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.