Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last rides for 2006

I got back to Wellington on Thursday and on Friday afternoon went for a ride to Alan’s to view progress on his project. We then went for a ride up Whiteman’s Valley and I got home just after 6pm.

Today went on a KB ride from Kaiwharawhara around the Wellington Bays and then to the Parrot and Jigger pub on the Hutt Road. There were around 20 bikes. It was a good ride and good company. Bike now has 1475ks on the clock.

Monday, December 18, 2006

pipes and rides

On Thursday, after getting the bike back, I went out to Cycleworks and picked up the TL cans I had left there for modification. The back baffle was removed, pea shooter cut out and a new back section with a short section of tubing about the size of the shiny outlet pipe welded in. A very neat looking mod.

Got home and fitted the cans. A slight mod was required so the bracket hole would line up with the bolt hole on the foot rest bracket. A round file expanded the hole in the can's bracket in a few minutes. Started it up and is loud but sounds great; nice wooph at idle and sounds like a drag bike when revved up.

Went for a ride to Porirua, down to the coast, back around to the northern side of the inlet, over Haywards, back again and around the southern side of the inlet and home.

Friday took the bike to the office and impressed Slayer with the sound. Saturday rode to Alan's to get his view of the sound level. Alan thought it was fine; not too loud and next to his Fatboy with straight pipes I have to agree. Alan had to ask if the SV was running when his bike was warming up.

Got home, cleaned the bike and put the cover on. That is it until after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Got the bike back.

I dropped off the SV650 and picked up my SV1000S at 4.00pm today. It is all fixed and has had its 1000ks service.
The bike is running sweetly. There are no extraneous noises and it is just running smoother than before. All I need now is some more exhaust noise.

Monday, December 11, 2006

No news

I thought I may have got a call from Wellington Motorcycles today that the bike was ready to pick up.  Oh well another day!

Last ride up takas on 650

Sunday 3.30pm: headed up to the summit of the Rimutakas on the 650. I wanted to ride this bike once more before getting mine back; then make a comparision.

There were lots of bikes on the road and more than a few at the summit. I spent a while there taking in the view, looking at bikes, watching the traffic and took a few pics. When I got home I checked my texts and Dafe had sent me a few of how he was getting on modifying the pipes on his new SV1000s. I headed around there to meet him and hear the sound of the exhaust. Sounds okay and is loud. We talked SVs and I got a lot of good info of what I need to do to mine. Extras and bling are required.

Summit Sunday 4.45pm: SV650 4th from far end

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Uncle Bs Funeral

Today I joined the group to attend the funeral. Had only meet Bruce once a couple of weeks back and I attended to recognise the respect so many in the kiwibiker community had for Bruce.

I meet a large group (50 - 70) at the Kaiwharawhara Caltex at 12.45pm and just after 1.00pm we headed to the assembly area at the Kennedy Good bridge. There were 95 bikes when the ride into Lower Hutt started at 1.30pm. The ride was well organised with two lead bikes at each intersection and roundabout blocking the traffic so the bikes didn't need to stop. All the bikes were parked on the top floor of the Queensgate Shopping Mall car park. After the funeral service I headed home. Others were to ride to the cemetary.

I got a call this morning from Wellington Motorcycles. The parts have arrived and it will take a couple of days to put the bike back together.

Cruisy Wednesday Night Ride

I joined the group this week. It was a good turn out but everyone was subdued given the tragedy over the weekend and funeral the next day.

Weather was fine and little wind. We headed up the Rimutakas stopping at the top for a while. This first leg of the ride was well organised with the 250s going in the first pack and the faster bikes at the back. I arrived last but that was fine by me having some clear road into the corners. We chatted at the summit for about 30 minutes before heading to the Tin Hut Pub a few ks out of Featherston. A barmy evening and good company. I headed back at 8.15pm and into the sun. Sunglasses are an absolute must. The SV650 is running well and I am finding it difficult keeping below 5500 revs during run in. The motor is freeing up nicely - a nice bike - hope I still like the SV1000 when I get it back.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Weekend ride

Hamish from Wellington Motorcycles called me on Wednesday evening and ask to swopped the loan bike for another. Friday I took the bike in and it was swopped for another SV650S with only 5ks on it.

