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Ren - The Ed said :-
I... I... I want to like your Arrow I really do. I just can't imagine the godawful din it'll make when it's nipping along at full chat. I can just about tolerate it at tickover in the video.

It sucks in a dollop of air, fuel and oil, casually mixes it with half burnt but incompletely scavenged crud from the last cycle, swilling more around in the crankcase for fun and perchance a hint of lubrication, squashes up some mixture that it accidentally catches on the way up the stroke, ignition might be achieved if the 2stroke gods will it then farts a bit of noisy exhaust gas but can't clear its flegm completely.

Ding...cough cough cough...ding ding cough cough ding da ding cough cough...

I'm sorry, it's just me. Latchy would love it.
30/07/2017 22:06:17 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I have to say I'm not exactly a 2 stroke fan (my first bike, a Francis Barnett Plover, and subsequently a Bantam and a couple of MZs should really have cured me) but I've always thought the Leader / Arrow a brave attempt at something different and as such I should give it a try. Of course I haven't actually ridden it yet.......

Two strokes aren't actually as inefficient as you suggest. The Scott was actually given a 42% handicap in the 1920s as it ran (smoke!) rings around the 4 stroke opposition. And you're old enough to remember RD400s and the like.

None of this says I like them, and the Arrow will inevitably be leaving for pastures new in favour of a reincarnation of my first proper bike - a 490cc Norton.
31/07/2017 13:38:45 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
They are indeed more powerful by the simple nature of going "BANG" twice as often as a 4 stroke for a given number of revs. However they're not more efficient as they use more fuel than a 4 stroke.

This refers to traditional 2 stroke motorcycles versus traditional 4 stroke motorcycles. I'm aware some massive ship diesel engines can be direct injection 2 strokes and they wouldn't make them if they were not efficient that's for sure. There are some modern designs of 2 strokes that are very efficient too.
31/07/2017 14:51:55 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
And now for something entirely different....

As someone who passed their test in the early 1970s when it was a simple matter of twice round the block and try to stop when the examiner jumped out in front of you, I was interested to find practice theory tests on line.

However, I would take issue with some of their answers especially the one about hi-vis clothing.

I did pass with 48 / 50....... ...
02/08/2017 09:20:06 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Bearing in mind that we'd all get different questions if we took the test - what issue do you have with their hi-viz clothing question?

I'm glad you passed. It's good to know you're just getting a handle on the highway code at last.
03/08/2017 10:48:31 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
It's that bit about hi-vis making you more conspicuous. Yes it does in some circumstances (like having your headlight on) but not in others, in fact can act as camouflage. See the link below amongst many others.

The main problem of course is that wearing hi-vis, having headlight on, loud pipes etc etc can make the rider feel that s/he MUST be visible. Hence the oft-quoted response from someone who's been SMIDSY'd: "He must have seen me I was wearing hi-vis". You have to take responsibility yourself and not assume you're visible to anyone.

Remember that most car drivers when waiting to exit a minor road are looking for a CAR coming not a bike, which is harder to see anyway whatever visual aids are applied. One helpful tactic is something called the Z line where you move from side to side across your lane, thus crossing the driver's line of vision rather than "looming" which is harder to see.

WRT headlight, several years ago I had an unnerving experience. Dark, rainy night; suburban 30-limit road; I was looking to turn right from the main road into a side road (in the car). I could see a car coming towards me but some distance off and there was plenty of time to make the turn but for some reason I hesitated. And it turned out there was actually a bike between the oncoming car and me - its headlight appearing just where the car's would. In fact, had the bike had no lights at all I'd probably have seen its silhouette quite clearly.

Oh BTW the 2 questions I "failed" on were the hi-vis and the number of pressure applications for CPR - I thought it was 60. Maybe my singing of "Nellie the Elephant" is slower than others'........ ...
04/08/2017 09:57:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
There's some really interesting points here Ian.

I too have experienced the disappearing motorcycle with the headlight. As you point out with an inadvertently incorrect position a motorcycle headlight can become a replacement for one of the following car's headlights. There is a reasonable argument to be made for either additional lights on a motorcycle to at least raise a question in a driver's mind - "what's that?". Or to have unusually shaped or twin lights on motorcycles that don't mimic the lights of cars.

In an ideal world we'd all agree that car lights are this shape, motorcycle lights are that shape. Of course in a world filled with design, style, individuality and general discourse this ain't gonna happen.

I won't be persuaded to remove my hi-viz but I agree there is the notion that because I'm all hi-viz and I have my lights on and my road position is good therefore I simply must be visible. Tain't so is it.

