About Me

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Stockport, United Kingdom
Spud is obsessed with all things wheeled, both with an without engine's. 2006 Open class uk champion at Boardercross racing mountain boards, his knee's have since given up and he spends more time on his bikes both with and without engines.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Patch in it up

So it's out with rusty brown mess and in with new fabbed patch panels.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

What lies beneath

The rear bumper of my  vw t4 van

Well you would normally hope to find a bumper bar ( and in in my case tow bar also )

But what I appear to have in place of the bumper bar is a load of crusty brown  sh!t and the start of some tin worm.

Black bumper bar is one I refurbed, just added it to the pic for reference against the brown mess currently living in my rear bumper.

Fyi if you start to hear crunching when you step on the rear bumper  expect something like this underneath.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Triumph in the face of adversity

Welcome to the tale of triumph in the face of adversity, during my installation of an Andreani fork kit on my Ducati scrambler.

I entered into the endeavour with my eyes wide open, being of sound mind and body, and with fairly good all round mechanical skills. I've re built forks before and felt that I had done enough research in that I knew what I was letting myself in for having read Dereks post on his installation.


The right leg was as I expected  and went pretty much to plan, but for two minor issues, unscrewing the allen key out of the bottom of the fork leg was tricky. I'd already cracked the bolt of while the fork was still in the bike but struggled once it was dis assembled as everything just span inside the fork rather than unscrewing, the trick was to disassemble everything then apply pressure to the end of the damper rod while un doing the allen bolt. The second snag concerned andreani's dumb ass move in deciding to use an allen bolt in the replacement cartridge that had a f##king 7mm which is a far from standard size, i do have one but it was a for a 3/8 driver and wouldn't fit through the bottom of the fork leg. Thankfully a t45 torx is a great fit and I used that instead to tighten the bolt. Awesome, one leg done.

This is where all my problems a started, namely with the medlesome grub screw that secures the bottom of the forks to the stantion. Andreani's own woe ful instructions tell you to machine out the peened out head of the grub screw before undoing it and then use a blow torch to heat up the axle clamp and a special tool to unscrew the fork leg. Its at this point I should have just given up and having done the vast majority of the dis assembly labour just taken what remained to a very local Ohlins approved suspension specialist.

But no, I'm pretty handy on the tools I think, and i press on, and resort to drilling out the grub screw, and this ladies and gentlemen is where I really dropped a bollock, inspite of trying to be very careful and wrapping the drill bit in tape to set a depth and taking it very steady, to cut a long story short I went way too deep and right though the fork tube. But I didnt find this out until my vist to said local suspension specialist, which was required , as there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to unscrew that fork tube out of the lower section without making a huge mess of one or both pieces.

So enter the smug technician in said specialist who seemed to take a small amount of pleasure in telling me I'd made a right royal mess of everything and he had no idea how I was going to be able to fix it, and he would unscrew the lower leg for me but all the threads might pick up inside it and screw everything further. I got him to crack on any way and left the shop 25 quid lighter for the 2 minutes it took them to unscrew the bottom of the tube, and with a very sick feeling in my stomach and the knowledge that had been imparted on me that I wouldn't be able to complete the job myself due to the forces needed to screw the leg back in and that a replacement tube would be about 350 quid. Well as far as I'm concerned the whole front end isn't worth that as it currently sits so that wasn't an option.

I mulled the problem over while I drove home, while I bathed my little boy, while I put him to bed, while I had my tea and eventually arrived at the decision that "they" could all get f##ked and I was going to fix it all myself.

I went out to my garage, had a good look at everything, fired up my welder and my dremmel and after 2 or more hours of welding and grinding I had successfully managed to weld up the hole from the inside of the tube and using what i imagine to be the worlds smallest needle file clean up the external threads on the outside of the tube where the hole had been plugged.

Ok, biggest problem solved, let battle with re assembly commence. I had already taken a load of accurate measurements of all the parts so I would be able to make sure that I would be certain when the tube was fully screwed back into the lower piece. It screwed in with bare hands ok to start with, followed by using sticky rubber coated gloves when the bare hands started to slip, and that last part where your getting it past the o ring in the fork lowers required something substantially more forceful  (anyone is welcome to dm me for details on what I did but I'm not posting them on an open forum as its far from best practice and i cant be arsed with loads of key board warriors shooting me down) so with the tube eventually fully seated with its threads loctited and a new grub screw doing feck knows what in the lower, the rest of re assembly went without a hickup.

I think with the benefit of hindsight, I would have paid to have the lower leg removed and re fitted by the professionals with all the right tools, and I'd say don't bother attempting it unless your a fucking pro. If you're ok on the spanners the do the right leg and all the dis assembly on the left but stop there.

Its far from an easy job but I'm hoping it will be well worth all the effort.

I've just had Bridgestone Bt023 sport touring tyres fitted to the wheels too while they were off so I'm hoping for a massive (positive)difference when I get back on the bike.

And there ends my tale. I'm just glad I can weld and am stubborn enough to have faith in my own skills and not be but put off by people who fix a problem by throwing money at it.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

ccm lovliness

Oooooof will you just look at this. What a thing of lovelyness it is.

Only 150 are being produced right here in good old Bolton and if I had a spare 8k I would have one for sure. As it is I'm trying to work out how I can have one, but its a sunny day  bike for sure, and right now I cant have 8k sat in the garage waiting for the 4 sunny weekend days a year I'm free to ride.

