Ownership Verified: Catch and release! Honda Transalp 650... Btdt Vespa, CB600, GSX 1400 and R1150GSA

samulis

Active Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
381
Location
Helsinki, Finland
Hi

I have a Vespa!

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So happy!

Friend of mine bought small frame Vespa 90 last summer for next to nothing. After devilish test drive (yes one of those scary ones where you give your soul to xxx and see if you come back with it or having lost it) I fell in love and have not wanted others own like I did.
One year later and lots of searching friend found it and phone'd me, "LOOK AT YOUR MESSAGE'S" to where I answered "YES" and hung up the phone rudely. Oh hell yes, there it was, cheap Vespa for sale and I read it until it said "started at first kick after winter" before I called the owner and headed to see it. On the way I realized that it was same year model Vespa Primavera than I was (1975) and it all ready had Polini Big Bore kit! Instead of stock 125cc it had, hold thight, 133cc and power pipe (expansion model).
Seller also noted (that I did not care pay too much attention, you know, it was cheap) that it needs coil and it tries to kick 4th gear .

So to the name, same friend of mine phoned me few months earlier and said the same magic words "LOOK AT YOUR MESSAGE'S" to where I answered "YES" and hung up the phone rudely. 26 minutes later I owned dirt cheap slightly used Genelec 6010 that I badly needed. So it happened again, not realizing it I looked what time it was after I shook hands and I had bought a Vespa 26 minutes from the phone call.

Cheapest Vespa (old and pretty) for sale was and still is 2k€ and even that needs some TLC to run. This was way under 1k€. So when I was shaking hands someone called and wanted to buy it without seeing it, sorry but no cigar. Drove it home or tried to, ran fine to halfway until the said coil had enough, on positive side it is extremely light to push, lighter than the delivery bicycle we have. Ordered new coil and now week later I have opened carb just to see that it was clean (thanks to parts bin box find that came with the bike, fuel stabilating additive) and had correct jet's for big bore kit.
Next I need to see why rear lights don't work, took a quick look, but didn't have my glasses, it looked like it has one 6v and one 12v lamp, but can't be sure. So will check that again and try to figure is it 6v or has it been upgraded to 12v. Driving light is quite a joke, basic LUCAS rule, get home before dark, aplies. But that said, I have heard strong opinions that Italy makes better everything than UK and sofar I have to agree, start's at first kick everytime and even electrics make more sense and have more quality than the two UK made cars I've owned.

But that's for now, I have to go and ride it, scorchio and T shirt.
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samulis

Active Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
381
Location
Helsinki, Finland
I had the Vespa for bit over a year. It was fun to run around the neighbourhood, kids and specially wife loved it. But after I while grew tired of not having proper brakes, suspension, power or lights and mixing 2T gets old after while. Brake light worked only from rear brake pedal, front light was there so others could see me, I could see nothing. Brakes were joke, I did get the best brake pads available, costing whooping 18€ and it didn't help a bit. Front suspension was dead so got an adjustable coil over that did help a lot, didn't help with diving under braking, that's down to how it was build. Power was ok'ish, stock had 4,5hp, this had 12hp. It did 80km/h ok and could held it even on slight uphill, I once tried top speed on motorway and got it up to 105km/h laying flat.
Major pain in butt was its size. It was made originally as 50cc for 15 year old Italians, not 187cm/6´2" so I had constant lower back pain.

After alot of time spent on fixing 106 Rallye and Vespa, both seemed to have a race which one was more often broken, I had enough and sold both, they went to friends who wanted them.
 
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samulis

Active Member
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May 10, 2014
Messages
381
Location
Helsinki, Finland
After all time spent fixing instead of riding I wanted to own something that just worked. Corona summer 2020 was different, everything sold like crazy. I was looking for naked bike and fell for Z750's and damn, they sold as fast as they came for sale. Finally got to test ride one and found out that I didn't like it, wasn't upright enough, too much weight on wrists.

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So when 39tkm CB600F Hornet -08 (aka Honda 599) dropped for sale I acted fast. Called immediately and went to see it, rode it for 20 minutes, knew after first 400m that this is mine. Seller was Jessica, +40 and owner of Hayabusa, not 20 something and "this wasn't my thing" what I expected.

Love'd it. It was plenty fast for new rider, super easy to ride, it rev'd to 14,5k and started to pull at 10k. Did nicely in city and on the highway for being 600cc while still returning nice mpg.
Did few trips to cottage, +400km one way and rode it every day. All it needed was new rear tyre and even tho seller said it had new chain and sprockets, it needed new ones almost immediately. When I changed new ones, I found that who ever serviced them had cheaped out and left old front sprocket that killed the chain in no time.
Old, worn rear tyre was killed, I did my first ever burnout on tyre shop yard, felt like a kid (read king) and it was great ! Got it down to wires, you can see the sparks flying


But Honda too, was too small, back pain was still there and who uses +10krpm on daily riding? So after riding it 5tkm it had to go. Sold it to friend (see a pattern here?)
 