What the article is proposing is to encourage motorcyclists to be one complete unit of one colour as this produces that distinctive motorcycle silhouette. Yes I can understand that - many colours of many shapes makes it all to easy to blend into the background of many colours and many shapes. The Battenburg motorcycles are blooming awful when you see them in that picture. So ideally we need a bright yellow motorcycle with bright yellow bike gear.

As Sharon so rudely pointed out my motorcycle is beige. I guess I need a beige jacket, boots, pants, helmet and gloves. Wish me luck...
04/08/2017 12:08:30 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I've never had high-vis, rode for many years with no headlight unless the manufacturer gave me no option and I was too lazy to fit a switch (except when it was dark of course), have always gone for black (or occasionally mud coloured) riding gear including my current helmet and my last 3 bikes before the Super Four (now gone to a hopefully good home) have all been black as well.

I appreciate I don't do the miles Ren & Sharon do but I cannot remember the last time someone pulled out in front of me or otherwise behaved as if they didn't see me.

No idea why (although I have a pet theory it's wearing an open face helmet which I think I've expounded here before).

But mainly I believe it's down to observation and anticipation. If I'm coming up to a vehicle waiting in a side road or approaching a junction I'll knock the speed off a bit and cover the brakes, consider using the Z line as already described, watch the front wheels of the vehicle for signs of movement as well as where the driver's looking, and if it seems necessary give a brief peep of the horn. Which of course is what the Highway Code says it's for - not for blowing furiously AFTER someone's invaded your space.

I take the view that homicidal maniacs are rare on the road (although I have been subject a couple of times to road rage incidents) and that most people don't want to damage their car or you and would prefer not to have hassle with their insurance companies. They will normally try to drive safely. But everyone makes mistakes or is careless sometimes. Most people see driving as a chore necessary to get them where they want. They're not interested in the finer points of Roadcraft and will not even have heard of it. As far as they're concerned they've passed their test so must be good drivers.

What we as vulnerable road users need to do is to take responsibility for our own safety rather than hope that we are conspicuous enough for everyone to see us and take appropriate action. Because sometimes they won't.

05/08/2017 11:15:21 UTC
Ross said :-
Ian wrote: "Ring a ding part 2..... ..."

Aahh, sounds luuuvely! Reminds me of my Suzuki GT250 I parted with about 4 or 5 years ago...wish I'd hung on to it!

05/08/2017 15:05:17 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Well, the Super Four has gone to a new home and a (rather odd-looking) Guzzi V50 has taken its place. The Honda's new owner seemed very pleased with it and paid me what I'd paid for it which was good (depreciation - what's that???).

The Guzzi came from a young chap who had a top secret job in the styling department of "a major British motorcycle manufacturer". No idea who that could be..... It may go some way to explain the abbreviated front mudguard and exhaust pipes showing the traces of wrap. However, these (and the silencers) seem to be stainless so should polish up nicely. The non-standard colour initially put me off but it may be growing on me, although it is a fairly superficial rattle can job.

But how anybody can ride a bike (he'd been commuting 40-odd miles a day and making regular 150 mile trips) with 10mm slack in the throttle cables, and the slides so far out of sync it sounded very unbalanced. Ten minutes has made a great improvement although there's plenty to do. ...
07/08/2017 10:01:24 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
What year is the V50? Before it seemed you had the classic bike (Sunbeam, Ring-a-Ding) and the modern bike (SLR650, CB400 Super Four). Now you still have the Aerial (Ariel, Arial, Air-real I dunno) as the classic but the V50 also seems to be classic?

When I got the Fazer 600 I very very seriously looked at a couple of the Breva 750 Guzzis. I like the V-Twin, the lazy revs and the shaft drive. I wasn't quite so sure I could live with the Italian electrics although I believe the relatively modern Brava had a few Bosch items on it.

I'm liking the V50 much more than the ring-a-ding...
07/08/2017 12:42:52 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
No, the V50 is the modern bike........

Yes, I know. But it is to me.

Just doing some minor tweaking - the oil pressure switch is dead so I need a new one, and some of the connectors in the idiot light cluster are a bit crusty - discovered when I investigated that. The stainless braided oil lines are too long so I've rerouted the coupled one from the combined cylinder to the front to lose a bit of length.

Much of the electrics are indeed Bosch and I think Italian electrics are sometimes maligned by those not familiar with them. Having said that, it has those silly fuses that use bent copper strips to make contact. When I went to start it yesterday it wouldn't till I'd waggled them about & sprayed with GT85 (much better than WD40 IMO). The last time I had fuses like that was an MZ whose electrics made Italian ones look like something from Rolls Royce. I'll probably swap the fusebox out for blade types.

