Monday, September 23, 2013

Fuel Consumption

I thought I'd write something about fuel consumption. Then it occurred to me that I might as well just let the numbers speak for themselves since I  keep a little book with them in. I like to keep an eye on fuel usage because a gradual change would indicate there was something deteriorating. I can also see if changes I make result in better or worse consumption.

My overall average is around 47mpg, best around 55mpg (on Shell V Formula and BP Ultimate) and worst so far 42mpg (Esso). I don't know if it means very much to say which brand of fuel gave best and worst returns since the way I was riding probably had more to do with it. But still ...

I lowered the gearing by changing from a 42 to a 45 tooth rear sprocket at 41250. I'd wondered if I'd get higher consumption afterwards. It seems to be the case, albeit marginally. 

Mileage Trip Volume Litres MPL MPG
38554 157 17.00 Texaco Supreme 9.24 42.0
38770 216 21.60 Shell V Formula 10.0 45.4
38959 188 18.80 BP standard 10.0 45.4
39181 222 21.10 Texaco Supreme 10.5 47.0
39424 242 22.99 Shell V Formula 10.53 47.8
39614 191 15.81 Shell V Formula 12.08 54.9
39856 241 21.88 Esso High Octane 11.01 50.1
40054 197 19.48 Texaco Supreme 10.11 46.0
40261 207 19.09 Texaco Supreme 10.84 49.3
40488 226 18.86 Shell V Formula 11.98 54.5
40707 218 20.29 BP Ultimate 10.74 48.8
40901 193 17.78 Esso High Octane 10.85 49.3
41123 185 19.73 Texaco Standard 9.38 42.6
41310 181 17.25 Shell V Power 10.49 47.6
41518 207 19.08 Pace Standard 10.84 49.3
41662 145 ?? Asda standard ?? ??
41832 171 16.46 Jet standard 10.39 47.2
42065 232 22.47 Esso High Octane 10.32 46.9
42289 224 22.18 Esso High Octane 10.10 45.9
42529 240 23.40 Esso Standard 10.26 46.6

Monday, September 9, 2013

T300s are old bikes

In my last post, I reflected on the fact that although I still think of my 1994 Daytona 900 as a new bike, quite plainly it is not. Just like me, it used to be young, and I can just about remember what it was like.

Age. It catches up with us all. A teeny bit at a time, perhaps, but that youthful flexibility gradually ebbs away. One becomes conscious of it when for example picking something up from the floor and, just before fingertips make contact, a sharp little twinge in the lower back intrudes. Or perhaps you have been sitting on the floor (almost certainly a rare event in itself these days), find your legs don't want to straighten out, and you are suddenly aware that standing up takes a time to achieve.

Well, motorcycles are also subject to the effects of time. T300s were in production from the 1991 Trophy 1200 to the 2003 Trophy 1200, with Daytonas, Tridents, Speed Triples, Tigers, Thunderbirds and Adventurers in between. So the most senior are 22 years old, and a full decade has already passed under the wheels of even the most junior. But it isn't really the rigours of motion I refer to. After all, a determined rider could easily cover 30,000 miles in a single year on a brand-new bike. No, the effects of time I refer to are more insidious than that. In some ways, putting on the miles can be a benefit.

The atmosphere always contains some moisture. Where I live this is not a revelation - the moisture is often visible beating on my visor! That dampness gradually infuses itself into the fabric of the machine and any uncoated components inevitably start to oxidize. After all, 22 years translates into 264 months of opportunity for corrosion to grow from a discolouration into a full-blown seized fasteners. Or electrical connections that fail to connect any more. But it isn't all about rust, verdigris or furred up ally.

Consider the carburettors on my 1991 Trophy 1200. Each float bowl has rubber components that have sat in petrol for no less than 8,030 days. For the past three years, the effects of this treatment has been made more severe with the addition of ethanol to UK fuel. The rubber ducts connecting the carbs to the head have had to cope with 192,720 hours of ozone and fuel vapour, and extremes of temperature and expansion/contraction cycles that go with them.

Yes, t-w-e-n-t-y-t-w-o years is a l-o-n-g time for any vehicle to be around. Clearly, there are a fair number of bikes still around of double that age. I'm not sure what the design life of a contemporary motorcycle is supposed to be. I'd guess five years because that is the cycle for introducing new models. Maybe ten years for guaranteed spare parts availability. Those older machines have survived certainly because of a combination of the importance of longevity for the designers and the investment of care by previous owners. Or being parked up in a dry garage for years because of a previous owner's change of life circumstances. Luck, in other words.

