Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bye-bye Honda

Yep, said good-bye to the VTR today with it heading off to it's new home in Patea. The new owner seems very happy with her and I hope he enjoys her as much as I have! I must work out a few of the stats from my ownership and post them at sometime - until then here's a picture of here not long after I bought her (pre any of the mods I made).

FMX in Palmy!

Had a great night last night watching some cool FMX riding here in Palmy. Levi Sherwood and a few others put on a free show in the square and it was pretty awesome to see these guys in action. They pretty much make it look easy although Sherwood was definitely the class act - pulling back flips at will and generally doing as many impossible things at once that he could think of...

More pics here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Topbox issues #2

Ok, so you may recall that I've had a few topbox issues lately with the most recent being the topbox coming off while cruising along the road. Well, I've finally started working to sort it out - I need it fixed pronto as the Southern Cross is only just over a month away.

After replacing the bolt in the topbox, this time around it's the pyramid clamp (apologies for the technical term) on the top plate which the bolt locks onto. As you can see from the pics while the bolt was wearing itself to death the pyramid clamp was also wearing itself out. (Guess which one's the original and which is new...)

The replacement parts came as a kit which can be used on custom made racks such as this one made by a guy in the states - something I may consider in the future, although I'd get one made here.

Anyway, so I've bolted the new pyramid clamp on and the box now locks on but it is still possible to physically pull the box off even when locked. It does take a fairly good pull so it's possible that it won't cause any problems - in the mean time I think I'll recheck the bolt in the box to make sure it isn't damaged and also the springs which hold the bolt out and onto the clamp. I've also bought new rubbers for the rack to hopefully hold the box in the correct position.

Really hoping that I can get this all sorted satisfactorily - starting to annoy me a tad...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another 6

This time a 2.5L - it should not want for torque! At first I thought someone had jammed a car donk in a bike frame but check out the rev counter - looks like it revs like a bike. Sounds sweet too. Still overkill...

Article here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

F800GS Abuse

Some good riding here but also some unnecessary abuse (I hate seeing nice bikes being put down - if he didn't like the bike he could have given it to me).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Adventure riding the Connie

Well not really, but here's video of the small gravel section of the Forgotten Highway. It seems that every time someone thinks of riding the FH there's a post up on Kiwibiker asking what the gravel is like and how much there is - well here we go:

In my experience the gravel section is always in pretty good condition. There is generally not a lot of gravel on it and it is very smooth. It is however very dusty so it's a good idea to keep the following distances fairly strung out. The only time I've been through when the road was damp was during winter last year and the road looked like wet clay but was not too slippery - the bike did however need a bath afterwards.

The gravel section is not very long (I've heard distances of 12-15km quoted but have never measured it) and on this latest run through it appears that there may be attempts underway to seal some of it - there was a section of quite broken up road that was actually not as good as the gravel to ride on.

Do not let the thought of riding on gravel put you off riding this road - 13 minutes of gravel is not going to take away from the fantastic scenery and great riding this road has to offer!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday night ride

I took in the Friday night ride for the first time in a wee while last night and had a great ride in perfect conditions with about seven others.

As per usual we met up in Ashhurst and spent some time waiting to see who turned up before kicking around some ideas on where to go. Initially Sarge had been humming and harring on whether to do the ride so to help persuade him I suggested we head over towards Danniverke (where he parks his bike) so that he could have a bit of ride and then pootle home if he didn't want to continue.

I led us out and over the Saddle at a moderate pace - the Saddle also suffering from hot melted tar (and possibly some post Targa car rally damage) at this time of the year. From Woodville we followed the ranges (Pinfold & Topgrass roads) before popping back onto SH2 for a careful (had to avoid a radar buddy in a sneaky hiding position) cruise to Oringi.

When we turned off at Orinigi it was a nice surprise to see Sarge continue on with us rather than heading home and we set off through some great back roads taking us in a round about way towards Mangatainoka. It really is a lovely ride through Jackson road and then River Road - great scenery and a road that can be enjoyable at a quiet pace without being boring.

It was along one long straight that I all of a sudden (I'd been in a bit of a dream world) when I noticed that the lights of Sarge's bike had disappeared. Fearing the worst I did a quick U-turn and returned back the way I'd come. Luckily there was no major calamity - one of the other's had managed to run out of gas (hmmmmmm, ride starts at a gas station). Thanks to some very generous farmers (and bikers too) the hungry VFR was back on the road again and we were back into it.

