20 November 2008

New chain and sprocket

How long has it been since I posted last?! Well to be honest there hasn't been much to write about this month. Had a tooth fall apart which facilitated a visit to the dentist, on about the wettest day of the year. However I was kept totally dry by my Frank Thomas jacket and Richa trousers (textiles rule!).

Biggest thing this month was getting the chain and sprocket set changed on the bike. Now I probably should have done this myself however it is too cold to work on the bike much this time of the year, and such a fiddly job, I left it with Just Motorcycles. Not only were they able to fit me in the very next day after I called, but it was finished in a single afternoon. I wonder if that speed is simply because there may be less work this time of year? In any case, if you have a major bit of work to be done to a bike, now would be a good time of year to have it looked at!

Since the new set has been replaced, the bike pulls so much better and a lot smoother. Well worth keeping up on maintaining a chain and ensuring the is is lubed and tightened to its specs. That is why mine was replaced, if I had looked after it better I could have kept the old one.

The only other thing to have happened, actually on my way home from picking the bike up from above, was the glue failing on the heated grips. I opened up the old girl accelerated away, then suddenly lost power as the throttle closed slightly. Thankfully I wasn't far from home and gently got her back and applied loads more glue. Hopefully it won't happen again.

01 November 2008

How safety films should be made

Over on MCN I spotted a video from Devon County Council for riding safety during winter. Really well done and a good spoof, but contains some useful advice!

29 October 2008

Ice stops play

This was the first day in months where I haven't used my bike. All due to the snow that fell last night and the freezing temperatures. Combined they turned the road I live at into an ice rink. Annoyingly none of the roads (major or minor) have been gritted so I didn't want to risk riding down to work. Also last year when a similar thing happened, work didn't grit the carpark and it would have been stupidly slippery to get down to where I normally park up.

Hopefully tomorrow is another day and a slightly warmer day, well at least not freezing!

21 October 2008

Heated grips and new bar ends

Had the first chance to use my heated grips today and all I can say is that they are excellent! While I'll admit the ends of my fingers were still cold, the rest of my hand stayed nice and toasty and when I stopped the tips soon warmed up.

Due to the fitment of the new grips my old bar ends wouldn't fit as the grips are slightly longer. As such I asked my Father if he could make up some new ones for me with the exact fitting needed. He has and I have a nice set of aluminium ends for the bike. I just need to polish them up and clear coat them (stop the from tarnishing) and I can get them installed. Picture on the right.

17 October 2008

Heated Handlebar Grips

After having had them in my possession for almost a year now, I have finally got my heated handlebar grips installed onto the bike. Not that they are working yet, as Maplin currently have the relay I need on back order, but they have been fitted and the throttle doesn't have any problems.

I toke so long as because they aren't official Suzuki grips they don't have the grooves and flange recesses that the original throttle has. As such a Dremel was needed to remove them. However I didn't want to risk wrecking my original and kept an eye (occasionally) on eBay for a cheap replacement. Finally one came up that I won and I set to work hacking it apart.

Once all the unnecessary bits were removed I installed them onto the bike, ran the cabling down into the headlamp and back down towards the battery. I could wire them direct to the battery, that is a risk though if I accidentally (or someone else) leaves them running and I come back to a flat battery! Hopefully I should have them wired up by next weekend. Just in time as the weather gets colder.

13 October 2008

Valve Cover Gasket

1 week in and it seems that the leak fro the valve cover gasket has been stopped. So far I can find no indication of the leak coming back so fingers crossed that is solved. One little thing is to make sure that you have the bike on very level ground before checking your oil level. I thought the road just outside of my house was reasonably level, however I check last time by bringing it into the garage (defiantly level) and it showed that I had a sump full of oil. Outside on the road it was saying I was getting a little low.

11 October 2008

ER-6F Movie

Kawasaki have updated their website pages to account for the new 2009 bikes. The ER-6F has had an overhaul on its pages an I found this video to advertise it. Anyone know where this is, I'd love to ride round there!!

There is also a PDF download for a factheet available too.

09 October 2008

Tank Pack

In my last post I mentioned that my mother had brought me a tank pack from Lidl (of all places). I have to admit that I am very surprised at the overall feel and quality of it. For £13 it is has a map pocket; an expandable main compartment (with loads of little pockets for holding things it); three little compartments around the outside, one of which is removable and can be converted into a "bum bag"; and the magnetic base can be removed from the bag and left on the bike, which also has another map pocket if you don't wish to carry the full bag. Carrying wise, it fixes to the bike using magnets (so useless for anyone with an aluminium or plastic/carbon fibre tank) and has two straps to help hold the bag in the unlikely case of the magnets failing, can be held with a handle in the top, over the shoulder or as a backpack.

