The Proprietor of the Northern Rest Home for Distressed Machinery used to joke about a bit of workshop kit you might struggle to get from Halfords.
If a nut or bolt was proving particularly recalcitrant, he’d ask “have you tried the psychological spray.” A quick skoosh (after a short break to find a can that still had some go in it) and 9 times out of 10 victory would be mine.
Of course, it probably wasn’t the mystical powers of WD40. Which, as old hands like to point out, isn’t actually designed to penetrate and loosen, it’s designed to disperse water.
It was probably just the short break from the task, which can be equally well achieved with a cup of tea or just a moment of Zen-and-the-Art staring out of the window. Or it was a burst of confidence provided by believing that the spray would dissolve the rust. Belief is a powerful thing, as manufacturers of motivational posters know.
I was thinking about this as I refitted the tank to the Triumph, for about the millionth time since the autumn, after fitting a new set of coils. For the Triumph has been stuttering like Ken from A Fish Called Wanda since its encounter with the tank of E10 last year
Ignition problems often manifest as fuelling problems. Fuelling problems can manifest as ignition problems. And if you’ve checked both of those you still might have a mouse nest in your airbox. I’d had the tank off, taken the fuel tap to pieces and cleared out an aquarium’s worth of sand. Yet still we stumbled at idle and when pulling through 3,000 revs.
A hundred quid for aftermarket coils seemed worth a go (although three hundred quid for Triumph branded ones did not.)
A short test ride suggested that they had done the trick. But maybe I was just persuading myself that the money and the swearing had been worth the effort?
There was only one way to find out. Platonic Road Companion and I agreed that a couple of hours run to a heritage railway would be a suitable distance to test the coils and their breakfast.
And after a hundred miles or so, double bacon and some very fine toast I’m still on the fence. The bike feels perkier, and feels like it picks up with more gusto. Is that the new coils? Or just the approach of spring?
But then, it doesn’t actually matter, does it? Confidence starts with con for a reason – if my brain can be tricked into believing that the problem has been cured, and so is prepared to throttle on through a corner, reducing the embarrassing lag between myself and anyone else I’m riding with, then the job has been a success.
As was the breakfast.