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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

My bikes part 3…




The VX1100 I bought was the last of the Viragos. It was a 1998 SK model. This last model was a bitsa. Seems to me that Yamaha were getting rid of their stock of major Virago parts. My one came with wire spoke wheels and the black tank. I have heard that I could have got the cast wheels if I wished. But there was one thing they fitted that they should have checked. The starting system. More on this later.

I took the sidecar off the VX1000. Took sidecar and XV1100 up to HRD and Ron fitted a new subframe to the VX1100 and set up the side car.

I found that the engine in the XV1100 was rougher than the XV1000. The stroke was longer on the 1100. Also the top speed of the 1100 with the chair fitted was 10kmh slower than the 1000. Don’t ask me how I know. ;-) I just know. Know what I mean.

In 1999 the 1100 and chair took me to Queensland for the Virago Owners Rally. With the 20ltr Jerry can rigged into the fuel system the range of the 1100 was close to 400kms. The Virago comes with a fuel pump so it was very easy to rig in the spare tank.



The trip up was done in torrential rain and I was grateful for the third wheel. So too was the guy who rode his XV250 up to the rally with me. I carried a fair amount of his gear for him.
I was able to get a set of leading links for the bike. This made the steering so light compared to the standard forks. All the leading link cost me was the freight to get the standard forks to Victoria. A guy down there was selling his Virago but keeping the sidecar. He had a set of Bob Martin leading link forks. But didn’t have the standard forks. So we did a swap. The leading link was so good I could ride one handed. I also stopped using the spoked wheels after the trip to Queensland as I had broken 3 spokes in the rear wheel and lost at least two. By rights the rear wheel should have collapsed. So on went the XV1000 cast wheels.



It took 40.000 kms before the starting system showed its ugly head. Sure Yamaha had fixed this problem in previous Viragos. But it seems they fitted the pre-fix starter system. As soon as I had fitted the sidecar after its 1000km first service I void my warranty. So come that fateful day she refused to start I could not yell at Yamaha for them to fix it. It is no fun clutch starting a bike and sidecar. At the same time my wife came down with chronic fatigue. So we had to decide who to what to fix first. No real competition there. Wendy won.

So off the road came the Virago. I am happy to report that Wendy is way better now. Her treatment was very expensive but worth every cent. The Virago has sat in the garage for nearly 3 years now. We thought of throwing money at it and trying to fix it. But that just didn't make sense. We did this to the 1000 and was never able to get it fixed. Soon the outfit will be sold off as is.
Lilly and Heather. Happy sidecar kids.


Before Wendy got sick and before the 1100 stopped starting I bought a 1953 Matchless 350 G3LS. I have always wanted a Brit bike. Of course I should have bought a Vincent Black Shadow. HAHAHA… If only. I bought the Matchless as it was in my price range and it was a single. She runs. Just. Has many none standard parts. Like a Japanese carb. Has the original sidecar mounts on the frame. The tank has been very roughly repaired as it has split around the base. The braze welding is not a good sight down there. She leaves oil on the garage floor. Well come on it is British. This is a long term project to make her a reliable runner. No she won’t be a concourse bike. I want to be able to thump along on her on Sunday afternoons. {Edit this bike was sold to pay a tax bill.. sigh...}








This now brings us up to where this Blog started. With the MZ Traveller.

By my count that makes 12 bikes I have owned. How many more will grace my garage before I leave this earth? Who knows.

Monday, 30 July 2007

It must be in the Genes.......


I am not the only one in my family that likes motorcycles. My Grandfather on my mother's side had bikes. During WWII he served with the Australian Army Supply Corps. Here he drove and rode anything and everything. I have heard that in New Guinea he would ride ahead of a convoy making sure that the road was clear. After the war he used to have ex-police Harley's.

My grandfather in Palestine during WWII.

During the 50s, my mother used to ride a Vespa. My father used to have a Triumph Tiger Cub and did some marshal at the old Mt Druitt race track. My oldest daughter has informed me she wants to get a bike when she is old enough. That's only a year and a bit away.

