Saturday, July 30, 2011

Giving up bikes?

I got two text messages from Dad this morning - the first was that he'd sold his SV.  (He sold it because he reckons he's old).

The second - do you need somewhere to store the Connie...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

An empty shed

As it turned out the weather decided not to agree with the forecasters and the day turned out to be of the "not too bad" variety.  This of course meant that my new rubber could be put to the test and the riding itch could be scratched.

Brian was also keen for a ride but after turning up on a Honda I managed to convince him to try a Suzuki and we hit the road.  First up was a little squirt across to Marton for some fuel and some lunch before tackling Makuhou Road.  The beauty of having both of my bikes out was that I could stick the GoPro on either of them to get footage of both bikes in action.

After Makuhou road we simply looped back to Marton via Pukepapa Road and then back home via Halcombe and Feilding.  Just a short little ride but nice to be able to get out there.

Oh, the new PR3's - probably far to soon to offer any sort of evaluation (after all, any new tyre feels better than the shot one it's replaced) but the Connie behaved herself and the tyres coped with everything thrown their way.  Now how's that for a tyre review?


Friday, July 22, 2011

More Slo-mo video

Just awesome!


In a previous post I incorrectly stated that the Connie has burned through 8 sets of tyres.  It's really only been 7 but I did put on a second hand front after the original Battlax wore out after a meager 6,500km.

Today I put on set number 8 and chose the new Michelin Pilot Road 3's.  These have been gaining a reputation for offering great handling wet or dry and I'm hoping this pans out for me.

On the Concours website some riders are reporting up to 8,000 miles from a set.  I'm taking this with a bit of a grain of salt as I've heard extremely high mileage claims for PR2's - I regularly get 11-12k from PR2's.  But, if they can go 8,000 miles this will mean that they should be at least as good as the 2's and then I'll be happy.

Hopefully the weather will play ball this weekend (not exactly looking that way at the moment) and I'll get the chance to scrub the new rubber in and get a feel for their performance - fingers crossed.  For the moment I've added a little table showing the Connie's tyre appetite.

MotoGP - what's not to like?

Gotta love these 1000fps slo-mo cameras

Monday, July 18, 2011

Off to the beach

After two weeks of very average (and very damp) weather it was really nice to have a fairly nice weekend. On Saturday we had a really hard frost and very cold day but I didn't manage to get out at all so I just had to get out on Sunday...

I also had a birthday present to get to Napier so why spend $5 on a courier when I can spend so much more on petrol in the bike!

On Saturday night I sat down to look at Google Maps and Mapsource to search for some likely looking roads a way out East. It turns out that you can't really trust E-maps as one of the roads I chose looked on paper (well, screen) to be pretty dodgy looking (it looked like it might peter out and leave me with no option but to turn around) but ended out being superb gravel.

Anyway, route loaded into the GPS, I hit the road at about 9:30. My first stop was a quickee in Woodville for fuel before turning off just before Danniverke to head out to Weber and Wimbledon. This bit of road is normally a fantastic ride but not long after turning off it started raining and the roads were very slippery in places. This made for a through exciting moments but otherwise I was enjoying myself - although hoping for an improvement in the weather. I've ridden this road in all weathers (and the dark of night) so I thought it was time I filmed some of the worst of the road (it has been badly storm damaged for years) from Weber to Wimbledon.

My next wee stop was at Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu to grab a photo of the DL there (already got one of the Connie there) before continuing on to Porangahau.

At Porangahau I abandoned Route 52 and carried on up the coast to find my first bit of gravel of the day. Blackhead Road turned out to be very hard packed gravel, the very first bit having quite a lot of gravel on it but the further North I went the better it got enabling a very good pace at times.

At the end of Blackhead Road I turned right to go down into Blackhead and to check out the beach. Not too many bikini's on display but a nice little settlement with quite a few batches - probably a nice spot in summer.

From Blackhead I headed back towards Waipuk but then turned off to try and keep as close to the coast as possible. This involved taking in Long Range Road, Clareinch Road and Mangakuri Roads. Long Range road was good seal but the other two roads were gravel that was also in very good condition. In fact the gravel was that good that it was not unlike riding on the tar! Heaps of fun and cool to look back at the dust plume in my mirrors!

Once off the gravel it was a short squirt to Elsthorpe and then a great fang up Kahuranaki Road to Havelock North and finally Napier. After lunch with the olds I hit the road again for a nice cruise down SH50 and home to a roaring fire.

