Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Wandering Walton’s 2011 Review – A year of Three Parts!

You know sometimes looking back can be as depressing as looking forward and ultimately pointless! Or is it?

Having just spent the last two hours scouring my diary and blog for something interesting to round the year off with I realised a couple of things. One being the massive amount of time I have spent building and “farkling” my two bikes and the second even more depressing thing is the fact I’ve not ridden my bike since mid November! Now how sad is that?

2011 has been one of the quietest years on the road I’ve had in a very long time but the enjoyment I have gained from building Trinity and “farkling” Mr. T. has been immense. Plus spending so much time with Jeannie, Lilie Rose and Ben has been great for us all. 

“So why do a review?” I hear you ask. Good question! Well for those of you who know me well the answer is blaringly obvious, I need to see things through to their natural conclusion. Therefore with 2011 fast drawing to a close it is only right that I round of what has been a year in three parts with a review of the best and  in some cases worst bits.

It started with writing the blog in March of this year. I have been overjoyed with the ease at which the words have flowed and the fact that over 1000 of you have visited it each month to read my ramblings. It really has brought a glow into my life.

So without any further ado here is a potted version of 2011


15th – IBA UK RTE at Conisborough Castle, the first ride of the year with Ben saw us meeting up with the IBA guy’s for a brew and a catch up after the Christmas festivities.

27th – I took Trinity’s Body work down to Dream Machine in Long Eaton

30th – First Manc Riders RTE at the Moorcock. I cannot believe it has only been 12 months since I first met up with the Manc Riders, all of whom have become close family friends to our entire family.

Manc Riders First RTE

6th – Manc Riders first meeting at Panmans to discuss the upcoming “Tour de Normandy”

19th – RBLR meeting at Millom in Cumbria

26th – Manc Riders Lake District Ride Out

A great day in the Lake District


11th – I started writing the Blog, initially purely about Trinity my 1993 Kawasaki ZXR750 L1

19th – IBA UK RTE at John’s in Cannock visiting the German War Cemetery
16th – IBA UK National Meeting in Leeds

Cannock RTE hosted by John

2nd – Rode to RAF Marham near Kings Lynn to take part in the Annual RBLR Cheque Presentation

14th – Got hit by Astra driver in Bradford returning from Tripe S with parts for Trinity

10 day family holiday in Cyprus

If you squint I'm on there to the left......

2nd – Manc Riders BBQ at ours

5th-8th – IOM TT 1000 – rode the IOM TT course 28 times in a row, Fantastic!

9th – Attended my Aunty Susan’s funeral, a very tough day as my Mum rests by her side.

12th – Collected Trinity’s rear-sets from RCD-Tec near Long Eaton

20th- 22nd – Helped with the IBA Brit Butt Rally

23rd – Took FJR1300 in for 36,000 mile service with 38,400 on the clock in 18 months. Test rode Super Tenere and loved it.

24th – Did the deal with Keith Dixon – traded in FJR1300 (on return from France with the proviso not to go over 40,000 miles) for a Yamaha Super Tenere in Black of course!

26th- 30th – Manc Riders Normandy Tour – Simply Outstanding!
Kev, Andy, Lefty, Ben, Me, Dave, Chris & Phil
It was a privilege to ride with you all
Thank You

6th – Met with Nadine my daughter in Manchester, first time we had seen each other in 16 years

6th – Collected Super Tenere from Keith’s – FJR1300 had 39,946 as promised less than 40K

17th – Cancelled the RBLR 1000 due to Sciatica, I was gutted!

23rd – 26th Took my Dad to the Horizons Unlimited meeting at Belper. Just stayed the day but really wished I had been able to stay the full weekend. There’s always next year.

30th – Took Mr. T in for his first service 1000, Done!

A fond farewell to "The Beast" she served me well.
6th – Trinity won’t start!

