Well Eurothrash was upon us once again and this time it was decided that we – me, Yox and Purge again – would head once more to the Pyrenees. Yox as usual was charged with sorting out routes and he did us proud again:

Eurothrash 2017: the Route

So after work on the Friday, I headed down to Portsmouth to meet up with the two of them for a pint of two at a nearby pub before boarding the overnight ferry to Caen. The weather forecast was a bit dodgy but it didn’t really rain until it was time for boarding.

Once on board, the drinking theme continued, despite our knowing that the forecast was not particularly good:

“Let me explain…”

Les Miserables

After a couple of hours’ kip in our compact and bijou 4-berth cabin, we got up, had coffee and a croissant and ventured out into the light rain; I didn’t bother to put on my waterproof oversuit as I thought I’d leave it to the “waterproof” Triumph Taloc leathers, Alpinestars Gore-Tex boots and Rukka Gore-Tex gloves to sort things out, which they did. At one point during the day it got a little nippy, so at one fuel stop, I grabbed my Keis heated vest and plugged it in as well as turning on the heated grips and was toasty-warm!

After 500 miles or so, we got separated near to our first stop at Lurbe-Saint-Christau and I followed the Garmin to our hotel, the Au Bon Coin which, from the outside and being in the middle of nowhere, didn’t look like much. Inside, however, it was comfortable and our dinner – after a couple of beers – was really tasty.

Time for beer!

After breakfast on Day Two, we set off for Spain and the Hotel Cotori in El Pont de Suert where we’d stayed in 2013.  This really is a fabulous hotel and one I’d stay in again and again.

En route, we stopped off for some coffee as Yox had brought his coffee-making kit with him, so we did some off-roading (!) to ride down to a river – well, excluding Purge who refused to take the ZZR1400 down the gravel embankment – only to find that there was a disaster! Yox’s cafetière had smashed! So we ended up sieving the coffee through a tea towel to allow us to have the elixir of life before finishing our ride.

And here’s some video of Yox and I getting up the slope:

150-ish miles later and we arrived in the main square outside the Hotel Cotori where they were setting up for “La Nit del Foc” or the “Night of Fire” with wooden torches in all shapes and sizes everywhere. We weren’t sure whether it was actually a Wicker Man-style event for us, especially after the 19 beers that were consumed…

Day Three and we were heading to the Hotel Andria in Seo de Urgel, some 180 miles on our planned twisty routes. We stopped off at one point for some photos near Montferrer i Castellbò in Catalonia and saw some eagles – you won’t be able to make them out, I doubt, from my photos.

By the time we reached the hotel after a very warm day in the saddle – 32°C – we were pleased that they let us park the bikes up in their courtyard. A quick shower and a few beers on the verandah and we headed off into town for food, including Yox’s mini-penises…

Day Four was planned to be a biggie: 230-ish miles of bends and twisties from Spain into France and then up into Andorra before our overnight stop at the Hotel President.

And the roads indeed proved epic with lots of hairpins, ascents and descents all day long. And our first brush with the law: after a ‘spirited’ ride up some hairpins, we got pulled over by the police near Naut Aran in Catalonia:

After our stop, we decided to pull over so our Extreme Barista could do his stuff, this time using just the filter from the broken cafetière to filter the coffee.

Once we’d had coffee, we set off again and later found that we could experience a number of different weather conditions within a very short space of time once we were back into the Haute-Garonne of France:

After negotiating the perilous car park ramps at the Hotel President, it was time for beers and their buffet deal in the restaurant. Yox and Purge had adjoining rooms which featured their own shared ante-room with sofas and TV!

Day Five was planned as another 160-ish miles back into Spain, along the N260 and then back into France for our next stop at Thuir, the Domaine de La Fauvelle.

A slightly cooler 31°C but lots of effort on the roads led to us needing beers when we arrived before we’d even changed. They told us the restaurant was usually shut that day but as another older lady was staying, they’d got the chef coming in especially and would we like to dine there? On the basis that we were on the outskirts of Thuir and couldn’t be arsed to walk into town we said yes and were lucky to do so as the food was simply superb. Purge had already claimed he was all cheesed out but still managed some, giving up the chance to try what he mis-translated as “fish sorbet”…

The mileage had begun to take its toll on us, so for Day Six, our planned route of 200 miles back into the twisties before heading to the idiosyncratic Hôtel Renaissance at Castres was only followed by Yox and me, with Purge taking the more direct route to Castres.