The point is, T300s are now almost certainly surviving a fair chunk of time beyond the point at which most machines are designed to last. And even given that breakdowns and general durability were high on the list of priorities for the T300 design team, not even they could forestall changes in petrol composition or stop the effects of ozone on rubber.

These bikes, for all their many merits, are not for the faint hearted. They are tall, solid, full-fat motorcycling experience. I think anyone deciding to take on an early Hinckley bike should do so conversant of the fact that they are no longer new. They must respect the machine for the virtues of its design when new, and also be prepared to tackle its age-related foibles as they come to light.

For all that age brings with it a dimming of the raw senses, there are fuller tastes to enjoy from the longer view made possible by experience. It's not just wines, cheeses and whiskies that develop flavour with time. Those doing the tasting can spend more time enjoying them, without being in the tearing hurry of youth.

I remember being in too much of a rush to check my chain tension as often as I should have, and oiling being a case of drowning it once a month in a guilty splurge, rather than a more regular and measured activity. Now I can take time to walk around my Trophy before a ride, because I haven't left it until the 11th minute of the 11th hour to set off, and not just look at the chain but maybe oiling the control points. And feeling the result with a smile. Or polishing the screen. Or what have you.

At a steam fair, I once saw a really old engine with the dull gleam that can only be obtained with years of the application of an engineers oily rag. I bore a brass plaque:

If I rest, I rust
If I rust, I bust
No rest, no rust, no bust

So miles can make smiles more than just for the rider.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Some Daytonic needed ... seized swing arm bearing

I've been enjoying the opportunity to take my 1200 Trophy out and about in sunny Somerset of late. So there are no new spannering tales to tell there and the trips have been too short to warrant a write up.  However, for the last few weeks, I have turned my attention towards Streaky - my dear old Daytona 900. And my goodness, some attention was needed.

With 70,000 miles under her wheels in all weathers and the passage of 19 years, despite bouts of intensive TLC on my part, time eventually catches up. I started out thinking I give her a bit of a spruce up before winter - cleaning, greasing etc. Well when I started pulling bits of bodywork off and undoing nuts and bolts, it became clear that plenty of attention was needed. And now she looks kind of similar to when I started doing all the work on the 1200. Rather worryingly.

By some strangeness of my imagination, I always think of this bike as new. Well, she is not. I've owned the bike since 1995, when she was just 18 months old and the idea of newness from back then has never really left me. Inexplicable after all the water that has flowed under the bridge since back then.
What, no wheels??
 The general finish has held up amazingly well given the fact that I really have used the bike right through many winters. The powdercoat on the engine covers failed and I had them redone two years ago. The front of the engine has suffered so touching that up is on the agenda. I've already done several jobs I'd planned in advance - fixing a broken alternator bolt and stripping, cleaning and rebuilding the starter motor.

Ruby watches on
I've been fighting with the rear suspension and subframe area most recently. The swingarm spindle was seized in place.

I finally managed to release it last night after five days of dosing with WD40 and whacking with a lump hammer. The key thing was to alternate blows from one side to another with a good solid drift, as it began to move fractionally, and to be patient. It had rusted to the inside of the right-hand bearing sleeve - it looks as though water got around the end of the arm and was drawn along the spindle by capillary action. The left-hand side is in great condition, I imagine because I have always been generous with chain lube (courtesy of a Scott oiler) and the resultant splash coating has kept water at bay.

Mercifully, the needle-roller swingarm bearings are mint though - plenty of grease on them and clean as a whistle. The bearing sleeve was rusted on its inside surface, against the spindle, but is perfect on the outer surface where it supports the needles. That's a relief. I'll need to replace the sleeve and the spindle because the spindle is badly pitted and I can assume the same is true of the inside of the sleeve.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oil Cooler Bypass

Here's a quick run down on how I removed the oil cooler. Other than a small weep from one of the unions it's been problem free since it was done at the end of 2011.

Original oil cooler fittings on the sump...
... both removed. Retain the banjo bolt. These were replaced
with .....
An M14 to AN-6 adapter, A 180 degree bend, a short length ..

... of pipe, a 45 degree bend and a banjo.

All the fittings came of Ebay from a shop named torques_uk.

A shroud around the pipework to protect the oil temp sensor 
(added to monitor the effects of all this) and ....

