Or: Faith in Human Nature restored
Last night I was riding home from work on my beloved Triumph Sprint 955i – beautiful sunny day and passing through some of England’s finest green and pleasant country villages.
Then the bike cut out and died – to be fair, first time I’ve been let down by a Triumph in several years of riding them – and it was my own fault.
Wouldn’t start as battery seemed to be dead – pressing the starter was rewarded with only a dull click and a pitiful half-hearted whir as she tried to turn over. Bump starting only succeeded in making me short of breath and sweaty – until it occurred to me that in temperatures of 27 degrees it might be a good idea to take my jacket off before running up the road pushing 240 kilos of dead motorcycle.
After a short recovery period I thought about it for a minute and closer investigation led me to find a loose battery connection on the positive lead, I could actually rotate the connecting cable on the terminal 🙁
Enter knight in shining armor number 1:
An elderly gent driving past, intrigued by the sight of a large sweaty motorcyclist trying to kick himself, pulled over to offer assistance. Thanks to the loan of his tools we took the battery out, cleaned terminals and connectors and refitted…
Unfortunately even with the old guy nearly giving himself a heart attack trying to help me bump start we were getting nowhere – he’d taken his jump leads out of the car that morning.
After a short while I thanked him heartily for his efforts and suggested he continue on his journey with his, by now, very bored and hot family. He advised me that there was a van garage a few hundred yards up the road and left. One short push in the blazing sunshine later…
Enter knight in shining armor number 2:
To the entertainment of the mechanics in the garage, who’d obviously enjoyed watching me ooze up the road, I finally made it to their car park. The old gent who had stopped to help had advised them of my imminent arrival in passing and although they were just closing for the day they’d actually stayed open to help.
As I got there they were in the process of wheeling a jump-start trolley out of the workshop.
The guys even gave me a cold drink whilst they connected up and started the Triumph. After 10 minutes chat about the joys of motorcycling, admiring the Sprint and praising the return of British Motorcycles (God bless John Bloor) – we disconnected the starter trolley and off I went with a spring in my metaphorical step and a feeling of optimism in my heart.
A mile up the road she cut out and died again – not enough oomph in the battery 🙁
At this point, like any sensible adult, I considered wimping out and ringing the AA – but hey, I’m a guy and no mechanical (or electrical) problem is going to take me down without a fight… About half a mile up the road I could see a petrol station – that’ll do I thought.
15 minutes in the searing sun later…
Enter knight(ess) in shining armor number 3:
As I strode magnificently into the petrol station supported only by my dead Triumph – the attendant came out to see if she could assist. Brief explanation followed… I had to buy a set of jump leads (£10) because there were none available and the garage owner (who stayed in his air-conned office throughout) would have strung her up had she opened a box ‘for testing purposes’.
She then brought her car over to the bike where we jump started it again and was more than happy to leave it running for 10 minutes whilst my battery soaked up a little juice. Then we disconnected and left the Triumph running for a couple of minutes to ensure she had enough life to make it home.
More chatting about the bike, wished her luck with her imminent Motorcycle Test – and off I went, revving slightly higher than usual to keep the electrons flowing in to, rather than out of, the battery.
At this point I was only a short distance from the last 25 mile stretch of the commute, straight down the M65 to home – so the rest of journey was mercifully without incident.
The following morning, after a full overnight charge, the Sprint sprang eagerly to life with great enthusiasm and vigour (much like myself).
Bathed in glorious sunshine and ticking over healthily, she reminded me of a young Colt straining at the reigns and eager to be off… and what a difference with a revitalised electrical system..!
The ride in was awesome, the Triumph seeming tighter and even more responsive than usual. Contrary to popular belief, motorcycles do have souls and more than a merely physical presence – mine is thanking me for the new lease of life.
Or so I thought…
Turned out the problem was more profound and down to, although it pains me to say it, a weakness in the Triumph charging system.