Ready for touring.....

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Sigean
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:40 pm
Location: Devon UK

Ready for touring.....

Post by Sigean » Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:32 am

Hi,

Not sure if I have offered pictures of my MT350, but here are a few. I have had the bike for about 18 months and ridden it only about 1500 miles thus far, as it has been the subject of some renovation. Completey stripped and disassembled, checked over, parts replaced as necessary and the frame repainted, racks made to accommodate both hard and soft luggage, and now ready for a trip to southern France and beyond. Hoping to leave late July, returning mid or late September.

My 1500 miles have been mainly local around Devon where I live, and often ridden to check some modification to the bike, wear-in new tyres, etc. and all seems to be well. The bike has been returned to standard trim and the HD carburettor (replacing the Mikuni fitted as bought) now gives 60mpg (cf 45 from the "high performance" Mikuni - what a joke) and a replacement alternator stator seems to give a decent spark and first-kick starting. Nice to ride and comfortable, too, now the seat base has been re-inforced - my thanks to Laurence for his donation of a base more suited to repair than my own. Handles very well - readers might have seen the steering tube repair saga I reported a few months ago - but, as I already knew, the bike is a little heavy and unwieldiness around the campsites might be a problem with which I have to cope over the coming weeks. We shall see.....

But its carrying capacity cannot be bettered and I am still exploring the storage options the front and rear panniers present!

Image[url=https://postimg.cc/1V3qCGRr]Image
Image[url=https://postimg.cc/Z0bp5SPv]Image

The next project, already begun as a means to cope with the lockdown times, is a Suzuki DR350 and it will be interesting to compare the two bikes when this can be taken onto the road late this year or early 2021......

Kind regards,

Sigean
1 x
Sigean

MT350
CCM 404E
Honda XR400R
Suzuki DR350
Condor 350

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Laurence
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:43 pm
Location: Tunbridge Wells

Re: Ready for touring.....

Post by Laurence » Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:55 pm

I’m glad the seat base was of use, better it gets used than sits in the shed..

Bike looks good :)
0 x
..VFR 400..
..MT 350..
..Enfield Explorer..

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sparky
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:00 am
Location: lancashire

Re: Ready for touring.....

Post by sparky » Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:44 pm

Looks the part. Good luck with the touring. :D
Dave.
0 x
1960 AJS model 20
1960 Matchless 650 CSR
1985 Honda XBR500

Sigean
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:40 pm
Location: Devon UK

Re: Ready for touring.....

Post by Sigean » Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:42 am

Touring on the Hardly-Ableson last summer.....

I rode the bike to southern France for the summer of 2020. The Covid problems had relaxed and it was deemed safe to travel, so I booked "Le Shuttle" and headed for the Eurotunnel. The route down to the south was one I had travelled many times, aiming for Montmirail near Paris for my first night, then down to Issoire near Clermont Ferrand, finally crossing the Massif to stay with friends in Gaillac before riding to my own place near the coast. Delays with the train, and bad traffic when leaving the Shuttle terminal in France, delayed progress and I had to "wild camp" for my first night after less than 100 miles riding. I found a little copse off the beaten track and the green paintwork of the bike blended well with the surroundings, increasing my feelings of security. Waking early the following day I made good progress and the rest of the outward trip went as planned.

But France was dull. Covid had destroyed the mood and the little towns were empty and quiet, friends had stayed away, some bars and restaurants were closed and the place felt strange and remote. I stayed only a couple of weeks and when the Covid infection rate in the UK started to increase, and warnings of travel restrictions were mooted, I decided to wimp out and made a dash for Perfidious Albion before the Coronavirus restarted its campaign in la belle France. And in truth the weather had been too hot, and humid, and my workshop in Lympstone started looking more and more attractive. So I rode back up to Calais over 3 days, using les petites routes all the way. Had a good ride on the Hardly-Ableson, and enjoyed the trip, apart from the wet mornings and soggy tent-packing. And once back home in the UK I could get on with all the jobs yet to do, and perhaps make plans for a return to France later in the Autumn.

Of course, this second trip didn't happen. But my latest project, a renovation of a 1990s Suzuki DR350, did. Lovely bikes and highly regarded in their day, simple single cylinder engine, but, like all the bikes I seem to buy these days, not well maintained. I discovered the true state of the bike, bit by bit, as it came apart. Not in great shape and in need of much tlc, and it had suffered from much modification during its hard life. I returned it to (mostly) its original state, had the frame repainted, the engine to stripped and fettled. All these tasks kept me busy, and it now sits alongside the Hardly-Ableson in my garage awaiting its turn to tackle the southern France run! I hope to be able to ride it to France this coming summer. It's all ready and just waiting to go. And now with the new Lockdown I am looking for another project.

I have had the opportunity to ride the DR350 during the Autumn, and to compare it with the MT350. Two bikes with similar 4-valve engines and the same type of carburettors, but very different to ride. The DR 350 weighs 139kg with a full (long distance) tank, the MT350 without luggage weighs around 170kg full of fuel. The DR gives a lively and spirited ride and returns over 70mpg, the MT rides more sedately, accellerates more slowly and returns about 65mpg on a long run. For fun, I would choose the DR: for comfort and distance, the MT. It would be interesting to fit the DR engine into the MT, but this will never happen. On paper the engines' power outputs are very similar, but the MT's Rotax, as I have mentioned before, seems to hide about 30% of its potential power, whereas the Suzuki delivers all of its horses all the time. I wish I could explain the difference. The weight difference will be telling, but this is not the whole story, and the extra power available from the Suzuki would be welcome on the MT. If only...... See photos, contrast and compare!

https://postimg.cc/MXds1JNJ
https://postimg.cc/tYJB5mGZ
https://postimg.cc/ctBGB9p5
0 x
Sigean

MT350
CCM 404E
Honda XR400R
Suzuki DR350
Condor 350

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