Autobikeography

The throttle goes both ways - but only one of them is fun!
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Or ‘A brief personal history on two wheels’.

A Yamaha RXS100. The ones I rode were tattier...The first motorcycle I ever rode was a Yamaha RXS-100, as recently as 1995, courtesy of Aylesbury Motorcycle School. Amazingly, I’d never even played on a motorcycle as a kid, nor yet ridden pillion before. For years people had looked at me and just assumed I was a biker—so finally, with time and money on my hands, I succumbed. Before I started, I told myself that I’d give the CBT a go, and that if I really wasn’t getting on with it I’d stop there. Providing it wasn’t too bad I’d stick with it until I’d passed my bike test and then see…

 

I think this is an RS100, but I wouldn't swear to it...So of course, I loved it. Even on a 10bhp RXS100 with drum front brakes which struggled under my weight, I really loved it. CBT over with, I did a full course on the trusty RXS and then borrowed its immediate predecessor, the RS100, from a mate’s SO to practice on in my own time. I had my first bin on the borrowed RS, when while turning round in a grass field I put the front wheel straight down a rabbit hole and rolled over the front. Fortunately, there was no damage to bike or rider.

 

 

Just before I passed my test, a fellow Cixen became so disgusted with his chronically unreliable, stripped and ratted XS400 Custom that he just abandoned it on a petrol station forecourt in New Addington and offered it to anybody who could be bothered to go and get it, for £100. Students of South London’s less salubrious neighbourhoods will already know that any vehicle that is left unattended in New Addington for 30 seconds, especially with a handily pre-screwdrivered ignition that requires nothing more complex than a finger to operate, is instant history. The fact that this XS, which would admittedly have been a foul enough example of genus motorcycle even in pristine condition, remained unmolested for several days is perhaps indicative of its appeal. Again, the mate who helped me out with the RS came through with his time and a bike trailer. Still, it was my first big bike, and when – on the very evening I passed my test - I took it out for a quick blast, it completely rocked my world. Sideways. That thunderous 36bhp (when new) 400cc parallel twin motor was a giant step above the 10bhp 100cc strokers I’d been riding up until then…

An XS400 is a horrible motorcycle at the best of times. Mine was a million times worse...This XS was matt black, had no indicators, a pathetically inadequate headlight and a brake light that only operated off the rear brake pedal – and only then after I had adjusted it properly. The sidestand fell off very early in my stewardship of it, and the airbox and filter had gone, replaced by a pair of obviously knackered individual filters. These caused no end of grief between them. To start with the bike kept cutting out, dropping to run on one pot and generally farting about. It’s finest hour involved it dropping onto one pot, leaving me at full throttle crawling round a roundabout, slipping the clutch and heading for the safety of the adjacent garage forecourt. Just as I hit the ramp, the missing pot chimed back in and suddenly I was accelerating at full throttle towards the plate glass window behind which the cashier first sat then cowered, with the front wheel hovering a few inches in the air and my ring-piece puckering nicely. I managed to stop, just, and then took the two errant filters off and threw them away. The bike ran and fuelled much better thereafter and I enjoyed my new toy immensely for a few months. I had the car towed away for scrap after I realised I’d no incentive to fix it and no wish to drive it anywhere much if I did. Into the winter salt and crap, and suddenly I was the victim of old Yamaha brake disease… the front brake pistons seized on solid and when I turned left at the end of my road, the front wheel didn’t… first I knew of the problem was when I found myself still sitting on the bike, but horizontally instead of vertically. It bloody hurt as well, in my un-armoured old-style leather jacket…

It was while I was stripping down the calliper on the XS and rebuilding it that my mate Geoff – he of the largess with the bike trailer – placed temptation in my path. He offered me his rather tatty and well used but to me beautiful 1987 VFR750FG for a very affordable price. I couldn’t refuse.

The story of the XS isn’t over, though. I rebuilt the calliper and put it back together, but before I could get round to bleeding it I mentioned to a friend of a client of mine on Alderney that it was available – and he bit, hard. Strange bloke, obviously. A month or so later a bunch of his mates turned up with a van and took the rusty, festering heap away with them. Next time I was over on Alderney, the guy lent the now amazingly clean and tidy bike back to me to use as transport during my stay… and I must say that it felt truly horrible after 6 months on the VFR. Gutless couldn’t properly describe it, nor could ill-handling. It’s amazing the difference a bit of perspective can make!

