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


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.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A nowhere ride

Yesterday I was busy mowing and gardening and several bikes rode past whilst I was busy cutting down branches out the front. It's double points long weekend here which means the cops virtually take your license for doing 1 kmh over the limit. So I resisted the temptation, then a few more bikes went by. Did I mention it was a fantastic day for riding. Then the missus and kids got in the car and went to church. Was I gonna stand here all day doing boring chores all by myself or was I going for a ride?

Bugger this it's to good of a day to waste doing chores and no riding. So I quickly cleaned up and got the bike out. I wasn't going to go on a long ride as the minister of finance and warfare would be back in an hour and a half.

So I just went for a short ride locally. I happened to find myself out the front of Yamaha Australia HQ which is only 10 minutes from where I live. This is where my bike came from(factory in Japan excluded).