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04.09.2018 After testing that electrical assist will (just) get you the ~220 height-meters up to our house in Costrarainera on two rental bikes, we bought an electric bike for Bibi. She wanted a classical step-through design, so after looking at options we decided on an Italian made Cobran Retrò. 250w electric motor is the legal max limit, and 6 speed Shimano is standard in the "affordable" segment, but besides the design, this bike stood out for it's large 13,5Ah 36volt Li-ion battery (most have 8-10Ah)

02.04.2017 It's difficult to get around in Liguria by car in the summertime, so we have done like the locals and bought a scooter. We got a 2016 Piaggio Beverly 350 ABS, because it was the best compromise for our requirements, and found a 2nd hand with just 4.750km, which saved us more than €1.500 over list price. On Friday I rode it all the way to Costarainera, avoiding the boring motorway

31.01.2017 After two years almost to the date, it was finally time to take all our stuff out of storage. For me it was a big day, because I got to see my four classic motorbikes again. But it was also nice to get all our garden tools, furniture and ornaments, not to mention all the other tools and parts that I had decided I could not part with when we left the UK. It is going to take a few weekends to get it all sotred out though.

10.07.2016 I always wanted to go over Col Agnel because I've never been and it's the closest you can get to Monte Viso, which you can see from our house. On the way I passed Castello di Racconigi and was surprised to see close to 20 storks on the roof. I then went over Colle dell'Izoard, where I've been before (but never in 21°). Col du Galibier was closed for a bicycle race (sigh), so I had to detour almost up to Grenoble, which took me down new roads and past the beautiful Lac de Grand Maison.

16.05.2016 While Bibi visited Alma in Mallorca I went on a motorcycle trip: down to our house in Costarainera, across to France and up part of the Route de Grand Alpes from Menton to Briançon, and from there over Sestriere home to Torino. With an overnight stay in Valberg the 650km roundtrip was enough for a weekend in the saddle. Note how many different colors of rock there are in the pictures!

13.06.2015 Nu da årets Herretur er forbi kan jeg endelig afsløre at jeg i marts 2015 har købt en spritny Triumph Explorer 1200 XC SE. Lars German insisterede på at jeg holdt det hemmeligt, så jeg kunne være "Årets Ubehagelige Overraskelse". Jeg er rigtigt glad for Triumph'en og har allerede kørt 4.000km bl.a. på weekendtur til bjergene nord for Garda (da Bibi var i Danmark) og til MotoGP på Mugello (med Bibi bag på)

BSA

1967 BSA A65L Lightning - More pictures

I bought my 1967 BSA A65L Lightning from a Danish enthusiast called Vagn Jensen back in September 1995. Since then Vagn have gone on to become the importer of Triumph motorcycles in Denmark (www.vagn-jensen.dk) and have build a large business, but back then he imported and sold English motorcycles out of his garage at home.

My A65L was imported from USA and was in operational - but far from perfect - condition, but my intention was to fully restore it. I took the bike apart in the winter 95/96 and started the restoration. Unfortunately progress was slower than I had expected. First I build a workshop inside my nice 56 m² garage to have a decent place to work. Then in January 1997 I bought a Honda CBR600 and then I had no time or money to work on the BSA.

So the restoration made very slow progress from year to year. One winter I got the frame, swing arm etc. painted. The next year I send the engine to SRM (www.srm-engineering.com) in the UK for a complete restoration, but overall progress was slow to say the least. My friend Lars kept making fun of me for not finishing the project, and my colleagues at work had little faith in me every putting the bike back together.

Then in the winter of 2004, I realized that come 2005 it would be 10 years since I bought and stripped the bike, and since I had some money left from re-mortgaging my house, I decided to finish the BSA. To be fair I enlisted the help of Vagn Jensen, since I still don't have much time and frankly wasn't sure I could even remember how the assemble many of the parts.

The bike was finally finished in January 2005 and passed it's MOT without remarks. I'm very pleased with the final result. The bike looks just as good as I always knew it would, and it sounds even better than I could remember. It's almost in standard condition with a few invisible modifications: SRM Needle-roller bearing conversion, dynamically balanced crank, hardened steel exhaust valve seats (for unleaded petrol) and electronic ignition.