... the soft alloy fittings from stones off the front wheel. 

I had much fun and games getting it shaped to allow 
the run of the exhaust downpipes.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Trip to Yorkshire

 After many months of planning, my friend Tim and I agreed to meet up half way between his East Lothian home and my own Somerset abode. Tim has been working on perfecting his own interpretation of the early Hinckley theme for a year or so. Half way meant somewhere in Yorkshire. That somewhere was to be a caravan site on Baildon Moor.

 The customary shiny state of my bike needed to be restored for her 'date' with another Trophy 12 so a wash and brush up was due. Also, it is all very well having grease nipples but no use at all if they aren't treated to a pump or two from a grease gun every once in a while. So I did that job too.

Followers of this blog might also notice she had also acquired a big new pair of shoes for the journey and the reappearance of my touring seat and high screen. Big journey, so big accessories! Actually, the black wheels are borrowed from my Daytona 900 whilst servicing and sprucing up are in progress so I can get the Trophy wheels refinished. I've finally decided to polish the rims myself and have the hubs painted. But that is another story ...

I've had a pair of Oxford sports throw-over panniers pretty well as long as I've had my Daytona. I don't do many overnight trips and as a result the throw-overs rarely come out of the attic. They were just the job for this trip, fitting better on the Trophy bodywork than on the Daytona. However, I did put lots of rubber mesh under them to stop the paintwork from being scuffed - inevitable with the movement of soft luggage when the bike is in motion.  With the odomoter reading 41243 miles, the great moment had arrived and I was on my way! There is nothing quite like the feeling of being loaded up, sandwiches and flask of tea packed, waterproofs stowed, tool roll in place, and the open road ahead. It always feels BIG to me. Everything fresh and new, the engine thrumming like a turbine, sense of having forgotten something but knowing the moment has arrived.  

My route took me via Bristol to Cheltenham on the M5. There was a very strong, warm tail wind for this leg and slow traffic, meaning that little cooling air was running through my radiator or oil cooler. The oil temperature hit an all-time high of 100 degrees. So did I. Well, it felt like it. So I headed off of the motorway through the rest of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire to Birmingham via Evesham and Redditch. Much more enjoyable.Unfortunately, I hit the M42 at knock off time so more slow traffic ensued. Mercifully, I didn't have to endure more than 40 minutes of that though and then the rest of the trip to Baildon was straight forward: M42, M1, M62, M606, Bradford outer ring road, Shipley, Baildon, Baildon Moor.

 The site is called Dobrudden and it was nice enough.It is very high compared to the surrounding areas and feels more remote than it actually is. The sense of remoteness is added to by the fact that it is accessed by about a mile of bumpy gravel track.

We were to be joined the next day by Derek with his Africa Twin - much better suited to this than a pair of 1200 Trophys.

The views were great, especially after dark with ribbons of street lights snaking around the valleys visible to the south east of the hill. We were staying in a sort of wooden tent (wooden construction and shed height, tent-sized floor area) with some nice garden furniture and a brick-built camp kitchen. The showers were hot, with just enough room to move about it, and the facilities clean.

 Tim's Trophy is a 1992 or 1993 model year 125bhp 1200. It had a larger oil cooler and radiator fitted when he bought it. The wheels, rear hugger, silencers and front brakes are all Daytona 1200 items fitted by its previous owner (from a 1200SE unless I'm very much mistaken). Numerous other small changes in the fabric of his Trophy 12 are evident from my 1991 model, something he delighted in observing for my benefit. For example, we discovered that his bike will run on its side stand as long as it is in neutral, having an interlock relay. Mine will not. I am familiar with the interlock because my 94 Daytona has one.

No oil cooler and four cylinders
The 1200 engine: A real powerplant
 Tim was struck by the hot running of the engine, as I had been, and wondered if he could make it run cooler. He does more city riding than I do so decided to see if running without fairing lowers made much difference. It did but, when stripping the Trophy fairing lowers off to find out, he discovered that his oil cooler was falling apart. Without the fairing lowers, it seemed likely that the oil cooler would be superfluous so he made up a section of pipe to bypass cooler out of the oil system. He also fitted an oil temperature sender and gauge (I copied him!) to test the idea and enclosed it all in a sturdy bash plate.

Finally, he abandoned the Trophy top fairing in favour of a twin-headlight Sprint model. So he has adapted the machine to his own idea of the ideal: a Mega Sprint.

