Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fork Me, Fork You

I'd booked the R1 in to have the front suspension serviced, re-valved and re-sprung on Monday when I was off on my RDO as my track day is only 3 weeks away now and I wanted to have the suspension in top working order before I hit the track.

I dropped the bike in at Teknik in Penrith as they did a fantastic job fixing up the rear shock. They offered their workshop scooter for me to get around on but I had to decline and decided to walk and look at the nearby bike shop and do some other shopping.

I got a phone call from Nick just before lunch. Yeah it was some bad news. The front fork sliders were forked. They had some major pitting and he didn't want to put it back together the way it was as it would leak oil everywhere. F*ck it. Just what I wanted to hear. Options were to buy new fork tube sliders from Yamaha for a bomb or send them to Melbourne to be re-chromed with a 2 week turn around. Double F*ck. That would be awful close to when I need to head down for my track day. And there's no guarantee that it would be back in time. Shit shit shit shit. Pardon the photo quality it was taken on my crappy old phone.





I have to give a big shout out to Nick and the boys from Teknik Motorsports. These guys are fucking fantastic. They went out of their way to get my bike back up and going again on the same day. Nick found a set of R1 forks at a wreckers nearby in St Marys and one of his guys went and picked them up. Yep they were in good condition too. They had the new(second hand) sliders put in, in no time at all and it was all back together and ready to go. Thanks guys that was great work. You really went above and beyond. Do you know how hard it is to find a set of 15 year old R1 forks?

I got the guys to set up the bike static sag and rider sag whilst I was there so at least that part is now correctly set. I had the rear shock set a bit too hard. The factory setting means nothing now its been re-sprung.



The new second hand fork tubes now newly installed I noticed there were no stone chips on them. My original ones were peppered with stone chips. Looks a lot better now.

If your looking to get your suspension upgraded give Nick a call on 02 4732 2626.




Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Hot Spring Ride


There's something to be said for starting a ride out in the morning. Like what? I hear you say. Like its a bloody lot cooler early in the morning than starting a ride in the middle of the day which is just what we did on Saturday. I had a few chores and things that needed doing and Bushpig wanted to go for a ride but I couldn't get a start until just after midday. Did I happen to mention it was around 33-34°C today. Not that much fun in full riding gear. I decided that I would go sans full leathers and wear my jeans instead. Damn, where did this heat come from all of a sudden?

I thought we'd go somewhere different today rather than our normal haunts so we decided we'd go up the Old Pacific hwy(Old Road) despite the police presence it attracts. First we would go up through Galston gorge. I decided I'd bring along the gopro today to get some footage. I've been slack of late using the gopro, but I've some new found enthusiasm for it.

First stop was at the bottom of the gorge to put on the camera. It was damn hot standing around in the sun in my gear and sitting in traffic felt like I was getting fried by my bike. Lucky I don't have the R1 with under seat exhausts.

Galston Gorge

Trumpy in the gorge
Here's a short video of our trip up through the gorge, not a bad run although my riding felt majorly rusty like it was the first time I'd ever ridden. Gotta get out more often. It's not a good feeling wobbling all over the road like a learner. It appears bushpig was even rustier than I was.



Next up was the run along the Old road and to stop in a Pie in the Sky for a drink and lunch. Yep you guessed it a pepper steak pie. Surprisingly there were only a hand full of bikes here today. Sunday would be a very different story, as there is usually heaps of bikes here. It was a bit cooler here as we could see the water from the view out the back of the shop. The breeze was beautiful on such a warm day.


Pie in the Sky
I didn't really have any plans as to where to go to next as we had just executed the entire plan in about an hour. It was nearly 2pm and I  didn't want to go home just yet and it is daylight savings after all so we would have daylight till nearly 8pm so I suggested a ride around wisemans ferry and then back home through Maralaya. I put the gopro on again but it went flat even before we got out of the drive way at Pie in the sky. Oh well, that will teach me not to charge it before a ride. I got about 5 minutes footage in total. It's ok bushpig your epic riding fail that should have been on camera will now never see the light of day. Saved by the flat battery.


