Tuesday, January 26, 2021


So leaving the Levin Trail ride after actually needing help to get the bike up on the ute (it sucks not having an engine) was a bit sad but I had to turn my attention to sorting the bike out - and sorting it out quickly.

At the ride I'd got advice from two bike mechanics (and I had the old man on speed dial too) and they stressed that I needed to get onto it straight away.  So on the way home there was a quick stop to pick up some cheap oil and then after unloading the ute I was into it.

Ten bolts to get to this point and one more for the tank

This scungy looking thing had been removed at the ride too

The bike had already been stripped down beside the river (the plastics rode back in the box on the quad and the rest just balanced in roughly the right place while I sat on the bike) so my first action was to drop the old water contaminated oil out.  This was done cold without the usual warm-up to aid draining.

Probably actually one of my "flushes" in there too

I then replaced the oil and moved to the top of the motor.  On Dad's advice I put a couple of squirts from my oil can down the plug hole before working the kick-starter (with my hand) over probably 20-30 times to see I could get any more water out.  I'd obviously got 99% of it out at the river as I only got the old bit of "mist" back out the top.

Now for the moment of truth.  In went the plug and then after plugging the fuel and pump electrical connections in, I hit the starter.  As it turned out the bike barely turned over before roaring into life - phew!

After letting the bike warm up for quite a while (I let her get pretty hot), I shut it down and promptly drained that lot of oil out.  I then repeated this and then left the bung out overnight so any condensation could drain out.

During the week I gave it another flush and then with the last 1L of my cheap oil gave it a final flush on Saturday.  After draining this last lot of oil I then changed the oil filter and I still wonder if I should have actually done this after perhaps the first flush - it's doubtful there was water in after the dunking but maybe after that first warm-up?

Filter changed it was then time to check the two oil strainers.

I had done the one above before and this time around I even laid the bike over a bit on it's side and found that I was still draining oil out that hadn't come out the bung - another lesson for next time.

Next up was the interesting one that lives under the magneto cover and there is all sorts of bits and pieces living under there.  Just watching the below video gave me the heebie-jeebies - checkout what he says at about 1:22.

But anyway, I needed to learn how to do it at some stage so I followed his instructions and...

All lined up...

Getting closer to the moment of truth...

And hey presto!  Stuff does fall out!

Then it was time to remove the oil pump cover and check out that screen.

Yet more oil hiding away that I was able to drain out...

Not exactly filthy

As you can see the screen looked pretty good - I'm not quite sure what I was expecting but at least I know that oil should be able to get to the pump ok.  I didn't even remove the screen (no circlip pliers - doh!) but gave it a good wipe and stuck it back in.

But, it was good to check in under that cover as there was the odd water droplet sticking to the inside of the cover and up around where those gears go.  There was even some "cappuccino" oil/water froth in places.  it was nice to be able to get a rag in there and clean things up - I wonder where else there could be some moisture hiding?

That done, I now had to work out how the clockwork jigsaw puzzle went back together.  I had three sets of gears, four washers, a spacer and a small bearing to find a home from.  The spacer and bearing were easy to work out and so were the sets of gears but I only had four washers - where were they supposed to go?  If you watched all of the video (and I'm thinking that maybe only fellow RMX riders will bother) you'll notice that he never shows how all the bits and pieces go back together...

I was seriously scratching my head and just a little bit worried.  I got even more worried when I lost track of a washer for a while - I sifted through the used oil and scoured the shed for it until finally I fished it out from behind the magneto housing.  Thank goodness for magnets.

Ok, time for a wee Google.  Well, pretty quickly I learned that I wasn't the only guy to have had the same quandary and some thoughtful guy had posted up a video and explanation on a forum.  After that it was just a matter of holding my tongue right to get everything in place before replacing the cover.

Here's what things should look like under there with everything in its correct place.

Clockwork Suzuki

Motor all buttoned up again it was time to finally add some decent Castrol into it and then also to replace that air filter before another warm-up followed by an oil level check.

Fresh filter with a spray of filter oil on it.

While the bike warmed up I put the tank, plastics, seat and bash pad back on and then shut her down.  A small top-up after letting the oil settle and I called the job done.

So hopefully the poor wee thing is ok - it seems to start and run ok but I guess if I'm really, really unlucky there could be some damage.  I'll get someone with a better mechanical ear to have a listen as soon as I can and I think I'll do the oil and filter again after the next ride.

Fingers crossed...

Monday, January 25, 2021

Levin Trail ride

 Last Sunday was the latest of my trail riding adventures on the RMX and yes, there was adventure!

When I left home it was fine but the forecast was threatening rain later in the day - I didn't care, I just wanted some more fun on the RMX.

