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Thread: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

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    Default There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)


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    Last Wednesday I went to Le Mans on the Guzzi Le Mans.

    I'd spent the previous weekend setting the points, tappets and balancing the carbs so was fairly confident the bike was running the best it had. Unfortunately the seat pad I was borrowing from Asmethurst got lost in the post so I was going to have to tough that one out.

    Setting off at 5:50 to catch the 8:50 eurotunnel, the bike didn't want to start, repeated thumbing got it running on one cylinder enough to get me running and hopefully would clear after a bit. After a mile though it hadn't so I turned round and headed home.

    Feeling the cylinder heads the right pot was cold, grabbed a plug socket from the garage and whipped the plug out which was wet. Held it to the cylinder head and there was no spark, but it fired up on the left pot. Removed the spark plugged from contact with the cylinder head and immediately got a shock through my thumb, aha powers getting to the plug then Gave it a clean with a bronze brush and managed to get a spark at the plug. I guess it had oiled up a bit when I was setting the carbs up and running on tickover for ages.

    Set off again at about 6:10 bike starting and running fine.

    A12 -M25- M20 bike running fine cruising at about 70-80. I'd stuck one of those throttle wrist rest on to try and help with the heavy Guzzi throttles, waste of time. made using the brake a problem and the ridge caused by the bit wrapped around the bar dug into my palm. That was removed when i stopped to fill up just before the tunnel. Managed to get an earlier train that was loading just as I arrived.

    Into France and head towards a Chambre de hotes south east of Evreux via the backroads avoiding tolls. Managed a couple of hours riding before the rain came. Arrived at 16:00 unfortunately I couldn't check in till 18:00. I was soaked. My Daytona boots had leaked for the first time in 12 years and my Gortex A* gloves had also let water in. Went to the nearest town/hypermarket and brought a small bottle of red wine and a sausage roll for tea.

    The owners turned up just after 6 and I got my bike into the garage below the house and my jacket and gloves drying by the log burner. Ate my sausage roll and drank my wine with the family at the dining table along with a bit of bread and cheese. Went to bed about 20:00 and worked out my fuel consumption (I took a picture of the pump reading and my speedo, no trip) and was asleep by 21:00.
    Wednesday.jpg

    Tomorrow Le Mans.
    Last edited by GuzziPaul; 14-06-19 at 12:06. Reason: Added route

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Thursday, off to Le Mans.

    The owners left me on my own in the house with a key to lock up as they set off to work at 8. My boots and gloves where still wet but today it was sunny so tinted visor and leather gloves, with the textile gloves at the top of the panniers to dry off. The drive way out of the garage was too steep to push the bike out so had to start it up for the 10m trip to level ground. I'd checked the oil the night before and it had used about 1/4ltr so that was topped up before starting 9 I took a litre of 20/50 with me.
    Ferrying my gear to the bike was made more interesting by having to avoid the robot vacuum cleaner which was patrolling the front room and occasionally blocking the front door.

    Down to Le Mans via the D928 and D923, route all programmed into my satnav to save having to stop and read a map. I was heading to the https://www.lemans-musee24h.com/ which I thought was a suitable location. Got there in about 2 1/2 hours just over a 100 miles of bendy roads with a bit of dual into Le Mans. Quick look in the museum, there were two Brit BMWs and four Spanish BMW GS's in the car park. The museum is a waste of time for bikers, with only about 10 -15 bikes in it, the rest are some really old french cars, fire engines and 30 or so, proper 24 hour endurance cars. Only spent about 45 minutes there. Had a wee.
    Quick blat around the 24 hour car circuit which is mostly the Mulsanne straight than onto the best ride of the holiday the D25 which I started near Lombron onto the D19 up to just south of Falaise. Nice quiet bendy roads and midweek very few other vehicles. Somewhere along the route I picked up a massive hornet, noticed when I stopped for a leg stretch/bum rest, wedge between the headlight and bikini fairing. I'd hit it from behind so it was facing forward like an evil version of the Spirit of Ecstasy. It was still alive so I left it there as It looked a bit pissed off and I didn't want is stinging me.
    Thursday.JPG
    No chat around the kitchen table tonight, I stayed on a farm in the middle of nowhere tucked up in what looked like a converted hay barn. The bike was in another barn which was lucky as it hammered down with rain that night, which rattled against the bathroom sky light.
    Topped up another 1/4lt of 20/50 after it had settled for an hour or so and planned me cleaning of the bike for when I got home. It was running ok apart from a bit of hunting around the 4k mark which is right around the ignition advance. It's fine below there and once above 5k smooth as well.
    Last edited by GuzziPaul; 14-06-19 at 12:03. Reason: Added route

