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I was in this café. The bloke from next door parked a van and trailer outside with a big enduro in it. Looked like a big Honda XL to me. He said he had just MOT tested it. Something it needs to go on the roads here in England UK. I thought that I would like a bike like that. He said what he wanted for it. Too much. Couldn’t get it. I had been waiting for one for about 15 years.

 

Expert rider me. Mainly on / off roaders. So good that they all thought I would kill myself before I got to 20. As it happened, I got into cars and got worse. Somehow I survived and got to 50. No Idea how.

 

A few years later, I heard the man next door might be selling stuff. I had a bit of a windfall. Didn’t think he would still have it, but…

 

“Yea. I'm selling up. Honda? Nope never had one. I've got a Suzuki offroader though. Nope I haven’t ridden it for at least 8 years and I don’t know when it was last MOTd. I didn’t have it in a trailer. Nope. I do not want to sell it.”

 

Balls. No Idea what just happened, but I'm pretty sure I'm still bikeless.

 

30 minutes later… “I've thought about it. I do need to sell the Suzuki. Do you want to come look at it? It’s a DR 600.”

 

Of course I want to come see it. I hung up. Er…Whats a DR? Vaguely remember seeing a plastic tanked yellow 125 possibly in the early 80’s that might have been a DR. It was a four stroke. I think.

 

Checked with the all seeing almanac of all things with a price. Ebay didn’t have any. I'm going to look at and possibly buy a bike I have absolutely no knowledge of. What could possibly go wrong?

 

Nice brick car garage. Bike leaned on bench. It was mainly white like I remembered, but it was also blue. Tyres flat. Battery dead. No electric start? On a 600? Er…Should I run away? He gets on it. Primes it. Kicks it. It started! Pulled the front brake and clutched it, clicked it into gear. Clunk It stalled and wouldn’t restart.

 

Do you ever get that feeling when you run your hand across a bikes seat that it should be yours?

 

Flat tyres, no Electric start, front brake jammed on, clutch plates seized, dead battery, 42,188 km on the clock, wont restart. Clock runs in Kilometers and this country is all in miles. That’s what I could see wrong in my 5 minute inspection. I made him an offer for it – hoping it was enough and also wasn’t too much, and for him to deliver it as he still had the van. Couldn’t believe it when he said yes.

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I pumped the tyres before we moved it. Looks like they are staying up. Had to carry it to and into the van. He brought it home.

Er…. No Idea what to do next. Phoned my mate. He's brilliant with bikes. Told him what I had brought. He was rude. He doesn’t like off roaders. Was delighted when he offered to fix it. Jumped at the offer. We borrowed his mates trailer and dropped it off, sort of feeling it wouldn’t go again and he would scrap it.

 

“I plugged another brake lever to the wheel end of the brake pipe and pumped the blockage out of the master cylinder, reconnected it, bled it, its fine. Tyres are fine, not perished. Drained the tank and carb, fitted new plug, new oil filter, new oil, new fuel. Clutch is still seized. Bang it a few times and it should free off. Havent started it as its too tall for me. Come over and get it running.”

 

He's 6ft 6. I'm 5ft 6. My legs are ridiculously short. He cant reach the ground on it? Now I'm really worried. Watched some You Tube vids of how much of a pig it is to start. Ok. Ramp that up to frightened.

 

Went over anyway. Managed to get on it by standing on a beer bottle crate. Primed it. Kicked it. Nothing. Primed it. Kicked it. Nothing. Primed it. Kicked it. It started! Not quite ticking over, but its running! Shocked!

 

Took it home on the trailer. Needs MOTing, clutch sorting out and the whole bike needs shortening. Er… We are winning! Need to remember that.

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Now I've got a chance to sort of look at it… Its huge. Too huge. I'm pretty sure I wont be able to ride it. My toes are at least 2 inches clear of the floor, and I really need to be able to get my foot down when riding in town.

 

Ebay still hasn’t got any DR600’s, but they have got a good seat off one. I buy it. It arrives in a couple of days.

 

I'm spending time each day priming and kicking it from the beer crates. There seems to be an art in starting this thing. Took me about 3 weeks to sort of get it.

 

New seat arrives, so I'm not damaging the original… Did this.

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Found a place that would recover it. Sent it off. Came back lovely and not really looking butchered to the untrained eye. Happy with that. I can get my toes on the ground! Not really wonderful, but I should be able to ride it.

 

My kids are in their 20’s. Got them to push me up and down the road a few times trying to bump start it so I could hammer the clutch free. Ha Ha. Not a hope. Then the clutch just freed!

 

OHSHITOHSHITOHSHIT!!!…Moment of truth. Stood on the small wall outside so I could reach, and kicked it. Its running. Clunked it into first….

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Slipped the clutch…Drove it down the road, then drove it back up.

 

Jammed my knees together so no one would notice how bad I was shaking, but I had done it! I had ridden it!

 

My mate needed one of his bikes MOTd, so we took both. It passed! In the next few hours, taxed and insured. Its now street legal. Also got roadside recovery so they will fix it or bring it home if it dies or gets forcibly shortened.

 

I can now get on it and drive it anywhere I want.