Bushpig liked my new suggested ride plan so we headed for the riverside road around to wisemans hoping it might be cooler around here. It wasn't. Bushpig mentioned to me when we stopped 'how was I keeping my bike on the road because he was getting bounced around everywhere'. My ass had really copped a hammering along this bit of road and I had been out of the seat several times over some of the rough sections, and the on/off ramps on some of the bridges. Like the one in the picture below. I flew off the end of this bridge due to the slope down from the bridge to the road surface. The councils really need to sort this shit out.


Photo courtesy of Bushpig


Hawkesbury River

On the ferry


We decided to stop in at the wisemans ferry hotel as we were both parched from the heat. Stepping inside into the air conditioning was like heaven. A couple of light refreshments at the hotel and coming back out it was around 5pm and it had cooled down quite considerably. It made for a much more enjoyable ride home. I somehow managed to take a wrong turn at Maralaya and lost bushpig and didn't see him again. Then I got a little lost and then found my way again. I phoned bushpig and he got home before I did. A great afternoons ride all up.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Michelin Pilot Power 3 - Update

Just thought I'd give you a quick update on the Michelin Pilot Power 3's that I put on the R1 last tyre change. I now have done about 5000km's on these tyres without any real problems so to speak. The PP3 is Michelin's 2CT dual compound  sports tyre, which is a harder compound in the centre with a soft compound on the side where you need it most - in the middle of a bend you certainly want the soft sticky bits to keep you firmly planted to the road.

As the tyre has aged I've really started to notice the pronounced difference in the 2 compounds where they join, it has clearly become visible. Another slightly more alarming thing that I've noticed is that when I run my fingers across the join in the 2 compounds you can feel a dip in the tread ever so slightly, it's probably about a millimetre in difference. Now I haven't really noticed this whilst cranked over hooking into a bend at speed, but it will be interesting to see how much this wears over the last 1000km's of its life span which is probably about all I will get out of it. I'll post up a bit more on these tyres later when I finish this set off.








Sunday, October 19, 2014

Motogp 2014 Phillip Island

Well we didn't attend this year but had a meet up with beers, BBQ and bikes.
Rossi kicked some young motogp stars butts as he cruised to victory.

Borrowed from Fox Sports



And locally some bikes may have coped a thrashing after a few many beers.




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Great Ocean Road

The great ocean road or GOR for short is one of those iconic roads that is a must visit for every motorcyclist as well as tourist and locals alike. It has amazing beach lines, winding mountainous roads with magnificent views, forested sections that wind uphill and down dale with bend after glorious bend. The GOR starts at Geelong and ends at Warnambool and was built by the returned service men or diggers as we call em here after world war 1, for us motorcyclists it starts proper from Torquay until Port Campbell. The GOR is on just about every motorcyclists list of roads to do before they die and fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it I've managed to ride it 4 times. If your planning on visiting Australia and want to know where to ride then this is a great start.

There are also some great feeder roads to and from the GOR through the Otways ranges national park. The views up in the Otways is spectacular, one can look to one side and see stunning valleys that reach out to the sea and on the other sweeping vistas and forested hillside stretching for miles, absolute beauty with winding roads in between. This is a motorcycling paradise.

Starting from Torquay and heading to Anglesea is more or less gentle sweepers and a few tight corners thrown in which is but a taste of whats to come. From Anglesea to Lorne the tightness of the corners intensifies as the ocean views come thick and fast with mountain views on the right hand side to counter. Lorne is one of the larger and more touristy towns, I prefer smaller places and less crowded, like Apollo bay.



One must look out for the numerous tour buses that frequent this road as well as star struck international visitors trolling along at super low speed. There are quite a few turn out lanes for slower vehicles but from my limited experience on this road most drivers seem to think that they are for other drivers and won't pull over and use them. Feel free to honk and flash your lights at them for such selfish driving.




From Lorne to Apollo bay the traffic seems a little lighter at times with still the same superb twists and turns along the coastline. There are plenty of spots to stop along the way for photos of the scenery.  Apollo bay is a small little town, be careful as you cant get fuel here after 10pm and according to tarsnakes this is one of the most expensive places around for premium fuel.



Apollo Bay Main Street




Once out of Apollo bay the road winds its way up into the hills and forests leaving the beaches and coastline behind. Winding through hilly forested farming land it comes out to the sleepy little hamlet of Lavers Hill. Turning left at Lavers Hill takes you to Port Campbell following the GOR and turning right takes you up through to Gellibrand or Beech Forest also some fantastic riding.