7th – Dropped Trinity off at Rosendale Kawasaki for 6,000 mile service and full check as I’m no mechanic and don’t want to be killing myself on her first ride out.

21st- 24th – Ben and I headed for a fateful trip to France, when Mr. T fell over with Ben sat on him the second day trip was cut short. We rode straight back from Reims some 685 miles in one go. Ben never complained once even when he was freezing at 11.00pm at night near Doncaster filing up with fuel.

29th – 31st – Weekend in Alton at my Dad and Ang’s with Ben working on the farm and touring Derbyshire. It was great to get Ben back on Mr. T and buld his confidence back up.

Who needs Mr. T when you've got 4 Wheels


2 weeks in Spain on family holiday – Ben and I drove down and visited the sights of Paris at 2.00am in the morning (best time to go if you ask me) Ben loved it.


7th – Rode to Cambridge to collect Metal Mule Panniers from a Paris Dakar Bike Racer

9th – 11th – RBLR Weekend at Millom with Ben sadly the weather was against us and we returned home early.

16th-18th – Manc Riders Weekend in Moffat with Jeannie. A fantastic weekend had by all.

Jeannie, Kev, Kev & Sean
Bl**dy Great weekend, nuph said!


1st – RTTW with the Manc Riders

17th- Finished “farkling” Mr. T so all set now for anything.

19th – Went to see Peter Kay at the MEN Arena with Jeannie as an early birthday present

21st- 23rd – IBA UK RTE in Colditz, first decent ride out on Mr. T with him fully kitted out and set up just the way I want him to be. Very cold return trip but well worth the ride.

Colditz in all it's glory


1st – Mr. T has 6,000 mile service at Keith Dixon’s in Accrington

6th – I hosted a Halo Bike Cleaning day at home which went down really well

16th – 18th – Wardle Wash in aid of “Children in Need”. Sadly Amy one of Ben’s class mates passed away on the Thursday, something we will never forget, any of us. R.I.P. Little Lady

20th – Manc Riders Paint Ball Day for which I have just one word, OUCH!!!

23rd – NEC Bike Show, I got to meet Nick Saunders and my all time favourite Adventure Motorcycle Travel Book author Sam Manicom

30th – John delivers Trinity back from Rossendale Kawasaki running at last

Cheshire Cat meets Sam Manicom


5th – Started the Re-build of Trinity

10th – IBA UK Meeting in Staffordshire

11th – Nadine visited us at home for 4 days, simply wonderful.

21st – Completed the re-build of Trinity in time for Christmas

25th – Successfully completed 6 weeks negotiations for a number plate for Ben to go on Trinity..........................

Trinity, Done!

Mr. T, Done!

2011 Manc Riders Style

(Courtesy of BadBoyBez)

And so here we are bang up to date. Trinity is complete, Mr T is waiting to take us out and about. So far for 2012 I have nothing solid planned. My thoughts of an 8,000 mile tour of Europe have been shelved as I just do not want to spend 3-4 weeks away from home all in one go.

I do plan on seeing lots more of Europe, especially Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and especially Nordkapp but I also want to ride the Stelvio Pass. So there’s lot’s to be done. Loads of saving needed which will be so much easier now both bikes are complete.

What do I think to 2011, well it fell into three very clear areas’

Family and Friends – being at home most of this year has made me realise what I missed out on, being on the road for most of 2010. Joining and meeting the Manc Riders has had a huge impact on All our lives here in the Walton Household from Ben who thinks the guys and gals are just “Awesome” to Lilie Rose and Jeannie who have been accepted into the “Gang” as Jeannie likes to call us. To yours truly who, for the first time in a very long time feels accepted for who I am, warts and all. Hell they even read my blog, now how sad is that?

I’d also like to mention the guys and gals in the IBA UK who I have come to know and respect and feel a strong affiliation too. Thank you for being there on some of my long distance rides, all be it to get drunk with at the end and then ride home in different directions.

