Barry's Page

Dear Readers / Riders,

I thought you might like a riders report on the big KTM . Its a 98 model, very pretty in blue and orange and when i got it had 2300 miles on the digital clock. First impressions , after a 750 Sup Ten and 650 Tengai were WOW what a lot of vibration. Nothing in the 2500 miles since April has changed my mind!

OK its fast - about 110 - and the grunt from 5000-7000 is satisfying - but has anyone any thoughts on getting it smoother ? First stop was John Deacon - see his web site - and he and his crew are really switched on . They had mine stripped and the carb rejetted and a "less restrictive " s / steel exhaust fitted in about 1/2 an hour ! Then on went the beautiful gold anodised Talon wheels - so it can be Supermoto around UK and a trailie when I go to the High Atlas . We recalibrated the speedo / log thingy 13% less as the wheels are now 17 front and back , with sticky Miches on. I then did 1500 miles in 5 days around France with others on more "suitable" bikes .ie mega fast tourers , and MY arse was the main sufferer. The vibs through the handlebars are quelled by spongy grips, but the seat is the killer. From 6000 - 7000 ( 75-85mph ) is the worst and it smooths out above that - but you are going above 90 then and that`s license loosing territory ( why I bought a dual purpose bike was to STOP my excesses after a 107mph ban ) Suggestions range from rubber mounting everything ( Norton Commando anyone? ) to stripping the engine and having the " balance ratio " altered .Yet this motor is supposed to have a balance shaft in it!

So over to you good readers and all suggestions welcomed ! PS Still love it but not for 300 miles a day!

AfricaTwin Around France,Spain & Andorra

Last weekend of September saw me and 2 intrepid friends off on the Condor catamaran to St Malo from Poole.Its only a 5 hour crossing and we chatted to a Guernsey biker, drank beer and laughed whilst other fellow flyers were going "huewee" into little white bags. Good lads on Condor really take care to diagonally strap down bikes with huge cushions to stop crimping seats etc - although I am not happy about winching a bike down onto a side stand , as I managed to break a mount on 2 bikes thus stapped on a trailer. We rode down the west coast of France - good old N137 to La Rochelle for lunch , then to Arachon near Bordeaux for overnight as we had a day to kill before another mate was met at the Bilbao ferry. I found out that Honda fitted a "slow" speedo to my `99 Af twin as Paul on a Super Blackbird had a much higher reading on his ( UK mph ) speedo after translation .Perhaps grey bikes have the real speed and Blackbirds read higher to make the owners feel better about Hyabusa`s ! After a high night in a Bilbao hostel - the dope smoke got into our room from the others, officer, as apparently grass is legal in Spain in small quantities - we went through the Peaks of Europe ( rough translation ) and wombled down via variuos towns and stops to Seville. It was 32oC at 6pm and we melted in leathers! Next day off
South to RONDA. If you EVER get a chance to ride to Ronda , do so . My Mich tyres were well chewed on superb mountain bends , and the roads are simply fantastic. Don`t know about off road , the drops were 1000ft in places - so I stayed on the tarmac , thanks. Take the road to Marbella - it must be one of the best bike roads in the world. We finished the day taking the coast road east and got mixed up with a group of local lads on race reps - I managed to humble one on his own road around the bends , great fun on a trailie - bet he felt pig sick! That road was OK but gets a bit full with trucks etc near towns and the Spanish have these "You can overtake" , a few yards, then you "can`t overtake" signs which makes it interesting to stay lawful.Needless to say my luck didn`t hold and I got an on the spot fine of 8000 pstas ( 32 ) for crossing a solid white line! So it was north to Andorra and lots of bike gear at silly prices - like a Shoe 2 piece leather suit for 360 .Worth a visit .We stayed in a 3 star hotel for 4500 pesatas a night ( 18 ) plus 2 for bike parking. Fags 8 for 200 if you want, plus 8 a tank full of jiuce.My bike liked Super Sans Plumb and drank 2 mpg less of this 98 juice per tankful. Then back up through France and home via the Villeneuve - Perigord- Angouleme super bike road in the Dordogne.
The Africa twin loved it - I had fitted a 4" over screen which really cut down the noise - no earplugs needed - and my top speed was an indicated 170kmh - fast enough thanks , I`ll buy a Fireblade again if I want to get banned AGAIN . It averaged 48-52 mpg and my cruising speed was usually 140ks ( say 80ish ) otherwise Blackbird & Pan European mates got bored! We did some 3200 miles in the 10 days without any mechanical probs, no-one tried to nick the bikes . I don`t like the gear change much - its better than a Yamaha but nowhere as good as a Kwacker version. I would recommend the roads of NW Spain for quality and emptiness - France for speed and food. However watch out for Guarda Civil who like to stand where they can see you overtake ( were you shouldn`t ) ! Next trip Prague - anyone keen for april? Barry J Charman , Newbury, Berks