The roads were great fun, but as even Yox was taking it easy which was not what I wanted to do, needing a bit more speed to take the weight off my wrists, so I rode past and made my own way on the planned route, with Yox catching me when I stopped for a well-earned break in Couiza.

By the time we got to Castres and had settled into our rooms, Purge had already arrived much earlier and was sitting drinking in one of the bars in the square, where we then met up before finding a restaurant to eat: burgers with goats cheese (and then more cheese). After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for a couple of beers/digestifs and then bed: we had a long day ahead of us planned…

Did I mention the roads were great?

Day Seven and we were starting our return journey, heading for the Domaine de Roiffé, some 320 miles from Castres. Purge had already decided he would take the direct motorway route and blast there whilst Yox and I would take a nicer route, even though we’d ride at our own pace – I’d stopped for petrol the night before, etc.

The weather was a little changeable and on one country road in the rain, I got flashed by a hidden speed camera on a double-bend; we’ll see if the ticket reaches me. Purge reached the hotel 15 minutes or so before me and Yox a little while after as he’d stopped for photos on the way. A quick shower and then off for beers and a lovely meal in our own vaulted roofed booth.

Day Eight and we planned an earlier departure as we were all booked on mid-afternoon Eurotunnel crossings. As I was on a FlexiPlus fare I was more relaxed and we’d all planned our own strategies for the final 340-odd miles: I was planning a two-stop, Yox a one-stop and Purge a “pin it to win it” blast/stop/repeat run.

It was warm and dry, but the rain clouds were ever-present and you dodged the clouds as much as possible, with the odd heavy downpour and then bright, warm sunshine.

As it transpired, we all arrived at the terminal within minutes of each other. After enduring the long wait at UK Border Agency, we boarded separate trains and then I headed home.

2,327 Miles

Once home, it was a cuppa, a shower, a Chinese takeaway and then back out to collect my partner from her flight back from Fuerteventura (landing at 1.10am!) into Gatwick. No rest for the wicked!

A couple of weeks later and my numb index finger (throttle side) is only gradually easing. Maybe that could be avoided in future by my fitting bar risers? One to try…

So I’m happy to be able to report that all is well with the Sprint after an annual service and MoT at Jack Lilley at Romford: only 1,440 ,miles in the last year.

While it was in, they let me test drive a Triumph Tiger Explorer XRt for the day. Once I got used to armchair riding position, it seemed really comfortable although to reduce buffeting from the electrically-adjustable screen when making good progress, I needed it all the way up – I’m just under six feet tall.

Toys are impressive with cruise control and semi-active suspension and heated seats – there are two sections for the rider and pillion – which would be a boon for touring, but as will all these “Adventure” bikes it seems, hard luggage is an expensive extra. Spec’ing it up to a suitable specification brings its price to over £16,000 and there’s no way it’s worth my Sprint plus, what, nine or ten grand especially when the Sprint is performing faultlessly and is still low mileage (6,954).

The Sprint’s much nicer now since I had Michelin Pilot Road 4 (PR4) tyres fitted last year before the Brittany run and the Triumph Taloc waterproof leathers work well, both in the sun – see last year’s Eurothrash – and in the rain when I had the Sprint serviced.

 

So with another girls’ weekend in Newquay ahead of Alison and none of my riding mates able to come with me if I went anywhere, I decided I’d head to a part of France I’d never visited before, so I thought I’d head to Le Mont-Saint-Michel.

I looked at the “Ride” magazine guide to France and some of their suggested routes around there and the Atlantic coast and booked a couple of other overnight stops at the end of a couple of routes, sight unseen.