So yes it runs in my family.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Bikes I have owned part 2...


As a teenager I knew a guy who had a Yamaha SR500. One of the first ones with the black tank and gold pin striping on the tank. When I saw his SR500 I loved the look of that big single engine. I knew one day I would have a SR500....

Now roll forward a some years. I still have the GSX250. It was blue to start with, now it is red after a bad accident. It has a rebuild engine. And yes I took all 8 valves out and put them back in too. I meet the woman who is to be my wife. After riding around Sydney on dates with her on the back I knew the poor 250 will not take us on the freeways. So I went hunting for a bigger bike. A single if I could get one. My heart was working overtime and I was not thinking straight. It was love you see. So when I saw a SR500 I had to have it.





Did I do any form of mechanical check? No! I paid cash and off I went. I had to learn to kick start the thing. Yes it did sprain my right ankle starting it once. It had shot swing arm bearings. And the top end was on the way out. So off the road she came. Back onto the faithful GSX250. I replaced the shot swingarm bearings. I had the head rebuilt and she needed a rebore. I did all the tear down and assembly. But I got distracted when I was putting the cam chain sprocket back on the cam shaft. I came back and forgot to tighten it up. So you can imagine what happened. The engine started ok. Sounded good too. All for about 2 kilometres.



Several hundred dollars later I had a Wiesco high compression piston put in and a new camshaft. She would pull wheel stands in 1st and 2nd gear. Shot flame out the open exhaust pipe on over run. And then she died again. Something in the engine. So I sold her for a song. I was sick of rebuilding the engine.

Roll forward a few more years. Married and one child on the way. I had a beautiful little CB125 single. I loved the look of the engine.



Time to go up an engine size. I bought Honda CM250. Belt drive cruiser styling. Nice little bike. Belt made a funny noise. We had no other transport. 1st daughter was born and we needed to get about. So we bought a second hand Virago XV1000 with a HRD 1 ½ sidecar. I had rung Ron when he ran HRD sidecars looking for advise on what bike to buy to haul a chair. He had a mate who was selling his outfit so we meet. Price was right. Ron taught me how to ride the outfit and off we went on our 3 wheel journey.





The XV1000 took my then wife, daughter who was then 18 months old and me to Queensland via inland NSW. The previous owner had fitted a 20 litre jerry can in to the fuel system so she had a good range.



In the end I ran the XV1000 into the ground. She needed new piston and rings and was plagued with an incurable misfire that made her un-drivable. So instead of pouring money down the cylinders I went and bought the last model VX1100 Virago.

In part 3 of My Bikes more on the XV1100, my wife gives me money to buy a Classic bike and I get the MZ Traveller.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

A rare event! Three MZ Scorpions together…..


Saturday 21/07/2007 Bruce, Kieran and I meet up for a ride. We had meet each other on the MZOG • MZ Owners Group.

The day was sunny with patchy cloud and cold. Bruce arranged and led us on this ride. He picked some great narrow winding countries road for us to travel on.

We meet up at Mac’ers at Kellyville. I arrived first. As I stood having my cup of tea I watched the different groups of bikes heading out on rides. BMW big off-roaders, Ducatis all off hunting for a great bit of road to traveller on.


Bruce arrived first. His bike is a very well looked after and tweaked MZ Tour. Heated grips, Givi pannier racks, different rear shock and small screen at the front. He has the Traveller faring brackets fitted in place so he can change fairings.


Bruce arriving on his Tour.




While we waited for Kieran to arrive Bruce started my apprenticeship into all things MZ 660. This was greatly needed by me and in that ½ hour I learnt far more about my bike than I had in the month of owning it.

Then Kieran arrived. We heard him before we saw him. What music to my ears. A single with a loud muffler. Kieran’s Sport has a Staintune Can fitted. Besides the Can and a different air filter his bike is a standard Sport.

Kieran arrives on his Sport.