Saturday went out to Mana and watched the start of the HOG Toy Run into Wellington. I had be be elsewhere at noon or would have gone on the run myself. Saturday afternoon Alan and I went for a run up the Takas. There were a dozen bikes at the top so we stopped chatted a bit and rode on down to Featherston and to Martinborough. Had the complusory coffee and chat and headed back stopping at the summit again. We meet a couple with his and hers 1400 Intruders and wearing matching gear that would put many Harley owners to shame. Great bikes; but I would say that.

We then headed back and home by 6.30pm.

Bad news over the weekend with two Kiwibikers killed in an accident on the Coromandel and then on Sunday a Wellington biker "UncleB" died in an accident out of Masterton. The Kiwibiker community is stunned by the loss.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lunch time ride

Lucy invited me to join a small group who work in the St Pauls area of Thorndon. I had to go home first and pick up the SV650S.

We went from Aitken Street down the motorway to Johnsonville and from there to Makara Beach. A nice slow ride on what is mostly a single lane road with lots of corners. We came back through Kaori. The road over the Makara Hill into Kaori is great for bikes; it has a good surface and nice corners. I was extra careful on the corner I lowsided on some 30 years ago.

This is a road I will visit again for practice.

Monday, November 27, 2006

1000ks service and bad news

The bike went in on Thursday for the service and is still there. Something is loose in the clutch and Suzuki NZ have asked the dealer to investigate further to find out why this happened. It seems this is not expected as things don't come loose in Suzukis? Parts are required from Japan so the bike will be out of service for 10 days. Wellington Motorcycles have loaned my a demo SV650. That is good service. I probably won't use it much though.

So now I wait.

First run up the Takas

Attended the Wednesday night cruisy ride and we headed up the Takas with the plan to go to the Tin Hut pub the other side of Featherston.

It was my first ride up the Taka's. I turned back at the top as didn't want to come back in the dark and the bike had just hit the 1000ks mark. I wasn't the only one to turn back from there.

My ride up the hill was harder than I wanted. Sels1 waved me and a group past and I had no one to follow but a few behind; so the pressure was on. Sorry guys if I held you up. Then I get passed with Sels1 carrying a pillion: grrrrrrr. I need more practice.

A great ride though. Next time I will go all the way.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ride to end the week

The weather has not been kind this week. Although on Wednesday I went out for a short ride and to add to my slow riding and braking skills. There is a reasonable sized car park at Dressmart in Tawa that is empty of vehicles in the evening. I spent about 30 minutes here and then down the motorway to Porirua and back to Johnsonville.

Today (Sunday) the weather has cleared and in the afternoon arranged a ride with Alan. We left from home and then up the motorway past Porirua, around the inlet and up Haywards to Moonshine Road. I haven't been along Moonshine Road before. There are too many really slow corners for easy riding and much of the time the bike was in 1st or 2nd gear. Once we got to the Hutt motorway riding became easier and we had a quick run up to Kaitoki. There were a number of people visiting the park including a group with Mazda M5 sports cars. We noted they occupants were in our age group.

Back to the main highway and had to wait for a while at the intersection for a number of motorcyclist. Today was definitely and bike day. A stop at a cafe in Upper Hutt and then back home. The bike now has 918kms and will have close to 1000 by Thursday when it is booked in for its first service.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rider training day

I attended an advanced refresher course today. The course was run by Roadsafe and was on Motorcycle Riding Techniques. I was on the course with 5 others and 3 were in my age group. It was a good group with varying experience and probably all but one with more time on bikes than I had.

The course started at 9.00am indoors with discussion, whiteboard description of various techniques and videos. In the afternoon we went to a car park in Petone and practiced various techniques for low speed riding, steering, braking, riding with a pillion and many other bike management skills. Following the car park session we went for a ride across to Wainuiomata and down the coast road. The ride finished around 6.00pm; I got home at 6.30pm. This was a long day and I am exhausted.

The course was led by Lynne and Andrew Templeton. They have a website with information about themselves, their business and riding skills. This day was very worthwhile and I learnt a lot about handling the SV1000s and my own skills. I need a lot more skill development and will need to practice the techniques shown on the course.

