Friday, April 25, 2014

Taming a Tiger

Better late than never...

For a while now Neil had been threatening to give me a ride on his Tiger and on Monday I finally got the opportunity and he got to experience the awesomeness that is the mighty Vee...

We arranged to meet in Hunterville at 10 but as usual I was busting to go so left home at around 8:30 for the short hop to Hunterville.  We'd had a lot of rain the previous day (and throughout the week) and the roads were still pretty wet as I made my way over to Vinegar Hill.

As I was nearing the Stormy Point lookout I noticed that I was still far too early so I pulled in for a quick nosey and some pics.

After my quick stop I polished off the rest of Vinegar Hill and then rode onto Hunterville where I fuelled up the horse and then moseyed around town to kill some time.

Hunterville is pretty small so the moseying didn't take that long so I parked up at one of the cafes and grabbed a coffee.  About ten minutes later the Tiger turned up and Neil bowled on in for some sustenance and some bike chat before our ride.

Eventually we decided that we couldn't sit in the cafe all day and that perhaps we should actually go for a ride.  Gearing up, we lowered our tyre pressures and explained a few things to each other about our bikes: "That's the front end - keep it pointed ahead of ya and try to stay out of the drains."

In my GPS I had a route planned to take us via Watershed Road to Taihape, so I led off - on the Tiger, with my GPS still on the Vee...Nevermind, once Neil pointed out the first turn-off I was sweet and we were soon setting to work getting used to each other's bikes.

I may try and put a few words down about my thoughts on the Tiger at a later stage but for now I'll just say that the little 800 was really easy to get know.  It felt light and responsive and pretty soon I was chucking it around like a dirt bike.  And then we hit our first bit of gravel on Watershed Road...All that rain we'd had had really settled the gravel down and the E-07's on both bikes felt really great.  You can probably tell from the video that we were both enjoying the day so far:

Watershed Road eventually becomes Tiriaukawa Road and changes from gravel to seal which lasts all the way until we hit SH1 just North of Taihape.  We turned back into Taihape and made for our usual cafe for an early lunch.  While we were eating there was a brief downpour and we congratulated ourselves on our impeccable timing...

Once we had finished our lunch and the weather had improved it was time for part two of the ride.  This time we used our heads and swapped GPS units so that I could see my route while still riding the Tiger.  See, we're not dumb after all...

Except, I turned too early upon leaving Taihape and we ended up on the wrong road for a while...

As it turned out this wasn't such a bad idea as we got to ride some of the best gravel roads around twice - once in each direction - as we took in Matawhero, Rangitikei Valley, Mangaohane Roads all the way from Pukeokahu to the Napier-Taihape road and back again.  Once again the gravel was in perfect nick and we had a ball.

Back in Pukeokahu we then took Pukeokahu Road through to Taoroa Junction.  The gravel through here was a bit more demanding.  The roads were a bit tighter and conditions a bit softer in places.  I had a couple of moments where the front end went out on me and I had to wrestle the bike back into line - Neil, time for a new E-07 man!

We carried on up the road a wee bit to Gravity Canyon where it was time for another break to watch people throw themselves off a bridge and to chat about the ride.

After our break it was time to swap back onto our own bikes for the ride home.  I'd had a ball on the Tiger and now had to relearn the DL as we rode back to the main road.  There we parted company and I settled into pootle mode on SH1 before taking in Vinegar Hill again to get me home.  One awesome day out on two great bikes!

A few more crappy pics here.


  1. Nothing wrong with my tyres Andrew! Rider error more like! I've been reviewing some on the video I shot of the ride and I've got good footage of my Tiger and your Vee getting air side by side and one of you getting all out of shape on the rear end. I will pull my finger out and edit them up and post them on youtube in the next couple of days.

    1. You're probably right - but 11,000km is getting old man...

      Can't wait to see the video! On my vid you can really only see the suspension working on the Tiger and then me waving my arm around like an idgit!

      Be cool to see the slithering too...

  2. Anonymous1:26 am

    pretty nice blog, following :)

  3. Nice that you mates can switches bikes and each try the other one. And no one went belly pan up, so that is good.

    Overall how did it compare to the mighty V-strom? We've got riding buddies that have each but it is nice to hear first hand after you rode them back to back.

    1. Dang, now I have to do that comparison write-up...

    2. Of course you didn't think you would get away with not doing a comparo. Looks like a great day out and you were lucky with the rain.

    3. Andrew:

      I was wondering too BUT up here they are in different insurance classes so the Tiger would be less expensive, with virtually the same perceived power. It is still to tall for me. My DL650 seems short as compared to my friend's DL1000

      A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

    4. The comparison may have to wait - I'm going riding...

    5. I really enjoyed riding the Vee. I always thought that Andrew is a good rider but it turns out that the Vee's just an awesome bike. Love the smooth power delivery, engine braking and of course the sound of the V twin. The brakes are more than adequate, it's heavier than my XC but the COG is lower so the difference in handling is not huge. I want to test ride the new Strom now!

    6. Nice +Neil Wood. So you wanna buy a slightly used Vee?

    7. Yeah, nah! The grass is always greener. How about you write your comparison?

    8. Yeah,'s coming...