Sunday, January 29, 2012

More on the new sound

If you've already watched the video on my last post about today's ride then you would already have heard my new mufflers in action but here's another sample at various road and engine speeds.

The on road shots are pretty much with the revs at around 3-3,500 in 3rd, 4th and 6th gears for the speeds shown.  With my earplugs in the bike definitely doesn't sound too loud and even pottering up Scotts Road the noise doesn't intrude too much at all.

Overall I'm happy with the sound (and definitely the look) and I'll be leaving the baffles in.

Return to Scotts Road

I had planned to cruise over to Woodville for the Motocross GP today but yet again the weather wasn't fantastic with pretty blustery conditions and I didn't feel like spending the day sitting out in the wind.

But long before it was even time to think about lunch I was going a bit stir-crazy so decided that I had to get the bike out even if it was just for a short ride.  Well, as per usual it was well worth it and even though Scotts road has taken a bit of damage from trucks & dozers since I was last up there it was a good little ride.

So where is Scotts Road?  Well it's proved impossible to draw a map on GoogleMaps as GoogleMaps seems to think that the road peters out to nothing.  But if you do zoom in and follow the track you can see roughly where I went.

View Scotts Road in a larger map

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Temptation got the better of me...

Truly I resisted...

Ever since getting the DL I've been in two minds as to whether I should change the mufflers on it:
For: it's a V-twin and should be allowed to make music.
Against: do I want it to be rowdy when pootling along quietly on some delicious back road?
So I held off and ummed and arrred, forgot about it for a while, was tortured whenever a sweet V-twin rode past, got plenty of stick from Brian and kept a bit of an eye on Trademe...

Well Trademe ended up coming through when I had a quick look one weekend.  I spotted some Remus Revolution GP mufflers and put them on my watch list and then pretended to forget about them...The auction came and went and obviously they didn't sell as the seller sent out a fixed price offer valid for three days...

So after consulting the V-Strom forum (not a lot of help there this time) and more head scratching I decided to pull the pin and on Tuesday morning took delivery of some shiny stainless steel.  That night there was only one thing on the agenda and it wasn't dinner - I was straight into it when I got home.

Removing the old mufflers was a piece of cake even with my pannier racks on but it did take a bit of a wrestle to get the new mufflers on - the issue was tightening up the clamps while trying to keep the pipes oriented properly so they looked right (still may need to adjust the left one a little).  After a fair bit of grunting and groaning they were on and don't they look nice?

Mmmm, shiny!
Naturally next on the agenda was the fire up and a quick test ride.  Well, I have yet to have a proper ride but so far I'm reasonably impressed.  The bike sounds great but I don't think it's too loud - definitely not as loud as the VTR with it's titanium Two Bros pipes.  Seat of the pants also says the poor old DL was mightily strangled with the standard mufflers and it now feels like it spins up more readily and it also handles lower revs a bit better.

Anyway, here's a quick sample of the new music - I'll try and get better on bike video/audio on the weekend...

Monday, January 23, 2012

A lot of Bridges

I hate coming up with titles for my posts but this one seemed appropriate as I spent a bit of time today riding over bridges or taking photos from them.  I also had a spectacular day's riding!

During the week I'd been trying to decide on a ride for this long weekend (gotta love public holidays) and Mark suggested that I try out some roads inland from Kai Iwi (just West of Wanganui).  He'd been through there in a car (bummer) once before and when I looked at the roads on Google Maps it was pretty easy to pick out a nice little route that would take me out into Hill Billy country and then back into Wanganui.  But I had all day so where to after that?  Well, having ridden Fields Track many times I'd always been curious about the sign below - it just looked interesting...

An interesting sign
And so, after a quick play in Mapsource I had a route planned - now for the weather to play ball.  Saturday was spent working around home and then Sunday it rained (forecasted) so Monday was my last chance...

After a night of some quite heavy rain it was very nice to wake up early and see the sun shining so after a hurried breakfast I popped the liner back into my jacket (yep, sunny but a bit chilly) and hit the road.  I took the usual back roads over to Wanganui where it was great to see some old vintage cars (there for a show over the weekend) pootling about  - although I didn't see Nick Mason out fanging his GT40 replica that he brought over for the event...

On the way out of Wanganui I stopped to fill up the bike (parked up next to a big old Dodge) and then made for Kai Iwi.  Here I turned off the main road and onto Rangitatau East Road - I'd done a little of this road before on the Connie while on a Toy Run but today I was going to see a fair bit more of it including plenty of delicious gravel.

The road started off nicely with plenty of nice winding corners but not long into it I found myself sliding around on some new seal (yep, no warning signs).  I hate this stuff as it's always hard to tell how slippery things are - at least with a proper gravel road you know what you're in for!  Anyway, it didn't last too long and after a bit more tar I found myself on the gravel proper.  The gravel was in good nick and the road fairly open enabling me to potter along in third or fourth for most of it.