The Sprint fairing was not a direct fit because its lower section fouls the 1200 cylinder head. He could have cut this back but decided instead to spring the fairing wider and custom make brackets to hold it out that way. He has also fitted later bars after first trying a set of risers and conventional tubular handlbars. We swapped bikes for a compare-and-contrast ride. The engines felt much the same to me though Tim was sure his had more grunt. Yeah, well ... they sound different when riding because of the different exhausts and proximity of ear to engine. Tim's bars make for an almost armchair like riding position. I might well have a go at fitting some to my bike as a try out. His seat is quite a bit lower, evident by knee twinges - we think it was either cut down by a previous owner or reduced in height in later models. I'd put my fat touring seat on for the big trip so it's not easy to say.

One Man's Ideal Trumpet: A Mega Sprint 1200

We rode up to Pately Bridge and Grassington, tea and cake. Then back to Pateley Bridge and on to Ripon, Thirsk, Sutton Bank and Helmsley to meet up with Derek. It's the only place I've been where bikes have to pay for parking - and at the same rate as cars. I'm sure there is a reason for it. To do with making money for the council. Fair enough for a tourist town I suppose. We had a good lunch in very friendly company at a nearby pub then made for York via the B roads.
Grumbing about parking charges in Helmsley
The heavens opened and Tim and I both had an experience of some sizeable rear-wheel brakeaways when trying to sprint past slow traffic. Nasty. The country is very flat and agricultural, the roads seemed not to be draining well and were probably coated with tractor-based slimy stuff. One to remember for the future.

York is a beautiful city. We got stuck in it so I can say with confidence it is one of the nicest looking places I've been to. I lived there for a while in the 1990s and it was great to be reminded of my happy time there. We headed out of York towards Selby but cutting across more flat expanses of the eastern edge of North Yorkshire back into West Yorkshire. The wind was gusting and difficult by this time, banks of black cloud roiling above us as we thrummed from bend to bend. Time for a tea at Squires Cafe Bar. Then back to Baildon for a curry and some beers. A good day out, around 200 miles of spectacular Yorkshire enjoyed by all despite the rain and the wind. 

Derek trying not to play dominos with two bikes
 After bidding D and T farewell, I took another trip down memory lane. This time it was Bradford where I had studied in the 1980s. I took a picture of my old student house and then was stunned to find a brand new cathedral style mosque near completion just down the road from it. The place is magnificent, its splendour made all the more impressive by the fact that I can vividly remember what a squalid area it was beforehand. It has been a disused railway cutting used enthusiastically by fly tippers. After taking a couple of photos, I got talking to some of the construction folks there who invited me in to meet their chairman for a cup of tea. How wonderfully unexpected. This is the essence of a journey: put yourself into unusual situation, talk to people and discover how warm they can be.

Time for home now, stopping at the National Motorcycle Museum at the junction of the M42 and A45 for a pot of tea. The restaurant is open to anyone without needing a ticket. Makes a the best motorway services in the entire world. I treated my self to John Rosamund's memoire of his time at the Meriden Cooperative: 'Save the Triumph Bonneville'. I've read two chapters - gripping and eye-opening stuff, I can tell you.

Cranham Woods
I had had enough of motorway droning by now so took A roads from Brum through the Costwolds all the way down to Somerset.

I wonder why I go on M-ways at all sometimes. The journey is slower by A roads but feels faster, unless you get stuck behind a lot of holiday traffic. This journey was on an August Sunday between 4pm and 7:30pm - must be a good time to avoid the hordes.

Shiny again
Back home then, bike de-grimed from the motorway and Baildon track, hot bath and pot of tea. Perfect.

Epic Motorcyle

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gray's Charcoal Grey Trophy 1200

I've heard from other T300 owners from time to time since I started this blog. One such gent is Gray , who is the proud guardian of a 1991 Charcoal Grey Trophy 1200 mark 1,  serial 000232. Yes, its even more venerable than my own 000544.
Spot the Difference 1: Publicity shot, early 1991
Spot the Difference 2: August 1991
Gray's 232 is a two-owner machine (whereas I am the 12th owner of 544) and he has some documentation that sheds a bit of light on its past. She was bought from Bill Head Ltd in Preston on 25th of July 1991, with a 1st of August registration for that year, make this bike one of the first 'J' plates out there. I believe my bike was purchased from Eddy's of Leeds because that was on the number plate when I bought 544. With so many prior owners in my case though it's impossible to say if 544 when through Eddy's hands (and a change of plate) in the mean time.

