I asked people for to say a little something about their bikes & Graham was the only one to come up with something interesting :)

Plus, in my opinion, he's the original Elefanteneer

XBR outfit


Bike: E-reg XBR500, bought as a non runner from a despatch rider. Engine removed and replaced, bike mated to a Squire sidecar in 1998 by Charnwood Sidecars of Coalville. Bike frame broke in 1999 and the (good) engine was used in the solo XBR I built in 14 days for the 2000 Elefant rally.

The bike frame was repaired 12 days before leaving for this year's Elefant and the original engine was rebuilt and reinstalled into its proper frame.

Lots of work was done to tart up the outfit: Jethro soldered together the connections for the sidecar lights, as well as fitting the Hein Gericke 20 heated grips.

The bike was treated to a new rear tyre, but the front tyre was the same square section one that had taken the solo XBR to the 2000 rally (and done 8,000 miles afterwards!).

I took the bike for an MOT on the day before departure and it failed on a loose steering damper and a rumbling sidecar wheel bearing. Jethro cleaned and lubed the bearing and I took it back the next day. It failed again. The MOT lads removed the taper roller bearing, jotted down its number, reinstalled it and sent me off to buy one. The bearing supplier said that they needed the race's number too so I headed off to another mechanic I know who helped me remove the wheel and race and then lent me his bike to go back to the bearing supplier. Once everything was put back together I returned to get my MOT and then went off and taxed the bike.

Then bike is very comfortable because having had an XBR since 1987, my arse is now that shape. It perfomed well, but clutch slip limited my speed. The petrol consumption was amazing given how much work it was doing and it was returning about 45-50mpg.

* Clutch slip
* Fractured exhaust
* Too much toe-in on the chair so left handers at slow speed were very difficult
* much slower than my companion's bikes
* cost more on the ferry

* Lots of luggage capacity
* comfortable
* Fun
* Economical

Mileage for the trip: 1,762 miles



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