It has a good weight to it as the fabric seems of a good quality and feels very robust. Overall it is a good buy for what little money it costs.

06 October 2008

Tail pack and tank bag

Having used the bike for a couple of weekend jaunts, I was putting the stuff I needed to carry into a backpack then securing it to the pillion seat with a couple of bungy cords. Not the most elegant solution. Last week I got a promotional email from Busters for a reduced price tail pack. It is a Tech7 bag reduced from £39.99 to £14.99. While I was playing with my bike on Saturday, putting in the new gasket, I popped it onto the seat to check the fit. Not too bad. My only comment is the bag itself is HEAVY, coming in at 1.6kg on its own with a max 5kg for anything in it. So it isn't a light thing, but is reasonably big on the inside, with enough room to lay a 6-pint bottle of milk (from Tesco!) in the bottom. Should be enough to carry a weekends worth of clothing. As an aside it will also snugly fit a 5l petrol can if you so desire!

Bless her, my mother also brought me a tank bag from Lidl (I believe). Haven't got that yet from her, but will be interesting to see how it fits onto the bike. My main thing I am looking for with that is to hold my phone in, so that I can see the screen when it is in GPS mode.

04 October 2008

Valve cover gasket

I have had a persistent leak on the no.2 cylinder valve cover. Spent the morning replacing it, surprisingly it went really well. The biggest problem was getting the cover to come off, but a bit of timber and a hammer soon got that off. One thing that I found out about it was that the Haynes Manual suggests that this can be done without removing the engine. Now this is technically true, however it fails to mention that you need to also remove the breather cap to be able to get it out from under the frame. Other then that it was reasonably easy to change.

Now comes the time to see if it really does stop this annoying leak.

Oh and my tickets for the NEC Motorbike show turned up this week, really looking forward to it now!

27 September 2008

ER-6F Fan and colour options

OK I'll admit it, I do like the ER-6F and even more the new 2009 model. The only thing that I do wish is that it would be made in more colours. It seems that most motorbike manufactures are scared of colour. I don't mind the green and blue that the ER-6F seems to be coming in, but what about a sexy black or post box red?

Playing around on the computer I have manipulated the image of the bike to give a feel for the other colours I feel should be made available on the bike.

That said it is easy enough to have it resprayed but why should we have to pay the extra money when it wouldn't cost much (anything?) more to supply them out of the box like it.

22 September 2008

GSTwin.com Stickers

Got a couple more stickers about a week ago from GSTwins.com. I have used the site for loads of information about my bike as it is dedicated to the Suzuki GS500. As I had used the site to help me out, I donated some money to help them, and got a couple of stickers which are now taking pride of place on the rear fairing.

21 September 2008

New Kawasaki Models for 2009

Since getting into biking and going to the MCN show in ExCeL back at the beginning of the year, I have always loved the ER-6F. It has been at the forefront of the selection of bikes that I am deciding between for when my restricted period on the license runs out next year. My only reservation of it has been the styling. Compared to many of the other bikes out there, it always had a somewhat "passive" styling, not any more! The new 2009 model looks fantastically aggressive. Kawasaki Press Release:



Building on the key values of its highly acclaimed predecessor, the new ER-6f continues to offer a package that is both fun and easy to ride, and matches its sporty street performance with aggressive new Ninja supersport styling.



The balance of compact size and good power offered by the ER-6f's predecessor was the key to its success. To fit into its trim package, an in-line four would have been too wide and a V-Twin too long. The only engine design that offered both good power characteristics and the requisite compactness was a Parallel Twin. While maintaining this balance, the new engine gets a number of tweaks that offer smoother low-mid response and a quicker-revving character.


The key to the ER-6f's compact size is its amazingly compact Parallel Twin engine, which permits the use of a narrow, lightweight frame. The result is a bike with the dimensions of a 400 and the power of a 650 that welcomes beginners with a "Come on, let's go for a ride!" attitude, while also offering plenty of performance for more experienced riders. Changes to the frame, swinging arm and suspension result in reduced vibration and lighter handling, making the new ER-6f more accessible than ever.


Styling inspired by our Ninja supersport models gives the front fairing of the ER-6f the look of a modern supersport machine. Sharp edged lines move forward, giving the bike a more aggressive, crouching appearance. Simple in design, the ER-6f avoids all superfluous design flourishes; lines were made to flow as long as possible. The new, taller fuel tank, minimalist-design bodywork and sharp tail cowl give the bike a compact, purposeful appearance. Attention to the smallest detail contributes to the new bike's high-quality finish and undoubted appeal.