Current plan is to ride the V50 along with the Arrow till autumn sets in then keep the Arrow on the road while I tinker with the Guzzi. Then come Spring, move the Arrow on and look for an ES2 Norton. Like this.

catalogue picture
07/08/2017 14:09:52 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
And in any case, what does "classic" mean? Some people would say a Honda C90, BSA Bantam, MZ250 etc are as they are excellent examples of their type (which to take one random example a Francis Barnett Plover is not). Or is it something like a Brough Superior, Vincent Black Shadow, BSA DBD34 or Norton International? Or the original Honda 400/4? Or the Arrow (very innovative, ground breaking design that paved the way for the RD250s etc)?

I like bikes which I can improve in all sorts of ways either by returning them to their original state or adding my own improvements (which some would consider as spoiling them). I also like bikes that have some resonance for me which both the Norton and Guzzi have, having owned similar models many years ago. Or that have some other, possibly geographical relevance eg the Velocette Venom that was built less than half a mile from here.

What I can never understand is the attitude of always having the latest thing whether it's bike, car or mobile phone. But neither am I stuck in the past. If it's better I'll consider it. But "better" is as weaselly a word as "classic". Beauty, beholder etc.

Oh well, back to the electrics.
07/08/2017 15:19:36 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Classic. I'm using the term to simply refer to old motorcycles in this instance. That said just because a motorcycle is old doesn't mean it was any good in which case the word classic is being applied incorrectly.

My concern is that you "improve" a motorcycle that you don't plan to keep. For example I quite agree that changing the godawful fusebox on the V50 for a clean modern blade fusebox is a great idea. *BUT* experience suggests that you'll only keep the V50 for a couple of years before you're bored and something else comes along to tweak your interest. If you were the type of owner who planned to keep and use the V50 for another 15 years then great but if you're going to move it on then is it worth the effort? You point out that the purists will object to your changes and surely you devalue the bike?

Or is it that you simply like tinkering? I can't imagine you're planning to take the Guzzi on a world tour across arid deserts and frozen tundras so surely a jolly good clean of the old fuses would suffice for your needs. In which case your desire to replace them is because you like to tinker. If you like to tinker then why not get a non classic knackered hack which you could improve until your heart is filled with joy?

Tell ya what - I'll bring the CBF125 down and leave it with you. You could write a whole library full about all the bodge jobs, hacks and incorrect methodologies applied to the poor beast of burden. You could spend an age tinkering and improving then return it to me just as it ought to be. I could then ruin once more and the cycle could repeat ad-infinitum.
08/08/2017 08:33:17 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
You build 'em, I'll break 'em
08/08/2017 08:35:00 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I am actually planning to keep the V50 for a while (although you guess correctly the RTW trip is unlikely) and when I get a Norton it is also likely to be a longer term prospect.

It may not seem so, but in fact until relatively recently I did keep my bikes for a long time - eg the Commando I had for 20 years. But as time creeps on and I become increasingly aware it's finite, I've made a couple of decisions:

1. To get a modern bike for riding. The Commando rarely let me down but did need substantial maintenance to keep it reliable. Since that decision, I had my Tiger 955i for 8 years and only relinquished it as it was getting too heavy and unwieldy. I then had 3 others in fairly quick succession - a V-Strom, SLR650 and the Super Four. But none of them really did much for me.

2. To own an example of some of the many older bikes I've never had in the past and always rather fancied. This list includes the Velocette Venom, BSA A10, Matchless G80S, Triumph T100 and now the Arrow. The Velo was lovely but the others - well, not quite so much. And each has presented its own challenges and associated triumphs. Financially I'm about £300 up over 12 years (not counting my time) which I think is pretty good.

Now I'm going back to 2 bikes I've had in the past and really liked at the time so I hope to calm down a bit.

Tinkering? I prefer to think of it as rectifying the horrors that various mechanical (and electrical) barbarians have inflicted over the years and doing my small part keeping entropy at bay. Is it worth the effort? It is to me and that's all that matters - I am completely indifferent to what anyone else may think. And it's better than watching end to end reruns of Flog It.

I don't see why I shouldn't improve (and your use of quotation marks is interesting - are you suggesting I'm not improving them?) my bikes whatever their age. They're my bikes and I can do what I like with them.

CB125 - not interested I'm afraid........

08/08/2017 09:33:45 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I do believe you are improving them - using the fuse box as an example I personally think it's a smashing idea. As you point out though there are many who believe you would not be improving them, rather you are blemishing their original beauty with modern equipment. It's all a matter of taste and point of view.

So the plan is the V50 and eventually a Norton?
09/08/2017 15:50:50 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Yep - V50 and a Norton to keep it company.
10/08/2017 09:16:37 UTC
MP said :-
12/08/2017 11:57:46 UTC
MP said :-
12/08/2017 11:57:46 UTC
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