After some six weeks in the shop the Vespa is back in action. I picked it up from the Scooter Centre on Monday and took it for a spin around the neighbourhood. It was great to drive it again after for so long. I must admit I was just a little apprehensive after the accident. I've been constantly picturing all the things that might go wrong out on the road, how the brakes might not bite as quickly as I would like (always a problem with vintage bikes), how the accelerator might lock up again.... It doesn't bear thinking about. I took it for a very slow circuit around the block to get the feeling back, to get my confidence back. Sam has done an excellent job with the steering. I've always said had I not had the accident that day I would have called that week anyway to look at the steering. Perhaps it was an omen.
So what did he find? The initial diagnosis was a sheered shock absorber arm and slightly bent front mudguard. Troubling, but scarcely catastrophic. So the mudguard came off and the shock absorber replaced, then the problems really began. With each repair another problem would be revealed. Eventually the whole steering column and front fork needed to replaced. Some of the damage was from the accident of course, but it was compounded by use of old, worn and often ill fitting parts. And yes, he did come across the oft reported tin can shims used to fill spaces around the steering column, a likely cause of the vibration I'd felt when travelling at only 50 kph.
Disappointingly the battery has now failed - obviously another second hand piece of junk cleaned up in Indonesia - so I'm off to Batteryworld in Saturday. They have a replacement in stock. They also have 3 x 6volt batteries on order for me for the Heinkel and Troll.
A final word on Vietnamese made reproduction accessories - beware. Alot of scooter vendors on ebay, regardless of where they are situated, simply move Vietnamese made repro parts. Whilst not all are poor quality, you can end up with something less than you expected.