The invoice shows the VIN as 232 and the engine as 240 - a difference of eight engines. I think they were test engines produced by the factory as part of the early refinement process. Hinckley Triumphs do not have matching engine and frame numbers. My bike's engine number is 561, a difference of seven, rather mysteriously. I'm guessing this is because engines were taken from production to serve test and quality sampling purposes.

I've read in several sources that the first months of manufacture were certainly intensive period for the R&D folks at the factory as well as for production line staff. Triumph were committed to a continuous improvement process, redesigning and introducing changes as soon as they were approved. This contrasts with the 'model year' approach, where ideas and designs for changes are drawn up during one model year and then an aggregation of all such changes are released for the next model year.

Wow - looks pristine to me. Very fancy levers.
It is very unusual to see fairing lowers that are entirely unblemished. The high weight distribution catches out most owners when pushing or paddling about, resulting in shallow scrapes and scratches. Gray's bike seems to have escaped such insults.
Really lovely condition. Nice rabbit hutch too ;-)
This is where the red screen came from - not to Gray's taste but maybe suits Lancaster Red rather better than Charcoal Grey (Metallic).

Cheers Gray.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Things that haven't worked

I have documented many changes on this blog. My recent review of modifications have caused me to think a bit more about how well or how badly some of my efforts have worked out. So here is a list of things that have not gone so well. They are my attempts to 1/ paint the engine covers, 2/ paint on the rear brake caliper, 3/ wheel paint, 4/ repaint filler cap surround, and 5/ fit an oil pressure gauge. So, as you can see, it turns out my painting skills aren't really up to snuff :-(

1/ Clutch cover
First off, the clutch cover was in a horrible state. I had a go at getting all the old paint off but it was a struggle and couldn't remove all traces from the sections where it bolts on. There are quite a few difficult recesses and angles. The result over time is that my paint has bubbled up. Also, the VHT clear lacquer has started to yellow. The other covers I painted have not bubbled or yellowed, as far as I can tell. I put the clear lacquer on much thicker for the clutch cover than the others because I had polished up the Triumph logo. I wanted to make sure it was protected from the elements. In retrospect, I wish I'd gone easier with the lacquer and committed myself to keeping the Triumph shiny with autosol.

2/ Rear caliper
Perhaps I'm wrong to list this as a 'didn't work'. I had a brake fluid leak when I was bleeding the rear caliper. I thought I'd cleaned it all off afterwards but evidently didn't do a great job. Smoothrite is definitely not brake fluid proof. However, the Finnegan's special metal primer has largely shrugged it off, much to my surprise.
Smoothrite doesn't like brake fluid
3/ Wheel paint
I took quite a lot of trouble over the wheels. Really good degrease etc. then topped off with enamel red and clear lacquer. However the plain fact is that the finish is not robust and has chipped off in many places. I plan to get the wheels powder coated. I still like the red centres and silver rims but I'm thinking of trying a graded transition between the colours rather than a clean line. I've seen some three spoke wheels done this way. It could work on my six-spokers. I'll use the wheels from my Daytona whilst they are away. That's a nice thing about having a pair of T300s.
Enamel paint chips and scratches easily
4/ Fuel cap surround
Wheel paint doesn't like petrol
I stripped the tatty paint off of the filler cap surround when I was treating the tank with POR-15. I used aluminium wheel paint. First trip out, I dribbled some fuel on it getting the nozzle out at a petrol station. It immediately ate into the paint so now it looks tatty again. I had hoped it would be up to challenges like this because, after all, wheels live in a harsh environment. This paint is an acrylic formulation. Acrylic paint is just a terrible idea if there is any risk of getting petrol on it.

5/ Oil pressure sender
I bought the oil pressure and temperature gauges with senders (sensors) from the same supplier. They were cheap! Now, the temperature gauge has worked flawlessly and I have found the information it has provided reassuring and credible. Most of the time, for example, it hovers between 70 and 80 degrees. The factory manual specifies an oil pressure check with the engine warmed to 80 degrees. So that adds up. For what it is worth, the highest oil temperature I have seen was in Coventry on an extremely hot day after filtering in traffic for about 30 minutes. It was 97 degrees! Literally fry-an-egg temps. The engine shrugged it off though in its typically nonchallant power station kind of way, assisted by energetic blasts from the fan.
Faulty oil pressure sender
 The pressure gauge has always behaved strangely, jumping and falling by tens of psi for no obvious reason. It now reads 100 psi  (it's maximum) all the time. I've checked continuity and the wiring is fine. The sender is bust. I'll get a better quality replacement sender and see if it drives the gauge properly.

