Do you want to see the ST2, 848 or 250?

As many people know we have bike visitors for most of the year apart from the very cold winter. Some of the visitors love to camp at the St Leon campsite . It is a great place to be, in the middle of a medieval village but next to the river Vezere. The campsite is owned by the village and is very well looked after and cheap. There are toilet and shower facilities and loads of bars and restaurants in the village, and also within a few miles.
This year some of the bikers will probably be here in the second week of September travelling from the Republic of Ireland. So I thought that it might be a good idea to open this up a little and see how many others would like to visit for a week or two.
Jude and I will be available each day, as usual, to guide rideouts to local attractions, while fitting in a cheap but enjoyable lunch, showing people the places that locals want to see.
The cost for anyone who wishes to participate will be the cost of your camping, very cheap, the cost of your own fuel and food. On the subject of food, locals always eat at lunchtime and a 4 course meal with a glass of wine costs in the region of €12 to €14. We do not run this as any sort of business, so our time and fuel is at no cost to anyone else.
I may ride a sporty looking Ducati, but the pace of the rideouts is, within reason, governed by the group. Jude and I are on intercom and she will generally bring up the rear. If you have an intercom in your helmet then we can also discuss the various sights of the area as we pass them.
The main attractions are: Weather, food, history, a BBQ at the campsite and canoeing on the river if you wish. I speak A little French and fluent German as well as English if that is any help to visitors.
My house is about 8 kms away with a well stocked garage should anyone need any technical assistance. There are also local hotels around if anyone is a non camper.

st-leoncamp

The picture shows the campsite in red. Jude took the photo from the back of our microlight a couple of years ago.

packing-up1

Two Irishmen and an Australian packing up to leave St Leon.

Ducati SBK luggage

The 848 may be a sports bike but I find the riding position reasonably comfortable. I used to own a BMW R1150RT back in 2003 which was supposed to be a tourer, but the riding position was far too upright and gave me lower back pain from slouching, I changed that bike in 2004 for a BMW K1200GT which was more sporting and more comfortable.

The problem now is that if my wife and I go off somewhere on the bikes, she will be either on her BMW F800ST or our  spare Ducati, an ST2. Both of these bikes have some luggage capacity in the form of panniers, top box or tank bags. The 848 has no provision for anything other than a tank bag and then, due to the shape of the tank, it will need to be a very small one. We don’t camp these days so we just need enough  for a few nights in hotels.

I bought myself a seat cowl for the document storage underneath the rear seat from the Ducati dealer so had the rear seat put away in the garage, That rear seat is not capable of carrying a passenger unless that passenger is a size 8 Italian supermodel, and since my wife objects to me having one of those……

DSCN0307s

Seat cowl in place.

DSCN0308s

Seat cowl removed. There are two mounting points at the front and the catch at the rear which is operated by the key as shown.

The next step was to remove all of the staples that hold the cover down on the seat that used to fit here, and then take off the black seat cover and the foam. These were put away as they can be refitted in the future should I ever find that Italian supermodel. You are left with the plastic seat base that has all of the mounting points on it to fit it to the bike. A Givi top box mounting plate was then bolted to the plastic base.

DSCN0310s

It takes 5 seconds to change from one to the other.

DSCN0311s

The bike will never be ridden like this as a top box will be fitted and the whole top box and mounting can be removed together. When we travel I shall keep the red seat cowl inside the top box so that I can refit when we have reached our destination.

DSCN0314s

This is a Givi 45 litre top box fitted and does not look too bad, smaller and larger sizes can be bought. The weight is not so far back that it affects the handling too much as it is in the same position that Ducati expect that 60 kg super model to sit.

I will also wire in the LED brake light inside the top box with a quick release connector under the seat cowl.

Front tyre

I have bee racking up the kilometres on the bike since the last post but none of them on a long journey. Way back I fitted a new Metzler Z6 to the back of the bike and did the fitting myself. At the time I left the Bridgestone BT021 front tyre on the bike as it still had quite a bit of life left in it.