But god damn I its fucking fit.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Scrambler update

Its been while again, diy and being a dad are the main culprits to the lack of toy time but I've not been completely idle.
As per the last blog the Ducati Scrambler won in my search for a new bike and I collected it at the end of October,  awesome just in time for winter.

Here's a quick update on my Ducati

Everything is as expected, the suspension is lacking, and the seat, oh dear god the seat, why oh why haven't they done something about the seat yet. Its such a pain in the ass, literally, you can push your thumb into the foam all the way to the base, all because of that stupid scoop for the worlds smallest tool kit, that by rights should be living in the rear (tool ?) storage compartment thus negating the need for pain inducing ass crippling recess in the base.

But fret not, I have a plan, and will be addressing the seat just as soon as I've made my new front mud guard mounts and got it fitted.

As I plan to ride my bike through winter and would like to stop as much filth as possible being cannoned at the front of the engine, I have been making some support struts to fit an aluminium mudguard I already had that was originally for another project. After a great deal of cutting filing bending welding and grinding plus more test fits than I would of liked it was done.

I've damaged the guard a little bit during some of the test fits where I was clamping it, but you live and learn and they aren't too obvious. This bike is no show pony tho so I'm not too fussed, and my original paint on the supports was far from perfect as it was being a dick and I ran out of time to faff with it as the crap weather was upon us and I just wanted the guard fitted.

I managed to get my first service out of the way after 3 weeks of ownership. They fitted the low bars that should of come on it from the factory and fortunately I was able to pick the new bar clamps and clock mount before fitting to get them painted black, the black bars and silver clamps just weren't going to work for me.

Wow, what a difference the low bars have made, looks aside, the bike steers easier and its more comfortable to ride. The lower bars must have altered my riding position to pull me forward a bit and take some weight off my coxix as the seat is now marginally less painful over the same ride. I still think the seat is awful and have a second seat that's a work in progress.

My bigger front guard is working well but the volume of filth that comes back at the front of the bike off the front tyre is staggering, never in all my years biking have I had this. It musr be the tyres.
I'll be changing them soon so will report back if there's a difference.

Other comfort related news, there's an M shock waiting to be fitted as soon as I can pin down a willing volunteer to help me.

Monday, 12 September 2016

The review

Ok then here goes nothing, in my search for a new bike I tested 3 bikes, BMW RnineT, Ducati Scrambler (Icon) and the Triumph Street Twin. I'm no word smith so I'll keep it brief.

I won't lie, my favourite pre test was the BMW, I mean come on, its fucking beautiful, but so it should be for 12 grand.

So the BMW was first, the day was a scorcher and I had a great time riding the bike but it really did take me all day to get used to the shaft drive and parallel twin, however by the end of the day I was loving the engine and the sound track that came with it from the stock exhaust. The seat was ok for an hour or so but after that I needed a break. Brakes were spot on as you'd expect from a new bike. BUT, and here it comes, the riding position just wasn't for me, perhaps it was just too different than the bolt upright KTM, perhaps if I'd gone from my old 1200 Bandit to the BMW then the difference would have been marginal but as it was I found it too much and for that reason its a no to that bike for me.

Next up was the Ducati, apart from the stupidly high bars that needed adjusting and pushing back before it was comfortable to ride and a damn site less stupid to look at, it was a straight off win. Cracking strong engine, that pulls well, nice Brembo 4 pot on the front that works as it should. I jumped straight on the motorway from Ducati Preston to head home so I could adjust the bars, I shot up to 80 and sat there for a while, needed do a quick overtake, wound the throttle on and off she fucked. It was very pleasant. Handled nicely, but I did find myself catching my toes on the floor a bit when I got too over enthusiastic through the twists, but generally it was all good. The suspension was, well frankly a bit odd. Sometimes I was happy with the suspension and sometimes it felt bloody awful, so I guess its ok at some things and not at others. The seat, was ok for an hour or so, which is no different any other bike I've owned but it could definitely use some more padding, which is fine apart from the cost, as the seat is so low I can get away with another inch or so of padding and still be far from on my tippy toes at the lights. Its a great looker and with the 0% deal on until the end of September is sorely tempting.

Last but not least came the Triumph, I wasn't expecting to much to be honest, from looking at the power figures, they are much lower for the street twin than the other two bikes I tested but as soon as I wound that throttle on, all that brochure blurb about the torque being in the sweet spot was true, it pulled like a fucking train and was a blast to ride, handled and stopped great, and I really had to use the brakes to get me out of trouble a few times. My demo bike was fitted with the bench seat which is what I'd want fitted if I was buying it as in my opinion just transforms the look of the bike. the problem is that my back side was aching after only 25 mins, and it continued to do so for the rest of the test, oddly it didn't get any worse, just ached for the whole 3 hrs I was on the bike. And what a fun 3 hours it was, I had a great time riding the bike but there was just a couple of things that I couldn't get let go. The lack of power meant that it really ran out of steam at the top end, and the whole bike when you really got up close had a bit of a cheap look to it and I couldn't help but feel that  the 2000 mile old demo was starting to look a bit rough round the edges, so god only knows what state it would be in after a few years with me.

So the winner is the Ducati, it needs the low bars fitting for definite and I'm not sure how long the tyres will lat with me commuting on it but all in all its the one for me. Fingers crossed I can sell the KTM privately so I don't have to take the trade in price I was given.