Annie the Tranny - more farkling

My farkling of 'Annie the Tranny' continues. The standard handlebars were starting to look second hand (paint peeling off) so they got replaced by a set of Renthal thick wall aluminium bars from Rob at Racing Lines on Mansfield Road, Derby, which raised some interesting 'issues'. I didn't know that Honda drill small holes into it's bars into which little lugs on the handlebar furniture fitted, ensuring accurate location (but I do now). But I didn't want to weaken the new Renthal bars, so drilling them was not an option. My solution was to break out the Dremel and use it to remove those little locating lugs.

That done. next up was to fit new Roxter heated grips I'd bought, but I couldn't get them into the correct position on the right-hand grip. Turns out the throttle tube as standard has a ridge about an inch from the outer end that prevents the tube itself sliding on to the position I needed it to locate at - so again it was break out the Dremel time.

Next little issue to reveal itself was that the connectors for the grips didn't match up to those on the Daytona grips they were replacing, so wire snips and soldering solved that issue. If this is starting to sound like a saga to you dear reader, then imagine how I felt... I was expecting this to be a straightforward swap. Anyway, the swap was completed with just one Saturday spent in our garage employing suck-it and see engineering based on 'if it looks right and feels right and works right then it almost certainly is right.

The final bit of bar work that day was to fit a pair of 'universal' hand guards, however, just a few weeks later I replaced those with a pair of Bark Busters. These are really heavy duty - much more so than the universal-fit ones - and hopefully overkill for the use I have for the bike, but they look the part and offer me protection both from rain, the cold and from physical attacks to the hands by bushes, trees, car door mirrors, etc...

Saturday, 2nd November 2013 - and the next step. A trip to see Tim Booth at MTS Nottingham for some new tyres. The Bridgestone BW501/502 combination seemed to work well enough but the rear was already squared off when I bought the bike and with the bike now showing 12,500 miles had just got more so, while the front had worn rather more evenly and was getting close to the wear indicators. My decision was to pre-order a pair of Michelin Anakee III tyres and today was fitting day.

While the rear wheel was out I had Tim replace the front sprocket, going up from a standard 15 tooth to a 16 tooth giving a higher gear ratio across the final drive. This is to move the vibration that I experience at 'motorway cruising speeds' and first impressions are good. On the way home I noticed that 4,000 rpm now equates to an indicated 63 mph where it had previously equated to 58 mph. More extended riding is needed for a definitive conclusion but first indicators are good. Acceleration is very slightly blunted but nothing I can't live with, I can always use a lower gear to overcome that on the road. The ride home felt good despite the greasy roads and blustery gusts of wind.

Saturday, 14th December 2013 - time to report on the new Michelin Anakee 3 tyres. I've done around 650 miles on these tyres now and quite frankly, there's nothing to report. What I mean by that is, once scrubbed it they have been forgetable. They do everything I need and there have been no moments, no letting go (despite some slippery rides). The change to the gearing has proved a success as far as I am concerned. Higher gearing has delivered more relaxed motoerway cruising and provided you use the gear lever appropriately (i.e. slightly more frequently) then there's mo loss of acceleration.. About the only time it is noticable is on hill starts which require a bit more clutch slipping. I am happy with the changes. I ordered and received a Skidmarx Tall Flip screen, but it turns out to be tall but not flip. To cut a long story short, it has been returned and I'm back to using the MRA Vario.

Saturday, 15th February 2014 - Annie went back to CMC in Daybrook for her first service since she left their showroom. Now showing 13,880 miles we have done over 4,700 miles together and she was in need of a little mechanical TLC. The brakes had starting sticking/binding when left overnight, the fuel tank wouldn't brim properly without overflowing and on a couple of mornings recently she'd been reluctant to start.

When I collected her the report was: Brakes stripped and cleaned, pads still serviceable all round; Tank return breather pipe blocked, blown out with air gun and should allow better filling; Spark plugs removed, inspected, cleaned and put back and air filter checked but not needing to be replaced until next service. Everything else checked but no action needed (even the chain tension was correct proving the Tutoro is doing it's job. That's it.

Now I know some people will ask why I paid 189 for a dealer service? Well, in this case it is simple... as long as CMC do the servicing at recommended intervals they provide a lifetime warranty on the bike for as long as I own it. With Honda's known fuel pump issues the servicing / warranty deal could come in very useful down the line.

Saturday, 7th February 2015 - First some photos...











Getting back to the update, 7th February Annie went back to CMC in Daybrook for her second service since she left their showroom. Now showing 18,260 miles we have doubled the original mileage together and she was due a service, which (as usual) I had pre-booked. The front brakes had (again) starting sticking/binding when left overnight and last time she was in they said an airfilter change was due this time around. The fuel tank still won't brim properly without overflowing but I've just accepted and adjusted to that as I can still get 180 miles to a (almost) full tank.

Last time Annie was serviced I took a courtesy bike for the day, but this time I decided to stay local. Just as well as within minutes they called me over to listen to a ticking noise which they informed me was the spark plug caps breaking down. This was the same noise (only louder) that they had failed to diagnose on the previous visit, so simple solution, replace the plug caps - except that they didn't have any in stock. The front brakes were stripped and cleaned, pads still serviceable all round so reassembled. One spark plug was removed so I inspected it and told them to leave them in. Next up they advised me that at this service the bike should have valve clearances checked and fluids changed - "Had I been advised when I booked the service?" In short, no, and I hadn't the funds for them to do it now (300+). So in the end they did an annual service and stamped the book, giving me a list of jobs that they had not done that was longer than the ones they had done. They then proceded to clean it, taking longer to do that than they had to service it.

For this (lack of) dealer service I paid 169 because the deal is that as long as CMC do the servicing at recommended intervals they provide a lifetime warranty on the bike for as long as I own it. However, having seen them at work I am questioning the value of thier servicing / warranty. This may well be the last time they get to work on it. We will see.

Saturday, 24th September 2016 - A long overdue update... In February this year Annie went into Bob Minnion Motorcycles, our local Honda dealer. Their task - to replace the spark plug caps, air filter, check/adjust valve gaps and full brake fluid change (which Honda quote 4 hours for). Due to their expertise with the TransAlp the whole job was done in 4.5 hours and I was as happy to pay their charge as they had been to fit parts I had supplied.


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