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Friday back to Essex.
    it had been raining all night and was still raining when I got up. I'd managed to get my gloves dry on a heater I found in the bathroom, so it was back to textile gloves and a clear visor for the trip home. This was to be the longest day in the saddle of the three days.
    It was mostly twisty roads apart from crossing the Sein at Hornfluer/Le Harvre. Because of the D Day commemorations there were long queues over the A29 bridge which was down to a single lane. There were a lots of groups of old Army vehicles WWII bikes on trailers and motorcycle police who had been manning the events I assume, travelling in packs of about 10 or 20. Approach one of the toll plazas there was a queue of about a mile long. I started filtering just as one of the police bike conveys came up, initially they were riding two abreast bet one the que started they formed a single column and with blue lights flashing split the lanes right to the front of the queue. I let them by then tagged along at the back until we got to the toll booth. they opened up another lane for them and they went through. I stopped and paid my 70c 9 which was a bit of a pain with wet gloves and money in an inside pocket.
    Back onto the twist roads it was no longer raining it was dry enough to take my waterproofs off. I have a pair of North Face Gore Tex walking trousers with full length zips which make it very easy to take on and off without having to remove your boots.
    Friday.JPG
    Arrived at the tunnel about an hour early than booked and managed to get onto an earlier train. Phoned home to let them know and was told it was hammering with rain With the bike on the train on it's centre stand I spent the time with my foot on the stand holding it steady as it gentle rocked as the train rocked over the points or whatever. Waterproof on and starting to heat up until the doors opened and I could get moving onto the M20 (avoid London bound if you can due to Operation Brock and the 50mph limit). Rain started about 10 miles in and continued all the way home.

    The usual queues for the Dartford crossing on a friday (back to J3) and no handy bike cops to tag onto but back home just before 7. Jacket on the back of a chair to drip dry gloves and boots abandoned in the utility room. Everything smells damp and petrolly.
    Saturday. Jacket and gloves on the line, boot in the sun. Nip to Halfords to by some MUC OFF. Initial bike clean including jet was of the wheels. Then tank off, seat off, remove Hornet from headlight, fairing of and back wheel out and exhausts off for a deep clean.

    Lessons learnt.
    Miles done 930 door to door
    Average fuel consumption for the trip 32 mpg which is crap and I'm going to take 1/4 of the mixture screw and considering fitting Sachse electronic ignition.
    Even in the rain you can have an enjoyable (later) ride.
    It hurts my hips trying to get my knee down on left hand roundabouts.
    My wrists hurt more than my arse which was a surprise.
    A throttle wrist rest is a waste of time.
    Apart from the first 20 minutes the bike started and ran fine despite all the rain.
    I've probably done my average yearly mileage on the Guzzi in 3 days.
    Some french drivers still think they can pull out onto a main road without looking.
    The Le Mans museum is not really worth it unless you like the cars.
    Chambre de Hotes are a good alternative to camping and good value.
    30 years ago I rode to St. Tropez on Le Mans I couldn't do it now (although I might) once I've forgotten about the pain of this trip.
    A dry bag strapped to the seat is better than leaky panniers that rub on paintwork.
    Much of the route was planned using https://www.bestbikingroads.com/moto...ads/map/europe although some people version of a good route is not always the same as mine. What might be comfy on a GS is not the same on a 42 year old bike with twin shocks (admittedly top of the range Hagons).
    Last edited by GuzziPaul; 14-06-19 at 14:50.

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Done a couple of hundred miles since I got back and gave it a good clean, new spark plugs oil and filter. Fuel consumption is still around 32mpg and plugs are sooty so the 1/4 turn off the mixture screw has made no difference. I've got some 130 main jets to put in as I think the S&W filters I have on are restricting the airflow compared to open belmouths,(135 are standard and currently fitted) but before putting them in I wanted to do a bit more carb fiddling.

    Last night took the carbs off, the right hand one (the one that wouldn't fire up on the first day of the trip) had several globs of jelly in, I assume congealed ethanol. I didn't drain or clean the carbs over winter and Pugwash had ultrasonically cleaned them for me the winter before. Cleaned that out with a few squirts of carb cleaner and a dental pick. The left hand carb float bowl was total clean I don't know why they would be different as I have a X connector in the fuel line so absolutely no difference in the fuel going in and the gaskets where all new after the big clean.
    Checked and adjusted the float heights on both which were bigger than the 18mm in the manual. Raised the circlip on the needle to the top slot to lower the needle which should hopefully lean the mixture. Hopefully I can get out tonight and do a quick 40 miles and see what colour the plugs are then. I fthis doesn't work then I'll move onto the 130 jets

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    The main jet has no effect except at wide open throttle. If ethanol was a problem why would you only see it in one carb - as you say exactly the same going into both?