My VFR750FG looked like this only much grimier and tattier (have you detected a pattern yet?)...Anyway, Geoff’s VFR had had a hard life – I know the two previous owners well, and I mean a hard life. Geoff delivered it, and handed me a boxed set of new front wheel-bearings to go with it. First time I rode it, it blew my mind again. All that V4 power, all that handling, all that everything… impressive considering there was no damping in the rear shock at all, and the front wheel bearings were shot! I dropped it a couple of hours later, caught out by the greater weight and off-balance after I stalled it pulling away – and bent the front brake lever. In the time I owned it I dropped it a couple more times, binned it properly once at low speed after cocking up the entrance to a petrol station on the A1 and nearly riding down a concrete drainage ditch, and was almost punted under a truck once by a myopic cow in a Ford Galaxy who rear-ended me at the top of a motorway exit slip as I waited to join a roundabout. I eventually replaced the rear shock with a Hagon unit (it took them two bites at this cherry - there’s a saga here) and the knackered exhaust cans with a Motad. And then I rode it and rode it and rode it.

A few months later, once I’d got just confident and competent enough to be properly dangerous, I made a false assumption about a slip-road on the A41, which resulted in much graunching of the centre-stand and puckering of the brown-eye when I discovered that the corner I assumed opened out actually tightened. Several lessons learned all at once here – but at least I didn’t shut the throttle or grab the brakes, otherwise I’d be writing this through a medium! I also nearly flipped it one day giving a mate of mine a demonstration on the back – ‘it accelerates like this’ away from the lights – but with somebody on the back all that happened was that the front wheel ended up pointing almost vertically skywards. Luckily it came down pointing in the correct direction, and even more fortunately my mate stayed on the back – I suspect purely by the suction effect of his ringpiece; he was not amused!

Anyway, after about 18,000 miles of happy Viffering, I was heading back up the M4 at about 90 after a Team Waste bash when the bike expired on me. I’d had trouble starting it earlier that day, but I hadn’t realised that that trouble was the sign of a dead regulator rectifier and a battery that was nearly dry. When it did boil dry, the entire electrical system on the bike was exposed to about 60vac. Not surprisingly it objected explosively. Clocks, every bulb on the bike, the works. Stone dead. The bill to get all the bulbs replaced, plus a pattern regulator-rectifier, plus buying a set of clocks from a breaker, was eye-wateringly horrendous. It was only a couple of months later, as I rode into a client’s car-park in Birmingham, that I realised my arse was on fire. Smoke was pouring from under the seat, as the pattern regulator-rectifier immolated itself. This was the final straw, though I didn’t realise it yet. I had the bike towed to Ideal Garage in Birmingham, and instead of having it fixed, found myself leaving with a rather more recent VFR750FL, in a rather fetching black and purple custom colour scheme.

Yours truly, posing with theVFR750FL for the local rag...I had this second VFR for a few months over a year, and it only ended up on its side twice, both my fault but neither time with me actually sat on it, and rode it another twenty thousand miles or so. Quite early in my time with the bike, I found myself with a client in Didcot for three months in a hot and sunny spring. That in turn meant about 40 miles of glorious twisty roads to thrash along in each direction. It was while doing this concentrated hoon that proper road positioning for the view finally became natural instead of something I had to consciously force. I was getting better and faster. And having a whale of a time. I was riding the bike hard all week to get to and from the client’s site, and then thrashing it all over the shop at weekends, en-route to Donington Park, the CiX Barbie, a EuroDemo in Belgium, in fact as my sole transport it went everywhere I did! It came with me to Carmarthen in Wales when the Welsh Office became a client, and thus enabled me to sample the utterly glorious roads of West Wales. I resolved that one day I’d move down that way myself. While there, I took in a couple of track days at Pembrey, which were fun – scraping pegs in the wet was a little worrying though – and discovered the Black Mountain road (see elsewhere on the site).

Once back in the South East, the VFR was joined by a new companion; I decided I needed a winter rat, and I found a cheap CD200 Benly that had been living in a shed for a few years and which would – I theorised – be a better bike for plodding through the salt and shite than my Viffer. Sadly, it never got the chance to prove itself in that role, succumbing to decay while parked on the drive. It did have its moments, though – I rode it back from the shop, and then – a few days later – decided it made a more appropriate bike to follow an A100 mounted learner daughter of a friend of mine than the VFR would be.

