Sometimes the best therapy is pottering about sorting out a minor issue, or getting several layers of road grime removed. Particularly when it hurts too much to ride and  I need to keep stopping every few minutes. I replaced some of the fuel lines yesterday with new parts, hopefully they will stand up better to the alcohol in modern fuel, and might sort out the cause of the little black granules I keep finding in the float bowls, which might be part of the fuel hoses. Of course they could be part of carb o-rings, floats or gaskets, but replacing the cheap and easy things first as she seems to be running right.


Rain and fenders


The fender extension I eventually fitted after much wrestling with the bike.

I suspect that I have done more miles in the wet than in the dry. I usually ride in waterproof textiles (nylon with a goretex/shelltex/other brand of similar membrane style waterproofing) so I stay quite dry. Leather with emergency waterproofs is an option but that tends to get sweaty inside and is a lot of messing around. I took my old 125 for trade in and came back with the 535 during an almighty deluge that flooded roads, and I found out the hard way that hitting a flooded road too fast causes the water to go underneath the wateproof jacket, and soak down inside trousers and run down the jacket into the gloves. Hideous. But that was the only time I’ve been really wet since I got decent waterproofs, so the rain doesn’t keep me off the roads, but it goes without saying I’m very careful not to fall afoul of the conditions.

The 535, however, has a hard time if it is really wet. The ignition coils live just above the front cylinder head, allegedly protected from the elements by a little plastic cover. Running in a deluge will eventually cause the bike to misfire and eventually stop, and as soon as this sets in the remedy is to stop, take the cover off and blast the area with WD40. It’s then a case of cleaning hands and riding on. I don’t go anywhere without a little can of WD40.


The neatly hammerited underside of the fender is only really visible off the bike.

I bought a fender extention as an attempt to sort this out. Allegedly dead easy to fit. Remove fender, stick in place with foam tape, drill and screw into place, reattach fender. Not quite so simple, first one of the fender bolts was rounded off, eventually shifted it with mole grips, found a replacement bolt of the same thread and cut it down to length. Then I saw the inside of the fender. There was a strip almost all the way along the middle of it where the paint had been abraded away, presumably by the action of gritty water being thrown at it. I decided to attack it with Hammerite. It’s not a place that is easily visible, so a good thick layer of tough paint is just the thing.


The connection between the coils and the wiring loom was a mess.

Waiting for the paint to dry, I thought I’d take a look at the low voltage side of the ignition coils, I’d replaced the coils, HT leads and plug boots a few months ago, which improved wet running marginally, but this part of the wiring loom was a state. Fortunately it’s all spade connectors.


A dirty corroded mess so I made new leads, didn’t take to long. I sprayed everything with Holts Damp Start which is a water repellent lacquer. Hopefully this will add some additional protection. Only time will tell.


Once removed from the plastic plug, the corroded state of the spade connectors can be seen.

The next morning the two coats of hammerite had dried enough to attach the fender extension, which was duly stuck in place, pilot holes drilled, and then I noticed that the provided screws stuck out so far as to present a hazard to the tyre, so out they came. Tried filing them down, getting nowhere fast, tried the dremel, tried the hacksaw but couldn’t hold them well enough. Eventually used a small set of bolt cutters, not strong enough to use in my hand, so covered jaws with a rag to stop parts flying across the room,and stood on them. Crack. Worked amazingly well, tidied screws up with a file and put them back in. By the time I was done and had tools away I forgot to take a photo, and didn’t do so until a month later.

Granted I got the camera out at first to keep track of the wiring I was redoing, but that’s not the point. Collapsed in a heap for a bit, had a coffee, swore my way into my kit and pointed the bike in the general direction of the two-footed love of my life. Didn’t move the next day until mid afternoon. Nearly missed my best friend’s birthday do. Got there just in time after a spirited dash across the back roads. Rest of the week has been a bit of a write-off.