Saturday, October 08, 2005


After last weekend's troublesome trial I thought a lighter machine would be in order. But how heavy is an X1 Kanguro? The brochure says 135kg dry weight...

Having calibrated the bathroom scales using a pile of weight training weights (OK, not accurate) they seemed no more than 2kg out in the 30kg to 60kg range. The front wheel weight of my partially fuelled, but otherwise ready to go, X1 is 70kg and the rear wheel just under 80kg. Looks like 150kg is more realistic. This is the dry weught quoted for the X2 model so that must be really heavy.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Edinburgh Trial

Last Friday night/Saturday morning was the 82nd Edinburgh trial, my fifth. The weather forecast was for an hour or so of heavy rain late on friday and then heavy showers sometime on saturday. The forecast was accurate and it was a wet journey down to Tamworth; at least my new Hein Gericke 'Cruise' jacket kept me dry.

The bike started easily at the beginning of the trial and the run to the first section went easily, although I did notice, or imagine, a few moments of rough running. Was that surprising with so much water? In the queue the bike restarted easily - even while I was sat on it. The first section was easy and a good introduction. During the journey to the second section the bike ran had spells of rough running and stalled at one junction - luckily it was on a long downhill so I just rolled round and it caught easily.

The second section is one I know well, steep, but not unduly, rough and stoney but not too challenging. Recently the lower half has become muddy and rutted and no fun. Anyway after a fair while it was my turn. I was please as the inching up, kicking the engine had become increasingly difficult. Half way up the section I lost the backend and ended up cross-rutted. I hadn't dropped the bike, found neutral and tried to start it to no avail. My position was poor and so probably each kick a little feeble, but still... In the end it was obvious that I'd have to roll down the hill, but by now the little 1Ahr battrey had died and I was in the dark. Naturally I hit a rock and tumbled off. They thought I was off the section and so up came another bike! I shouted for a marshall and they came and I was escorted down with the aid of a torch. After apologising to a few riders for making a delay I set to my repairs. I had to adjust the brush guard that had taken a bang and was catching the front brake lever. The good news was that my Technowelded lever was fine.

I was tempted to retirebut decided to do the next section and special test as I knew they were easy - indeed the were. These were followed by a steep slippery grassy ascent - I knew it had been cleared by a rider on a BMW R80G/S but I also saw a few small bikes fail near the top. Anyway, I knew I'd found it OK in the past and went for it. Typically, Out came the back once again and a similar sorry tail of dropped bike and dark descent followed. Near the bottom of the hill there was a gravel track that I could see was clear, even in the dark and tried to restart the engine on that. The grip and descent was sufficien to turn the engine but it would not fire. At the bottom I did manage to restart after only a few kicks and was persuaded to continue.

Sometimes, the inablity of the bike to start, when 10 seconds later it goes first kick, makes me wonder if the key switch has a faulty contact on the ignition circuit. On this model the ignition is a close-to-kill layout so running requires acontact to open. This seems to be the more reliable design (unlike old Morinis that require the ignition power to pass through the key switch).

After this things did go a little btter but really I'd lost any enthusiasm and didn't care whether I cleared a section or not. My focus was on keeping the engine running and not on the ground - not a good idea for a less-than able rider. A few sections went well and others I footed where I need not. A few were clearly beyond me!

Dawn brought beautiful clear skies and a positive feeling - but in the distance i could see clouds. Again, true to forecast there were heavy showers from around 9am to 1pm. Unusually for me this didn't depress me as I was still warm and fairly dry. My gloves were saturated but I got my nice dry second pair out after a tea break and that sorted that problem.

During the waits for each section I started to fiddle with the carbs as I'd noticed that even warm there was aspot of mist from the exhaust - now it doesn't seem to burn oil so could this be an indicator of too rich a mixture? Opening the slides a little seemed to help without increasing the idle RPM - I had plenty of occasions to try the ease of starting.

I put this down as a lesson learnt, or maybe reinforced. I always used to do any servicing at least a few weeks before an event to ensure that any freshly-introduced problems had been detected. This year I was last minute and set off without the testing period. however looking back to 27/9 I really didn't alter a lot!

All in all it was not an enjoyable event - the first I have not enjoyed. I put this down to a combination of machine (heavy, problematic kick), lack of skill, slippery weather, poor tyre pressure selection an some elements of rough running, which could well have been caused by me, and after the problematic section a loss of self-belief/confidence.

Also the chain has worn out!

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