This weekend was the debut of the Troll and all in all I think she's performed well - except for the starting, which remains a frustrating problem. Today there was a general scooter ride for an episode of "On Two Wheels" a cable lifestyle program on Foxtel. It used be called "Riding WA" on the local community station, Channel 31, until that station went under last year. It was popular enough to be salvaged by Foxtel and episodes will be screening later this year (not being a Foxtel subscriber I wouldn't know when).
Firstly a confession - I am an idiot. Having run out of petrol once on the Vespa I should have been a little more careful with the Troll. But I wasn't. Assuming when the guys said "we've filled the tank" meant I had a full tank of gas, I never actually checked in the tank to make sure. So you can imagine my surprise when on the way back from a quick ride into Fremantle on Saturday - no more than a kilometre from the spot where the Vespa failed - the Troll spluttered to a halt. A quick check of the tank revealed it to be bone dry. There is a slow leak in the petrol tap if it is left on. I can't even claim ignorance to the problem as Roberto had made a passing comment that oil from the leaking petrol was staining my driveway. The punishment for my stupidity was having to push the enormously heavy Troll two kilometres ... uphill. No young ladies with bottles of champagne stepped up to save me this time. Lesson for today - THE TROLL IS VERY VERY HEAVY.
Today, Sunday, I joined the run from Fremantle. There were some 30+ scooters lined up outside the L2 cafe, mostly new models but there were a few Vespa PXs in the mix. The Troll certainly made a scene. There was a lot of interest from all comers and lots of photos were taken. I later did an interview for the show - I hope I don't look like a complete twit! Fortunately, the stop at L2 wasn't a long one and the engine was still hot so she fired right up. Embarrassingly though, just as we all began pulling out of the carpark the clutch seized and I couldn't get out of third gear. After a couple of stalls I managed to get the Troll on the road, revving the bejezus out of the engine, and the problem kind of solved itself. I wasn't too comfortable on the ride out Bibra Lake as the clutch was still a bit touchy and I ended up trailing the back of the pack. Ironically I was closely following the trailing pursuit car so they have plenty of footage of the Beast on the road.
At the lakeside I did my interview, we ate lunch and had chat, there was a cooking segment with some celebrity chef that I didn't know. They did a couple of interviews with several other riders and did a feature on a Vespa GTS250 and a Derbi GP1 (both lovely new bikes). After another embarrassingly long struggle to get the Troll to start, I cruised back towards Fremantle, taking the long leisurely route around the river back home. There's one particular stretch of road between Bibra Lake and Fremantle with no intersections for a couple of kilometres so I gently opened the throttle and let the Troll show me what she could do. Pleasingly she reached 80kms quite easily; the only thing holding her back was me. I need more experience with the Troll's performance before stretching it to the limit. The brakes are weak.
All up it's been a great weekend. I've clearly got some more tinkering to do to sort out the issues with idling, the carby, the clutch and starting, but overall I'm very happy with the Beast.
The Troll under the bridge
As a bonus here's a little link to the IWL Rollertreffen in Ludwigsfeld in 2008
(You might need to cut and paste this depending on your browser.)
Thank's to the advice from Dinart, Bill, James1 and James2 I've managed to solve the problem with starting. The Beast now fires right up (second or third kick). Still needs a few minutes to warm up, but it's nothing like the trouble I was originally having. Thanks guys.