Stop… Hammer Time!

So the story so far on our two KTM 690 Enduro R 2012 bikes Calvin and Hobbes…

Leaving Weston…

So it was day 2 of having the bikes and I was lumbered with driving the car to Wales as one us had to take the gumph for our Touratech Adventure Travel Stand and Sam wasn’t keen on me riding alone on such a long journey as a newbie!   As Sam rode off through the traffic on the spankingly new and gorgeous Calvin towards the petrol station I was left at snails pace stuck in traffic all a wee bit pouty!

Pulling up at the pumps I hop out and ask how he was didderling and with a big beam it’s obvious he’s a happy boy!  We pay up, Sam kits back up and as he pulls out the bike stalls with an almighty *POP*.  Again, Sam attempts to start up and pull off… *POP*.  Bike stalls.  Third time… same again.

We pull over and a bit bamboozled take a glance over the bike only to spot the throttle body had detached from the engine!  We figured we could probably fix it but seeing as it’s a day old decide it’s best to pop it up to Fowlers and get them to have a goosey gander at it.  A pick up is arranged and my Parents come to the rescue and drop Sam home to grab my bike, Hobbes, so we can get on the road for the event!  Weh hey for awesome Parentals!

Throttle Body Detached from Engine! Boo hiss!

My bike goes like a dream to and from Wales and all the bits in between.  In the meantime Sam’s bike is whisked off to Fowlers and by the time we return we are told Calvin has been sorted and despite there being some cosmetic damage on the rubber seal between the throttle body and engine, all bolts are tightened and he’s ready to be picked up!  In we go, Sam hops on and back home without a problem!  Good times!

Off to Wales we Go with a Pop… and oil… and grease… and some Coolant too!

Day 2 of proper riding the bikes and we both head over to Wales on Calvin and Hobbes for Sam’s Mums Birthday and a meeting with Wales Air Ambulance and the Evening Post!  It’s the first longish ride I have been on which involved a MASSIVE wedgie within the first ten minutes of being on the bike.  2 hours later my legs are about 3 inches longer (had I been a man I would have sounded like Mickey Mouse!)  We need to be changing those seats… they’re like riding a plank attached to a pneumatic drill!

Anyway, all is good, we arrive and both bikes are behaving (although Calvin is a bit finicky when changing down gears) and we’re both grinning despite the sore arses!  Day 3 and we’re off up the Gower on some nice windy roads (where I experience my first back tyre kick out on a tight gravelly S Bend… talk about brick myself silly!  The funny thing is once I had recovered from a minor cardiac arrest, I tootled round the bend to a waiting Sam who smiled but he then pulled off a bit suddenly and popped a wheelie in error! Bitey Bikes but great fun!) After a pootle here there and everywhere, a visit to the WAA and a photoshoot with Evening Post, we make our way to our friends at SMT Motorcycle with Sam leading the way.  Due to being caught behind various cars Sam pulls up whilst I catch up and as I bob past he waves and I wave back and continue past… little did I know he was waving as Calvin had let out an almighty pop again and the throttle body had come off!

In the middle of Wales... Sam pops the seat to get better access to the throttle body!

As it’s Sam’s Mums Birthday we ideally want to stay on another night and get the bike recovered the following day… so at the side of the road we pull out the tool kit and commence trying to realign the throttle body and engine to get it fit enough to slow ride home.  As the rubber had folded under it took a good while of us both tugging and grunting (ooo err Gov) before we managed to slip them back together.  In doing so though…  we discovered a shed load of coolant pooling out everywhere… and then lots of oil too.  Uh ohhhhhhh spaghettiooos!

Brian and Sam loading Calvin and Hobbes

With not much choice we tidy it up as much as possible, tighten all caps and then slow ride Calvin back home where he was recovered kindly by Brian and brought back to Fowlers (organised by Danni at Fowlers who helped out MASSIVELY! Big thank you!).  Fowlers proceed work as soon as possible and Sam is left looking raaaaaaather sad about his courtesy bike (a Suzuki V Strom… “it’s like making love to a dead person” said the sad boy!)

Calvin is fixed up over the weekend, new coolant cap, new O Ring for the oil, adjustments to the gear box and the throttle body reattached.  After a long test run they call us up and we pop up to collect.

WHeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee *POP*….

So.  We arrive at Fowlers… once again they’re brilliant to us and so kind!  They explain they did a number of checks and resets and that all should be dandy!  Happy as Larry we ride off home, with me taking Sam a countryside route to enjoy.  After a good section of us “wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”ing along, we approach the t junction then suddenly I hear from behind *barrm barmmmm barrm… *POP*


Sam’s face was one of utter doom!  The poor boy was not happy!  Once again, the throttle body had come off and only 10miles from home.  This currently does not bode too well for our round the world charity trip at all!  We call up Fowlers and with closing time looming Sara works her magic and asks Malcolm the van driver to come across Bristol to pick us up (this is a nightmare for the poor man as the Olympic Torch was coming through the same day!)  With a cape and mask he arrives and saves us, scooping Calvin up and taking us back to Fowlers where people have stayed on late to take the bike.  This time round, Sam has a KTM 990 SMT which makes him muchos happier than the Suzuki but still heart broken he has to leave Calvin behind again!

3rd time lucky…. Right?

So.  Fowlers technicians look at it again.  Upon calling up KTM they find out that another chap had a similar problem with his 690 and it was all to do with the tuning so they ask Fowlers to check that out and also take a peek at the valves to make sure they’re clear.

The next day we call up and find out that all the checks have been completed and all the diagnostics are correct and it’s been out for a 60mile test run and it’s dandy.  In essence there’s nothing wrong with Calvin.  We decide to go scoop him up and have a chat with the management as we’re a bit bamboozled as to what to do (with the trip 2.5 months away we’re cutting it fine) and we’re recommended to plonk a letter together when we get back as we’re all thinking a replacement bike is the best option!

In the meantime whilst Calvin has been hiccupping, Hobbes has decided that enough thunder has been stolen and he too was going to go on the blink (literally).  Whilst riding, the Oil Pressure light kept flickering on, mainly when stopped or coming off the throttle.  With Hobbes running smoothly I figure it’s nothing major and likely to be a dodgy switch connection but whilst it’s all go go go with bikes I drop mine off at Fowlers when picking up Calvin and am boshed on a Yamaha MT03 (Sam rather likes seeing me on a sports bike apparently – good times!  But it’s not my Hobbes… boo).

So we ride on home, Calvin being fine and despite the Yamaha being comfortable me being a bit sad.  We were about two roads off ours though and in my mirror I see Sam stall.  “And he calls me a rookie!” I laugh until *POP*…  “nooooooooo waaaaaaaaaaay!!”.  And yes… no way was the right response as this time, the throttle body remains intact!  HOORAH!  But, Calvin is reluctant to start and when he does he’s struggling to hold on to 1000rpm.  Buggernauts.  With some fudging and frolicking we get him back home and yet again call Fowlers who were due to close.  We’re advised to try him again later as due to the heat (it’s been mega muggy) it may be an over heating issue (note, it’s muggy but these bikes are supposed to survive deserts! This bikes a SUPER duff!)

Aaaaaaaaaand boys and girls… that’s as far as we have come!  We did try Calvin a bit later and he seemed much recovered once he had cooled down but we’re still super nervous!  We’ll take him out for a bumble about tomorrow…

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