It turns out that 7 stone of completely mental hooligan on a knackered Suzuki A100 is a good match for a fat bastard on a knackered 200 Benly so it got the thrashing of its life that day.

A poor image of a nice CD200 Benley... which mine certainly wasn't!It was shortly after I’d bid the psychopathic learner goodbye that day that I nearly put the Benly out of its misery. I forgot what I was riding, and having wound it slowly up to an almost sensible A-road velocity, I headed into a tight bend I know well at an appropriate approach speed for any motorcycle with functioning brakes. Sadly, the Benly’s drums don’t really count as functioning brakes, as I remembered when I was failing to scrub off speed, and I was forced to tip the poor old thing in and hope. The right foot peg was buried in the tarmac as the cracked and hardened tyres somehow bit, and the rear shocks pogoed angrily in protest, but we got round. I was incredibly impressed. After that, apart from the odd run over the next couple of months, it didn’t get used. And then the battery went flat and it sat on the drive, then mouldered and decayed for a couple of years, before finally disappearing to a new home with an optimistic mate of mine in a van. I've since learnt that it did live again - he fettled it for his other half and she's been riding round on it ever since!

All good things must come to an end, unfortunately. In this case they came to an end gradually. It all started when I nipped down to Stokenchurch one Saturday on the VFR to buy a tax disk for the CD200. It was a sunny day so instead of heading home I hooned off up the A40. And then, when I went to turn round in the Hughendon M40 carpark they had a T595 demonstrator just sitting there.

Mmmmmmmmm. So I asked idly if I could have a go. Oh dear. It was the beginning of the end for the VFR. All that was required was a sufficient time period for me to work on deluding myself that the T595 would be sufficiently practical for my needs. It took a while, but eventually I managed it. I ended up selling the VFR to buy a harry-spankers T595 with a custom made Givi wingrack mounting kit on the back.

It had it’s days in the sun – it went to the Isle of Man (where, amusingly, it fell over in bizarre circumstances while I was taking a leak and put a scratch on the brand new fairing) just after I’d run it in, for example, and did a 1500 mile trip to the Eurodemo in Germany, complete with obligatory flying lap of the Nurburgring and 140mph+ Autoroute cruising to get back to make the ferry – all with hard luggage attached. But it had fatal flaws as a practical motorcycle.

A studio shot of a yellow T595...Firstly, I spent the year after I got it working primarily in the South East of England, which meant it spent too much of its life in 30 and 40 limits where it was no fun at all, and far too much time in heavy traffic where the riding position, high gearing and heavy clutch made it an instrument of torture. Secondly, the hard luggage used to screw the handling rotten – it was too far back so used to knacker the weight distribution, and worse, used to wobble around in the wind at high speed. I might as well have been riding the VFR when the T5 was thus encumbered – except the VFR was far more comfortable, especially on motorways and dual carriageways! The final problem wasn’t the biggest issue on my mind, but it did weigh heavily on occasion. When it wasn’t encumbered by luggage, with its awesome handling, incredible poise, monstrous engine, immensely antisocial exhaust note and ‘faster, faster’ riding position, my natural cruising speed on the ‘595 was in the region of 110mph, and anything less felt like I was artificially holding it back. I don’t know how I got away with it for as long as I did, but I did know that my licence wouldn’t respond well to being nicked at such velocities, and that if I did it often enough in enough places then eventually the pork would get lucky. I never even took it on a track-day, where it would – I’m sure – have been immensely rewarding, if horribly intimidating; it owed me far too much money for me to want to risk bending it.

Towards the end of my year and mere 12,000 miles with the T595, the beautifully fabricated one-off pannier Givi mounting kit fell apart in a blizzard of fatigue fractures under the assault of perpetual high speed oscillation. I had the first few welded, and then replaced entire broken cast aluminium components with patterns made by assorted small engineering shops out of mild steel, but they failed much more quickly. In the end I ripped it all off, bought an aftermarket sports rack for the bike and mounted a Givi top-plate on it, then tacked on some soft panniers. And then, knowing I would take a huge hit on the depreciation for my rashness I went looking for a better alternative…

I tried a VFR800 – but it didn’t light my candle. Much less character than the old 750, and linked brakes without ABS? Bleurgh! Proof that I should have kept my trusty old FL, and saved myself a small fortune, I suspect. In the end, though, the choice was simple. Carl Rosners in Croydon, just up the road from my then client, had a Sprint ST demonstrator. This was more like it – a bike that lit my candle nearly as well as the T595 and was practical! Excellent stuff!

