The city of Nice seen from the surrounding hillside bathed in sunshine

Welcome To Bikes And Travels...

...It's about bikes...and travels...mostly on bikes!

Ren's dirty and well used CB500X covered in camping kit

Autumn is upon us as the nights draw in and the weather changes. Is it time to put the bikes to bed for the winter? No of course not! It's not like Ren's bike could get any dirtier could it.

What's New?

Z250SL Tappets Again Ren is back inside the top end of Sharon's Kwakker once more. More shimming action but second time around is a lot easier.
Lake Vyrnwy Christmas is done and Sharon is otherwise occupied. Fear not, it may be hard to believe but Ren has friends! Welsh Wales and a(nother) place name he can't pronounce.
Mulling Around To The Mainland When Tobermory is a major town you know you've been somewhere remote. Andy is making his way up the West Coast of Scotland now.
Christmas Ride Out The only time to visit a city centre is Christmas Day when it's quiet. Liverpool this time.
Walking On Iona Andy is using Shank's Pony to get himself around the small island of Iona. Thing is the island isn't quite as small as Andy's feet had hoped for.
Wibbly Wobbly Rear End Ren is feeling a little loose at the rear. Too many curries? Could it be the staggering output of the CBF125? Perhaps a Slipper Clutch is in order? Or he's an idiot.
Easy Onto Mull Andy is taking in the splendid West Coast of Scotland at a sensible pace. From the Kintyre Peninsula to the Isle Of Mull there's a lot to take in.
CBF125 Oil Filter And Strainer Clean - Again Ren's been on the spanners again. Must be the weather or the dark nights or senility setting in. This time the infernal, sorry internal filters are getting a clean.
Leaky Bead - Again Ren just loves tubeless tyres - but they are not without their own issues. Today sees the return of an old unwelcome friend.
Benelli Leoncino 500 Brief Ride Review A long look and a short ride on Benelli's Leoncino 500. There's a lot to like for the price.
See More What's New

Latest Posts

Z250SL Tappets Again Upt'North said :-
Whilst I certainly am not questioning your tappet prowess Edster, in fact I'm impressed you take on such nonsense. BUT, isn't there always a but, how long do Kawasaki allow for this service item.
Do they really charge three hours at 70 or 80 quid an hour for a shimming. Gawd that would be expensive.
It's also strange that some valves seem never to need shimming whilst others are always requiring shims. Also strange with the inlet situation.
17/1/2020 11:00:43 PM UTC
Brief Ride On A Honda Innova 125 - By Ren Withnell Bogger said :-
This is my last comment ref oil. In all my bikes I use fully synthetic car engine oil. There, I've said it LOL. None of the bikes have ever had clutch slip or blown up. They all sound very sweet.Personally I would avoid energy conserving or long life oils.

Just as an aside I went to Corsica in 2018 on a Yamaha YBR125. Obviously equipped with 5/30 fully synthetic. On the way home the three of us all on 125's went from Toulon to Calais in 2 days.

Ok back to my new FREE Innova. I collected it two weeks ago. It had not turned a wheel in two years. I got it going within the hour and have already stripped the brakes and replaced the caliper piston seals. I've changed the oil a couple of times and each time I put in some engine flush. This weekend the plastics are coming off as all the fasteners are semi seized. I'll clean them up and grease them etc. I'm going to replace the timing chain as well while I'm at it. I have also started the general clean up. I'll keep you posted.

17/1/2020 8:23:51 PM UTC
Lake Vyrnwy Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
The problem is we are all preaching to the converted. My scribblings seem to have attracted the mercifully sensible end of the motoring spectrum. We are however in a minority and minorities don't make much business sense. Magazines that sell well sell to those who wish to read about "plenty of feedback", "maximum revs", "peak power" and "knee down". I'm sure this blog would be more popular too if I were capable of doing the same. It helps if you throw in a few scantily clad ladies but Sharon still refuses to go any further than an unbesocked ankle.

Think how much tyres have improved since the 'owd days.
17/1/2020 1:40:07 PM UTC
Lake Vyrnwy CrazyFrog said :-
I just love the way the bike press review bike tyres. Phrases like 'the tyres give plenty of feedback and warning when they are about to break away' tells you everything you need to know about how these idiots ride bikes and test tyres. Their reviews of bikes and tyres, to me as a 'normal' rider, are about as much use as a chocolate fire guard ☹️
16/1/2020 6:51:54 AM UTC
Lake Vyrnwy Ian Soady said :-
I always find it slightly amusing that when those silly bike mags talk about tyres it's always dry grip they go on about, and generally say "when warmed up". When you actually need the grip is when the tyres are cold and the surface of the road is all slimy and slippery.

