In the March edition of Slipstream I wrote “It’s always dangerous, …to look forward to the start of the new riding season. The daffodils may be out but last year we had the ‘Beast from The East’ in March and we all sat in St Crispin’s that month watching the snow come down.”

And so it has proved to be again this year. Another ‘Beast from the East’ has descended upon us. This time we can’t see it but its effects have been much more deadly with a huge impact particularly on Club Members who work in the NHS, Care Homes, supermarkets, or any of the front-line jobs that keep our society running. On behalf of all TVAM Members can I say ‘Thank You’ to all of you.

Thanks also to every Member who has resisted the strong urge we’ve all had at some point to go for a quick blast. A chance happening with another road user through no fault of your own could tie up the emergency services for hours when they really do have better things to be doing just now.

It was of course with great sadness that we heard that Club President Sir Stirling Moss had passed away over Easter. He was more closely involved with the Club in its early years but remained a figurehead for the Club throughout the time of his association and he will be a difficult act to follow. There’s a lovely tribute written by the editor on page 20. Needless to say the Committee has discussed who could be a successor and I hope to be able to report progress over the coming months.

So just what do you do when the sun’s out yet you can’t ride your bike?

Well, having read Nick Tasker’s article last month and being a BMW rider who, having bought new, has now gone through 26k miles I thought I’d better have a go at some unusual & infrequent maintenance. The bike’s been around Europe two or three times, does 5 or 6 IAM Skills Days at Thruxton each season and is ridden all-year round, so it’s definitely not been a ‘Sunday afternoon’ bike.

So off came the rear suspension linkages to see if they were worn or just needed a bit of TLC.  After all Nick was concerned that long-term reliability isn’t always a priority for the original manufacturer so I was expecting to find a few bits that would be seized or gasping for a drink of grease.

Thankfully all the bolts came undone, though they have high torque values so well-fitting quality tools are a must. There were no signs of corrosion as all the parts are alloy, plated or stainless steel, which is hopefully a good sign. The seals of the four separate bearings that make up the linkage mechanism were all covered externally with a combination of dried chain lubricant, presumably flung off the chain (yes XR’s still have those) and road dirt. Sitting above the exhaust they must get a little warm. However they all cleaned up with a bit of white spirit and were in good condition. It was then possible to disassemble and inspect the bearings themselves.

The shafts showed a little sign of wear but none were pitted, scored or worn through the case hardening. The needle-bearings were unworn but in need of some fresh lubricant. After this the re-assemble was quite straightforward (once you’d remembered which way round the three-way alloy casting went) then it was just a matter of torquing up those bolts – after all one of those coming out at speed would be interesting…

And whilst I was down there I found I was missing a circlip off the near-side footpeg pin. That would have been another interesting part to lose on the motorway…

I would therefore encourage you to take this time of lock-down to take a longer look at your bike. Which bits haven’t you really looked at since you bought it? Mine was a morning well spent.

Andy Slater