We called into a fuel station about 20 miles from home just as a thunderstorm was rolling toward us over the Gran Sasso mountains. It rumbled away as the sky drew ever darker while I filled up a 5l gas can for the mower and topped up the Capo’s tank. All done, time to head on ……. except the ignition wouldn’t turn. One look and my heart sank – 2/3 of a key winked at me from between my gloved fingers. Yes, the other third is still in the fuel tank!!
Long and the short of it, Jan drove over with the spare and I was on the road again. I have to say that 20 miles heading home under a pretty pissed-off thunderstorm is not really much to chuckle about, but it did remind me of the last few weeks in England! Once back in the barn, time to fix the problem. Stripping the cap didn’t help. The barrel looks like it’s fitted once and fitted for life, so no getting the bit out that way. OK, maybe a locksmith can do the job, but at what cost and what state would the lock be in afterwards? A replacement Aprilia cap (AP8104529) then? A quick search shelves that idea – €277 you have to be bloody kidding me! So how about aftermarket? Well it looks like Oberon make a nice key-less cap for £79.99 that fits. It looks good and folks seem to like Oberon quality, so maybe that’s an option. I’ll think about it.
Anyway, for now I’ve refitted the cap and it opens/closes just fine with the broken key. Tomorrow I’ll get a couple of replacements cut from the spare and mull over what to do next. Meanwhile lessons learned:-
- Carry a spare key or squirrel one away somewhere on the bike – Andy (Beasthonda) gave me a good idea on that one – cheers Andy!
- Give the key a once-over every now and then with a magnifying glass … maybe I’d have spotted the cracks starting you never know.
- Replace the key every few years with a new one …. this one was 13 years old, so no real surprise that fatigue had set in by now.
- And no matter how short the journey or how sunny it is when I leave, throw a set of waterproofs in the (empty) panniers. You never quite know!
Oh and as a parting word …. thank-you to whoever was watching over me on the last couple of big trips. Breaking a key then would have been a real ball-breaker that’s for sure! 😕
The Motrag radiator guard has been on the Capo for about 6 weeks/4,600 miles. In that time it has been through driving rain, blazing sunshine and a temperature range of 7C to 35C. Not exhaustive, but a reasonable range of conditions and mileage on which to update the original review.
I don’t know about your Capo, but mine has always had a bit of ‘character’ when it comes to engine-temp versus ambient-temp. Below 25C ambient, the coolant will read a rock-solid 75C day in, day out. But as soon as the ambient temperature begins to rise above 25C, so will the engine-temp. By 35C outdoors, the Capo will run at no lower than 78C AND get hot under the collar when stationary far quicker. Quite understandable and besides, it has done it from day one and never changed – even when the coolant has been!
So how did the guard fare?
- Quality: Superb! It looks as good now as when fitted. No corrosion or stone damage to the powder coated mesh that I can see.
- Fit: Adhesive pads are still firmly attached to the radiator after undergoing wide temperature variations and vast amounts of rain!
- Affect on cooling: With ambient temperatures below 30C no noticeable difference in day-to-day running. Above this temp, a slight increase (approx 1-2C) was noticed along with slightly reduced time to fan-on when stationary. However I’m talking a change that was deliberately being looked for and based on years of experience on my Capo ‘as standard’. The fact is the difference is subtle and hardly noticeable at all and most certainly NEVER causes an issue.
Conclusion: This is a quality product at a good price that does the job intended and (to my eye) looks jolly nice as well. Protection, durability and aesthetics for under €70 can’t be bad in my books …. and if your reading this Manuel, bag up another one please for the second Raid! 😀
motrag.com – Radiator guard €64.95 inc. tax
It seemed like the remaining miles were clocking up painfully slowly although the cruise control was locked at a solid 80mph (130Kmh). Here we are then, the Capo and I heading back to the UK and currently passing through Verdun, a section of motorway with bends and hills – certainly a touch more interesting than the bland featureless flat-lands of Northern France that’s for sure. Finally the odometer clicks over one more mile and we’ve done it – 100,000 miles!
I pop the hazards on and roll to a halt on the hard-shoulder. The traffic is light and I’m only stopping long enough for a quick photo, I know I shouldn’t, but this one’s a biggie!
We’re not the first by a long chalk …. Capo’s around the world have hit 100K miles since the late 2000’s. One in Italy did 125K+ and one in the USA 135k+ and there are others most definitely. But the number is low and I’m proud that my Capo and I have joined this small band of owners that have proved the reliability and longevity of our wonderful bikes. As I write this, the Capo now shows 102,698 miles and is all set for a bit of TLC after the ceaseless battering of rain it endured over the last three weeks. Along the way it gained a new MOT, a set of Anakee Wild tyres and a fresh pair of Brembo 07BB2035 brake pads for the rear caliper. In return it ran faultlessly, even in the face of rain the like of which I’ve not come across in many a year.