Category Archives: Bikes

Bike stuff

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

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.

Honda CBX550FII

Eamon had one of these:

It featured in MCN when they did a “then vs now” article and put it up against a CBR600RR (!)

The old CBX did quite well, putting up:

Standing 1/4 mile:
CBX: 14.02 seconds @ 96.4 mph
CBR: 11.48 seconds @ 126.8 mph

Top Speed:
CBX: 117.35 mph
CBR: 160.04 mph

On the dyno:
CBX: 53.02 bhp, 31.70 ftlb
CBR: 108.07 bhp, 44.59 ftlb

More here:

The bike is in Canterbury now and still ridden regularly.

MCN Verdict (Roland Brown):
“The CBX, outdated, out-moded and out-performed or not had two massive things going for it even by modern standards: it was impressively comfortable and roomy (especially for pillions) and, better yet, it had bags of character. And maybe that’s why today’s bikers, more than ever, often have a superb modern bike – but also either own or lust after a classic from their youth too.”

That’s us then…   🙂

Grundon Green Bin: Happy Birthday!

Today is the first anniversary of my asking Wokingham Borough Council to remove the green wheelie bin that is obstructing the motorcycle parking bay in Denmark Street Wokingham.

Here it is sitting proudly in place, confident in being able to thwart the combined efforts of the local council and Grundon (“The largest privately owned Waste Management Company in the UK”).

Grundon green bin in motorcycle parking baySeriously considering photoshopping a nice little birthday cake onto the picture…

I’ve bypassed WBC and written directly to Grundon. Let’s see if we have to wait another year!

More on this saga here.

Triumph Tiger 1050 Indicators

If you’ve got an old-ish 1050 Triumph, be it Tiger, Sprint or Speed, take a look at the design of your indicators.  Do they look like this?

old style Triumph indicatorRound, opaque, old fashioned?

Then try these!

new style triumph indicatorSharp, clear, new.

These are the new style indicators fitted to the more recent models and are a direct replacement. They can be bought on eBay quite cheaply as people fit LED indicators to their new bikes and flog these off. I picked up a set of 4 (from a Speed Triple) for £20 – they are £26 each from your friendly dealer.

Fitting couldn’t be more easy:

  • Undo the single (rear) screw that holds the lens on the indicator
  • Remove the lens and pop out the reflector
  • Remove old unit by unclipping the two wires
  • Slide the plastic housing off the flexi-mounting, leaving the wiring intact
  • Slide on the new triangular housing, feeding the wires through
  • Clip wires onto the new reflector (doesn’t matter which way)
  • Fit new lens with single (front) screw

Job done. Sparkly-looking new indicators!

Can we have our bollards back please?

This was Rose Street carpark motorcycle bay on Friday 5th October. I took this shot just in case I returned from my visit to the bank to find the truck gone and my bike in pieces…

Motorcycle Parking Bay Rose Street WokinghamThe truck was parked half on the double (triple?) yellow lines and half in the motorcycle bay (and half blocking the blue Focus). The passenger door was open and it had one of those stupid “Delivering” signs on the dashboard. There was no one about…

I think I’ll send a copy to Wokingham Borough Council and ask them to reinstate the bollards that used to “protect” the motorcycle bay – but which have been demolished by various trucks over the years.

Watch this space (no news on the green wheelie bin in Denmark St yet – I’ll be sending the council a birthday card for that one soon…)

Campbell Custom Sidewinder Exhaust – Tiger 1050

I saw this on eBay and just thought that it looked awesome – so I bought it!

Just under half the list price for a new one, it was within my available funds and only a short trip to Horley (Gatwick) to collect it.

Triumph Tiger 1050 with Campbell Custom Sidewinder Exhaust

It replaces the Zard that was on the bike when I bought it:

Triumph Tiger 1050 with Zard ExhaustIt gives a lovely clean look to the back of the bike.

Triumph Tiger 1050 Cambell Custom Sidewinder ExhaustHowever, it is very, very loud (makes the Zard sound like a standard can…) I’m not sure that I’ll be able to stand it for too long – I’ve done 6 miles today and that was enough.

Maybe I should speak to John Campbell about whether these baffles look correct or whether there is some stuffing missing? We’ll see.


Buttflap Fender Extender for Triumph Tiger 1050

I have written before about fitting fender extenders to my various Triumphs, the aim being to be able to open my topbox after a wet ride and not get my hands dirty (this is especially true when commuting with an office suit on underneath the bike kit).

My new Tiger 1050 does not fit the fender extender design used on the 955 Sprint ST

Triumph Sprint ST 955 Fender Extender - Rear…as the rear-end design is completely different:

Triumph Tiger 1050 Fender Extender - BeforeLooking at this, all it really needs is a 2-3″ extension on the bottom of the number plate – maybe cut down a rubber (car) mudflap or something.

Then I spotted the Buttflap (actually was Googling for fender extender images to get ideas) – what a dreadful name but seems like a good idea. I’ll give it a try.

This is from their website – another dreadful bit of artwork, but it is all that’s there…

Buttflap explanation from their websiteSo here’s my first attempt:

First remove the numberplate:Buttflap Fitting Tiger 1050Remove the two Allen-head screws that secure the plastic part, drill the Buttflap to suit and mount it to the numberplate holder.Buttflap Fitting Tiger 1050

Looking good…Buttflap Fitting Tiger 1050Add a strip of the double-sided tape (supplied) to stop the numberplate from buzzing.Buttflap Fitting Tiger 1050Fix the numberplate back on over the Buttflap. Job done.Buttflap Fitted to Tiger 1050They say on the Buttflap site that you can hardly see the thing against the tyre.Buttflap Fitting Tiger 1050They’re right.