So what is different, well from the pictures the styling is much more in line with the Ninja brand providing a more aggressive and angular style. Gone are the soft rounded corners, in are the sharp lines. Still retained is the under slung exhaust, but now the rear end sports a very tidy set of LEDs for the side/brake light, as very much in vogue at the moment. The dash seems to have had a major uplift, gone are the two analogue dials and in is a LCD pod.

Here is a little montage for use as a desktop wallpaper.

19 September 2008

Mods to the bike

OK so they aren't earth shattering changes. I can't see the point of doing that much to the bike as I am not planning on keeping it for too long, but here is the small list of what I have done to the bike:

Brake and Clutch levers
Dash lamps changed to LEDs

As posted up a while ago I changed my helmet to an Aria Chaser. Here is a picture of it on the beach when I went down to the coast.

14 September 2008

NEC Bike Show website update

They have now changed the website to the new look for 2008 with a great new "mascot", if that is the right word.

Hopefully there will be more details later, I am interested if Yamaha are bringing along the new 2009 XJ6 Diversion to the show.

12 September 2008

New Mirrors

I have always had problems with my right side mirror with it not holding its position. This didn't use to be a major problem, just and inconvenience of having to adjust it regularly. However recently it became harder and harder to get it to keep in place, and now refuses to give me any view other then the floor. Had it been the left side I wouldn't have worried so much, but as it was the right it makes overtaking much harder as I am unable to see what traffic is coming up behind me. So I brought some new ones from Busters. As the bike is merely to get me through my restricted period on my license I didn't want to have to spend a fortune replacing them. Hunting through Busters website turned up a pair for a mere £12. I was worried that they may be really poor quality but decided to give them a go.

As always with Busters the item was in my hands a short two days later (well with my neighbor two days later, I wasn't in when it was delivered!). Once I had them I got them installed on the bike. Unlike the ones that I have taken off, the new ones have a slight reduction in the reflected image. I guess, should they have been factory fitted, it would have the little sticker saying; "Warning, objects may appear smaller then they actually are!". This seems to be a good thing in reality as it shows less of my shoulder and more of the road around me. Have yet to take them out on a good old road trip but hopefully they will be as good, if not better, then the last pair!

06 September 2008

Brake and Air filter for sale

As I have now changed my functioning brake lever for the new one I have placed it and an air filiter I didn't end up needing on ebay.

04 September 2008

New brake and clutch levers

Installed the new brake and clutch levers which were surprisingly easy to do. In all about 20 minutes to change both sides.

Damaged clutch lever

Finished product

Although the blue of the levers isn't quite to the same as the tank but hopefully they are far enough away to not be that noticeable.

02 September 2008

Doh, dropped it

How much on an idiot do I feel right now? Managed to drop the bike, not while doing a manoeuvre but by parking!! No serious damage done to the bike, the clutch lever has lost its ball on the end and the same side mirror has bent slightly. The mirror is still serviceable but the clutch lever needs replacing.

Brought a new set of levers (both sides) anodised in blue so assuming that they turn up this week, I have a job to do at the weekend.

29 August 2008

NEC Motorbike Show

Well I have now booked tickets for the show. Never been before so looking forward to it! Went to the ExCeL show earlier this year and that was fun, and closer, have a 2 hour ride to get there.

27 August 2008

Cleaning the bike

After riding in some wet weather, the bike had started to get a bit of a mud bath. Although it wasn't a sunny day, the weather held off and I was able to give the bike a good clean. As there were lots of minor scratches over the tank I also used my 3 part system I brought for my car (boo hiss!). It starts with a paint primer which is a bit like a T-cut, then a polish and finally a carbonara wax. You can see the result below, but the tank is siilky smooth and while not all of the scratches have been removed (new paint job really), it is far better now.

24 August 2008

Honda DN-01

Friday 22nd August 2008, heading down to J2 Honda in Southampton. The mission today was to check out the new DN-01 motorbike by Honda. For those who have no idea what I am talking about (not even sure I do!), the DN-01 is a kinda "production concept sports cruiser moped", that is my definition of it anyway. With the styling it is very much a sports bike with the full fairings and aggressive projection headlamps up front. Cruiser due to its riding position which is much more reminiscent of a Harley, the shaft driven rear wheel and handle bars that have a really large rake on them. Finally a moped as it has an (semi)automatic gearbox on it or as Honda call it, the HFT or "Human Friendly Transmission". I won't pretend that I fully understand the way that this system works, although it doesn't seem to operate in anyway that conventional car auto-boxes work. Annoyingly I am not able to ride the bike because I am still on my restricted license, however I am not too sure that it is any more friendly then a normal manual box.

