Stories

The Jonah Diaries: Part 2

Has anyone seen my numberplate?

What follows, in this and subsequent posts, is basically the story of my own biker ineptitude, heavily laced with the quirks of running an old bike/s. And of buying cheap gear. All mixed in with having shoddy mates and the idea that I might actually be cursed with bad luck.

In the last post on the sorry tale of trying to track my Triumph Daytona T595/955i*, a series of mishaps had left me leaving Brands Hatch minus a gearbox (and arriving without a seat, if you remember).

The story left off with my friend Jason and myself basically damaging the bike as we forced it onto a trailer. I thought the day’s woes had ended and I could look forward to getting home without anything else going wrong.

Back at my lock-up garage, as I was fitting the ramp to the back of the trailer I noticed something was amiss.

I called Jason. I didn’t get a chance to speak first. He spent five minutes recalling the great joy my ineptitude had given him. He hadn’t, he wanted me to know, laughed as much in years.

“I’ve lost the number plate. From the trailer,” I said.

“Where is it?” asked J.

“I can only assume it’s somewhere back on the M25.”

He laughed so hard and long I seriously thought he would collapse as he tried to get his breath back.

Race bike on a trailer at Brands Hatch

The Daytona on the trailer at Brands Hatch, before the trailer’s number plate went missing.

One year later, when the words ‘track’ and ‘day’ are used in the same sentence with mates, he still feels obliged to tell the whole story, embellished with terms of fondness such as ‘buffoon’, ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’ while I laugh and smirk alongside.

He’s right of course. I’d managed to cover the arse of my too-tight leathers with the toilet paper I’d used to replace a foam seat that had also flown off somewhere on the motorway.

And I’d managed to fit cheap Chinese rear-sets to my ‘track bike’ that had partially been responsible for shattering my gearbox.

If you’ve read the first post, you’ll know that the bike itself was not looking as pretty as the Hinkley designers had intended. It was, in fact, the Clown Bike. I’ll explain how this came about in Part 3.

All good reasons to deserve the hapless moniker.

Roughly eleven months later, the Daytona is sat in my shed. On a bike lift that is a little too short for a superbike, but it was cheap on eBay.

I’ve already admitted I’m no mechanic, so in subsequent posts you’ll be coming on my own journey to see if a non-mechanical mind really can, with the help of a service manual, any YouTube videos he can find and desperate posts on Facebook to the Daytona T595/955i group, pull the Daytona’s epic triple engine out of its frame, split the crankcase, switch the gearbox and put it all back together again.

Every single person who knows what they are doing on bikes will be screaming, ‘No! Don’t do it!’

But I have no choice. I spent the money that should have been given to a mechanic on a ‘Big Bang’ R1… If I thought a Triumph SpeedTriple engine + carbon race can combo sounded good it has nothing on a cross plane with full Akrapovic system…

So, armed with the YouTube app on my smartphone, the aforementioned Triumph service manual and warned off Hayes manuals, I have stripped the exhaust, radiator and associated pipework from the bike before getting ready to remove the sump and get to see the innards of the engine for the first time.

That’s where the real problems started…

Part 3

*Why the hell did they call the 955-engined Daytona the T595?

Part of the story of my own incompetence must surely be down to the ineptitude of Triumph’s naming of the 955i originally as the T595. In my head anyway.

It’s really just a good opportunity to reveal the truth behind the bike’s name and its subsequent change.

When the first batch of stickers for Triumphs then hotly anticipated new super bike arrived at the factory, they should have read T955, not T595. Not being much bothered about these things, the assembly line builders just stuck them to the first bikes anyway, before going off for a well-earned tea break. By the time they came back, a designer had discovered what had happened but by this time it was too late – the sticker glue had already stuck. And so the bikes were shipped as stealth litre bikes in what looked like 600cc clothing. Being a Brit, I would love this to be true. But it’s a myth.

The real story is actually a little more inept. The bike was purposely badged the T595, the T5 being the next design due in the model line and the 95 representing the engine size of 955cc. Nobody thought to mention that the number 5, 9 and 5 put together would actually lead most people to think the bike was actually a 600. Who knew…

In Part 3, I’ll reveal how my own ineptitude lead to my beautiful Daytona, in the best colour, Strontium Yellow, becoming the ‘clown bike’.

*They came pretty damn close. My Triumph Daytona T595/955i is an awesome bike and deserves all the praise reviewers have given it over the years. It’s fair to say I love that bike and I’ll never sell it, no matter how much I break it.

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The Author

Ian Malone

Ian Malone

Ian is the Editor and a co-founder of Biker & Bike.

He is obsessed about bikes to the point that he often starts conversations with new people by saying, "Please don't get me onto the subject of bikes. We'll be here all day."

Inevitably, the next question asked is nearly always, "What bike have you got, then?"

He's 'down' to three bikes at the moment:

'97 Triumph Daytona T595
'11 Triumph Tiger 800
'13 Triumph Speed Triple R

He's not even a huge Triumph fan, it just turns out that's how the stable is filled at the moment.

Having been on every continent except Antartica (as long as Cuba kind-of qualifies as South America) he is a big fan of travelling. However, to his deep but hopefully not eternal shame, he's only ever explored Europe on two-wheels and only started doing this a few years ago.

His main mission now is to explore as much of the world on two wheels as possible, at the same time as trying out as many new motorcycling experiences as he can and go on to inspire other bikers to do the same.