The MZ ventures into darkest Wales.

Will it get back home ?      Place bets now.


        The weapon of choice this weekend was a rather odd two stroke motorcycle which originally came from East Germany.  Now seeing as I have a soft spot for ugly, quirky motorcycles, it will come as no surprise that I have now acquired an MZ.   A 250/1 to be precise - or, as it is sometimes known, the "Supa Five"  I dare say the five bit refers to the number of gear ratios, or am I missing something even more obvious ? 

    Now seeing as this bike was only bought the other day - from that wonderful piece of modern technology that goes by the name of "Ebay" - this was to be a "shake down" run.  I'd already fitted a new battery, packed full of six volt goodness, a new flasher unit followed, although I can't really see the indicators performing with anything approaching efficiency until the whole plot goes twelve volt.   Still, the thing starts easily enough - providing you follow the approved MZ code of starting, which goes thus:  Petrol on - choke on - kick over twice - choke off - ignition on - kick again, and before you know it  . . .  Ring, ding-ding-ding-ding - and the whole shooting match bursts into something approaching life.  Hmm - "It's life Jim, but not as we know it"  

    OK - so the seat needs re-covering, but that's in hand.  The foot rests however are another thing.  They are quite a way forward and set very high.  I can sit on this bike with my arms held horizontal and resting on my legs - I can even keep four fingers on the 'bars and touch my knee with my thumbs.  This may be good enough for short distance stuff, but will it cause problems on a longer run ?     Let's see.

    First of all, let's pack some essential items.  Waterproofs.  I mean, would you go into Wales without 'em ?  A spare plug and a plug spanner - I remember owning several BSA Bantams in the past, and a whiskered plug was a common occurrence.  A few tools, and the all important bottle of two stoke oil, or "Stinkwheel Fluid" as I prefer to call it.  Now I hadn't got a clue as to how much petrol was in the tank - I know I'd put the best part of two gallon in over the last week or so, but I'd been using the bike too.  I thought the best thing to do was to run it until I was on reserve -at least then I'd know how much it takes to fill it up.

    ...And we were off.  First of all, a bit of motorway - just a couple of junctions - this is by far the easiest way to escape the built up area and start heading out into the countryside.  I was quite surprised at how easily the bike held 60 mph - a nice cloud of blue smoke told me that at least the oil residue in the silencer was being burnt off - at around  50:1 petroil ratio { or  33:1 - depending on which oil God you pray to } these bikes don't smoke as much as you would expect a two stoke to do.  Having done the motorway thing, I headed out towards the Welsh border.  Right, let's see how this bike likes a few hills.  Now it's quite a long climb to the summit of Clee Hill, but the MZ didn't even break into a sweat.  So far, so good.

Like - wow man - some kind of giant, freaky mushroom thingy - and a real strange looking bike.

    The next stop was at the village of Broome, where a good number of fellow Moonshiners were camping.  Might as well pop in and wake 'em all up with my Ring a ding-ding-ding two stroke.  Once all the "Crazy Frog" comments were done and dusted, I prepared to carry on my merry way.  Ah - now it seems that when warm this bike doesn't like starting - and when it did start, as soon as I went to sit on it, the thing promptly cut out.  This just proves that the MZ  has a sense of humour. ( are you sure it's German ? )  Now I said this was a shake down run - right, let's take the pilot screw out another quarter of a turn.  That seems to have taken care of the starting - it was a tad too rich.  Next little problem was those high footrests.  I thought I felt something slip out of my jacket pocket, forced out by the position of my legs.  Now the only thing I could remember keeping in those particular pockets was my spectacle case.  I turned the bike around and headed back.  Sure enough, there was my case, sitting in the road . . . . just as a car was approaching.  Time to use the MZ as a road block.  One spec case, slightly scraped and dented, and lying next to it, one pair of specs, undamaged, and, surprisingly enough, one MZ, still upright and in one piece.  Result.

    I took in a mixture of country lanes, decent "A" roads, the odd bit of dual carriageway and some ( a lot ) of unclassified roads / tracks.  I couldn't fault the bike's handling.  The only thing that did start to annoy me was the seating position - but by moving on to the pillion footrests I gave my legs a chance to recover - a pity my poor buttocks had not got the same opportunity.  There again, the seat is going in for recovering soon - I may request a slightly thicker, denser foam.  Ah - a misfire - only the bike going on to reserve.  Best part of one hundred miles, so I can't really moan at that.  I don't know how far this bike will travel on reserve, but I carried on for a good ten miles or more to the coast.  I would have had a stroll around but the place was heaving with "bank holiday tossers", to put it bluntly.  I squeezed just over 20 into the tank - and still left a little room for the two stroke oil.  What I didn't allow for was the "measuring cup" on the underside of the filler cap.  Seeing as I'd filled the tank almost to the brim, the cap wouldn't go on without displacing a good cupful of petrol.  Ah well, that's a lesson learnt.

    Time to start heading back, but first of all, let's see just how fast the thing will go.  There's a nice long downhill bit not too far from where I was, and I just happened to be going back that way.  Here goes.   6000 rpm - and the clock showing a tad over 80 mph.  Not earth-shattering by today's standards, but quite impressive for an old two stroke.  Time to return to a more sedate pace.  I took the very scenic route up and over "Hellfire Pass".   I did a couple of hill starts on the very steep bit - the MZ coped with my 18 stone quite adequately.  The going downhill was more fun.  There is not much engine brake with this bike - and I reckon there's also a bit of an air leak, possible crankcase / crank seals, so every now and again you get a "power pulse" rather than engine brake.  Someone in the past had the good idea of fitting a disc brake on the front - this made easy  work of slowing the whole plot down.

Here we are - the top of Hellfire Pass                       Some nice scenery - and a downright ugly bike.

    The next port of call was Lake Vyrnwy, and I took the MZ on a lap of the lake.  I wasn't even tempted to throw the bugger in.  I must confess, despite the numb bum, and the little niggle of no engine brake, I was starting to like this machine.  Maybe if I lie down for a while the feeling will pass ?

Lurking by the lakeside

    I continued meandering through the countryside, making jolly ring-ding noises, and leaving a slight hint of two stroke smoke behind me.  The bike did all I asked of it.  In just under three hundred miles it never gave me cause for concern.  The faults it has got, can be lived with - for now:  The indicators are just not up to the job.  There's a good three or four second delay from operating the switch to the indicators flashing, and when they do flash, it's not at a consistent rate, nor are they bright enough.  The seat / footrest position - there again, that's something that ain't exactly to my liking on both my Drifter and my Enfield Bullet, so I suppose I'll have to live with that.  The ( possible ) air leak - I don't like the way the engine "hangs" on to the revs when you shut the throttle.  Sometimes it will sit there "dinging" at around 3000 rpm and not drop any lower until you either enrich the mixture with the choke, or physically slow the engine down.  All things that will keep me amused and entertained, no doubt.

   There we have it.  The first decent run for the MZ.  It got there - it got back.  Nothing broke, nothing fell off, and nothing set on fire.  All in all, a grand day out.     Strangely enough, a couple of days later, I happened to be out and about on the Enfield - Darley Moor race circuit of all places.  I happened to spot a familiar shaped engine in one of the race bikes . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oh dear, I have a bad feeling about this.

Note .. The bike has now been re-wired and the indicators work as they should.  Nice Japanese switchgear fitted too, along with some better front indicators.  A set of slightly higher handlebars have made things much more bearable.  This bike is slowly evolving, like all good bikes do ;-)

You speed crazed loon


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