Tiger at 14,000 Miles

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Cyclegear is run by rotund, jolly Mayan types… do the spannering yourself

Front Tyre

About ten years ago, somebody told me that if you put Metzeler Tourance (original) tyres on your bike, you can then forget about them; they will never puncture and they will never wear out.  Well, our front wore out; it has the dubious honour of being the first part to be replaced twice on this trip (or any of our trips).

Going over these blog posts, it looks like it did 7,000 miles; that’s not all that much for a front tyre but, in fairness, we are fully loaded and the rear suspension is high making us more nose down than usual.

By this point we were heading for Belize and Guatemala and really had no idea where to get a tyre.  With a vague feeling akin to dowsing, we headed for the Yucatan and the cities of Merida and Cancun.

Screenshot from 2015-12-20 09-06-52

Cyclegear – go there and buy a tyre

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Bridgestone Battle Wing shown here with some Guatemalan mud

In Merida, we tried Ducati, Kawasaki, Motomundo (closed down) and a BMW dealer that only had cars till we happened upon Cyclegear.  Cyclegear had a rack of modern large capacity motorbike tyres like it was just normal.  They didn’t have a Metz in our size so we got a Bridgestone Battle Wing.


I used my last filter and did  an oil change in Puerto Escondido on the coast in Mexico.  Till then, we had topped up with USA sourced 15w50 Mobil 1 but, once that ran out, we needed to do a change because in Mexico, Mobil 1 is 5w50.  Silver seems happy with the new oil and we have brought a spare litre with us through Belize and into Guatemala.

General Wear and Tear

Silver is now so filthy he must only be photographed at a distance.  Two bolts have rattled loose, one from the dash and one from the hugger that already has a tenuous grasp of life.  I haven’t cleaned him properly since sometime in California although I did wave a hosepipe at him in Merida on the Yucatan.

Triumph triples are really smooth; the bolts have rattled loose because of the increasingly poor surfaces we are traversing.


Tiger at 11,000 Miles


Silverado turned 50,000! I think we were somewhere in California.

After standing for 2.5 years, the first Hagon wept a bit of oil when we got Silverado back on the road. I should have done something about it then.

That’s 11,000 miles in 16 weeks; Silver’s total mileage is 52,000 miles in 11 years.

I couldn’t be more happy with the bike.  In the last four months we’ve conquered the USA and been down the length of the Baja peninsular in Mexico. Tomorrow we take the ferry to the Mexican mainland.

I’ve had to replace loads of sundry items:

  • both tyres
  • oil & filter
  • coolant
  • caliper seals all around
  • drive chain
  • front sprocket
  • rear wheel bearings
  • some individual brake pads
  • fork oil

and I’ve chosen to improve some parts:

  • front brake master cylinder
  • front brake master piston

but the only actual failures were:

  • regulator/rectifier
    • which also took out the battery
  • rear shock
  • Scottoiler feed tube
  • hugger (still broken)

and if I’d done my homework during the year I had to prepare this bike, I probably could have avoided all of the last group.

Silverado’s had at least two name changes and is now running better than ever.  Suspension is taught, engine is willing and even the sodding brakes work at last.  He uses a bit of oil at 90-100mph but pretty much none at lower speeds.  I’d publish my mpg figures but they’re so high I’m obviously missing something.

Tiger at 7000 miles


Whoa! That got outta hand real quick. We now have a new battery and new regulator/rectifier.

The bad news is that we are $370 lighter. The good news is that I now have a new multimeter.

I also had a go at the rear brake. Got the pistons moving and changed one of the pads. One of the pads? Yes. I have now bought the wrong pads from two Triumph dealers. Boulder gave me front pads, useful later, Seattle tried to give me more front pads but I wasn’t having that. I made them give me the asymmetrical pads like in the back of my bike. They gave me asymmetrical but the mirror image of what I need. Ah well. The small one fitted in and that’s the one that wears with a (semi) sliding calliper.

Brake pads. These are the ones I need. How many sodding combinations can there be?

Tiger at 6000 miles

Basting trays as catch trays. You need two.

Never has a chap been so happy (within a front brake master cylinder context)

Coolant.  Used 20:80 with distilled water.

Bastard fucking thing on the right is the sprocket that wouldn’t come off

That’s 6000 miles on this trip, 49000 miles on the clock.