I booked a Eurotunnel crossing with their Flexiplus fare so that I could be as pressure-free as possible on my way back with the longest leg of the tour. After a 4.30am start, I turned up in plenty of time and was waved straight through and onto a train waiting to leave. They even gave me my own personal carriage 🙂

The Sprint GT and an empty carriage

The Sprint GT and an empty carriage

After around 560km I arrived at my hotel, having had to talk my way around one of the barriers stopping entry to the town without a code – which I had, thinking it was the code to the hotel’s own carpark (which they don’t have). Thanks to Accor’s loyalty plan, I’d been able to check in early so I spent the afternoon wandering around the actual Mont-Saint-Michel with its narrow streets and steps. Perfect for pushchairs, apparently…

I decided to walk back to the hotel as the queue for the bus was very long and after dinner came back out to take some more photos as night fell. Here are some photos:

My next stop was at Quimper. I’d found what was supposed to be a four star place to stay without really realising it was a campsite and that there weren’t really hotel-type rooms in the accepted sense in the Chateau itself. Worse than that was the 5.00pm check-in. I messaged them to see if I could check in earlier but hadn’t heard back before I set off so I enjoyed the lovely roads and stopped at Guingamp for coffee and lunch:

I checked my emails to find I could check in earlier after all, so off I went. I arrived around 4.00pm and checked-in at Reception, rode around to the chateau and couldn’t find any way to get in. After 45 minutes, i was lucky enough to find someone who could point me in the right direction, by which point I was a sodden, sweaty lump thanks to the hot day and a full set of leathers.

Still it was nice and ‘authentic’ and I did enjoy my time there:

Parked-up for the night

Parked-up for the night

L'Orangerie de Lanniron

L’Orangerie de Lanniron

L'Orangerie de Lanniron

L’Orangerie de Lanniron

Check-out time was 10.00am so after breakfast I set out for St Nazaire on some more lovely roads, going via Quiberon, which meant filtering along through the traffic queues onto the peninsula. A nice stop for moules and a wave to America and I was back on the road.

Hello America!

Hello America!

Moules Mariniere

Moules Mariniere

I arrived at the Hotel Majestic La Baule and wandered off to take some photos and get a coffee and Coke … and a Cuba Libre.

2048-RHMP-Eurothrash-1153

The next morning after a lovely breakfast I waved goodbye and set off for home: a small matter of 770km.

The sun's up and it's time to leave

The sun’s up and it’s time to leave

Saying goodbye

Saying goodbye

I made it to Calais in plenty of time and despite the “helpful” UK Border Agency making me remove my helmet – even though he could clearly see my face – which slowed things up, I got on to an earlier train back (see my earlier comment about Flexiplus).

Home and a shower and a coffee and I was almost human after 2002km. I do like the Triumph Sprint GT 1050 and I also like my new leathers: Triumph “Taloc” leather jacket and jeans which are heat-reflective with zipped ventilation to help you keep cool and they’re also weather-resistant/waterproof supposedly. I only had a couple of light showers so no chance to really test that out, but there are inner liners to let the rain run out if it makes it through the leather.

2002km

2002 kilometres

1244 miles

1244 miles

I just realised that I hadn’t posted about last year’s Eurothrash to the Harz Mountains in Germany, so here we are now.

It was a quick blast there whilst my partner was sunning herself in Newquay with her friends. We’d booked to stay with Gregory Niven at his biker-friendly pension – Gregory rode a Kawasaki Versys by then – so Yox (on his Versys), Purge (on his Kawasaki ZZR1400) and I set off to Germany on a really hot day. The beers at Gregory’s place were welcome by the time we got there!

Dinner that first night – as all nights whilst we were there – was at the nearby Zum Belgier with their large selection of Schnitzel:

Tasty Schnitzels!

Tasty Schnitzels!

The next day we went off on a route that Gregory had laid out for us. A nasty front wheel slip on the Sprint ruined my confidence in the OEM Bridgestones, though:

This was what the front tyre looked like when we stopped:

Skid?

Skid?

This was us at our stop shortly afterwards:

2015-07-18 11.16.44 2015-07-18 11.16.34

That evening, a somewhat peckish Yox ordered a light snack:

So Yox is having a weiner schnitzel with Bolognese sauce (meat) AND an 8oz steak on the side. Just in case.

So Yox is having a weiner schnitzel with Bolognese sauce (meat) AND an 8oz steak on the side. Just in case.

