Group W 1

I tried to change the front brake fluid on my lil’Breva Christmas day whilst servicing it but couldn’t get the filler cap screws out.

Eventually a couple of weeks ago got the job done after spraying penetrating oil on them twice a day for a week and using an impact driver. I bought the driver in 1987 and this was the first time I can remember it doing the job it was purchased for though friends have successfully used it.

Pulled out the old fluid with a syringe and some screen washer pipe and then refilled it using the syringe to pull it through. Firm it up and then put some cloth around the banjo bolt and crack it open whilst pulling the brake lever to bleed out the air that can get trapped there and job done.

Or so I thought. Out riding it all was fine until the lever came half way back before biting firm. It did this a couple of times so I checked it all over. Ho hum, 2.9mm is a bit thin on the front disc, turns out wear limit is 3.5mm. Then a mate at a rally points out the lack of tread on my rear tyre, well on checking it had done 10,600 miles. He also mentioned cleaning the bike as a way of spotting these things but that ain’t going to happen.

Checked prices through Gutsibits (highly recommended). Brembo discs come in at £210.00 special order only and I have heard of problems with them from friends, EBC were £145.00 and recommended. When it came through I realised that Brembo haven’t changed the design of their discs, it’s just that most people in the Guzzi club are going over to EBC.

And that’s another first, in forty-five years of motorcycling I have never changed a disc before.

So that was ordered and Tony Botto (TB Motorcycles) tasked with supplying and fitting a new BT45 rear which he did Thursday evening round my place and helped with the front disc as well. Total to supply and fit at my place plus other help, £140.00. Top bloke.

So £300.00 later I have a new front disc and rear tyre and the bike feels 100% better.

Is this why the bike didn’t feel happy at autobahn speeds in Germany? Was it was trying to tell me something? Mechanical sympathy works both ways. They do say you won’t get the best out of your Guzzi till you get it talking to you. It was certainly happy coming back on the A41 mostly overtaking other vehicles and watching all those cars crawling along at 10 mph on the other side on the loose gravel I had traversed at 45-50 mph two days earlier.

Like many of you I have known people who buy bikes that were fine for their previous owner and never give their next owner any problems but are a constant pain in the arse for them. This happens bike after bike. I have seen the same in the army and with different operators on industrial machines where there have been no other changes. The most spectacular was when as Quality manager I gave two operators having a rough day a break. Both blow moulders ran without a problem for the next forty minutes, I caught up on all their paperwork and completely policed the area. An hour after they got back it was all going wrong again. They weren’t lazy or alakefic, I wouldn’t have given them the break if they were. The old hippies called it ‘vibes man’; it didn’t mean they were wrong.

But before that I was coming back from the Mayflower rally through Londoninium. Where did all those yellow robbers come from? It felt like there was one every hundred metres or so and what with finding my route in unfamiliar territory, avoiding the cars, pedestrians and Bradley Wiggins, if I didn’t get caught by one of them it will be a miracle. They ain’t no safety feature. I don’t mind them on the open road, you watch out for them and it is a fair sport but in a built up overcrowded environment like London it is stupid and dangerous. I hate motorways but it is the M25 for me in future. I cannot say I hated the experience, just the constant traffic lights and cameras. I know it is grossly unfair to compare London to Bonn, but I did and Bonn won on every count.

Ride Safe

An ancient Guzzisti

Ian Dunmore

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