Make sure to stop off at 'the shoppe' for a home made hamburger, it's one of the best I've ever had.


After Lavers Hill the road winds its way through lush forests and beautiful hilly farmland away from the coastline but eventually winds it way back down to the sea again near the 12 Apostles and Port Campbell.







The road becomes a lot straighter out near Port Campbell but there are still some good corners to be had and spectacular views. One can take a helicopter flight over the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge or you can just park up and and wander down to one of the many walkways constructed for tourists to take in the views.

Looking East along the 12 Apostles


Looking West along the 12 Apostles
 



Just a short 5 minute trip up the road from the twelve apostles is Loch Ard Gorge named after the the Ship aptly named Loch Ard, which run aground and sunk here killing all but 2 passengers.

Loch Ard Gorge


Not long after Loch Ard gorge you come to Port Campbell which is effectively the end of the road for riding the twisties in this part. The road continues out to warnambool but the road becomes fairly straight after this. There's good accommodation and fuel available in Port Campbell with a pretty little beach right at the centre of town.

One of the great riding roads in Australia if you get the chance, which is only ruined by the fact that there are so many tourists on this road. Best to ride it during the weekdays if possible as there is generally less traffic.

Port Campbell

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Slaying Arthurs Pass, New Zealand 2014

Ahh good old New Zealand it just keeps giving and giving even though our trip was months ago(feels like years now). I had some unused footage that I captured laying around doing nothing so I managed to cobble this together. If you love rock music turn it up real loud(unless you live in Germany and YouTube has blocked the song so just put on Motley Crue's Kick start my heart).


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Don't believe everything you read in bike magazines....

One of the magazine subscriptions I read is Australian Motorcycle News which has some good articles and news and events on all things motorcycle. But a couple of issues ago I came across an article in the AMCN rides that I couldn't believe made it in there.


AMCN have a section called AMCN rides which is a write up on good bike roads to ride on. This particular article was on a section of road I know all to well. Its the Lachlan valley way.




Here's one of the pages blatantly stolen from the issue showing the route.








I grew up and lived in Forbes for 28 years in the central west of NSW. Now I can assure you that the rides/roads they have listed to ride here are some pretty crap and straights roads that would bore the shit out of most hardcore touring bike riders.  Yeah the way to fight the boredom is either drink yourself stupid until you see dead people or ride somewhere more interesting. The road from Forbes to West Wyalong and beyond is completely straight with only a couple of gentle bends which has lots of trucks on it as its a main arterial route between Melbourne and Brisbane, and the Lachlan valley way to Lake Cargellico is also a fairly boring run most of this area is flat and straight with not that many hills about.

If you want to know where the best roads in this area is for bike riding you need to go east of Forbes anywhere between Cowra, Wyangala Dam, Canowindra, Mandurama. Towards Orange you have the highest peak between the blue mountains and the western NSW border, Mt Canobolas at 1395m(4577ft) not one of the highest peaks by any stretch of the imagination but its high enough to get snow up here every winter. The surrounding areas are very hilly which makes for good road bike riding as you get that uphill down dale effect, not a twisty stretch but a road with nice flowing curves.

The map below shows some of the better roads in this area, with some twisties between Cowra, Wyangala and Woodstock, with the other roads nice hilly flowing roads. The road between Canowindra and Mandurama is a bit of a favourite back road of mine.



Along the way on this route is the little town of Eugowra which has recently had a lot of cool murals painted on the the sides of the buildings in the middle of town, a little like the town of Sheffield in Tasmania.









One good thing AMCN did touch on though was the McFeeters motor museum in Forbes which is on the Newell Highway just over the bridge near lake Forbes. The museum houses plenty of classic cars and a few bikes. If you want to go to a bike museum go to Nabiac instead as you can't beat the motorcycle museum there but if your riding past its well worth a stop. They have a cafe on the side with great sausage rolls and pretty good coffee too. There's also a working bee hive out the side that you can actually taste honey straight off the honeycomb which was fantastic.










Model T ford, this car photograghed was the same car that we used to take us to and from our wedding reception and photos.

Model A ford, which they had several






MV

GSXR & Katana early 80's



It's not all boring straight roads out west, you just need to know where to go to find the good motorcycle roads, because there are miles and miles of straight boring crap out that way, and lifes way too short to have a crap ride.