Last week we set off on a round trip of about 1100 kms for a short holiday near the Spanish border, Jude was on her BMW F800ST and me on the ST2. We did not use any motorways at all and just stuck to the back roads. The weather was hot, in the mid to high 20s most of the time and we were not hanging about.

seasideAfter a few days of hanging around the sunny Mediterranean it was time to head back, on the back roads of course.

wayback

 

We had to stop for coffee on a number of occasions, and as bikes attract bikers, so did a couple of French coppers. Judes bike got all of their attention as it is in perfect condition.

The last 400 kms saw the ST2 behaving very strangely, the front end was very unpredictable at times when cornering, and we were not hanging around. I had noticed on one of the coffee stops that the tyre was wearing very quickly, but not on the crown of the tyre, on the sides. I put that down to being a dual compound tyre. I had a new Metzler at home waiting.

I removed the front wheel as soon as we got home, if anyone else decides to remove their front wheel then make sure that you have a 28mm socket in your armoury as it is an unusual size and is needed to torque the front wheel spindle nut after refitting. You will not normally find 28mm in a socket set.

DSCN0046s

This is what the tyre looked like. You will notice that it looks triangular, well it is. There is also more tread on the crown than on the sides. The groves had started “cupping” and the outside edged were showing signs of the rubber burning.

DSCN0051sThis is what a tyre with burned rubber looks like!

I took the wheel into Dafy Motos on Perigueux this morning and paid the grand total of €10 to have it fitted and balanced. I would normally have done this myself, but thought that €10 was worth it.

That pesky 28mm nut on the left side of the axle has to be torqued to 63Nm, use a thick round shafted screw driver on the other end of the axle to hold it while you torque.

 

 

Test of a battery booster (not a Ducati part)

Being the owner of various things that start with batteries, four motorbikes, car, motor home, aircraft, ride on mower (for cutting the airfield), etc. I tend to keep a pair of jump leads in the main car just in case. I have seen tests on starter boosters on youtube that seem to be boxes that contain Li-ion batteries and are claimed to be able to start diesel cars. Time to try one out so I ordered one from ebay (LINK) that was to come from China for the grand total of around £37 (€45ish). This is what came:

box1It tells me that it is the “Enhanced 12v diesel version” but having read the gobbledegook in the green star on the box, I am not sure what might greet me when I open the box!  This was inside:

caseA nice slime green case which was spotted by my wife who immediately decided that she liked the colour and needed the case! After slapping her and telling her that it was needed to keep the contents in place, we eagerly opened it to find this:

contentsLots of wires and boxes and things. There were some instructions in both Chinese and English, but the English was so bad that I had more chance of understanding the Chinese and that looked like scribble to me!

thing1

 

All was not lost as one of the holes on the “box” read Input and it just so happened that there was a cable with a plug on it the fitted that hole. It was a bit worrying that the “box” weighed next to nothing and we all know that diesel engines need huge batteries that a single human cannot lift!

thingcharge

 

So the “box” was put on charge. It took 10 minutes for all the lights to be lit so I assumed that it was full.

The only thing that I have at the house to test it on is my 125cc monkey bike. Like the “box” it is Chinese so not the most reliable thing and the battery is always dead despite being a new one. Good job that the monkey bike has a kick start! Off I went with the “box” and one of my trusty Gopro cameras and tested. The following video is the result:

In conclusion: The “box” works on the monkey bike and will work on the ride on mower at the airfield, whether it would work on my 4×4 diesel car is unknown as I do not intend to mess around and find out. Would it start the Ducati? Not sure about that, but I might make up a trailing lead to the battery that terminates under the seat so that I could plug this thing into the bike should I need it,

This is also something that I would carry with me on the bike when we go touring as I can charge other electronic items with it and we have plenty of those when we are out on the bikes, just for example, 2 Gopro cameras, 2 Sena SMH10 Bluetooth intercoms, 2 Google Nexus tablets and a camera. It also has a torch but I doubt that will be used much.

Thanks for reading.