For those wondering what’s been happening with project “Turd”, here’s the latest.
The last time I posted there were only two things remaining on the “to do” list, the major item being to sort the front brakes. The reservoir cap screws were a bit mangled and I’d been unable to remove them with a screwdriver, so I bought an impact driver to try and persuade them to budge. This persuaded one of them to move but the other wasn’t playing ball and I had resigned myself to having to drill it out. The following day I had another go, and to my surprise it came undone. With access to the reservoir it was time to top up the level and bleed the brakes. The end result was brakes that pull up much more evenly than before, although I think the real issue is that the discs are not a matched pair. I only spotted this weeks after buying it when I realised the centre anodising on each were slightly different shades. I’m pleased with the improved feel, but in truth they’re still not great. Compared to the titanic stopping power and ABS of my old BMW, these are prehistoric in feel and power. Next will be to try braided hoses, but ultimately I’m thinking discs will be required if I want real power and feel, at which stage that added cost will make a big dent in the bargain status of the price I paid for the bike.
The exhaust note that I’d enjoyed and found a bit fruity, turned out to be the result of a poor fit of the silencer into the downpipe. I used the bike for a 50 km commute for a couple of days and found it to be a bit fluffy at the bottom end and actually quite noisy, the wife telling me she could hear me at least a km from home. Whilst entertaining, I’m sure the locals didn’t appreciate it, and it was hardly going to allow me to pass through anywhere in stealth mode without attracting attention. I realised that the poor fit was likely causing the fluffy pick up and probably also contributing to poor fuel consumption, although I’ve not measured it yet. To try and get a better join between the silencer and downpipes I decided to buy a new clamp, but was shocked to find that it was €605, as it was an integral part of the downpipes, so no cheap fix there and a plan B required!
It’s been decades since I’ve used Holts gun gum on an exhaust, but a tin of gungum and one of their exhaust bandages did the trick. With no air leaking through the joint the exhaust note was massively subdued and the bike rides a whole lot better, not only at low rpms, but throughout the rev range, which combined with increasing the tickover slightly, has meant a much improved riding experience.
One thing I did learn was that if you inadvertently leave the parking light on the battery will drain, which it did one day.
I took it out for a ride this weekend, which was the first time since Feb 2017 that I’d just had a ride out for the hell of it (I’m excluding two days of commuting). A 4 ½ hour ride over 308kms with a buddy was more than ample time to find out how I’m going to get on with it, and first indications are that it’s going to be good.
The two days of commuting had proven that the seating position was comfortable, at least for an hour in the saddle, and it was equally as comfortable for the 4 ½ hours I rode it at the weekend. The tingling in my hand and fingers after the commuting rides seems to have gone now the exhaust is fixed, and the aluminium bar ends I replaced the OE black ones with improve the asthetics.
I’ve spent 10 years surfing the torque on 1200 and 1300 BMW’s, but it didn’t take long to switch to surfing the revs instead. Riding in lower gears to keep the revs up allows good deceleration through bends, and it was only in the higher gears when occasionally I forgot to drop a gear or two for a swift overtake that I missed the torque of the BMW’s. I may try fitting a one tooth larger rear sprocket to see if that helps improve acceleration, given I’ve got one sat in the garage from the R1 track bike, and as I was constantly looking for a 7th gear maybe I’ll fit the gear indicator from the R1 too.
The “Turd” is some 70+kg lighter than the old GT and this light weight makes it feel positively anorexic in comparison, makes it much easier to throw around, and ceratinly less stressful negotiating around the garage or putting onto its centre stand. As of yet I’ve not missed the planted feel 285kg used to give, although I dare say I might find it somewhat different when I get to ride on wet roads.
Diving forks haven’t proven to be a big issue, except when combined with an uneven pull on the brakes on entry to bends. I’m sure they’d benefit from an overhaul and new oil and springs at some stage and as the legs are pitted, a cosmetic makeover wouldn’t go amiss either.
The tyres are the veritable dinosaurs of Bridgestones range, BT021’s. I’ve probably ridden 75% of my lifes mileage on bikes on these, so I know what to expect and there are no surprises in how they handle. The 150 rear has enough grip to run the left hand side right to the edge, although I have the the impression it has less lean angle than the 180’s I’ve ridden .
Time will tell regarding fuel consumption, I’m quite sure that it won’t return anywhere near the great fuel economy the BMW did, mainly because it’s in a much higher rev range all of the time, although to be fair, on today’s ride the revs were rarely above the 6000 “get up and go” zone, and I didn’t really find performance lacking.
Overall I’m pleasantly surprised, in all honesty I’d expected to be less than enamoured with less than 100bhp and the 750 engine, at best I’d hoped to be mildly entertained, but it’s actually fun to ride. The engine is strong, the gearbox sweet,and it’s light weight and chuckability are ideal for the roads and usage I need from it. The jury is out whether it would be any good on mountain passes or with a pillion, but as I’m unlikely to be riding the former anytime soon, I’ll only be able to report back on the latter, as and when the wife decides to join me.