30 July 2010


My first bike, Suzuki GS500
There is an old saying "time flies when you are having fun". It don't seem that it has been 3 years since I learnt to ride. I have owned two bikes in that time, still do in fact. What an eventful time it has been. Owning my first bike, the little Suzuki GS500. I still don't see why it gets berated so much. It is a great first bike and an ideal commuter. Having said that when I first had it it never seemed to run right and then there was the first winter where it wouldn't start at all and was left in the garage until the spring. The little GS is now waiting patiently to be sold at my parents house.

ER6F - Great bike!
Then I went on to my brand new Kawasaki ER6F. That had a turbulent first few months too. Got it in September and then ran it in for the first 500 miles. Never had to do that before even in a car. Being stuck at 55mph (4000rpm) made for some interesting trips. I tried my hardest to avoid motorways and dual carriageways, and I almost succeeded. Once ending up on a dual carriageway and being overtaken by a lorry, that wasn't fun at all. Running in for me is a time to get to know your bike. You can try out the handling without the worry of extra speed and it is surprising what fun you can have a low speed on a few country lanes! Then December came. It was a wet day and I pulled into my local Morrison's to get some milk for work. Just as I pulled into the car park a car pulled across the parking area straight into my line to travel. Nothing I could do but dump the bike. There was a sickening crunching sound, thankfully not from me but the bike as the fairing trashed itself (not that I walked away unscathed either). Fortunately it was all low speed so the damage to me was only to my knee and shoulder.

Land's End Carpark
It ended up taking close to 2 or so months before I had the bike back but when I did I was so glad to have it back. Thankfully I was given a Suzuki Bandit 600 while mine was convalescing. Didn't really like it, much to heavy for a naked plus none of the protection that I get from my ER's fairing.

After two summers that were rained out, finally got to go on a biking trip. Five of use down to Land's End over the Easter break. It was an absolute hoot and the weather was very kind to us. Compared to the congested south I live in, the wide open roads down there are wonderful to ride round. I envy the people who have it as their 'backyard' so to speak.

I have been to the NEC and ExCeL shows which are both great fun to go too. Just waiting now to see what the new styled NEC show will be like this year. I attended the Westminster M25 parking charge protest, amazing to see the M25 clear of traffic just before hundreds of bikes go past.

27 July 2010

ER-6F Recall

Apparently there is a problem with some 2009-on bikes where the riders boot can foul on the rear brake lever. Have to wait and see if I get a letter, although may call the dealer just to be sure. Once I know more I will put it up here.

Thanks to "Canary Wundaboy" on GB Bikers for letting owners aware of this (not even on Kawasaki's website). More details can be found on AutoTraders website.

23 July 2010

12 volt Pressure Washer

Love it or loath it cleaning a bike is the one thing that needs to be done if you want to keep it looking good. Even more so in the winter months with all the salt on the roads, it helps to prevent any rust buildup. There seem to be many ways to clean a bike, pressure washers, hoses, buckets. With the layout of my house I am unable to get any mains water out to the bike. This leaves me with the only other option, the bucket. Not any more!

I have never really liked using pressure washers, it is too easy to get that little too close and take off the paint etc. However I discovered a non-mains 12v pressure washer. This has three benefits over a mains version. Firstly it runs off of 12v, so you can use it to wash your bike anywhere (within reason it is a bit bulky!). Secondly it stores its own water supply so no need for hose pipes. Thirdly, as it is only 12v it can't get anywhere near the pressures of a mains version. This one can get up to 130psi, compare that to over 1000psi for mains. However for washing a vehicle it is more then enough. You can also set the nozzle to go from a jet to a wide, almost misting, spray. The latter giving good volume of water to wash off the soap.

It is able to store 17ltrs of water and consumes about 60watts of power when in use. Given most bikes batteries are around 10Ah that would give you a run time of 2 hours continuous use. It gets through its water in about 6 minutes and most bikes can be rinsed twice (once before washing, once after) on about a tank and a half, assuming it isn't heavily soiled.

Of the few complaints I have the most annoying is the power lead. It is just that little bit too short. True the way I power it isn't the way most would think (see below) but even coming from the bike it makes it a little hard to move it fully out of the way. And that is the other aspect, it only comes with a cigarette/cigar light type power plug. I would have liked to have seen the option of alligator clips to connect directly to the battery, does make it a little tricky to connect to a bike.

Having used it now for a couple of times I can honestly say it is so much better then using the 'throw a bucket of water' method. It is simpler and uses much less water. Plus we have a 12v solar system that I can run it off of so don't even have to worry about using the bikes battery or the power costing me anything.

  • Low pressure means unlikely to damage paintwork etc.
  • Good flow rate.
  • Holds own water supply.
  • Able to run it wherever there is a source of 12v.
  • Good way to get around a hosepipe ban ;)
  • Although technically portable, not something you can carry on a bike easily.
  • Could do with a longer 12v lead.

21 July 2010

Kawasaki Seminars

Well it seems the weather consipred against me. I wasn't going to risk having to come back in the rain. Not that I mind riding in the rain, but only when I have too. Not to mention I didn't know what the setup for the evening was. No schedule had been given out. Sorry Kawasaki!

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19 July 2010

Kawasaki Seminars

Kawasaki are holding a seminar tomorrow evening and I have an invite. Hoping that I will be able to attend, although if the weather turns as bad as they say it will I may not be going! Not actually sure what it is all about so my curiosity is piqued. Fingers crossed I will find out.

18 July 2010

3 Day Trip to Land's End

In Dartmoor
Finally! After 2 years of trying I was going on a biking holiday. Okay it was only for three days but still, it would be longest I have been on a bike. The last couple of years I had been trying to have a biking holiday but the weather always conspired against me. This year the weather was perfect. So the weekend after Easter myself and four mates set off for a trip to Land's End.
Starting from Basingstoke we headed down for the A30. Although there wasn't really a set route, we did have a general idea and our first target was Yeovil to pick up the 5th rider. I have been in group formation before but in a car. One thing I always hated was being at the front, leading. I never liked having to try and keep an eye on all of the members, making sure you didn't loose any. Still there were two of us who had Autocom systems with radios which made it easier. Also one of our riders was in a reflective jacket. He stayed at the back mainly which have me an easy target to know if we were all there.

Have to say that it was a great experience to be riding with other guys who have been at it a lot longer then myself. I was able to pick up tons of confidence in being told how to filter etc. When ever we would stop for a drink or rest it was great being able to chat about what had gone on. A bit like when we went through Dartmoor. That was stunning. The road has just been laid on the rolling hills and with some nice open sweeping bends it is just perfect. You can see right through a corner and line yourself up perfectly.

Bikes at Land's End
Of course there has to be a 'funny' which happened to happen to me. The road we wanted to go down was closed, apparently it had been a major crash. So good ol' TomTom toke us down another route. Unfortunately this did have to be a single track lane. Not a problem until a huge camper-van came the other way. Was able to pull right over to let it past, but then my foot slipped on the verge (I think that is what happened!) with the bike falling over onto me. Fortunately the verge had quite a slope to it so the bike was only really leaning a few more degrees then it does when on its side stand. However I was pinned underneath it. No damage to be or the bike, but definitely another experience to chalk up.

If you have never had a ride out like that then it is definitely worth a go. Even more so if you aren't too confident and are going with more experienced riders. It makes for an interesting take on having that solo riding experience with the chance to chat (brag?) about it after. Next time we are looking at the South of France, should be fun!