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1973 Condor A350

Camouflage

Classic Velocity

A nice fall day and the condor getsa good long run to pickup some parts. The long way home goes through a state park, and this was in the middle of the park surrounded by falling leaves. A cool moment on a great ride...

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Military Pickup

Classic Velocity

I am pretty sure that the Swiss army never envisioned the Condor going to pick up lawn treatment supplies in America. However, it was built to carry people and equipment, and that it what is did today. Other than the attention it gets, it is a pretty good vehicle for running errands around town. The speed and braking are fine, but the brake light is small and there are no turn signals. Still, I have the impression that this motorcycle would happily haul significant weight down the road with no problem.

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A Bigger Circle

Classic Velocity

A nice day presented a good excuse to take the Condor out for the next bigger concentric circle. A 60 mile loop with curves and hills and  circumnavigation of a lake. The bike once again seemed to just quit about halfway along. A nice guy on an older Goldwing stopped to see if I needed help and we chatted for a while. The bike restarted after a few minutes, and ran fine for the rest of the trip. I am suspecting an issue with the petcock, as it seemed fine on the reserve setting despite having plenty of fuel. Needless to say, it draws an immediate crowd. 

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Building Mileage

Classic Velocity

With most of the basic issues sorted, it is time to add some confidence miles to the Condor. That involved a 50 mile loop which would test performance and fuel mileage. Once it warms up, which can take a while, the bike is a blast to ride. It keeps up with in-town traffic, and is light enough to be very maneuverable. On a long stretch, I had it up over 100kph for about a minute. Long enough to see that it felt strong and returned to idle without issue. The rest of the loop was back roads where the Condor handled itself very well. Something about the rugged feel and the utilitarian nature of the machine makes it fun to ride. It does attract attention though, so stops are longer than planned.....

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It Ain't Easy Being Green

Classic Velocity

Want to own something a little different ? Be prepared for an adventure. The Condor never came to the USA officially, so it is not well known. I knew that. They stopped making it 37 years ago, so parts are not in abundant supply. Although based on parts from civilian machines, it is not. these truths make something as simple as finding an oil filter, into an epic virtual global journey. You would think that in these days of global sourcing and 3D printing, an oil filter could be readily found. Or perhaps an equivalent replacement item. No.

You see the Swiss did a couple of brilliant things to this motorcycle (as the Swiss tend to do with machines). First, they rubber mounted the engine to reduce vibration. Second, they plumbed in a spin-on oil filter to improve serviceability and engine life. For the latter, they used an Italian FIAMM filter (FT4664) which cross references to a number of filters (Ac Delco, Fram, etc) which are no longer made. They don't even turn up on Euro Ebay. So I drain the existing oil, run the filter a bit, drain it again, and then fill it with fresh oil. This will have to do for now. Other discoveries include a K&N E4400 filter fits perfectly and NGK B5HS plugs are a good substitute for the Bosch W8AC.

Out on the road, the bike is actually quite good. The right side shift takes a little getting used to, and the rear brake is super effective in slowing the bike down. The transmission is a little picky, as it is easy to find false neutrals, but once found the gears suit the machine. It needs a little idle adjustment, and a few other things, but a fun machine to ride.

Whole Lotta Shakin

Classic Velocity

With the bike running, it becomes evident why the Swiss opted for a rubber-mounted engine. It would shake a frame to bits as the Ducatisti must have found out. Cleaning out the carbs, a new spark plug, air filter, and a couple of brittle wires were really all that it needed. Once I find a replacement oil filter, I can get the oil changed and take it out for a few miles....

The Militant

Classic Velocity

The only excuse that I can offer is that I had a couple of Ammo cases in the basement, and I have always wanted a vehicle upon which they would look right. Another excuse is that I had been looking at Urals and Royal Enfields thinking something old and slightly battered would be cool. Then I stumbled across the Condor. I had seen one before at a show and in magazines, but thought that they were very rare. They are rare, but not as much as I thought. The combination of Ducati motor, BMW switch gear,  reversed gearing, and Swiss manufacturing made this of great interest. As usual, it had issues and I accepted the challenge....