Despite that it is a fantastic looking bike with very sleek lines and aggressive styling. Due to it being an automatic it doesn't have a clutch lever or a gear selector for your foot, so you have nothing to do with the bike on your left hand side. Unlike a moped you still have the rear break controlled by your right foot. Gear selection is either done automatically (duh!) or you have a manual control via two buttons on the left control gear. It would be interesting to find out how intuitive that control system actually is and if having the gear selector still done by your foot would be any better or worse. The HFT features 3 modes, two fully automatic and one manual. The two auto modes allow for different riding styles; a "D" mode for normal riding and an "S" mode for, well more sporty riding. In these two modes you get a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) for a smooth ride with no gear changes. In manual the 'box seems to simulate gear changes with 6 distinct 'gears'. The engine is a rather nondescript 680cc V-Twin 8v developing 60bhp(45kW) and 47ftlb(64Nm) torque. From asking around it seems the bike should be available for around £10k which does seem a little steep but for such a unique looking bike with its futuristic styling and choice of gearbox modes to suit your fancy, it could be a reasonable buy for those looking for an interesting commuter bike.

DN-01 website.

11 August 2008

MOT time - passed!

It is that time of the year where I have to put more money into the Governments coffers, the bike was due its MOT. Thankfully the only issue it had was the front break pads were a little low (I am not going to say how low for fear of incriminating myself! ;-).

Anyhoo, she got through and only cost me a little under £50 to ensure that she can stay legally on the road. Well until the tax runs out this month!

06 August 2008

GBBikers Stickers

I have had them sitting on my desk for ages now, but I finally got around to putting on my GBBikers stickers onto the bike. Actually it was only one I have put on (I like simplicity), here is the picture of it!

04 August 2008

Bike parking map

I have been on the lookout for a map of the UK where you can park your motorbike. Have found a comprehensive one that covers London, but want one that deals with the whole of the UK. To that end I have started up a Google map with an open collaboration so that people can add their town's/city's/village's local parking areas.

Not being a big web developer I would really like to have this as a stand alone application that has better verification but as I am not, I will rely on people not abusing it. Any locations found not to be valid will be removed. You will also need a Google account to edit the map.

Biker Parking Places

02 August 2008

Helmet V - The Continuing Saga

Had a chance to get out on the bike with the new helmet on and all I can say is wow! Compared to the last helmet my head hardly moves from wind buffeting it, in fact the Arai actually holds my head really still which improves my confidence on the road. I was taking corners and roundabouts much faster then I have been in the past, not being reckless, but as my head wasn't vibrating with the wind I could see what was going on clearer plus my balance wasn't being thrown off.

Something else that I got today was a set of helmet headsets from UKBikeGear.com. They are the SHS-300 MP3/CD Headset and they work a treat with the music comming through loud and clear even at motorway speeds. Comfortable in the helmet, they stick in place with velcro, while not pressing on the ear and for £14.99 a great buy!

01 August 2008

Helmet IV

Finally got the helmet, an Arai Chaser in black. It is really comfortable and came with an anti-fog pinlock insert which surprised me. I'll me keeping my old RDM helmet (pictured right) in case of emergencies, but as said before in a previous post, it isn't comfortable for long trips. The Chaser is really soft on the forehead where the RDM is very hard, although will have to wait and see what the Arai is like on a long trip as I haven't had to use it yet. All I can say is that you do get what you pay for (to a point) and the sub-£100 helmets just can't compete in terms of comfort. If anyone is getting into riding a bike but isn't sure they will like it, then go for a cheap lid. Once you are sure and have some miles under your belt I would strongly suggest that you look into getting a higher quality lid. The RDM done its job for me but I am glad I have got something more comfortable.

29 July 2008

New Helmet III

T'other half was on the phone today about the helmets, seems like we may be getting a discount on the next model up! Going to go on Friday for a fitting session, and see if it is worth the extra money. More later!

28 July 2008

New Helmet II

Typical for me, the helmet is on backorder! Ahh-well, not totally urgent that I have it now, just would have been really nice. Still will update as I know more!

27 July 2008

New Helmet

Done a long ride yesterday down the A303 (actually to attend my car clubs trackday which I was videoing but that is another story!), while it isn't the most engaging road, it does have some wonderful views along it. That is if you can deal with all the caravans and other traffic that was going along there! Actually it was the longest amount of filtering I have ever done, only one car tried to pull out (without indicating) onto me to get into the other lane. Ironically that lane wasn't going any faster, there was just a large gap so he decided it would be his no matter what.

