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.