Limp­ing along

Paso faces the highs and woes of the daily grind

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

It al­ways seemed like a wildly am­bi­tious tar­get, and the Paso has been try­ing hard to thwart it on a daily ba­sis, but against all the odds the aged Du­cati is strug­gling on through win­ter.

To be fair, we’ve not had too much of a win­ter to com­plain about (yet), but it doesn’t dra­mat­i­cally di­min­ish my sur­prise ev­ery morn­ing when the big red bus stut­ters into life and car­ries me into the un­known on a tide of au­ral love­li­ness. Most days, it’s just the 34-mile schlep to the of­fice and back, but it’s also man­aged a cou­ple of longer jaunts on busi­ness to Mil­ton Keynes and Hinckley. And some of those trips were made dur­ing tor­ren­tial rain, which I doubt the Paso’s de­signer (the le­gendary Mas­simo Tam­burini) ever en­vis­aged at its un­veil­ing in 1985, and which its elec­tron­ics cer­tainly weren’t pre­pared for. But it hasn’t left me stranded quite yet.

The twin has tried though, and man­aged to break some­thing ev­ery day for a week in late De­cem­ber. The first fail was a sim­ple tail­light, fol­lowed by the speedo ca­ble the next day, the clutch slave cylin­der seal the day af­ter that, and then the head­lamp blew.

Then on the fifth day, the Paso gods sounded re­ally an­gry. Start-up on a crisp Fri­day morn­ing was met by the sound of an armed rob­bery in full flow. The morn­ing air ripped asun­der by re­peated shot­gun fire as the Paso tried hard to keep it­self com­posed, but felt dis­tinctly like it was about to let go of its bow­els.

A bit of in­ves­ti­ga­tion with a torch while lay­ing on the floor and look­ing up its skirt re­vealed a lot of fresh air where there should have been a pod fil­ter. Bug­ger. The an­cient item had largely dis­in­te­grated, and it’s any­one guess where the ma­te­rial has gone. The ob­vi­ous money would have to go on it hav­ing been sucked through the carb and burnt to crisp in the front cylin­der. Which isn’t ideal.

The bulbs were an easy fix, as was the speedo ca­ble that ar­rived swiftly from Md­ina Italia (md­i­naitalia.co.uk), while the pod fil­ters in­sti­gated a bit of a search, and some guess­work. Even­tu­ally I took a hope­ful punt on some from Bri­tish firm Ra­mair (ra­mair-fil­ters.co.uk), and they turned out to be the per­fect fit for the tight spa­ces around the Paso’s non­stan­dard Del­lorto 40s. Un­for­tu­nately it still pops and bangs badly, and won’t idle com­fort­ably, so needs fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Once you’re on the move it feels fine, if a lit­tle lethar­gic, but get­ting it mov­ing as it stut­ters, burps and back­fires is not un­like try­ing to con­vince a drunk tramp that they should try sprint­ing 100 me­tres.

This is fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated by the weep­ing clutch seal, which makes pulling away a deft op­er­a­tion of bal­anc­ing fal­ter­ing mo­tor with jud­der­ing clutch slave. On the evening when its fluid had got too low for it to op­er­ate be­yond first pulling away, I man­aged 17 miles and 11 junc­tions with­out stop­ping – be­fore hit­ting the kill­switch as I rolled onto my drive, and skid­ded to a halt.

Blown bulb and snapped ca­ble were just part of the Paso’s week of pain 1864 MILES U PDATE 8 You’d hardly put the an­cient Ital­ian at the top of your win­ter bike list –but it’s plod­ding on Reg­u­lar com­mutes to York­shire? All in a day’s work

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