The next day it was off to Colditz. Except it was closed…

En route to Colditz

En route to Colditz

Still, we got some footage despite my lack of confidence in the tyres:

The next day it was wet; showers throughout the day but in between the rain we were taken for a blast out by Gregory:

2015-07-19 15.59.14 HDR 2015-07-19 15.58.49 HDR

And then the heavens opened. You can see from the footage that I was just not at all happy with the (lack of) grip from the front:

Then it was back home and after I’d switched back to miles and got home, I reckon it was a pathetic 400 miles of rain on the way home rather than the epic Pyrenees deluge…

2015-07-20 19.31.44

This year’s Eurothrash took us from England to France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy and we almost ended up in Lichtenstein too! 2,361 miles in a week, with two rest days.

I mentioned in the last blog entry that I’d fettled the Sprint ready for the journey. As it turned out, we did a quick pack on the Friday night and found we could fill the two panniers and then put the 30 litre roll bag in the top case along with Alison’s heated inner jacket and our liners. Gloves and bits and bobs went into the Kriega US-20 strapped onto the tank.

And so it was that we were up at 3.00am to shower, pack and hit the road around 4.15am to meet up with Mark (Purge), Martin (Yox) and Josie at the Stop24 services on the M20 near the Eurotunnel at 5.30am. Despite horrific weather being forecast for the journey, the only wetness we saw was a bit of spray on the A2 out of London.  We were first to arrive and grabbed coffee and croissants at the Shell garage. Yox and Josie arrived a few minutes later on his Kawasaki Versys and we then received a message from Purge saying he’d woken up to torrential rain and would get a later crossing and meet us there!

Early start at Eurotunnel

Early start at Eurotunnel

I reset my dials and the satnav to kilometres for the rest of the trip to make it easier to work out fuel and rest stops.

Once boarded, we were told there would be a delay due to a train fault in the tunnel, so we were around 45 minutes late getting off in France. These delays continued and worsened, apparently, so that Purge had to wait hours for an eventual 1.50pm crossing and a blast down by Autoroutes to join us in Germany for our first night.

On the way down through France, we stopped off near Reims to stretch our legs at the old Formula One pit buildings of the Reims-Gueux Circuit:

Reims Grand Prix Pit Buildings

Reims Grand Prix Pit Buildings

Reims Grand Prix Pit Buildings

Reims Grand Prix Pit Buildings

We finally reached the Hotel-Landgasthof Hirsch in Neu-Ulm (mid-way between Stuttgart and Munich) at tea-time, so we showered and changed and hit the beers before dinner. Purge joined us around 9.30pm.

After a really nice breakfast on the Sunday morning we set off for Austria despite a light shower at one point, though nothing like what was forecast. Germany meant Autobahns so on one section I decided to wind the Sprint open and we hit 147mph – two-up and fully laden, don’t forget – before I backed it off down to 100mph. I wonder how fast it would have gone (especially solo and without all the gear)…

A coffee and a Snickers as we approached Austria and we were on our way.

DSCF0287 DSCF0288 DSCF0289

Into Austria and we headed down to Hall in Tirol and the Gasthof Badl.  Purge and Yox had stayed there before, but I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest. I was grateful to be proven completely wrong: a well-presented and large double room with a huge and very modern bathroom and a balcony with a wonderful view of the Alps.

Gasthof Badl (by Purge)

Gasthof Badl (by Purge)

Gasthof Badl and Bikes

Gasthof Badl and Bikes

The view from our balcony

The view from our balcony

A shower and off we went into the old town to a restaurant in the castle for the largest Weiner Schnitzel you could imagine (pork, not veal, of course).

That was our restaurant for the evening

That was our restaurant for the evening

After a huge breakfast on Monday morning, we set off into the Alps to visit the Grossglockner glacier. Some great twisty roads and stunning views on our way, too.

Panoramic View

Panoramic View

Grinning at the Grossglockner Glacier

Grinning at the Grossglockner Glacier

It had been very cold on one of the earlier passes, enough for me to switch on my heated grips and for Alison to plug in her heated inner jacket which kept her toasty warm.

Tuesday was supposed to be wet, so we planned our rest day. It wasn’t at all wet as we walked into town for coffees and then back to the hotel for beers before dinner.