The ST is a fine bike and no mistake, although it has had its less auspicious moments. It lunched its clutch most embarrassingly during an impromptu burnout outside Bushies on the Isle of Man, not long after I had it. Triumph claimed it was a victim of abuse, I contended that a little burnout like that shouldn’t kill a clutch. Triumph couldn’t be persuaded, the gits. The bike was a week in the island’s only Trumpet dealer while it got a new clutch, and I got to be a pedestrian for a while. Oh, and a sidecar passenger. Fuck me, that’s scary!

Yours truly at Mansfield during Rider Skills @ Cadwell...Anyway, after I got it back, it redeemed itself in my eyes, a few days after the end of race-week, by giving me a gloriously empty fast lap of the TT course and over the mountain. I had it four years in total, and I really rate it as a bike; the later model is even better. The fact that overall I only averaged about 7,000 miles a year on it was a function of the where and when of business and of moving house, plus acquisition of the Range Rover from hell, than any reluctance to ride the bike. Oh, and during the 4 years I had it, it spent an entire year in dock (yes, really). It was the only serious problem I had with the bike (although it was a saga in three acts in the end), and it wasn’t the ST’s fault. It was due a major service in high summer, and I stuck it in to Laguna Motorcycles in Maidstone – the only dealer who didn’t have a workshop backed up for 2 months. This should have told me something. My appointment very handily coincided with Brands Hatch WSB round, so I dropped the ST off in the morning and went to watch qualifying on a ZR-7, then picked it up in the evening. The fork oil hadn’t been changed, I noticed. I mentioned it. They blustered. I shrugged and went away. A month or so later it blew an improperly torqued plug straight out of the head, the tip broke off the plug and fell back into the pot and then bounced around inside for a bit before leaving via the exhaust port.

Ouch!

So back it went to Lagunas, who spent a good couple of months arguing with Triumph about who should pick up the tab. In the interim, they offered me a ZR-7 as a loaner—which I rejected out of hand—and after a little bit of negotiation, I ended up putting several thousand miles on their 2000 Tiger demonstrator.

The Laguna Tiger Loaner

When I finally got the bike back, with a new head, piston and liner, it was burning oil at the rate of 5 litres every two or three hundred miles. This time I took it up to Rosners, who gave it the full forensic once-over and ended up replacing all three pistons and liners at Triumph’s expense while I rode one of their endearing old T3 Tridents. Tellingly, it only took them a couple of days to do this. Sadly, in the light of later events, I should have expressed concern about the bottom end, and asked whether anybody had looked at it - I simply never realised that you could replace pistons & liners in T5 trumpet engines without having the con-rods off the crank and examining the journals.  Thus it was that after a several month hiatus while I used the Laguna Tiger, I got my bike back, it did (by my standards) a very limited mileage over the next couple of years (about 6,000 in fact, entirely due to the industry I'm in having a little lie down for a year or two) and then it did a big-end messily, by now way out of warranty. Triumph looked after me on the parts, since they accepted it was partly down to them, but the labour was down to me, and another five months passed while the entire motor inside the cases was rebuilt. I got it back again just before Christmas, and ran it in again, then took it down to London and back a few times en-route to my new client, but frankly, I didn't trust it any more, and now that I was living in Wales I needed something that was much happier with 250 miles of motorway in one hit than the ST was. I sold it to a mate of mine who knows its entire history in detail, and yet incredibly he's as happy as a pig in shit to have it. It'll probably never go wrong again, and it really is a truly stonking motorcycle, so I don't feel at all guilty to have sold it to him.

My wetdream. See decaying Benly, left of frame...Once more I flirted with the RAT idea at this point, purchasing a knackered old Superdream held together with hose clips and instant gasket. I don’t suppose my ‘test ride’ helped—I thrashed the living tits off it for 15 minutes and when I got back to the shop it was exhaling smoke from every orifice, but it hadn’t blown up yet so I bought it. My initial thought was that it would make a great winter rat for me, and a great post-test placeholder for then-girlfriend Sue, who had just passed her test. In the end it proved too physically large for Sue and with me moving, I thought it needed to go. I sold it to the teenage hooligan mentioned earlier in these pages, but it blew up spectacularly en-route to her on the M1 in the hands of her father, throwing balance weights out through the cases in a spontaneous disintegration. Of course, muggins here felt guilty enough to purchase her a replacement engine for her new toy. It sputtered on unreliably for a while until she got pissed off with being stranded regularly and traded it in on an ETZ250.

