Monday, December 11, 2023

Merry Christmas

 to me...

This post starts with me buying my T7 and then kitting it out to be the great long distance adventure bike that it is.  After getting it, my intention was to part ways with the Super Tenere and use the Connie for road stuff and the T7 for adventure riding - including rides like the TT2000 where there is often some Adv options.

Fast forward to October this year and the Super Ten was still in the shed and she ended up getting loaded up for a quick trip South to do our second attempt at this years TT2000.  Unsurprisingly, the bike performed absolutely flawlessly (after all it only has 94,000km on it), gobbling up the big k's easily and in comfort.

Fast forward a few rides, and Colin and I were tackling the shattered roads on Route 52 between Weber and Wimbledon and the same bike was slaying the road, shrugging off the shocking road conditions that would cause a sports bike rider to dissolve into tears and delivering a great riding experience.

Yes, the T7 shines on Route 52 but on those big cruises it's just not quite as comfortable and the brilliant little motor is not quite so effortless as a big bike.  Maybe I need to look at something else...

So, over the past few months I've been looking at all sorts of things, but mostly at the big, more road oriented Adv bikes.  And there's a lot of them out there with more on the way (Suzuki has a nice one coming by the looks).  BMW XR1000's and even GS's, Kwaka Versys (and even the H2-SX), Yamaha Tracers and the like.  None of them really seemed like the ideal thing and most of them still wear chains where I love shafts on tourers.

Eventually, something strange happened and I ended up looking at Triumphs.  Then I started looked harder at them and devouring videos with the 1200 Tiger really starting to look good.  And then I started looking at what was around.  Eventually a very good deal was done on a demo GT Explorer with 74km on the odo.

Last Saturday was pickup day, so Dad and I shot down to the Hutt to pick it up.  I got to ride it home and he had to make do with the ute 😜

To get a few kms on the bike (first service already booked a week later), I met Colin (after me getting lost in Lower Hutt on a busy Saturday morning) at the bottom of the Rimutaka's and we then shot over the hill before lapping Lake Wairarapa and then making our way Northward to Martinborough for a cold drink.

The trip over the hill was a good first taste of the bikes handling and I couldn't find too much to complain about.  The bike was setup in road mode and suspension setup just a little on the firm side of the range.  The rear brake pedal and gearshift were a little lower than I would have liked but I'm no used to them so haven't adjusted them and the motor was very sweet with just a nice little growl when giving it a wee handful.

From Martinborough we carried on North to take in some more nice roads with plenty of corners.  This is exactly how I like to get to know a new bike - working it through corners to get the feel for the handling, engine and brakes.

North of Masterton, it was time to hit Route 52 through to Pongaroa where we stopped again at the pub for another cold drink (it was hot out) and a snack.  The bike looked good outside one of our favourite haunts.

Rather than carry on up and try the new bike out on that really rough section of 52, we turned off for Dannevirke and then headed home via Pahiatua and the bikes first taste of the track, it liked it πŸ˜‰

Next day, it was time for a little shed time.  With the bike coming with pretty much everything (I do need to find a GPS mount), there wasn't a box of farkles to fit but I did manage to make the bike mine.  I also linked my phone to the bike and then the bike to my Sena - easy as.  This even gives me basic navigation (voice and on-screen prompts) via the Triumph App on my phone.

Sunday's weather wasn't that flash but I did have to get the bike out for a trip to the olds and then another couple of hundred km to get those k's up.  I also did my first fill - 26L...

During the week there was a few trips to work on the bike (22km each way) before an early start on Saturday to pop down to the Hutt for that first service and the installation of the panniers.  There was no big gallivant to get home this time but I did take in the Paicock Hill to confirm the bike's great handling and get a few more snaps.

Then it was time for the second fill (27L) in Paraparam and the reasonably boring ride home.

Well, there'll be more soon and I'd say the bike will get a bit more exercise over the Xmas break before tackling its first TT in February.  Bring it on!

Sunday, December 10, 2023

2023 NI800 Part 2

Ok, it's been a while since the first NI800 Post and there's a reason for this.

Following our burgers we climbed back into our wet gear and headed back out into the carry on South.  Glen got away on us as apparently his fire needed some company so Colin, Brett and I let him clear the path for us πŸš“.

As we pottered through Taihape, I noticed that Glen had only just beaten us as I spotted him getting off his Tenere to open up his garage.  We pulled into the BP for some gas and to say see ya to Brett as he was heading all the way down SH1 while Colin and I made a beeline for my place so I could swap bikes and grab some more gear before carrying onto Colin's place - early ferry in the morning.

Here's where things go a bit wonky...

Colin and I had a good trip down but when we got to the SH1 turn-off South of Levin we were confronted with lots of flashing lights and a cop stopping us to warn of a bike accident and to take it easy.  As we turned the corner I even spotted a bike parked off the side of the road.

