Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Fully biked-up now?

Honda C90 in Mobberley

For some time I have been looking for a 'chicken chaser'; a low power fun machine to supplement the 'real' motorbikes in the Vince stable. My choice was either a Yamaha T80 Townmate, or a Honda C90, with a preference for the latter as it's the most numerously-produced motorcycle in the world and some have electric start as well as kick start.

But I'd given up finding one at the right price, as even tatty C90s on eBay were going for a lot of money; more than I was prepared to pay for one. Then this one, owned by a nice chap in Steeple Aston near Banbury, came up in a specialist moped on-line magazine. I phoned him immediately and we did the deal!

It is an absolutely immaculate 1993 four-owner electric start model and I got it for a very good price. Today, my mate Tony and me went down to Oxfordshire in his van to collect it.

It's insured (as of this afternoon) and MOTed until November, and as soon as it is taxed I'll be able to give it a go!

So now I have the classic bike (Triumph Bonneville T140D UK Special), the 'modern' bike (Suzuki Freewind), and the chicken chaser (C90).I'll let you know more when it's taxed and I can give it a run!

Update Saturday 24th March
First time out on it today in company with another C90 (ridden by Malcolm) and a T80 Townmate (Tony's mount). Filled the tank (lots of change from a fiver), and started with a climb up Alderley Edge which it managed, even with me on it, in top although it was pretty slow for the last bit. Tried again later in second (it's 3 speed) and it went over the top slightly quicker. A blast down the Alderley bypass showed a V Max of about 55 (60 on the downhill bits, 45 on the ups). Then a session round the lanes in greater Mobberley area showed that it's even fun on the twisties. It ticks over at minimal rpm like a little sewing machine, and so quiet it's hard to tell when it's running when you use the electric start. Using the kick start, one gentle push with the foot is all it needs to fire up. Malcolm  and I swapped bikes and I found his C90 pretty much the same as mine to ride despite its lower mileage (2,500, about 1/10 of what mine has done), and he pronounced my machine to be fine in every respect.

These 'step throughs' are a very different experience to riding a 'big bike', but fantastic fun! The auto-clutch takes a bit of getting used to (press the gear lever with your toe to change up, your heel to change down; as the lever comes up after pressing it the clutch is engaged so you can match revs to lower gears as you change down). When stopped, a further press from 3rd takes it to neutral again, but this is inhibited when on the move - clever!

And just to add an aviation slant, while taking the above pictures in Mobberley today this took off from Manchester Airport:

Emirates Airbus A380 on climb out from Manchester this afternoon. Next stop Dubai.


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