I'd left early so on my way through Shannon I stopped to buy a coffee.  While lined up I was talking to a few guys and one asked what I was up to.  When I sadi trail riding, he mentioned that years ago there used to be plenty of them but he thought that their popularity had dropped off.  What do you think?  Yes, people were still arriving when I took these pics...

At just before 10 we were given a rider's briefing including warnings about the first river crossing and not going hard on the little bit of gravel road we'd be on.  And then we were off...

The first bit of the loop took us up this beautiful track through some forest.  It was a great climb and a very easy ride.  I took it easy on the first lap as we'd been told not to rip up some of the tracks but on my last two laps I fair snotted up it - going hard in top gear even - so much fun!

Then the track popped you out onto farmland which offered some really cool views.  The below pics were taken on lap two.

Looking down on Levin

On the first lap the grass was still a bit dewy and fairly slippery so a bit of care needed to be taken on the descent.  Once again, after the first lap to get my eye in, I rode a bit faster.

After a slightly steeper and greaser bit at the bottom it was time to cross the road and tackle that first river crossing.  There was a bit of a hold up on the first lap as people waited for those attempting the crossing to make there way across.

The water was reasonably deep and flowing quite steadily but the biggest issue was the large rocks to get over/around and once you stopped it could be tricky to get going again if you were hung up on a rock.  There was much splashing and revving of motors.  On my first attempt I got across no problems (except water in the boots straight away) at all but there were still more large rocks on the beach to deal with as we rode up the river a bit to where the track then turned onto farmland again.  Overall, I'm not in favour of rocks...

From that point on there was some great dashes across paddocks, up and down banks and into and out of the river quite a bit until being spat out onto the gravel road.  I particularly enjoyed riding with others who were roughly the same speed - seeing if I could keep up or perhaps even overtake...

I could have avoided some of the gravel road if I'd attempted an A loop but I'm fat, old, unfit and perhaps just a wee bit unskilled.  So, I stuck to the gravel until once again we turned onto another forest track which was fairly quick and took me up the hill again for a blast across the ridge.

Eventually, the track started to descend and into perhaps the trickiest (except maybe for the first river crossing) part of the loop.  The track was fairly damp and there was some pretty slippery bits along with some decent ruts to keep you focused.  I certainly wasn't as fast as the young dudes who just attack everything...

Popping out the bottom got me into a big paddock for the return back to the pits where I made a quick stop to take on some water - I'd had my camelbak on the whole way around but never really stopped or had time to take a drink.

And then I was back out into for round 2...

As I mentioned above, after my sighter lap I went a bit quicker everywhere and once again got through the river ok except for having to stop and then get going again.  But then, after another good squirt across the paddocks and the last of the river crossings I made a whoopsie before a sharp left hander.

The corner (for me anyway) required a downchange to first before turning up the hill and I think during the downchange I hit a rock with no drive and got biffed off the bike.  I landed pretty hard on my left shoulder (possibly on rocks too) and stayed down for a few seconds while I wondered if I had stuffed my good shoulder.  Yeah, it hurt a wee bit.

Anyway, I got back up and out of the way of the other riders while I caught my breath.  A minute or two later I was off again like it hadn't happened but I'm still sore now...I think I may have something a tweak and that something didn't really like it...

Back at the ute it was time for lunch before heading out for what would be my last lap and with the odd spit of rain falling I charged up the hill chasing after some quads.  Everything went well until the river...

Yep, you guessed it.  I joined a few others in being unfortunate enough to dunk there bikes.  I never completely submerged the bike but it got low enough for water to enter the air box and that was all she wrote.  To say that it was hard work pushing it over those rocks out of the river is an understatement.

Out on the beach I joined about 4 others (and even they weren't the only ones) pulling their bikes down to get the water out of them.  One of the others was a rider I'd met at the Bush riders trail ride and I was able to lend him some tools to get his Yammie going.

It took me a while to remove seat, plastics and tank to get to the spark plug and remove it.  I pumped some of the water out of the motor using the kick starter and was just getting around to lifting the bike up to drain the air box when a ride marshal came over to help.  He helped me drain the airbox but then suggested that we just load the bike up on the trailer and he'd run me back.  I was pretty sure (especially now I have the bike back together and running - see next blog) that I would have got the bike going again but I went with the program and it was probably better than running the bike with some "dilute" oil in it.

When we left the riverside there were three bikes on the trailer...

Here's some more carnage from the river crossing.  Check out the three photos of the red bike taking a number of different lines across - it wasn't easy...

Oops, stalled...

So, not the best ending to a ride but I did really enjoy it.  The route was really cool with a bit of everything and mostly pretty easy to ride.  The dunking sucked but I've now done that and appear to have gotten away with it...

Bring on the next trail ride!

Friday, January 22, 2021

The Hard men's stories

 Finally Chris has finished his write-up of his epic trip around the Top paddock and Julian was also good enough to write about his lap of the bottom paddock.