A bit of a chat to introduce each other, some fuel and coffee off we headed. Bruce led us through his backyard. Roads that hardly see joe public use them. Tight and twisty. We where headed for St Albans. If you have Google Earth you can see our start in destination with the following coordinates.
In the ‘Fly To’ menu address bar place this -33.71053, 150.95114 for Kellyville. And to see where we ended up use -33.292759, 150.972198 to fly over some of the terrain we travelled over to St Albans.

Just off the Ferry. Kieran on the left. Bruce to the right.


The last 5ks into St Albans is dirt. Some of it hard packed and I saw at least 80kms trying to keep up with Bruce. Bruce must have a theory for saving energy as I did not see his brake light come on more than a few times. He doesn’t use his brakes. His riding is so smooth. Then we hit some tree covered parts of the dirt road. Shadows and those evil lurking pot holes waiting for their next meal of biker and bike. I hit one and got into a tankslapper. My left hand was flung off the handle bar. How I recovered I don’t know. I had ridden road bikes in the dirt to rallies in the 1980s so maybe some long distant memory kicked in. But I could see that beautiful fairing on the bike shattered if I put her down. In no time Bruce and I arrived at the Settlers Arms Inn our destination.

The Settlers Arms Inn. This table is mine!




We had dismounted and started to get settled in when we heard Keiran coming. In the Valley you could hear him for miles. He slowed down. Looked at the bridge we had crossed and instead of going over the bridge to find us on the other side of the river he gunned it and was off. There was no way you could have shouted out to him as that muffler of his kills all other noise. Off he disappeared. Bruce took off after him. Within about 10 minutes they both arrived back. The way Keiran had gone was more dirt but was turning to mud. He commented that he saw Bruce sideways through the corners as they came back to where I was waiting. Yes Bruce had also ridden dirt bikes.

My Travller.


Lunch was great. Great conversion about bikes, places we have been to and lots of other things. Soon it was time to head off. We retraced our steps and headed for Wisemans Ferry for afternoon tea. This time I went last and followed Kieran on his Sport. Shame Staintune don’t still make a muffler for the MZ as I would be very tempted. There is no better sound than a single with a loud muffler.

More shots of Bruce's Tour.




More shots of Kieran's Sport.





Afternoon tea was soon over and it was time to head for home. Bruce’s comment as we prepared to return summed up the whole day. “Shall we do this again?” You bet!!!!

A rare sight! :-)





The MZ was great. She loved the tight stuff. Engine is great for all the types of roads we travelled on. I still have to get used to the small front wheel and how quick she turns into slow corners or roundabouts. But that’s not the bikes fault. After a month of ownership I am so glad I bought this bike. Do I have to go to work tomorrow? I just want to go for a ride.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Another sunny day.....

Another sunny day. So out for another ride. This time I wanted some freeway riding and some rough country side riding. I was able to adjust the rear shock. A bit of WD40 sprayed onto the adjusting collar and I at last could change the spring setting. So that was a good excuse to go for a ride.

Went down the free way to Campebelltown. Then out to Camden and back along the Old Northern Road to Eastern Creek and back along the Freeway to Granville.

The engine is smooth at 100kmh freeway riding. The Virago mirrors at this speed are clear as well. Must be because of the metal backs. Top gear at 100kmh and roll open the throttle and she goes up to 120kmh quickly. I have not taken her up to the advertised 160kmh she is supposed to do. Don’t know that I want to. 120 is fast enough for me now days.

The Old Northern Road has had a lot work done to it over the years as it is nice and smooth now days. Fare few bikes out too. Nice to see that motorcyclists still wave to each other. Well not all. The Harley guys don’t wave back. I don’t mean those with patches but the weekend Harley rider. :-(

Stopped off at Camden Airport. My other love is for aircraft. Especially anything with 2 or more wings. So I was very happy to see these 2 old ladies of the sky, de Havilland DH82 Tiger Moths. You can go up for a joyride in them too. I had no spare cash so crawled over them taking photos with my camera and its dying battery. Must remember next ride to check the batteries in the camera. ;-)








On the Old Northern Road Luddenham is this beautiful old church and graveyard.





Saturday, 14 July 2007

Ride up to Wiseman’s Ferry....




