Monday, December 29, 2008

The Ultimate V-twin

Okay, so I'm now a twin owner and I love it but there's been a lot of great twins. What's your favourite?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day Races

Spent a great day getting sunburned at Wanganui watching the bike racing. The day started off with a great ride through Halcombe, Martin and the Turakina valley before joining the throngs heading for the Cemetery Circuit.

Watched some great racing and had a lot of fun trying to get some decent photos. Great to see the the Britten out on the track even if it was just idling around the course. Particularly enjoyed the motards and the classic side cars - plenty of action there. A great way to spend Boxing Day!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Early Xmas present

I've been looking at GPS units for a while now and initially wasn't going to go the whole Zumo hog due to the cost. I priced up other units and waterproof mounting options etc but then a Zumo came up for sale on Kiwi Biker at a good price - about the same as the other options + mounts that I'd been looking at. I couldn't pass it up and so here it is.

At the moment I'm using the handle bar mount which came with the unit and which is supposed to be on the left hand side but as my heated grips controller is there then they had to go on the right hand side. It's not in too bad a position and is not quite as "in your face" as it looks in the pictures - when riding you have to look down to see the screen. I still think that I'll end up with a different mount more centrally located to get it more out of the way.

I'm really looking forward to putting it to the test on a decent ride (next year's Southern Cross for one) and it should be great for rides like the Grand Challenge.

It's a hard life

26,000km's of hauling up the Connie and the front pads have had enough. Lately there's been a little noise coming from them and after a quick check I decided that it was time to change them. The job itself was a piece of cake and a quick potter up the road confirmed that yes they work. Must try to make the next set last a bit longer...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Night Ride

I hadn't planned on getting to tonight's Friday night ride as there was Xmas shopping to be done but in the end I managed to knock that out pretty quickly. After a quick feed I decided to get the Honda out and head off to see if I could catch up with everyone.

They had a one and a half hour head start and I had no idea where they were going so the chances of actually catching them were reasonably slim but I did know where they were intending on finishing up. As it was only just after 7:30pm, I figured that they would still be riding rather than parked up at the Ashhurst Cafe so I decided to hit the track, run through Balance and then the gorge before trying the Cafe.

I had a great ride over the track and through Balance but when I rolled into Ashhurst there was still no sign of them so I headed for town to check out a couple of other possible spots where they may have stopped instead. On the way into town I only saw one other bike and it was a certain green Kwaka heading home - nobody else in tow.

After a quick lap around town checking out a few watering holes I finally gave up and headed home. A nice little ride to wind up the week and probably the only chance I'll get to go out on the bike this side of Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wanganui Toy Run

I'm afraid to say it but it was another nice day today and although I was not sure that the Wanganui Toy run was on or not, I decided to head over and see for myself.

After pottering over on the Honda and topping up the tank, I headed to the racecourse to see what was happening. When I turned up there was probably only a dozen bikes there and I still wasn't sure if this meant that the ride was on or not. I quick word to a Ulyssian soon had that sorted out so I deposited my toy and grabbed a drink & Bar-bee lunch before quickly buying a badge before they all sold out.

After hanging around waiting for about an hour there was finally probably over 100 bikes and Santa led us through town on his trusty Beemer (he always seems to ride a BM??) and on out of town. At Turakina we turned inland more and headed on towards Marton. It's a great ride through here and Santa kept up quite a good pace - nice to see that he appreciates a corner or two.

Once in Marton the ride was due to stop for refreshments but I decided to carry on and came home via Halcombe and Mount Stewart. Another great ride to make a total of three for the weekend - it must be summer!

2008 Coast to Coast

Yesterday was the annual Coast to Coast run to raise money for the local rescue helicopter and for a nice change the weather decided to play ball guaranteeing a good turn-out.

Mark and I headed out to Himatangi at around 9 and joined up with a lot of bikers along the way. Parking up at Himatangi we soon ran into Brian, Horse and a few others while we registered and milled around waiting for a start. While registering a certain red Connie also turned up and parked next to me.

Leaving Himatangi we took the boring route up to Sanson and then into Fielding where we stopped so that Mark could top up the Bandit before heading on to Ashhurst, the Saddle and into Woodville for lunch. Along the straights past Colyton we had our first experience with the usual idiots that like to come out for the ride and have to pass everyone else regardless of any safety concerns.

Coming into Woodville was a very slow process as all the bikes had bunched up and were crawling - I even got stuck behind my old K6 Bandit, 2-up with a couple of mods since I traded it. It was here that I noticed that my temperature gauge was getting a fair bit higher than normal and I couldn't hear the fan (thought it was because of all the other bike noise). When I pointed it out to Mark he looked down and said that he could see that the fan was not turning. No sooner had he said that the high temp warning came up on the bike's screen. I quickly got out of the traffic, went up a side street and parked the bike with a fair bit of worry kicking in.

Once stopped I pulled the seat off and started looking for fuses, hoping that this would be the cause of my problems. I found the correct fuse but had a bit of trouble getting it out. Luckily the old man had popped down from Napier to check out the ride and he was able to pull it and confirm that the fuse was toast. We replaced it with one of the spares and hey presto the fan was back in action.

After this wee drama we grabbed our lunch and then snuck out of Woodville a bit early to stay clear of the main bunch of bikes. We had a fantastic ride over to the beach as the roads were dry and in better than normal condition. We passed a few slower riders and got to Akito before the big rush for cold drinks and a bit of a breather.

Not long after we stopped the rest of the bikes started rolling in and it was entertaining checking out all the different breeds (bikes & bikers) that turn up for the ride. There was even a picture of our bike's (parked up in the pouring rain) from the 2007 ride stuck to the shop window. One of the organisers mentioned that there was over 500 bikes so a pretty good effort and plenty of money raised for the helicopter.

