Thursday, 12 September 2013

In search of my ‘Mojo’!

Last night I attended a talk by Mr Ian Coates from Hebden Bridge. Ian was guest speaker of the Pennine Branch of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club (VMCC) at the Kingsway Arms in Rochdale, not 5 minutes from where I live. I arrived at the meeting by sheer fate after being  invited by a chap who has recently powder coated the bash plate on Tango’d but I’ll come to that later.


Ian’s presentation followed a very professional intro by the clubs chairman, including ‘minuting’ my attendance as a guest, followed by the reading of last months minutes, approved and seconded by the members. I was pleasantly surprised at how well run the VMCC meeting was. I’m more accustomed to far less formalities, quick hello, grab a pint and start chatting over a bite to eat with the Manc Riders.


Ian has spent the last 14 year riding around the world on his trusty Honda 750 Africa Twin. He  arrived in Hull back in February and rode straight over to the Manchester Bike Show where he was interviewed for TV and by the local press. His tales of adventure stretched far  and wide encompassing the entire globe. He kept us spellbound for well over an hour and could have gone on for days if it had not have been for the audiences bladders filling up to bursting point. Oh and a small matter of their beer glasses being empty, so the talk was over all too soon in my opinion.

Ian Coates Africa Twin at the 

Fourteen years on the road is an incredible length of time to be away from your wife and family. I’m always full of admiration for people who get way for long periods of time in search of their dreams. I know for a fact I struggle being away from Jeannie, Lilie Rose and Ben for more than a few days, a week and I’m ready to head home. It was an very interesting evening spent in the company of some very knowledgeable vintage bike owners. I’d just like to thank Chris for inviting me along I had a great evening, thank you all for your hospitality.


Earlier that day I fitted two sets of Oxford Mercury LED indicators to Tango’d yes, more about that later too.  Followed by a very enjoyable few hours reading about Kevin & Lyn Weller’s 10 week motorcycle trip over in America and Canada on their BWM 1200GSA which they shipped out especially for the trip and to participate in the Iron Butt Rally . If your stuck for something to do and have a couple of  hours to spare I could think of no better place to lose yourself than within the pages of  Kevin and Lyn’s Blog

They are an amazing couple who have toured so many countries together, photographed extensively by Lyn who rides pillion to Kevin. Their write ups are very entertaining and in my opinion, you would be foolish not to take a look. Well done to you both on your latest adventure, 23,000 miles in 10 weeks is some going. 

So after such an adventure filled day why an I in such an awfully depressed mood today? It’s simple Jeannie says, “You’ve lost your ‘Mojo!’

Day dreaming about traveling on two wheels seem to be the only thing I do of late. After 2008 which can only be described as a ‘mad frenzy of long distance riding’  I seem to have ground to a halt. We’ve just sat and had a real ‘heart to heart’ and the top and bottom of it all is, I need to get out on Mr T. So guess what? I have a plan.

For now I can console myself in being surrounded by books’, blog’s and a bikes, one of which is called Mr T, who is more than capable of whisking me off to adventures anew. 


Sadly at the minute Mr T is sulking at me! He has a flat battery! Which is hardly surprising when you think the last time I rode him was on the 29th of July! How mad is that? Seven whole weeks without even starting him up. No wonder the battery is flat.

The blame for his lack of use is Tango’d my latest project but when a bike has that all round ‘Grin Factor Machine’ who can blame me. I even attended the meeting last night on Tango’d.

There are still a couple of bits on Tango’d that are getting on my nerves one of which is the bash plate. So I took it off and stuck it up for sale. It would have sold to had it not been for all the messing about required to remove the two mounting brackets. I really couldn’t be bothered with taking the headers off and so the sale fell through and I stuck it at the back of the garage for a couple of weeks. 

