Friday, November 30, 2018

Bikes I have owned part IV. Moto Guzzi Spada III

The fourth in an occasional series of memory lane ramblings...

This machine came into my possession, as indeed have several others, whilst sitting in the living room one evening with beer in one hand and laptop mouse in the other. It seemed really cheap, a sly bid which would surely be bettered, but no, whoops, it was now mine.

I drove from Dorset up to Stafford to get it. A considerably longer drive than I had anticipated. When I got there the bike was slightly sorry, it was being sold on behalf of the owner by a friend (alarm bells should have been clanging) and the battery was flat. Eventually aforementioned vendor got it running and then proceeded to thrape the nuts off it from cold. At that point I should have got back in my van and driven home, one day of my life wasted but without the encumbrance of another project bike.

Moto Guzzi Spada III. A gentleman's tourer.

Once home I bought a new battery for the Guzzi. Then I rode it around the block. My 'block' is on a steep hill. At the bottom of the hill the rear tyre flattened rapidly. As the bike had not fitted into my van without some considerable struggle and removing the screen I decided to ride it the couple of hundred yards home. Mistake, the rear tyre was now properly buggered.

I discovered that removing the rear wheel on a Spada III involves taking both silencers and the rear brake caliper off. I was beginning to hate this bike....

The Spada's cockpit.

Once back together with new rear tyre I balanced the carbs and gave the machine a service. By now I was the father of twin girls. It had definitely been a stupid time to buy a new project. I gave the Guzzi a couple of spins. If I could forget the fact that at six foot two the canted back screen was way too close to my face and that my knees painfully rubbed against the fairing it was quite a nice bike. 

Givi panniers. A bit clumsier than BMW Krausers. 

The Spada III was created as a gentleman's grand tourer and it lived up to that promise fairly well. The power is roughly the same as a BMW R100RS and the bike felt ever so slightly sprightlier. The quality of finish however completely paled against a BMW. Brakes were linked and pretty good, handling not bad too. If you forgot the fact that this was a machine for which basic maintenance appeared to be quite awkward to get on with then this could be quite a pleasant machine. Oh, and you need to be under six foot in height for the bike to comfortably fit you, but not too short as the saddle is quite tall.

A bit similar in lines to a Hesketh Vampire.

I had bought the Spada as I had hankered after a Guzzi for a while and I was rather seduced by the looks of the Spada. I like classic sports tourers and I would love a Hesketh Vampire, the Spada looks similar, is similar on paper and is much much cheaper. 

A few months in to my ownership of the Spada the police came knocking on my door. Apparently the guy who I had bought the bike off did not in fact have the permission of the owner to sell and it was involved in a dispute. Hmmm... definitely should have walked away from this one. This blew over and a week or so later I found out that it was all resolved. At this point I decided that parting ways with the spiteful Spada was the most sensible thing to do. Rather sick of it I contacted a breaker but the price really did involve taking a heavy hit. So it went back up on eBay....

Finish was a bit iffy. Lots of bubbling in the paint.

The Guzzi found a willing buyer despite an honest appraisal of its various vices. At least it was now on the road and had received some love and attention. The price nearly covered my expenditure, certainly not though my time and anguish but I was happy to see it go. The new owner came down from Wales to pick it up and, despite my advice to the contrary, planned to ride it home. It wasn't that I had no faith in the bike at all, rather that it had not covered more than thirty miles in the last couple of years and was an unknown quantity. However ride it back he did, I made sure that he contacted me when he got home. Great bike he said, love it, never missed a beat...

For such a mechanically simple motorcycle home mechanics
on this beast were a royal pain in the butt...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mystery veteran combo

I've struggled to identify this veteran. It looks to be around 1913. The extra headlamp is truly enormous. Can anyone out there identify the marque?

Identify that veteran quiz time.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Hardy Trial 2018

Another ride in our local classic trial, the Hardy, organised by the Woolbridge Motor Club. This time passengering Matt's Wasp Yamaha outfit.

