 1913 Darracq.

Imagine how cool it is for the children to be taken out in a 100 year old car!
The ferry was very busy with day trippers heading home, but everyone seemed to be very happy after their day out.
If you're ever in the area, Arran is well worth a visit – more info.

Friday 9 August 2013

Friday bike

This week's bike is one I'd forgotten about until I saw a lot of them at Spa - the Laverda 750 twin.

Built from 1968 onwards, the design was rumoured to have been based on the best selling Honda CB77 of the time. Although this has never been officially admitted, the evidence is there for all to see!

The Laverda became a very successful endurance racer, and although fairly rare in the UK, a highly regarded road bike. Rather than just regurgitate other articles, I'll give a link to a couple of pieces from the RealClassic website: Part 1, Part 2
At Spa I saw numerous examples, both in the pits:

And out on the track:

I even saw one parked in a sidestreet in Bruges:

One of the most stylish and exotic of 70s European superbikes, and one that I have a very slight connection to.
Back in 1987, just as I was about to buy a Honda CBR600, I saw for sale a Laverda 750 for a similar price (£3500). I did think about it for a while, but as I needed a reliable bike with a good spares supply as I had to ride it to work, didn't have a garage, and probably didn't have the mechanical ability, I bought the Honda instead. If a Laverda 750 wasn't exotic enough, this one had an Egli frame!

Not only a rare engine, but in an even rarer frame. That particular one was the only example I've ever seen.
Although very few Laverda 750 were sold new in Britain, plenty have since been imported, and today on Ebay there are 5 for sale ranging from £5900 to £7995, so they've held their value well. Just how much an Egli-Laverda would be worth now, I'd hate to think!

Wednesday 7 August 2013

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2013

I'd mentioned The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride in a post last year, and had hinted about doing something this year. The DRG is a world wide event where motorcyclists meet up wearing smart suits, and go for a ride. This year's event is planned for Sunday, September 29th, and I've been contacted by the Scotland Cafe Racer group on Facebook about arranging something in Central Scotland.
So, anyone interested? Should be a bit of a laugh and an excuse not to take ourselves too seriously. I'm not personally in favour of going for a run (but don't let that stop anyone who is), rather having a meet up somewhere for a coffee and a chat. Let's be honest, what's the chances of meeting in Central Scotland at the end of September and it not raining!
Let me know if you fancy it so we can work out whether or not it would be viable.

Scooters are welcome too!!

Saturday 3 August 2013

Photos from Spa

At last! I've uploaded the photos I took at the 'Bikers' Classics' event at Spa.


Friday 2 August 2013

Friday bike

Spotted this little beauty at the 'Bikers' Classics' event at Spa.