Unfortunately the (Japanese) chain broke when I released the clutch for the first time, smashed into the engine case, and broke off a bolt that tensions the gear shafts! First ride was a total of 5 cm long! The engine had to be removed from the bike, taken part, welded, reassembled and put back in the bike again.

I have now had the pleasure of the BSA for a couple of years, in which I have taken the total mileage up to around 2,500 miles. Overall, it has been a joy and my trust in the machine has grown so much that I now go anywhere without fear of the bike breaking down. However, there have been some minor problems. The first season the speedometer under- read by 40%, which made me think I was going very slowly until I realized that the speedo was incorrect, and I was in fact going faster than intended!

In the second season, I was stranded twice by malfunctioning spark plugs. Changing the spark plugs cured the problem. Besides that, I have only had minor issues like blown light bulbs, bolts vibrating loose, licence plate cracked from vibrations etc. - things you come to expect when riding a classic English motorcycle.

28.04.2013 BSA'en er nu blevet forsikret, synet, indregistereret, og udstyret med en tax-disc og en alders-relateret nummerplade, så i dag var jeg ude på den første (officielle) køretur siden vi flyttede til England. BSA'en har kun kørt lige godt 2.000 miles siden restaureringen i 2005.
The BSA has now been MOT'ed and registered on an age-related plate, so today I took it out on the first (official) ride since we moved to the UK. The bike hase done just over 2,000 miles since I restored it in 2005

Royal Enfield

1955 Royal Enfield 500 Twin - More pictures

I bought my 1955 Royal Enfield 500 Twin from a guy at an autojumble in Fredericia, Denmark in February 2007. It is an original British Royal Enfield made in Redditch, UK not one of the "new" Royal Enfield's made in India. The 500 Twin was introduced in 1949 and remained in production until 1957, but was never as popular as the 350/500 Bullet models (which are still made in India today), or the later and more powerful 700 Constellation and Interceptor models. The 500cc engine produces 25 bhp at 5,250 rpm, which is about the same as a "modern" Royal Enfield today! The bike weighs 185 kg and has a top speed of 85 mph.

There is a 1951 Royal Enfield 500 Twin on exhibit at the National Motorcycle Museum. The sign on the bike reads:

In 1949 Royal Enfield joined the parallel twin trend set by Triumph's 1938 Speed Twin. The Redditch factory's two-cylinder offering, simply called the 500 Twin, has several features that set it apart from its contemporaries. On is the frame with swinging arm rear suspension, first used by Enfield on 1948 factory trials singles and only adopted by BSA, Norton and Triumph several years later. The engine differed from British twins already launched in having aluminium cylinder heads, which, along with the iron cylinder barrels, are discrete castings. The one-piece crankshaft is of resilient iron alloy and the chain-driven camshafts can be changed without dismantling the crankcase. Another accessibility bonus for riders doing their own maintenance is the simple single bolt fixing for the alloy primary drive cover. Engine oil is stored in a crankcase compartment rather than a remote tank and, as usual for Enfield, the Albion gearbox carries a small second lever for instantly selecting neutral at standstill.

My bike, with frame number 4209, had allegedly been "fully restored" over a number of years buy an older gentleman who had gone blind (maybe that's why it's a non-standard color, he-he), and sold the bike to the guy I bought it from. The seller had only little knowledge of the bike, but I found it in such a nice condition that I had to have it, and since his price seemed fair at €5,000 a deal was made. The odometer reads just short of 18,000 miles - but there is no way of knowing if this is accurate. You can tell mine is 1955 model as it has a dual seat, die-cast cylinder heads, external oil feed to rockers, oval air-filter box magdyno and double-sided front brake.

