Tuesday 3 March 2009


Picture added for The Dotterel

You may remember the enormous motorbike I bought earlier this year. It's big fast and orange. And made in Austria by KTM. Although one dear friend has renamed it the MLC. You may wish to work that out for yourself. Its 1000cc engine is a bit of a step up from the 125cc Vespa I've been riding around on for the last six or so years.

I like cars, and I like bikes, but I don't really know very much about them. What I do know is what I think of as the basics...you know, generally a car has it's engine at the front (although I do have one that's put the engine behind your head), a wheel at each corner and so on. Dashboards are fairly straightforward..big dial in the middle that tells you by how much you're breaking the speed limit, a needle that tells you how hot the engine is (why should I care about that) and another needle that lets you know if you'll be pushing your precious car to the garage.

I have occasionally ventured under the bonnet of my various cars...changing spark plugs on a Cortina who's engine bay was illuminated like Blackpool Pleasure Beach because one of them was cracked, filled up the radiator when an engine got thirsty and topping up the oil on an MG (errr well MG Metro anyway) which could barely reach the end of the road without needing another litre of the golden stuff. Imagine how it faired on regular trips to see my Scottish girlfriend when I was living in Coventry.

However, it seems that motorbikes may be a little different. The dashboard..sorry instrument panel is hi-tech digital. So I know precisely whether I'm doing 29 or 31 in the city. I was somewhat confused by the fuel guage...a series of bars, a bit like the bars on your mobile phone that tells you how strong the signal is. The strange thing is it obstinately stays somewhere between half and three quarters full. Even when the fuel warning light comes on. Once consulted, the manual revealed that this is not in fact the fuel guage, but is indeed the temperature guage. Which should stay somewhere in the middle.

I spotted that there's a translucent tank with minimum and maximum markings on. The water was slightly below the minimum mark. And as I know this is not the windscreen washer bottle, I thought I should top it up. It's attached to the radiator, so taking the cap off and pouring anti-freeze in seemed the right course to take. Wrong. The fluid just doesnt go down. I rang the garage, "Can I ask a stupid question?" "That's what we're here for" they say. Well OBVIOUSLY you have to unscrew and remove two side panels to get to the cap to refill the tank. And if you put water directly in the radiator you'll cause an airlock, my brother says. Doh!

The manual is not half as interesting as Che Guevara's diaries which I'm reading at the moment. And I've not even got to the bit about the chain yet. Perhaps I should have started with his motorcycles diaries, and not his exploits in Cuba...


  1. Do you have a photo of it as your screensaver on your phone or puter ?

  2. Oh never mind all that, what colour is it?

    PS: WV = unled!

  3. I seem to remember from the film of Motorcycle Diaries that Che's bike kept breaking down and he was fairly clueless about it!....so you might be in good company.


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