A special mention needs to go to my long suffering but dependable lifelong best mate Roland. We may fall out like a married couple but we’re still as strong as ever, you’re a star Ron.

Riding – Well I didn’t think I had been very far this year but I suppose 12,000 on two bikes is not too bad all things considered.

Bike Building – Now there was no way on earth I could have know what was going to happen this year regarding Trinity who took on a life of her own once I had met Andy at Triple S in Bingley. Powder coating your bikes frame “purple” really can set the world on fire.

As for swapping The Beast, my trusty FJR1300 for a Super Tenere and then “farkling” him till he became Mr.T I had no idea that was going to happen but the timings could not have been any better. Whilst Trinity was away I got to sort Mr. T just the way I want him.

On that very positive note I’d like to wish each and every one of you who take the time to read my blog from the Manc Riders, IBA UK, ZX-7R Forum to the Super Tenere Forum a Fantastic 2012 and I hope we meet somewhere, sometime out and about.

Happy New Year, Everybody.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Trinity is DONE!......... Well for the time being that is!

Yesterday about 6.00pm I thought I’d just pop in the garage and put the stainless fasteners that I’d bought on eBay away. They’d been sat in my tool box bugging me, being all mixed up and that.

Then came Jeannies dulcet tones.

“So how long are you planning on leaving these fairings in the bedroom?”

“Not long, I’ll be fitting them tomorrow now I have the infill’s”

“Oh right, It’s just that I don’t want anyone scratching them as the wrappings all over the floor.  I’ve tucked it away”

“No sweat, I’ll get them shifted in the morning”

Morning my .........!

I decided to lay the infill’s out on the bench to see what was what and just thought “why not?”

And so started the final push!, I uncovered Trinity, put her in the middle of the garage and got stuck in. Having all the rubber edgings, two sets of Infill’s one new one old, I used the old ones to check where everything went. There was only on infill that baffled me for a couple of minutes until I realised it went under the top off side radiator bracket not above it. Der Raymond! Mind it has been a year since I stripped her down, how time flies.

I attached both side infill’s or “fairing inners” as Kawasaki call them, then the off side front infill. Then it was time to attach the off side fairing which went on a dream but stands just a little proud of the infill. One of my hopes to have these infills fabricated in carbon has not worked as yet but I will persevere. An email has already gone out to this end and I await a response with baited breath.

I then attached the cross member to the near side fairing and the small connector to the front A frame. Fitting the A frame turned into a little bit of a pain when the alan bolt just would not get a hold. Ben helped by shining the torch through the hole straight into my eye. Bless his cotton sock’s!!! After a few choice word Ben got the idea and lit up the hole from behind me and we swapped the alan bolt, the second one bit straight away, perfect.

Fitting the near side was easy give or take getting the first front bolt in and then it was just a matter of attaching the rear cross member and the rest of the fixings.

I took a couple of pictures last night and a few today but I’m sure when we get a sunny day the colours will change yet again as every picture I take makes her look like a different bike.

In one piece at last!

So what now? I here you ask, well I had a chat with Nick at Kais today and Trinity will be going over there in the new year to be Dynojet'd and the suspension set up correctly as at the minute the rear reservoir pipe is facing down and will catch the swing arm in time. Plus the rear suspension torsion bars which Martin kindly made for me need 5mm longer bolts as they are not recessed like the originals.
Also I want to sound proof the front fairings as the foam was removed for re-spraying. Sadly Kawasaki no longer make or stock the 4 off side foam liners so I’ll be on the search for those in the coming months. I also need to fit the horn which I forgot to put on yesterday.

Amazing what difference a little daylight can make

Trinity's looking good!

As soon as the weather picks up I’ll get Trinity MOT’d, taxed and then we will be all good to go in April. Look out Squires here we come.