 

Except….

 

I'm bloody terrified of it. I've just sort of remembered that I've not ridden for about 20 years…I know you never forget…But I sort of had. I used to be 200 odd pounds. Now I am 280+. I don’t feel the same. And its too big – even with the seat trimmed. I'm not confident that I can start it without something to stand on, which isn’t exactly filling me with confidence.

 

So, I aimed it at my sisters place 25 miles away, kickstarted it from the wall, and rode off. It wont tick over. I'm making silly mistakes. Fear? Forgetfulness? Senility? Dunno. Reving through a gear then changing down instead of up. Wobbling, not rolling the throttle off, not remembering to use both brakes. My fingers arnt used to hanging on to this thing. They are numb and aching. Trying to stop at junctions on uneven road without dropping it. Its too heavy when you are on tip toes. Made it! Nosed in outside her house. Actually turned the engine off without it stalling.

 

Not admitting that I was shaking that bad I chipped a tooth trying to drink tea. Ended up wearing most of it anyhow.

 

Took a couple of hours for me to settle down a bit.

 

Then I had to ride it home. If I could have avoided doing so, I probably wouldn’t have ever ridden it again.

 

Still…Shes got a wall… Eventually it started. Doesn’t seem to like starting when warm….As well as when its cold. Carefully rode it back.

 

Drove it down my drive then realised I couldn’t get off it without dropping it. Sat there feeling terrified and stupid at the same time. I tooted the horn until the kids came out. When they finished laughing, they rescued me. Pigging kids.

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Didn’t want to ride it again. Slept on it. Worked out that, with care I could ride it. I had just done so. With practice I would learn how to start it easily. With more practice I would learn how to ride it. If I was prepared to work at it, this bike could be mine.

 

Not sure if I'm chronically brave or just stupid. I feel I'm leaning towards the chronically stupid end of the scale.

 

Ok. I'm going to do this or probably die trying.

 

I decided to start it every hour throughout each day until I got it so it was easy. It kicked back, it refused to start, it backfired, but it would go eventually. Every hour…

I've got a back problem. Kicking this thing…Sometimes, I thought I would have to give up. Eventually, it would go each time I kicked it. Bruises from it kicking back? Rainbow colours. My foot and leg. Actually struggling to hobble.

 

I started again, without the crate. It took about a month. I don’t think it liked me very much, but it would now go when I told it.

 

Headed for my sisters again. Still struggling with the muscle memory of riding, but its getting better and I'm not so frightened. I managed to drink the tea without damaging any more teeth. I pushed it a bit harder on the way back. The kids had to rescue me on the drive when I got back again, but this time I got off a bit easier.

 

Rode to my sisters every couple of days for a few months. I'm not riding anywhere else as I don’t know if I will get help if I get stuck. I'm also not sure if I can pick it up. Apparently, its 140kg. 6 bags of cement. Not sure if my back would take it. Years ago, yes…..Now? No Idea.

 

Got home one day. Stopped on the drive. Put the stand down, stepped off and the bike threw itself on the floor. Called the kids. They picked it up. Astonished. Discovered the stand had pinged off. Its held on with a 6mm bit of frame.

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Found some 6mm angle iron in the garden. Cut a piece out of it and filed it till it fitted. Rang a welder and told him to rescue me when I arrived, used the wall outside to get on, then rode there he held it while I got off and then he mig welded it and put it back together. Told me to paint it and I rode it home fixed. I greased it instead.

 

My riding is getting better. I'm not messing up gear changes any more. My braking is getting smoother, and I'm not getting in a panic at the sight of a junction or roundabout. Slow riding is another matter. I'm also still getting numb fingers. My fingers are just aching from rheumatism now, not overload. My lid is not much use. Need another.

 

I found some anti numb gloves on Ebay. I'm pretty sure the bike just laughed.

 

Slow riding…Found a car park and started practicing figure eights on tarmac. Nerve wracking to start with, but after a few weeks…Improving. Discovered a vid on counter balancing in tight turns.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qJXO4CZ9S0

Took me a while….Suddenly discovered I could pick the bike up. Pigging hurt, but I could do it.

 

So…There I was watching the sun go down at the waters edge. I realised I could ride the bike. I could get it to do what I wanted – most of the time. It was now my bike.

 

Oh wow.

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Found some local bikers and rode with them a couple of times. Discovered that I was not quite as fast as the 125’s. Needed to practice my road skills some more.

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Started to learn how to drive on gravel tracks. Not fast, and very carefully.

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I've had the bike for a year. I got it serviced. Discovered it uses 2 spark plugs, not one. Destroyed one of the spark plug caps and had to replace it. Changed oil and filter. Needed some bulbs and it blew a fuse. The tyres were worn out, so I replaced them, with the front pads. Had a problem with the pads so got a local mechanic to fit them properly. He didn’t like the state of the calliper and fitted a stainless piston and seal kit. It is burning some oil and leaking a bit from the rocker box. Speedo cable broke and was replaced. MOTd it again at 46,800km.

 

I live in South coast of the UK. Near that island at the bottom on the map. Decided to go visit a castle in Wales. That lump in the middle on the left of the UK. 150 miles each way. Doesn’t sound much, but it really beat me up. But I did it! I'm getting better.

