The end of the road
It was always a stupid idea. But I now know that Autumn 2015 to Spring 2016 will forever stick in my mind as the time when I rode a 25-year-old Paso as daily transport, and completed a seemingly impossible 750-mile blast to The Lizard and back in 35 hours without it breaking down.
When I first laid eyes on the Paso it was a classic case of over-expectation meeting stark reality. The childish grin slipped off my face so hard it left a mark on my boots. I’d imagined something a lot, well, cleaner. Calling it a basket case would have been to suggest that it was at least all in the basket – but the truth was pretty shocking. And so it was that I embarked on what you might endearingly call a ‘sympathetic restoration’. More bluntly, if it could be made to work, or left alone, then so be it. If not, a solution needed finding. Thankfully the main consumables were all available, including a full clutch set to replace the deep-sea archaeology that was residing behind the cover.
Brit firms Hagon and Pipewerx stepped in to solve two of the other big issues – a new rear shock to replace the leaking Marzocchi, and new end cans so the holed originals could be binned. Correct tyres arrived from South Korea, via the Netherlands, and a bit of workshop trickery overcame the missing spacer in the fork. Then followed some seriously judicious job-by-job workshop fettling that eventually culminated in a do-or-die dash – after just 30 miles of shakedown testing – from Peterborough to The Lizard with fellow MCNER Andy Downes, and his lovely BMW K1. It’s a trip I’ll never forget. It was touch and go – but it felt like an epic victory.
A normal person would have left it at that, counting their chickens and being happy that they all lived. But no, I decided to then campaign the Paso through Winter. It did it, too. Yes, there were days when I used test bikes or my own VFR800F, but we thudded our way through nearly 2500 miles of cold and rain – and the odd glorious bit of sunshine. But I’m calling it a day. The Paso deserves an easier life in its dotage. Sunny days and silly jaunts will see it peek its broken nose out of the garage, but the daily abuse stops here. Thanks Paso. It’s been emotional.
It’s been epic, but the Paso is now semi-retired
2Leather panels on the inside of both knees are not there for protection, but to help a rider grip a bike’s tank with their legs when they’re standing up off-road.