Photo Opportunity

Photo Opportunity

Quick Chat

Quick Chat

Coffee Break

Coffee Break

Wednesday and we headed into Italy and Switzerland for the Jaufenpass and Stelvio Pass. Very impressive passes both, if a little cold as we passed through the snowline up to Stelvio for big hotdogs and wine just as the snow began falling. Epic twisty roads too after the light dusting dried out in the warm summer sun…

Stelvio Pass (photo by Yox)

Stelvio Pass (photo by Yox)

Stelvio Scoff (thanks Purge)

Stelvio Scoff (thanks Purge)

Jaufenpass (photo by Yox)

Jaufenpass (photo by Yox)

Stelvio Pass

Stelvio Pass

Sprint and Stelvio

Sprint and Stelvio

Sprint and Stelvio

Sprint and Stelvio

Stelvio Smiles

Stelvio Smiles

The Hills Are Alive

The Hills Are Alive

Thursday was Josie’s 50th birthday. Our plan for the day was to head to the Kehlsteinhaus or Eagle’s Nest, which was given to Hitler for his 50th birthday (which was ironic as he had a fear of heights…). Yet more stunning scenery and very twisty roads on our way to the visitor centre. On arrival in the car park, the rain started falling heavily for around 10 minutes so we stood in our waterproofs before it stopped and we boarded the truly scary convoy of buses to take us up to the retreat itself, where we stopped for lunch and the views.

Lunch at the Eagle's Nest

Lunch at the Eagle’s Nest

Too bright!

Too bright!

Stunning Views

Stunning Views

Celebratory fizz and birthday cake back at the hotel before heading up to bed.

Friday was another rest day with one or two light showers but after two days in the mountains on hairpin bends, we could all do with the rest!

Espressos and Iced Tea

Espressos and Iced Tea

Breakfast on Saturday morning was massive as usual. We then checked out – why was our bar bill so excessive again? Oops! – then it was off to Mulhouse. Purge wasn’t quite ready when we were going to head off and said he was going to go the quicker rather than the scenic route, so Yox and I headed off. A fab journey it was too through Austria and Germany (the Black Forest, mainly). We stopped at one point in Germany at Schluchsee in the mid-afternoon for drinks and ice creams by the huge lake. Purge had already reached Mulhouse and was sitting by the pool drinking beers (as per).

It's tough, this travelling

It’s tough, this travelling

Sprint at the Schluchsee

Sprint at the Schluchsee

Schluchsee

Schluchsee

We rolled into Mulhouse after another day of scenery, hairpins and hot sun and ate outside by the pool at the Golden Tulip Mulhouse Basel at Sausheim.

Sunday morning and it was up early for breakfast before heading out for our long journey back. Purge opted for the “splash and dash” whereas we opted for more Alpine scenery and a less frenetic if longer route, with me leading us into the Eurotunnel in plenty of time for the ridiculously long (and hot) wait for the UK Border Agency to let us onto the trains. Our border control is frankly pathetic compared with every other country I travel to. Such long delays coming back home.

Once back in the UK, Alison and I waved Yox and Josie off and we stopped to eat and refuel before heading home mid-evening, 2,361 miles down:

Trip Mileage

Trip Mileage

And finally, a little bit of video:

Planning for next year’s Eurothrash has already started: maybe the Italian Riviera? Accessed via Bilbao and Northern Spain, Andorra and the French Riviera?

Fettling

Well this year’s Eurothrash to Austria is now getting closer so I’m making final arrangements for kit and making sure the Sprint is ready to rock.

The wiring issues were swiftly resolved by Jack Lilley – who I was very impressed with and will now be using for all my Triumph servicing, etc. – as they found that the blowing fuse was actually a problem with the accessory lead I’d bought a while back and the lack of power to the topbox was indeed down to Metropolis Motorcycles completely failing to fit the additional wiring harness when they prepped the Sprint for me when I bought it.

Ali now has heated gloves and a heated inner jacket from Keis – very good gear, it must be said – although I’m slightly disappointed that the gloves can’t be powered from the jacket if the heavy duty temperature controller for the jacket is fitted. No idea why, either. Obviously when we pack these, it will ensure that the Austrian Tyrol remains at tropical temperatures whilst we are there…

I’ve also sourced some new straps for the Kriega luggage I used for the Pyrenees Eurothrash last year so that I can strap a US-10 or US-20 to the tank. I need to see which one will work best with the Garmin and the other controls.

