Author Topic: When you've had enough  (Read 365 times)


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When you've had enough
« on: January 02, 2023, 04:45:18 PM »
Here's a cautionary tale.

When I was half my present age life was going swimmingly, as they say.

I was fortunately able to indulge myself.
One of those indulgences was my biking life, at which point I had a brand new BMW K100RS, a new custom built Ducati F2TT replica and a Ducati 860GTS cafe racer.

The GTS was a bit of a cobbled together thing which went well enough but looked, well, hideous.
Ported by Steve Wynn, 40mm Dellboys, with his own close ratio gearbox.

I considered taking it back to standard which quickly became a no no due to too many missing parts.
When I added up what that needed I realised I could furnish it with it's own unique wardrobe.

After a long conversation with Pat French at MRD Metisse, Bristol, I arranged delivery to him the engine and wheels. He would supply/build the rest to my spec. So, it goes. absolutely stunning Silver Dream Racer. Deep Joy.

Until it was put on the road!

That's when you find you're on the edge of a whirlpool for money.

I'd ridden some decent bikes up until then. It quickly became clear this was not one of those.

To my horror it would go into a tank slapper with no provocation whatsoever. That took a while to figure out why. I let a couple of mates try it (one of which was a pretty hot club racer with a couple of championships under his belt). We all agreed it was a killer.

Anyway, in my hubris I'd contacted Classic Bike Magazines editor, Peter Watson.
''Wanna test ride my bike?''
''Yes please''.

So a few months later he arrived with the rags resident photographer.
Found a suitable stretch of road and duly blasted by, on what felt to me, on my ear 'ole, doing my best Hero impression.

Peter then borrowed it for an hour.
After 45 minutes we decided he wasn't coming back (in one piece).
But he did.

''I recon it's way over tyred'' was his verdict.

A little research revealed a set of Avon's were required. Can't remember what they were, but they were very triangular in section and would provide a narrower contact patch.

Yeah! That worked....was I chuffed?

It didn't take long to find out how much time was required to keep an all metal finished bike spick and span....and very BORING on a regular basis.

Then the running costs of one of those bevel twins began to bite. It seemed it would eat £200+ after every ride. The story there is a long list of mini horrors which I won't be recounting here. It would make any strong man weep.

A shame, as the thing looked a million dollars and sounded totally unique through the stainless exhausts.
When I arrived at my friendly MOT station I was immediately told ''I'm not testing THAT!''.
But he did after I returned with the pipes stuffed with (removable) steel wool.

To my credit, I persevered for about a year.
One of its habits was, you could kick it up, no problem, 20 times. Then, for no apparent reason it would kick back VICIOUSLY.

One day, a good pal found me staring at the beast on my drive.
''Wassamater?'' he asked.
So I explained the above scenario.
Now this man was a long time Velo owner and knew in his bones how to kick up a bike and told me you just have to 'follow through'
I explained I understood that and reminded him I could start his Velo first kick every time, when it took him three or four goes.
He insisted he should demonstrate. So against all my warnings.....first kick, chuff ssspt.
''Aha! he said, ''a bit more throttle''.

On the next attempt he's immediately thrown into the air and laid prostrate on the ground in agony.
After I stopped laughing I realised he was still groaning. It was bad enough to justify a trip to A&E.
He'd ripped the ligaments behind his knee.
Neither of us forgave each other, but fortunately we're still good friends all these years later.

About a month later, the bleeder did it to me....throwing me up the side of my house and nearly knocked me out. Luckily I wasn't hurt and I got up and did a John Cleese dance.

That's when I'd had ENOUGH!

So I threw it into the back of the garage with a cover over it. For years. Out of sight, out of mind.

Subsequently I made another biking friend. Over a couple of years he kept poking under that cover.
Eventually he began trying to persuade me to sell it.
Now this guy has that 'polishers twitch' and it was clear that was the bike for him.
''No, mate, you really don't want or need THAT!''.

He didn't understand the word NO, and eventually convinced me to sell; half the money up front and the rest monthly for about a year. In spite of all my warnings and woes.

When he turned up with a trailer and the THING saw daylight for the first time again, looking very tatty indeed.
Neglect is a cruel God.

Time went by, he polished at least half the weight of the THING away, then decided to re-build the motor.
Eventually he turned up with the motor in the boot of this car.
'Come and look at THIS and THIS and THIS! I'm not giving you any more money!''

I reminded him of my warnings over a cuppa, but he wasn't having any of that.
At this point he still owed me about a third of the dosh.

Unfortunately, there's some things a man's gotta do.
I repeated all my words when I'd tried to dissuade his purchase....I told him I still had high regards but it was time to give him the finger and cut my losses.

After 9 months of avoidance he succumbed and coughed up like a good 'un.
He'd found a buyer with deeper pockets.
So we were talking again....still do.

There is no happy ending to this story.
The guy that bought my old bike was a bit of a jack; threw a load of money at it and added it to his collection.
He also had a Caterham.....and sat beside his pal while he took it for a blast.

They attacked a tree. Bike owner became no more.
The guy driving was sued by the deceased party's grieving wife and lost his own along with his house!

A lot of people had had enough.

That bike is still around, with some collector. But it hasn't turned a wheel.



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Re: When you've had enough
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2023, 10:27:16 PM »
Forgot to add, the guy I bought the GTS from had bought it from the original owners insurance company after he got killed on it.

Makes me shudder now.


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Re: When you've had enough
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2023, 07:41:06 AM »
I once witnessed a guy being thrown over the bars of his 900SS MHR outside a pub in Chipping Norton! The only time I've ever witnessed a kick back of that magnitude  :o
2023 Royal Enfield Meteor 350
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Re: When you've had enough
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2023, 08:47:35 AM »
A very interesting and cautionary tale.

I'm currently running a '96 Monster 750 which over two and half years has given me as much grief as any of the 100 + bikes I've owned over the last 50 years of biking.

The thing is though with this bike when it's running well it's quite unlike any of the other bikes I've owned but in a very good way.

It's pretty standard unlike yours but sounds great and is such fun to ride and you don't need to go too fast to enjoy its delights.

For the last two months it's been at my mates trying to resolve a misfiring problem which appeared to develop after fitting a re-sprayed second hand petrol tank after the original developed a small but very annoying leak at the hinge where you prop it up like a car bonnet.

He's discovered a mountain of age related electrical gremlins as well as carburation problems.

It also appears likely the misfire has resulted in damage to the crank-the flywheel nut came undone which then took out one of the ignition boxes.

I'm currently waiting to hear whether the tank issue has been resolved or whether I'll need to get the old tank repaired-fortunately I kept it as a spare.



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Re: When you've had enough
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2023, 10:13:25 AM »

Makes me quite glad I've never aspired to such exotica!
1952 Norton ES2
1986 Honda XBR500
1958(ish) Grumph.....