Monday, March 04, 2019

Takapari Road

While we were away down South, Colin and I had plenty of time to hatch plans for future rides.  I was dead keen to get my first WR adventure done before going back to work so by hook or by crook I was going to be going somewhere this weekend...

Colin hadn't managed to get in enough riding while we were away so he decided that he was a starter for some WR action too.  Unfortunately, his little WR fell victim to a stuffed battery so instead of trailering it up for the ride he had to bring his 800 instead.

We got away fairly late and I led us off (at a brisk WR pace - so no chance of a ticket then) to Ashhurst and then to Pohangina where we hit our first bit of gravel.  This stuff was reasonably thick and straight away I noted that the lightweight bike was definitely a bit more twitchy than the S10.  Still, she did everything I asked for and after we rejoined the seal we made for Takapari Road.

This is a really cool track up to the top of the Ruahine Ranges and offers up some truly fantastic views both sides of the ranges.  I'd been up a few times before on trail bikes and even once on the mighty Vee so was looking forward to taking a decent trailee up there...It was also a good chance to see what I'd forgotten about trail bike riding...

At the second gate I got away from Colin and pointed Mighty Mouse up the hill.  The track is fairly narrow and is used by the 4WD brigade as well so some care is required.  It is also quite rocky in places and there are a few places where you have to scramble up/down some steep, rocky bits.

The little bike loved it.  Except for some of the more open and fast bits I was mostly in 2nd and 3rd gear.  At those speeds it was pretty easy to change lines quickly and if you couldn't, well, the little beast just bounced over the stuff.  Soon I was starting to get used to things and working out when I should be standing or sitting etc.  Great fun!

A reasonable way up the hill is a slightly nasty ascent full of rocks and holes.  On my last ride up there a BMW holed it's cases (no engine protection) and cut short the ride.  The little bike dealt to the climb easily and I stopped to check out the view and make sure that Colin had no issues (of course, he didn't).

Making it look easy!

Favourite pic of the wee bike

I spy with my little eye...
From this spot it's not far to the A-frame hut.  We stopped there and cooled off for a bit and decided not to go any further as I believe the going gets rougher (or it used to 20 years ago).

Look what Google did!

On the ride up I did have the GoPro running with it attached to my helmet.  I don't generally like helmet cams (I find them hard to watch sometimes) but I didn't have many other options - perhaps a chest harness might be the go?  Anyway, here's Mighty Mouse doing it's thing:

On the run down I was definitely feeling a bit more confident on the WR and did more standing, generally having a blast.  GoPro was switched to photo mode.

GoPro takes better pics than my little point and shoot...

These guys were good enough to wait for Colin to descend the rocky bit


At the bottom we had a brief discussion on our next leg of the journey and also pondered on whether the little bike had enough fuel to carry out my devious plan.  In the end we went for it...

My devious plan was pretty simple: cross over to Apiti via a little bit of gravel before returning to Ashhurst via Ridge Road.  The gravel was a lot nicer on Makoura Road and had a big grin on when I coaxed the little blue bike up to the speed limit - on gravel.  What a demon...

Tarseal bad...

Gravel good!

Ridge Road was awesome fun too.  The gravel was just right and the little bike ate it for brekkie.  I finally got the fuel warning come on at somewhere just over 140km but easily made the final 28km into Ashhurst where we had a late afternoon snack before I topped up the tank (6.6L!) for the short sprint home to Palmy.

Absolute blast of a day and the little WR and it's Shinko shoes did the job without any fuss.  Everyone needs a dirt bike in the shed!


  1. Cool. We could have seen ya up there as we'd planned to do Takapari and North Range on Saturday with some dudes from HB. Turned out one of them had to sort a Tractor GPS problem in Grey town so that put paid to that.

    1. Bummer. I'm keen to do North Range Road at some stage too - although the Shinkos on the little bike might be interesting in the mud/clay. There is a set of knobblies in the shed though...

  2. There must be some technique, besides shooting a steep hillside trail from the side, to show viewers the steepness of a particular stretch of the trail....I never found it but the TW200 might enable more experimentation. I've mounted a Kolpin 1.5 gal spare gas tank mount to the cargo rack as my T-Dub only holds 1.8 gal and goes to reserve at 70 miles.

    1. Yeah, you're right, the photos never show the steepness properly. In that pic of Colin you can sort of tell that he has just crested a steep bit as the track disappears but even that last bit in front of him is reasonably steep.

      As for fuel, I'll be looking at a replacement tank - there are a few options available but none cheap...