I last rode the Hardy in 2016; 2017 was a fallow year for the event so it was good to see it return. Motorcycle entries seemed to be a bit down on previous which is a massive pity as it is a wonderful event. This year Matt's Wasp outfit was the oldest bike entry at 1976.

The 2018 Hardy was about as good as classic trialing can get. Clear blue skies with a chill in the air but still mild for mid November, stunning scenery and some 14 sections spread over a 65 mile route. Conditions were fairly dry but the previous weekend's storm meant that there were a lot of leaves on the ground on the wooded sections and the going was slippery. We struggled a little on the outfit (largely down to rookie passengering) on several sections but did have a couple of surprising cleans. Our co rider Toby on his Honda XL250 breezed through most sections and it looks like he lost just one point the whole trial.

Passengering the Wasp outfit was a hoot, I'll be back for more whenever I have the opportunity, it's a lot of fun, occasionally frightening, fairly physical and tiring but well worth the effort and an experience to be recommended, so cheers Matt for the ride. 

Another clean for Toby.

Pre-section guidance.

Toby's Honda XL250.

You meet the nicest people on a Honda.

Wasp on the road.

Happy days on the XL250.

Toby exhilarated following the Wasp rolling
roadblock uphill at 32mph....

Hamming it for the camera.

Another cleaned section.

Friendly marshals.

The Wasp / Yamaha XT600 in all its glory.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Winter Rallies 2018 / 2019 season

En route to the Elefant. Thanks to Ian Clarke for the photo.

Winter rally season - It's the most wonderful time of the year!

For those that are inclined towards getting freezing cold on a bike and camping in a damp / icy / snow bound field here, for your convenience, is a list of events targeted at the more lunatic fringe of the motorcycling community. All are UK / European events, if you know of any rallies not on the list, drop me a line and I will include them.

Quick disclaimer - all dates are probably correct, check for yourself to make sure. Most events will be ticket only. Winter riding and camping is very obviously not a walk in the park, make sure man or woman and machine are well prepared for all eventualities.

Winter Rally. 2 to 4 November 2018. Gower Peninsula, UK. Welsh Coast MCC

Icy Ale Rally. 7 to 9 December 2018. UK. Druids MCC.

Hivernal Les Millivaches. 7 to 9 December 2018. near Limoges, France.

Motoxeada, Concentradion Motorista Ivernal. 14 to 16 December 2018. Fonte da Cova, Spain.

Appenino Winter Treffen. 22 December 2018. Settempedana, Italy.

Force Ten Rally. 4 to 6 January 2019, Warwickshire, UK. Mayflower MCC.

Savalen Rally. 9 to 13 January 2019. Savalen Fjell Hotel, Savalen, Norway.

Pinguinos Rally. 10 to 13 January 2019. Valladolid, Spain.

Cinghios Treffen. 11 to 13 January 2019. Valdo, Italy.

Winter Bikers. 11 to 13 January 2019. Faenza, Italy.

Wintertreffen Augustusburg. 11 to 13  January 2019. Schloss Augustusburg, Augustusburg,Germany.

Agnellotreffen. 25 to 27 January 2019. Pontechianale, Italy.

Mad Cow Rally. 25 to 27 January 2019. Bury St Edmonds, UK. MAG.

Jabalinera (Wild Boar). Last weekend January 2019 (tbc). Cantabria, Spain. MC Piston

Kickstart Rally, 25 to 27 January 2019. Cirencester. UK. Ogri MCC

Hot Rod Rally. 25 to 27 January 2019. Genemuiden, Holland.

Alteisentreiber. 31 January to 2 February 2019. Austrian Alps.

Uzena Kyta Motortreffen Sonov. 1 to 3 February 2019. Sonov, Czech Republic

Elefantentreffen / Elefant Rally. 1 to 3 February 2019. Loh / Thurmansbang-Solla near Passau, Germany. The original Elefant Rally.

