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To Southern Spain And Back


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#1 toddyboy

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 03:40 pm

I've owned TDM's since 1998

First one I bought was a Mk1. Loved it. P/x'd that in for a brand new red Mk11 850. Rode that for ten years and it never missed a beat (literally) Sold that with 42K on the clock. Then I bought a Blue 900. Fantastic bike. Sold that and wished I hadn't.

Then I realized that the best of the bunch was the Red 850 so I went back in time and bought a '97 Yellow and Grey 850 with - believe it or not - 14,000 genuine miles on the clock. It already had a two-into-one sports exhaust fitted which sounded sublime. It also sported small adjustable levers. The front side panels had been resprayed, so there were no big TDM decals on them. It was a clean and tidy bike and for £1,300 I snapped it up.

 

The tyres were a bit worse for wear and it didn't handle very well on the ride home but the sound from that sports mega made it all worthwhile. First thing I did was put it in for new tyres and suspension maintenance with Bikersworld in East Grinstead. John, the owner, is a top guy and really knows his stuff. He removed the front end, cleaned, re-bushed and fitted new seals and oil to the fork legs then calibrated the damping and reshod the wheels with new Pirelli Angels. The transformation was immense. The bike now handled like it was on rails! I fitted a touring screen which I bought from Dream screens for £68. Makes all the difference at high speeds. I hooked up a 12V cigar lighter charging point on the handlebars and purchased a RAM Mount X Grip phone/SatNav holder gizmo. I then bought a Ryde 52L top box off Ebay for £30 which holds two full face helmets and just for the hell of it I fitted a RING dual charger socket with USB to the inside of the top box. 

 

Then some mates suggested a bike ride to Spain. Why not? So I purchased one of those click on tank bags and dusted off a pair of old canvass panniers I had sitting in storage.

 

It was a 1100 mile trip from Newhaven to Dieppe, through France, across the Pyrenees and all the way down to the South of Spain. I checked the weather forecast and figured we were going to get wet going through France so I fitted a pair of Oxford Intelligent Hot grips and for good measure whipped the Toucano Urbano muffs off my Burgmann and fitted them onto the TDM - and boy, am I glad I did that! It PISSED down through most of France. The bike ran great though and I was the only one in the group who had perpetually warm and dry hands throughout the entire trip. The only mechanical problem I had was petrol started leaking out of one of the overflow pipes about 40 miles from our final destination. That looked a bit dubious but I managed to get the bike there by fiddling with the fuel tap. Next day I stripped the bike down and checked the carbs. Petrol was leaking from the overflow of the right carb so I had to pull that apart and found that the rubber ring that seals the plastic floats to the carb body had perished. With no rubber rings available I wrapped PTFE tape around the float spigot spigot, jammed it into the carb body and the leak was sealed. The bike ran fine for the two weeks we were in Spain and ran faultlessly all the way home. Result!

 

This old '97 850 was the perfect bike for that trip. Tons of torque with ample speed, power and comfort. I could lope along all day at 90mph without breaking a sweat and still had plenty in reserve. My mates on their Harley's and Versys struggled at those speeds. We totaled 2,800 miles getting seriously soaked at times as well as scorching hot, especially in Spain. The Spanish roads are some of the best I've ever ridden on. Mile upon mile of twisting, fast tarmac that winds it's way through mountains, valleys and quaint towns and desert stop off cafes. My advice is to not go through the centre of Spain which we did on the way there (very straight and boring) Instead, follow the East Coast roads past Barcelona to Zarragoza

 

When I got back home I decided this bike was a keeper so I properly stripped both carbs and renewed the gaskets and seals and fitted a K&N air filter. I then treated the 'ol girl to a new set of s/s brake hoses from Wezmoto which have a dual pipe system at the front, doing away with the cumbersome bridge pipe across the mudguard. These were definitely worth the £60 I paid as they really did improve the braking. They even came in yellow which was a bonus. I got a carbon fibre bellypan for Xmas and slapped that on. I even fitted yellow brake caliper bleed nipple covers and a pair of LED dust caps which light up when the wheels are in motion (very bling) The seat has now been sent of for revamping with a new custom cover and gel pads front and rear.

 

She may be old (20yrs) but this bike has everything I need and for less than £2K including all the accessories and servicing it's had with only 18K genuine miles on the clock what more could you ask for?

 

 

   

 

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#2 drewpy

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 04:17 pm

great write up. Just what the TDM is all about, getting there and just doing it.

 

I loved Spain last year, did the Pyrenees and those roads are to die for (not literally)


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#3 Favs

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 05:27 pm

Enjoyed that :good: & its making me wonder why I'm not going back there again this year :unsure2: Hmm gotta talk to sis.........


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#4 dablik

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 06:40 pm

Great story, sounds like a new bike now and maybe for sure keep this one Todd :) Spain, love it as well, wont ever do the ride down again though France, got rained on also the whole way, i do like big days but too old for all that crap now.

 

Enjoy the bike.