Another great winter's ride of around 460km!

More pics here.

(PS, apologies if there is no audio on the video - there seems to be some issue with Audioswap, hopefully it'll sort itself out...)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Another Milestone

So, after my morning (well, hour or so) of farkling I decided to head inside for some lunch. Along the way I decided to check the mail box and was delighted to find a nice letter from the LTSA wishing the Connie a happy birthday and requesting I part with some more of my hard earned to assist in keeping ACC afloat. How nice of them...

But anyway, yep, the Connie turns four next month! In that four years she has been all over the country, worn out 7 sets of tyres and travelled just under 72,000km. I'm looking forward to the next 4 years and wondering where she'll take me next - a superb motorcycle!

I think I'll have to get her some of the new PR3's for her birthday...

Farkling Fever

I've ignored the warnings and the fever has set in - today I added two more farkles to the V-Strom:

First up it was a fender extender. On my last off-road excursion the front tyre did a fantastic job of dumping mud all over the oil cooler and I figured that this was less than ideal. The fender extender was a simple mod as the front guard didn't even need to be removed - although I did undo the bolts on it so that I could move it around a bit and stop some idiot with a power tool from drilling through the guard into the tyre. Since I took the picture I found some black touch-up paint and the screws are now a bit less visible.

The second farkle was a little more frivolous, a bags connection tank bag. I really like the little glove-box on the Connie for firing little bits and pieces in and after seeing this bag on the Twisted Throttle website I decided that it would do the job for me on the DL. What attracted me to the idea was the method of attaching it to the bike - via a fitting on the gas cap. This keeps the bag from rubbing on the tank and scratching paint etc and makes for very secure fitting.

Once again fitting was pretty simple and the mount came with a good selection off different length bolts to screw it to the tank - a good thing too because after removing the four original bolts from the gas cap ring I discovered that there were three different length ones! After installing the tank mount I sat the bag on it to work out the ideal position for it and then drilled holes in the bag's base to attach the quick release top-ring. And that was about it - now I have a nice looking little tank-bag for my odds and sods.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A not so dirty ride

Sunday morning arrived along with a pretty reasonable frost and the promise of a great ride with friends. This week it was the Connie's turn for some exercise and so after rugging up for the ride I was off to Ashhurst to meet the rest of the gang. Here I was informed that it was just 1 degrees in temperature to which I replied, "at least it's not freezing..."

Unbelievably we were away on time and soon into the fog in the Manawatu Gorge - I hate the fog and it always seems to drop the temperature even more. Man grips set to 50% and screen raised was the order for the day.

In Danniverke we meet up with Sarge and then all got a bad shock when one of our number decided to have a lie down (luckily not on his bike at the time) at the gas station. This resulted in
a few tense moments and frantic calls to the emergency services. Happily he came around quickly but was trucked off to hospital for a bit of a looksee before being released to go home again the same day.

After our unplanned delay we carried on up to Napier picking up a Bandit on the way and parked up at the Toad Hall back-packers for brunch on the roof. A very nice day in Napier too!

In Napier we also picked up a few more local riders keen to tag along for our assault on the Napier-Taihape road - now fully sealed. Leaving Fernhill and getting onto the Napier-Taihape you immediately get into some extremely delicious riding - fast, flowing sweepers on a road with very little traffic.

About after about 20-30km of this we stopped briefly for a few pics before getting ready to get into the more serious stuff. Leaving this spot we had a spot of trouble with Monie's viffer deciding it didn't want to start (toasted battery) so we had a bit of unplanned exercise crash-starting it while half the team tore off oblivious of the issue.

Soon after this episode the road started to tighten and include more climbs and drops as we rode into hill country. We also started to encounter a lot of new seal (no signposts either) and gravel spread all over the road along with a few still damp and slippery corners. Through here Monie waved me through and we kept the pace down and simply concentrated on the ride and the scenery.

150km after leaving Napier we eventually got off this fantastic bit of road and found ourselves in Taihape for another quick stop before heading home. A quiet pootle down SH1 was followed by another great ride over Vinegar Hill to finish off a great winter's ride. I love cool, calm winter's days!

More pics here.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Mobile post

First post from my blackberry. In Napier, about to tackle the Napier-Taihape. Beautiful day in Hawkes Bay!

Friday, July 01, 2011