Come June 2001, the ST fell out of its two year warranty period, and with my new location established down here in West Wales I was in the perfect place for a hooning bike on the one hand, and yet at the end of 250 miles of motorway that demands something much more sensible for travelling long distances on the other. I decided that what I actually needed was two bikes. 

Scuffing kneesliders at Hatchets Hairpin, Pembrey, during CSS level 2. Enter a shiny new TT600, which—thanks to a universal but unjustifiable panning in the bike press was incredibly cheap. It has its deficiencies in the engine department, and at the same price I’d take a CBR600 every time, but there is no way that the Honda is worth the extra £1500 it would have cost me. Nor would then then-current flavour of CBR600 have delivered the truly sublime handling of the TT—handling that was quite a revelation for somebody like me, tuned to the (only relatively) barge-like dynamics of sports-tourers like the VFR and the ST. Despite this, it’s all-day comfortable in the CBR600 stylee, and even though it flicks from side to side like there is nothing there, it is as stable and unflappable as the day is long - in a way that its handling equal (but power superior) the slap-happy Yamaha R6 isn’t.

On the road, it’s a lot more satisfying to scratch on than even the T595, because I’m able to use that much more of its potential without leaving my brain at home. In all honesty, if you ride a GSXR-1000 hard on the road, how long are you going to live? And if you don’t… well, how frustrating is that? 

Anyway, having sorted the hooning bike out, my next move was going to be to replace the ST as well, and I would have done if the  IT consultancy market hadn't gone tits up on me. As it was, I had to wait for 2 years and another major engine blow-up before replacement became feasible.

The latest incarnation of the flying brick. Faster flying, bigger brick.Come January 2003, I got some work (in the nick of time), and Sue (by now my fiance) ran off with her boss, leaving me surprised and single at one and the same time. By May it was obviously time to spend some money! But what on? I was interested in the new Pan, and also in the BMW R1150GS. Two years earlier I'd test-ridden an FJR1300 without being hugely impressed, but now, by accident, I got to test-ride the new BMW K1200GT. I say new, but it's just a K1200RS with more weather protection and loads of toys. I went out from Rydales in Cardiff on an R1150GS, with Geoff on a K1200GT since he happened to be with me, and then we swapped for the ride back. Spot on! Not necessarily the worlds most involving ride, but great weather protection,  all day comfort, and the chassis dynamics of what BMW regard as a sports bike. Truly a Grand Tourer. So I bought one, a snip at a mere £12,000 (ouch!). It came with an electric screen, heated grips & seat, ABS and servo-assisted brakes, plus the piece de resistance, cruise control. The net result? A bike that thrives on ploughing up and down motorways in 250 mile chunks in all weathers. I soon discovered that was all it was good for, sadly, but I can confirm that the K1200GT is a great motorway bike. I can also confirm that short test-rides on bikes that one is going to have to live with on long journeys are utterly pointless.

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Anyway, not content with blowing my wad on a BMW (instantly ageing me ten years), I also purchased a small laner in the form of a Honda XL250 degree, a little grey-import electric-start trail bike. Ever since I did the BMW Offroad Skills Course, |'ve had a hankering to hit the trail. Once I'd had the motor fettled (to fix the ham-fisted bodging of a previous owner - the cam timing was one tooth out), repaired the predations of my friend Rob (who lobbed it into the scenery and bent the bars) and fitted some decent knobblies (and a set of mousses), the little XL was turned into a decent laner, lacking only for a little ground clearance!   

 

 

My R1200GS parked up in a hot, smelly Spanish motorwat service area...The K1200GT, meanwhile, had singularly failed to excite me. In the hottest part of Summer 2003, the all-enveloping fairing mean that it was actually too hot to ride it on long motorway trips unless dressed in nothing but swimming trunks, and riding it was just no damn fun. After crucifying myself financially on the T595 when cashing it in after a year, I never intended to make the same mistake again. Sadly, I had no option - the GT simply wasn't the bike for me! Swapping out cost me about £4,500 (Eeeek!) in depreciation, frighteningly enough. Enough to have bought me several second hand bikes, in other words. And what do I have in exchange? An R1200GS. The GS was brilliant after the GT. There were two real downsides, and one potential one. The real downsides were the lack of weather protection especially in winter and the rather characterless and underwhelming engine, the potential downside was the complex servo-assisted powered braking system. I had three years and well over 20,000 miles on the GS before I parked it, including an epic pan-european tour and much of 18 months commuting to Hemel Hempstead from Carmarthen, heated vest cranked up on high. In the end, I still loved it despite the two real downsides, and it was the potential expensive nightmare of what would happen if the brakes packed in outside warranty that predisposed me to get rid.