It is still a scary bike.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wednesday night cruisy ride

Tonight's short ride: Elephant Pond to Haywards, Porirua (via the south side of the inlet), back road through Tawa, Johnsonville, Crofton Downs, Karori to finish at the Speights Bar in Tinakori Road.

A bit windy in around the inlet and over Haywards hill. I am getting some confidence with the bike and it helps being able to watch and follow other riders line.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Taupo Track Day

November 5th at Taupo:
Wife and I drove up day before and stayed in a motel in Taupo.

The track day was great and far more bikes there than I had expected. Most of the bikes were in the serious category. And a lot of fast riders. Worth going to.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kiwi Biker Ride

Just back from an excellent ride with some Wellington Kiwi Bikers. This is a legal speed ride to help newer riders and those on smaller bikes. I think that is what it is for, however there are some experienced riders among the group.

We meet at the parking area by the Kennedy Good bridge at 6.30pm and after a bit of discussion decided on a ride up the Paekakariki Hill road to the parking area overlooking the sea and then back and around the inlet to a bar in Mana. About 15 riders.

What an excellent ride and great road to gain cornering skills. I was at the back of the pack and must be a lot slower as when I arrived at the parking area all but three had their bikes parked and helmets off. Good to meet up at the pub (Sandspit?). Left there at 8.20pm.

I will join this ride again - it was great.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saturday - time to put some more ks on the clock

Another windy Wellington day and the forecast is for rain early afternoon. Topped up the bike with fuel and at 10.30am went to Alan's place. The Harley was out on the street and ready to go.

We headed of into Lower Hutt to fuel the Harley and then up the highway and across Heyward's Hill to State Highway 2 with a planned stop in Otaki. This was a good day for bikes with plenty on the road. A cop had stopped a bike on the northern side of Heywards.

We stopped at a very nice cafe on the southern outskirts of Otaki. After resting up there we headed back to Waikanae and down to the river mouth just to see the sea. There were a few people there, so whitebait fishing. Then back to the highway and heading into Wellington Motorcycles. Wellington Motorcycles were having a Harley 2007 model open day so riders could experience riding a new Harley. We didn't go for a ride on any; but plenty of other people did.

Back home by 3.30pm and 411kms of the clock. Almost half way to the first service.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No rides but got a photo

I have been busy working, then away for a long weekend and now I am back the weather is terrible. Far to wet and windy to be riding a bike. However, before heading off for the weekend I took some photos of the bike.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Third Ride

Sunday 5.00pm and the cloud has cleared, some blue sky but still a strong wind.

A good time to put a few more Ks on the bike. Headed down to Johnsonville and onto the motorway north. Took the Churton Park off ramp and then straight back onto the motorway again; just to give the bike deacceleration and acceleration. From there next off ramp was Porirua so around the roundabout and back onto the motorway heading home. The motor is now starting to run well.

Dropped off at the Tawa off ramp and stopped for a minute. Motor also stopped; it has done this a couple of times before. No worries though, that is likely to be running in tuning and can be looked at next service. Back onto the motorway and to the Newlands off ramp then up the hill and around the Newlands roundabout back down to the motorway and across it to Johnsonville and home. The bike is hard to keep at 50kph and seems to run best in 2nd at about 3000 revs.

Parked it in the shed with 135Kms on odo.

2nd ride

Saturday morning shortly after I got home Alan called. Yes why not go for a ride.

11.30am Alan turns up on his Harley Fat Boy. We head off to Johnsonville to fuel the Harley and then onto the motorway north again. Alan leads the way at a steady 95 - 100kph. There is not much traffic on the motorway so I can drop back and then work the engine up through the gears. We turn off at Plimmerton and cruise around the bays to the end of the road. Off the bikes for a stretch and plan where to next.

We head back to the highway up to Pukerua Bay and down to the beach. It is now lightly raining and while I am dry Alan has a wet seat. That small fairing on the SV has keep me and the bike totally dry. We then head back to Plimmerton for a coffee and food.

Back home by 2.30pm and 104Kms on the odo.

First ride

It is Saturday morning and not a great day. Windy and looking as if it might rain.

