Triumph Tiger 800 Nitron Shock Absorber

By August 2015 I’d had my Tiger 800 for 18 months and the rear shock was sha**ed.

Potholes were bouncy, high speed curves on major roads were …   interesting…

I picked up this Nitron shock from a colleague. It had done 1600 miles and looked like new. When asked, I learned that a “shock sock” was de-rigeur for maintaining the “good as new” look.

Here’s the old vs the new.

Triumph Tiger 800 Shock Absorbers

Here’s an R&G ShockTube (£25)

Nitron Shock for Tiger 800

And here’s the result.

R&G Shocktube Shocksock for Tiger 800 Nitron

The handling is transformed. Sometimes I find myself hunting out the potholes and irregularities, something I wouldn’t have dared before.

Honda CBR600FS (Dave’s)

How brilliant is it when your kids (or their partners) are into bikes 🙂

When Dave called and asked for my recommendations for a first (post Direct Access) bike, I immediately went “Street Triple”

Unfortunately, funds wouldn’t stretch that far and after (briefly) flirting with the prospect of a Hornet 600, we decided that a CBR600F was the answer. Honda CBR600FS

This is an 04 plate CBR600FS that I rode home from Windlesham on 8th August 2015. This model was the first fuel injected CBR600 and was the stepping stone between the carbed CBR600F and the race replica CBR600RR which came a year later.

It is more sporty than the CBR600F (but not as much as the RR).

The only problem remaining was Dave’s lack of a full motorcycle license…

Honda CBR600FS

In the garage.

Honda CBR600FS

And all covered up.


Tutoro Chain Oiler

I’ve had a few chainoilers over the years, from manual squeezy things to vacuum-assisted Scottoiler.

This has to be the best so far – engineering design at its best!

Tutoro chain oiler Tiger 800

The oil reservoir contains a weighted float that jumps up and down when the motorcycle is moving. Flow is regulated by the knurled knob at the bottom.

It works brilliantly!

Tutoro chain oiler Tiger 800

Chain oiler Tiger 800

Coupled with great video tutorials on and a bit of telephone help from Nick and Jude Ibbitson, this is probably the best £80 you will spend (apart from buying a new chain & sprocket kit 🙂

CB750 Cutaway Engine leaves for Sammy Miller’s

I have looked after this engine for the last 8 years. It’s lived in the barn with the (now all gone) dozen or so motorcycles and miscellaneous parts that formed “Nirvana Motorcycles”.

It was built in the early 90s by Dave Jupp (of VJMC fame) from a set of F2 crankcases that had suffered from a chain “blow” and various other scrap pieces that were about. It lived in Tippetts Motors showroom in Surbiton until the inevitable glass/chrome corporate refurb consigned it to the scrapheap. No room for this sort of thing in a modern motorcycle dealer.

Honda CB750 Cutaway Engine

Dave did a fantastic job. He split the duplex primary chain and half of it descends into the box below where there lives a large electric motor with a small electronic timer. Press the button and the motor ran for about 60 seconds before resetting. A glass mirror case and internal lighting completed the show.

I decided that the engine had to find a new home (not least because the owner of the barn was retiring and wanted to sell up and move to the coast), but had to be sure that it went somewhere that would appreciate and look after it.

Sammy Miller fitted the bill and after a few calls they admitted that they had just completed a new extension to the museum and that this would make a fitting addition to the new exhibits.

Sammy Miller Extension December 2014

Today, Bill (the curator) came down and collected the engine for the beginning of the next stage of its life…

CB750 Engine in Sammy Miller Van (1024)

CB750 Engine leaves Nirvana (1024)

More soon.

Tower Poppies

Back in October, we went to the Tower of London to see the poppies:

Tower of London Poppies October 2014Shard, sunset and Tower of London Poppies October 2014We thought we’d buy one but were gutted to discover that all 888,000-odd of them had already sold.

Luckily, my son Chris was a bit more proactive and had already ordered one (he didn’t tell us) and presented it to us on Christmas Day…

My Tower of London Poppy

I understand that they’re not frost-proof so it currently lives in an orchid pot in the kitchen – looking for a more permanent solution 🙂

More Permanent Solution (?)