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#5 Pedro

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 07:12 pm

cool write-up toddyboy!  goes to show that the best trips are ones that are spontaneous. i'm in the south of spain and i enjoy those roads you wrote about pretty much every day!  :)   a few mates from the uk decided  in 2015 to surprise me and rode down.  they're coming down for their third visit this april. they cant get enough of it.

 

a question: you've had a brand new tdm. how does the second hand one you've got compare to how you remember the new one? i'm just wondering what changes after all those years. suspension? brakes? engine?  i've got a mk2 i'm just curious what a new one is like compared to one that had done a few thousand miles.

 

hope you make it down to spain again!



#6 Studley Ramrod

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 10:02 pm

Just goes to show it doesn't have to cost a fortune to go touring abroad. :)  Thanks for sharing. :good:


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#7 muddy

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 10:14 pm

Best time to ride down through France has been September for me. Most times it's been dry. Also, if you've got a data allowance, keep an eye on the weather on the France Meteo website, it's usually pretty accurate. Spain and Portugal were way too hot when I was there in the summer anyway, I think Autumn is a better time to tour.
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#8 toddyboy

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 09:55 am

cool write-up toddyboy!  goes to show that the best trips are ones that are spontaneous. i'm in the south of spain and i enjoy those roads you wrote about pretty much every day!  :)   a few mates from the uk decided  in 2015 to surprise me and rode down.  they're coming down for their third visit this april. they cant get enough of it.

 

a question: you've had a brand new tdm. how does the second hand one you've got compare to how you remember the new one? i'm just wondering what changes after all those years. suspension? brakes? engine?  i've got a mk2 i'm just curious what a new one is like compared to one that had done a few thousand miles.

 

hope you make it down to spain again!

The Mk11 TDM I bought brand new was a terrific bike. I owned it for ten years and  did very little to it in that time other than replace the standard exhaust system for a two into one Remus, up the HP a bit with some bigger jets and a dyno tune. Other than that it was just basic servicing. It just ran and ran and ran that bike and I didn't go easy on it either. I thrashed the living daylights out of it but it never faltered, ever. I only sold it because I didn't believe it could go on faultlessly like that forever. I was probably wrong there 

 

The 900 was a better bike I suppose, lighter, more power, but it lacked something that I can't put my finger on. It was more finnicky I think. Injectors, electric this and that. Somehow the basic character of the TDM had been removed. I did quite a lot to it to improve it. Fitted new Beowulf exhausts, Power Commander, Airbox flap mod, Pirelli's, Hagon springs in the fork legs, double bubble screen, Top Sellerie gel seat etc, etc and I definitely used and abused it. Went all round Europe on it with the Missus on the back. It was a good bike.

 

When I bought this old '97 model it just had that X Factor. More grunt, more feel, more character. It sounds like rolling thunder. The power rolls on like a steam train. The gearing ratio's are somehow better, can't explain why or how. They just are. The brakes are just as good as a 900 once the standard hoses were replaced with s/s ones. The handling is excellent now that the front suspension is sorted and Pirelli Angels fitted. The engine is bulletproof and with only 18K on the clock it feels like new. The paintwork is thicker and doesn't flake off the engine. As far as I'm concerned it's a terrific bike that will go anywhere (It won't do trails - too heavy for that but I've got a TTR 250 for that kind of malarky) It'll do pretty much anything else you ask of it though and it will give a Blade a scare on the Twisties. It's also the kind of bike I just know won't let me down. 



#9 Pedro

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 02:57 pm

cheers for that toddyboy. just as i thought. a good bike from start to finish. i bet not many  can say that about the modern bikes after 25 years! i just wish i could try a new one now. i bet i wouldnt give it back!  :) 



#10 toddyboy

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 04:12 pm

cheers for that toddyboy. just as i thought. a good bike from start to finish. i bet not many  can say that about the modern bikes after 25 years! i just wish i could try a new one now. i bet i wouldnt give it back!  :)

Me and the Missus will be leaving the UK and coming to live in Southern Spain, not far from Alicante some time around May this year Pedro. I'll be bringing my TDM and TTR250 Trail bike. We'll have to meet up at some point.



#11 Pedro

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 04:59 pm

cool! you enjoyed spain that much!  :)   my mums got a place in santa pola, not far from alicante.  deffo up for a meet when you're settled in.  good luck with the move. :good:



#12 Luiggi

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 05:04 pm

Just got my 2007 TDM  900 and looking forward to my trip to Spain in May this year.

I lived there for many years and am making the trip with an old friend so no problem on routes digs or food!

Cant wait   :clapping:

 

 



#13 wicklamulla

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:39 am

a gr8 read Toddy,  really enjoyed it. 


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#14 Gdogg

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 06:48 pm

Me and the Missus will be leaving the UK and coming to live in Southern Spain, not far from Alicante some time around May this year Pedro. I'll be bringing my TDM and TTR250 Trail bike. We'll have to meet up at some point.

PM just sent chap  :good:


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