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samulis

Active Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
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Location
Helsinki, Finland
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This spring it was time for something bigger that would not result backpain! And physically bigger bikes come with bigger engines, which is nice.
Bought 38tkm 2003 Suzuki GSX 1400 that has Yoshimura stage 1 cam's, full Devil exhaust and power commander III.
Stock bike has 107hp and 128nm (94 ft lbf) from engine (whooping 7hp more than 600cc), this has 135hp and 145nm (106 ft lbf) from rear wheel. Stock bike has 110Nm (81 ft lbf) at 1500rpm so it has usable torque where you need it. Bit heavy (+250kg) but once your on move it feels way more nimble.
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WDWBen

Subaru Killer
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Nov 5, 2007
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Disney World
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2021 Mini Cooper S
That escalated quickly!
 

samulis

Active Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
381
Location
Helsinki, Finland
This all took two years, for ADHD that's forever.

Like my new muscle bike, stance is just right, looks like real bike should, not modern some sort Transformer. Engine is the king, the mighty pull is there, no matter what gear or speed your doing, it just pulls like freight train. Bit heavy and dull on corners compared to CB600, but that shoulnd't suprice anyone. There is so much more space, riding position is just right, seat is great and soft, rear seat is huge compared, there is so much space under the seat, it fits work weeks lunches no problem.
Bike sounds great, sounds big and just right ammoung of anger, still being quiet while riding. I did let friend ride it and while I was riding front I never had to look to mirror when he reached me, I could hear the thunderous low rumble.
I had 1200cc Bandit for short while few years ago and this is way better quality, 6 piston front brakes, 3 way adjustable front and rear suspension, not the parts bin bike.
Downside is thirst, if you open it up it goes from 6 to over 10 litre at 100km (39 to under 23mpg). Also the weight is there, on walking pace you really have to be aware and plan ahead.
It came with original twin exit exhausts and cams. It also had small chinesium mirrors, MRE wind deflector, fugly dragon tribal theme oil cooler cover and horrible small carbon taped indicators. Swap'd original mirrors, removed deflector and sold all exept the blinkers that still need to be changed.
Insurance was really nice suprise, 1/3 compared to 600cc, owners are older and tend not to crash that much.
 
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samulis

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Helsinki, Finland
Guess what? Bike is sold, mostly because of the Prius,1/3 because of ADHD and last third was a hair rising close call, stoped at red lights and got passed by semi that didn't stop, doing +80km/h and missing me less than a meter. So paid the hybrid and bought new fun car...
 
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samulis

Active Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
381
Location
Helsinki, Finland
Lets add a last note. It was a great bike and felt sad after selling it. I did similar, 11h trip home to Helsinki from Joensuu cottage, that I did on Honda last year. Felt fresh after it, would've ridden to eat, but it was 0:30, were as last year I felt like a zombie. Brute wall of torque will surely be missed, never had to change a gear to pass, just roll the throttle. Rode same mileage as with CB600, started with both bikes from 39tkm'ish and ended at 45tkm'ish, give or take 100km.
Swapped the head bearing week before it sold, it started to act after the 11h trip, so while I serviced it, did it too. Other than that, it never missed a beat. Last pic is from the new owners garage.
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samulis

Active Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
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Location
Helsinki, Finland
Told myself when I packed gear in autumn than that's it. Not going to buy a bike for a long time.

That went well.

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Couple of friends have be nudging into TET way. It seems I got bitten and here we are.
2003 BMW R1150GS Adventure

Imported from Germany from first owner, bought it from first Finnish owner, both older gentlemen.
Driven 82tkm and it has been serviced really, really well. Top of normal service schedule it has had everything done, starting from every second year rear diff service, changed Lambda just to be sure, to clutch that was changed to just to be sure, nothing wrong with the old one, Injectors updated to newer ones, throttlebody's balanced, brake lines because slight hint of rust had appeared. And ofcourse with fresh, 0 mile Bridgestones.

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It came with lots and lots of parts and extras, all packed in bubble wrap. Bike cover barely ever used as it has been always garaged, in home and in cottage. Two exhaust's, stock and REMUS titanium with Y pipe. It has been chip'd, need to find out about it more. Two set of bike boxes, aluminium Touratec with inner bags and plastic BMW original side bags, Aluminium BMW small rear box and small TouraTec tank bag. Stock and lowered pegs with stock and adjustable gearlever. Stock and higher seat, higher is better to sit, but I can barely tip toe with it so starting with stock one, with it I have feet comfortably on the ground.
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Called first about black GSA that was few hunder euros cheaper, it was complete worn out shit with broken everything. This silver bike had really bad pics and just phone number. Called and when he started to explain how he had changed injectors, just to be sure I knew I had found gold.
He had to give up the bike as getting older and could not ride it safely. He was left with G100GS Dakar that you can see in the ad on the back ground, that has seen over 300tkm and looked like new. Best part was that he sold it to price he had told to wife what it had cost when bought.