Trawling eBay for an orange belly pan proved fruitless but just by chance I had a mad idea. “Why not powder coat it?” After another quick Google search I spotted Pennie Powder Coating based in Todmorden about half an hour away. Hanging there in one of the photo’s  were two wheels one powder coated red the other ‘Bright Orange’ Bingo! A quick call to Chris Spacey and we were set. I nipped the bash plate over that afternoon. 


Chris called me three days later to say it was ready for collection. As soon as I’d got off the mobile I became a little nervous because I’d taken the bash plate over in the VW and only compared the colour with a photo of the petrol tank on my iPhone. Arriving on Tango’d, Chris unwrapped the bash plate and held it up against the tank. It was a perfect match! The outcome is plain to see, its looks far better than I ever imagined it would. 

Now that looks better!

Next on my hit list was the rear end. I had intended fitting a ‘tail tidy’ but after many hours of searching and asking around on the XT660.com forum it turns out that the only custom made tail tidy for the 2007+ model would cost 179 Euro’s plus shipping from Off>>>The Road in Germany. On top of which I would then need micro indicators and a number plate mount, making the entire project ludicrously expensive. 

Just out of curiosity I stripped the rear end  off to have a better look. Unless I was willing to cut the light off of the rear tray, which I’m not, it’s a non starter. 

2007 XT660X Rear end
It's one big piece of plastic!

Whilst the  back end was still on the bench I got back on eBay and found a nice set of chrome finished LED indicators. Kev had listed two pairs but there was still 6 days to run! That was far too long for me to wait so after an exchange of messages we cut a deal, two sets for the price of one. Deal done! True to his word two brand new sets of Oxford Mercury LED indicators arrived 2 days later. 

Out with the old
In with the new

Now I thought fitting them would be a breeze, be warned, it’s not! Each individual indicator is fitted with a small 70mm long resistor which takes a little plumbing in.

I just knew this was going to be fun!

Removing the head light altogether made life a lot easier up front. Here’s a photographic run through of the process for those of you planning on fitting a set of sexy indicators.

1) Remove head light & old indicators, bolt on new indicators
2) Use the cable casing from old over the new wires see right
3) Cable tie covered wires to light frame

4) I cut both connectors off of the Oxford indictor wires so I could thread the new wires through the old indicator wire cover
5) Fit new bullet connectors or solder
6) Connect inline resistor

7) Cable tie right wire to light frame
8) Waterproof the resistor and connectors I used 

9) Repeat on left 
10) Cable tie resistor to light frame


11) Re-fit headlight

12) Repeat at the rear
Job Done!

Currently the radiator cover is up in Preston with Les of Bare Grills. I’m having a chrome radiator cover fabricated just to finish off the front end with a bit of ‘bling!’


Having charged Mr T’s battery over night I took a steady ride around the block which brought home what a massive piece of machinery the Super Tenere XT1200Z really is especially with a 32 litre tank full of fuel. 


So what’s the plan to get my ‘Mojo’ back? You guessed it another adventure around Europe. I’m off to participate in the IBA Germany Road Runner Rally in 2 weeks time with Ron. As you can imagine I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and what better way to start than a 24 hour photographic rally Iron Butt style.


What makes this ride a little special is the fact we plan to follow up the rally with a weeks tour of South East Europe. The rough plan is to head East to Prague in the Czech Republic then continue South East through Slovakia into Hungary then Romania and Bulgaria. Before returning via Greece if time allows cutting back North West through Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo. The last leg will see us clipping the corner of Serbia whilst heading into Bosnia and Herzegovina calling in at Split in Croatia. Finally making an IBA ride back to the Channel Tunnel through Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and France hopefully in time to attend the 2013 RTTW on the 5th of October. That’s if all goes to plan. Failing that we will just mooch around and see where the road takes us.

So something tells me my ‘Mojo’ will be coming back with a vengeance with the adventure that lies  ahead. Hopefully my next Blog will be crammed with exiting tales of the IBA Germany Road Runners Rally and Ron and Rays East European Tour. 

Look out Europe here we come, in search of my ‘Mojo’.


‘Ride well and stay safe’. 

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