Friday 29 April 2016

Friday bike

Yamaha 04GEN concept

Really cool looking scooter.

Lots of plastics and resins in the construction, and features semi-transparent legshields and engine covers.

Smart phone holder and leather saddle.

No technical details as it's just a design concept. Will probably never be built, but it shows what designers can come up with. Coolest part is......

... the engine covers open like a swan's wings. How cool is that!

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Back on the road

Took my white Traveller for its MOT (annual safety test) and it passed!
This is the first time it's been on the road since I bought it in 2008! It's going to become my 'commuting bike' ferrying me to and from work each day.

As I'm mentioned previously, I've got a 1972 Honda CL 350 that I bought as a 'project' a few years ago. Due to a lot of things beyond my control, mostly either having plenty of time but no money, or having the money but not the time, it hasn't really progressed much. However, with the white bike back on the road, I should have more time to spend on it and my other project, a Yamaha SZR 660.

I don't want to keep the Yamaha as the riding position is too extreme for me, so it will be done up and sold. I'd like to restore the Honda as a kind of 'hobby bike', and once it's complete I'll have to get it registered as it was imported from the US.
As part of the registering process, it has to pass an MOT before it can be issued with a British number. I had thought that I would have to take it to the testing centre in a van, but read that I'd be able to ride it there and back with no numberplate as long as it has insurance and the test had been prebooked. (The MOT tester confirmed this today). I didn't really want to do that as riding a bike with no plate is sure to get stopped by the Police, so as I had the old US registration document (which had expired in 1991!) I got a replica plate made. I checked on the Internet and found what a 1972 Ohio plate would have looked like:
This is almost certainly illegal, but at least I'll have a plate rather than riding with none, and it's unlikely that a British Policeman would care.
Once it passes its test I'll apply for a British number, and as the bike was built before 1973, I'll be able to use a 'classic' style white on black plate.

More later.

Sunday 24 April 2016

Honeymoon by bike

When I got married back in 1992, we were a bit short of money so went on our honeymoon to a cottage in Lochcarron on my MZ ETZ 250. This should have been a 5 or 6 hour ride, but there had been a landslip on the south bank of Loch Carron, so we had to take a long detour via Inverness. I remember we stopped for something to eat in a pub in Dingwall (the Eurovision Song Contest was on television with the sound turned down!), we ran into some snow and I thought we'd have to abandon out trip at Achnasheen, and we finally got to the cottage about  midnight, 12 hours after we'd left home!
Found these photos of myself and my late wife Kathleen at the cottage.

I remember a boss of mine telling me that when he got married in the mid sixties, he and his wife went from Glasgow to Greece for their honey moon - on a Vespa scooter and camping on the way!
However, that's nothing on this South African couple:
That's some honeymoon! I thought riding to the Scottish Highlands with two of us on an MZ 250 was an adventure!

I'd never heard of a 'Big Boy CGL 150', but I found a link to a South African dealer.

I assume that it's a 'clone' based on the popular and very successful Honda CG125, but built in China (correct me if I'm wrong!) What a test of a bike (and a marriage!)

Now what's that thing about 'you can't tour on a single'????

Friday bike

Spotted an unusual bike on Ebay, so thought I’d try and find out more about it.

This is listed as 1964 Sprite 350cc Hogan RCA’. Sprite were a British company originally based in Birmingham, then later Halesowen, who built kit bikes for trials and scrambling (kit bikes weren’t liable to pay Purchase Tax), usually supplied without an engine. Their two main kits were designed for Triumph twin and Villiers 2 stroke engines, but some were fitted with Maico, Husqvarna, and Sachs units. The company operated from 1964 to 1974, before the collapse of its US importer (American Eagle, builders of a previous Friday bike), left them with debts that they couldn’t recover from.



This particular bike has a 350cc ‘RCA’ engine. As far as I can make out, this is a ‘Seagull’ brand boat engine, note how the exhaust ports face outwards rather than forwards that’s usual on a bike engine. It’s also fitted with an Enfield gearbox.
*** UPDATE*** Thanks to a comment below I now know that it is a 'Dolphin' boat engine.

Very neatly done, I particularly like how well the expansion chamber type exhausts fit into the frame. Ebay listing is here. If anyone knows any more about Sprite, RCA, Dolphin, etc, please let me know.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Friday bike

Yes, another obscure European V twin!

1951-53 250cc Lambretta GP bike

Very little information on this one other than two examples were built by Lambretta (yes, the scooter people!) and raced rather unsuccessfully for a couple of years.

Note this bike appeared 13 years before Moto Guzzi adopted the transverse V-twin engine layout, so Lambretta didn't copy them!

Sunday 10 April 2016

Friday bike updates

Firstly, some more details of the new Triumph T120.