Engine Oil
(hi ho) Silver has been leaking like a proper Triumph for some time.  With Mobil 1 inside, I wasn’t planning an oil change at 6000 miles but the word on the Internet was that leaks are due to non-Triumph oil filters; in my case a K&N filter.  The leak was getting bad enough to warrant concern with oil collecting on the main stand then dripping onto the rear tyre.

Did guerilla oil change at campground using improvised catch tray(s) from Walmart (pay your taxes) and was really careful not to leave a mess.

So (hi ho) Silver now has 15 w50 Mobil 1 (previous was 0 w40) ready for hotter temperatures of Mexico and C.America.  And no oil leak!

Leak was, indeed, due to K&N oil filter with recessed o ring. OE Triumph filter has much bigger, prouder rubber seal and I’ll endeavour only to use these in future.

5/8″ front master cylinder now replaced with rough hewn Chinese 14mm job from eBay.  We’ve had the replacement since Nashville but I had no confidence in the thing so we’ve just been carting it about with us.

Did a rodeo change (unbolt old, bolt in new, don’t bother bleeding) and I’m really pleased with results.  We haven’t ridden far, yet, but lever remains firm (without bleeding!) but I can now stop without use of King Kong forearm.

Super expensive part for tankbag fitted with no immediate improvement to charging system. It usually responds well to bike being ridden (I think it likes the vibration), though, so we’ll see.

Leak appears to be forward hose. Coolant replaced with 20:80 longlife and header tank seems to be working.

Front Sprocket
I committed the cardinal sin of changing the chain but not the sprockets way back when we were in Gunnison.  I maintain that the rear sprocket is fine but the front…

To remove the old sprocket:

  • 36mm socket with breaker bar – nope
  • add 1m steel tube as lever – nope
  • heat with propane – nope

This was all done with me sitting backwards on the bike like some terrible parody of a cowgirl, applying the rear brake with the bike on its side stand and me putting as much weight on the bike as possible.  Rear wheel still turns instead of sprocket nut loosening.

In the end, I heated the bugger one more time but put the bike in gear (this is discouraged but by this point I had tried everything except praying).  Nut moved, new sprocket now on.

What’s Next?

  • Oversize rear sprocket
  • Rear brake pads

The State of the Tiger – 4000 miles in


How many kinds of my beloved Mobil 1 can you see? Includes ‘European Formula’ which is precisely what is in Silver Lady.

Silver Lady doing her impression of C3PO in Cloud City

Silver Lady doing her impression of C3PO in Cloud City

New Metzeler Tourace - no more juddering!

New Metzeler Tourace – no more juddering!

Mileage this trip: 4000
Total mileage: 47000

Oil Consumption

About a litre crossing Germany (roughly 700 miles) and then 0.5l in the USA.  Silver Lady* is 11 years old so using a litre at autobahn speeds (about 110mph for us) is excusable.  At USA speed, she’s using so little that under normal circumstances she’d probably meet a service interval (6 months) before needing a top up and I’d be telling everyone she uses no oil at all.

Also worth noting, she didn’t lose any oil during the rather undignified night she spent with her wheels in the air after unwanted attention from a bear.

Whining While We’re Going Along…

…isn’t just Helen. I’d swear there’s a wheel bearing on the way out so I keep getting her onto the centre stand and waggling the wheels, but no. On the most recent waggle I thought I could hear a tick at the back. I took the wheel off but all looks fine and when I put it back I couldn’t hear a tick any more. Maybe I’ve fixed it but it’s more likely that I just got bloody filthy.

Front Tyre

Got a new one!  Old one was a Metzeler Tourance Next which lasted 15 months and a more organised person would be able to tell you the mileage it did.  Mileage included London to Berlin and back twice, a summer holiday in the Alps and the 4000 of this trip.  So that’s lots.

Unfortunately, it didn’t hold pressure very well and was incredibly out of balance so that the bike shuddered lie crazy at 90mph.  It was probably contributing to the whining, too.

I phoned ahead to a bike shop in Tulsa and ordered a Tourance Next.  Got there, whizzed the wheel off myself, picked the new tyre out with the guy and he slapped it on.  Wrong tyre.  Mine had not arrived, yet, and this was the original Tourance, not the Next (or, indeed, the EXP).  I’m actually quite pleased.  The original Tourance was known to be unpunturable and to last forever.  I’ll get a rear to match sometime before Mexico and have the ideal tyres for this trip.

*please suggest a better name