Saturday, August 28, 2004

For the MCC's long distance trials the preferred tyres are Pirelli MT43. I'd got a set (4.00x18" and 2.75x21") from A local shop and carried them home on the bus. Today was dry and sunny so an ideal day to fit tyres. It all went according to plan and they were both on and the wheel replaced by lunchtime. As usual I fitted Michelin's super enduro tubes. They are a lot heavier than most and therefore a little more fiddly to fit but I reckon their puncture resistance makes it worth while.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Lever & guards
One reason that I broke a lever on the last little trip was that I didn't have handguards/brushguards fitted. I've found that these tend to protect levers pretty well. Even if they move they've dissipated some of the impact.

I've got some clones of the Acerbis rally pro guards - these are the ones with the alloy core and stronger mounting hardware. On testing it was evident that the levers would foul the guards even if moved inboard along the bars.

Also, a pattern clutch lever obtained from NLM was a poor fit. The brass pivot bush needed filing to get it to slide into the perch and the casting shape leaves more of a step then the OE lever. Something to sort out...

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Sunday, August 15, 2004

First real ride and first fall

It's taken a week between getting the bike legal and taking it for a ride. I'd been having problems with the regulator draining the battery but that is solved now with the RR2 from Electrex. It started on second kick or so without choke as it was pretty warm weather. It took me a few miles form home to get used to the ride and controls. Also as the bike warmed up the gear change eased; maybe as the oil warmed up?

No problems until a battery lead vibrated off (It doesn't appear to have damaged the regulator) but that was readily solved by fixing the wire to the battery with a zip tie.

There's a very easy piece of trail about 10 miles form home so I rode up there and around on the grass for a few minutes. I was very impressed with the well balanced feel of the bike. I took a lane back onto the tarmac and bibmled past some hikers at low revs - it didn't sound too loud.

After another 10 road miles I decided to take an unpaved road towards home. The ascent onto the moor was fine and the top and the level top was dead easy, although I took care through the wet sand. However on the final short descent I lost the front end in some gravel and let the wheel slide into a rut caused by rain run off. Really I should have been expecting it when riding with road tyres fitted and maybe that was why I was going slowly - maybe with a bit more momentum I'd have rolled through?

So what's the damage? A freshly painted side panel is scratched again, but that was inevitable, an original clutch lever cracked (why hadn't I fitted the guards?) and an indicator stalk stretched. Apparently this is common and repalcment stalks are rare. Most annoyingly the indicator became trapped between petrol tank and the ground and dented the tank. Surprisingly the plastic body of the indicator withstood it all!

You might ask why the indicators are fitted at all? The bike is being set up for the Edinburgh Trial and as this has a significant road mileage through towns at night I think they are needed to light me up. This incident has made me think some small cheap indicators will be far better. Maybe I can sell my 3 good stalks?

The centrestand wasn't too hard to use on the route I took but I can't see myself using it on some stony rough tracks. I must make a sidestand. Also the centrestand was catching on a bolt on the rear brake torque arm causing a terrible clunk as I went over each rock. That must be ground down.

Without the fall I'd say it was a great little trip and the Kanguro impressed me. The engine didn't seep oil and seemed eager and powerful. Both front and rear brakes are adequately powerful and not too grabby. Let's hope I stay positive...

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Flat battery

Although the electrics seemed to work fine at first I've now had a flat battery on 2 occasions on returning to the bike. After removing the battery I measured the resistance across the main circuit and found that is was 570 ohms. This will give a leakage of around 20mA which is quite considerable.

I thought it might be water or something in the key switch but decided to unplug the voltage regulator...open circuit! I then measured the resistance across the red & black leads of the regulator and there was my leak (The regulator is a new 120W 4-wire single-phase module).

As I don't have technical details or a circuit diagram of the regulator I needed more information about regulators in general; had I assumed too much? An internet search revealed that a number of OE regulators have a 5th 'sense' lead that connects after the ignition switch, for example http://www.takisnet.org/~abayko/vreg.pdf. It is this part of the circuit that is associated with leakage as it often contains a resistor divider. However the circuits I've seen have resistances closer to 3kohm which would give a more reasonable leakage.

Anyway, I've spoken with Electrex and ordered one that they assure me has a leakage of a few mA at most.

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Saturday, August 07, 2004

On the Road

This morning I took the Kanguro for its MOT, the government's basic test of vehicle safety and function. It's not a very strict test especially for older motorcycles as few regulations are introduced retrospectively.
The ride was eventful as during the mile and a half I stalled the engine 3 times as the clutch action is very suddent. Luckily it's an easy starter! I tried adjusting the cable as I went along and only made it worse.
The bike passed without problems and I adjusted the clutch cable again. The journey home was better. Now I think I need to look at a few things:

With the MOT and insurance certifciates I was able to buy the Vehicle Licence, more often known as a Tax Disc as that's what it is. Now I've all the paperwork and a running bike so I need to ride it to get used to it and find its foibles.

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