Malcolm and the Moped Kid
I was giving the Vinny its annual rub down with a brick end to remove the rust and muck of winter when along came the local Moped Kid same as last year. He didn't rev about like last year on account of dire threats which you may remember. He pulled his fizzyyam onto the stand and after the smoke cleared, flapped over to the kerb where I was trying to ignore him. These Moped Kids are all full-face and trousers.
"Aye up mate." he introduced himself, "Gor any tips on how I can make me bike go any faster? It'll only do sixty." he lied. He obviously ignored my previous advice.
"Burn it and get a pushbike." I helpfully suggested.
"No, seriously." he insisted, "You must know sumfink about tuning bikes."
"When are you going to buy one?" I countered.
This continued for some minutes and was beginning to annoy me like a persistent gnat. Then the sound of worse to come floated down the road. Malcolm on his Failing Quickly. As he pedalled into sight the Moped Kid's eyes lit up.
"Cor!" he drooled as Malcolm pulled up, "What a fantastic bike. I bet that goes like stink."
Malcolm was only too ready to agree. "Yeah, a completely rebuilt machine put together in racing trim by yours truly."
"Me. Good for 70mph on the flat. Course the lights don't work and I've still got to fit some mudguards."
"And a speedometer." I observed.
"Have you got a Shadder clock I can borrow, Bogri?" Of course I didn't answer.
"Can you give me some tips on tuning mine?" enthused the Kid. Malcolm, I knew, would be pleased to.
"Course," he began, "you're at a disadvantage with a Jap machine. German workmanship and basic design is superior and gives a lot better basis to work from. However you can do some simpler things like I've done.
"First of all you'll need to strip down the engine. Rasp out the transfer ports with a big file to improve breathing and grind out your inlet tract with coarse emery. Surform an eighth of an inch off the cylinder head and refit it without the gasket to increase compression. Drill holes up your con-rod and in the flywheel to reduce reciprocating weight and throw away all but the top piston ring to reduce friction. Chuck away the air filter and pull all the baffles out of the silencer to make it breath easier and sound real good. To get a fat spark at the points and the plug, gap to about a sixteenth of an inch. If you've got one of them goonyloob systems, blank it off and put oil in with the petrol at about a hundred to one to prevent whiskering and use Castrol R because it smells great. Take off your pedals and use the passenger pegs. All racers push start anyway... "
They were talking all morning, Malcolm giving out a load of crap and the Kid taking it in. I could hardly keep from laughing.
About a month later Malcolm was round boring me to death when the Moped Kid came by on his pushbike. He stopped and walked over.
"See you got a decent bike at last." I greeted him. He ignored me, little punk.
"Hey, Malcolm. I did all them mods you told me about. Made a real good job of it and stuck a load of racing stickers on it to make it look good. It was a pig to pushstart, real tempramental like a race horse. But it wouldn't half rev. In fact it had to rev to keep it going. I took it out for a test ride and did about half a mile before the engine blew up and it caught fire. Did I do anything wrong?"
"No." said Malcolm seriously, "Mine always does that after half a mile too."