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!

2 motorcycles with luggage with stunning Welsh mountains in the background

Spring has sprung, now we have a few months of warm pleasant rain to enjoy after the cold and miserable rain of winter. What excitement and adventures will this year bring?

What's New?

Pothole Ouch I'm sure we've all had a similar experience. Ren's been shaken by a pothole, poor Ren. You'd think riding an adventure motorcycle and being experienced he'd know better. Nope.
Charging Troubles (5v not 12v) To keep the lights on and to keep going in the right direction Ren needs charging. It's time to update and rethink the USB power setup on the 500
CB500X At 40k And What Next? Ren's 500 is getting on a bit now. Where's the bike at and could there be a new addition to the stable?
Not A Lot To Say In The Best Possible Way Walking and some motorcycling with not a lot to report, which is a good thing. Ren is pondering the disadvantages of going to nice places.
The Tourer Transformation Continues Sharon's shiny new Z400's transformation from naked street machine to grand tourer is well under way. She does enjoy spending money far too much for Ren's liking.
CB500X Tappet Time Again Ren loves the CB500X except for one service job. It's time to do the unthinkable, it's time to do the tappets. He's a grumpy old grouch.
Sunshine And Sadness Striking lucky with the weather the dynamic muppets are having a look around North Wales' properties. It's not all glorious though with a bit of bad news.
Dodging Weather To Wales Ren sets the scene, faces impending disaster, has some luck and then gets lost. All in a day's muppetry for the dynamic halfwit.
A Winter Weekend In Wales Title page for a short winter trip to North Wales
Z400 First Impressions Sharon's got the Z400 home. Now it needs some prep work and a first ride. Nothing is ever as simple as it should be in Sharon's world.
See More What's New

Latest Posts

Pothole Ouch Upt'North ¹ said :-
Don't go to Brussels Rod....not that you would.
You'll be cancelled.
18/04/2024 18:45:13 UTC
Pothole Ouch ROD¹ said :-
We got here because Ren ventured a little to close to the politics of the pothole situation.
I am keeping quiet. My views are very right wing so my freedom of speech disappeared years ago!
18/04/2024 17:37:54 UTC
Pothole Ouch Upt'North ¹ said :-
Before I go any further can I state for the record I've got nothing against spotty teenagers. But!
Ian, you raise an interesting point, not the first time and I doubt it will be the last.
I always find the English teenager to be ill suited to waitering, with one or two exceptions. They are not starting a career, it is merely an iPhone interlude. They have no knowledge of the food or wine. They just carry the food from the kitchen to the table, returning 5 minutes later to request your impression of the food. Albeit they have zero interest in your reply.
Now your professional EU waiter is a different kettle of fish. They know the menu back to front and will suggest wine pairings at all price ranges. Obviously this doesn't include Parisian waiters. They are a different breed entirely, arrogant and full of pffffffftttttt's.
Your average EU diner is usually very helpful too and we've had numerous good suggestions from fellow munchers as to the best food on offer. They're usually right too.
How did we get here from potholes and a shaking Ed. Pffffffftttttt.
18/04/2024 16:00:32 UTC
Pothole Ouch Ian Soady¹ said :-
Yes, they often do that but remove it when asked. I always prefer to give the cash directly. Of course in France, tipping more than a few odd coins isn't normal practice as waiters etc are paid properly....
18/04/2024 10:13:40 UTC
Pothole Ouch Upt'North ¹ said :-
I don't know if you eat out much Ian me'lad. If you do check your bill, I've found 15% service added a couple of times lately.....and I was invited to tip on top!
17/04/2024 17:21:27 UTC
Pothole Ouch Ian Soady¹ said :-
The trouble with this country (he said leaning against the bar) is that people expect Western European levels of public service for American levels of taxation. And that ignores the fact that tipping people in the USA is virtually compulsory and is at least 20% of any bill.

Tax the rich I say!
17/04/2024 17:08:54 UTC
Pothole Ouch Upt'North ¹ said :-
While UK taxes are higher than in most other English-speaking developed economies (such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and the United States), they are considerably lower than in most other western European countries.

Under current government plans, UK tax revenue is forecast to increase to 37.7% of GDP
by 2027–28. This would take the UK above both the current OECD and G7 averages. It should be noted, however, that other governments may also increase their levels of taxation by then.

