Ep 5: Replacing steering head bearings

It’s a key area of wear and tear on a bike, and especially a big trailie – so replacing the steering head bearings is one of the essential jobs you’ll have to come to grips with on a long trip, or just as a long-term owner. Continue reading

Ep 4: Wires, shocks and smoke

An overview of a bike’s wiring harness, or wiring loom. This spaghetti-like confusion of wires and plugs is the backbone of the electrical system – and after a ride across a partly flooded South American salt lake, the KTM’s needed replacing. Pete gives a brief rundown on rear suspension compression, rebound and preload settings, and how the shock and spring are a single unit but do different jobs. Continue reading

Ep 3: Sand, heat and nipples

In this episode, we dismantle a front wheel, removing the brake discs, spokes and nipples – and Trent brings out the blowtorch to free up some sticky bolts. Pete builds a sandblasting cabinet, mostly out of junk, and continues work on his KTM 950, while Rich is getting close to his BMW being back on the road. Continue reading

Monster: Bike of the decade?

The previous decade, I mean …

Got together with Pete, Trent and Richard last night, and Pete had the latest issue of Motorcycle News featuring Ducati’s reinvention of the Monster, the 696 (you’ve got to check out this Ducati promo, it’s a giggle).

Riding to work the same morning, I had been thinking of how, for me, the Monster would have to be the bike of the 1990s.

I remember when my mate Dave bought his. It was the year 1997, I think. I had a Cagiva Elefant 900 back then, and riding a bike with the 750 Ducati engine was a revelation.

The pig-headed, snatchy, lumpy low-end, dry-clutched 900 engine is fun in its way, once you get used to it. Dave’s Monster was fun right from the word go – a willing engine that pulled right off the line and a really flickable frame. My arms were splayed out to grip the bars, and my grin was almost as wide. The all-round nicer engine is the reason I have the 750 version of the Elefant these days. Continue reading

Ep 2: Beads and bearings

In this episode: Pete dismantles the rear end of his KTM 950, which he rode through a salt lake in South America; while Trent sets to work cleaning and greasing an all-too-neglected part of any bike: the swingarm bearings. Continue reading