Saturday, 10 March 2007

The new and improved "Rooi Gevaar"

So this is what Rensche's bike looks like now ready to roll:

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Brand new engine. I give you special price!!! Trust me!!!

We took Rensche's bike in at the beginning of February as it was smoking badly and clearly needed new rings. After opening the engine they ordered up the rings but were told they were on back order. So the long wait began and finally they arrived last week and we could collect the bike yesterday. When we arrived they went through the list of things they had repaired and done to the bike and the list just kept getting longer and longer. Well when we left home we guessed it would be about £300 for the bits we asked them to wrong we were.

"Well when we opened the engine it was very clear that someone had been in there before and the engine had exploded in the past. The cylinder head had damage to it, the piston was new, the rings were dead, the valve springs were 5mm short and installed the wrong way round....etc etc etc! We also had to replace the rectifier as it was not dong it's job properly but had to order in a special one as your Jap import is not UK standard."

Piston rings: £17,60
Valve springs: £27,72
Gasket set: £82,35
Voltage rectifier: £58,00
Petrol filter: £6.20
Labour (1 day): £320
Total pre tax: £511,87
Total: £601,50

Rensche almost blew her gasket!!!!

Included in that charge was welding a foot onto the sidestand (which made Rensche very happy)and welding lugs onto the frame of the bike to recieve the Acerbis 22lt they don't fit our non-standard Jap imports...HINDSIGHT!!!!!!

Monday, 20 November 2006

The new and improved Baja

After collecting the bike and riding it around a few time we realised that things were wrong. The bike was stalling at almost every stop and both the front and back wheels were badly buckled.

Charlie stripped out the carb and found mud inside the jets and float chamber...who knows how it got in there...

After the carb was put back the bike still didn't run smoothly so we took it to Conquest motorcycles and they had a look at the bike and found the there was absolutely no clearance on the valves which was smothering the engine. So they set the valves correctly and adjusted the spokes on the wheels at the same time and now the bike rides perfectly. It does though smoke a bit so the rings will need to be replaced before we leave.
Bits we have fitted and fixed on the bike so far:
  • Acerbis hand gaurds
  • Bash plate
  • Braided brake hoses
  • Lowering link (Talon)
  • Bespoke luggage rack
  • Daerr C29 top box
  • 22lt Acerbis tank
  • Brake pads
  • Spectacles holder strapped to handlebar
  • Cut side stand to accomodate new lower suspension
  • Cut out seat
  • Givi screen
  • Renthal handlebars
Things we have replaced and fixed on the bike so far:
  • New rear wheel bearings
  • New front fork seals
  • New mirrors
  • New tyres (Trailwings TW301 and TW302)
  • New brake pads
  • New piston rings
  • New valve springs
  • New voltage regulator/rectifier

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Why smaller is better...

I love my new bike. I LOVE it! Its less than half the size of my previous 650CC BMW but oh what fun and freedom!! Even though I have conquered the Pyrenees mountains in Spain on the BMW it would have been so much more fun on the 250CC Baja. Yes I miss the respectful nods from other bikers seeing a girl on a BMW Funduro 650CC and sometimes I feel a bit like a snotkoppie on a 50CC but the joys of actually enjoying the scenery when riding makes it all worth it.

No more sizing up every piece of tarmac for a hint of a dip or an angle for a suitable area to stop. No more holding of the breath and clutch on every turn. No more carefully and determinately changing of feet at stops to make sure I can hold the weight. No more damsel in distress EVERY time I have to get off and the road is at an angle. No more heart thumping panic as I see Charles stop and looking at the map... We've missed our turn....I know it. Please Charlie my liefie I love you but please don't make me do another U-turn on this 200kg piece of machinery.

So when did it dawn on me that my lowered to the ground BMW is going to be unsuitable for our Africa trip? I mean am I not the Queen of the twisties in the mountains, up hill and down hill and did I not successfully do even gravel road in Spain? (Mind you I had two angels on the back). Is all this not just skills that I can learn that seperates me from a novice to a veteran? On the ferry from Cherbourg back to Poole after our 2 weeks in Spain I realised my precious BMW is a handicap. As we got onto the ferry the Skipper waived his arms at me and gestured to me in French that he wants me to park my bike with its back to a wall. This means I have to reverse. Charles was waived to the other side of the ferry. I stopped.....The skipper didn't understand.... "Je tress petite" I tried. Yes I am too small. Or better: The bike is too big. Not even could my ten toes on the ground not get enough grip to move 200kg backwards....I couldn't even get off the bike because of the slippery steel surface. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my hero come over to help me off my bike. MMMmm. Do I really want to drag this bike through the dongas and ditches in Africa? What if I need to pick it up by myself because Charlie can't help me? What if I have one topple over too many? (I know what it feels like to hit the ground). What if I have to push it with luggage and drop it and break something vital?

So then the search started for smaller bikes. But don't you need a big beefy machine to go through Africa??. People "in the know" dropped their jaw in horror when hearing we're contemplating anything smaller than a 600CC. But you see we did our research. And then we actually met people like Lois Price (took a 225CC Serow through the Americas and taking a 250CC now through Africa), Zoe and Paul (did the big bike thing through Africa - took Honda Transalps 650CC 2 years ago and second time around taking 250CC) and guys of the Mondo Enduro (took 350CC around the world). The thing is you don't want to look like Ewan in the LongWayAround (took 1200CC BMW) cursing every mud pool you see because you know you won't be able to pick it up unaided. You want to blast right through it and, oh well, if the bike falls you know you can pick it up. And have a bit of fun and a giggle. You don't really want to be driven on your trip by fear.

So there it is. Small bikes it is. And because Charlie believes we need to take the same bike (to swap spares) he's sold his BMW and got a 250CC Honda himself. Aaahhhgggg...

(But smaller bikes means a slower trip and less luggage.....which means the hair-dryer is defnitely staying at home!...maybe I'll sneak in a lipstick)

The Baja is found!!!

After waiting for 4 weeks for the 'phantom' container to arrive from Japan stacked full with Baja's we started looking around for alternatives and homed in on the Yamaha TTR250.

So as we were following our crusade to find the perfect bikes we accepted Lois's kind invitation to come have a look at her TTR250. When we got there the TTR was in at David Lamberth ( being made trip-ready for her latest adventure but we had a look at Lois's Serow and took it for a spin. We were pleasantly surprised at how low it was and how even with both of us on board riding pillion it still pulled like a little steam engine (that's not implying we need to go on a diet). This little bike reconfirmed our decision to go for smaller bikes. Although the Serow was a nice ride we did feel it was just just just too little.

On getting home that same evening we thought we might as well have a look on (the kind of thing you do on a saturday evening) and low and behold there it was...a XR250 Baja for £1650. We immediately phoned the owner up who agreed to hold it for us. The next morning we grabbed our cash, hired a van and headed off to Dartmoor; stopping off for a cream tea in Princetown. Took the bike for a test run and although it was a bit dirty and a couple of scratches here and there it was very well priced so we handed over the dosh and headed home.

XR250 Baja, 1998 (R reg), standard light, 9lt tank, kick and electric start.

Within the week of getting the bike we fitted the lowering link we bought off Ebay 6 weeks ago for £15, had the seat cut out by an upholster in Dorchester (E Davids & Son), compressed the monoshock, slid the forks throught the yokes and now the seat height is 795mm. Although this is higher than the Funduro the seat is about 5cm narrower and the bike weights only 115kg compared to 170kg of the Funduro.
Rensche took the bike for a spin yesterday ALONE and she came back with a huge grin...wooohooo!!!!!!