View Larger Map

Was also followed, while filtering, by a few other bikers. Not sure how you 'nod' to bikers who are behind you, but sorry if I was going a little slow, still a bit nervous when filtering.

Anyhoo back to the story at hand, it is about an hour and halfs ride from Basingstoke to my destination so in total was on the bike around 3 hours. By the time I got home my head was killing me due to the helmet pressing onto my forehead. I decided that it was a good time to buy new one and this time not skimp on it. Last time I spent about £50 on the helmet as I was going for my CBT and wasn't even sure I would like riding, so didn't see the point in shelling out £200+ for a Shoei or an Arai. Now I do see the point, that said the helmet has done its job that I brought it for. So a trip out to Infinity Motorcycles in Farnbough was in order, would have gone to Mott Motorcycles but they were closed. After speaking to the guy in the shop about options (he was very passionate about getting the right helmet!) I decided on an Arai Condor in plain black, then was swiftly lightened of £200 from my wallet! Compared to my current helmet (an RDM) it is so much more comfortable with better padding around the face and cut more noise out. After putting it on all I could say was "wow" it was just so comfortable. Even my partner has brought the same one after saying the same comment! It is now on order and will have it, hopefully, on Tuesday. Unfortunatly I have to pick both helmets up so have to go in the car (want to keep my current helmet as a spare).

17 July 2008

Out and about

Having just brought the latest edition of MCN I had a flick through the "Coastal Roads" booklet. Very interesting read and well worth having a look if you can. One of the suggestions (no. 14) is a trip around Coastal Britain and it also has some links that I thought I would put up here, in part so I know where to find them!

Biker Friendly Hotels and B&Bs
UK Campsites
Petrol Prices

Recorded for posterity.

14 July 2008

Trip down to Eastney

Had a great little ride out on Sunday down to Eastney (Portsmouth). Taking the A339 (Alton Rd.) then onto the B3006, finishing off on the A3. Overall a great trip out with some great roads. That was until I got into Eastney when the roads started to become congested. Thankfully being on the bike some careful filtering and I was on my way.

Amusingly I had to get all the way into the Portsmouth area before I had another biker nod at me! All of the ones on the Alton Road didn't respond. Ahh well.

Map of the route:

View Larger Map

09 July 2008

Wet weather

Decided that as the weather has turned for the worse that I should look at someway to make the rain come off of my visor quickly. So I brought a product for Holts that promises to be both a anti-mist product and a "Rain-X" type. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work all that well. The instructions say that you just need to spray it on and use a soft cloth to wipe it off. If you do that though you rub the product off completely! So I put more on and left it to start drying (ala Rain-X) and ended up with it looking clean, but with a very fine mist on it which makes it harder to see though and causes glare from on-coming traffic.

Have another idea on how to apply it, if it works I will post up, otherwise avoid!!

29 June 2008

Filtering accident

Over on GBBikers "Bossdog" has posted up a letter that was used by another person when they were knocked off of their bike while filtering. The title link of this post will take you to it if you have the need for such a letter. It goes to great detail about how "Lynw" was in the right, the insurance was going for a 50/50 but ended up 100% in her favour. It is also a good read to refresh on our highway code relating to filtering and what our responsibilities are.

25 June 2008

Motorist attacks camera van

Found a great little story on the MCN website:

"A crazed motorist is being hunted by Australian police after he attacked a speed camera van with an axe.

The unknown motorist smashed the window of the camera vehicle before fleeing the scene when the camera operator triggered an alarm.

Police in Melbourne hope to use the speed camera footage to trace the motorist, who they believe was upset at being photographed."
Original post

As much as I find camera vans annoying, maybe a little extreme?!

24 June 2008

Helmet strap

I discovered today why it is important to keep your helmets chin strap done up tightly. But before I say why, let me go back a few months to when I was helping a mate look for a new helmet. (Skip to the 3rd paragraph to go straight to it!)

There we were shopping around sampling helmets when we found a few that fitted nice and snugly. The interesting thing was that it didn't have the "sealt belt" buckle similar to my helmet, it had the "Double-D" type. We're told that the double-d is actually safer then the newer buckle type. Asking why, it seems that many people don't check the tightness of the strap often and can be riding with a helmet that may not stay on in the event of a crash. The x2D strap means you have it tighten every time you use it, so you get maximum safety.

So anyway, I was riding to work when I was caught by a gust of wind that lifted my helmet enough that the chin bar obscured much of my lower vision! The moral of the story, ensure you check the tightness of the strap regularly.