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a bit logorrheic thread to be read all, but in short:

- they were difficult to kick start even from new back in 86' or so. Am old enough to remember owners breaking a sweat at bike meets when trying to start them and everybody having a laugh....

- because of the difficulty in starting and bike height, people would kick while bike was on the stand, eventually breaking the mounting ear like yours.

- they can be lowered with a rear "lowering kit" (DIY it if you cant find one) and omitting the spacers in the fork / shorter springs. Carving the seat will only help little

- sounds like the wrong bike for you, dont ride something you cant pick up after a fall.

- big singles are also notorious vibrators, will not help your arthritis.

- So sell it and buy a DR350SE, much lighter, smoother, electric start and very easy to lower. bought one for my girlfriend who is 1.70m tall and after lowering she loves it.

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My kid just wandered in. “Daaad”…. Always worries me when they sound like that. “Daaaad….You know I'm starting University in a couple of months….Well….I've decided I would be able to get there a lot easier if I go buy a motorcycle…”

 

OHSHITOHSHITOHSHIT!

 

I know 10 who have been maimed or died on bikes. I ride because it sings in my blood. I've always been aware of the risks and accepted them. Not worried if they want to mess about off road on bikes at the weekend….But one of my kids…Commuting? Best way for them to become a casualty and if I lose one…

 

I commuted by bike as a kid. Still have the scars. The kids know this. Do I have the power to stop him? Probably. Is it just? Can I deny him that feeling you get when you ride? Not sure what riding is like in the rest of the world, but here, car drivers hate everyone and will drive at you.

 

Balls.

 

Ok. Let him do the training, Here you have to take a CBT test Compulsory Basic Training Test, before you are allowed on the road. He's also got to finance and find a bike. Trust in Fate.

 

So….

 

Let him practice off road with my DR 600 doing the basics. Pulling away, signalling, figure eights, hopefully, trying to start mine and cope with its weight…

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Nope. Being well over 6ft with legs right up to his neck reaching the ground was no problem…

 

He flew through basic training and passed easily.

 

He's still got to save the money…

 

Sudden windfall later…

 

“Daaad….? Can you give me a lift 88 miles up the road to go get a bike I've just bought please?

 

So theres me being followed back across a couple of counties by my kid riding a Yamaha YBR 125.

 

I suddenly want to go see Fate and give it a good kicking.

 

My kid missed his line and ran into a roundabout. No damage, but frightened the life out of me.

 

Why do I think I can hear Fate laughing.

 

Ok. Deeeep breath…

 

I will ride with him for a while. Teach him how to stay alive – if I can keep the DR running and don’t fall off it..

 

I loosened my stantion bolts and slid them an inch up through my yokes to lower the front a bit more. Its made it a little better. Not much, just a little.

 

Rode to the smugglers pub and wandered on the beach with him.

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Rode out to Sammy Millers bike museum and explained to him what each bike was for and how they developed. Fitted mitts to my bars to try to stop my fingers going numb. It’s a bit better, so although they look ridiculous, they are staying on.

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Mine is pouring petrol out of its carb overflow. New gasket time. Didn’t fit, so I put a pipe on the overflow stub and it stopped leaking. No Idea Why.

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Cake runs to cafes. Hes getting better. Starting to feel a bit more confident about this. Not sure how we ended up in Wincanton.

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Phone call….”Daaad! A car pulled out in front of me in my braking zone and then slammed on the brakes. I yanked on my brakes. The front went out and I heaped it!”

 

Ok…Ok…He's still breathing… You bleeding? Grazed palm – torn glove, sore knee. Cracked front mudguard. Did you hit the car? No. Will the bike run? Dunno. Try it. Yes.

 

Wait half an hour, then drive back.

 

That’s too close.

 

Need to work out what happened and fix him.

 

He's never done an emergency stop. Doesn’t know about wet roads – just after it starts raining, doesn’t know how to control a skid – either end…  

 

I thought this was dealt with at CBT. I need to get this done.

 

Back to the car park. Its raining.

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Figure eights…20 mph, lock up the rear and slide…30 mph, lock up the rear and slide..

20 mph lock up the front, let go and reapply…30 mph, lock up the front, let go and reapply..

Practise rolling on the brakes.

20 mph, leaning into corner, lock up the rear, let go and stay on..

Look at cornering forces on and off throttle and brakes and how they affect the bike..

 

He's looking less scared, and maybe knows a bit more. Maybe.

 

My headlight blew. Think the DR is getting bored with this.

 

New bulb..It blew that one too…And the tail light…and the dial lights..

 

Multimeter…24volts…Er..?

 

New rectifier? That thing cuts the charging systems output to 12 volts. Ish.

 

Er…A new rectifier for that model is more than I paid for the bike!

 

Suzi GSX600 Rectifier is almost the same. Not sure if it will work, but beggars ..

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Wiring is completely different. Couldn’t get a plug that would fit. Eventually I bodged it. New set of bulbs, and the battery had blown up and was sort of round. Had a hell of a job getting it out. Fitted a new one.

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