Only two certainties in life, death and taxes. Make that 3, Potholes!
17/04/2024 16:54:32 UTC
Pothole Ouch Upt'North ¹ said :-
"but then then we'd moan about the high taxes we'd have to pay to fix and maintain them".
But don't we anyway, pay high tax that is? Aren't we one of the highest taxed nations on earth? That's when all forms of taxation are considered.
The country is a disgrace, litter, potholes, illegality, general ineptitude of gen whatever and the occupants of the Houses of Parliment couldn't organise a pee up in a brewery.
We will have a new government of some colour or other coming along soon, but nowt will change.
I blame Cromwell.

17/04/2024 16:43:39 UTC
Pothole Ouch nab301 said :-
With all the rain in recent months , road damage is an issue everywhere unfortunately.... in a couple of months time the tar will be melting causing other issues . I think we've all been there at some stage , the memorable one for me many years ago was my brand new MZ 250, the pothole nearly had me off the bike and destroyed both (spoked) rims.
The main thing is surviving for another day with no other vehicle involved.

17/04/2024 13:33:56 UTC
Spare Parts for the Keeway RKS 125cc Patrice said :-
Hello which speedometer can replace on keeway RKS150 and which exaust can put
17/04/2024 08:03:05 UTC
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Latest Repair-Chat

Go To Repair-Chat Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
The proof of your success will be in the riding Ian. Good luck.
03/04/2024 08:14:31 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
They still are round here. All sorted out now (he said to tempt fate)
02/04/2024 09:51:31 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
That headlight wiring Ian had me in flashbacks to some of my early motorcycles' wiring. Countless bundles of those bullet type connectors in now brittle plastic shrouds. Clumps of green fur causing intermittent unsolvable issues. Cutting out the bad stuff and soldering in new bits of wire with no colour matches to ensure future diagnosis and repair is nigh-on impossible.

Eeeeeee... thems were the days.
02/04/2024 07:55:13 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Perhaps we should form a club....

I think I'm finally getting there. I've connected the battery and everything seems to work as intended, with the starter button on the RH cluster as I wanted and the horn on the left. I do seem to have a spare wire with a Lucar connector however....

Final job is to replace those horrible blue crimped connectors and button it all back up.

I always make my own cables with nylon lined outers (or conduits as they're known) from Venhill and will be ordering the bits when I know what I need.
01/04/2024 10:03:00 UTC
Glyn said :-
I had similar wiring issues when I decided that it would be a good idea to replace the old BMW lever bar switches with Suzuki items. This had to happen because the BMW bars are not 7/8" but 22 mm and so the old switches didn't fit the new bars I had fitted and were falling apart. Incidentally, the old BM bars look like the ones you have there but are black not chrome. None of the wires were similar colours across the 2 marques but I did take the old switches apart to understand how each worked. The main issue I had was the BMW indicator cancelling switch which needed a wiring mod or the turn signals, when operated, never stopped even when switched off on the Suzuki switch. I used the original BMW wires in the loom so that the colours in the Clymer manual remain correct for future troubleshooting. This also allowed me to use the original wiring plugs so that it all comes apart where it should. Current issue is that I bought a new throttle cable (which I had to solder a nipple on) and its not a "slinky glide" so seems rather stiff. I really like that bike and the mods Ian, I'm rather jealous even knowing how much work has, and will, be taking place.
01/04/2024 07:41:43 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Ever wish .... you'd never started a job? The new toy has its starter button on the left (Lucas) switch assembly at the bottom where you'd usually find the horn. This, on the other hand, is operated by a corresponding button on the RHS. As my thumb is used to finding the horn on the left, I started what should have been a simple job to swap them over.....

Hours later, with truth tables, connection lists, continuity meters and oily cables all over the place, I'm struggling. The problem is of course where the Suzuki loom mates up (or doesn't) with the Lucas ignition and handlebar switches - which themselves have been modified at some time so the flying leads off them are differently coloured to what my workshop manuals say.

I think I've just about got it cracked but have realised I should have started by taking the switches apart so I could actually see what happens when various buttons are pressed. That'll teach me! And didn't I say I liked wiring?

Note the profusion of red wires....

Posted Image
31/03/2024 10:00:03 UTC
KiwiJeff said :-
Good looking bike Ian. My son-in-law had a DRZ400, he said it was the best wheelie machine he has owned. I'm looking forward to the first ride report and a video of you mono wheeling off into the sunset! You can still buy the DRZ400 new in NZ but only for off road use as they don't have ABS. A very popular bike amongst the off road fraternity in NZ for both racing and back road exploring.
30/03/2024 21:03:16 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Yes, I may yet grow to love the rad. The brake is a standard late 1960s BSA / Triumph TLS model - generally thought to be better than the later conical hub version. I've had one before and it's an excellent stopper.
30/03/2024 10:15:17 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
Lovely looking bike Ian.
I did not like the radiator, but you accept it once you have looked at it a few times.