Next up was a pause at Mangatainoka for a cold drink (I checked out the river as I crossed the bridge and there were people in it but I'm not sure if they were the Tui girls - should have stopped really) and a chat. After our break Sarge and a Bandit Rider (he, he) went one way (home to Danniverke) while the rest of us rode into Pahiatua so that the VFR could be filled properly before the assault on the Pahiatua track.

The track was a blast although by now we had to take care of the low sun blinding us as we came around certain corners. At the bottom of the track we paused to re-group and say our good-byes before taking off in different directions for home. A perfect night and a very enjoyable ride on the little red Honda!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Annie Seel

Another great blog to read is that of Annie Seel, a competitor in this year's Dakar Rally. I've been reading it for a while and Annie is a fantastic competitor favouring hard out enduros but also taking part in road racing (last year riding an electric bike in a few events).

In last year's Dakar she was unlucky enough to ride into a tomb, having to be lifted out by helicopter! This year she has been riding well but is currently suffering from food poisoning which is naturally robbing her of a lot of strength - but she is very tough and is still racing hard. I'm sure that once she fights off the bug she'll hit her stride again and prove what a fantastic rider she is.

My hat is truly off to all bike riders in this event and I wish them all well and hope that none suffer any serious misfortunes!

Interesting musings

Check out this great post by Dan on Musings of an Intrepid Commuter.

Good food for thought for idiots that compete in long distance riding events...

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Forgotten Highway

Sarge had been planning a return to the Forgotten Highway for a wee while and today was the day. Eleven bikes and twelve bikers met up at the Ashhurst service station at just before 8 and managed to get under way by 8:15 and before the spits turned into rain.

We firstly rode across through Bunnythorpe and Feilding before taking in Halcombe and Marton. From Marton we took Wanganui road through to Turakina and then our first stop just the other side of Wanganui.

So far the weather had been really nice (not too hot) but before we got under way again extra clothes had to be removed and sunglasses pressed into action. We carried on up through the 'naki at a sensible pace and stopped again at Stratford where we had a breather and fuelled the bikes for the run through the Forgotten Highway.

The run through to Whanga was it's usual magnificent self although there was a small section of gravel road works and the nearer we got to Whanga the hotter and slipperier the tar got - not nice not being able to trust the surface under you.

In Whanga we parked up outside the pub (along with a few other bikers) and enjoyed cold drinks and Whanga burgers for lunch.

Following lunch it was off on the last stretch of the Forgotten Highway to Taumarunui. This stretch includes a tunnel and a small section of gravel to spice things up - the fantastic scenery also never lets up for the entire 150km of the road.

Naturally temperatures were rising even more and in places the road was sparkling and the surface was more like oil than tar - a lot of care had to be taken and lines had to be picked carefully to prevent too much slipping and sliding. But, we all stuck to the plan and made it through in one piece for another cold drink and more fuel in Taumarunui.

From Taumarunui we carried on through to National Park and Raetihi before hitting the magnificent Para Paras - and what a fantastic ride it is through here now. We had another stop at the Raukawa Falls before finishing off the Paras. I then led the team through the sneaky little Wanaganui bypass and then onto Fordell, Marton, Halcombe and Feilding. In Feilding some needed gas again and it was here that we all parted company, going our separate ways after a brilliant day out on some sensational roads. Summer is alright by me!

Ride distance 625km; 7 hours, 13 minutes in the saddle and plenty of stops to enjoy the scenery.

More pics here. And more video to come...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Buy my bike

It's official - the VTR has to go. I love this bike but want to try something else and can't have 3 bikes in the shed (and can't part with the Connie that's for sure). It will be sad to see her go but at least someone else will get to enjoy the mighty V-twin!

Trademe ad here.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

2nd Ride of the New Year

Another cracker of a day and once again forced to pull the Honda out of the shed and join some other lunatics for a squirt.

The meeting place was Ashhurst and from there we rode across to Cheltenham before taking in the great Rangiwahia Road to Pemberton. We had a blast through here as the road was in good nick with not too much hot, slippery tar. At the Pemberton corner we had a short break before carrying on to Mangaweka. This bit of the road required a bit more caution with metal on the road and some slippery tar - there were a few stories of slides when we stopped again in Ohingati

In Ohingati we had a much needed cold drink and sat around talking bikes (some of the group mistaking a Buell for an R1!) before trying out a bit of the new road being put in there (fenced off at one end though - damn). After this brief detour we played with the traffic on Vinegar Hill before a last stop at Cheltenham to discuss 'the Hill' and then heading home.

View 02-01-11 Rangiwahia Loop in a larger map

More pics here.

Saturday, January 01, 2011