18 June 2008

SHARP - The Helmet Safety Scheme

The title link will take you to the new Government website called "SHARP" Safety Helmet Assessment Rating Program. They aim to test all the helmets on sale in the UK. An interesting thing to read is the motorcycle press saying that an expensive Arai scores less then a £50 Laser. However if you watch the video that is on the site, it explains that they measure the amount of energy that is absorbed by the lid and how much is then transferred to the brain.

I am not a specialist in impact testing so cannot comment on how accurate the simulations are compared to real life events, however it must be good that there is a standard test that shows how good or bad a lid is at absorbing impact energy, regardless of label or price band.

Why not had a look and see if your helmet is on yet, if it isn't it should be soon once they (SHARP) have got round to it. Interestingly my helmet manufacturer isn't even listed!

17 June 2008

Worrying - Car driver observation

Just a quick one today! I was on my way to work today when I passed one of my colleagues (who was in a car), admittedly I didn't wave, flash or anything. Upon getting to work, he not only didn't see me but doesn't even remember a bike going past him!

Worrying as it could explain why so many car drivers pull out into other road users, they just don't see anything else on the road, if it isn't directly in front of them, it isn't there...

15 June 2008

OK I am an idiot!

I have a little story to tell. I was going home from work, I had put on all my gear as I always do, swung my leg over the bike and then rode off into the sunset. Except I got a whole two feet before coming to a grinding halt then falling off of my bike.

What happened? The dozy idiot that I am, forgot to remove the disc lock off of the wheel before I rode off. I had put it at the top of the calliper which meant it had to go round over 3/4s of the revolution before hitting the other side of the calliper! Given the size of the wheel and tyre about 2 feet of travel. Luckily there was only two people around who saw it (didn't stop it spreading like wildfire the next day!) and one of them graciously helped me pick up the bike again.

Had a good laugh at myself, decided to now put the lock just under the calliper so I can only move less then an inch before stopping.

Lesson learned and a very nice member of GB Bikers has offered to send me one of those reminder cables (big thanks to Mr Mandy!).

04 June 2008

Adjusted idle speed

Got home from work on Monday and the engine was idling at almost 1.8k, although not the same problem as the 3k+ idle issue I still have. This was just the bike being warm and running too fast. So tweaked the idle speed adjuster down to the more appropriate speed of 1.2k rpm. Only problem was that I forgot and as it now idles slower the bike stalled because it wasn't up to running temperature. Oops!

26 May 2008

Blast around the backroads

As I am going to be going on a short holiday this week I took the opportunity to take the bike out for a little blast Saturday. Actually I used the route I have already posted about, although this time I went out on my own.

First time I had ridden in strong winds and boy, do you notice them! Having got used to a small lightweight car I thought I understood what it means when you get side swiped by a strong wind. How wrong was I. On at least two occasions I was pushed across the lane I was in, once almost into the oncoming traffic. It was a good ride out and I really enjoyed being on the bike for pleasure rather then getting to and from work!

I still don't understand why people (i.e. the motorbike press) continue to berate the little GS500. Yes it isn't the most powerful bike in the world, even less so as I have had to have it restricted in accordance to my driving license, but it is a hoot for someone of little biking experience under his belt (me). Now my confidence is building I am able to flick it from either side with no fuss or complaint from it and it handles both town riding and longer distance (200miles in a weekend or about 3-4 hours riding). And it is wonderfully economical too, returning 60mpg average thus far.

I also used the bullet camera to record the run. I will look at converting some bits of it and loading it up to view on here. The only problem is that the microphone is rubbish and picked up more of its own rattling then the sound of the bike. Will probably silence the audio as it is painful to listen too!

25 May 2008

Idle over-reving

Not sure what the problem is, but on certain occasions the bike seems to like to over run while it is idling. If I have been going for a while then come to a stop sometimes, at the moment it is rarely, the engine will idle circa 3k rpm.

I am going to be changing the accelerator, decelerator and choke cables in case one of them is sticking or damaged. Cheap enough to do and I don't know when they were last done either so good for maintaining anyway.

16 May 2008

Route in planning

View Larger Map

This is a route which I am planning to do at some point over the summer.

Starting just outside Winchester on the A272 heading down towards Petersfield. A short hop onto the A3 to miss going through Petersfield and then down B2146(Sussex Road) and then left onto the B2141. At the end of the B2141 joining A286 heading for Midhurst then on to Halsemere. Total trip approx 46miles and around 1:15-30 hours.

15 May 2008

Screen update

Just a little update. After having spent the weekend riding with my new screen, I had to re-adjust it after having moved my headlight up a bit. The adjustment means that the screen is a little more upright but provides a little more wind protection so I don't have to lean as far down to be fully protected.

