Archive for July, 2015

Look who’s back, back again.

No, not Slim Shady, just me.

I’ve been having a weird old time of it. Not enough work but too much. I can’t seem to get a steady 5 days but what shifts I get are buggering everything else up. Not enough time for karate or runs.  Last week I worked the Sunday as well, which is usually the only day I can guarantee I can get to karate.

Then the bills have all hit at once.

I let my motorbike insurance renew (full year’s riding, only one crash! Go me!) and the sneaky buggers didn’t renew the monthly payments, took it all at once. Cheaper in the long run, but a nasty surprise.

When I was considering getting this bike the reviewer (here if you want a good read: http://www.realclassic.co.uk/kawasakiw650.html ) said the standard upgrades were to the carbs (done) and shocks. I’ve been putting them off because they are expensive and not high on my (purely aesthetic) cafe racer agenda. Anyway, last week as I tipped it into a corner the front end skipped out. Only an inch or so, too quick for me to react, but a wake up call. Usually when you lose the front end the first you know of it is watching the bike sliding away in a shower of sparks. I know whereof I speak. So stiffer, progressive, fork springs then, post haste. £130. *sad face*

I got them and they said you can either fit them properly by taking the front end off, or do a half arsed job leaving the forks attached. Sweet. Half arsed it is.

“Drain the fork oil out of the bottom of the forks.”

No drain hole on this model.

Of course.

So front wheel off, brakes off, mudguard off, forks out.

OK. Huge allen bolts holding the front wheel on, lots bigger than standard sizes in an allen key set. Ace. Shop.

Turned one side other side span. Needed another huge allen key. 

Shop.

Finally got the wheel off and the rest was quite easy. Apart from the fork oil coming with the warning that ingestion is lethal. Inhalation is lethal. Skin contact causes cancer. Ace.

I eventually got it all back together. My first tentative ride I couldn’t notice a difference, but the second day, throwing it into a really tight ‘40mph’ corner connecting two motorways the front end was solid as a rock. No juddering or skipping, massive difference.

The weather was really baking and I was off on Wednesday so on a whim I rode to Whitby, home of the goths. It was a lot further than I’d thought, but a great ride out.

When I got there I was well happy. My spiritual home. Goths and bikes. I don’t know if it was a special occasion but there were about 40 or 50 old bikes on the pier. Including a real live Vincent HRD! *we are not worthy, we are not worthy!* Here’s an advert for one if anyone is stuck for xmas prezzie ideas for me:

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With lovely ruins.

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Anyway, that turned out to be a 285 miles round trip. And a sore bum, ringing ears and tingling fingers.

Afterwards I thought I’d better adjust my chain tensioner again, when I noticed this:

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The chain is tight up against the top and bottom of the sprocket but has stretched so much it bags off. Balls. New chain and sprocket set (£85) and chain breaking/ riveting tool (£25).

On the bright side all this work has given me a chance to test out my bike jack the parents got me. Spiffy bit of kit. With the genius addition of straps and lashing points.

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When you are putting your weight behind some tough nut and the bike moves those straps are worth their weight in gold.

 

Karate is coming on, it’s a very good style. Lots of practical crossover (mixed martial arts, *sigh*) punching techniques. Very practical for real world situations. I just need a fixed work timetable so I can get to regular classes.

To which end I have got another application form and am putting in a proper speculative application. This time, instead of saying I just want days I’m being flexible and once I’m in I’ll get days ASAP.

Hopefully start on days, but if not, take what I can get.

The bike is a joy still, if somewhat expensive at the moment. The good thing is, it’s done about 19,000 miles, the fork oil needed changing anyway, the fork springs are a one time purchase and the chain and sprocket set are guaranteed for 2 years/ 15,000 miles, so they will be sorted for years to come.

I’ll catch up on twitter anon,

for now,

Later,

Buck.