Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Denmark, Danimarka, Danmark, Dänemark
I wrote this for irishbikingforum, but I'll share it here too :)
I wanted to do a special IBF-thread on the latest motorcycle news in my world.
I first met Emma on a dark winters night in Febuary 2009. I had spotted her in the danish version of gumtree. It was a few months after I had moved from Dublin back to Denmark, so I was looking for a cheap motorcycle, as I couldn't afford to register the VFR (2000 eur, reg. fee). I had always had a thing for MZs, and some of you might remember my red 301, which rode superb to everyones surprise, atleast from the comments I received it seemed that way.
This is the 301, which I later crashed and never got on the road again. It was sold to a cuban taxi driver in Tyrrelstown.
Back to the story.
Emma was priced at a 2500,- DKK, which is quite cheap, and it was the model I wanted at the time, so I quickly phoned up my father asking if he'd go have a look at it with me.
This is what I looked at in the ad. It was quite modified. From 1983, to around 2009, it had been fitted with a Nimbus sidecar, which has some different mounting points than the original Super Elastik sidecar. It was therefore fitted with stronger springs up front and rear, though not much dampening happening. It too had a "front fram", which is the two tubes going down in front of the engine, not an original MZ part, but well made. That and various electrical doo-dads.
After a bad experience with my old AJS, which was modified into oblivion by the previous owner, I took off all the unoriginal parts because it would be easier to fix and get spares to something stock. One thing that did surprise me though was the gigantic fueltank, which held nearly 30 litres. I am going to miss that part.
I rode the bike for a month that way, until one day, heading to my parents house (170km trip), it failed on me. Luckily it was only a few kilometers away from home. I was cruising along until it started missing very bad. I knew I didn't have much fuel, and I was headed for the gasstation, so I switched to reserve thinking that I was just low on fuel. However it turned out to be a lack of charging going on. I limped home and started on diagnosing the problem. At that time I wasn't very good with electronics as I didn't fully understand the system, so I gave in and bought an MZ-b ignition and charging system, which has to be the best money ever spent on that bike. After that it was super reliable, always started on 2nd or 3rd kick. Over the summer, a leak from the sidecase on the ignition side had developed. It was some "blind" plugs, that is used to seal the engine, because the engine is linebored when made. They could then tip, and oil would drip out. Typical fix for that is to hit it with some brakecleaner and then give it some epoxy, which I tried to do several times, but after a few days the leaking would start again.
2009 was also the summer, where I went to Austria to work as some might remember. I had just finished the basic forresting course with an A, and had found an apprenticeship in Austria. I had sent over 100 emails and made a number of phonecalls, but then one replied and I could start in July, this was in May. I thought I'd struck luck and I'd be going to heaven. So, going to Austria, how would I bring my luggage? Since I planned on moving there I'd need alot more of my personal belongings than just clothes. Looking back, shipping the items would probably have been the easiest way, but that was a boring way too. I searched the german eBay for a good while to see if I could get a deal on an original sidecar. So this was what I got.
It was really beaten, but came out ok-ish.
Austria, alps, motorcycling, couldn't get better, could it? Well it turned out so that the tasks I was given mostly had nothing to do with my education, and I was working alot of hours with no extra pay. I talked to my boss, he agreed, but nothing happened. So I went back to school in Denmark and had an epic trip with Emma there. I have three disposeable cameras from the trip to Austria, but they haven't been developed yet. I bought a digital camera before I left, hoping for some good pictures, but most are pretty shite if you ask me. I will still share them though. I was going from a little place in southern Austria called Miklauzhof, which is about 30km. from Klagenfurt to München in Germany.
Googlemaps had told me the trip was ~400km., skipping the motorways that would take me 6 hrs. and 24minutes. I was to be in Münich by 8pm. and I was leaving at 8am. Which should leave plenty of room right? Yeah, no, not on an MZ fitted with a sidecar and steep alps.
Grossglockner really took the steam out of the little bike, I could go 40km/h. up, but WAY too fast down. It's the thing with twostrokes, there is no engine braking, and you can't really stay off the throttle just cruising downhill, as the engine is lubricated by the oil in the petrol. Go figure.
This is from when I reached the toll on the way up. A nice german couple helped me get this picture. Notice how dirty I am in my face. Well, the exhaust fell off more than one time :)
Edelweiss spitze, the top of Grossglockner, which was a mighty achivement for me I have to admit.
So halfway down, my front brakes are smoking and my exhaust had fallen off, what a grand day! With a semi leaking exhaust I made the bottom of the mountain where I met a group of Hungarian bikers which had a second 13 wrench I could lend so that my exhaust was properly tightened up again. Thank you. I was told I was crazy for riding that thing, let alone trying to get to Münich on it. But hey, it's the life of an MZedder!
After returning home from Austria I decided to pull off the sidecar, as I missed leaning into turns and twists, but also because I had too many near-death experiences for my liking with it on. Put it up on the danish gumtree at 9am, priced quite high I think, but anyway it was picked up within 4 hours. Those MZ hacks are wanted!
Fast forwarding to 2010, I was now situated on Iceland, with a planned motorcycle trip for the summer with my father. Based on the experiences of the '09 trip, I had bought a discbrake kit, and had the engine gone over, with new clutch, crank, seals, bearings etc.
The trip went great, no breakdowns for the MZ, it is bulletproof! Although, the heat and my progressive riding seemed to REALLY eat the tyres. So in Switzerland I decided to do a tyre swap, rear to front and vice versa.
With a bare minimum of tools loaned from a bus mechanic up the street, we got the tyres switched around in less than 90 minutes, which includes locating the tools. Got to love the simplicity of the Zeds!
This is Emma looking out over St. Moritz. I bet she felt like the queen of that place!
On the 2nd last day of the trip, I crashed. She went in to a mad tankslapper and I ended in the grass near the edge of a cliff!
My pride took a hit, but atleast I was able to ride it home.
Upon returning from the trip, I didn't start her for over a month, the spark was gone, and didn't really return. I think this was the turning point for us.
Again fast forwarding to May 2011, I spotted an ad for an MZ ES175/2, which has to be the ugliest production bike ever. He was up for a trade, so I jumped on it.
So Emma has been replaced with this beast, which is still unnamed.