Author Archives: Steve Dennis

Triumph Tiger 1050 Suspension – WP Rear Shock

My Tiger has just passed 30k miles and to be frank, the rear suspension is shagged. It bounces over bumps and if/when you hit the second bump whilst cranked over in a bend, you’d better have some spare trousers in your pack!

One of the guys on had moved on (up?) to a Ducati and was offering his 10k mile WP rear shock absorber for £350. He worked in London so we met at Euston and I brought home my new rear shock and looked forward to the next 10k miles (before, presumably, a rebuild would be in order…)

Tiger 1050 WP Shock

Tiger 1050 WP Shock Here’s the removed OEM shock compared to the WP part. The Triumph shock looks much heavier (I didn’t weigh them) with a much thicker spring.

Tiger 1050 WP Rear Shock vs OEMSomeone told me once that new bikes have to be designed to cope with two 20 stone people so no wonder they are oversprung. Not sure about 40 stone (that’s 254 Kg or 560 lbs depending upon where you are), but it sure looks over-engineered.

Road test to follow.


Remus Powercone Exhaust – Triumph Tiger 1050 (update)

Remus 002Ever since fitting the Campbell Custom Sidewinder exhaust on my bike nearly 18 months ago, I have been on the lookout for one of these. The Campbell is just too noisy…

I like the low slung design and assumed that the single can (as opposed to the twin “cans” of the Campbell) would give a deeper tone and still sound brilliant.

They have shown up on eBay every now and then but finally found this one.

It doesn’t come with a centre-stand stop so I had to make my own from an old aluminium window fitting. I’ll keep a lookout for a linkpipe that includes the required small metal fitting. I asked Remus and they offered me a new one from stock (a mere £82 + shipping…)

Update (27-Dec-13)

Found just the link pipe with the centre-stand stop for £30 (BNWB) so bought it.

Now fitted and have removed the old aluminium window latch that I used to stop the stand hitting the chain.


How many spelling mistakes can you get on one billboard?

This is/was outside Don Beni’s in Denmark Street Wokingham on Friday afternoon. (originally published in October 2012)

Don Beni AdvertisingI can see 5 (if you include the random apostrophe after the X in Xmass…)

Update: More typos!

Spelling on restaurant advertising boardsThis was May 5th (2103) and it would seem that the Xmas(s) trainee didn’t get the push after all!

Update: Not sure about this one…

It could be done on purpose. Obviously a better class of signwriter in Marlow.

Marlow Donkey Board


Renthal lightweight alloy sprocket after 15,000 miles (at least)

When I bought my Triumph Tiger 1050, I remember noticing what a natty coloured rear sprocket was fitted. Matching tank and sprocket!

Here it is after 15k miles (of mine) when I thought I’d better change it. The edges were so thin that you could probably cut yourself on them.

Moral of the story. Steel & steel lasts longer than steel & alloy…

Renthal alloy sprocket after 15k+ miles

Renthal sprocket - nice colour, shame about the longevity

How to replace the door mirror indicator on a Mercedes SLK 230 (R170)

I have written before about DIY fixes for the SLK – mainly because there are people out there (and YouTube videos) that say its really difficult.

A few years ago (actually, it was 2010), my wife broke the nearside (passenger) indicator on the SLK. I have put off repairing it as I thought it was expensive and difficult.

This week it failed the MOT because the broken indicator was filling with algae and the LEDs were no longer orange. It appears that the orange colouring has worn off. As long as the indicators were orange, it didn’t matter that the lens was broken.SLK R170 Passenger Door Mirror Indicator Repair

I bought the part from PFS Parts Ltd It was about £25.

Firstly, use the electric adjuster to move the mirror glass as far down and to the left as you can. This will expose a small gap between the top of the glass and the plastic surround. In the gap you will see a small wire clip. Remove it with a small flat-bladed screwdriver.

Next, lever the mirror glass out. It’s only clipped in. Scarey though…

SLK R170 Passenger Door Mirror Indicator RepairAlso, put something soft (softer than concrete anyway) on the ground just in case you drop any of the expensive plastic and glass bits.

SLK R170 Passenger Door Mirror Indicator RepairUsing a Torx 10 screwdriver, remove the six screws that hold everything together and remove the motor and the covers.

SLK R170 Door Mirror Glass Removal

Mirror glass removed

… and the motor

SLK R170 Passenger Door Mirror Indicator Repair

Motor removed

… and the front and rear plastic covers (no photo…sorry, got carried away and forgot – damned if I’m going to take it all apart again!)

Ten seconds to take out the old and put in the new indicator unit. It is clamped by the screws already noted and there are only two wires to connect.

Screw it all back together.

Job done.

£25 + 30 minutes.

Triumph Daytona 675 vs Tiger 1050 Sport

With the great weather in July and Chris undecided as to whether to ditch his Blackbird, we headed off to Bulldog Triumph to try out some of their bikes.

Out with the old?Honda Blackbird

I was primarily interested in the Tiger 1050 Sport. I’d heard a lot about the differences that I’d find between the new model and my “old” 2006 bike. First impressions were good, the solid feel of the Tiger, a little quiet for my liking but I’m sure that wouldn’t be to difficult to fix. The brakes are awesome! Just pulling up outside the dealer before heading off gave an indication as to how much better a new set of brakes can feel over a 25k mile set. Same with the suspension. This bike doesn’t wallow around corners (!) – maybe I should invest some money in a suspension refresh…

It was 30°C and 3pm on a Friday afternoon so didn’t get a chance to try the headlights. I’d be interested to see how they compare to mine [HID dip and standard “candle” main]Triumph Tiger 105 Sport

After half an hour or so we swapped bikes.