The Royal Enfield 500 Twin has been with me for a good couple of years now, and it's really grown on me. I love this little machine, it so easy to live with, starts with very little effort (a child could kick it over), runs nicely and is (just) powerful enough for modern traffic. I'm so pleased with the bike I ended up using it for my 45min commute to work in Denmark for several weeks during the summer of 2008. A number of small issues have come up, and now we have moved to the UK and the bike will need a MOT and UK registration, I've decided to sort them out. The front suspension had a hard time keeping the front wheel on the road, and balancing the wheel had made little difference, so I took the wheel to Central Wheel Components, who is now only half an hour away, and they trued it for me (cost £16). The previous owner fitted three 2 volt batteries in series to provide 6 volt for the bike. These non-standard batteries were not powerful enough, and even though the bike will run with a flat battery, the lights don't work, so I replaced the battery with a new original unit from Hitchcock Motorcycles (£46). The speedo was always a bit erratic in operation and ceased working completely towards the end of the 2008 season. I had local man John Heywood (heywood@airengcons.freeserve.co.uk) repair and overhaul the speedo as it is an original Smiths instrument (cost £50). To be fair it could probably do with a new carburettor, but Amal 276 pre-Monoblocks are hard to find these days (and £290 new!), so that will have to wait.

Norton

1974 Norton Commando 850 Roadster MKIIa - More pictures

The 1974 Norton Commando 850 Roadster MKIIa is the latest bike in my collection. I bought it in July 2007 over the Internet … unseen. You really shouldn't do that, but I liked the bike from the photos and I bought it from Carl Rossner, Triumph a reputable dealership in south London.

I always wanted a Commando and this in my opinion is the best of Commando's. It's a Roadster so it has the small fuel tank (Interstate has big fuel tank). It's a late model 850 so it benefits from the development work done without being too modern (i.e. no electric start or left side gear pedal, like on the MKIII). Best of all its Candy Apple Red (not Black like most Commandos).

The bike seems very original as it still has the standard disc and calliper - which most people replace with something more powerful. The standard intake air silencer kit is also fitted, which is quite rare. The only noticeable modifications are Lucas Rita electronic ignition and peashooter exhausts. The last owner had the bike for almost 20 years so I hope he took good care of it.

I picked the bike up from Carl Rosner on August 13th 2007 and took it for a business trip around the UK before returning to Denmark by ferry later in the week. The 500 km trip went very well and the bike rode nicely. It's quite powerful and you can really feel the torque from the 828 cc engine. It's really hard to kick-start as the compression ratio is quite high, as since it doesn't idle that well I had a few sweaty moments at intersections where the engine cut out and I needed to kick it over.

The dealership had promised to look the bike over and they had given it a new battery, but the indicators didn't work, the bar end mirror was swivelling loose and gear shift pedal had excessive play - but hey what did you expect?

I'm really pleased with the bike. It's un-restored and in no way concurs, but it's in nice original condition. The aluminium is a little dull, but that will polish right up and there is some corrosion on the wheel rims, but British chrome was rather thick so that may polish out as well. The suspension is knackered, the rear shock absorbers need replacement and the front needs new fork seal (they leak all over) and an oil change.

11.10.2013 Jeg er startet på istandsættelsen af min Norton. Det har aldrig været meningen at cyklen skulle renoveres. Efter 40 år har den en rigitg dejlig patina, som det ville være synd at spolere. Men forgaflen lækker olie og skal renoveres og jeg vil også købe nogle hårdt tiltrængte nye bagstøddæmpere og andre "smådele". Chromen på mine fæge er rustet igennem og jeg får Central Whell Components til at erstatte dem - men mine dæk og rustfrie eger kan genbruges.

07.12.2013 Næsten alle delene til Norton'en er nu klar, så jeg forhåbentlig kan samle den i juleferien. Central Wheel har monteret nye chrome-fælge og poleret navene. Bagpå er to nye støddæmpere fra Hagon klar og foran har jeg opgraderet til et dæmperkit fra Lansdowne Engineering. Fodhvilere, gearskifter og bremsepedal er blevet om-forchromet og forgaflerne og instrumethusene er blevet poleret.

02.02.2014 Norton'en er igen køreklar efter en opfriskning. Jeg vil ikke renovere cyklen, for det ville være synd at ødelægge dens smukke klassiske tilstand, men den skal selvfølgelig være sikker og komfortabel at køre på. De to ting der skulle laves var affjedringen for og bag, samt udskiftining af de rustangrebne fælge.

The Norton is once again roadworthy after a refresh. I don't want to renovate the bike and loose it's beautiful classic look and feel, but it obviously needs to be safe and comfortable to ride. The two things requiring attention were suspension front and back and the rusty wheels.

Here is a little bonus video of the Norton