I also got hold of a 30 litre waterproof rollbag from Givi that can be strapped onto the Sprint’s topbox with some nifty ROK straps if we need the extra luggage capacity over the 117 litres we already have in the topbox and panniers.

So I think at the weekend, we’ll have a rehearsal to see how much stuff we can pack, where and how, and see if we do need to think about using the rollbag and the US-20 after all. I want to avoid wearing a rucksack if possible. Last year I had 20+10+10+35=75 litres and that was more than ample for me.

As for entertainment, well the new Garmin links to my iPod that’s now under the seat our intercom seems to work well, although we haven’t tried connecting to Yox’s or Purge’s headsets yet for bike to bike stuff.

From new, I’ve always had issues with the wiring on the Sprint: I ordered it new with the heated grips and powered top-box but Triumph ship them to the dealers “as-is” and the dealers then fit the accessories.

Or they should…

In my case I discovered last night that the fuse issue appears to be a short in the accessory socket which shares the same wiring as the grips fitted by Metropolis. The moment you try to plug something in to the socket, it shorts and the fuse blows instantly (you can hear it popping if you have the saddle off).

Also, from new there has never been any power to the socket in the powered top-box. Ah. According to Triumph UK, that’s probably because Metropolis may not have fitted a relay that they needed to… {sigh}

So I’ve contacted Jack Lilley at Romford to get them to sort both issues under warranty. I’m waiting for a call back to book it in.

Why was I looking last night? I was removing the wiring for my old Tom Tom Rider and fitting the much more substantial motorcycle mount and loom for my new Garmin zumo 590LM.  This is in preparation for this year’s Eurothrash to Austria with Ali on the pillion – she was comfortable enough to fall asleep on the back the other week – and has also meant I’ve upgraded our intercom/headsets to the new Cardo scala rider G9c PowerSet.

After a few changes of plan, I put another few miles on the clock midweek by riding over to GT’s on the GT on one of the hottest days of the year, having received a load of admiring looks and remarks from colleagues at work.

I’d taken the panniers off to be able to filter through rush-hour traffic and so it was.

Friday morning and it was lashing down with rain. Fortunately I’d left some waterproof over-trousers at GT’s for her to use when she was doing her own bike lessons and test, so I wore those, but my perforated leather jacket was – sadly – doing its job perfectly: I was soaked!

So I dropped the Sprint off at Metropolis, pointed out the small issues with the bike – a missing fairing bolt, stupid plasticene indicator screws fixed with superglue, a blown fuse and too much throttle slack – and then picked up the courtesy bike which was a brand new Tiger 800 and headed home to drip dry rather than going into the office as planned.

The Tiger 800 is a bit of a gem, by the way, but I’m not sure it’s worth £8,000 with ABS: only £500 less than the Sprint GT.

Riding home and the Sprint felt much better with the throttle response being soooooo improved. Pity that Metrop told me they need to drill out the indicator/mirror screws … No shit, Sherlock! That’s what i thought they were doing.

Ah well. I just need to check they’re replaced the fuse and signed the service booklet and wash all the filth off the bike after the wet ride.

…continues.

My son came down to London to stay the weekend. Unlike his sister, Jack had never been keen as a young child to go on any of my bikes (Amy had regularly scored cool points at primary school by riding in on the back of my bikes and made sure to keep her helmet on her coat-peg). So it was that at 17, he’d never really been anywhere on the back of my bikes.

My trusty Scala Rider headset had packed up recently, so rather than doing a like-for-like replacement I had opted for the Scala Rider Teamset Pro: two headsets that link together by Bluetooth for a little bit more than an individual headset. The plan next year is to take GT on the GT (!) to somewhere in Europe – possibly Austria – on another Eurothrash so being able to talk rather than relying on taps and hand-signals would be a bonus.

So we checked that one of my helmets fitted Jack securely, hooked up the headsets, kitted him with gloves and leathers and headed down to Loomies in Hampshire via Ryka’s in Surrey. His Mum was more than a little concerned when she found out what was going on…

Jack, on the other hand, was a natural and the 160 mile roundtrip was enjoyed by both of us and being able to chat on the road was a new experience for me.

