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© Mike Husband t/a Merlin Books & Merlin Motorcycles 1996 - 2013

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Mike Husband

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Supermoto, Trials, Trail & Enduro Motorcycles

Welsh Two-day Enduro

I last rode in 99 on a 640 KTM and had a minor ambition, this time, - to do better riding  the Mighty Pampera. A bike from the other end of the scale..........

It felt weird in the first test,. First I stopped the see if the rear brake lever had fallen off - it hadn't, but I've been riding other bikes & I couldn't find it straight off. Then , & it took me all day to work this one out,
it felt loose & slippery on the front, so no confidence in the corners. Which was a shame, as usually it carves a good line. Next I binned it on one of those greasy roots. I just wasn't on the ball.  I guess it was odd going straight from the tarmac to off road against the clock  without any warm up. Same for everyone of course.

Then on the first off-road stage I lost 3 mins - maybe this Pampera wasn't the best tool after all - more likely I was as unfit as usual...
To make matters worse I then clock in on the tank top duct tape time - my original running times - and forget  to add my extra lost time!

The awesome Strata Florida was next & I always struggle to keep speedy over those stones & rocks. I see only pain & punctures! Another minute is lost,  but thats no bother. Just pleased not to fall in the water - which wasn't that bad this time.

This year there seemed to be more road work and lots more firebreak going - we ended up riding most of  a Hafren Rally stage , but with a few more off road diversions.
The last off road stage was the best - varied riding and the grassy hillside motocross test  halfway round.  Again the bike felt flighty on the front, but this test was a bit more open, which oddly enough, was better for the bike.  After this was a rutted snotty climb which the Pamp was quietly purring up, dragging its tiring pilot along, when BANG- locked up transmission  &  no pressure on the clutch lever.
The chain had slipped off , jammed up & taken the clutch slave cylinder with it. Oh the joys of a hydraulic clutch! It took a while (& some cussing) to free &  I then carried on with no clutch disengagement.

The bike does change gear very nicely without that clutch, but  there's no engine braking on a two smoke. So it's take it easy time. Out on the road - I use the kill button to stop the bike and wheelie off the line when I snick it into first.  Bit of a pain at traffic lights........

Get back 12 mins late, but at least I'm not stuck out in the forest.  Of course finding a spare was impossible - Gas Gas only have enduro parts , as expected, and the Pamp is based on the trials bike. So I'm out.

Thinking about this later - the O-ring chain was very close to that clutch slave anyway and there is no case saver fitted. Maybe I need to try a different sprocket combo to give more chain clearance. The odd handling was down to fork mods I'd just carried out. Tiger Cub valve springs gave a bit more support to the soft, short standard  fork springs. But I'd not stiffened the rear to match - so the whole bike was always compressing the rear too much. The forks felt a lot better - in isolation - but the rear is
too soft to match. At least thats my theory! However the engine did run superbly smooth - particularly on the latter half of the course when the wind was with us.  And economic too - got to the fuel check beyond Strata Florida without using reserve. It must have been the most civilised two stroke out there - judging by the "bag of spanners" noises from following KTMs. And was it better than the 640 Katey for the Welsh?  Difficult to call - overall the big fourstroke was more fun on the fire roads(no, really!!) - but truly heavy if
you bogged it.  The Pampera was definitely more nimble even with weird suspension, but ultimately lots slower flat out - I only clocked 63 mph once. I suppose a real Enduro bike is required - But I cant justify one for the few events I do.

Mike H


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