ON THE ROAD

The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - SEAN GUTHRIE sean.guthrie@her­al­dand­times.co.uk

THOSE who know me, if not in­ti­mately then at least well enough to keep their dis­tance, will be aware that given half a chance I will toss a day or three (and two weeks’ wages) on the pyre of ex­e­cut­ing cos­metic au­to­mo­tive im­prove­ments – or in other words fet­tling my cars.

Ab­so­lutely none of these ve­hi­cles has been any­where near show­room con­di­tion, which ought to un­der­line quite how dis­tracted I can be­come when handed a bot­tle of trim gel, a hairdryer (for re­mov­ing un­wanted stick­ers) or a clay bar and de­tail­ing spray.

In these cir­cum­stances my hands are the equiv­a­lent of the TARDIS for a faded win­dow seal or a bat­tle-scarred front spoiler, and such ac­com­plish­ments de­liver a hit no drug can ri­val (you’ll have to trust me on that).

The re­cent in­tro­duc­tion of not just a Suzuki SV650S mo­tor­cy­cle but also a 22-year-old VW Cor­rado 16V to the fam­ily has up­set the normal rhythm of my fet­tling regime, which for a cou­ple of years un­til last De­cem­ber pri­mar­ily in­volved keep­ing my Saab 9-3 Viggen clean but not so clean that the small patches of tin­worm on the rear arches and bootlid would cause sec­tions of the body­work to break away from the mother­ship.

No eye-rolling highs there, then. For those I had to turn to clean­ing her nibs’ feisty VW Lupo GTI, a fine ex­am­ple whose nick be­lies its 16 years but which, sadly, isn’t mine. There’s only so much el­bow grease you can throw at some­body else’s toy, and I found my­self un­ful­filled. En­ter the SV and the Cor­rado. Be­ing a more sub­stan­tial, not to men­tion older, beast with the com­plex his­tory any ve­hi­cle of its age has in­evitably ac­crued, the lat­ter re­quires the great­est at­ten­tion.

And one day soon I shall bore you wit­less about that.

Not to­day. What I want to cel­e­brate is the dis­cov­ery of yet an­other grat­i­fy­ing as­pect of mo­tor­cy­cle own­er­ship which I hadn’t been pre­pared for: ease and speed of fet­tling.

To keep the ma­chine look­ing its best, on a weekly ba­sis I need do lit­tle more than hose it down and give it a wash – the twobucket method (email me for in­struc­tions) us­ing reg­u­lar car sham­poo – be­fore rins­ing it and dry­ing the most vis­i­ble bits with a shammy. Ten min­utes and it’s done.

The wheels, which are noth­ing spe­cial, get a good wipe with WD40 now and then – a three-minute job. In pe­ri­ods of pro­longed bad weather I wash the bike more of­ten and ap­ply ACF-50 reg­u­larly dur­ing the colder months, but that’s it.

In fact the long­est I’ve spent titi­vat­ing the SV was last week­end, when I bor­rowed my good lady’s hairdryer (as you can see I have no need for such an ap­pa­ra­tus) and fi­nally re­moved from the frame the orig­i­nal stick­ers ad­vis­ing me not to wash the bike us­ing turps, to in­flate the tyres to the cor­rect pres­sure and so on. It looks bet­ter dirty now than it did than when it was clean be­fore­hand.

Clean­ing the SV is a buzz, then, though not half as ef­fi­cient at rid­ding the mind of cere­bral knots as rid­ing the ma­chine. This malarkey just gets bet­ter and bet­ter.

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