Moto Piston Rally 2017

Maestro, SEI-V

Moto Piston Rally 2017

Postby penman » 06 Oct 2017 13:54

Hi all,

I promised to post a brief report on this year's Piston Rally and how my 500 performed. Here it is.

For those who are not familiar with it, the Moto Club Piston is a Spanish motorcycle club based just outside Santander and with a particular interest in Classic bikes. They organise 3 rallies every year, the biggest being the Piston Rally in late September. I have been attending for the last 5 years and this was my first time on a Morini. The rally is in two parts, first a 4 day tour in the Picos mountains, based in Potes, the first and last days being a touring ride to and from Potes from El Sardinero, a suburb of Santander and the main base of the rally. The scenery is just stunning and the roads are smooth, winding, well maintained and practically deserted (well, apart from a bunch of nutters on old motorcycles). This photo might whet your appetite:

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I was travelling with a mate on his BSA A65 Lightning and the two bikes seemed well matched. I had been a little concerned that the 500 Morini may be a bit short of "grunt", but actually it did rather well. In fact you can pull through uphill hairpins quite smoothly in second gear without feeling it's about to stall, and the bike has a good lean angle, essential on those roads! Last year I did the rally on my 750 Bonneville which suits the terrain very well indeed. If anything the Morini is even better, though I'd be happy to do the rally on either.

That Picos tour takes you from Sunday to Wednesday, after which you re-join the main rally, which consists of daily rides of around 200km starting and finishing in Santander. There is also a "short route" option of around 100km for older bikes or anyone for whom 200km is a bit too much. There are always a few pre-war bikes and plenty from the '40s and '50s. These two photos give you an idea:

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The bike is a military Ariel, which had a good try at shaking itself to bits, losing the float chamber top and the seat mounting bolts - the second picture shows imaginative use of cable ties, sticky tape and a plastic bottle. He completed the rally!

With the scenery in the mountains, you tend to get into the habit of stopping at most viewpoints and it's most entertaining to find them all full of pre-1980 motorcycles:

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People come from the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia and probably a few more. There is always someone to chat to, everyone is in good spirits and very friendly. Every day incorporates at least two breaks, with sandwiches, drinks and often full meals provided. Breaks tend to be in rather nice locations:

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The last Friday is the BIG DAY. The day of the famous 5000 Curves. This is a ride of around 330 miles (530km) all on mountain roads and of course on a pre-1980 bike. It is a bit of a navigational challenge and there are three timed checkpoints, the location of two being declared and the third is not. If you arrive too early, you'll miss the checkpoint, too late and it'll be closed. At each checkpoint your card has to be initialled. The day is huge fun, just about the best day's motorcycling I can imagine.

The event is strictly for pre-1980 bikes and is superbly organised by the Moto Club Piston. If you are interested, check them out on the web.

The 500 Morini was superb, I can't tell you how pleased I am with it, though I do have a gear selection issue to attend to this winter - more of that in another post. I met a Dutch guy on a 500 Sei, who was having the same experience as me - i.e. grinning from ear to ear. I also met an English guy on a 350 Strada - his first time on a Morini, first time with a R/H gear change and first time on the rally. His starter packed up on the first day and the alternator stopped charging a day or two later. He had a great time! He also confirmed that despite the very steep hills and "challenging" terrain, the 350 was just fine in the mountains. Oh, one last thing - a couple of people told me before I went that the Dell Orto carbs don't work well at altitude. It's nonsense!

Regards to all,

Joe.

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1980 Moto Guzzi V50 II
1978 Triumph T140 E Bonneville
1975 Triumph T160 Trident
2014 BMW F800GT
1978 Morini 500
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Re: Moto Piston Rally 2017

Postby MarkB » 06 Oct 2017 15:08

Excellent! Thanks Joe.
"I'll have a V please, Bob."
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Re: Moto Piston Rally 2017

Postby 72degrees » 06 Oct 2017 16:05

A great write up. How did the Hagon adjustable shocks perform?
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Re: Moto Piston Rally 2017

Postby acemorini » 06 Oct 2017 17:01

Very interesting article.
Regards Pete.
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Re: Moto Piston Rally 2017

Postby penman » 06 Oct 2017 17:36

Thanks for the appreciative comments!

The Hagon adjustable shocks were excellent in my view. Just a couple of clicks softer seems to make quite a difference for someone skinny like me, particularly when you get a series of tight curves and it just feels more controlled. I don’t think it has unbalanced the bike and the front end still feels fine.

Maybe I should have said. The biggest single group of participants is from the UK, there were 205 of us there this year and I think the reason is the availability of the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander. It’s about 10 minutes drive from the port to the main hotel.

I take my hat off to the guys on the pre-war bikes hand gear change and so on, they must be a handful on those roads!
1980 Moto Guzzi V50 II
1978 Triumph T140 E Bonneville
1975 Triumph T160 Trident
2014 BMW F800GT
1978 Morini 500
penman
 
Posts: 286
Joined: 08 Mar 2016 09:20
Location: Milton Keynes

Re: Moto Piston Rally 2017

Postby norbert » 06 Oct 2017 22:42

Enhorabuena!

Obviosly you enjoyed it very much :P

I´ve been several times on my own with a Morini in that part of spain, it´s a real driving-paradies! High mountains a few miles from the rocky coast with nice bays and beaches, good food and a great landscape with very nice mountain lains. I would love to visit that meeting but will have to wait a few more years :? because meanwhile I have my job there is no time in autumn :cry:
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Re: Moto Piston Rally 2017

Postby penman » 07 Oct 2017 08:04

Hi Norbert,
You're right, that is a motorcycling paradise! As I said, I've been 5 times now and I can't imagine getting tired of it. Sorry you can't make it, work has a habit of getting in the way of pleasure!
1980 Moto Guzzi V50 II
1978 Triumph T140 E Bonneville
1975 Triumph T160 Trident
2014 BMW F800GT
1978 Morini 500
penman
 
Posts: 286
Joined: 08 Mar 2016 09:20
Location: Milton Keynes


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