Saturday, 1 February 2014

Never Missed a Beat

I recently claimed that Angie's YBR125 'never misses a beat.' Well guess what: spoiler alert!

It missed it's first beat on a soaking wet, icy cold Monday. I thought little of it. Nearing work after a clear run, I gently rolled over the bridge and disengaged the clutch as I came to a halt. The motor stopped! It started right up again so I assumed it was me being a bit useless. Saying that, it was idling a little low, perhaps 1200. That was it though, until the end of the week.

The week dragged on and when the final bell rang on Friday, it felt a few days overdue. The ringing was somewhat drowned out by rain drumming on the skylights. Fed up and tired, what I want wanted to do was get on my bike and ride. What I didn't want was to get soaked through only to arrive home at the moment storm clouds gave way to bright blue sky. Thus daylight gave way to indecision.

By the time I left, there was virtually no light and still plenty of rain. The YBR125's single 35w/35w lamp is already useless in the face of oncoming traffic. The heavy cloud annihilated what little twilight remained and I was fighting a loosing battle to clear my visor. In such situations you're pretty much riding on a wing and a prayer when anything but a YBR125 comes the other way.

Not five minutes in and already soaked, I met a particularly well lit car coming mid road. Obviously I slowed right down and aimed for the darkness left of the blinding headlights. That's when the engine stopped. Instinctively I thumbed the starter but this time it didn't start right back up. “Oh great!” (possibly words to that effect)

After I pushing to a nearby driveway, it started up again so I rode off but with confidence in the bike utterly lost. Anyone who's been there knows how it affects your riding. Loosing confidence in your bike on a dark, blustery and wet night isn't quite a nightmare but it's super stressful. I soon found that the engine would cut out at speeds over 50 if on full throttle.

Anyone who rides a YBR will know that any slope means full throttle at speeds of over 50. Anyone who rides a YBR around these parts will know that we don't really have roads that aren't sloped one way or t'other. Only your wrist notices them on a big bike. Generally, there's way more thinking involved in getting a learner bike from Harrogate to Ilkley. Each gear change is anticipated well in advance so, ideally, timed to perfection. When you roll on to full and find the motor cuts, blood pressure rises just as fast as the oil pressure drops.

Thankfully I got it home. I've since washed it and can't find anything looking like the culprit. Stand back a bit while you're hosing it off and that bike looks fairly new. However, get in close with the sponge and a soapy paint brush, it starts looking long in the tooth for sure. The swinging arm and parts of the frame are rusting heavily along with the whole exhaust system. The whole rear end could do with pulling apart, stripping back to the bare metal and painting. I might do all that. I thought I might do that last summer. It really needs it now so I really might. Then again, I might not.

One thing's for sure, the bike I once trusted to the point of abuse can never again be described as having 'never missed a beat.' Now it needs some Alan time. He'll probably tell me off about one thing or another but I know we'll most likely get it back in a fit state to see the winter out. That way when spring starts getting serious I'll be able to ride it to work just like I could when I filmed this two years ago.

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