Roll on Summer 2012!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Trinity’s Great Big Thank You Christmas List

A very Merry Christmas to:-

Mr Jon Mole whom I bought Trinity from in November 2010

Andy at Triple S Powder Coating who I blame (in a good way) for setting the standard for the whole rebuild

Michael for unknowingly donating all the body work from his beloved ZXR

Dan in the USA for the amazing Gold Anodised Top Yoke

Doug at Track Day Tyres for the Gold Anodised Radiator and Air Intake Cover

Darren at Dream Machine for ensuring a fantastic paint job was achieved

Mark at Vanden Powder Coatings Ltd. in Westhoughton near Bolton for all the little powder coated black parts

Nick and the team at Kais for refurbishing the Ohlins rear shock and re-building the forks.

Marc at Racing Component Development for designing and fabricating the amazing one-off rear sets

Mat and Martin at Motowheels in California, USA for the carbon brake and clutch reservoir brackets

Intobikes for the Skidmarx Carbon induction cover

Scot at All Bikes of Rochdale for the never ending supply of bits ‘n’ bob’s

Kwakies Motorcycle Spares Ltd for the ignition block

Sandy Bike Spares Ltd for the first set of headers (which I upgraded to full Akrapovic System)

Bike Devils for supply various fixings and two sets of Fairing Fixing Kits

Bike Business Ltd for fuel filter

JD Motorsport for supplying the Goodridge Stainless Clutch and bespoke Break lines

The Team at Cradley Kawasaki for new Genuine Kawasaki Indicators all round.

Ian at Colour Anodising for re-anodising the suspension arms

Jollify in Germany for the Carbon Frame Protectors and tank infill.

Martin Archer for supplying lower linkage arms on the ZX-7R Owners Club Forum

Tony Archer for re-covering the seats in a very nice black leather

Sorry if I missed you off the list but there are so many eBay suppliers I could not get everyone on!

Last but not least

A massive thank you to Jo, John and Tim at Rossendale Kawasaki for all their time and effort in bringing Trinity back to life and for supplying me with all the little important original Kawasaki parts that no one else could be bothered to find, order and supply. 
Can I thank each and ever one of you who take the time to read through my ramblings about Trinity, Mr. T and the adventures of the "Wandering Waltons Rides"
With a ver special mention to my captive audiece on the ZX-7R Owners Club, The Iron Butt Uk Forum and especially to our very special family friends on the Manc Riders Forum.

The Wardle Walton’s would like to wish each and every one of you a

Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christmas comes early for Trinity

Friday I thought I'd best start Trinity up as she'd been neglected this week due to my daughter Nadine visiting from Germany for 4 days. The least I could do was to keep her ticking over after all the work John from Rossendale Kawasaki had put into getting her back up and running. It took a full strip down of the carburettors, new jets and a good clean out of all the gunk left in the bowls to get her running.

Sadly after two attempts and flattening the battery again Trinity just would not spark up, (insert expletive here)! "Right, now what's wrong with you now" I thought after swearing at her.

Sat on top of the box containing the recently delivered Akrapovic Exhaust System was the tank which Dream Machine had also recently dropped off (more about this later), wrapped in foam and covered with a towel but I knew beneath all that wrapping was a gleaming ZXR emblazoned petrol tank screaming to go back onto Trinity.

"Sod it!" I thought, threw my fleecy jacket on opened the garage doors and I got stuck in! First job was to remove the front fairing which I'd put on last time just to see what she will look like. Next I removed the rear fairing panel, that done it was off with the service tank (now up for sale as I won't be using it again). Emptying the tank I found there was about 3 litres still in there which worried me a little as I thought it was due to the tank being empty that Trinity was not firing up.

