If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Winter is icumen in ...

Lhude sing o-fukkit!

I've been commuting on the XT recently, and the Sprint has been waiting patiently behind the house. In fact, it hadn't moved a wheel for about three weeks until last night, when I wanted to take it to the Triumph Owners' club meet. The brakes were sticky and the head races had gone rather stiff. The first was easily solved with a few hard stops, but the head races kept me threepenny-bitting the roundabouts until it eased itself. That's an item on the 12k service which will be due soon, so perhaps I will see to that properly when I tackle the big 'un.

The run out and back was in the dark and, bloody hell, but the Sprint headlights are dreadful! Dipped beam isn't too bad, with a decent spread, although there is a gap in the straight-ahead position, like a missing tooth in a smile, so you are constantly riding into a black hole. The main beam, however, is strong straight ahead but has nothing to the sides, so if the road bends or you lean the bike (neither being infrequent occurrences), you lose everything. I have adjusted the lights patiently (you need to take the effing bodywork off to do this, grrr), but they are still poor. How poor? Well, the XT is a trailbike with a small headlight, more for legality than actual night riding, and the XT's lights are actually better then the Sprint's. That's how poor.

My run to the pub takes me through a small village and I noticed a tractor with some kind of brushing attachment behind it coming the other way when I was going to the pub. On my way home, I realised what it was: for the space of about a mile, the road was covered from edge to edge in a thin layer of field mud, damp and very slippery. I dread to think what it was like before the clean-up. I kept the speed right down and made it without incident, but it made me think that in a situation like that the XT is much the better mount. As this is Wales, and a rural area, and with more of the same rapidly approaching, I think it's time to give the Sprint a good clean and polish, and put it away for a while. It's a main roads bike, happiest on a charge and with a long journey in prospect. The XT is happiest on back roads, at lower speeds, and on a bad surface gives a lot more confidence. Sliding it around is fun; sliding the Sprint is an underwear-changing experience.

And if I drop it, it will suffer less damage and be fixed cheaper. Not that I plan to.

Go to bed, one of you.


  1. Sounds like the Sprint has the same three-position headlight switch as the Land Rover - you can choose from Dim, Flicker, or Off.

  2. Aha, the Land Rover electrics conundrum. Know it well. The 110 at work is doing exactly this.

    The problem with the Sprint isn't so much dim or flicker (the light is quite strong) - it is that the light never goes where you need it. Black hole straight ahead on dip, black hole to either side on main. If they had actually designed it to be crap, they couldn't have done better.


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