Monday, 30 January 2012

Laverda's not dead

Been curious about these for a while now. They don't compare to an SFC, but they're not meant to. 
This small company is going in the right direction...

Saturday, 28 January 2012

California Lovin'

After doing some spannering for Adam on his bike last week, I managed to grab an hour or two yesterday to work on my bike, after finally completing my tiresome tax return. I last rode my '76 T3 California through the mud and wet last September, and it's been left like that ever since. The fork stanchions are getting more rust and pitted, so I'm going to fit some gaiters to hide them (from the MOT man), even though there's no leaks from the fork seals, as the damage isn't really in that area.

Poor bike - covered in dust and crap, unwashed, unloved, paint peeling and with a couple of leaks that need attention. I'm not really a polisher, but I think I'll give it a really good clean. I managed to score a front crashbar in almost new condition for it on Ebay, so I'll fit that, once I can get hold of the right bolts and spacers. I managed to strip the front end down, with alll kinds of filthy water and oild coming from the fork legs. I'll refurbish the forks, check the calipers, and fit a new front tyre. I might even clean the front wheel (Borrani), seeing how much they seem to sell for nowadays. I think I might leave the screen off this time round. Anyway, good to get back into the bikes again...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Ducati 500 GTL

I was flicking though one of my old copies of Motociclismo, this one from April 1976, and saw this ad for  the parallel twin Ducati GTL 500. It reminded me of being at an autojumble in Italy with my mate Adam, about 16 years ago. There were a couple of blokes, from Naples I think from their accent, and they had one of these Ducatis they were trying to sell. They had started it up, and revving it, and it sounded, and looked good. I can't remember how much they wanted exactly, but it was about 300/400pounds, so not much. We stopped and looked, but said to each other, naah, who wants a Ducati parallel twin? In fact, no one did, because at the end of the day, they still had, and couldn't give it away.

I look at it now, and it's an interesting machine, and I reckon it has aged reasonably well, despite the Giugaro type square bits. It came from a time when Ducati were still able to experiment with engine configurations before sticking for good on the vee twin path. But this one didn't work. Weak crankshafts and low power blighted the motor - luckily Taglioni had had nothing to do with it.

I wonder how many are still around. It'd be interesting to ride one. Anyone out there got any experience of one?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Tea, biscuits, tools and fools

After months of trying to fix a day, I finally went to my friend Adam's to help with a top end rebuild. I've known him for over 20 years, and it was good to see him again, do some spannering, and laugh at stupide crap. His Le Mans 2 needed some love and attention. Problem with Guzzis is that they so rarely need fixing that you forget in the meantime how to fix them, so we figured two idiots were better than one. The end result was a smooth running, crisp-revving bike. We were both amazed!

Friday, 20 January 2012


Someone sent me a YouTube link to some videos that show motorcyclists and cars negotiating some nice looking bends in I think California somewhere. I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the standard, or lack of it, of the riding skills of these people. How did they get a licence? If only we had a nice, sunny, dry set of bends like that over here! Obviously this set of bends is famous as it seems like people stand vulture-like waiting for an off.

As a biker I don't particularly condone videos of people crashing, but they're all low speed offs, but you watch wondering 'how did that happen?', while trying hard not to laugh. Check it out, and some of the others on his channel. Some of the car driving is just unbelievably bad..

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Better than the original?? Moto Guzzi 1000S v S3

A very nice looking Moto Guzzi 1000S, with cast wheels and some non-standard but better looking seat and Conti silencers, recently reached £8,000 on UK Ebay:

A handsome bike without doubt, but the final sale price was a shock, to me at least. A bike is always worth only as much as someone is willing to pay for it, and in this case, seems someone fell in love with the bike and wanted it, no matter what. It must set a precedent for the values of the 1000S models. I remember when they came out - they were generally disregarded by the mainstream motorcycle press as just Guzzi trying to make a few quid when things weren't going particularly well for them. I didn't think much of it either, just a late Le Mans dressed up, a copy - and I found it amusing that it sported the same paint job as my older S3.

This is an article that came out in late 1990, and I remember buying it when I found my S3 as I was interested and curious to see why Guzzi were bringing out new bikes that were looked just like their models from 15/20 years earlier. The article infers that there's not much between the two bikes, despite the years that seperate them. So if a non-standard 1000S sells for 8 grand (and generally speaking, original bikes that appeal to collectors fetch more), what does that make the S3 worth nowadays? Maybe the 1000S is simply a better bike?

Funny how twenty years on, Guzzi is still selling loads of bikes that look like they came from 30 years ago or more..