ith MCN’s dilapidated Ducati Paso 750 hammering a nail into its own coffin by dint of a fork that sounded like a slide hammer, it never even made it to the start line for its planned head-to-head Bol d’Or expedition against a similarly be-faired BMW K1. We were gutted. Not only was the weather pretty decent for the trip, but the Bol witnessed a phenomenal return to Circuit Paul Ricard, with over 75,000 fans streaming into the southern French circuit. We definitely missed out.
Undeterred, the next logical calendar excuse was the Magny-Cours round of the World Superbike championship. With two weeks between the two events, we were sure that the cause of the Paso’s mystery fork-hammer could be discovered and rectified. The first hurdle proved to be a bit too tall though, with a local bike garage taking the job on, then refusing to actually do the work. Apparently it looked too daunting. Between waiting for a slot in his diary, and him turning the job away without so much as loosening the top cap on the fork, we’d wasted a week of our window.
The hunt was on, and MCN Senior Designer Simon Relph suggested another local outfit – The Motorcycle Works in Werrington – might be fit for the job. Ten minutes later and the Paso was cluttering their forecourt, meeting another 750 in the process. Head honcho Pete confirmed what we already thought, that the right fork leg sounded terminally ill.
The sense of anticipation was palpable as each part was extracted from the stanchion with all the drama of a magician pulling secret wonders from deep inside his top hat. The pleasing confusion that followed was that nothing seemed bent or badgered. The down side was that it in no way solved the mystery – beyond there being a tangible lack of oil in the leg.
With the left leg pulled apart, the cause of the right’s woes looked more obvious. There had been something missing – a notably large spacer from the top of the spring tube. As culprits go, this looked pretty concrete. Pete has since machined up a new spacer, and slotted it in, allowing the weary Paso to achieve something it hasn’t had in years – an MoT pass.
Words: Richard Newland & Andy Downes