T120 Black
Engine1200cc, liquid-cooled, 8 valve, parallel twin
Max Power79 bhp (59 kW) @ 6550 rpm
Max Torque77.5 ft-lbs (105 Nm) @ 3100 rpm
Frame / SwingarmTubular steel cradle / Twin-sided, tubular steel
SuspensionFront: Kayaba 41mm cartridge forks, 120mm travel

Rear: Kayaba twin shocks with adjustable preload, 120mm rear wheel travel
BrakesFront: Twin 310mm discs, Nissin 2-piston floating calipers, ABS 

Rear: Single 225mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS
Wheels/Tyres32 spokes
Front: 18” x 2.75”, Pirelli Phantom Sports comp 100/90-18

Rear: 17” x 4.25”, Pirelli Sports comp 150/70 R17
DimensionsLength: 2170mm
Width: 785mm
Height: 1125mm
Wheelbase: 1445mm
Seat height785mm
Fuel tank capacity14.5 litres
Weight (Dry)224kg

£9600 = 11,900 Euros = US$13,500 As taxes, etc, vary per country, a better comparison is against the price of other bikes. The T120 costs about £700 less than a BMW R 1200 R, which makes if fairly competitively priced.

Next is the Royal Enfield Himalayan.

I read an article on an Australian website that the Himalayan doesn't pass the latest emissions regulations. This means that although it can be sold in the rest of India, it can't be sold in New Delhi!
The article mentioned that it would be able to be sold in Australia, but not Europe or North America.
I don't know if this is some marketing ploy, but I find it hard to believe that a company would develop a new engine that couldn't be sold in their own capital city, let alone other lucrative markets! No doubt we'll hear more later, but the article suggested that the price in Australia would be around AUS$7000 =  £3700 = 4600 Euros = US$5300. Again local taxes could vary the price the Himalayan is sold at, if indeed it appears for sale at all!

Garage update

Despite my last post on the subject, I haven't yet taken the white bike for its MOT (annual safety test). I'll phone the testing station tomorrow so will (hopefully) get it tested on Saturday. If it passes I can then tax it and it'll be on the road for the first time in 7 or 8 years.

One of the advantages of living in a rural area is the lack of Police, so I took the bike out for a short run round some back roads to see how it felt. Runs really well and smoothly, but my silver bike has had non standard levers for so long that the standard ones on the white bike felt a bit strange. It's also in lower gearing which will suit commuting mostly through town a bit easier.

Tank badges are some cheap Abarth ones I found on Ebay. Skorpions are very rare, so not saying what the bike is will lead to an increase in the 'what is it' questions.

Also fitted one of those stick on bits of vinyl to stop my jacket rubbing on the tank. As it's printed with a carbon fibre pattern it should make the bike lighter, shouldn't it?

Friday bike

Another one I hadn't previously heard of until I saw one on Ebay.
1953-56 Victoria V35 'Bergmeister'

The Bergmeister was a 350cc narrow angle v-twin built by German firm Victoria.

Very rare as few were built during its short production run, but when you look as good as this, and ideal 'Friday bike'!
This one was labelled as 'Sport', not sure if it was produced by the factory or a private owner. Even better looking than the standard model.

Sunday 3 April 2016

More fun in the garage!

After my silver bike passed its MOT (annual safety test) I noticed a ‘click’ from the front brake when braking at low speed. Just as I pulled the lever, I would feel a slight ‘click’ just before the brake started biting. I had thought that it was one of the pistons becoming a bit sticky, so I rode the bike to work and back for the rest of the week and planned to strip the caliper and clean it out yesterday.

I removed the caliper to work on it at the bench, and as I was taking the pads out, the friction material from one fell out!!!

As you can see, the pads aren’t that worn, (I fitted them for the bike’s last MOT a year ago), but the backing plate behind the friction material is completely rusty.

I can’t remember which make these were as I tend to buy pads on Ebay when they turn up cheaply and keep them in the garage until they are needed. I have 3 bikes that use the same pads, so it pays to keep a stock. Brands I have bought recently are: EBC, SBS, Brembo, and Carbone Lorraine.

Looking at the back of the pad, the ‘2247 SBK3’ points towards Carbone Lorraine, 2247 is their code for pads for Brembo calipers. However, more worrying is the ‘04/1’ mark – does this mean they were made in January 2004? That would mean they were 11 years old when I fitted them last year, plenty of time for the glue to go ‘off’.

I’ve no doubt that Carbone Lorraine make very good pads and I would buy them again, but it might be worth checking the manufacturing date on pads you’ve bought. Anyone know how long they should last?

Friday 1 April 2016

Friday bike

Back in 1976 when I was at college, one of the other students use to turn up on a Triumph TRW.

Designed for the military during WW2, the TRW didn't reach production until after the war and was never sold to the public. Designed for the British Army, they rejected it but large numbers were bought by the RAF and the armed forces of a number of Commonwealth countries. Unusual in that it was a sidevalve twin, the TRW was also the first Triumph sold with telescopic forks.
I've always liked the look of the TRW and that's good enough reason for it to be a 'Friday bike'!

1964 Triumph TRW


Type: Air-cooled sidevalve single
Capacity: 496cc (500cc)
Bore & Stroke: 82mm x 94mm
BHP: 13 @ 4200rpm
Compression ratio: 5:1
Transmission: 4-speed, multi-plate
dry clutch
Brakes: 7-inch drums front and rear
Electrics: 6-volt, magdyno
Front suspension: Girder
Rear suspension: Rigid
Wheels: 3.25 x 19-inch front & rear
Weight: 369lbs (dry)
Maximum speed: 55mph (approximately)