As Upt'North says, bike tyres grip better than shoes. On one memorable occasion I was struggling through freshly fallen (and fallen) snow on top of ice going home from work on the Commando. As I approached a ped crossing the lights changed to red - a very cautious application of the brakes saw me sliding down the road. I couldn't stand up to right the machine till I slid into the gutter and could use the kerb to help.

I have to confess that I then parked the bike till the snow all melted.

With respect to car tyres I use winter tyres all year round on the Discovery. Again, any slight loss of grip in warm weather (which I've never noticed) is offset by the better security in cold wet conditions. And despite received knowledge that they'll wear faster they're still going strong at almost 40,000 miles......
15/1/2020 10:04:21 AM UTC
Lake Vyrnwy Upt'North said :-
Oh good, back to normal and not a dream after all. Unfortunately that also means my fence is currently on its way to Denmark and my whisky bottle is empty, one will be easier to remedy than the other.
But yes, are they so damn good? You only have to walk on a road with your winter grippy shoes on to realise how darn slippy the surface is. Then you climb aboard your chosen transport and completely ignore the slippiness and they grip like (use your own metaphor).
Obviously the wiser souls amongst us probably ride/drive accordingly and allow for the lowered grip levels although there are a lot more who pay little or not attention to such conditions and yet they live (normally) to drive another day.
How do these little black things (other colours are available) do it?
I fitted Er'Indoors car with 4 season Michies which are a truly astounding tyre. When I say I fitted, I obviously mean I sat drinking coffee whilst some grease monkey changed them. This one tyre will allow grip around curves, during braking, accelerating and will do it in summer, winter, dry, snowy, flood water, amazing. Our bike tyres will do almost the same with a contact patch the size of a beer mat. But I wouldn't try that in the snow.
If only everything in life was as dependable as tyres.
Now where's my fence gone?
15/1/2020 9:40:56 AM UTC
Lake Vyrnwy Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Oh heck I've confused Upt'. Right Ren sort yourself out boy. Ahem.

Upt' you plonker! Can you not see I made this mistake intentionally? I'm checking to see if you're "Upt" to scratch and paying attention at the back. Erm. It's a play on words showing my intellectual superiority. Errr. I'm using an archaic spelling. Look just shurrup about it. Pffffft.

And yes tyres are good, just think you could polish yours in old engine oil and make them all shiny. Just think how good they'll be then!

15/1/2020 6:26:48 AM UTC
Lake Vyrnwy Upt'North said :-
Since when did MY comments make sense?
And you're being pleasant.
Am I in a dream?
If I am, I hope I wake up to find the wind hasn't blown my garden fence into the North Sea and I haven't just drunk the last wee dram of Whyte and Mackay.
But in case I am awake, it's a lovely ride through Whitchurch and Oswestry to Wales. Remember it well.
On the topic of greasiness, aren't tyres good.
14/1/2020 11:23:14 PM UTC
Lake Vyrnwy Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Oh yeah Upt'! Erm, damn - it should be spelt dam... Sorry. I could correct it but then your comment wouldn't make sense.

CrazyFrog - 6 degrees you say! You wild and dangerous rider you, no squared off tyres for you I guess. Bet you wear the edges off before the centre line. I wonder what the science is behind this. You can't simply say "the temperature is x therefore the roads are greasy" or "we've had x much rain therefore...". I suspect it is a combination of many factors. Leaf litter, leaf litter bio-degrading conditions, washout, amount of rain, temperature, air moisture, salt spreading and wash off, any other things anyone else could suggest?

nab301 - while it did make a pleasant and refreshing change to up the pace a little (we weren't going silly) overall and generally I prefer to take it easy. It's a balance thing, it is still exciting and thrilling to open the taps yet I find more and more I enjoy pottering about, soaking up the ambience (or the rain) and having time to see the things I'm riding by. I know I'm getting old but ever since I've slowed down I find I'm enjoying my riding more. I am a plodder, but a happy plodder. If you do come over drop us a line, we'll see if we can meet for a brewski.
14/1/2020 8:24:20 PM UTC
Lake Vyrnwy nab301 said :-
Lovely scenery , many moons ago I followed a group led by a local to me ( Irish based) motorcycle instructor around parts of Wales including Bala under the auspices of a (motorcycle)training weekend. Early ferry, Sunday morning to Holyhead , return Monday evening. Again, I found the pace was a bit too quick , the roads were fine though. I must put a solo
Wales trip on the "To do list" !
14/1/2020 5:44:15 PM UTC
See More Comments

Latest Chit-Chat

Go To Chit-Chat Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
You're freaking me out now Upt', or Sharon's drugged my tea again.

I recall a Keeway RKS just like Sharon's at our local biker haunt. 8,000 miles, second motor and a total rusty wreck. We only needed to meet the owner and his maladjusted dry chain to realise where the "cheap Chinese crap" stories come from.