With the tank off, I removed the filler cap as I needed the Alan bolts and rubber seal for the new key-less petrol cap for the newly sprayed tank. I cleaned as much of the paint out of the holes on the "new tank" as I'll call it for now. Then took an Alan bolt and screwed it into each of the 8 holes. My heart sank a couple of times as larger than usual pieces of paint chip off. Happily they are all covered by the rubber seal so have not impacted on the finished look of the tank. The paint must be 3mm thick on the new tank due to the number of times it has been re-sprayed. Once all the holes had been thoroughly cleaned I fitted the key-less black aluminium petrol cap. It looks amazing and brought an instant smile back to my face. I then removed one of the brass fuel line bolts from the bottom of the old tank to see which way round the long and short fuel filter rods were to be fitted to the new tank. Whilst the tank was of I fitted a new battery just for good measure.

Rubber grommets refitted in the rear fairing mounting point wholes, front grommets in and it was just a matter of refitting the new tank, done! The tank looks even better on Trinity that it did off. The colour match between tank and frame is great, not 100% the same but close enough for me. In the dark both the frame and the paint job almost make her look black all over. It's only when the light goes up be it with the flash from the camera or natural sun light dose the whole thing come to life. I cannot wait to see it in the summer sunshine next year.

Trinity looking totally Black in this light.

With the tank back on I nipped and bought 10 litres of fuel and put that in, no leaks, good! Choke half on, ignition on, start button pressed............ Bongo, Trinity fired up first time, Fantastic!!!

Quick as a flash I re-fitted the rear fairings and the rear seat cover. A massive grin spread across my face. "That'll do for today" I thought briefly. Trinity looks great, she's up and running and it's about time I had something to eat.

If only it had been that simple, but the pull of the Akrapovic was just too much for me I just had to get it fitted and so I did.

The first job was to take off the Remus silencer, two bolts and that was off. I cannot believe how heavy it is compared to the Akrapovic. Next I removed the four bolts holding the radiator in place and just eased it forward as far as the coolant piped would allow. The eight retaining nuts came off very easily and the Sandy Biker Headers were off. 8 minutes from start to finish. Not bad for a Chef!

The Akropovic comes in three parts, down pipes, centre pipe, and silencer. The down pipes needed to be pulled and tugged so that the two connector pipes slid into each other. All connections are spring loaded so once I'd realised I could pull and tug the four down pipes they went together fairly easily.

Now that look better.

Another 10 minutes and the whole system was on and the radiator back in place. Time for a start up to see what a difference the Akrapovic makes. Very quite was my first thought, smooth and quite with a deep throaty roar. Too quite, so out came the baffle and hey presto the sound I'd been hoping for. I took her outside and made a mini video.

Just a quick look and listen video.

Back in the garage I started to tidy up, leaving Trinity ticking over, I lent over to give her a quick "blip" and she died, DEAD! Not a slow spluttering just gone. Nothing, not a peep, no lights, no click nothing. I could have cried.

So much for packing up early, off came the rear off-side fairing, all fuses intact. I fished out the main fuse on the near side and replaced the un-broken main fuse. Nothing!

"John, its Ray. Trinity is dead! She was ticking over and just died. I've changed the main glass fuse on the near side and all the other fuses are OK"
"It will be the main ignition fuse under the near side rear fairing. If it's not that give me a call back and I'll call in on the way home"
"John, you’re a bloody star, I'll have a look and let you know". Now that is what I call going above and beyond.

The main fuse was blown, I replaced it and it blew again and again. Great!
I have no idea why but I went straight to where I'd been working and spotted the cause. The cable for the horn which I do not have fitted yet had trapped between the headers and the radiator, melted and fused together, "You plank Raymond!"

How to "Kill" your bike stone dead!

Offending damage removed, wire replaced, fuse replaced and Bingo! once more Trinity sprang to life. Half an hour later and a sigh of relief rear fairings re-fitted, seat on, it was time to pack Trinity away for another day, at last.

My favourite picture of the day.

So lessons learnt on Friday.

1) Chef's make shit mechanics.

2) Stop for lunch when your wife says stop not when you've taken you knuckles off trying to attach too many springs to your down pipes.

3) When working near exhausts keep wiring well out of reach, or else.

4) Remember to drop John a bottle off for Christmas as he's a bloody star.