Rangitatau East Road
Not long after the above picture was taken I missed the turn to Kauarapaoa Road as unusually the Zumo did not let me know until after the turn-off.  Well, at least it told me - no idea where I would have ended up otherwise!  I had to continue on for a few km until I could find a decent place to turn around and then find the right road.

As it turned out Kauarapaoa Road turned out to be a real gem and probably my favourite part of the ride.  It quickly shrunk down to a single track road with grass growing up the middle of it - a sure sign that I was riding in the wops.

I soon forgot about fourth gear and the other gears above that and stuck to second and third as I pootled along enjoying some fabulous scenery including the first of many bridges:

Yep, it's a bridge
Peeking over the side got me my favourite pic of the day.
Another bridge
Somewhere between these two bridges I'd spotted an interesting sign, "Badlands, drive carefully".  I'm not sure whether this was some sort of warning (caution, you are now entering the Badlands) or whether the locals were just caring souls.  Oh well, on we go...

Shortly after bridge number two I rounded a corner and arrived in Badlands proper.  There was a big sign on the fence announcing where I was and hanging on the fence where a number of goat hides and the odd skull also decorated the fence posts.  I didn't hear any banjos (that was possibly due to my ear plugs and the music on the Zumo I was listening to) but should I have stopped for a photo?  I decided not to risk it...

On I went through more fantastic and lonely country until eventually the road changed names (to Papaiti Road) and it was time to say hello to the Wanganui River.

Wanganui River
Pretty soon I ran out of gravel and the tarmac lead me along the river and into Wanganui where I stopped for a quick McLunch before tackling Part Two of the ride.

Part Two started with a quick squirt up the Paraparas (drool) and then onto Fields Track (more drool) to my next turn-off into the unknown.

Yes, it's a bridge (Fields Track)
Whangaehu Valley Road turned out to be a great ride too with nice gravel and the odd stretch of tar.  There was even one descent where it was suggested (by a sign) to use low gear - I choose second and idled down quietly hoping I wouldn't meet anyone coming the other way.  There were also a few bridges:

Mind the puddle
A particularly nice bridge (which I didn't actually have to go on)
Along the way I had to move over for the odd vehicle and dodge peacocks, cattle and just the odd sheep.

1,000cc Ag bike

Eventually I popped out onto a more familiar road (Mangamahu Road) and it was time to make a decision.  I had planned to ride through to Hunterville as I thought that I might need gas but according to the gauge I still had around half a tank left so instead I opted to ride through to Marton via Turakina Valley Road (a wee bit more gravel) and Makuhou Road.  From Marton it was just a short ride back through Halcombe and Feilding to home base.  Six and a half hours and 377km of magic riding!

GPS Map thingee:

More pics (unfortunately I didn't manage to get all the bridges I rode over).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Playing in the shed

Another weekend of average weather so I didn't really get out for a decent ride but got to potter around in the man-cave instead.  After a bit of a quick tidy up and setting up an old stereo for better sounds in the cave I decided to have a play with making a new mount for the GoPro for fitting to the DL.

I ended up making a smaller version of the one that Dad made me for on the Connie.  This time around I already had a piece of metal (must have been a shelf support or something) with a right angle bend in it and even some holes in the right places for it's new use.  So really the only thing I had to do was cut it to the right length for the job and file off the nasty sharp bits.  I then just bolted it onto the pannier frame using an existing bolt.  Time for a test run...

For such a simple job I pretty happy with the results.  I could have mounted it a little better to get less of me and the angle is also off a little but overall not too bad.  I'm also very impressed with how little the vibration comes through onto the video - at idle the camera was vibrating quite a bit.  GoPro's rock!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

New Year's Day Ride V2

George and BeemerGirl both suggested that it might be quite neat to speed up the images in my New Year's Day Ride video so here it is - 5 hours riding condensed to 3 minutes, 44 seconds:

BTW: the dial you can see is not my tacho ;)

Dom, I'm usually riding with the revs between 3-5,000.  On the gravel I'll let them drop below 2,000 when in first or second - otherwise I keep 'em over 3,000.  On good asphalt she occasionally sees a few more than 5,000 but it's generally not necessary...

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Off to the beach

Long weekends rock!  A few weeks ago Meanie and Cowboyz decided that it was about time that a decent mob of us got together for a ride and a BBQ to see in the New year.  The plan was to ride to Castle Point on Monday and then follow it up with a get together afterwards for a BBQ.  Unfortunately the weather wasn't the nicest on Monday but fortunately Tuesday was still a holiday so it was easy to simply change the date and hit the road.

View 03-01-12 Castle Point Ride in a larger map

Ten bikes left Ashhurst at around 9:30 and made their way out around Aokautere and over the Pahiatua Trackto Pahiatua where we stopped briefly to regroup before taking to the back roads down to Alfredton.

After another quick break we were back onto the delicious Route 52 to Te Ore Ore just out of Masterton.  Here the bikes with a decent range waited while the nervous riders with smaller tanks nipped into Masterton to top up their tanks.

