Friday, 30 August 2013

Featured Bike - Yamaha XS1100 Martini

The XS1100 (called the XS Eleven in the USA) was the predecessor to the FJ series and constructed 1979 - 82. This was Yamaha's first four cylinder four stroke. It had a 1100cc dohc 8 valve engine with shaft drive.

Yamaha produced this rare limited edition model with an unusual fairing. The XS, like most bikes at the time, was "naked". It was designed by John Mockett, an illustrator & cartoonist and manufactured in the UK.

The fairing had a number of interesting features. It was two part with the top half mounted on the bars and the bottom part was mounted to the frame. The top part had guards to protect the rider's hands and there were a pair of spot lights made into the lower fairing.

The bike was named after the drinks company because they sponsored the race team at the time.  

You can see the different fairing sections here
In the US Yamaha sold a Venturer model with Vetter fairing & luggage so they probably didn't get the Martini.
The Europe only 1.1 Sport looks pretty cool

Monday, 26 August 2013

Long Meg and her Daughters

It's always a joy to come across the unexpected when out riding the back roads. This was the case today near Penrith in Cumbria. I saw a sign for "Druid Stone Circle", I wasn't expecting much but found a stunning ancient site. "Long Meg" is a monolith standing outside her "daughters" - large stones forming a circle about 100m in diameter. The site is thought to be 3,500 years old and its purpose can only be guessed at. I didn't stay long since it was getting towards the evening of a long day of riding but I'll return for a better look some time.


Spot the Difference

My FJ1200 meets FJR1300 with look-alike paint scheme

Sunday, 25 August 2013

FJ Wheel Re-Paint

I fitted a pair of tyres to the old FJ. The bike is not on the road at the minute but it's as well fitting them if only because they can be swapped onto the new bike quickly if needed. The rims were a bit tatty so I re-painted them using Ford Nimbus Grey (a metallic silver-grey) which is a perfect match with the original paint. Getting a good finish on wheels is easy if I put them on the wheel stand I use for balancing. I spin the wheel as I spray it and this gives a nice even coating with no runs.

Front wheel

Needs a few miles to remove the rust from the disc

Rear wheel

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Where in the World?

I came across a Honda Transalp today with these unusual graphics. The co-ordinates & elevation are the Col de Bonette in the French Alps, the highest paved through road in Europe. The "005H11:05" is a mystery. The Col is the highest point used by the Tour de France so could it be a stage time - 5 hrs 11 min 05 sec?

*** update*** 

thinking about it the co-ordinates are bizarrely precise - 1/100th of a second of latitude is 300mm!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

All Grown Up

The fox cubs that were cute little furry things a few months ago are now fully grown. Two visit my garden regularly. Mostly alone but occasionally together. If they'll stop pooping on my lawn we'll get along ok.

Past Bikes - 1977 Suzuki GT500

Rewind to 1977. My Yamaha RD350 had been stolen and I got the Suzuki TS100 to keep me moving. I then bought the Suzuki GT500. It was only six months old when I bought it so it is the newest bike I've never owned. The GT was a two stroke twin and an update of the '60s T500 (Cobra/Titan in the USA) with a disc brake & electronic ignition. They were cheap, offered a reasonable amount of performance and were reliable and durable. The GT was the first bike I owned that had serious touring ability. I toured Britain, Ireland and Europe in the seven years I had two of these bikes getting as far as the South of France. The engine was in relatively low state of tune and had good torque for a 2-stroke.
The bike had electronic ignition when this was rare on bikes. One winter this must have gone wrong and the bike wouldn't start. I eventually bumped it into life but it was running rough. I selected first, dropped the clutch and the bike shot backwards! It is possible for a two stroke engine to run the wrong way.


The GT and my commuter bike a MZ TS150 in 1982. By this time I had resprayed the bike 
silver blue.

The GT and my brother's BMW R75/6 & Yamaha SR500

My first trip abroad on the GT was in the summer of 1978 then a friend and I went for a slightly chaotic tour of France. A problem was that I didn't have any luggage for the bike. I has just completed university and hadn't started working so was a bit short on cash. So I decided to make my own top box and panniers. My father working in a factory that made bathroom furniture. From him I obtained sheets of textured fibre glass that was used to panel in bath tubs. I made boxes from this by joining the sheets with strips of stainless steel angle. As you can see from this photograph I made the boxes on the big side. This picture was taken when my friend was in the woods for a "comfort break". There is a bottle of wine from which he was swigging as we travelled along the road.

Me and the GT probably on the Ayrshire coast in the early '80's

 At the L'Arc de Triomphe, Paris, 1980

Postcard from the Edge

I found this old postcard from my brother who was touring the Scottish Highlands in 1985 on his Honda CBR600(?) 


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Screwing about

My FJ has crosshead screws securing the covers for its brake & clutch master cylinders. These tend to chew up. The brake isn't removed very often but the clutch is to keep the clutch pressure ok. The fluid in the clutch line tends to get dirty and also air seems to get into the system. I replaced the countersunk crosshead screws with stainless steel Allen (socket) head screws. The socket is very small (2.5mm) and tends to round in time. So I bought some stainless steel Pozidriv screws.

Phillips crossheads are designed to "cam out" to prevent overtightening. But this means that the head gets mashed up. Pozidriv are designed to provide greater torque. Pozidriv can be identified by the additional cross in the head. I mentioned Phillips but this get confusing here. Japanese use a different screw JIS (Japanese Industry Standard) B 1012. These can be identified by a punch mark on the head. These are suppose to be less likely to "cam out" than Phillips. The Pozidriv screwdriver is obviously different to the Phillips, the driver from a Jap bike toolkit look the same as Phillips to me.

The moral is always use the correct driver for the screw.

I got my screws from Triard (£1.69 for 25 pack, postage inc)

I usually use Tek 

Yamaha screw/Allen screw/Chewed up Allen screw (slot cut to remove with flat blade screwdriver)/Pozidriv screw

JIN screw punch mark for identification

Pozidriv bit (marked PZ2)/Phillips bit (marked PH2)/ Jap toolkit screwdriver

Chewed up 2.5mm Allen key

FJ clutch master cylinder with Allen screws

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Bikes at Blairgowrie

An interesting range of bikes at the Vintage Motorcycle Club ride out at Blairgowrie today.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Angry Sky

Today, near Annan in southern Scotland. It looks like I'm heading into a storm but the camera lies a bit. It was actually quite pleasant but I deliberately under exposed the shot and increased the contrast in Photoshop to give a dramatic effect.