Today I took a ride up to Wiseman’s Ferry. This is the first ride out of the suburbs for me and the MZ. The weather here in Sydney was beautiful and sunny but a wee bit cold.

For those of you how don’t know where Wisemans Ferry is it is about 60kms north-west of the Sydney CBD. There is car ferry across the Hawkesbury River. The pub there is a popular place for motorcyclists. The road in is nice a twisty and drops down to the township with a number of tight slow speed hairpin bends. Just right for a light weight single. ;-)

The MZ was great on smooth winding roads. But on the rougher roads she was bouncing around at the rear end and the front was not much better. Not the bikes fault at all. I have not changed the rear shock settings. Trouble is it’s a real pain getting at the shock with the C spanner. There is hardly any room to move the spanner to adjust the shock. The front may just need a different grade of fork oil. Maybe a lighter grade.

It has seen years since I last rode to Wisemans. Last time was with the Virago and sidecar loaded up with kids and wife. As much as I love riding outfits it’s great to be on a solo through the twisties.

3rd and 4th gear was used most of the time through the twisty parts. On some of the longer flowing corners I just left her in 5th and wound on the throttle.



I was expecting to see more bikes at the pub. But as you can see from the photos there were very few.
Got chatting with the owners of the ST3 Ducati and the Suzuki Boulevard M109R. The Boulevard blew me away. The owner said there are only 20 in Australia and he had No1. It is a V-twin 1800cc monster. I didn’t ask how much. It sure would pull a sidecar very well too.







When I left I stopped off at lookout that looks down onto the Hawkesbury River. Stunning view.





Leaving there I turned off towards Pitt Town and Windsor. Some nice flowing corners on this road. And then it was back into the Sydney Saturday arvo traffic. Yuck..

Besides having to now have to fiddle with the suspension I am really impressed with the MZ.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Bikes I have owned part 1...


Here is a trip down memory lane for me. Bikes I have owned. Well photos of the ones I have owned. Some I don’t have photos of.

Let’s roll back to 1978. My first bike. A Yamaha RX125 2 stroke. Love the yellow Bell helmet.



Off my ‘L’s and 'P's a big step up. ;-) 1981. A Suzuki GSX250. This bike took me to Queensland, at least 3 rallies in Victoria and many rallies in NSW. She started out blue. Then I had a bad accident. Replaced all the body work with a red tank etc from another GSX250. In the end she died when she threw a chain and smashed the crack case around the drive sprocket.

I wanted to go to the Cane Toad Rally in 1982. I knew the 250 would struggle going up to Mackay. So bought a brand new Yamaha XJ650. Helped the 2 guys I toured with both had these bikes too. I kept the 250. I have a habit of having at least 2 bikes at any one time. I did go to the Cane Toad. What a long trip. Did it all by myself too. This photo of the XJ was taken at Kosciusko Rally 1982.



After a tune up and service on the XJ and paying to have those shims replaced I thought I could do this myself. I used to do this with the GSX 250 even if did have 4 valves per cylinder. So I traded the XJ in on a Honda FT500. My first single. When I was a teenager at school I dreamed of owning a SR500. I couldn’t find one so bought the FT. She was not fast. But she show was great in traffic. And I could tour on her.

This photo was taken at the Alpine Rally Queens Birthday Long week end June 1983 or 1984. I do remember riding past Lake George on the Saturday morning just after dawn. It was so cold. I lifted my visor and my eyes watered up and then froze open. It was -5 on the Sunday morning when this photo was taken. Fellow rally goers laughed when they saw I was on a FT500. But they didn’t laugh when I thumped past them in the mud and ice on the way out as they struggled to stay up right. Didn’t drop her on the way out.

The FT500 was written off when I had a head on with a car. By now I was sold on singles. I loved this bike so much.

Part 2 coming soon. More singles and sidecars.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Video taken from my Virago Outfit....

1/7/2007. Hope this works. Here is a video my wife took in 2003 from the sidecar that is fitted to my Virago....





The Virago is suffering from termal starting problems. It will be sold soon as is.

Cheers for now.

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