Hi there, And welcome to Leigh & Jane's page
We've both been riding bikes since the late seventies and we've been with the BTBC since '99 riding out with the club as often as possible. We're also into rallies, camping, and we tour Europe most years in the summer. Jane has been into trailies for years and has had a Transalp since '92, which she recently sold to make way for a '00 (but '99 spec) Anniversary one (Pictured). We didn't bother test riding one as she'd had one for years but to our amazement it was a totally different ride and not really suitable for her. The suspension was extremely stiff, which, although giving far better handling than the old TA would also shake your fillings loose on a bumpy road, and the plush seat of the '92 model has been replaced with a plank like one adding to the discomfort. All of this was coupled to a considerably higher seating position making the whole thing way too hard for her to handle, so we backed off the rear preload completely, dropping the seat height by an inch, and swapped the seat for the one off the old TA. (Re upholstered with the cover from the new one. Many thanks to Bikespares in Whitchurch for their help). One vast improvement over the old TA is the twin disc set up at the front, which, with the stiffer forks giving much less dive offers more than enough braking to cope with most situations. Jane now loves the thing and is out there at every opportunity. As you can see from the pictures, she's not afraid to use it…
Conversely I'm quite new to big trailies. I'd always liked Jane's TA but preferred the raw power of my VFR750, ZX9R etc. It wasn't until '97 that I saw the light. On holiday we would usually lock up the ZX9 at the digs/campsite and ride around two up on the TA because it was more practical and cheaper to run. It wasn't until the rear wheel bearings collapsed in France in '97 and we we're forced to use the ZX9 for two days on narrow Alpine lanes that I realised how hopelessly inadequate it was in these situations. I hung on for a further two years (loved the power) but eventually got round to test riding an Africa. I've always liked the AT but the thought of going from 130bhp down to 60bhp was a little hard to swallow. One ride on the AT sorted that however and I was converted. 5 weeks later I was (and still am) the proud owner of a black AT. I love the thing and I can't keep off it, riding whenever I get some spare time. I even rode through last winter for the first time in years. It must be love… It's much more fun for both of us now we're on similar bikes with similar capabilities, and for the first time in about ten years, Jane actually approves of my choice of bike. She always said her Tranny was better than my rocket. She was correct of course but it took me 50000 miles to realise. Shame
We've never been into accessories but for some reason we've suddenly started buying them. (Probably Garty's fault) The TA has a clock, bar end weights, Motad Desert Bars, a Baglux tank cover and bag, and a digital Speedo, and all being well will shortly be treated to the can/K&N/Dynojet thang, and maybe a Powerbronze Screen. The AT has Motad Desert Bars, Baglux gear, mini indicators - the standard ones on the front are a joke, flapping around all the time and looking like gigantic orange spotlights - and a digital Speedo. When I say digital Speedo I'm referring to a £7.50 Halfords Bicycle Speedo because the original one on both bikes is in km/h. For the price (now £9) they are surprisingly good, deadly accurate, have a large display, look very neat, and read perfectly up to 95mph. I bought a Sigma m/c computer for the AT but sent it back, as (at £25) it was not as good! It had more functions and was undoubtedly a superior instrument but the display was tiny and would have been useless on the move. The AT will also get the can/Dynojet/K&N treatment at some point but it makes more sense to get the TA up to speed first.
We had our first Euro tour without any crappy sportsbikes in '99 when we ambled down to Bavaria to drink some dunkelbier, slap our thighs and watch the total eclipse. (That's me in the piccy with my cool eclipse shades and luminous head). It rained every soddin' day for a fortnight but after chasing a small patch of blue sky for 60 miles across Germany (even when there were no roads going in that direction) we caught the eclipse in all it's glory after abandoning the blacktop and blasting through a huge pine forest. Kraut police are not known for their tolerance if you misbehave but there was no way we were gonna miss that eclipse! We also managed to squeeze in some fantastic Austrian passes while we were down there, at one point climbing above the snow line. The trailies performed faultlessly and we're lookin' forward to the next tour, which will take in the Massif Central and High Alps, including a trip over the Col De La Bonette, and a few sorties into Italy and Switzerland. Yeah!!!!!
See you in the lanes
Leigh & Jane
Pics by PC & Garty