14 May 2008

Fuel economy

One of the reasons that I went to get a motorbike is because of the price of fuel these days. Around where I live it is already well over the £1.10 mark per litre, and that is just for normal unleaded. My car uses premium (or RON98+) which is almost on par with diesel or to put it another way, ***king expensive!

With the bike I was hoping to have an increase in the miles that I get out of every drop of petrol that goes into it, and, to my real surprise, I have. The current average is 61mpg, which personally I think is a fantastic figure, even my car tops out at about 45mpg. That gives me roughly a range of about 240miles to a tank of petrol in the bike (17 litres) to only about 300 miles to my car (33 litres). Given the approximate amount of miles that I am doing a year from the car and bike; that gives me a fuel saving of around £170-210, more then the cost of taxing, MOTing and insuring the bike even at the lower figure.

So as long as you don't go mad with the size of the engine in a bike (although I have no doubt I will go up to a 600-650 later!) you can get some amazing mileage out of a bike and save money in the process!

12 May 2008

Screens and Radios

The new screen has worked brilliantly. After joining the motorway I didn't notice that anything was different, until I realised that the buffeting that I was receiving was greatly reduced. On picking up speed I can now duck down behind it and not end up with my head bouncing around! For £30 it is a great buy and I am glad I have it.

I want to talk about PMR radios. I recently brought a couple of cheap radios for myself and the other half to use when we go out. £25 each from Lidl. To be honest they are worse then rubbish for motorbikes. Once you get above about 40mph you can't understand a word that comes through them, the mics just pick up the wind noise. Another little issue is the push-to-talk button is hard to position. I ended up putting it onto the clutch side handlebar, which was the only place to put it and still be able to use it, but it meant I couldn't hold the grip properly. Not only that, I had nowhere to put my right thumb and ended up hitting the horn too often. The radios themselves work well and they are quite clear without the headsets. For the price you also get all the sub-channels. So, good radios in their own right but no use for what they are sold for, on bikes. That said they were actually cheaper then models that only have the eight main channels.

09 May 2008

Screen and Tyre

After having spent all week looking forward to the weekend when I am going for a nice ride to visit friends, I went to work on my bike yesterday and as I wheeled it out of the garage I saw a dreaded screw stuck in my rear tyre. Not what I want two days before I am due to do a 160mile trip! Thankfully the guys a Just Motorcycles have been able to fit me in to replace the rear tyre. I have also brought from them a cargo net costing a mear £1.50, bargin!

The screen turned up yesterday, considering that it was posted at 7:55pm it is impressive that it turned up this quickly, top marks for speed to Busters. Overall it was very easy to fit. Simply removing the bolts that secure the headlamp, fitting the two brackets supplied with the pack then connecting the screen to the brackets. Personally I think it finishes off the front of the bike, will find out tomorrow if it is actually any good. For £30 can't complain though!

05 May 2008


The main problem with riding a naked bike is the amount of buffeting you get up to motorway speeds. So to try and reduce it to a hopefully lower level, I have brought a small screen from Busters Accessories for £30. Cheap yes, but we will wait and see if it is effective; hopefully! More when I have received it.

-UPDATE- Received the screen yesterday (8th) will try and fit tonight.

03 May 2008

Oil change isn't fun

Having brought my bike back in September I have not been sure when it last had its oil changed. So as I am looking at going to a friends house next weekend who lives a fair distance, which seems like a good precaution to change the oil. Read up on the net using the GS500 Wiki for guidance as well as my Haynes manual. The process is quite simple really, remove sump plug, empty the oil, open up the oil filter and drain. Replace the sump plug with a new washer, replace oil filter and gasket (remember to grease it), fill with oil.

The whole process went smoothly, except the oil catch tray I brought from Halfords is rubbish! When the oil came out it poured faster then I thought, it hit the grooves on the tray and spurted over the road. It is a six litre black gerry-can style cost about £4.50, avoid!

Another thing that was accomplished today was changing the lamps on the console to LEDs. Here is a picture, unfortunately I couldn't time getting the indicators, but it is as bright as the neutral lamp.

30 April 2008

BikeFest 2008

Found out about "BikeFest" being held at Donnington on June 7th (the day before my birthday!) so was thinking about going. Try and get up there on my bike, would be the longest single trip it has done if I do.

Actually looking at going out on the Kawasaki ER6F and the Suzuki SV650S with the BSM Ride-outs that are running, as both are bikes I am ultimately looking at getting in about a year and a bit. Would be great to have a go on them and see if they are comfortable on the roads for me.

Maybe see some of the people I chat too on-line there!