Purge was at Loomies on his equally new Ducati Multistrada and I pointed out a missing bolt from the rear mudguard … as Yox pointed out a missing bolt from my fairing! Oops! Another little thing for Metropolis to sort out at the first service in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I’d sent off the forms to transfer another plonker plate onto the Sprint: 8000 RM. The new tax disc and authorisation arrived today, so I’ve let the insurance company know, printed off a new insurance certificate and ordered a new numberplate to fit to the bike, hopefully before the weekend…

Saturday morning found me heading out on the bus with a leather jacket and clutching my open helmet to head to Metropolis Motorcycles to pick up the Sprint. And so it was that I got off the train at Vauxhall and wandered over just as they were opening … which was just as well as it was filling up for “Crash a Triumph Day” aka Triumph Open Day with test rides aplenty.

After we’d done the paperwork and I’d laughed at the stupid warning label on the pannier liner bags (have I got to take a Triumph Technician everywhere with me?), I fired up GT with its 3.1 mile mileometer (or odometer as Triumph refer to it) reading and headed home via a petrol station to fill the tank right up. It was handy having the top box as well because I could put all my paperwork – in a neat Triumph pouch – and a Triumph T-shirt and mug in the cavernous boot.

To be fitted by a trained technician

To be fitted by a trained technician

Top Box Inner Bag. Really?

Top Box Inner Bag. Really?

So home, arriving with a little over 6 miles on the clock.

It was then that I noticed the scratches on the massive OEM silencer – the “Hoover” – which had been effectively hidden in the showroom and not showing up when I climbed onto the bike from the other side:

Scratched End Cap

Scratched End Cap

Scratched Silencer

Scratched Silencer

Now while I have told the dealer about them, it’s only important for when/if I sell the bike, because I’d already decided that I wouldn’t be happy with this profile:

Before...

Before…

… and I’d much prefer this one instead:

...and After

…and After

This has the added benefit – having removed the baffle – of releasing a lovely, deep growl from the triple engine without being too noisy, thanks to the catalytic converter in the headers/collector box (I only swapped out the silencer). Start to finish, it took me 10 minutes to fit this carbon fibre Remus Hexacone silencer. Lighter weight, smaller, shorter and better looking. And it makes the popping and banging on the overrun even better!

I then spent another 5 minutes taking off all the warning stickers from the tank before they get a chance to harden and take hold on the tank. Marvelous!

The next job was to fit the RAM mount for the satnav to the fork tops and then wire up a power lead to plug into the accessory socket. Sadly, this wasn’t actually putting out any power (and neither were the heated grips which share the same circuit) so that’s another job for the dealer to sort. I wired up another lead direct from the battery to the new powered satnav cradle from Amazon… which is also DOA! So the morning had taken a slight turn for the worse … which got much, much worse when I scraped the left pannier going into the garage due to my misjudging the width at the rear – the bike’s wider at the back than the front, even with the wide mirrors. Arse! Out with the T-Cut paste.

Finally, it was time to change into my black race leathers and matt black Arai for the full stealth effect. High viz? Schmy viz! Then off to Egham to drop off some apartment keys for Amy and then on to Epsom and the other GT for dinner.

Sunday morning and I was up and out of the house by 8.00am as I was heading down to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu to meet up with friends for breakfast and a natter. I chose the A3 as it was a nice mixture of roads and off I went, keeping the revs and throttle openings to a modest amount as I’m running the bike in. Playing with the trip computer showed that the GT was giving over 50mpg at 90mph – on closed roads, obv! – and even with all the town riding was averaging 46mpg with a range of a little over 200 miles.

Some slight tingling through the bars at around 90 as well, so I will need to keep it just under or just over on Eurothrashes.

After a lovely time with mates, I headed back to Epsom where the other GT had finished a difficult half-marathon – “demanding”, said the website – especially in the heatwave. I was pleased to have avoided it on doctor’s orders after my GP and Consultant had told me to rest my duff knee until it’s fixed.

On the way back up the M3, a crash had slowed traffic to a halt so I was able to see what it was like to filter with the additional width. It was OK: I just had to be a little more careful and filter with less extreme prejudice than usual.

Then in the evening it was back home through more heavy traffic up to Wandsworth and a weekend of around 250 miles.

Excellent!