Equally there is some real crap out there! With 7 billion opinions it's nigh on impossible to deduce what's what and what's not. All we can do is try.
17/1/2020 10:27:01 PM UTC
Upt'North said :-
Completely agree Ed, the people who shout loudest are heard more.
The failure rate of any product cannot always be placed at the door of the manufacturer and each case should be observed carefully.
Whether there is an issue with reliability or not is often conjecture but it would make me want to wait a while if I was in the market for an RE, which sadly I'm not, she's spent it all on shoes. And posts!

17/1/2020 4:52:13 PM UTC
ROD said :-
Thanks Ren, I was about to post along the same lines, but as usual you have posted in a much more readable form than my scribal.
17/1/2020 2:25:16 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I wish I had a property large enough to warrant a fence...

I really struggle to decide on the internet's reliable data. For sure there are folks with issues regarding the Enfields - BUT - if you read reviews of that lovely hotel you like or your favourite white goods brand you will be sure to be shocked at how different your experience has been. People only get typing when things go wrong. Your garage door opens and closes reliably year after year after year and never a word you utter about it. You no longer notice it because it just blooming well works. Then one day - "SNAP! - something has sheared off and you are now inconvenienced. You hate that door and you tell your friends and anyone else who'll listen.

I owned a CB250T Dream, forerunner to the much maligned CB250N SuperDream. I dispatched on that and ran it up to around 70,000 miles before the bottom end siezed. Yet if you read the "Used Motorcycle Guide" from back 'int day you'd think it was the least reliable and useless piece of poop ever made. Why? I think it was because it was a good seller. If there were only 20 Moto Guzzi 750s sold and only 2 broke, that's a 10% attrition rate, but only 2 reports of broken Guzzi 750s. If 10,000 CB250Ns were sold and 100 broke that's a 1% attrition rate but 100 tales of woe.

It's very hard to form a hard scientific opinion without good, solid and reliable statistics. I still like the Enfield but these tales of woe make me nervous. Oh lordy I've just realised, maybe Honda's out spreading rumours... (cue dramatic conspiracy type music and then the credits).
17/1/2020 1:55:15 PM UTC
Upt'North said :-
I mentioned it to Er'Indoors Ian, she quickly calculated that she would lose the ability to buy many more pairs of shoes if I did employ said man. That's why I'm typing this sitting in the garage with a mid job cuppa and a choccy digestive instead of watching daytime tele, every cloud, as they say.
I think I'm turning into a mole.

17/1/2020 1:26:19 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
When the first Indian made Bullets came out they had a terrible reputation. A friend of mine who specialised in Norton Commandos and had worked in the BSA competition shop showed me the gearbox from his brother-in-law's Bullet - the machining was terrible and many of the parts weren's case hardened.

I had heard that Enfield quality control had improved but maybe not as much as it needs to.

Upt': can't you get a man in to do that sort of manual labour?
17/1/2020 11:46:29 AM UTC
Upt'North said :-
Just checked on the Himalayan, as you do when you've stopped putting 8' posts in for one day, there is quite a lot of disgruntled owners out there with regards reliability and parts availability.
No smoke without fire I suppose.
16/1/2020 6:10:27 PM UTC
ROD said :-
The Himalayan does not seem to be inherently unreliable. As many other youtube watchers I follow Itchy Boots who is on her second Himalayan and travels large distances.
What I will say is that the bike may not be suitable for all users, and the user may be the issue.
With a top speed of 75 - 80mph it would be very easy to abuse the bike, along with the issues mentioned by Upt'North.
I have had a GS250 Suzuki seize when I was abusing it on a motorway into the wind fully loaded with camping gear, but that did not make it a bad bike, it just was not the correct bike for the way I was using it.
16/1/2020 10:08:04 AM UTC
Upt'North said :-
Henrik, I don't doubt that RE can have issues with reliability, all mechanical devices are on the road to fail from day 1.
It would be interesting to know the FULL details which often vary from those reported. Maybe there was an issue over culpability. Pistons don't break easy, so either it was a manufacturing defect or something like running low on oil causing a seizure. I'm sure some RE type person may know more. Why they couldn't get the bits to repair it in Denmark, I don't know, are there RE dealers there. It would certainly have needed more than a piston.
I don't think RE are on their own either, many manufacturers are woeful when it comes to warranty/repair work. I had to wait for ten days when the rear washer on my BMW car rear washer failed. That's ten days in the workshop to make water come out of a nozzle. Acceptable, No, the norm, yes unfortunately. And that's after waiting three weeks to get it booked in.
Like I said if someone knows more it would be good to know.
Thanks for posting.

16/1/2020 9:17:34 AM UTC
Henrik said :-
Fact that the bike is "simple", the poor man could use for nothing
16/1/2020 4:10:24 AM UTC
Random Link - Shark Skwal Visor Broken - Dammit!

Admin -- -- Service Records