Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just a little nail

I was cleaning the Honda this afternoon and while I was finishing off Dad noticed a little something shiny in the rear tyre. We pulled it out and luckily it had gone in on an angle and not punctured the tyre. It's left a nasty groove in the tread so I'll be keeping a good eye on it from now on. Would have been gutted if it had punctured the tyre as it still has oodles of life left in it. Lucky so far...

ZX-14 doing it's thing

Schawntz in NZ!

Just found this article about Kevin Schwantz coming out to NZ to race some classic bikes at Pukekohe. Pretty cool, wonder if he uses Body-Texan on a Manx Norton?

Friday Night Ride

About 22 bikes turned up for last night's Friday night ride and it was a goodie.

We headed around the Pohangina Valley and soon split into different paced groups with the fasties well out in front by the time I got to Apiti. It was a great ride through to Apiti with less than the usual amount of metal on the roads and zero traffic. Once in Apiti we stopped at the local pub and relaxed outside with cold drinks and snacks - $2 for a venison pattie & onions wrapped in bread - makes me peckish just thinking about it.

Once we'd had enough lazing around we mounted up again and headed for Kimbolton. I tucked in behind Meanie and once again got to listen to his Connie working it's way through the twisty bits. Only one issue on this leg - unmarked sand spread on the road on the last uphill section to Kimbolton. Not nice in the fading light...

From Kimbolton most of the bikes got their legs stretched a little on the run back into Cheltenham and then back across to Ashhurst for coffee and a wee strategy meeting...

Yet another great night out on the little Honda.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2009 Chateau to Plateau

05:25 and the alarm is telling me I need to get up if I want to go riding. I stumble out of bed, manage to eat half a piece of toast and gulp down a cup of coffee and then I'm off out the door to meet up with the rest of the guys. After gassing up I park up and am soon joined by Brian, Chris, Horse and finally Mark.

We head off in nice cool temperatures and clear skies and by 7 o'clock we're into Vinegar Hill. Absolutely magic conditions are the pay back for the early start - I love riding early in the morning. We have a pretty quiet ride up to Turangi where we stop for brekkie before heading over the Hill to the Chateau and the starting point for the ride proper. After signing in we are given the riders' briefing and mount up in raising temperatures. It's going to be a hot one...

Leaving the Chateau we potter down to National Park where we all top up our tanks before heading for Tamarunui. We have a good ride into Tamarunui as there is little traffic but once we turn off onto the Forgotten Highway we start catching up the slower cruisers etc and make our way through them. On the metal and the pace slows as people try to stay out of each other's dust and we come across one guy who had somehow gotten his GSX1400 into a ditch on a straight piece of road - no idea how he managed that trick.

One of the more unpleasant side effects of the hot weather (besides sweating your butt off in riding gear) is melted tar and the Forgotten Highway always has this issue so a fair bit of care was needed but even so the Connie had the odd squiggle in some of the worse stuff.

Arriving in Whangamomona we were pleased to stuff and take our gear off for a while while we had a lunch and went over the ride so far. Lunch polished off and we decided to hit the road ahead of the rest of the bunch. Battling more hot tar and slow traffic we were soon in Stratford where Brian & Chris headed South while Mark & I headed North to visit my sister for a cold drink & an ice-block.

The rest of the trip back from the 'naki was more of the same - sweltering heat and a careful cruise with just one more stop in Waverly for gas and another drink (it was hot dammit). All in all, an enjoyable ride but quite a mission in the heat.

Zumo stats: 686km in 8 hours, 6 minutes for a moving average of 84.7km/h.

More pics here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday Night Ride

Last night was another cracker of a night for the Friday night ride so it would have been rude not to go. Another good turn out too with somewhere around 20 bikes including a brand new GSX-R600 with about 30km on the clock - a very nice looking bike it is too.

After the usual half an hours yabbering we mounted up and headed for the track. Had a fantastic ride over there trying to stay with a certain green bike and was really fizzing when we stopped for a brief pause at the Mangamire turn-off. I took the next stretch a little easier as the road through to Mangamire can often have crap all over the road and Cowboyz also mentioned a wee issue with cars coming around the corner on the wrong side of the road too!

Another quick stop at the main road to await the stragglers and then we were off again down the main road before turning in at Hamua and taking the back roads to Pahiatua. I had a lot of fun sitting behind Meanie and listening to his Connie before finally passing him to chase a few others into Pahiatua. There were a few sections of gravel and new seal to deal with and the setting sun also caused a few issues on the final leg into Pahiatua.