Fast forward to the next day and Colin had learned some bad news.  Yes, the rider was Brett.

He had been cruising quietly home at the 80km/h speed limit when a car turned in front of him.  His only memory is something green and then waking up in the ambulance so whether he even saw the car is unknown.

What is known is that the driver was tired (it was probably around 10:30pm) and she was driving to Hawkes Bay.  And of course, she didn't see Brett...

She is now facing a dangerous driving causing serious injury charge but she's lucky.

Thankfully, Brett had some luck on his side and is still with us (and is acting pretty positive giving his circumstances) but he is now facing month's of rehabilitation due to some fairly serious injuries.  But still, it sucks to be him and he shouldn't be where he is right now - a moment's lack of concentration from the driver is all it took.

Obviously this was not the way we wanted the 800 to finish for us and while Brett was in hospital we were heading South again for more fun on two wheels.  ☹️


I started the above post a few weeks back but have been hesitant to post it as it isn't nice subject matter and I might still have been fuming over the drivers actions.

I'm still fuming over the drivers actions but have had some messages and a chat with Brett.  He is still in very good spirits considering and went home about a week ago.  But, he's still got months of healing and rehab to go.  At least he's looking at bikes on Trademe...

Look for bikes!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Bouncing off rocks

So, as per normal, Colin and I needed to go for a ride on Sunday.  And I was very keen to get out the yellow bike and see if I could still ride it.  I somehow managed to talk Colin into a trip into his backyard.

The ride was great and as usual a real workout for this unfit old fart.  I pretty much stayed on the bike except for a couple of drops (no proper offs).  We took in some pretty gnarly tracks through the pine forest where there was plenty of steep and/or slippery climbs and massive bog holes to avoid.

Then there was the zig-zag which was great fun going down but I had one nasty hang up on rock step which stopped me and resulted in me requiring a rest (huffing and puffing like a steam engine) before we pulled the bike out of the hole and finally managed to get off the steep bit.  I then charged up the rest of the hill in second, bouncing off everything and somehow managing to stay on...

Slippery rocks in streams were also a problem a few times.  Momentum is your friend in most conditions...

The faster bits were great as you get a better rest and tend to run a bit cooler.  I always enjoy charging uphill and steering the bike on the throttle but I also enjoyed the downhills and hanging off the bike to help in the corners - I probably didn't look like a moto-x star but I was having fun.  Gotta love a 450!

Colin even got some pics of the action too.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Starbucks ride

Maybe I should start blogging the odd ride again...

Yeah, I have been riding quite a bit lately and not posting a heck of a lot so let's see if I can still string something together from yesterday's wee galivant.

After the usual we gravel shortcut across Tararua Road to Pahiatua, I stuck 18L of gas (took out a new mortgage) into the T7 and awaited the arrival of an 890.

Well, the 890 never arrived but a GSA did as apparently it didn't have a flat tyre, just some Shinkos that Colin is getting fairly desperate to say sayonara to - they're that good.

Leaving Pahiatua, we actually retraced our steps a little to try out Ridge Road Central just across the railway lines by the big F's Pahiatua plant.  This turned out to be a neat little gravel road that was in fairly fast condition.

We then needed this to hook us back up to our favourite roads to Eketahuna.  This involved a bit of seal to Mangamire and then back towards Palmy on Tutaekara Road.  Our favourite roads were a bit of a mix with some really nice sections and then some nasty (I'm talking about you Cliff Road) bits where there was some deep stuff to slither around on.  I particularly enjoyed Quarry Road which was fast and fun.

Next we were into a short stretch of nice gravel on Mangaoranga Road before this too turned into recently graded marbles.  We even found the culprit and cursed it and it's pilot.

Bartons Line was more of the same before we hit Route 52 and started making our way up to our usual turn-off on Waihoki Valley Road.  

This was also a little bit of a mix of deeper stuff before actually getting better in the tighter and previously more damaged sections.  We also had a bit of a surprise when we turned around one corner.

Three hinds were in the middle of the road and immediately peeled out when they heard/saw us.  We chased two up the road for a while and the third was apparently part mountain goat as it tore up a very steep slip face.  I was actually worried it would lose its footing and fall on me - I'm picking it would have won that tussle quite easily.  Anyway, they were great looking deer and I'm sure would be nice marinated with a side salad...

At Spur road, the road closed signs were gone so there was no sneaking required and road was actually a lot better now that its had a dry out and a few repairs.  There were still a few humps and hollows to clamber in and out of but no mud to wallow in like last time.

The next pleasant surprise was that the bit of Coast Road that was in the river last time wasn't.  The roading guys had done a great job of smashing the road back open.  They had left more marbles behind though 😜

Coast Road got us into Pongaroa for the usual lunch stop and the Starbucks rider finally got a coffee.  We also caught up with a few other chaps we knew who turned up with the same idea as us.  One of them was Russell from the BRR days and it was good to see him out thrashing his faithful DR around.  We were also surrounded by a crash (I think that's what you call a bunch of sports bike riders) of Ducati's and other sports bikes also out enjoying the nice day.

