Saturday, 30 November 2013

Of layers, impatience and a glass half full...

Today the sun came out again. Hoorah! But it was cold. So, by the time I'd got into thermal leggings, fleece, quilt lined cordura trousers, leather jacket, body warmer, boots and gloves, and not forgetting neck warmer, I felt rather like a layer cake. Don't care though, it was worth all the effort (bending down to put on the boots with all those layers, you know what I mean), and I had a great ride out across town to visit my son.

For me a ride out like that is an absolute tonic. It's the only time I get effective relief from this awful screaming tinnitus.

Talking of which; the legal wranglings over my head injury drag on. I had hoped that it would all have been sorted out by now and I'd be riding around on the Harley I've promised myself. This coming February it will be three years since railway catering guy dropped a ramp into the side of my head on Manchester Piccadilly Station. That's almost three years of having to live a very changed life and cope with some very distressing effects. I really am fed up with the whole process. With it still being on-going it keeps it firmly in mind which is rather counter productive when one is seeking recovery. I have just been told I am to see yet another medical 'expert' for futher assessment. I'll be lucky if I get a Harley on the road by next summer at this rate.

So, if anyone has a Harley tucked away in a garage that they don't know what to do with, and don't want anything for it other than the satisfaction of seeing it go to a good home and the knowledge that it will be well used, I'm your man. But in reality I shall continue to joyfully ride the old Triumph. I have made up my mind to run it throughout the winter, making the most of any half decent weather. And hey! it's only three weeks until the days start getting longer again. Glass half full!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

A hole in one...

When I talk about a hole in one it doesn't mean I've been lucky while thrashing about with a funny shaped stick - I don't do golf!

Out came the sun today and out came the bike which had been standing idle under cover in the garage for over a fortnight. The battery clearly didn't like the conditions and it only just managed to turn things over enough to fire up. Of course, being a bike with a carb it was choke full on. That meant a bit of visible blue exhaust. That is how I came to notice a little jet of exhaust fumes blowing forwards. I knew before I even looked that the exhaust was blowing. Two great big expensive silencers and I have a hole in one.

As can be seen from the photo it's right at the front underside of the left silencer, probably where a stone has caught it, chipped the paint and allowed corrosion...
As you can see from this next photo these silencers are not small...

So, wrapped up in thermal layers and leather (it may have been sunny but the day's high was 5C) I had a ride out which included a stop at the local Triumph dealer. Price for new silencer - £320 and that's fitting it myself. 

Guess I'll be looking on the internet for after-sales parts, but that may involve having to buy a matching pair. In the meantime I may just get a tin of exhaust putty.

The ride out was glorious though. A good mixture of urban and rural riding. It just puts the world to right.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Playing on a Street Triple...

Last Friday I took my bike in to the Triumph dealer to have the fork stantions replaced. Thankfully, as I had places to go, I was given the use of a demonstrator bike. I was given this little sweetie...

A brand new Triumph 675cc Street Triple

I've read an awful lot of articles about how good this bike is. Many biker journos reckon it's the top of the mid range naked class. As you can see from the photos, this bike is completely stripped back. With that and the fact it is built from the lightest of alloys it has no weight at all. In comparison to my big black beast it felt like a large moped when I first got on it.

The riding position was strange too; feet well back and leaning forward onto the bars. At first it felt as if I would fall face first on to the instrument panel if I let go. I eased out onto the road, with an embarassing stall as a van driver kindly waited to let me out, and then opened the throttle a touch. Wow, a moped it certainly ain't!

This thing can really move. At low revs the engine hums quietly, but when you twist the right hand there's a satisfying growl. By the time I'd ridden the few miles home I already realised that this was a bike that could be thrown around and it would do exactly what was demanded of it. I wasn't dissapointed when the service guy rang me to say there was a mix up with the parts and my bike would not be ready until Monday.

The weather on Saturday was really awful and I was still recovering from a grotty cold so it stayed in my garage. On Sunday the sun came out, although it was pretty cold. I had most of the day at university, but got some miles in around that.

With ABS  and the lack of weight this bike stops on the proverbial penny. The throttle is so responsive I'd swear it was pre-empting the twist of my hand. I liked the digital display on the panel which was so easy to read and it's good to be able to see how much fuel you've got left, unlike my beast with which you've got to physically check the contents of the tank or wait for the low fuel light to come on.

It is certainly a fun bike with a lot of guts and it looks stunning. Lack of torque was an issue for me though as I was having to use the gears a lot more in traffic, but that was well compensated by a silky smooth gearbox. Not impressed by the mirrors, just couldn't position them correctly.

I can understand why this bike is raved about but I'm afraid it's not my cup of tea. Yes, I enjoyed the weekend experience but I actually missed the solidity of my bike and for reasons of comfort I certainly wouldn't want to ride any great distance on the Street Triple. But, I guess that's not what it's designed for.

Big down point of the experience? The bill I had to settle when I picked up my bike. Oo-er!