Off for a ride down to Johnsonville and onto the motorway and remembering the bike was being run in so loaded and unloaded the engine and up and down the gears. Left motorway at Tawa and in about 1Km turned into a shopping car park for a bit of a rest and practice at low speed turns.

Headed back to Johnsonville along the old road by the stream and railway line then back up to motorway a Churton Park. Decide to learn more on handling the bike up the road to the dump that is closed. That is when I dropped it. Was movimg off uphill turning right and down hill; shouldn't have down that as with the slope I couldn't get my foot down. So now the new bike has a couple of scratches on muffler and broken front indicator and brake lever. The brake lever end broke off at the designed break point; very clever. No doubt those two parts are expensive. Was pissed off and went home.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Got the bike

I picked up the bike and all new riding gear at 2.00pm today. 7k on the clock and 20 when I got home. It is now in the garage and looks great. No I didn't take it for a run as there is a gale force northerly and I needed to sort out the riding gear and get familiar with the bike etc.

This bike has some serious torque. Tomorrow will take it for a ride if the wind drops.

My wife said the bike is ugly; looks like a praying mantis.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Return to Motorcycling

A very good friend of mine Alan, bought a Harley. He already had a couple of bikes that will one day be restored; a Bonniville and an AJS. At the time I had a power boat that I bought new some 7 years ago and we had a bit of fun out on the Wellington harbour just cruising around and a bit of not so serious fishing.

The boat wasn't getting much use and with my daughters no longer here there was no call for using the boat for skiing etc. So the boat was sold and that freed up some cash for a motorcycle.

The decision process began at around the beginning of September 2006. Although, I had been toying with the idea since Alan bought his Harley. A Harley would cost more than I wanted to spend and I thought a sports bike would better suit my style of riding. I would still like a Harley, as a second bike and a bit later.

Being an Internet junkie, in a short period of time I collated a lot of information about bikes. The Suzuki SV650 soon rose to the top of the list as the bike I should be considering for my return to motorcycling. I wanted a new bike and the demand for good bikes meant there was little difference between new and second hand.

I found a couple of forums: kiwibiker and SV650 and joined those. A few hours were spent reading posts and any articles I could find on the Internet about bikes. Then it was down to the bike shop to look at the real thing. Early on the bike I selected was the SV650S and from then it was what should I compare it to and what do I need to know about it. A very close second choice was the 900 Hornet. Two similar but different bikes as I wasn't sure if I should get a naked or faired bike. There was also the new model GSR600 Suzuki to consider. So I made a few posts to kiwibiker and this stimulated some really useful feedback and discussion. A few of the experienced bikers suggested I should get some refresher training before buying a bike. I took that advice and that was the beginning of a fairly short process to buying a bike.

An appointment was made with Gavin of Streetwise for a one hour session on a bike. Before taking the lesson and on my third visit to Wellington Motorcycles over a couple of weeks I spied a new SV1000S in the grey and black colour scheme and at a price of $12500. This price being $500 more than the 650. I telephoned Steve at Wellington Motorcycles a couple of days later and a hold was put on this bike for me until I could take a test ride on a demonstrator SV650S they had available.

Wednesday of that week was my appointment with Gavin for a refresher session. The venue was a carpark in Newtown and following a discussion about my biking history etc I started riding a little 120cc bike around the car park. I picked this up pretty quickly with the hardest part being remembering the gear change pattern (neutral at the end). After 10 minutes Gavin suggested I was wasting my time and money and should get out on the road on a bigger bike. A couple on minutes on the mobile phone and Gavin had set up a ride on the SV650S at Wellington Motorcycles. Gavin headed off home on the 120 to pick up his 1300 Yamaha and I drove to the shop. Off course Gavin got there first as I had to find a park. Signed out the bike (7Ks on the clock) and we were off.

This ride was in one of Wellington's winder days with a gale force southerly. We headed off, me following Gavin, down to the Basin Reserve and heading for Island Bay and the coast. The torque of this bike was scary and I went into survival mode. Before I was 1 Km down the road I was wondering if this was a good idea. After about 2 Kms the palms of my hands were sore. I was wearing a loaned open face helmet and that was a problem as I wear glasses (didn't last time I rode a bike) and they were bouncing up and down with the wind.