23 April 2008

Loads of riding

Well had a great day out riding today! Started out bad this morning with lashings of rain, but the day cleared up and I had a great afternoon. I say great, I had to go and have a filling replaced in one of my teeth, wearing a helmet with half a numb face is a weird experience.

Have done about 100 miles today, which is the largest single amount I have done, 47 miles of that in one go. Had a bit of a numb bum by the end of it! Great fun though and varied riding on backroads, trunk roads and motorways.

The only thing I need to remember is to take my summer gloves with me even if I am wearing my winter/waterproof ones. I forgot them and by the end of the ride my hands were boiling.

Here is a picture of the bike in the sun :)

21 April 2008


Said I would do this ages ago, but finally got round to taking a few pictures of the bike and here they are!

In the rain

Noticed the price of petrol has gone up again, locally to 110.9p/l! As my car uses super unleaded (even more expensive) I am going to be using the bike more. Today it was raining and this would be only my second time in the wet, first with a decent rainfall. Actually it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. After donning the all the waterproof gear (although forgot the waterproof gloves!) it was quite pleasant. All that needed to be remembered was to take things a little slower, slow down earlier for manoeuvres and leave a larger gap to the vehicle in front.

All in all it was a reasonably pleasant ride it.

19 April 2008

Eversley to Hook

Short but a nice set of back roads, twisty and straight. Beware on the B3349 as there is a sharp turn at the Hook end!

17 April 2008

Bike back and running!

Got my bike back today, working well (OK running well for a GS500!). Not got much of a chance to take her out today, but been for a short blast around town and it felt great. Love the feeling of being back on a bike again. Not really sure what the problem is, the carbs were serviced and a new air filter fitted. Still I am glad to have her back in my grubby mitts again. Hopefully the weather tomorrow won't be as bad as it is forecast!

13 April 2008

A339/A31/A32/A272/B3046 1hr bike ride

This is a route that takes about an hour to do, went out on it as pillion with a mate, nice roads and what seemed like a biker friendly cafe at point 'C'. Didn't go in so not even sure if it is a cafe!

Still no sign of life

Well, it has been almost two weeks since the bike went in for fixing, however I still don't have it back. From the last communication the guys say the diagnostics are "inconclusive" at the moment. I really do hope they are able to get her running this week as I have it off work and gives me a chance to really get out and ride, building up experience that I have, as yet, not been able to get. That said it is giving me time to look at routes that I can take! If anyone knows of a good road/route around Basingstoke (don't say the Alton road, know that one :D) leave a comment!

Well until next week, unless I have it back earlier. Fingers crossed!

05 April 2008

Motorbike Crash's

Found this and end up watching it with a little bit of morbid fascination. The two that get me are the very last one, I have no idea what that person was trying to prove! Also the one where the second bike tries to overtake the other one turning left.

Thought I would share!

02 April 2008

To the professionals!

I have now run out of steam to get the old girl working (well she isn't that old!), to that end I have given her over to Just Motorcycles in Basingstoke to get her fixed and working again! I'll put up when she is back with me, I plan to be doing lots of riding week after next when I am off of work!

12 March 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

I remember as a child singing "Rain rain go away, come again another day". The trouble is that it has decided that now is a great time to come again and again and again.....

This has basically made it really difficult to be able to get out and sort the bike alarm out, simply put, I can only get the bike out when it is dry. So far the weather forecast isn't good for the weekend. Here is hoping that the weather blows over before then, I'm not holding my breath!

05 March 2008

ARGHHHH!! Bloody malfunctions!

The carbs got fitted and after getting the bike back together and whole again I went to start her up. Reconnected the battery and the alarm goes off. 'Not a problem.' I think as I hit the disarm button on my remote, but nothing happens. Long story short, the alarm seems to be nackard so I need to pull it out to be able to start the bike. I am hoping to have a evening or two to work on the bike but it doesn't look like I will be able to look at it for another two weekends.

I am working on the theory that the alarm has died as the carbs now work and it is the only way to stop me getting on the bike!!

01 March 2008

Time to refit carbs!

After one hell of a job getting the screws off of the float chamber bowls on my carbs (thanks Dad!) it seems like someone had actually Loctited the screws in place! Anyhow an inspection showed nothing too wrong with them and a check of the diaphragms shows no problems, so the refit will happen today!

Fingers crossed that the bike will fire up into life again!

09 February 2008

Started fixing

Two things finally came together today, a free day for me and some nice weather. This has allowed me to get my bike apart and pull out the carbs.

No the only remaining problem is that I have to get the float bowls off of the bottom of them, which isn't as easy as it sounds because the screws seem to be welded to the unit! During the week I'll look at getting them apart and replacing the screws.