 

Triumph Daytona 900Anyway, it was while I was blatting up and down motorways at 0-dark-30 in sub-zero-temperatures on an unfaired bike that I had a nasty E-bay accident and bought this old school Triumph Daytona 900 from a lovely old couple who were selling it because the lady had hip problems that precluded her riding pillion any longer. I bought it to park in the South East and use as local transport from my parent's home to my client site after driving down darkest Wales in a nice, warm Land-Rover (oh the shame... and oh the diesel bill!). It didn't work out quite the way I intended, with the Land-Rover going pop rather too often for comfort, hence two bikes in the picture on the left, but nevertheless it was a nice old bike to ride, and I realised what the old girl cost me when I sold it on to an old family friend who was getting back onto two wheels.

 

 

 

 

When the end came for the R1200GS it was sudden and unexpected. I popped into Vines of Guildford to pick up a wedding gift for a friend - a service voucher for his bike and a kit voucher for his new wife. While waiting for them to do the paperwork I idly enquired about the trade-in on my 3 year old GS, and mentioned my fears and issues. I was amazed to discover how miserly the depreciation was. I also mentioned how under whelmed (understatement of the decade) with the K1200GT I had previously owned. Without skipping a beat, the sales droid handed me the keys to their K1200S based K1200GT SE demonstrator and suggested I take it for a spin. Err... wow. Weather protection, heated everything, a switch to turn it from recliner-sofa comfortable to sports-bike scalpel sharp, HID headlights, no servo brakes, cruise control, 150bhp on tap, yada yada...

In no time flat I'd arranged to come back for another test ride, and then set about buying the (2007 model) demonstrator, getting a seriously good deal in the process. When I bought it it had an occasional habit when absolutely spanked into the power band in first gear of jumping out of gear, but I put that down to it being quite new and not any past abuse in its life as a demonstrator; short shifting into second when I wanted to open the taps all the way became second nature to the extent that the gearbox issue... wasn't. Unfortunately, by the time the bike had got to five years old, it had become a problem again, even when short shifting, so I went halves with BMW on a gearbox. This was...   frighteningly expensive.  But I considered it money well spent on the bike, being as it was in every other respect, utterly brilliant. See the video below for on-board evidence of how brilliant.

And then it all went tits up. At 35,500 miles, after a grim winter of riding, I stuck the bike into Chandlers of Brighton for a major service and to get it through an MoT, mentioning that the handling had gone off and the damping appeared absent.

The quote to service the bike and get it through the MoT? almost £6,000. £4,000 of that was parts! This is a problem when a bike is worth about £5,000 private sale...  the big problem, when I considered taking the bike round the corner to a bloke in a shed,  was that there were no pattern alternatives for the most expensive suspension parts. Including the shock absorbers. A Hagon pattern shock for the non-ESA variant of this bike costs £400, and is fully rebuildable. The BMW ESA rear shock, for which there is no pattern equivalent, is £1500 and non-rebuildable.

When the specialist breaker I tapped up for used shocks offered me £2,200  for the bike 'as is' to break for spares, I had no choice. From £13,000 bike to £2,200 pile of scrap in 7 years and 35,000 miles...   my next main bike won't be a BMW!

 

 

 

N152 Collada de Tosas (Part 1) from Ken Haylock on Vimeo.

The N152 is an awesome road between Andorra and Barcelona. Well, the mountain pass called the Collada de Tosas is, anyway. It has been superceded by a very efficient tunnel through the mountain range, and then south of the tunnel it becomes a dual carriageway. A very twisty dual carriageway but a dual carriageway nonetheless. A few years ago I took the tunnel from Andorra and then had fun thrashing a 1200GS flat out down the entirely empty crazy twisty dual carriageway at around midnight on a Sunday night. Seeing the road in daylight, err... eeep! Anyway, the Col itself is a thing of beauty. Watch and enjoy as I take the K1200GT SE over the pass. Note that I could be going a fair bit faster, but if you see the drops involved if it goes wrong you'll understand why I wasn't...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2003 Ken Haylock. All rights reserved.
Last Revised: May 30, 2013 .