ANOTHER HORNET'S NEST
Honda 250 Hornet
A few years ago on one of my many trips to West Coast motorcycles, Nick had just taken delivery of a whole load of Honda Hornets. I was really impressed with the styling and that tiny little 4 cylinder motor whizzing round at 16000 revs made me realise how far modern technology had travelled in such a short space of time. I had to crawl all over this liquid cooled, four carburettored little mono-shocked beauty, to find the engine stamping, which told a very disbelieving aged motorcyclist, that the displacement was but a meagre 249cc!! When I moved to the rear view of the bike I couldn't believe what I had seen - a tractor tyre! all 180 mm of it. I was not in a position to buy one of these little beasties at that time, but a very favourable impression had been left for sure.
Nothing else really happened for some time until a very good friend and ex-colleague of mine, Phil Macdonald, rang to say that he was contemplating buying a new 250 Hornet from West Coast. A short time later when I was visiting him, he directed me into the Garage to view it. This time I was confronted with a lovely metallic blue version - all of the others had been red. He had fitted a rear hugger and small fly-screen but other than that, it was as it left the factory.
Very recently I had another call from Phil, asking if I knew anyone who might be interested in buying the Hornet, as He was now not using it and was considering moving abroad. I asked around quite a few of my motorcycling friends and contacts, but no-one seemed particularly interested at that time of the year (early January - wet cold and windy!) I mulled it over myself and Christine agreed (she nearly always does!) and thought that it would make a welcome change from the 1500 Wing and I could use it in the spring and summer and then perhaps move it on if I didn't get on with it. I went round to view it, as a lot can happen to a bike in the time since I last saw it, but it was still virtually as new. I asked Phil if he minded me buying it myself at the very reasonable price he was asking and the deal was done.
A week or so later Christine gave me a lift in the car so that I could ride it back. I gave it a thorough check - fuel, oil, tyre pressures and general roadworthiness, as it was some time since it was last used, although it was still taxed and tested.. It took sometime to extricate it from the shed and then around around numerous 'mines' left by the dog, through the flower-tub and bin area, and out through two rather recalcitrant, but apparently harmless wooden gates onto the relative safety of the front drive. I had already warmed up the motor a little, so it was then on with my gear and away towards home. I soon settled down and enjoyed the trip back via all sorts of places I had no real reason to visit. It's only about 12 miles home but I clocked well over 20!
First impressions: quite a nice riding position, good bar position and footrests not too far back or under my chin! Lovely sound to the motor when it's above 8 grand, which it needs to be most of the time. The mirrors are very steady, but I can only see my arms!! I realise now that for some reason these are not the originals - so I'll have to find some of those - I like to see where else the Volvos are coming at me from. The motor is still a bit tight with only 3800 km on the clock, which has been modded to MPH with the original kilometer odometer, and I would like to see what it's like for fatigue after a longish trip. This really is a one owner bike - original untouched toolkit and (Japanese) manual and never seen very much rain. It seems at first to be one of those bikes that you can't keep away from - round to the shops, visit so-and-so just for the hell of it and I can imagine me putting quite few miles on it this season - assuming we get one, that is! There seems to be something of a following for these delightful little bikes and the 600/900's too. I'll have to do a bit more net trawling.
I'll try to add a few more bits and pieces to this page as the saga unfolds, so keep trying!!
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