So deal done after good 3 hours of going through everything, he was ok hold on to the rest of the parts that I could not take with me. I will go there with car on summer, our cottage is 15km from Joensuu.
Drove to local gas station next to cottage and after burger it was time to fill up, 30 liters, that is huge, altho the old R100GS has 35 liter. Did the whole 450km trip with one fill up, bike outlasted me. The service guy ran to the bike and told that he had spoken with the seller previous day. While admiring the bike he said that the seller had told with real regret and sadness in voice that he's selling it way too cheap.

Bike is massive, in completely different level than GSX was. Tall and wide. It is great on highway, but that regular seat isn't most comfortable for me. Pull's nice and fairing helps with draft, no problem of keeping 120km/h. ABS is power assisted, weird and really powerful.
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Oh, found a fishing term that describes my style of owning and having a hobby car or bike. Catch and release.
 
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samulis

Active Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
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Location
Helsinki, Finland
First mod done. Couldn't ride helmet open at 40km/h, lets see if it's better this way.

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Found use for the ugly lip...
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samulis

Active Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
381
Location
Helsinki, Finland
We did 11 hours and 260km trip last sunday in south east Finland via gravel roads, it was great fun and opened whole new world. I did drop'd it on soft sand and did back roll laughing hard, but I wasn't able to lift it. We swap'd bikes and I got to try 1200GS and 650 Transalp.1200GS felt ten, fifteen years newer bike, much better in every way. Transalp felt really nice, easy and I was home.

Someone called yesterday and wanted to see it. So they came and there they were, a father, son and the holy testrider. Testrider had 1200RT and came back from test ride wanting it. Buyer, son, after test ride wanted it too, so agreed a deal and it was sold today.
Bought it 20.4, man that was fast.

It wasn't bad bike, just too heavy for my skill's and muscles. Never learned to understand the stupid power assisted brakes, they made adjusting the right ammount braking hard, specially on low speeds and while bike was off, brakes needed way too much force to do anything at all. And booster pump made really annoying whine, so if I stud on up or downhill and waiting the lights I didn't want to stay on brakes, so instead I used my feet to stay put. Combination brakes were scary on gravel and high center of gravity, specially with full tank pushed me off. And GS was supposed to be king of a long rides, but the 1400 GSX was better on long road trips, 11h trip was easier with GSX than 4.5h with GSA.
 
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samulis

Active Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
381
Location
Helsinki, Finland
BMW was sold tuesday and I had room for a new bike. Wanted an 650 Transalp, but friend said, this was tuesday evening, that he knows an F650GS for sale that on pics looked good and price was cheap. Well old truth about if it sounds too good... Seller had "forgotten" to tell it had been crashed on both sides. Well I had driven an hour to get there (with wife) so I took it for a test ride. Nice to ride, really smooth single cylinder and it could carry alot of speed through corners but yeah. Screws were missing, ECU wiring had been fixed with electric tape and covered plastic bread bag and so forth.

Joined the local Honda Transalp Finland group on FB, didn't have high hopes as there is only 132 members and none of +10k member local bike sale groups hadn't had any for sale in last month. Left message telling that I'd be interested of buying if anyone was willing to let go of their Alp. Came back to find 4 messages and after chatting with them I found this to the best one.

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2004 Transalp that had 67tkm. It has full Arrow exhaust (E type approval,so quiet that barely know if its running), Öhlins rear shock, progressive front springs, Heed crashbar, Renthal bar, Oxford heated grips, braided brake lines, new seat with gel, wider pegs, center stand, led lights all around with extra sidelights, fresh tyres and chain&sprokets and it has been painted last winter pearl white. Glad that blue is tape, I can remove it and tape it to look like a race replica. It had brand new Garmin zumo GPS and three hard bags but made offer without the GPS and sidebags. He slept over the offer and friday he said that offer was ok and I could come and test ride the bike. Called the seller and while talking with him, looked at train time tables. I had 30 minutes to catch the next train. Got there, bike seemed fine, exept loose front head bearing that I knew was gone, still rest of the bike seemed to be ok so we shaked hands.

It still needs the head bearing. Gotta grap it tomorrow and change it over the weekend. Removed the noise killer today and it started to sound like V2 instead vacuum cleaner. It has been really fun to ride and now with more sound, specially on over run, it makes me smile all the time. Where as first time parking BMW I thought that it must go, with this I sneak to window just to look at it and smile.
I call it Pepsodent.

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