Finding Never-ever Land

A winter hack joined the fleet. I was taken by a sudden urge to buy a PanEuropean, which is odd as I only ever rode one once, back when I was 20 (ish). The Pan was a new model then and I was browsing one of the local bike shops, in Harrogate, deciding what I would by if I had any actual money… The shop owner had another bike shop in York and needed some paperwork taking there. Would I like to test ride the new Honda, a test ride that would end up at the York shop? Sure thing!

Now in those days I was all about max revs, max noise and maximum accidents. The wasn’t a hedge in the immediate ares I hadn’t visited and I was getting good at it. ┬áSo I hopped on the Pan and thrashed it to death all the way to York.

The Pan isn’t a sports bike, it weighs precisely a shit ton and torque is its secret weapon, not high RPM. I took it back and said it was shit. I’ll never, ever have something like that, I said….

The years have rolled on and I’ve come to enjoy vehicles for what they are, not specifically crotch rockets. The XR is way too full of newness for the salt infested winter months and I fancied something different. If I could have found a cheap Goldwing I’ve have been there like a flash (much to the amusement of my riding buddies) but a Pan? Why not, quick ebay – which is the correct way to gauge the price of anything – revealed they are as cheap as chips.

Next check out known faults, this is where the internet is at it worst. Google any medical condition you think you may have and the diagnosis is almost certainly that you’ll be dead before you’ve finished reading the article. So it is with cars and bikes, check out Aprillia’s “triangle of doom”, Ducati’s knackered clutches, KTM’s – well everything and then theres BMW, crap dealers, unreliable bikes – I mean I only got 70,000 miles before the tail lamp packed in…. etc.

Go what about the Pan, rusting swinging arms, alternators, fork seals and radiators rusting. All items exposed to the elements and at the same time hidden from view by lots of bodywork. so, not cleaned that well then? Still, I was mindful of potential disasters at the cheap end of the market and didn’t want to acquire anybodies basket case . Pan’s with circa 70K miles are all around, then one caught my eye. 140,000 miles, now its got to be something to own a bike with that kind of mileage, even better it had been owned by an enthusiast of anorak proportions. Better yet it had once belonged to plod as an under cover surveillance machine. It was the James Bond of bikes, how ever bad it was it was worth bragging rights down the pub.

The owner-cum-restorer had You-Tubed some video of the work he’d done, and boy had he done some work.

It was an Ebay auction and I was away when it ended, but I got a friend to bid for me and I was soon the owner of a Pocket money Pan.

Here she is, waiting for me in Morecambe


Quick jaunt home and all was well, in fact, other than the heated grips don’t work (now replaced with new ones) shes been a cracker and 1000 cold and salt laden miles later she’s not missed a beat.

There is a lot to be said for a winter hack that just needs riding and pressure washing every now and then.

Never say never! I got one in the end….