At Pahiatua it was time for another quick stop to work out where we were going for a drink and I got to sample Cowboyz ZX-9 on the way to Magatainoka where we stopped for our drinks break. Not that great a bit of road for a test ride but it was still interesting to try the green bike and it is hard to believe that she is a about 120,000km young. While here Bonez came up with a plan for another little diversion (it was a nice night after all) and took us on some more back roads that eventually bought us back out onto Highway 2 just north of Woodville.

Leaving Woodville it was just Bonez, Horse and myself that took the turn to go over the saddle but we had a great ride over there in the dark. Showed a fair bit of caution though as the road can be dodgy sometimes and loose metal is a bit tricky to spot in the dark. I also managed to avoid a bunny at the bottom of the hill where I pulled over and waited for the other two.

From there we pottered back into Woodville and ended up meeting back up with some of the others at Cowboyz place where there was coffee to be had and plenty of crap to be talked. Fantastic night out!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A little Honda

The mighty VTR was dropped in for a service this morning and the shop loaned me a little CBF250 to get to work and back on. Maybe I was expecting too much of a 250 single but man I was surprised. The poor wee thing really had to be given a handful to get moving! In saying that though it was a pretty willing little donk and didn't feel too harsh when revving - it was just like there was no torque anywhere. The last 250 single I rode was the mighty Volty and I'm sure that it felt better at low revs and didn't need to work as hard. And my old XR would toast it...

Anyway, it is only a 250 and the performance it offers is probably exactly what a learner rider needs - the only issue would be out-growing the bike before you got your full licence. Other than that it was a very nice bike and it definitely would be a cheap bike to run...

...and it got me to work and back as good as gold.

...and the VTR was a totally different kettle of fish altogether!

Garage Night

Came across this link to a site featuring how-to videos on bike maintenance. Haven't had much a looksee yet but it looks like there could be some useful tips there.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Britten Videos

Found a few Britten videos on Youtube so I thought I'd start a play list for them. Here it is:

Harley ad

Well, they know how to advertise...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Night Ride

We've had fantastic weather all week meaning that the Honda has been back and forth to work every day so I thought that we both deserved a treat - that treat being the Friday night ride. And man, I should have taken a camera - we had better than 20 bikes turn up and as one person mentioned nearly all the brands: Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Triumph, Aprillia, Buell & Hoggley doggley from 250cc to 1700cc. Also joining us for the first time as a rider was Mrs Cowboyz on Norman the mighty CB250.

The ride itself was a nice little back roads ride out the back of Ashhurst, across to Colyton, Cheltenham, Halcombe and back into Fielding for refreshments. Things were kept pretty cruisy with plenty of stops to allow Norman to catch up and for plenty of gas-bagging.

The highlight of the night for me was Sarge allowing me to take his new ZX-14 for a ride. What a beautiful machine! It makes all the right noises from it's Leo Vance pipes and sits on the road really nicely. The bar risers give it a great riding position and I'd say she'd just eat the miles given a chance. I think I like Kawasaki 1400's! Unfortnately Sarge wasn't keen to do a more permanent swap for the VTR...

A great night out finished off by a spot of bug-catching on the way home. Summer riding is all good!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Zumo Install pt 2

As mentioned in my write-up of my Auckland trip (, the purpose of the trip was to look at different mounting options for my Zumo as the handlebar mount was a bit in-ya-face. I returned with a stem mount and got it installed this afternoon. A brief road test proved that it is in a better position (not distracting) and that it wasn't going to wobble around too much or fall off.

More B&W bike mahem

Surfing is for wusses

And no safety gear either!

Ye olde Stunt video

Clicky, clicky...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday Night Ride

A bit different this week: a Friday night ride with a mission - and not only that, a Friday night ride leaking into a Saturday ride too.

The idea for this ride came from Brian who had just bought a GPS unit and wanted to get set up with a waterproof housing and mounts for his Connie. I was also keen to get a different mount for my Zumo as well. After organising a visit to the Ram mounts man it was all on.

After wading through the last working day of the week I rushed home to sort out lodgings for the dog and loaded the bike up. Brian and I eventually got under way at about 5:40 and made our way out Palmy and on up through Vinegar Hill to Taihape for our first fuel stop. The night was so nice that after a brief conflab we decided to have a quick meal and then make the most of our full fuel tanks and ride baby, ride.

Heading through the Desert Road we had to put up with some pretty badly melted roads (lots of shiny tar and even pot holed and broken up surfaces) which had had sand spread on them and which was a little tricky to spot as the light began to fade.

