XT660R Heaven

XT660R Heaven
Life on the road is fab...

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Honda CRF 250 & a revamped XT600 get a soggy day out

Hi All

Picture this, a month of guiding work in the Himalayas, a very long flight from Kathmandu to Heathrow, 24 hours visiting family, then a 4 hour drive to my place up north... open the door to the house, see my mate Gaz, who says, Beer? oh & do you fancy a bike ride tomorrow, I've just done some mods to the XT & my mate Rog is up on his brand new CRF250, he's not even got it muddy really yet???

Gaz's revamped XT600
Rog on the CRF 250
Of course that was that sorted.. so we met up at 10.30, headed to Keswick in the rain, followed the St John's lane into the Coach Road, then onto the Little Mell Fell lane. The Coach Road was really busy today, a few stern looking older walker types who refused to acknowledge our hello's, a really happy chappie in a big red 4x4 & a bunch of scientists on a project day, looking very wet & miserable with lots of tripods, trucks & tents...

The CRF was now looking muddy & a little less shiny, Rog had stalled it a couple of times on the uphill start of the coach road, but as he got used to the throttle, the balance, riding offroad etc, he settled down for some fun... a long history of mountain biking helped too, choosing lines & of course body position... after these three lanes we headed to Rheged for a coffee & of course a good ole gossip about all things two wheeled.

Rog had bought the CRF about a month before, he'd ridden on a couple of short lanes in the Cotswolds & was a beginner at the whole green laning scene, but was learning fast, cleaning some of the lanes just like we were all on mountain bikes instead of heavier engine powered beasts... After coffee we headed upto Hartside for a play in the lanes over in the Eden Valley, we missed out the first part of the downhill from the cafe & just did the rockier section which was quite tricky in the rain, no spills & a few big grins saw us down at the farm, where a really friendly farmer held the gate open for us as we approached & saw us off with a wave... happy days...

I took the guys on a couple of the other trails around here, even managing to look at a couple of new lanes which I'd spotted before, still plenty more to look at though, it's such a great laning area on this side of the M6 & really quiet too... Gaz decided to help me out with a choice of line, unfortunately his pointing & gesticulating was misinterpreted by me... I thought he was saying this way... but he was actually saying... avoid this!! I dropped into a big rut & bounced to an instant stop wincing a lot as my crotch bounced off the tank leaving me doubled up & gasping... not sure whether to say thanks for the help or 'oh f%*k that hurt'

Gaz was well happy with the mods he'd done on to his old XT, there is quite a bit but here goes, he's changed the fuel tank to a 5 litre version from an old YZ 400 (1976), then rebuilt the seat so it fits better, The exhaust has been replaced with one he had in the garage, this was missing a section though so he got a local guy to fabricate the missing bit, it looks pretty cool, sounds even better though.

He's also re-routed the cables on the front as the clocks have been changed for a modern electronic set with a rev counter called a Trail Tech dash, it's got a clock & all, this removed the need for the speedo cable as it is wired direct to the spark plug & senses the electrical pulses from the spark plug to tell you your revs... clever bit of kit for £140.

The whole thing still has some glitches, the rear light stopped working as it was earthing to the frame, randomly the headlights came on & off even without the switch being on, the kick start wasn't quite so good, basically it needed quite a few kicks to get it going & the choke cable was stuck on for awhile & it was using loads of fuel as a result... still it is a work in progress & knowing Gaz it'll be pristine & all sprayed up in a great colour scheme soon enough.

So the day ended with a ride over the Caldbeck fells in progressively heavier rain, I managed to avoid the worst of it luckily but Rog & Gaz got soaked on their last few miles to Gaz's place, wet through to their undies apparently...oops...

Next for me is to service my XT, fit the engine bars, collect Geoff's bike & drop them off to Portsmouth to the shipping company offices ready for the bikes to head to the States. That'll be done early next week & now it's countdown to us flying to the States to collect them... yee haw almost time to start having fun!!