La Charansouillarde, 1 to 3 February 2019. TBC. Charancieu, Rhone Alpes, France. Les Accros du Bitume

Fjord Rally. 5 to 8 February 2019. Jostedal Hotel, Jostedal, Norway.

Frozen Nuts Rally. 1 to 3 February 2019. Stoke-on-Trent, UK. Danger Mouse Rally Club.

Dragon Rally. 9 & 10 February 2019, Wales. The British Elefant and a grand tradition. 

Krystall Rally. 14 to 17 February 2019, Oset Høyfjellshotell, Gol, Norway. Just because it is in a hotel don't think that this is an easy option. Temperatures this time of year can drop to minus 20 degrees.

Altes Elefantentreffen. 15 to 17 February 2019, Nurburgring Germany. Confusingly the 'Old Elefant Rally' is in fact the upstart new Elefant Rally and held at the Nurburgring.

Primus Rally. 22 to 24 February 2019, Velmunden near Bjøneroa, Norway.

Primus Borealis Rally. Mid February. Just South of the North Cape, Norway. Not sure if this one is still running but it merits inclusion by nature of being the most extreme.

Another Elefant photo care of Ian Clarke.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

DR Dougie

Armistice Day. 100 years on from the end of the First World War it seems more important than ever to remember the human tragedy and lives lost in conflict. 

The world seems to be becoming an ever more scary place as elements out there seem to be keen to re-enact the mistakes of the 1930s that led to the Second World War. People have short memories; commemorations and study of history are an important way to bring the rights and wrongs, sacrifices and tragedies of times past back in to the current consciousness.

Old images of services personnel always carry a poignancy to them as they beg the question, 'Did they make it through'. I hope this chap on his Douglas did.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

1914 Sun Villiers first ride

1914 Sun Villiers.

The stars seem to be slowly aligning for an entry in the 2019 Pioneer Run. This is the planned for steed that I am kindly being lent by my father, a 1914 Sun. Having sold my Wall Autowheel two or three years back and singularly not managed to rustle up enough money to buy a new veteran I am relying on others' generosity to get a Pioneer ride.

The restoration of the Sun was completed several years back but for one reason or another it has not been used since, so time for some fettling to see if we had a viable ride or not.

The Sun has a 269cc Villiers motor mated up to a two speed clutchless crash gearbox. It has taken a couple of short sessions to get the bike running right.

First session we managed a few pops and bangs to accompany our experimentation with all permutations of throttle and ignition settings. Day two the ignition was further advanced and after much pushing we managed to get it going, snicked it in to neutral and had it running on the stand quite sweetly. It took a wide open throttle for the initial fire up but thereafter was content with just a whisper.

Next up time for the first ride, after some pushing and paddling along with the bike not willing to pick up we remembered that first gear was forward and not aft. Once in the correct gear the bike is now an easy starter!

Only a short test run so far but the Sun is a pleasant ride. Not far off in characteristics from a late thirties or forties autocycle. The engine is light and smooth, gear changes take a bit of getting used to but overall it is a sweet little bike. Time for some more fettling and test runs and then get that Pioneer Run entry sent off....

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Royal Enfield Model D

Here's a late thirties Royal Enfield. If I'm not mistaken a 248cc side valve Model D. Not a machine to set the world on fire, but a competent lightweight motorcycle none-the-less. The pressed steel girder forks put the bike as 1936 or possibly up to a couple of years later.

The chap astride is scoring highly in the inappropriate riding gear stakes. The machine carries a London registration plate and I'm guessing the picture was taken in the UK. It's a rather unusual location when you look up close. 

Royal Enfield Model D.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Goodies for sale

A minor clear out and a few odds and sods up for sale on fleabay, a taster of which below. Need to raise some pennies to maintain my habit....

Just search for user reddevilmotors2 or click here.