Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Toy

It must be something to do with this time of the year - not quite 12 months ago I got the Connie and now I've gone and done it again - bought another bike!

Wait, I haven't gone stupid and traded the Connie, she's still tucked up safe & warm in my shed. Over the last few months I've been thinking of getting something to ride to work on and take on shorter rides. Yeah something to do with petrol costs (leave the car at home), the speed with which the Connie is racking up the k's and also just because I wanted to.

When I first dreamed up this crazy plan I thought of getting a 250 or a dual-purpose bike but they both had there negatives. Firstly, a 250 still costs the same to register as a big bike so why bother except for the fuel thing. Secondly, if I got a dual-purpose I'd probably have a bit of fun but as I don't know anyone else with one (Dad's sold his Beemer) then I'd be riding alone most of the time and I'd rather have someone along with me in case I did something stupid and needed rescuing etc...

So what to get? Well I decided to get something a bit more on the sporty side but not a total death machine (say a 1,000cc 4 cylinder rocket ship). So I pretty soon settled on a Honda VTR1000 and all I had to do was find one. I spent a bit of time on trade-me watching for them and checking out prices etc. In the end one of the local bike shops was having an auction and I managed to pick up an '03 with 16,000kms on it for a pretty nice price and today I picked her up.

I've only had a wee ride out to Ashhurst & back but I can certainly say that she is a different kettle of fish to the Connie - surprised, surprise. obviously the bike is a heap lighter, the ride position is more aggressive and the v-twin a lot more lumpy than the Connie's 4. It's gonna take a wee while to come to grips with the lighter feel and handling so here's hoping the weather improves for the weekend...

More soon...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pirelli Stradas

After pootling around in the wet the last few weeks on some slightly dodgy rubber I finally got around to replacing the rubber on the bike. After 10,600km the rear was fairly well worn through the centre of the tyre but still had a bit of tread at the sides. The front was not as bad and could probably have gone a bit longer but as it's still winter I decided not to push things and change the pair.

The pictures below were actually taken at 8-9,000km so they were actually a lot more worn than pictured. They do however show how they wore and how the bike works the tyres.

So what do I think of them? Well, I initially didn't like the way that the front end felt - just a little vague and not quite what I'm used to with say a Metzler on a Bandit. Different bikes, different tyres so I guess that's one explanation. The one thing that has impressed is the front tyre wear. On the OEM Bridgestone i only got 6,500km and the tyre was toast. I also thought that with the relatively high weight of the Connie that the front might wear a bit quicker than normal - a pleasant surprise here.

The rear has been just fine and I reckon on something like the Connie with heaps of power & torque 10,000+km is not too bad at all. Also, as you can see I've been off the edge of the tyre (both sides actually) and it didn't cause any issues - I didn't even notice a rear-end slide which I did experience on the Bandits when pushing things a bit. The bike's weight might actually help here...

As for wet-weather ability, well as I mentioned above there's hardly been a dry ride lately and they've hung in there with no issues. Perhaps not as confidence inspiring as Metzlers on the Bandit but once again - different bikes too. At least the bike has stayed upright!

So what's on the bike now? A fresh set of Stradas...

Quick Busa

The Fastest Mile- 256.79 MPH on a Turbo Hayabusa

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Bay & Back

A quick trip to the Hawkes Bay and back this weekend to celebrate Ma's birthday. I left Palmy at about 9am on Saturday morning and had wet roads all the way up. A fair bit of caution was taken as my tyres a pretty poked and are being replaced on Tuesday. I had a good ride all the same until Fernhill where it started to rain and I actually got quite wet coming into Napier.

Fast forward to today and I left Napier in fine weather and had a great ride down Highway 50. Turning back onto SH2 and it was starting to look black over towards the hills. Sure enough, by the time I came off the plains the rain drops were starting to fall. I pulled over and put my wet weather gear on before splashing my way homeward. It was very wet in places and the wind was also quite gusty. Never the mind, the tyres kept me upright and I made it home safe & sound pretty impressed with my tired tyres.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

2008 Grand Challenge - I'm in

Yep, entry is confirmed so I guess I have to go now...

All I gotta do is re-rubber the bike, warrant it, register and service it. And then comes the hardest part - waiting until October to actually do the thing...

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Yep - and still 3 weeks or so to go before her birthday! Man I love this bike! Just don't want to get off it.

It must be getting close to her birthday 'cause she needs some money being spent on her: rego, warrant and tyres. The rear has just over 10,000kms on it and is looking pretty thin in places - I might get a quick trip in to Napier before replacing the pair. The front is still ok but I think I'll do the pair and may try something different this time.

The Pirelli's have done pretty well I reckon and I may definitely use them again but I think this time I'll go back to Metzlers as I've always liked them in the past. It just remains to be seen how well they'll wear on a heavyweight.

Other than that she'll also need a service and then back out onto the road for some practice for the GC.

Palmy-Masterton-Weber Loop

It'd been a couple of weeks since the bike had been out so all through last week Mark & I had been talking about getting out there and doing it. We'd initially planned to head out on Saturday but the weather decided to be a bit disagreeable so it had to be Sunday.

We left Palmy just before 10am and after gassing up the Connie we headed up over the track in damp and misty conditions. Once we hit the bottom of the track the weather seemed to improve and we turned off to head around through Mangamire before backing our way to Masterton.

In Masterton we stopped for an early lunch at the Subway before heading out Highway 52. I particularly like the bit of road through to Alfredton and even though the road was a bit damp in places it was a great ride. Further on up the road we caught up to a couple of Triumph Tigers out prowling the wilderness. We sat behind them for quite a while until they upped the pace a little while we took it a bit more quietly - my rear tyre is just about toast so I was not going to push it on damp and dodgy roads.

Coming through Pongaroa there were a number of bikes parked up having lunch but I did not recognise anyone so we kept on going through to Weber and then that great bit of road into Danniverke.

I turned off at Oringi to show Mark the roads I'd been introduced to a few weekends earlier when out with some of the Manawatu Kiwi Bikers. It's really nice through here although perhaps not as nice when the weather packs it in and decides to bucket down on ya!

Never mind, it fined up by the time we got back onto the main road and we headed back to Mark's via the gorge for a quick cuppa and debrief. A nice and enjoyable way to spend the day with about 320km being added to the odometer.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Ok, so time's up and the Muffler Poll has finally closed and the results are:

So what am I gonna do, splurge on some noise or wimp out?

Well, I'm not doing the muffler...yet. I'm enjoying riding a quiet bike. So much so that I've been looking at different screen options for the bike to try to get rid of the wind noise you get with the screen fully raised. I still haven't made up my mind on which one yet but want to have it sorted before the Grand Challenge. Also considering upgrading the headlight bulbs in time for the GC, looking at GPS's and enjoying the Connie. Next ride should bring up the 20,000th km in less than a year so I'll probably shout the bike some new rubber - it never ends...