Mark, Brian and I flagged the prize giving as we had to be back in Palmy and had a great ride back through Weber & Danniverke only stopping at Woodville to gas up the Connies before arriving home at around 5pm. A great day out riding and my 8th Coast to Coast badge to add to the collection.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Night Ride

After getting the VTR back yesterday it would have been rude not to do the Friday night ride - the first one in about three weeks!

Parking up at Ashhurst to wait for kick-off I had the chance to meet a few people I hadn't seen on the rides before and it wasn't long before quite a selection of bikes had arrived and the route was planned out.

We ended up heading through the gorge (a nice run with no traffic to hold us up), through Balance, out through Mangamire and back into Pahiatua for a drink. The weather was absolutely perfect and even the low sun was not too much of a problem.

Following the drinks break most people went their separate ways and I followed Sam (SV1000) back over the track and into Palmy. He set a nice comfortable pace and it was a really nice ride back into town. Great to have the Honda back and some great weather for riding!

Hope the weather stays nice for the Coast to Coast tomorrow...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

She's back!

Yep, all fixed up. Had to get a different screen as the previous Givi one was unavailable - hope the new one is as good as it was. Everything else looks good and I can't wait to go for a decent ride on her!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Motorcycle Wisdom

Ripped-off from Concours.ord where it was ripped-of from...

Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.
Life may begin at 30, but it doesn't get real interesting until about 60mph.

You start the game of life with a full pot of luck and an empty pot of experience. The object is to fill the pot of experience before you empty the pot of luck.

If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.
Midnight bugs taste just as bad as noon time bugs.
Saddlebags can never hold everything you want, but they they can hold everything you need.

It takes more love to share the saddle than it does to share the bed.
The only good view of a thunderstorm is in your rear view mirror.
Don't ride so late into the night that you sleep through the sunrise.
Sometimes it takes a whole tank of fuel before you can think straight.

Riding faster than everyone else only guarantees you will ride alone.
Never hesitate to ride past the last streetlight at the edge of town.
Never do less than 40 miles before breakfast.
One bike on the road is worth two in the garage.

Respect the person who has seen the dark side of motorcycling and lived.
Young riders pick a destination and go. Old riders pick a direction and go.
A good mechanic will let you watch without charging you for it.
Sometimes the fastest way to get there is to stop for the night.

Whatever it is, it's better to do it in the wind.
Two lane Blacktop isn't a highway; it's an attitude.
When you look down the road it seems never to end, but you better believe it does.
Winter is nature's way to tell you to polish.

Motorcycle boots are not comfortable for walking. That's why they are called "motorcycle Boots."
People are like motorcycles; each is customized differently.
Sometimes the best communication happens when you are on separate bikes.
Good coffee should be indistinguishable from 50 weight motor oil.

The best alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.
A friend is someone who'll get out of bed at 2:00AM to drive his pickup to the middle of nowhere to get you when you are broken down.
Catching a yellow-jacket in your shirt at 70mph can double your vocabulary.
If you want to get somewhere before sundown, you can't stop at every tavern.

There is something ugly about a new bike on a trailer.
Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don't. Some can't. Be careful.
Don't argue with an 18 wheeler, a bus or even a car.
Never be ashamed to unlearn an old habit.

A long ride can clear your mind, restore your faith and use up a lot of fuel.
If you can't get it going with bungee cords,wire and electrician's tape it's serious.
If you ride like there is no tomorrow, there won't be.
Bikes parked out front mean good chicken fried steak inside.

There are old riders.There are bold riders. There are no old bold riders.
Always replace the cheapest parts first.
You can forget what you do for a living when your knees are in the breeze.
Patience is the ability to keep your engine idling.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out the car window.
There are two types of people in this world; people who ride motorcycles and people who wish they could ride motorcycles.
Never try to race an old geezer; he may have one more gear than you.
Gray haired riders didn't get that way from pure luck.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Concours Recall

Just spotted the below link regarding a new recall for the Connie.  It refers to road debries etc building up around the rear brake pedal and interferring with the operation of the brake pedal.  Doesn't look like a major as there's not even a remedy yet - best check it out at some stage. 

Original Kneeslider article: 2008 Kawasaki ZG1400 Concours Recall - The Kneeslider

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Yep, it's that time of year so there's Toy runs to ride. Today was the Palmerston North one organised by the CDMTC - they also organised a very hot & sunny day.

I met up with a few of the usual Friday night ride crew and headed over to Fielding where the ride started from. We parked up, got badges and waited for the arrival of Santa on his Honda (Rudolph was riding pillion).

The ride was a simple one through to Halcombe, back in behind Fielding, across to Ashhurst and finally ending up at the Awapuni Hotel where toys were donated, sausages eaten and drinks drunk. The next one is the Wellington one tomorrow - don't know if I'll be doing it just yet but it looks like they should definitely have good weather for it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vinegar Hill

Another cracker of a day and though I was supposed to be thinking about heading into town for some Christmas shopping, Sarge had posted a suggestion for a ride in the afternoon and it was just too hard to pass up.

I met up with Sarge and the others at Ashhurst and after a bit of chin wagging we headed off over towards Colyton, Cheltenham and finally Vinegar Hill.  The road was in good nick with just the odd bit of hot tar to look out for.

Once we got back to SH1 we stopped for a bit of a natter before turning around and doing it all again but in the opposite direction.  This time though we stopped in at Cheltenham for a cold drink and some more yarning before finally heading for home.

On the way back Sarge & I swapped bikes (he'd been hassling AFC for a demo ride and hadn't managed to swing it) so I got to sample the FZ-1 on the way into town.  And what an angry little beast it is!  A very willing and snarling engine in a very tight package.  Very easy to ride with it's great riding position and wide bars.  Even the little screen was surprisingly effective at deflecting the wind.  Great fun!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Summer's here

Yep, another absolute cracker of a day out there - should be out on my bike, wait a minute, I just got back from an awesome ride.

I wasn't actually planning on riding today as I've got stuff to do around home but Brian rang me at about 20 to 11 and said he & Chris were heading down to Masterton at about 11 and would I be keen? Well, I sorted myself out and headed off around to Brian's. I got there just after 11 and saw that the house was all shut off - damn, I've missed them.

So I took off, got some gas and headed off over the track and then around to Mangamire - taking the route that Brian had mentioned on the phone. Never saw or caught them up so I kept on going quietly down to Masterton. When I got there I did about 3 laps of the town looking out for them before I had to stop for a cold drink (hot work today) and some lunch.

After my break I headed on out onto Route 52 through to Alfredton, Pahiatua and them home. To say that this was a great ride through here is a massive understatement! The weather was fantastic, great scenery, the roads in good condition and absolute joy to ride. It was just one of those great rides! So good that I never got around to stopping for any pictures so you'll have to make do with some of a bug-splattered bike & helmet (helmet clean before I left). Yep, summer's here alright!

Oh, and BTW: when I got home there was a message on my phone. Turns out Brian was still getting ready to go when I turned up at his place...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Motorcycles Unleashed

Finally got into Te Manawa to check out the "Motorcycles Unleashed" exhibit. Had some fantastic bikes in there - it's always great to see a Britten in the flesh, shame it was stationary. A couple of the guys tried the racing simulator which was actually quite good though it proved to be trickier than it looked when it came to actually riding the thing.

Car Crashers & Beaches

Friday was the last official day of my baby leave so I took the opportunity to make use of the good weather and head out for a ride. It was Daves day off as well and he was keen for a bit of riding.

Dave had worked night shift the night before so we had the gentlemenly start time of 11am. Leaving Ashurst we headed throught the gorge and south to Pahiatua. Here we took to the back roads continuing south towards Masterton. About 15mins out of Masterton we came accross a young girl that had just crashed her car. On a straight bit of road she had managed to hit the bank on the wrong side and the car ended up on it's side in the ditch. She was a bit dazed and had a couple of minor cuts. We checked her out and waited for help to arrive before continuing on to Castlepoint.

We made it to the coast just after 1pm where we had a late lunch before attacking the great bit of road that would take us back to Masterton again.

We stopped for a quick fuel up the back to Ashurst via Mangamire and the Pahaitua track, arriving just before 4pm.

Other that having to deal with the car accident it was a good day out with warm fine weather and some good roads to ride on.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Night Ride 21-11-08

Absolutely awesome day in the Manawatu today so not only did I ride the Connie to work (an magnificently thrilling 8km ride reaching speeds of up to 50km/h) but could also not pass up the Friday night ride. Even managed to twist Brian's arm...

Tonight's route was a quick squirt over the saddle, through Balance, and onto Mangamire before heading back over the track into Ashhurst for drinkees & snacks. As mentioned before the weather was perfect although the low sun was a bit of a pain at times. The bugs were out in force too.

All in all it was a great ride with about a dozen or so bikes and a great way to wind up the working week.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Here I am

After some pressure from Andrew I have finally got the folks to take a decent photo of me so thought I had better introduce myself to the world properly.

Connor Matthew 3.28kg, born 09:05 Wednesday 5/11/08

Friday, November 14, 2008

Anti-Harley stand-up

Mini's Return Slideshow

Connor's 1st Blog

Geez, the old man writes up a blog about his first ride after my birth but can't even be bothered posting a picture of me for the world to see.

Well, I'll just have to do it myself. That's me, the one all bundled up checking out Andrew's leather jacket. (I decided to post this pic seeing as I'm still upset at Dad and cause Andrew let me do this blog).

Anyway, I can't wait til Dad can take me for a ride on his big, noisy Bandit...

Birthday Ride

It was a week since Connor had been born and the little dude was telling me that I needed to go for a ride to celebrate his one week birthday. Since the sun was out and all was good on the home front I took up the challenge.

I headed out of Palmy over the Pahiatua Track, through some very sorft tar going down the other side then out through Mangamaire. Once I was back on Highway 2 I truned towards Masterton but a couple of k's down the road I turned left and out onto the back roads that would eventually take me back to Pahiatua. Then I followed the main roads back through the gorge and home.

Only a short run but I got some fresh air and blew out a few cobwebs.

On another note I purchased some Oxford heated handlebar grips on Trademe and they turned up in the mail. Shouldn't need them for the summer but they will be on before the Southern Cross next year. I must be getting soft!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Headlights On

Saw an item on TV and then the below on the web about LTNZ thinking of making lights-on compulsory in New Zealand to help other motorists see bikes better and avoid hitting them. I'm not really for or against the idea (and both my bikes give me no option - the lights are already hard-wired on) - but generally prefer people to be free to make up there own mind on things like this.

On other bikes where I had a headlight switch I did tend to run with the lights on but then again I've been hit 4 times by car drivers and each time my light has been on. Having a light on will not stop a car driver from choosing to "not see" or ignore a bike...

No amount of rules & regulations will stop stupid people from doing stupid things - be the master of your own destiny and do not trust anyone else on the road!

Motorcycles Unleashed

Our local museum is currently showing an exhibit featuring a huge range of racing motorcycles. Top of the list to see are the Kiwi-built bikes: the mighty Britten, the Buckley 500GP bikes, McIntosh Suzuki's etc. It's on for quite a while and the displays are going to change every now and again so it could well be worth more than one visit.

Current bike line-up:

Britten Aero-D-0
Britten Pre-Cursor V1000
BEARS Britten V1000
‘World’s Fastest Indian’ Movie Replica
Len Perry’s 1929 Velocette
Hugh Anderson’s 1961 Manx Norton
Dr Rodger Freeth’s 1985 McIntosh Suzuki
Robert Holden’s 1995 Ducati Supermono
1988 BMS Ducati Special (Fast n’
1983 ‘Plastic Fantastic’
1982 Aluminium Monocoque
Buckley Systems GP500 Racers
Thomas Norton Desmodromic ‘Mini-Manx’
BSA MC1 ‘Look-alike’
1974 Ducati ‘Green Frame’
1904 ‘Wall of Death’
Indian Single
1952 Vincent1000 Speedway Sidecar
Ice Speedway Racers
Longtrack Speedway Racer
Flat-track Dirt Racer
Ben Townley’s 2004
1958 JAWA MX
1965 CZ MX

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Idiot wrecking a Connie

Skip to about the 4:50 mark to. Can't understand what was going on...

Concours Review

This one's a little different - from a woman's perspective:

A bike for everyone!

"A big bike that looks this good is something worth smiling about, too. It was rare that I arrived at any destination without admiring looks and conversation. Kawasaki says that only around 1 percent of Concours 14 buyers are women, but I don’t see any reason why an experienced sport-bike rider wouldn’t consider upgrading to the Concours with its precision handling, high styling, and
long-distance comfort."

VTR Status Report

Got the good news today that the VTR is going to be fixed - I didn't really want to see her written off as she hasn't got a lot of k's on the clocks and is in good nick. The repair quote came to $6,800 but the shop valued the bike at $9-9,500 so I just snuck in.

I promptly rang the bike shop and asked if I could pick it up on Friday...

...and got laughed at - damn, I was serious! Basically it's just going to depend on parts availability - anything ex Japan will be 2 weeks. I'm hoping that Honda NZ has good stocks of VTR bits...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New 650 Bandit

Looks like the little Bandit is in for some changes next year. Haven't heard anything about changes to the 1250 - yet. Looks like a few changes to the front of the fairing (wish there was a bigger piccy), quite nice.

CDMTC Interclub Ride

Strangely enough the weekend yielded two fine days in a row and just as I was contemplating firing up the mower, Brian rang to tell me we were going on the CDMTC Interclub ride.

I had all of about quarter of an hour to wolf down some lunch and get my act together before he turned up and we headed off to meet up with the rest of the group. Once at the launching point we ran into a few people we knew including the guy that used to own my VTR (Brian knew him) and Robin, another Connie rider from Levin.

The ride itself was a fairly simple potter around the back of Halcombe & Fielding before heading over through Colyton to Ashhurst for coffee. It was however very hot work (shoulda taken the liners out of my gear) and Brian and I headed home from Colyton where I finally got to the lawns...

A quick, short little ride that brought the weekend's tally up to just over 1,100km.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

2008 Capital 1000K Cruise

I set the alarm on Friday night for 4am but in the end did the usual pre-ride trick of waking up before it went off. So I was up at 3:50 making a coffee and organising things. By 4:30 I was out the door and around at Brian's making sure he was up and at 'em then it was a short ride to Shell Pioneer to pick up Michelle & Al. We only just beat them there and as soon as Al had swallowed a pie we were off into a rather cold morning - grips on 75% and screen up.

Had quite a nice little blast down to Shannon where we picked up Colin (without even stopping) and continued on south. A quick stop for piccys at the look out on the Paekakariki road and then on to the Hutt on damp and slippery roads.

Gassed up, purchased me badge, yarned with a few others and soon it was time for John's wee briefing before we finally hit the road. Brian even won a hat in the prize draw. Also good to see Steve in his leathers all set for the ride.

At about 7:15 the hordes departed and headed up the Rimatakas. Most people were very well behaved and were taking it quietly so Brian & I made our way through the pack until we caught up with some mates of Dad. We followed them through cold rain through to Masterton and then onto Mauriceville. I'd never been through here and it was quite a nice ride through pretty country - especially as the weather was now playing ball and the day was starting to turn into a right ripper.

I passed Dad's mates heading through to Mangamire as I knew they were concerned about some of the turns in the Pohangina Valley so thought I'd lead them through it. Somewhere through here Al turned up as well and it was quite a procession heading over the track and onto Ashhurst. Turning off at Ashhurst to head up into the valley we lost Dad's mates and Al - stopping for gas I 'spose. So it was just Brian and I until Hitcher tucked in behind. We had a great ride through the valley, onto Rangiwahia and then the main drag to Waiouru. Had a close one north of Mangaweka when a cop came around the corner and we were doing a reasonable pace - phew! Hitcher pulled off at Taihape for a feed and we kept on trucking to Waiouru.

At Waiouru I opened my topbox to a disaster - my water bottle had exploded and all my gear was soaked in about 800mls of water. Wet weather gear, puncture repair kit, camera bag (note water on lens in piccy) and...the route instructions. I tipped the water out and put my jersey in the bottom to soak up the remainder. The camera still worked and went into my jacket pocket for the rest of the trip. Fuel and a feed and we were just getting ready to leave when Hitcher turned up, so it was 3 bikes again heading off towards Ohakune keeping our eyes peeled for the Fields Track turn-off.

Fields track was in pretty good condition (it can be quite shocking) and we only saw 5 other vehicles for it's entire length. Popping out onto highway 4 and on the first bridge we came across I had to get out of the way of a van coming the other way on my side of the road - tosser! Keeping a close eye out for more vans we pottered up the highway and made our only major navigational error. At National Park we were supposed to turn-off onto 47 to Tokaanu before taking 41 back to Tamarunui. Brian & I both knew that Tamarunui was on the route but had forgotten the little detour - and no route instructions, doh! I wondered why Hitcher had turned off...

No stopping at Tamarunui, we hit the Forgotten Highway and were soon into it's delicious corners and dodgy surfaces. Had a nice run through to Whangamomona where we stopped for a cold drink - all those corners and the wee bit of gravel made for thirsty work. We weren't the only one's there - bikers from all over had the same idea as us. After our drink we headed off into Stratford and stopped again in Eltham for our last fill up.

Leaving Eltham we followed some notes I'd made the night before (the only one's as I had thought that I knew everywhere else we had to go - double-doh!) as we were to take in some back roads to bypass Hawera (good idea that). In the end we only had to do one quick U-turn and it was quite a nice ride through this new to us roads.

By now we'd done over 800km for the day and were starting to feel it so we took it pretty easy through Wanganui, Marton & Halcombe before finally making it home at about 5:45pm. A pretty long day but a great ride all the same.

And now for the news that really put a downer on the ride: sadly one of the riders had an off on the Forgotten Highway and passed away. I only heard of this this afternoon and it definitely wasn't nice to hear it - I had spoken to the rider earlier in the day and he had been fizzing in anticipation of a great ride. A terrible incident to marr a great day and my condolences to his partner & family.
More pictures here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Southern Cross Slideshow

Cowboyz's Four Points video inspired me to upload one of mine from the '07 Southern Cross. Actually made the slide show soon after the ride but never thought of uploading it...had to modify it a bit for YouTube but here it is:

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Grease Monkey

Well, not really, but a keen amateur. The slide show below shows Mark giving his Bandit a bit of TLC (oil & filter change) before next weekend's Capital 1000K Cruise.

PS: he didn't do too bad a job - no oil spilt on the garage floor (carpeted if you please). Must have been the quality of the assistance & instruction he received...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Harley joke

Pinched from

Why I'm not on the Friday night ride tonight

Yep, got taken out on the VTR on the way home from work. A guy who admitted to being in a hurry to get home failed to give way and clobbered me at slow speed (both of us) on the right hand side of the bike and over and off I went. No injuries to me except for a bang on the knee and a bit of a graze there but the poor wee Honda got a bit hammered.

What I think is the worst of the damage is to the RHS radiator where the fairing was rammed into it. Coolant everywhere so I couldn't ride her home so Brian had to come and rescue me with his trailer. Otherwise, the fairing is pretty much toast on both sides, the screen is cracked, LHS indicator gone, a wee scratch on the LHS muffler (which has been pushed in closer to the center of the bike), clutch lever & mirror and that's about it.

Insurance claim is already sorted with the car driver accepting liability etc. It just remains to be seen as to how long before she's back on the road. Really annoying but the worst accident I've had in 20 years...

More soon when I hear from the insurance company/bike shop.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rusty Trumpet

The latest Rusty Trumpet (the Rusty Nuts newsletter) is up on their website here. It even includes a little more info on the 2010 10,000km in 10 days run.

And there are some more GC write-ups here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wired for sound

I forgot to mention in my Friday night ride blog that I can now ride and listen to my ipod at the same time. I found some in-ear earphones lying around the place and decided to give them a go.

The good thing about them is that they do block the wind noise and therefore the ipod does not have to be on very loud. They are also pretty comfortable if in properly - not sure about on a 1,000km day but maybe I'll give that a shot too.

The only issue is getting them in properly and having them stay there. If they're in properly they tend to stay in but if not they can work their way loose - as the left one seemed to do. The only other thing is that you cannot hear a thing anyone says to you - unlike when wearing ear plugs. I'm also not sure what's better for your hearing: music on quietly or ear plugs???

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Clarkson on bikes

Not his favourite topic:

The Bay & Back

Not the best weather for it but today Brian & I took the Hondas up to Napier & back for a quick visit with my folks. We left Palmy in okish weather but by the time we stopped for gas in Danniverke we'd hit our first patch of rain.

Leaving Danniverke we headed out through Matamau, Makotu and Ormonville before taking the back road past Takapau and into Waipuk. Then we turned further East at Waipawa to take us to Patangeta (it absolutely bucketed down through here) and up Middle Road to Havelock North and finally Napier.

After a nice hot lunch with the olds and a bit of mucking around with the bikes in the shed we suited up again for the ride home. After gassing up in Hastings we hit highway 50 and battled with the wind all the way back. More showers also added to the excitement.

Not the best day for it but still a nice ride - be even better once we see some proper summer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Night Ride

Not such a big crowd tonight but then there's a few away on the Four Points and the weather has been a little on the crap side this week. Just a quiet pootle out the back of Ashhurst, Fielding, Halcombe and Santoft. We caught a little light rain in places but it was otherwise quite warm and muggy. Stopped in again at Fielding for a quick drink before making my way home in light rain. Nice to get out and give the VTR a run too. Hooray for daylight savings...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

2008 Grand Challenge

Just a quick post here to say that the

2008 Grand Challenge is all over and I managed to get there in the end!

The route was reasonably tough this year and took me to a few places where I'd never been and the weather certainly added another element to the challenge.

Perhaps because of this of the 104 people who registered for the ride, 30 did not finish.  This includes those that crashed out, broke down and pulled out due to weather or knowing that they would not have enough time to complete the run.

One who did not finish due to a crash was a riding friend, Steve.  Steve had a low speed fall on Route 52 north of Wimbledon.  Luckily he got away with a broken collarbone and is now resting at home.  It certainly was not nice coming around the corner and seeing him sitting on the side of the road with his bike over the bank.  Get well Steve and I hope the 'busa is not in too bad condition.

That's about all for now - I'll do a more detailed write-up for the website at some stage.

More pictures here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Electric Bike

Friday night ride

Slightly better weather this week - well actually a lot better - no rain and not too much wind. Another good turnout too - nearly 30 bikes. The ride took us out Pohangina East road, through Apiti and back into Fielding.

A great bit of road for having a play on but plenty of care required in places with metal on the road and the remains of small slip etc. A couple of wee stops allowed the group to reform we all road into Fielding together before stopping at a local watering hole for drinkees and the odd yarn.

Nice ride and I was pleased to discover that the VTR's high beam is quite good (had my doubts due to it's size). I'll miss next week's ride as I'll be sitting in Turangi resting up before the start of the GC - oh damn.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

CDMTC 800k's in a Day

After doing the 2007 800k's in a day Andrew had decided we needed to do the 2008 version as well. The club had run it earlier in the year, but with a poor turn out had decided to run it again this weeked.

As it turned out Andrew got crook and couldn't make it so I was off on a solo expedition. The weather wasn't great with wind and rain forecast, but I had already decided I was going regardless.

An early breaky and I was off, filled up the bike on the way into town, then headed around to Breakers for the sign in and kick off. When I got there about 4 other bikes were already there. I paid my money, they recorded my odo reading and as the other guys weren't showing much sign of leaving I decided head off.

The first check point was Inglewood so it was off to the Naki I went, not the most exciting ride but easy K's to clock up early. A guy on a Harley that I had seen at Breakers passed me at Ohakea and instead of sticking with him I let him go and continued on alone. Somewhere between Wanganui and Waverley my morning cup of tea needed to get out so I had a quick pit stop to water the weeds. I'd left Palmy at 07:07 and was in Inglewood about 09:30 I got gas, had a quick drink then was off again.

The weather had looked a bit damp ahead and I tossed up stopping to put the wet weather gear on but decided to continue until it got real wet. Once I got away from civilisation I upped the pace a bit and was soon attacking Mount Messenger, the road was wet so I had to take it a bit easy. After that it was the Awakino gorge and onto Te Kuiti. I had calculated this to be about half way so it was good to know I was on the down hill side. Heading through to Whakamaru and the second check point the roads were once again wet with the odd shower to stop me getting too hot.

I pulled into Whakamaru at about 12:15, the guy on the Harley was just leaving, so he hadn't got away on me much. I had a drink and bite to eat and as I was leaving the next group pulled up.

I had hoped to get all the way back to Palmy on a tank but was going to see how things went. Down the back of the lake I got to cover the ground at a good pace with the roads dry and the weather improving, then it was onto Mananui and the western side of the mountain and into the Paraparas. I enjoyed this bit and the road was in good condition considering all the rain over the winter. I was soon in Wanganui for the second time in a day.

I decided to keep going and see how my petrol supply held up but it wasn't long before the gauge was flashing and I knew I would be pushing it to make it to Palmy so had a quick fill up at Bulls. I was back at Breakers at 16:08, nine hours and one minute after leaving with 810km in between.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

GC preparations

Yep, it's only a couple of weeks now so this week the Connie went in for her first major service in preparation for the big event. It was valve adjustment time and this is reasonably major as it takes a bit to get at her internals. Seven and a half hours labour for the complete job so yes, it was expensive! Never the less, she's all set now - all I've got to do is pack the gear I need and I'm on the road...

Friday Night Ride

First one of the season and I was crook with a cold but went anyway. A really fantastic group of bikes (about 27 in all - couldn't get them all in the picture) all keen despite the average weather.

Due to the windy conditions, the ride was cut short and we simply headed through the gorge, then back through Balance and over the track back into Palmy. It was quite windy through Balance and there was quite a bit of drizzle. I had issues with my visor fogging as I was wearing my old shoei which has no anti-fog insert fitted. Visibility got worse coming down the track as it was quite foggy - not a lot of fun.

The ride ended at the Brewer's Apprentice where I departed due to my cold and also wanting to be fit and ready for the 800km ride today - alas, as I write this I'm still fighting the damn bug and given the weather conditions I've bailed on the ride. Hopefully Mark has a good ride and writes it up...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Well the Connie is in the shop getting a service prior to all the great summer's riding that's just on the horizon and they kindly loaned me this little number to get home on.

It's a second hand bike with about 5,000km on it but has an aftermarket muffler which gives it a nice little growl and some trick carbon (or carbon-look) goodies. I've only pottered around town on it and it is definitely great for this - very small and narrow, great for getting into tight places. It also gets up and goes quite well.

The riding position is a little weird - a slightly racy position for your legs and then low but wide handle bars. These wide handle bars and the total lack of weight (I'd just gotten off the Connie after all) make it a piece of cake to chuck around. The clutch is very light but the gear lever felt like it had quite a longish throw (stuffed up a couple of up-changes by being a bit gentle on it) but otherwise the little motor is quite nice. Didn't think much of the brakes as they needed a bit of squeeze - though once again I'm used to some pretty serious stoppers on the Connie and pretty reasonable brakes on the VTR.

All in all though it's quite a nice little bike and would be a great commuter - especially in larger cities where motorway riding is required. Probably pretty economical too with it being a small injected twin. Nice...better give it back tomorrow...

The Anti-speeding message

This might work...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Busy time of the year

Now that summer is on it's way for sure, there's a lot of riding to be had. Here's just a few of the planned rides:
  • October 4: the CDMTC's 800km in a day
  • October 18-19: The Rusty Nuts Grand Challenge
  • November 8: The Capital 1000K cruise
  • December 13: The Woodville Lions Coast to Coast
And these are just the longer rides! There's toy runs and Friday night rides etc as well to get through - yeehah! The Connie is going to be busy - in for a service this week to make sure she's all set for some exercise. All right, giggidy, giggity!

Daylights Saving

Yep daylights savings is here and with it came a nice sunny day. Lots of things to do around the house yesterday and today but after washing the Connie prior to it's service this week it was time for a little ride in the sunshine.

Not much a ride distance wise but I had a blast on the Honda over the saddle and then headed through to Balance. My first surprise came when I rounded a bend to find a caravan parked in the middle of the road. I managed to avoid it and then got my second surprise - the fuel light on the bike starting to flash.

From here on I took it easy - I'm still unsure of the range of the Honda once the gauge starts flashing. I managed to make it back into Palmy ok and put 16L in the tank before heading back out to Linton to catch up with some friends for a bit before heading home to put the bike to bed.

Summer is on it's way...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No riding this weekend

Yep, that's right no bike riding this weekend. Instead I was off to the Taranaki for my Nephew's 1st birthday and to let the dog frolic amongst the rabbits. Surprise, surprise though, a vintage bike rally was on and the bike's were filing straight past the gate. From a pretty poor vantage point I was able to quickly grab the below pics before heading back inside for the birthday party.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunny Sunday ride

Yep nice day again so no excuse not to get out and go for a ride. Met up with about a dozen Kiwi Bikers in town and then headed out through some of our delicious back roads. Good to give the Honda some exercise. Stopped off at the cafe by Balance bridge and then pottered home all the while managing to not get a ticket. Good stuff.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Wee Pootle

The day of the pootle finally arrived and after getting up early I jumped on the bike and headed down to meet the rest of the guys at BP Rangitikei. Waiting there was my old man (SV), his mate Goldie (CB1300S) and Steve (Twosup, 'Busa).

As we were missing a few bods and everyone other than me had already ridden nearly 200km we decided to abandon the full route and just see where the day took us.

We left Palmy just before 8am and headed out the back of Halcombe

and then Marton via some back roads to Wanganui. The weather was ok through here although the roads were quite wet in places.

Leaving Wanganui we hit the Paraparas and had a great ride through to National Park. The road was more often than dry and a great deal of care had to be taken as there were fresh slips to go along with the usual storm damage and stock. Quite chilly going through National Park too.

A quick top up for the bikes and we continued off up

to Tamarunui. We stopped here for an early lunch before heading back out of Tamarunui and up over Highway 41. Had a great ride over here as the weather had improved and the road was mostly dry. We turned off 41 onto 32 to head around the back of the lake. This is a great bit of road but we had a few drizzly patches and the roads were wet and slippery in places.

We took the Kinloch turnoff and wound our way onwards to Taupo. We stopped here for another quick pitstop before tackling the Napier-Taupo. And here's where things went a bit pear-shaped. Not long off the plains we came around a corner with a bit of steam on and there was a mufti-cop! Yep, you guessed it, he got me (TEC) while the others escaped. Great way to ruin a ride! My first ticket in 17 odd years...

After this I was separated from the rest of the guys and I only caught up to them when they became stuck in traffic. I quiet ride the rest of the way to Napier where we stopped in at the olds for a coffee before Steve and I headed back home via Highway 50.

Not a great end to the ride but otherwise it was a good day out on the bike with about 720km clocked up in preparation for the Grand Challenge.

More pics:

Sunday, September 07, 2008

SV1000S VS VTR1000F

Awesome - two weekends in a row I get

to try out different horses and compare them to the might VTR!  Dad only picked up his SV on Friday but was quite keen to take it for a run and meet me somewhere so I could have a little squirt.

I got on the SV at Porangahau Beach and road it back up Route 52 to Waipuk.  This is a primo ride with plenty of nice corners to throw a sportsbike at.

Getting on the SV, I noticed that the ride position is pretty similar to that of the VTR - the bars may be a little bit lower and also feel a little wider.  Seat comfort was a much of a muchness and weather protection was also similar - the standard screen of the SV was pretty good compared to the Givi one on the VTR.

Riding off and naturally you know it is V-twin - the same lumpy sort of power delivery although the motor seems to smooth out a bit more than the VTR once there's some revs on.  The fuel injection is very smooth and helps the quick response from engine even if in a high gear with not many revs on - to me this felt better than the VTR.  Once steaming along the bike feels very relaxed just like the VTR and it is easy to speed - the standard pipes are a bit louder than the VTR's but definitely not noisy.  As we were not riding hard and didn't try any top gear roll-on comparisons or anything it's hard to say which bike had more go (although the SV should win here), let's just say that the two twins offer similar performance and it's the kind that puts a big smile on the dial!

It took me quite a while to get used to the steering damper - especially in slower corners.  I haven't ridden a bike with one for a long time and you forget that you need to put in a bit more effort to get the bike through the corners.  I also felt (again because I'm not used to a damper) that it damped out some of the "feel" from the front wheel.  It was good however, in the bumpier corners where the VTR would have been a bit twitchier, the SV held it's line a bit better.  Dad had been playing with his suspension settings (softening them up) and it was in these bumpier corners where the bike felt a little soft in the rear.  The brakes were fine although I never had to use them hard.

Looks: well, the SV has a more modern look to it and is nice in black but they're pretty similar in that they both have minimal fairing's so that the motor can go on show.  The SV is perhaps the more aggressive looking and that probably fits as it is the "sportier" package of the two.  Twins are fun!

The beach & back

Being a nice fine Father's Day I thought it would be a good idea to go for a little potter and meet up with the old man so that I could check out his new bike properly. Chatting on the phone earlier in the morning we'd decided to meet in Waipukurau and then find some back roads.

As the old man's new bike is an SV I had to take the Honda so that it could be a day out for the "twins". I left Palmy knowing that I was leaving earlier than Dad so I decided to take in some back roads rather than sticking to the boring old main road. First up was the Saddle and it is in good nick at the moment so it was a lot of fun heading up the hill until I got up into the mist. Luckily the mist wasn't that thick and I didn't have to ride by braille to get up to the lookout at the windmills. Quite neat seeing the windmills "stir" the fog.

From here it was more back roads into Danniverke and then another turn off at Matamau took me out through Ormondville to Takapau and finally to Waipuk where the old man had just arrived when I got there. A quick top up with
gas and coffee and we headed off on Route 52 to Porangahau - a great piece of road.

At Porangahau we swapped bikes and pottered out to the beach before turning around and retracing our tracks to Waipuk - but this time trying out different steeds. Back in Waipuk we had some lunch and then headed South again. Dad turned off to Onga so he could enjoy Highway 50 back to Napier while I pottered across the plains.

After a quick stop in Woodville I took the Balance turn-off and headed home via the Pahiatua track. Nice little Sunday ride - and I've now clocked up over 1,200km on the VTR.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

MotoGP Petition

Came across a link to this petition on Kiwi Biker. Supposedly someone is trying to get the MotoGP to Taupo. Pretty optimistic but if it happens I'm there!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Cruiser in Colorado

Not sure about all the riding on the wrong side of the road but it looks like a nice stretch of road:

Sunday, August 31, 2008

GSX-R1100 vs VTR1000F

Okay, so I got to go from my VTR to Murray's GSX-R and back again in one little ride, so what's the difference? What do I think? Well it was a pretty quiet little potter on the GSX-R but it was definitely nice to ride her again.

Firstly the riding position: they are both quite similar in that they have that sport's bike crouch but the on the GSX-R this is more pronounced and your feet are much higher and the bars are a bit lower. To me this makes the VTR just that little more comfortable and the better bike for longer distance rides - not something that either of them are really designed for.

What about the donks? Well, obviously this is where the differ the most. The VTR with it's 110hp V-twin and the GSX-R with it's larger 4 cylinder breathing with the aid of Yoshimura jets & headers and bellowing out of one of Brendon's Pro-muff mufflers - you've gotta be looking at somewhere around 140hp I guess. The GSX-R also makes do with one gear less than the VTR and is designed to be revved a bit more than the twin.

Surprisingly though the GSX-R motor is very well mannered - she didn't feel like she was going to bite even with a few revs on the dial but definitely sounded the part - gotta love that sound especially on more aggressive down changes. Cruising along at about the speed limit the bike also feels like it's going faster than at the same speed on the VTR. I put this down to the more buzzy motor (more explosions happening than on the VTR) and perhaps the difference in rider protection offered by the windshield. Not a bad thing - helps stop the speeding when it's perhaps not the place for it...

Cruising along the GSX-R feels every bit of the extra 30-40kg it has over the VTR but this is not a bad thing. I'm now pretty used to riding heavy beasts and they tend to feel a lot more planted on the road. This extra weight and what is probably better suspension than the VTR would probably make the GSX-R better behaved in bumpy corners and also perhaps a bit safer in the wet. Overall it felt great motoring down the road and was a lot of fun to ride.

Looks? Well, judge for yourself but personally I like the look of both of them but think that the GSX-R is showing it's age very gracefully and is still a great looking bike. I'd also have to say it's a better looking bike than the newer GSX-R1000's and Murray has truly kept this one in as new condition.

So would I have one? Well, if I was a zillionaire with a big shed (or sheds) it'd be great to own a truly classic superbike but I'm not and can only just justify the two I've got now. So if I could have had the VTR or the GSX-R for the same money? A tricky question but I think I would still have taken the VTR. Already having a four in the shed it is really nice to have something else which is totally different and that v-twin just puts a big smile on your dial!

Charity Ride

The weather has finally taken a turn for the better and both days of this weekend have been rain free!  I didn't get out on the bike yesterday but today had the chance to head over to Wanganui to participate in a Charity Ride (raising funds for child cancer) organised by the local Triumph owner's group.

As this was only to be a short ride both Brian & myself left the Connie's in their respective sheds and I broke out the Honda while Brian pinched his brother's GSX-R1100.  We headed off from Palmy just after 8:30 and took it quietly on the main road over to Wanganui - me keeping an eye on the fuel gauge as I'm still not sure about the ultimate range of the VTR.  In the end I made it to Wanganui ok (after the fuel gauge had dropped to it's last mark) and put in just under 14L.

We had a quick drink in town before heading to the Caltex service station where the ride was leaving from.  There were already a heap of bikes there and upon registering I was about the 95th rider to register.  In the end I would say that well over 100 bikes attended - the nice day must have helped!

Leaving Wanganui we made our way back towards Palmy on the main road before turning off into the Turakina Valley.  There's some great roads out the back here (although watch for the one's that turn into gravel) and we even took a couple that I had not ridden before.  Eventually we popped out onto the main road just south of Ohingaiti where the ride ended for lunch and prize giving.

Brian, Chris and I disappeared straight away and headed on up to Flat Hills for some lunch before returning to take a left just before Ohingaiti and head over to

Pemberton before heading home via Kimbolton etc.  The road through here was pretty good considering the foul weather we've been having but there were still plenty of places to watch for gravel - not to mention two slips across the roads.

The ride back from Pemberton to Kimbolton was truly awesome with me tagging in behind Brian for a while before eventually passing him just before Kimbolton.  At Kimbolton we stopped briefly to wait for some cyclists to go past and from here on I was lucky enough to bring the GSX-R home.

Fantastic to have the good weather back - looking forward to some great spring riding!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I need a dual-purpose bike

And a winning lotto ticket...

Check out this link: An awesome write-up from an Aussie touring the back roads of the South Island. Gets ya all very keen!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Let there be light!

With the GC coming up in just a month or too I thought that it was a good idea to think about a bit of extra light for the Connie. The standard lights are pretty good on high beam but perhaps not so good on low beam.

I ended up fitting some +50% bulbs which as the name suggests are supposed to give about 50% more light for the same wattage. They were really easy to fit compared to the mission it's been on some of my other bikes and I was keen to try to get some pictures of any difference in light output.

This proved pretty hard - not sure if it's the camera adjusting for the bright light or what but the picture of the lights on low beam seemed to come out best showing what looks like a brighter light. In reality you can definitely see the difference (actually tested this with one of each bulb type in) and the light is very white. Now all I have to do is play with the heights a little and I should be set for about ten hours of darkness...

Who needs a centerstand?

Well, me for one! You definitely miss them when you haven't got one (I'm talking about the VTR here) and they make the little jobs a lot easier. So I got me some stands and they seem to do the trick just fine. Were pretty cheap too - got them here.