At the turn-off: left to Castle Point, right to Masterton
Once we were all sorted again it was time to head for the beach.  The road out to Castle Point was in superb condition with all the riders arriving at the beach with big smiles on their faces.  Here's a quick sample of some of the ride:

At the beach it was time for a bit of a break and we probably spent an hour or so there taking it all in, talking bikes and most of us picking up a bit of sunburn.

Castle Point
Once we had had enough of Castle Point it was time to retrace our wheel tracks back to Masterton where once again there were a few smiles present as people insisted on putting more fuel in their bikes (including one doubter on his red Connie).

From Masterton I led us to the turn-off that would take us through some more back roads to Mauriceville and then onto Eketahuna.  I was soon passed by some more enthusiastic riders but really enjoyed the nice cruise that kept us away from the main road and the holiday traffic.

In a continued effort to avoid the main road (and because it's our preferred route) we took the turn-off to Mangamire and headed for home.  It was along here where one of our number (mounted on a poor wee VT250) proved that there is such a thing as too much confidence.  He had been pushing things a little and ended up going into a right hander a little too hot.  He realised this and tried to slow up which took him out wider in the turn where he eventually ran out of room and took a diversion into the drain.  Luckily he had scrubbed off most of his speed and the result was very little damage and no injury - lucky lad.

Anyway, we soon had the bike fished out of the undergrowth and eventually coaxed it back into life.  From here the ride got a little less interesting with no more mishaps as we made our way back over the track and home.  For the record, the silver Connie managed the 340 odd km on about 20L returning 5.9L/100km - pretty good all things considered...

The only thing remaining to do for the day was to partake in a very nice barbie at Meanie & Monies which just put the icing on the cake!  Another great day out on the bikes with a pretty decent bunch of ruffians!

Monday, January 02, 2012

First farkle of the year

And it's only the 2nd of January!

Brian spotted these cheap little LED bulb replacements in at Supercheap and they've got 25% off today...

There was actually quite a selection but we sorted through them and just tried to find the brightest.  The idea is to replace the bulbs in the two little running/park lights and perhaps end up being more visible on the road...

Amazing how small they can make these things
A piece of cake to install - just remove a little cover under the nose and there they are.  Bulbs can be put it the wrong way around so test before replacing in reflector.

Bulb on the left, LED on the right
Job done
I'm not sure if they're a lot brighter but they are definitely are a whiter light.  Look nice but probably not the best "investment" I've made - $19.50.

New Year's Day Ride

The weather forecast for this long weekend was looking pretty rubbish but I had decided that I was getting a ride in no matter what.  And so, after mucking around a bit in the morning I loaded a map into the Zumo and got the DL ready.

I had decided to visit a few great gravel roads around Mangamire, Eketahuna, Alfredton and Pongaroa figuring that the wet weather would have put paid to the dust and that I may even end up with a new layer of mud.  Rather than a map of the route I did something a bit different today and so here is a short video that I made using Garmin Connect and some video capture software - hope you enjoy...

Leaving Palmy in the dry I made my way over the Pahiatua Track and then onto the Mangamire road where i eventually turned off to find some gravel.

Pic of the day I think!
Initially the gravel was a bit tricky but the closer I got to Eketahuna the better (and faster) it got.  I only saw one car too but man did he give me a fright!

In Eketahuna I stopped for a drink and some lunch and to take off my jersey.  I'd stuck the liners back into my gear planning for bad weather but it hadn't eventuated and I'd also forgotten how hot you get riding a big adventure bike on slow tight gravel!

From Eketahuna it was time for some more great gravel and rabbit dodging through to Alfredton and then onto Route 52.  Here I had planned another little diversion (a new one) but when I looked at the narrow track leading into the wops I thought the better of it - I had no idea what the road would be like and I didn't feel like getting into trouble while out on my lonesome.

Bugs having a race with me
So I ended up taking 52 all the way to Pongaroa before turning off and heading towards Waihi Falls.  Instead of going to the falls I turned off onto Towai Road to head for Coonoor.

Towai Road (I think)
As you will see on my slideshow the weather changed to the worse as I climbed the big hill and I disappeared into thick fog - I hate fog!  It got so bad that I could barely see the front of the bike and I ended up having to stop to clean both my visor and glasses.

After I dropped back down out of the fog it started to rain and I also missed a turn that would have taken me back to the Pongaroa-Pahiatua Road so I ended up on the Weber Road instead.  This probably was for the best as the weather was starting to get worse and by the time I got to Woodville it was bucketing down and I was getting wet.  The trip home over the Saddle was very interesting - one huge rear end slide and plenty of splashing through water running over the road - but I made it home wet and in one piece!

Regardless of the weather it was still great to have got out on the bike for the first ride of the New Year - the bike even ended up cleaner than when I left...

And now for something completely different...before setting out I managed to get the GoPro setup to take pictures at 5 second intervals so instead of video I ended up with about 1,300 photos which I have made into a slideshow.  Because there were so many of them I made the video so they only display very briefly so don't blink when you watch it - I would have been better to use less pictures and displayed them for longer.  Anyway, what do you think?

A few pics here too.