Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nice to meet you!

My buddy Keith is in town and finally got to see the Rising Star. Here he is as realisation washes over him: "so this is what a proper bike is like!".
Ha ha.

Monday, August 26, 2013

In other news,

Brian and I went up to Perugia to collect his R45 a couple of days ago.
The bike has had a thorough inspection and overhaul of the gearbox, as well as new front brake pads. We timed it so I'd be riding back in the evening, 26 degrees and fading daylight... really enjoyable conditions.
Having ridden the GS, Witold's G/S, Gianluca's R65, Marco's R465 and a couple others here and there, I have come to the conclusion that with these Beemers, you're not so much riding a motorcycle as you are piloting a machine. There is something aeronautical to the experience...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A sight for sore eyes.

Man it's good to look out and see this again:

The partly new engine feels a little "stiff" right now, after all it will need about a thousand Kms to break in those new comfy 1200cc slippers.
So, until I actually ride it for a while, the jury is out but early signs are promising: when I was riding back home right after I picked it up from the workshop, lulled by the familiarity of the controls and the comfort of swingarm suspension (after months and months on the Rising Star? wow!), I forgot for a minute that I'm supposed to take it easy and took off rather briskly from a traffic light. Wheelspin?? yeah.

Two things were badly needed: a wash and an MOT, which gave me a good excuse to start putting some miles on it. It passed with flying colours, including the dreaded emissions test.
Here it is, scoring a perfect ten:

Wash your damn bike!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's back.

More on this soon...

Sunday, August 18, 2013


While I wait for the heat to subside and for my Sportster to be ready, I have this cool little thing to show you. I scored a neat peanut tank off an early Evolution Sportster:

(Kitties shown for size comparison, not included in purchase.)
The tank is a little rusty inside, and the paint is full of little nicks and scratches, but that's nothing unusual for a 20 year old tank. All in all, it's actually in really good shape. What I'll do with it is strip the paint (shame about losing the original decals, I know) and treat the inside the same way I did for the Rising Star. After that, it's a matter of choosing a paintjob that'll go nicely with a set of original (and horrendously expensive) decals.

I've no idea what colour I might go for. Metalflake? Probably.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

So... the Sportster is still NORM.

Beginning to wonder how much longer I'll have to wait...
"not operationally ready: maintenance"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

More from Marco.

Here are some cool shots from Marco, Dankeschön mein geschätzter Freund!!

The hills are alive with the sound of... Witold?

And lest we forget where we were just moments before leaving on this trip...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bigger is better (or is it?)

These two 1000 (ok nit-pickers, 980, happy?) Beemers are simply astonishing motorcycles. There's no other word for it, when you consider just how much they can do and how well they cope. There is a bottomless pit of torque, always at your disposal and the powerplant just keeps on going without missing a beat.

That said, during the trip it was sometimes impossible for myself and Witold to keep up with those two scoundrels on the compact Beemers.
Marco's scrambler gained a healthy helping of all-around performance with the 650 upgrade, and Gianluca simply gunned it on his R65, so much so that I move it be referred to as the "Silver Bullet" hencetoforth.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Abruzzo (or was it Tolkien's Middle Earth?)

This bike trip was mired in all sorts of setbacks, delays, breakdowns and bizarre bodily harm. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, the plan just doesn't come together. What really counts though is that we persevered and still managed to get away and have some good times. It would have been much easier to just stay home and do nothing, but where's the fun in that?
Marco's bike was finally sorted out and it handled the trip well. There are some oil leaks (absolutely unacceptable on a BMW) and some minor carburation/timing issues that will be tackled soon, but other than that it turned out a really neat "little" bike. Here's a before (stock photo) and after.

The trip then...
Well, luckily we didn't have anything booked (no ferries, campgrounds...) so we were free to completely reshape our itinerary, which is where the lads really shone. Instead of focusing on a trimmed down version of our original Schwarzwald trip, they turned their attention to the mountainous region of Abruzzo, often little known even to Italians. It's incredible just how far this place feels, even though it is very close to Rome.
It makes for an ideal destination for all kinds of motorcycle trips, though obviously it's scramblers and off-roaders that'll be able to make the most of it. We toured around two of the massive nature reserves and saw only a relatively small portion of them. One place we found, in wolf country, right above a lake, was so surprisingly good (in terms of location, hospitality of the locals and quality of the food) that we're not telling where it is, though we will be going back with a few others we think would enjoy it. When? I think we've learned our lesson about making plans...
I'll let the photos do the talking for now, and we'll resume "business as usual" with garage, BSA, Sportster, etc. over the next couple of weeks.

Getting the scrambler ready sapped the life out of him, but Witold got it done nevertheless. Of course Marco did more than his fair share and was happy with the result (certainly judging by how he rides that thing: bloody hell!).

As you can see, breathtaking scenery, great mountain roads and more sweeping corners than you'll know what to do with. Unfortunately, nothing is ever guaranteed to be trouble free:

Whilst you would expect to see that much oil splattered around the rear wheel of a Norton, it has absolutely no business being on a BMW. We suspect the culprit to be a defective bearing, or poor quality oil seal. Whatever it may be, there was only one thing for it, and that was the end of our trip: