Sunday 29 November 2015

Friday bike

I'd featured the current model Indian Scout as a Friday bike, and Indian have announced a smaller, cheaper 1000cc version called the Scout 60 for 2016.

Indian Scout 60

The name 60 derives from the 1000cc engine being 60 cubic inches. The engine produced 68 bhp and the saddle height is a very low 642mm. More importantly, the price in the UK is a very attractive £8999 ( = 12,770 Euros = $US 13,500).

To tie in with the launch, Indian arranged to have some flat trackers built in conjunction with Roland Sands Design, and showed them at the recent Superprestigio of the Americas event in Las Vegas. Whether this is the start of an ongoing championship or a one-off event I'm not sure, but the bikes look great!

Just look at that exhaust!

As I said when I featured the Scout before, this isn't really my kind of bike, but I really like it because it's so well done. I love how they have managed to marry a modern design with classic styling, and judging by the only Scout I've seen, the finish and build quality are very high.

More reading: one, two.

Go on, Mike - you know you want one!

Sunday 22 November 2015

Mary Barbour memorial

A monument to locally born social reformer, Mary Barbour, was unveiled here in Kilbarchan yesterday.

Mary is most famous for her part in organising rent strikes in Glasgow during WW1, when landlords exploited servicemen's wives by greatly increasing their rents.

Later she became a councillor in Glasgow and helped drive through a number of social reforms.

Part of an article from the Herald newspaper:

Born in 1885 in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, Mary devoted her life to improving the welfare of Glasgow's "working poor" after settling in Govan. While thousands of men were fighting in the First World War, opportunist landlords seized the opportunity to drive up rents. Evictions for arrears as little as £1 were common.
Mrs Barbour, along with others involved in the so-called Red Clydeside Movement, rallied other local women to defy sheriff's officers and resist evictions.
Women would bang metal bin lids to warn the street the sheriff officers were coming, then block the close doors. At a time where most people don't know who lives next door, such a show of neighbourly solidarity seems incredible.
The unrest culminated in one of the largest demonstrations ever seen in Glasgow, on November 17, 1915. Thousands of women, nicknamed "Mrs Barbour's Army" accompanied by shipyard and engineering workers, converged on the sheriff courts in the centre of Glasgow. The action resulted in Lloyd-George's Government quickly pushing through the Rent Restrictions Act of 1915.
Five years later, at the age of 35, she was elected Glasgow's first female Labour councillor. Women had only recently been given the vote, and only those over 30.
She campaigned for the introduction of municipal banks, wash-houses, laundries and baths, free milk for schoolchildren, child welfare centres, home helps and pensions for mothers. She had two children herself and also pioneered the city's first family planning centre and organised trips to the seaside for impoverished children before her death in 1958 at the age of 83. Despite her achievements, there is little reference to her in Glasgow's historical records and her legacy forms no part of the school curriculum. 

Accident rates in Britain

Found a website that breaks down road accident rates and traffic progress (ie average speeds) by Parliamentary constituencies in Scotland, England and Wales. A quick look at mine, Paisley and Renfrewshire South, shows that we have a lower than average accident rate and a higher than average progress rate!

If you to the Website, click on 'Constituency Dashboard', it will open the page for Boston and Skegness. Click on 'Boston and Skegness' and it will open a page with results for Bishop Auckland. Click on the black box with 'Bishop Auckland' on it and it will open a pull down menu from which you can select your constituency. Once that is opened, you can filter the results by a number of pull down menus.

Suzuki SV 650 videos

Found a collection of videos on YouTube detailing various service jobs on the Suzuki SV 650. These are aimed more at the novice motorcyclists, but could be of value to anyone with an SV.
Just to show that 'every day's a school day', I learned that fitting a tennis player's sweat band over your master cylinder is (apparently) to stop UV from degrading the fluid and not just done because racebikes had them (which in turn I though was done in case the cap vibrated loose during a race and the fluid leaked).
Lots more videos here.

I'd like to thank Tamsen for taking the time to make and post these videos as they will no doubt be of great help to other riders. 

Saturday 21 November 2015

Rare vehicle

Was in the nearby town of Johnstone this morning and saw a rare vehicle - a Scottish built Stonefield P5000.

I had a look on the Web and found some details here.

I could find no record of how many were built, but I can't remember ever seeing one before other than on television reports. I found a Website with pictures of Stonefields in use as fire engines etc, but I don't know if any were used by the military, their intended market.
The one in the photos was outside a garage and has their name on its number plates, so they could be restoring it (the spotlights aren't wired.)