Here’s a poppy stand that I bought on eBay:

Poppy Stand

Shown on the kitchen floor at the moment so needs a little more “architectural” work.

More soon…

Honda CB500/4 “Goldie”: K0 or K1?

First up: I am a rider, not a restorer…

I assumed that all my 1972 bikes were K0s,  1972=K0, 1973=K1 and 1974=K2 (seemed reasonable to an engineer like me).

Not the case. It seems that the K0 was only shipped in the USA, so any UK K0 was either an import or extremely rare.

The differences are important if you are trying to refurbish or restore one of these (not least in the price and availability of the parts).

Many thanks to my good friend Bryan Jones for this summary:

  1. Small reflectors on the headlamp ears with 5mm thread (later big ones were 6mm)
  2. Round pins on the electrical panel block connectors
  3. Forks have the internal threaded bar from the top nut to damper rod
  4. Different pattern on seat cover (large squares)
  5. Hook on seat lock with different lock on frame
  6. Side panels should have a transfer underneath the 500 four badge saying “Honda Motor Co; Tokyo Japan”

Here’s a K0 seat that I bought on about 10 years ago:

Honda CB500 K0 Seat

Compared with the K1 seat fitted to the bike:

Honda CB500 K1 Seat

Note that the K1 seat has a badly fitted cover and no strap fixings.


So, I have a K1.

Honda CB500/4 “Goldie”: First Ride

Having got “Goldie” back right at the end of probably the warmest and driest September ever and with a dreadful weather forecast, it was with some trepidation that I looked out of the bedroom curtains at a reasonable hour (post Suzuka Grand Prix) to find a glorious sunny (if not warm) morning. Time for a ride…

Nervous. Last time I rode one of these was about 5 years ago and I’ve ridden a series of modern Triumphs since then. Would it go? Would it stop? Would it piss fuel all over the swingarm and the road?

The answer was “Yes” to all of those…

CB500 First Ride Oct-14 (Custom)

Fuel on. Choke on. Thumb the starter and she bursts into life.

As I remember, a cacophony of rattles at tickover with that glorious four-pipe Honda soundtrack.

First impressions? The front disc brake is absolutely useless (even on a dry sunny morning) – I’m going to have to take it apart and take a look. The throttle is very heavy and it feels very small.

I guess it is about the same physical size as the Street Triple that I rode the other day, albeit with less than half the power. I am definitely sitting “on” it and not “in” it as I do with the Tiger.

Filled it up with fuel. Yes it leaks out of carb #1 (more fixing to do). The neutral light doesn’t work and the indicator switch has no central detente.

I really need to do a few miles and then go home and check that all the nuts & bolts are still there, that the tyres are still inflated and the oil level hasn’t dropped. I needn’t have worried. It was great.

After 20 miles or so I headed home. Maxed at about 75mph (ish) which was fine. Felt good, handled OK (a bit hard) and sounded great.

All in all, very pleased. It is still filthy after 8 years in a barn and there’s definitely a “patina of age” about the bike. Love it!

Honda CB500/4 “Goldie”: Back from the dead

This is my (current) 500/4. I always wanted a gold one and have recently sold the black one (see posts on “CJF”) and the “Silver Machine”.

“Goldie” has languished for the last 34 years. There are odd MOTs and SORN notices, but the bottom line is that when she changed hands in 1980, she had 37,367 miles on the clock. Today, 34 years later, she has covered 37,420 – that’s 53 miles in 34 years…

500-4 Sep-14

This blog will form the basis of the ongoing story. I’m not an anorak and just want to enjoy riding the bike, rather than worry about whether the seat is correct for a “K0” or not. Having said that, the seat is not correct and I’ve had an original 1972 seat in my garage for the last 5 years waiting for this day…  (oops, I’ve started…)

The bike was recommissioned by Sean Brennan of SB Engineering in Woodcote (Oxon) who comes highly recommended. With a shiny new MOT, it took me about 20 seconds on the DVLA website to get her taxed. Now all road legal. Just needs riding!

You can find Sean here: SB Engineering – Motorcycle Restoration