5) Finally, quit whilst your ahead in future!

Trinity's 2011 Christmas Present

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Home Coming "Trinity" is Back!

Snug as a Bug in a Rug!
Many thank's John for returning her safe and sound.

Well after what has felt like a life time but in all honesty was 5 months, "how long?" Yes it was the 7th of July I dropped Trinity off at Rossendale Kawasaki for the once over and the 6,000 mile service. Mind you, John the mechanic has been in regular contact and has done an outstanding job. I just have the bill to come now and collect the service book with the all important 6,000 mile service stamp in it.

First job, swap the side lights for LED's

I just couldn’t help myself yesterday, and got stuck straight into putting the front end back on along with what bits of body work I have. The tank and rear off-side fairing are down at Dream Machine so I’m still utilising the spare service tank as I call it. The infills hopefully are on their way back from the USA and I’ve still got the Remus end can and Sandy Biker headers on but I’ve made the decision to buy a full Akrapovic Road Legal System from a guy on eBay selling brand new kit. Once I have the nod I’ll post up his details.

So this will be coming off to be replaced with....

this Akropovic Full Stystem
My Christmas present to "Trinity"

The first thing to go back on was the rear grab rail, as ever I had to take the brake light off to re-fit was which wasn’t an issue. Then I offered up the nose fairing then remembering I had all the rubber grommets I set about fitting them before bolting the nose into position. I almost gave the mirrors away but I’m glad now that the guy didn’t arrive as I’ve refitted them for the time being. I would like some Rizoma mirrors but looking at the site it’ going to be a pain to get the correct adaptor and length of arm, I have a little more home work to do on that, me thinks.

Strange how the smallest things make the biggest impact
Next I fitted the Double Bubble Tinted Screen, trying to fit the rubber screen bolts proved a little bit of a problem and I ended up drilling the holes out to 8mm as they just would not push through. Then I found that I needed 10 fittings and there were only 8 in the pack, how crap is that. Just as well I had a few new ones left over from one of the other bikes. I ended up using different bolts and removing the old rubber washers as they looked a mess. There  is still a black plastic washer on each bolt to protect the screen.

Starting to look a little more like the "Trinity" we know and love
Once the front was on I fitted the carbon front and rear mudguards along with the carbon air intake cover. Pushing out the side mounting grommet as I tried to use a bolt which was far too short, so the whole nose had to come back off so I could remove the RAM Air box and shake out the grommet......... hey- ho! Still if I’m doing it, I’m doing it right.
After lunch I started to tidy up but could not resist the urge to make a quick video. It’s mad I know but I just want Ben to be able to look back at all this when he is 21 and smile knowing what his “Old Man” did whilst he was at school.

A walk around before lunch
Back in the garage I thought, “Why not” and slotted the rear fairing on then couldn’t stop and fitted the front fairing, “just to see!”  To get an idea as to what "Trinity" is going to look like. I’ve still not been able to take a photo that truly brings out how vividly pink the decals are. Still I’m sure I’ll suss it out sooner or later.

Once you start you just can't stop .......

Turning this ..............

 Into this, in 12 short months
 Happy 1st Birthday "Trinity"

So for now that is Trinity as sorted as I can get her, her new battery is all charged up, exhaust price in negotiation, bill to pay for the service, suspension to be set up at Kais once I’ve got her through the MOT, then who knows I may even get my tank & fairing infill’s back and be able to get the infill’s sprayed up black.

There were a couple of niggles, like “do I like the carbon mudguards?”, where has the brand new fairing fitting kit and lower fairing brace bar gone out of the garage? Sadly I finished the day a little gutted to think a couple of items have ‘gone missing’, but still it’ll teach me to be so trusting of total strangers in future.

On the plus side, Trinity is home and looking just fantastic and she’s nowhere near finished yet. Onwards and upwards as they say, onwards and upwards!

Welcome Home "Trinity"