Monday 27 February 2017

Return Trip

How far would you be willing to go to get that hard to find original part that you need for one of your many projects? In my particular case it would seem that the answer is, hundreds of miles.

Yesterday I drove all the way to West Yorkshire in England to pick up a 25 year-old soviet-made handlebar fairing for a IZH Dnepr MT11 I'd won on eBay. Better yet, it came with all the original fittings.

It's not much to look at, and I'd be the first to admit that it's far from pretty, but it's what they originally came with from the factory in the Ukraine and I've been after one for a couple of years now. The problem is that even the poorly made Chinese copies are prohibitively expensive once you add in overseas shipping costs. So, if I was going to get one it would have to be second-hand and located in this country, and even then they don't come up for sale all that often.

As this one was ‘collect only', and a quick visit online showed me that I was looking at something in the region of a 500 mile round trip, it looked like a road trip was one the cards. I made the necessary arrangements to pick it up and together with the wife and the dogs we headed off for what promised to be a long day.

similar screen fitted to a Ural 750 Patrol
In the end I probably ended up paying more in fuel to collect the thing than it cost me in the first place. Nevertheless, I am happy with the purchase and it turned out to be in pretty good condition for its age. It should scrub up well once repainted.  In addition, I also picked up a NOS set of rear shock absorbers and a single saddle that the seller had spare, so all told a pretty successful day out. 

Monday 20 February 2017

Resurrection Shuffle

Over the years I've owned several MZ Skorpions, the bike with the big single engine from Yamaha. I started with a Traveller, then bought a Sport, and finally completed the set with a Tour, so you could say that I like them. I still have the Tour and the Sport, although the Tour is due a rebuild after being stolen/recovered, and the Sport currently resides at the back of the shed having fallen out of favour because of the effect that it's riding position had on my worsening back.

Publicity shot of MZ Skorpion Sport & Skorpion Tour
The Sport is a great fun bike for short rides, but most of my riding in recent years has been confined to long-distance touring, and it just doesn't fit the bill. It was picked up reasonably cheaply, and I have had more than my money's worth out of it, so it probably makes sense to sell it on to someone who will actually ride it. I did dig it out for a service along with my Tour prior to taking the latter on a European jaunt several years ago, before putting it away again as I was still in two minds about what to do with it.

My two bikes
Finally, last year I decided to sell it and began the task of resurrecting a bike that been off the road since 2007 if the expired tax disc was any indicator. However, before I’d done much more than take all the bodywork off and give it a bit of a clean I was interrupted by the need to get another ancient relic fit for the road, this time my wife's old 125 for her brother to take his test on (for details see Here). Time and events then conspired against me and it went back into the shed for the remainder of the year.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to give it another try. I dug out all the bits I’d acquired and made a list of what needed done. It was a surprisingly short list, so I’m hopeful that I can get it ready for the Spring. Current thinking is that once done I'll sell it off and clear a bit of space in the shed for other projects but, you never know, I might like it again so much that I hang onto it for a while yet. I really hate selling bikes.

Sunday 19 February 2017

Weekend Roundup (Sidecars)

From the pages of the Internet


Across America, dogs of all breeds ride in the open air in motorcycle sidecars, whether on short trips around town or extended adventures on the open road. Sit Stay Ride: The Story of America's Sidecar Dogs is a delightful and inspiring documentary film about motorcyclists and their beloved canine co-pilots. 

Sit Stay Ride follows a number of sidecar-riding duos, trios, and foursomes as they travel together - sharing the experience of being out and about on a sidecar motorcycle - a machine as unique as its passengers. Focusing on the dynamic and sometimes eccentric individuals who travel with a sidecar dog, we explore the essential relationship between humans and canines; the extraordinary bond that exists between them and flourishes through shared experiences and adventures. 

Sit Stay Ride is a rollicking, upbeat film that introduces you to the interesting personalities and heart-warming relationships that exist on the highways and byways of America through a series of insightful interviews, stunning visuals, and intimate portraits of dogs doing what they love best: living life to the fullest.

Strange Fruit

Painted a set of bar-end weights and the rear brake carrier for my Skorpion Sport this afternoon as part of its on-going refurbishment. This is them hanging in the garden to dry.