This Daytona is a bit different!

After wafting along in the arm-chair comfort of the Tiger, the Daytona was a bit of a shock. It is absolutely tiny.I’m looking straight at the road about 10 feet in front of the bike. To look down the road I have to crane my neck into a very uncomfortable position – and then I can’t look through the lenses of my glasses so the view is all blurred!

The bike goes like a rocket and hits the rev limiter in every gear that I use. I just can’t change gear fast enough. And what a great sound comes from the Arrow slip-on exhaust.Triumph Daytona 675 Conclusions:

  • Chris loved the Daytona and hated the Tiger
  • It was as fast (in real life) as his Blackbird, was so much lighter and flickable and just more fun.
  • He’s not sure he could ride one to Wales and back in a weekend…
  • I loved the Tiger but sportsbikes are not my cup of tea (glad I tried it though)

And then there was this sitting in the car park back at Bulldog…


It was hot though…

Hot iPhone

Honda 500/4 “Silver Machine”

Honda 500/4 Silver Machine

This bike was built by my old friend Frank Cooper in Reading in the 1980s.

This is what he says:

The old Honda was a wreck, bought for £40. The camshaft had badly worn cam lobes due to lack of oil but the bearing surfaces were OK. Also the engine could not be turned over, thankfully this was only due to light rust in the cylinder bores. Other problems were badly worn swing arm bushes, rusted up speedometer; Yamaha wheels not fitted correctly, missing side panels, seat, exhaust and rear mudguard rusted out.

The camshaft was reground by a local firm; more cam followers were obtained from a breaker. Swing arm bushes, gaskets, rings, Motad exhaust etc., bought from the Motor Cycle Parts Centre in Oxford Road Reading. Being strapped for cash at the time, I made what parts I could (more later). Got it first on the road in 1988 after two years, it is now on the road for a second time after a five-year lay up. The mileage I have done at the time of writing is 21,000 miles; total for the bike is at least 40,000. It was featured in the Silver Machine magazine about 1989, this magazine went out of print years ago.

When I was riding my black 500/4 around Reading in 2001/2, I passed Frank one morning going in the other direction and set out to track him down. It was the first 500/4 I’d seen on the road for many years. I eventually found him on – I think his username was “Old Boy”. We rode around a bit over the next few years; Frank had a Suzuki SV650 by then and had decided to retire and wanted to get rid of the old Honda. I offered to take it off his hands (as you do…)

Frank has his own website, on which he has described his modifications to the bike. He’s an electronics engineer and also very good at fabrication (both in metal and fibreglass). His description of the work that went into this bike can be seen here:

The wheels are from a Yamaha XS400 and the headlamp shell is from an XS750

After years of searching, I found a copy of the old Silver Machine magazine which I gave to Frank so that he had a more permanent record of the years he spent with this bike. I have scanned the article and will endeavour to put it up on here. The original was all monochrome (black and white to you and me) with “photocopied” photographs – very poor quality.

In May 2013, “Silver Machine” left for a new home with Tom Exelby in Wokingham/Woodbridge who is planning on getting her back on the road.

Dark Side of the Moon: Happy 40th!

March 24th 1973.

I was 15 and thought that John Peel’s “Sounds of the 70’s” radio show was where all right-thinking teenagers ought to be…

That week, he played a couple of tracks from a reasonably famous psychedelic rock band called Pink Floyd; “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse” if I remember rightly. I was blown away.

The rest, as they say, is history.

3rd best selling album of all time, selling 22.7m certified copies (claimed 50m) – Wiki

I bought my copy that week – £2.19 (I remember it well as it was about 90% of my shop assistant Saturday wage.

Since then I have owned at least three copies of the vinyl record (can’t find any of them now), a CD (also lost but still have the box) and a 1982 Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs “half speed master” limited edition album.

Dark Side of the Moon MFSL-1-017

I remember a radio show at about that time that told of the master tapes arriving at the lab in a case chained to the courier’s wrist – I’ve also read on the MFSL site that:

Dark Side of the Moon LP production note: In a recent interview, Gregg Schnitzer of MFSL revealed, “Did you know that the Dark Side of the Moon master was ruined? Somebody put it on a recorder instead of a playback-only mastering deck, and a little piece of Supertramp got dubbed onto the outro of Breathe. Big secret, that. Stan had left the company so a redo wasn’t gonna happen. Makes me seriously wonder where MFSL got the source for the Dark Side of the Moon CD. Hmmm. It would have had to have been a second generation safety or the digital master I made for the cassette run.”

Urban myth?    Who cares!

Here are some pictures taken today as I dusted of my 1980’s Rega Planar 2:Pink Floyd DSOTM  Rega Planar 2Glass platter with belt drive. To switch to 45rpm you had to lift the platter and move the belt onto the secondary pulley wheel.

Floyd DSOTM Rega viewRega R65 cartridge.

Floyd DSOTM LabelRega with dust.

Rega Planar 2 with dust    Rega Planar 2The observant amongst you will note that at no time during the taking of these photos was the needle actually in contact with the vinyl…  (the clue is in the lifting handle)

Since then I have seen it performed at the Knebworth Festival (1974), Earl’s Court (80s – with The Wall), three times by the Aussie Pink Floyd and once by Roger Waters at the O2 (2008).