Both are great reads and Chris's has some good video as well as some of his planning tips.  Well worth a read.

Here are the links:

Riding the Bottom Paddock

Ride around the Top Paddock

Oh, and Julian has made it into Bike Rider Magazine for his efforts - I may need to grab a copy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Countdown begins...


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Hard men

If you've been paying attention, you would have seen this post a wee while ago about Julian completing an epic 3,015km lap of the South Island in a touch under 48 hours.  Well, last week he went out and did it again - more on that shortly...

A couple of days after that wee scoot Chris leapt aboard his trusty Connie and rattled of a quick lap of the North Island.  He managed 3,367km in 46.5 hours - epic!  I'll post a link to his ride report when he gets around to finishing it - no pressure Chris...

So, we have two hard men out cutting some laps around our wee islands.  Why?

Well, as Chris explains it here, he, (with a little help from his friends) have managed to get three new New Zealand based IBA rides (the 3rd being a special award for someone who as completed both of the paddock runs) approved by the IBA, and someone had to prove that they could be done.

And that's why Julian went out and rode another 3,048kms (with about 4hrs to spare) last week as the weather on his previous ride prevented him from actually completing the bottom paddock (he was unable to finish where he started from).  Rules are rules I 'spose and Julian appears to like spending quite a bit of time on his Indian.  That's his Indian pictured below in an IBA line-up (Julian wanted a photo of all the IBA plates) at the NI800/NI1600 last year - he did both rides one after another that weekend...

Stella's R1, Chris's Connie, Luke's ZX-14, Julian's Indian and my old girl 😍

Stella & Chris - both IBA certified riders 💪
(Stella needs a special award for completing hers on the R1)

Hopefully Chris won't kill me, but I suspect that he has put an enormous lot of work in getting these rides approved by the IBA (thanks Chris!) - which now means that any mad sod can give them a whirl and get a flash certificate...

Congrats Chris and Julian - you guys really are crazy but maybe the crazy got you through those epic rides!  See ya soon!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Hot Lap

 After the mammoth tyre wrangling of Saturday, Sunday was always going to be play day.  But, rather than scrub in those new tyres on the Ten, the neglected Connie needed a decent little run.

Colin and John rocked up to my place some time after 9am and after a bit of a natter we decided that we should go for a ride.  

Our adventure started with the short squirt over to Pahiatua where the lads required some dino-juice for their horses and some pastry for their bellies - I may have had a sausage roll so that they didn't feel awkward...

Leaving our favourite BP in Pahiatua, we hit the road for Pongaroa.  While there was the odd stretch of damp road, it was pleasing to not be riding in a thunderstorm like the previous weekend.  But the ole 1400 Adv bike did have to negotiate quite a few sections of roadworks - some made up of nasty big, sharp looking gravel.

From Pongaroa we carried on along Route 52 to the Weber turn-off but turned right instead of left to ride the roughest sealed road in the country to Wimbledon and then North to Porangahau for a coffee stop and to open vents on our riding gear.

Barista-mon bearing cow juice for our coffees mon.

Next up was the quick squirt up to Waipuk and Waipawa before we got off SH2 and took in the delights of Middle Road and on into a sweltering Havelock North - luckily the pub was nicely air-conditioned and had the odd cold drink to pick from while we had a munch.

After lunch we carried on across to Hastings for fuel before tackling the Napier-Taihape.  Apart from the heat and the odd slide on hot tar, the ride across was pretty magic.  Across the tops there was actually a nice breeze that helped cool us off a bit and the view of Ruapehu was magnificent.

At one bridge crossing, the lads pulled over for a breather while I ignorantly carried on.  Well, not quite, I noticed them pull over and figured it was just for a drink so I carried on up the hill for some photos and to see if I could also get a picture of them going past.

With the guys taking a bit longer than expected (our game plans perhaps not quite aligned) I started wondering about punctures or potential BMW warranty claims so I turned back and caught them just getting ready to roll again...

A wee while later we found ourselves in Taihape where it was definitely time for a cold drink again - yes, it was warm out.

From Taihape we tootled down SH1 before enjoying Vinegar Hill through to Cheltenham and Colyton where I turned off for home and the others carried on South.

For me it was a nice little 520 odd km ride while the other guys would have ended up with nearly 700 - nice.

Monday, January 11, 2021

That new rubber smell...

So after a whopping 6,500kms (1,000 more than the last one), the rear E-07+ on the Tenere was looking fairly second hand.  Time to organise some new ones then...

Recently the rumour mill had been suggested that E-07 Dakars were going to become available but now I'm not so sure but perhaps what the rumour mill should have been saying is that there is now a Dakar version of the E-07+ because that's what I've ended up for the rear anyway.  Or, the tyre importer stuffed up?  Anyway, my tyre guy Glen managed to get me the Dakar rear and a standard E-07 front.  Hopefully, we'll be able to sort things out properly for the next order.