Dropping down into Turangi I had to lower my screen and crack my visor as the temperature was getting warmer rather than cooler. The only issue here was the plagues of bugs committing suicide by head butting my helmet.

From Turangi we headed on towards Whakamaru enjoying a fantastic ride on a brilliant road - not the first time I've been through there in the dark and it's always a blast. One of the hazards on this stretch was magpies on the roads - they seemed to be out in force picking up bugs off the road or something. The next hazard was a bit more serious - about 10km from Whakamaru we somehow caught up to a cop and had to follow him all the way to Mangakino.

From here on we were well and truly in the dark and had to take it pretty carefully in the tight stuff around the dam. Additionally, the kamikaze bugs had turned my visor opaque so by the time we pulled up in Kihikihi we were ready for a break and decided to find some accommodation. This is where Captain Zumo came to the party and informed us that we were 300m from a motel! A quick potter down the road and we were soon booked into a nice wee motel where we could finally park up the horses and wind down after a great ride.

Saturday morning and we were up at 6 and on the road by 7:15. Leaving Te Awamutu the Zumo took us on a great little back road free from traffic before finally taking us into Ngaruawahia and out onto the dreaded highway 1 to Auckland. At the top of the Bombay's (and after 372km on 1 tank of gas) we decided that it was time to feed both the horses and ourselves.

Brekkie sorted and it was on to see the Ram solutions man. Once again Captain Zumo helped us out here and took us straight to the guys place. Here we oggled his bikes and sorted out the mounts etc before turning around and starting south.

Heading back we went through Pukekohe and I had hoped to take Brian through some roads that Mark and I had done previously but I hadn't quite got things right with the Zumo and it took us off in another direction which was nice but got us back onto Highway 1 well before I had planned. Never mind, we were soon back in Ngaruawahia heading for Te Kuiti and then Taumarunui. The road through from Te Kuiti to Taumarunui is a real gem and although in poor condition (heat damage again) it was a great run except for slow traffic holding us up in places.

In Taumarunui we stopped again for gas and a cold drink and got on the phone to Mark & Chris to see if they wanted to head up and meet us somewhere on the road. They were both keen although passed on some unwelcome warnings of rain.

South of National Park we stopped at the Makatote Viaduct (been meaning to do that for some time) for some quick snaps before heading on towards Ohakune. Further on up the road finally started getting some wet stuff so I pulled in at the Tangiwai memorial to take off my sunnies and see if wet weather gear was needed. In the end we decided to try our luck and push on without rain gear - and then it really rained - so much so that I had to stop and put more Rain-X on my visor so I could see.

Just North of Taihape we spotted a certain Blue Bandit heading north and slowed up so he could double back to catch up with us. In Taihape we paused long enough to here that Chris was also on the road - parked under an old service station canopy out of the rain. We soon found him and had a ball giving him stick about being a big Harley rider who's scared of the rain...

Luckily for Chris (and everyone else didn't object either) the rain stopped around Mangaweka and we had dry roads all the way home. Mark and I took in Vinegar Hill while Brian & Chris took the main route (Brian with a very worn out rear tyre). Mark and I had a blast and it was the perfect way to finish up a 700km day.

All in all a pretty busy 24 hours with 1,073km covered in 11 hours 25 minutes of riding, and economy of 18.3km/l once again showing what a fantastic bike the Connie is.

More pictures here.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Go the Connie!

1st ride of '09

No, it wasn't on New Year's day but at least I got out before the weather changed again.

Yesterday's Friday night ride started a little earlier with a group of about 12 of us meeting up at the Ashhurst Mobil at 1pm. Only managed to get 4 VTR's (3x1000's, 1 x 250) along so hopefully we can do better another day.

After the usual stuffing around we headed off out into the Pohangina Valley and had an absolutely fantastic ride - the road is in very good condition at the moment with a lot less metal on the roads than can normally be the case. We had a quick stop outside Dog's place and then continued on through to Apiti.

Not far from Apiti, Dogs started slowing slowing up and eventually pulled over with a serious lack of air in his rear tyre. Unfortunately the hole was far too big for a repair and so the bike had to be left at a farmhouse while Dogs was forced to play pillion on the back of a Tiger for the ride back into Fielding for a drink. Later on the guys were able to rescue the bike and get onto replacing a stuffed rear tyre.

I ended up getting home just before 4pm and was glad to get out of my gear as the temperature was around 27 degrees and I was slowly melting in my jacket. Nice little ride to kick off the New Year.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Diesel Tourer

This looks like just the business for that world tourer. Love the economy figures - not so sure about the weight ones though:

Article here