After the debacle with the Triumph Sprint (Triumph leaving a known weak part to fail, and the previous owner selling it on, as it was about to fail) I bit the bullet, bought the part, fixed it, and sold the bike. I say that like it was a doddle. The sale was a nightmare. It was the same noob who broke it. I don’t want to go through it all as it’s boring and infuriating, but after he’s asked me to take the advert off eBay (ie, he’d agreed to buy it) he came around to look at the bike. I had to take him for a test ride, then he wanted his mate to come around and take it for a test ride, then, after several hours of messing us about and winding me up, he finally agreed he was going to have it.
I had already spotted about the cheapest bike going, so I was desperate to sell to be able to buy it before anyone else snapped it up. Happily we’ve had nothing but rain and gales for months, so nobody was stupid enough to buy a naked bike. Except me.
I was in a rush, so once the pushy noob had bought my bike I arranged to go and view/ buy it as soon as possible. I usually start at ungodly o’clock on a Saturday, with an early-ish finish,usually, so I said I’d go down late in the afternoon.
That meant on Saturday I got up a 03.50 hours, went to work, home for 14.00, on the train for 15.30, arrive at 18.10. Then view and get home. Long day.
On the bright side, the train picked up in Warrington, next stop London. So that was good. Then I had to negotiate the tube, easy as it turns out, but worrisome beforehand. Another train and I was in St Albans right on time.
The guy seemed genuine enough and a nice bloke. And he picked me up from the station. As everyone does in these situations, apart from the rip-off copper who sold me the broken bike. Should have known.
The bike has an alarm, starts on the button, sounds lovely and is in great condition. And, surprisingly, is so small I can actually put me feet more or less flat on the floor! Usually I’m on tip toes, which is less than ideal if you’ve got slippy boots or it’s blowing a gale, but it’s just always been the case so I never thought about it.
So I bought it. I’ve not taken any pictures yet, but it does look just like in the advert.
I took a bulging sports holdall stuffed with clothes, waterproofs, and my bar mitts (they are ugly but keep your hands from freezing). I put the lot on and waddled on to the bike. It turns out, with the route I took to avoid all the roadworks, it was a 188 mile ride back. That was bracing. And it poured down the last 50 miles. Of course it did. A good test ride for the bike though. It didn’t miss a beat. The guy who sold it to me said “good luck riding that far” saying it would kill my arse. I don’t know if it was all the layers, but I thought it was quite comfy. After 120 miles I started getting wriggly, but nothing extreme. I’ve had bikes (2 spring to mind) that after 70 miles you were stood on the pedals because you couldn’t bear any more. The wind smashing into you is a bit of a pain, but that was the plan. And it does slow you down.
I’m still getting used to it, and it’s been nothing but rain and gales for forever now, but it seems a hoot of a bike. On Sunday, coming home from work, I had a VW Golf right on my back wheel. I shot off from the lights to teach him a lesson in humility, (it’s what I do, you’re welcome car drivers) and the front end came up. Just on the throttle. Which is to say I wasn’t forcing a wheelie by throwing the clutch out, it was already out, but as I accelerated the bike began to lift. They said it is a “hooligan bike” but I thought I’d at least have to try. The front end has remained planted since, but that’s something new and exciting.
I had the bike nearly 24 hours before I started on maintenance. It’s a bit stiff to back up, and the back brake disc and one front disc were getting warm, so I took the brake callipers off and cleaned the pistons. They were lovely. Slightest bit of muck on them. I cleaned them anyway and greased them. The discs are cool now, but the bike still feels a bit stiff to push. Not sure what that means.
Tomorrow I’m going to make it a lot prettier by fitting a tail tidy. It’s a custom number plate holder. I’ve been told it’s the law that the back tyre cannot be the furthest thing on the back of a bike. If you look at the picture the number plate is held out on an ugly arm to be behind the wheel. The tail tidy puts the ‘plate right underneath the rear light.
(I’ll take pictures tomorrow to better demonstrate.)
Then, after making it too pretty to bear, I’m going to ugly-fy it with a top box. That way I can stash my lid at work and don’t have to keep knocking on the door of security to stash and retrieve it. Top boxes are really practical, but really, really ugly. And in no way keeping with the look of the bike. Sorry, Striple.
So that’s where I am. I’ve finished obsessing. I’ve got my bike. It seems to be all as advertised and lovely. And it does exactly what I wanted of it. It goes like stink, handles well (I think, the riding position takes some getting used to and it’s not been dry yet) and there is no chance of you accidentally slipping into automatic ban (100mph) territory by accident. And if you get there, you certainly don’t want to hold that speed.
Oh, I forgot to say. Wendy was going on about my ‘forever bike’ dream. “You always say this, then a few months later you don’t like it and want something else. It’s never ending!”
I finally got home from the 188 mile ride back at 22.30 ish, after a very long day. When I got back Wendy said “What do you think of it?”
I replied “Nah, it’s not for me, that.”
My VFR750 hasn’t sold. I had 34 people watching it on eBay, but no-one pressed ‘buy it now’.
I’ve got options. Some guy is coming to look at it tomorrow. I’ve had offers for less than my asking price. Or I could just wait until the temperature is warm enough to lure the Fair Weather’s out of their Volvos, and try again.
The guy came around to view and was just nit picking trying to get me to give it away. I was in the middle of a frustrating job on the Triumph so I was utterly uninterested. Buy it or go away. He’s gone “to think about it”. Think about putting your hand in your pocket, mate.
I fitted the tail tidy. It was a bit of an ordeal, as the instructions were at best partial. And I had to improvise, adapt and overcome. I ended up having to saw some off the old plastics to make the new one fit.
I got there in the end and it looks loads better.
The number plate is a bit off kilter, but I can adjust that.
Once that job was done I set to fitting the top box.
Once again the universe proves arbitrary yet vindictive.
The frame for the top box runs inside the exhaust pipes then flattens off just above the seat height. Which means, because I bought the cheap design of tail tidy, it won’t fit.
The frame wants to come up just about where the arrow is. I thought about taking an angle grinder to my brand new tail tidy, but as I’d have to strip everything off again to do that, thought I’d better do some research first.
I was in the middle of trying half a dozen adaptations and workarounds when the guy came to view the bike.
I went to look for bikes that had a top box and a tail tidy. I found they’d relisted the ugly, but local, bike I was going to get.
Indicators coming out of the side of the light. I tracked that down.
So, I’m going to have to buy the dearer tail tidy, that gives the top box frame room to pass.
Then sell mine on eBay.
Then I braved the freezing cold and hail showers to wash the road salt off.
Apart from the pug ugly bar handmuff things. I’ll be so glad when it warms up so I can take them off.
The back brake was a bit sticky so I’ve stripped and cleaned that again. The anti chatter spring was fouling the piston, so I’ve ordered a new one. Hopefully that will be the end of that.
So, that’s where I’m up to on my latest obsession.