Thursday, 19 April 2018

Out for a blast on little Nelly

Wow where has this weather appeared from? Not complaining in fact it gave me the opportunity to head out and finally test the new brake and clutch lever set up on my little Benelli TNT. I have had the bike for quite sometime now, however not really had the chance to head out. In fact the bike had only covered approx 15 miles, then had been sitting at the bottom of our stairs in the hall.

Glenn Johnstone
Boys and their Toys
Originally I paid a small fortune for a Brembo master cylinder thumb brake. However working alongside Ern we just could not get the thumb brake in a comfortable position, plus the feel of the combined brakes was awful. I struggled to not only stop, but also in actually trying to pull in the clutch, whilst using the thumb brake. Ah well back to the drawing board.

One of my mates, Des sent me a link to Youtube of this kid who had incorporated what is know as a stunt clutch on his Grom. Essentially it is a small clutch lever that can be actuated by a single finger. I researched the levers and discovered there was no way I would get one to fit with the original brake levers that were on the bike. This meant ordering some new radial type brake levers from Aliexpress. This would allow me to use one lever on the left hand for my rear brake and the one on the front as normal for the front. Plus I ordered a (RSC) Righteous Stunt clutch lever, medium length. It was rather expensive, however appears to have done the job. The fit to get all the levers and switch gear is tight and as I will go on to explain requires a little tweaking from a comfort/ use point of view.

Glenn Johnstone
RSC Stunt Clutch and Adelin radial levers
Ok so like I said earlier this is the first time using this set up. It takes a little getting used to. I have discovered I am automatically going for the rear brake, which is now on my left handlebar thinking it is a clutch lever. This means at first I clunked a few gears. It also meant I slowed down quite dramatically as I pulled on the lever. Then I got comfortable using the small clutch lever and the opposite happened I mistook it for a brake and instead of slowing I just disengaged the gears. Also set up wise the levers feel as if they are in the wrong position. It's totally different going out for a ride compared to just sitting on the bike in the back garden. Due to the lack of space on the bars it can be difficult to adjust the position of the levers on the left hand bar, they are just so close together. Luckily there has been a little room for movement and on returning home Ern gave me a hand to adjust the levers. The radial brakes also have screw in/out adjusters for lever travel and this has helped a lot as the levers are now within reach.

What's it like riding as an above knee? Errr scary, well for me it is. I have not spoken to any other above knees, but what I am discovering is I am perfectly confident turning left, but I do not like turning right at all. It's weird as normally when you ride you wouldn't put a foot down and you use the power of the engine to pull you around or through a corner. Maybe it's psychological. I have noticed the same thing when I am out on my mountain bike. Left turns are fine, however rights can prove tricky. It would be interesting to hear from fellow above knees on this.

I covered roughly 50 miles today, heading up to Smiddy Shore and around by Stanhope. I pulled in at the petrol station at Lanchester to fill up...When I say fill up I put all of £4.08 in my tank. I felt so guilty and was not sure if the attendant would accept anything under  fiver that I bought a bottle of water. I then discovered I had no where to carry it so stuffed it down my jacket. It kept falling down and I almost lost it a few times.

Glenn Johnstone Benelli TNT
Learning curve today
Little Nelly
Benelli TNT
Over on the moors
Benelli TNT profomance exhaust
Bike is canny loud with pipe on
All in all I had an enjoyable ride out, the weather has been ace. I figure if I can work out how to get to somewhere purely by doing left hand turns I will be fine LoL. In reality it's just a case of building up my confidence and learning this brake/clutch set up. Another reason it was scary today is a lot of where I rode was hilly and well I am running my bike in. It's not good when you have a bloody huge artic up your arse as you tootle along at 40 to 50 mph. Plus when he passed me I thought he was going to suck me under his truck. The only thing I managed to pass today was a tractor, mind you he was doing 32mph as I looked down at my clocks.

Broom Broom!!!
Over at Wagtail Lane
A big part of why I can get out on my bikes, both motorised and push is down to Pace Rehabilitation. Paul Richardson my prosthetist designed me an everyday socket and it just shows that having a decent socket can enable you to do a lot more and just get on with life... The only thing I am really disappointed with after today's outing is that my socket has rubbed a small hole in my seat. To be honest the material used on the seat is not very thick or of great quality. It's just another small challenge to sort out. Hopefully if I get the seat re-upholstered in something harder wearing it should resolve the issue.

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