Work still to do
This is not a thing I have done wrong (a sin of commission) but things not yet done (sins of omission?). I decided to fix up my Trophy from the inside to the outside. The outside - especially the fairing panels - have yet to receive any TLC beyond cleaning. Their time will come, probably next winter.

Old scratches are still old

Ride safe!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

An alternative windscreen

Gray, a friend of this blog, kindly sent me a high screen to try on my Trophy 1200. I've been pretty happy with the standard model but it is not big on wind protection. I am able to minimize wind noise by sitting right up and back on the seat, thereby keeping my head clear of the turbulent air. Having gibbon-like arms is an asset in this regard. If I get my head right down, I can just duck under the wind blast but this is not a practical prospect for any distance as the angle my neck must take makes it tough to sustain.

Consequently, Gray's offer meant I could see what it would be like to have an extended screen with a 'flip' curve about three inches from the top. This particular screen also has a red tint, the attractions of which are clearly a matter of personal taste. I found out some time ago that T-Cut Metallic works very well as a polish for some plastics. So it turned out with whatever the red screen is made of (I'm guessing it is acrylic).

The pictures below show how the two compare from the front. Apologies for the quality - I'd leant my normal camera to my son so was using my old phone today.

When I first mounted the red screen, the difference in reds really clashed. I don't think of myself as particularly fashion aware yet it offended even me. The standard clear screen has black section where it attaches to the upper fairing. This hides the relatively unattractive underside of the clocks and inner trim. I decided to do something similar with the extended red screen, with the simple expedient of running strips of black electrical tape along its lower edge. Two thicknesses did the trick. It meant the two shades of red do not directly overlap and, in my view, made all the difference to its visual acceptability.

I mounted the red screen with stainless fasteners because the Allen heads in the originals were a bit loose. And I hate rust so I don't need much incentive to reach for stainless steel. Having sorted out the fixings,  I headed out for a ride. Some friends were going to Sammy Miller's 'MotoItaliano' Day and thought it would be nice to ride down in the afternoon to show them what it's like to have a bike with soul that does not fall apart in normal use :-) I'd visited Sammy Miller's recently and really enjoyed it as well. It should have been a triple win.

I confess I had not fully thought this through. We have been experiencing the biggest heat wave for years. And I was fitting a longer screen to reduce the amount of breeze I'd be able to enjoy ... Doh! The trip started well, with little hindrance before Salisbury. The screen has moved the turbulence up by about four inches, I'd say. It is hard to be precise because the place it hits my helmet seems to vary with road speed. I found I could duck down out of the wind blast completely without the silly neck contortions of yore. It still is a crouch though so not something I'd want to do for an extended period. Visibility through the screen was good, except for where the flip begins - it was distorted there. Not hard to avoid that though.

I took a wrong turn in Bournemouth, ending up trickling along in holiday traffic from suburb to suburb with the Mighty 1180cc T300 doing a good impression of Drax. Double Doh!!

I got to the museum just as things were packing up, so triple Doh then. However, I found another T300 owner there. I think he was a volunteer or helper at the museum but I'm not sure. He had a 1998 Trident in silver and blue with only 7500 on the clock. So we chewed the fat for a bit. I also got a good look at the Moto Guzzi V8 racer. Just extraordinary. There seemed to be as much bike in front of the handlbars as behind! I hadn't previously realised the V8 was fore-and-aft, in effect two transverse fours coupled together. Really, an amazing feat of engineering.

I came home a different route, via villages and B roads from Ringwood up to Shaftesbury. I stopped to take in the views and enjoy my little flask of tea on the edge of a wood, where I saw a sign for a classic bike company. I don't know anything about it - the website doesn't help much. Cool sign though.

BUGAD Classic Bikes
More views of the screen. I quite like the red effect. I haven't made up my mind about the length of the screen and the flip. There was a hot blustery wind on my return journey and the screen moved about more than the standard version. It felt a bit as though it was catching the wind more. I'm unsure though - need to put some more miles on to know. I think a proper test would be an extended motorway trip, on a cold day.

Profile from the right with high screen

Rider's view through high screen

 Sun-dappled woods in summer time. You can't buy it. I've heard rain is on its way. The memory lives on.