We went around the coast in a howling gale off the sea and then back to Kilbirnie and around Evans Bay to Oriental Bay and back to the shop. My hands were really sore and I could barely hold the clutch in. I was glad to get off the bike and was most uncertain if this or any bike was for me.

This was time to reconsider a few things; was a forward riding position as on the SV650S suitable and if not what bike would I choose. I had viewed a 900 Hornet the previous week and decided that was an alternative if I went for a naked bike with a higher riding position.

A post was made to kiwibiker and about the sore hands issue. I needed to know if this was an issue that would go away or should I consider a different style of bike. Kiwibiker is a great forum and within minutes there was a response and during the next few days many more.

Saturday morning I headed to the Honda dealer to test ride a 900 Hornet. This is a great bike and after a few minutes my fears of not wanting to get back into bikes disappeared. The test ride was from Lower Hutt up the motorway and across Heywards hill to the roundabout at Pauatahanui and back. I had all but made up my mind that this bike will be the one to buy but had planned to ride a GSR600 and the SV650S again at Wellington Motorcycles. So headed off to Wellington (driving a more than half decent car - Ford XR6) and couldn't hear the motor after riding the bike.

First ride was on the GSR600. A lovely bike, very smooth through the gears and easy to ride. I took the bike through the tunnel and down to Lyall Bay followed by a cruise around the coast, back for a squirt along Cobham Drive to the roundabout and back around Evans Bay, Oriental Bay and return to the shop. At that stage I had again almost made up my mind that the Hornet was the first choice simply as it had more low rev torque. Also the Suzuki was a bit scary; around Evans Bay I got the revs up a bit and when I tweeked the throttle there was instantaneous response and the motor revs were about 8000 revs below the red line, so what would it be like at higher revs? I considered the lower revving V twin in the naked SV would suit me better than this inline 4.

Back at the shop and after a bit of discussion with Hamish about the chance of a decent price reduction on the naked SV1000 (way overpriced) I took the SV650S for another run. This run was simply so I could get another feel of the V twin. By the time I was a few minutes down the road I thought this is not too bad a bike; sure is a great motor with heaps of torque at any revs and the riding position is okay. I was feeling relaxed and had positioned myself on the bike with my knees clamping the tank and little weight on my hands. This from some advice given on kiwibiker.

I was getting more comfortable, this was a great little bike and I headed around from Lyall Bay to Owhiro Bay for the winding bits and the faster section of road leading back from Owhiro to Brooklyn. I am sure that last time I was on that road it was 100kph but it now had 70kph signs. Well let's ignore the signs I need to know how well the fairing works at a decent turn of speed; so a couple of runs were made up and down this stretch. Did I say I was exceeding the speed limit? By now I had decided that my concerns about the riding position were ill founded and the SV1000S was the bike to buy.

Back at the shop it was simply a matter of stating the obvious; I will buy the 1000 and pick it up next week.
Here is a picture of it:

The next couple of hours were spent selecting all the gear I needed and while doing that Alan turned up on his Harley. The day was finished with 3pm lunch with Alan at the cafe next door and more bike talk.

A time before the decision to return to biking

My first bike was purchased second hand while at school. It was a Francis Barnett of 200cc. This was not exactly a rocket but provided an introduction to motorcycling.

A car followed and then about five years later I bought another motorcycle. It was a Yamaha 250 two stroke twin YDS250. The Yamaha was a fun bike but needed revs, was thirsty and had a distinctive yowling sound as the revs rose under acceleration.

This bike was used on fine days for the high speed commute between Havelock North and Napier. Back then cops didn't worry about speed and would give a warning wave of acknowledgment as the Yamaha howled past at maximum revs down the Awatoto straight.

The Yamaha was changed for an Austin Healy Sprite and that was the end of my motorcycling for some ten years. Marriage followed shortly after and a more 'sensible' car.

The next bike was a new Yamaha SR250 single bought as a commuter. This was an excellent bike for around town and a great for the run to work and back except in poor weather which was often the case in New Plymouth where we lived. A few years and this bike was replaced with a car as having to dress up for the horrid New Plymouth weather took its toll on the pleasure of motorcycling.

22 years later and having moved from New Plymouth to Wellington and our two girls having grown into adulthood and left not just home but the country the call of motorcycling returned.