Is that a Duetto TLS front brake fitted?
29/03/2024 19:33:18 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-

Posted Image
29/03/2024 16:58:36 UTC

Latest Chit-Chat

Go To Chit-Chat Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
This little sliver of metal. About £10. What the flip?!?!
Posted Image
18/04/2024 16:53:53 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Harsh Upt', harsh, however also funny.

nab301 - Pfffft. Right where to start.
Evening 1 - remove rear wheel, clean rear wheel, get into the usual battle royale with rubber, fit tyre, collapse in a sweaty heap.
Evening 2 - clean the cush drive and sprocket carrier, clean the swingarm, clean the rear brake, balance the wheel/tyre, work out how to use chain tool, break chain tool because you don't know how it works, cut chain with angle grinder, fit new chain, use the now broken chain tool to flare the soft rivet, collapse in a sweaty heap.
Evening 3 - fit new front sprocket, fit new rear sprocket, refit rear wheel, spend an age looking for a sliver of metal from the brake mount, look online to see how much a new one would be, kneel and injure oneself on the sliver of metal while looking for a bolt, cry quietly into a brew, fit brake pads and caliper, torque everything, collapse in a sweaty heap.
This lunchtime - refit sprocket cover.

Now all I need to do is worry about have I tightened everything up. No wait, oh no, have I overtightened anything?
18/04/2024 16:50:51 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
He's obviously far to busy counting his fingers and toes, which isn't easy when you use them for counting.
18/04/2024 16:02:50 UTC
nab301 said :-
Ren , 3 evenings spent doing one evenings work.... ? You're obviously related to the works foreman!
18/04/2024 15:57:32 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Oh, and I've spent the last 3 evenings fitting a new rear tyre, a new chain and sprocket set and new rear pads. I'm covered in oil and road grime, the house looks like the worst dodgy backstreet mechanic's shop and I've used muscles I didn't know I had. I am pleased to say I still have all my fingers and toes, so far.
17/04/2024 20:07:28 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
This comes back to a recent post of mine regarding what I may or may not get as my "second" bike. I keep on looking at old NTVs and the like, because they're a good solid strong machine... unless one of the previous owners of the machine was a mechanical assassin.

I do have one advantage over you in one respect Ian. Being a mechanical assassin myself I'm getting quite good at re-bodging other people's bodges and quite adept at knowing where to look for bodges. It takes one to know one as they say.

Anyhow, urgh your situation sucks. But then I also realise while this might be frustrating for you I suspect you'd be bored if it came to you in perfect condition and merely required an oil change and the bars adjusting slightly. You'd have to ride it then and where's the fun in that?
17/04/2024 20:03:59 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Giving up for the time being on the Yam. I thought if I could get the offside exhaust off I'd have more fiddle room but of course the allen screws holding it on are rusted solid and rounded off. I expect I'll have to drill them out. What other horrors await....

To partially restore my sanity I made a new clutch cable for the BSA. Very satisfying even though I'd ordered the wrong size inner and had to search my bag of spare cable bits to find the right one. At this rate it will be hitting the road before the Yam, which wasn't the plan.....
17/04/2024 16:14:29 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Yes, I've ordered a simple on/off tap from ebay.

I'll try to post a pic of the plug. It will be easier to get at if I lie the bike on its side but then may lack the strength to pick it up again.....

17/04/2024 13:41:44 UTC
nab301 said :-
That's a pain Ian, but inline petrol taps are readily available (dare I say from horticultural suppliers too..) and should sort the vacuum tap problem if fitted after it.
Not sure on the sump plug issue without seeing its location.
17/04/2024 13:21:11 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Well nobody said it would be easy....

I guessed that the petrol would have got into the cylinders so turned the engine over with the plugs out (by turning the back wheel in gear - I'm not daft enough to use the starter) and was rewarded(?) by a spurt of petrol from each plug hole. But if it's got into the cylinders then it must have got into the oil as well? So dive underneath only to find the sump plug has been cruelly hacked about. I'm starting to realise why the PO wanted shot of it.

Of course daid plug is lurking between frame tubes and convoluted exhaust pipes so is a bugger to get at - no chance of stillsons or mole grips. I've left it alone for the time being while I ponder.
17/04/2024 12:00:27 UTC
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