Friday 20 November 2015

Friday bike

Suzuki VanVan 200

Suzuki have announced that next year we'll be able to get the 200cc version of the VanVan here in the UK, in addition to the 125cc version we've had for a few years.

One of those bikes that makes no logical sense, but with its low saddle (770mm), big fat tyres and funky styling, I bet it's a lot of fun to ride!

Friday bike update

Found this video about the new Triumphs. A T120 will be mine (once I've won a lottery!)

Sunday 15 November 2015

Skorpion project (update 1)

Further to my previous post I've done some more work on my 'project' Skorpion.

As I've started a new job that I can commute by bike to, I've decided to make my white Skorpion my 'commuting bike' and modified it to suit. For the last few weeks I've been using my silver Skorpion and noting what improvements I could make to the white bike to make it better in its commuter role.
First thing I did was buy a new battery. I'd replaced the one in my silver bike earlier this year and had bought a Motobatt based on favourable reviews online. So far it has worked well, so I bought another one for the white bike.

I label batteries with the date I fir them so I know how long they last. I'll report back when the Motobatt fails – hopefully not for a long time!

Next was a voltmeter. I don't really think a Skorpion needs a voltmeter, but I'd bought one some time ago as I saw it cheap on Ebay and thought it would 'come in handy'. To test if it was waterproof I put it in a bucket of water for a day, it worked when I took it out so will probably be OK.

My commute is 15 miles (24 km) each way, almost entirely on motorway or dual carriageway, but during the busiest times, so it tends to be 30 – 45 minutes on nose to tail riding. The white bike has lower Tour gearing, so although I don't have any problem with the silver bike, this should make things a bit easier.
As I'm travelling in busy traffic, a pair of loud horns are handy.

As is a high level brake light on top of the topbox. This should be roughly at a following driver's eye level.

And as I intend to ride through winter, so are a pair of heated grips.

I also fitted a generic LED rear light below the numberplate with the 'normal' light wired to the rear light and the 'brake' function wired as a foglight. I replaced the standard and unreliable rearlight with an LED unit and covered the lower part of the mudguard with reflective tape.

Added switches to the fairing – additional front lights (still to be fitted), hazard lights, rear foglight.

When I posted this picture on Facebook, Terry replied 'you need a white topbox', however I plan on having something brighter than that! 

I'm going to paint it with high visibility paint and attach reflective tape. I've painted the lid so far and it's a lot brighter than it looks in this photo.

At the front there is the alarm plus relays for the additional lights and hazards.

At the back a Scottoiler. (Automatic chain oiler)

So that's where I've got to so far, shouldn't be long until it's on the road.

I've calculated that if I use the bike for commuting 80% of the time (due to holidays and times where the weather is too poor), by the time I retire I'll have ridden 47,000 miles (75,600 km). In the last article I'd mentioned that the bike shows 31,618 miles (50,884 km), however, it has been pointed out that some Skorpions came with a speedo that showed speed in miles but the odometer was in km. So it is possible that my bike has only done 31,618 km (19,646 miles). Either way, I think it's fair to imagine that this bike will last me until I retire – that's a great feeling. Even if things go wrong, I've a spare Skorpion engine although, like an out of favour footballer, it 'on loan' at the moment.
More soon.

Saturday 14 November 2015

Friday bike

Sorry for being a bit quiet recently. No real reason, I just didn't get round to writing anything.

Triumph T120

This week's Friday bike is the newly announced Triumph T120. Triumph have replaced the existing Bonneville and variant models with a range of bikes with new water cooled engines in 900cc and 1200cc versions. The first 900cc model is to be called the Street Twin, and four 1200cc models have been announced – T120, T120 Black, Thruxton and Thruxton R.

I really like the T120, Triumph have managed to build a modern bike with ABS, traction control, and engine management whilst maintaining a 'traditional' look. Note how the fuel injectors look like old Amal Monobloc carbs!

Old and new

Not much technical detail or idea of price yet other than peak torque is 105 Nm at 3100 rpm, which should make the T120 a lot of fun to ride. A big lazy 1200cc engine would make for a very relaxed tourer, you could imagine how good this would be going over Alpine passes.

T120 and T120 Black

The Thruxton is a 'sportier' version, and the 'R' version has uprated suspension and brakes.

Triumph website.