Rainy days in Scotland in the 1970s – and another temperamental Honda

Colin Rider recalls a wet and wild week-long Highland tour – and the misery suffered by a fellow rider when water swamped the ignition system of his four-cylinder Honda.

Reading Lindsey Norris’s account (OBM November) of the challenges he faced with his Honda 400/4 when travelling to Scotland from the south of England prompted me to share with readers a time spent with a treasured friend.

Colin Rider’s Norton Commando Fastback, on the other hand, didn’t even splutter during the entire trip!

As a 17-year-old fledgling motorcyclist early in 1972, I joined Warrington Motor Cycle Club, and many of the motorcyclists I met subsequently became friends for life, and for a number of years my mate Keith Williams and I toured Scotland, mostly during the first week in September when our employers had their annual factory shut-downs.

For the first few years, both Keith and I owned Norton Commandos (my own a gold Fastback model, XNE 40L) and Keith’s a blue Interstate, but later Keith swapped to a Honda 500/4 which is the subject of this story (I kept the Norton faith!).

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Over the years, travelling through the Highlands, we didn’t enjoy much good weather, but it was particularly horrendous when Keith accompanied me on his Honda, both in terms of the weather and the electrical problems and resulting engine misfiring that the 500/4 suffered – very similar to Lindsey’s, in fact.

Read more in the March 2018 issue of OBM – on sale now!

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