Oh yeah, so what about the front?  Well, it had a E-07 Dakar on it and it only had 16,800km on it.  I got 19,500 out of the previous one and this one probably would still have got a WOF but I'm guessing I'll be doing around 4,000km on the TT trip so best to give it the heave...

Anyway, Saturday was tyre-wrestling day and yeah, it was a wrestle.  I think I might even consider paying someone to do it next time - these Adv tyres are not a lot of fun to put on, I'll stick to being the guy to wear them out...

But we are good to go!

Oh yeah!

Monday, January 04, 2021

New Years ride

Ok, so it was actually on the 3rd, but I did ride and it was the first one of the New Year...

Yesterday a planned Adv ride didn't happen due to some bad weather in the area we were going, making the ride a no-go, but, the WR was ready for action so I just had to take her out for a whirl...

I had a few ideas up my sleeve - including a trip up Takapari Road or across north Range Road but in the end Puketoi Road jumped to the head of the queue.  I've ridden Puketoi Road a few times in the past and the road can be extremely "interesting" if there has been much rain and it's not one I really want to take the Tenere over.  And, we'd had a thunderstorm overnight...

With the main destination decided, the  only thing I then had to come up with was what the rest of my route would like to make the most of my trip over to the Eastern side of the hill.  A few minutes playing around in Basecamp had a neat 240km loop planned and downloaded to the Zumo.

After chucking 10L of fuel in the thirsty wee bike I made for the track and am pleased to say that even the mouse can make this fun - it managed top gear on a few of the uphill bits and I even passed a car or two.  What a weapon!

My first port of call was going to be Eketahuna for a quick bite so naturally I took our normal gravel route down there.  It's quite fun relearning to ride the WR after riding the Tenere and I have to say I probably was a lot faster in some places and not a lot slower in others as the little bike ate up the gravel - even some of the deeper stuff was not really an issue on the WR with it's reasonably knobbly rubber.

Along the way I had two Adv bikes (an AT and a KTM) go past in the other direction just as I hit some of the faster stretches.  They would have just seen a little blue and white blur...

In Eketahuna I stopped for a quick lunch before making my way out onto more fabulous gravel across to Alfredton and onto Route 52.

The next bit of gravel was Pori Road and it was great fun blasting up the hill to the usual photo stop.

Just up the road a bit was the turn-off to Puketoi and the usual warning:

I didn't have a trailer on so I figured I'd be sweet as until I saw this sign:

I was a little confused by this one as the way I read it the two larger signs conflict with one another.  I decided to press on and if necessary turn around if the road was toast or being worked on.  You'll notice in the video that there are plenty of fresh tire marks on the road.  The only real damage to the road was the odd little slump like tin the picture below, otherwise the track was fine even on the unmaintained dirt side.

Anyway, it was a neat little ride.  Great to ride the WR on something a bit more interesting than a gravel or sealed road.  Check out the action:

Back on 52, I had about 10km to ride before my next turn-off and things went well for a while - until the weather changed dramatically.  What started off as a few spits quickly turned into heavy rain and then a thunderstorm.  I missed a couple of opportunities (trees overhanging the road) to stop and put in my waterproof liner but eventually found another one and parked the bike in the ditch while I wrestled with the gear...

Once the bike was shut down I could even hear the thunder and lightning - it was even just a little frightening and by the time I was ready to go I was probably just as wet as if I hadn't stopped at all...

At this point I could have pulled the pin on any further gravel excursions and ridden back via Pongaroa, but I figured that taking my chosen Rimu Road was probably just as quick and perhaps even safer - more grip, less traffic.  The first bit of the ride was pretty slow as I couldn't see a heck of a lot but the torrential rain eventually eased off to some lighter but still wet stuff.  I still didn't feel like stopping for photos...

Back on the seal it was still wet and quite slippery as I dropped down into Makuri.  The gorge itself was a lot more fun.

Riding out towards SH2, I felt that it actually got a little warmer.  I stood up ever now and again but unfortunately no amount of warmish airflow was going to dry me out in a hurry.

At the main road I turned towards Mangatainoka and then turned off to try out Ridge Road North in the opposite direction as last time.  This was quite a fun little blast and there's some pretty decent views from up on top of the ridge.

Looking down on Pahiatua

Then, before one last thrash over the track, I had to get my last gravel fix on Tararua Road.  I always enjoy this quick little diversion but clambering up the little hill was especially as the surface was just right for a little sideways action.

Arriving at home, it was easy to confirm that yes, I was wet through so it was great to sort that out and get a coffee into me.  Besides nearly getting drowned, it was a really cool little ride to get 2021 started off properly!