Following lunch, the bloke with the shot Shinkos decided he'd had enough gravel (believe it or not) and we decided to head back via the seal to Pahiatua.  Well, that was a little adventure...

We ran smack into a howling gale.  I've been through here a number of times in high winds (I had a guy's bike blow over onto me on a Grand Challenge and another guy was blown off the road as we watched) but I think yesterday took the cake.  The poor wee T7 was blown silly and I kept her a gear lower so that I always had some grunt available should I hit a wall of wind when turning a corner.  I definitely got pushed around a bit and was glad to drop down out into Makuri and the slightly calmer conditions.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful and if four guys on Ducati's say that they were given the learn on the track by a couple of adventure bikes then don't believe a word they say.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

2023 NI800

The weekend before last, Colin and I kicked off a decent bit of motorcycle therapy by taking on the New Zealand Distance Riders North Island 800 (800km in 12hrs).  We even managed to convince Brett, Glen and John to join us.  Unfortunately John had to pull after catching some dodgy Ozzie virus...

For us, our adventure started with getting up to the ride start in Ohakune.  After a morning of getting things sorted at home and loading up both the Connie and the Super Ten, I pottered over to Sanson to meet up with Colin and Brett.

Now we just had to decide how to get to Ohakune.  It turned out that a trip up the Parapara's was just the ticket and we had a great ride up before making our way to ride HQ and bike scrutineering.  Naturally the Connie whistled through, after all, she is barely run in.

Important start km photo

Then we finally had the chance to have a quick catch up with Chris and Stella but unfortunately didn't have enough time to have a really good chat about their Iron Butt Rally trip - oh well, we should see them again in February at the TT...

After finding our digs and dumping some gear, we popped out for dinner before heading back to ride HQ for the route unveiling.  The Paras ended up being on the menu...

Back at our motel, the route was sorted and loaded onto GPS's and then it was time for some shut-eye.

Next morning saw us hunting down a decent brekkie in town (with about 100 other riders) before lining up to start.

Our team, Brett hiding behind Glen

Chris and Luke

Stella giving us a wave

The Goldwing boys

Colin, me and some nutters!

One of Chris's Connies 😜

Long distance farkles galore

Super Twisty 1600 start

This year, along with the NI800, there were 2 NI1600's being run - a "standard" 1600km in 24hrs and a "Super Twisty 1600" which was designed to offer a little bit more of a challenge...Naturally, Luke, Chris and Stella were starters for this...They got away about 30 minutes before us.

After watching five other groups leave before us, we were finally let off the chain at about 9:15 and left Ohakune with a few spits of rain chasing us out of town.  About 10-15km South of Raetihi these spits of rain went elsewhere and we ended up on a nice dry run down the Para's to the first checkpoint in Whanganui.

No need for fuel, engine running, quick stop and gone...

You'll notice in the above pic that some clever person is in his fluro wet-weather gear.  He obviously knew something...Not far North of Whanganui we rode into the rain.  And then it got wetter.  This wetness was then followed by gusty wind and even more rain.  And then a bit more rain and wind.  Overall, a lot of wetness - with wind.

North of Hawera on the Coast road, it seemed to get even worse and it was interesting fun trying to maintain a decent pace while avoiding some of the massively slippery bits of shiny tar.  Here's a we sample of some of the conditions.

A bit more splishing and splashing got us to CP2 at Rahotu where we all agreed that it was a tad damp.

More of the same weather chased us up the island to our first fuel stop at Oakura where I also bought some lozenges for a sore throat that I was working on - not ideal.

The next leg was a reasonable hop up to Te Kuiti and it featured a whole lot more rain and yet more slipperyness.  We still made reasonable time but did I mention that it was wet?

Check out the lovely blue skies...

Leaving Te Kuiti we had to make our way through a few sections of road works and new seal but eventually the rain eased off and the road out to CP3 at Raglan was even dry on places.  Nice, cos that bit of road is not too shabby 😜

Unfortunately, we now had to turn around and do the Raglan road again 😜.  This may have put a wee smile on our dials and check the video for some of the action 😜.

Eventually the fun had to end and we rain into our old friend "torrential rain" again somewhere North of Te Kuiti.  Oh, what fun...

The ride from 8 mile junction to Taumarunui was particularly memorable.  Talk about rain Trev, talk about slippery Trev.  This is normally a magic ride but this time around it was a real grind and it seemed to take forever to make it to Taumarunui.

From there, it was a slightly nice ride South to Ohakune as the rain eased off a tad.  We touched down at the finish at around 18:50, wet and ready for our burgers before heading back out into it...