Electricity is evil. It is doubly evil when confined within a motor vehicle. The reason for this is that electricity is the cause of proportionately more intermittent faults than any other system. If something rattles, you can find it and tighten it. If something corrodes, you can strip, repair and refinish it. Even fuel faults (which can be little buggers if they feel in the mood) are usually amenable to logic and careful diagnostics. But electrical faults are thoroughly wicked little monsters who disable your ride, and then disappear. Have they gone, or are they still there, waiting for you to reach that dark, fast stretch of rush-hour A-road before stranding you instantly without power or lights?
I mentioned recently that I had experienced a misfire on the XT and had turned back and dug the Triumph out of hibernation to complete the journey. Yesterday, I got out the multi-meter and checked everything. Twice. Nothing wrong. The battery is reading 12.6V, the alternator is delivering 14.4V at fast idle, reducing to 13.2V if I switch on the lights and heated grips. In other words, fine. I took it for a 5-mile ride (up the hill, so if it conked it would be easier to push - I'm not 18 any more), and it behaved normally. I rode it slow, I rode it fast; I lugged it and revved it; I let it run down to nothing in a high gear and then whacked it open, waiting for the gulp and cough that I had the other evening. Nope - it ran sweetly and well.
I took it out to the shops this morning. Same thing. So now I am in a dilemma: do I use it for work tomorrow, as the problem has gone away? Or do I play safe and take the Triumph on the grounds that the gremlins are just hiding and waiting for their next chance to do me some bad?
The only thing I can guess is wrong is the ignition switch. I know the contacts are a bit iffy. Sometimes increasing the electrical load (like switching on the lights) will kill everything, and only switching the key off and on again will cure it. Perhaps that's it.
I have now got a new switch on order from David Lambert, and I will fit that when I next have a day off. In the meantime, I think the Triumph needs a bit of a run. It's dirty again, after all.