    The filters may well be contributing to the problem - why not take them off and revert to standard to check?

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Quote Originally Posted by iansoady View Post
    The main jet has no effect except at wide open throttle. If ethanol was a problem why would you only see it in one carb - as you say exactly the same going into both?

    The filters may well be contributing to the problem - why not take them off and revert to standard to check?
    Taking the filters off is Plan C, I'd like to keep running with filters but as a check, if lowering the needle doesn't work, I will put the bellmouths on and needle back to standard (middle slot). Plan D will be middle slot for the needle, 130 jets and air filters.
    As for the jelly my thoughts are: leaky gasket somewhere has allowed water in, or more unlikely, the right hand side of the bike is nearest a window that gets the morning sun. Although the bike is under a cover it could be that the sun is warming up the right hand carb, evaporating the fuel but leaving the water behind.

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    But where would all that water be coming from?

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Not sure, the only time it's been ridden in the rain much is the France trip, it doesn't get washed with water that often. It must be a gasket in the right had carb (thinking as I type) and the starting problem was before the rain riding.

    I've also got a new front right disk to fit sometime (currently on order from Gutsibits). Noticed the hand lever pulsing a bit when braking, put it down to the luggage initially when I was in France causing a weave of the handlebars, but this has got worse over the last 6 weeks too such an extent I'm just using the linked footbrake now.

    It's the first disk I have had warp in 45 years of bike riding, although the Mobylette field bike only had drums, so figure that's not too bad. Gutsibits reckon with the modern materials it's made from it won't go rusty like the original ones do if there's the slightest bit of moisture in the air

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    The front brake on my V50 pulses a bit but as long as I remember that it's not the Norton and use the linked brakes not a problem! Mind you the Norton has an oval front drum so that's similar.....

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    If it's any consolation, I had a r100rs that used to gather water in the float bowl, only on the 1 carb too!.
    Luckily they were bings with a spring clip so only took a minute to clear.
    What fuel did you use over here? The E10 is really nasty stuff for pre FI bikes

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Shell VMax (which is E5) here, in France it was whatever was available but avoided E10 and there was a lot of rain. Haven't ridden it for a couple of weeks, just fitting new fuel pipes and got a new carb float for the left hand side carb. Hopefully will get out on Saturday or I've got next week off so planning a days ride to the east coast somewhere on Thursday or Friday.

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Got out on the LM last night, one of my usual routes, Maldon -Burnham - Southwoodham home. First ride out since I've fitted a new front right disk, new float in the left carb, new green translucent fuel pipes. Bike fired up first time with none of the problems I've had starting it over the last month or so, throttle response was a lot better with none of the hesitancy around the 4000 rev mark it had in France and beyond. And ticks over nicely if a little high at the moment, I'll get the vacuum gauges out again and balance the carbs as it did feel a little lumpy
    Front (right) brake was good, two finger braking with no pulsin.
    Got home in the dark but took the plugs out to check, they are still sooty but I'll get a few more miles in ( another tank of fuel) before making any changes.
    Got the occasional whiff of petrol when I was riding and my leathers smelled of petrol, (pissed the wife of because I keep them in her wardrobe) so must have a leak somewhere. I'm away for a few days so further investigation will have to wait till the end of next week.

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    I've used E10 in my Hondas over here for 10 years with no impact on running or clogging or owt. The fuel consumption is worse than with old fashioned UL 95 though.

    I've said this before but I'll never get used to priorite a droit for drivers coming from sideroads w/o a white line.

    It amused me that a decent proportion of your write-up was to do with how decrepit you're becoming rather than the bike.

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Quote Originally Posted by DefTrap View Post
    It amused me that a decent proportion of your write-up was to do with how decrepit you're becoming rather than the bike.
    That's true, I rode to ST. Tropez in 1985 on my first Le Mans the biggest pain with that was the rock hard seat which was only helped by cutting the pillow end off a lilo. 34 years later with Rheumatoid Arthritis my limit is about 30mins before both wrists hurt and my hands ache from gripping the throttle and using the clutch. It was one of the reasons I wanted to do the ride while I still could. Although I am thinking of riding to ST.Tropez again for old times sake next year. I'll just have to take a little longer, more pain killers and stay in hotels rather than a two man tent.

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Modern petrol seems to make plugs look black, I know my Kawasaki is running a little lean, the plugs are still black.
    On my FZR400, I'm running a race can and standard jetting, the exhaust is black and sooty like it's running very rich.

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