100% Biker 168

100% Biker 168
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So I’m taking the Changeling for its MoT. The MoT station (Russ Williams Repairs in Downham Market, lovely people) is about 25 miles away, out across the Fens, along roads that don’t feel as though they’ve changed much since they were cart-tracks a hundred or so years ago. Yeah, they’ve got tarmac on them now, but they’re still rough enough to make a fork seal salesman rub his hands together with glee…

The sun isn’t shining, but at least it’s not raining as I set out and the first 5 or 6 miles are fine; rough, but fine. Then, as I approach a village, the motor starts to cough and splutter and a few seconds later I’m coasting to a halt with a dead mo’bike. It feels like it’s run out of petrol, but it can’t’ve done as not 10 minutes ago I put a tenner in it.

I prod the fuel filter under the tank and see that while it’s empty, it is slowly filling up. Odd. I’d already turned the tap to ‘reserve’ (I know, ‘reserve’, luxury, eh?) and it hadn’t made any difference, so it isn’t that. I give it a minute and it fires up again, so I shrug, hop back on and head off again.

5 or 6 miles later it does it again. What the buggery bollox is going on? The fuel filter is clear, if empty, so it’s not shit in the carbs. It must be shit in the tank blocking the tap, I reason, and using words I wouldn’t necessarily want my dear mother to hear, get me ‘phone out and ring the shop. “You’ve broken down, haven’t you? Where are you? I’ll come and pick you up” is how Shaun, the bike bloke there, answers. I tell him and settle down to wait. A few minutes later I notice the filter is full again so I fire the feckin’ bike up and head off again, only for the same thing to happen again a few miles later. This time I’m really twatted off with it and stand there glowering until he turns up.

As we drive to his workshop, we discuss the problem and although both of us have raised the subject of the tank vapour-locking we both dismiss it as bikes don’t vapour-lock these days, do they? Only old bikes do that…

We get to his place, unload the bike, wheel it in and Shaun pops the fuel cap… which goes ‘hissssssssss’. It turns out it has vapour-locked; it’s had a new tank recently and the cap’s been moved upwards to gain a little extra range (the tank sits at a funny angle, y’see) and, it looks like, the breather hole got welded over. Shaun drills a tiny hole in the cap and that was it, sorted – it’s run beautifully ever since.
Feckin’ custom motorbikes, eh!