MotoGP Philip Island – Planning Progress

Well I have a set of Kriega tail packs now. A US30, and 2 x US10. I have set them up on the bike and even used the US30 twice to get stuff to work. They will fit my gear easily, they fit nicely on the bike and it looks like it will all work out. Attached are the test fittings I did with my gear.

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Not a lot of weight in the bags as it’s mostly clothes. So I don’t think it will hamper the bikes performance much. That’s a big plus. It also seems to be pretty stable and well distributed, so overall I’m pretty happy. Have also had some glowing feedback on the Kriega’s performance on trips so it all sounds good.

The route has had some small changes. I now might head out via the Royal National Park and along the coast towards Nowra before heading inland to Canberra, intercepting my usual route. This has the advantage of avoiding the Hume. Possibly have some company for this part.

It looks like the second day I will head south to Cooma and then Tumut and Khancoban etc. Basically as before. The third day, by far the longest, is looking to be south through Mitt Mitta and then over the Alps. I also had some suggestions along Gippsland to take as well.

I am looking to stay in Glen Waverley area. There are some hotels there and it’s on the side of the city, closer to the Island and closer to the route in and out, so save me a little bit of riding, especially when I’m tired at the end of the longest third day.

Coming back, I’m looking at out through the Black Spur up towards Albury on some B & C roads, then across Khancoban again. Finally back my old route and home.

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MotoGP Philip Island – Early Planning

Slowly it is becoming more definite that I will actually get a chance to ride to the MotoGP round at Philip Is. It’s been more than ten years since I’ve made it too the Island and I am quietly, extremely excited. I am also excited about the actual journey, which is probably more than half of the excitement. Mrs Mab, who normally puts a big wet blanket on this kind of idea, has tasked me with a couple of things while in Melbourne and she’s taken leave. These are positive factors that increase the chances.

I’ve started early planning. I have a rough idea of timings and routes. I’m currently trying to figure out how much to take, and how to carry it. Gear wise, it’s pretty sorted. Helmet, gloves, Dianese touring pants and jacket, touring boots. Comfortable, warm and not too bad in heat, along with waterproof, it will work in all weathers. And previous experience, a week travelling across the Alps and into Victoria and the Island, the weather could do all of those. I will take my neck sock, probably my winter/waterproof gloves and don’t think I will take the quilted liners. Instead I will use layers of regular clothing as then I can use that when not on the bike.

Gear depends so much on the expected weather, and while it is changeable, it’s unlikely to be super cold, so liners and winter gloves are the first to be eliminated. And I won’t put too much trust in the forecasts, it will give me a ballpark. The better the weather, the lighter I can travel.

Today, I put together a pile of clothes, a rough idea of other gear (tools, lube, electronics) in order to get some idea of what I might be taking. It works out to about 20-30L. Currently I have a 10-15L tank bag and a 10-15L tail pack. I WILL NOT take a heavy backpack, I may take a light one, but all of the baggage options also have shoulder straps etc, so an actual backpack is probably overkill. I don’t want to even take the tank bag if I can help it. So one option I can try is strapping a backpack to the backseat. Not the best option.

I’m considering getting a Kreiga tailpack. That was part of the reason to sort out the approximate size. Looks like a US30 will work. I’ve heard good things about them and being waterproof that will be an advantage. But I could also grab a smaller US10 (or 2) as well. I could use this on race day instead of dragging the whole pack there. Another advantage is that I can use this set up on other bikes in the future. As much as I would hope to have a VFR with topbox by the Island trip, that would need a Lotto win or something to happen.

The route I have pretty much decided. Sydney to Canberra one day via my old commuting route through Bungonia and Queenbeyan. Next day over Thredbo and down to Khancoban. The last day will be from Wodonga over the alps and to Melbourne. Coming back the same way. Staying with friends up and back, except Melbourne I don’t have any that I think would be willing to put me up for a few days, so likely stay in a hotel then.

So the planning continues, the excitement builds, but is kept in check by past history of disappointment. We’ll see and I’ll keep you posted.

Car Drivers are …

I couldn’t think of the right adjective, maybe you can by the end of the story.

Yesterday I filtered to the front of a LONG line of traffic to find a guy trying to push his car across an intersection (this street was really busy, but everyone was turning left or right, straight ahead was quiet and a good place to option for the broken car). He was at the head of the queue, holding all these people up.

I thought I could help out, so pulled in behind him and hopped off the bike. A pedestrian crossing in front jumped in behind as well. As we did another filtering bike turned up and hopped off to help. with the 4 of us, this was an easy job. Actually on flat, pushing a car is pretty easy, its trying to steer/brake as well as pushing that becomes awkward.

So the lights turned green and we pushed off. About halfway we started to yell at the driver, who was pushing from the drivers door, to hop in the car so he could steer and brake. Caused a scary moment as he almost tripped getting in, but he was in and the car pushed across.

We headed back to our bikes just as the light went red, so it was perfectly timed. This meant we had the whole red cycle to get back on. In my case this meant taking off my gloves to fish in my pockets as I couldn’t remember which had my keys.

Not a single car driver moved, the whole time, to help this guy. I don’t know how long he had been there, but the queue behind him was pretty long. As riders, and the pedestrian who was crossing the street, this stuck car would never have held us up. Wasn’t in our way at all. But we all decided to help out. The car drivers, half of whom (there were two lanes turning right, the car was in one of these) were stuck behind him and basically couldn’t move until the broken car was moved….

They just sat there.

Car drivers are….

To the Putty

IMG_2838.jpgI decided I needed a ride to celebrate my upcoming Birthday. So I took the day off work and headed up the Putty. I left pretty early, so by 7:30 I was just above Windsor. I stopped at Colo Heights for breakfast before pushing on.

I think it was about 9:30 when I got to the top of the Putty. I did a run up 10-mile before having a rest at the fireplace (Why is there even a fireplace there? There’s no space, there’s no camping area, no river/creek to swim in, there’s hardly any parking even? Who built it? Why?)

After the rest, I headed up to Broke for fuel. I was half thinking of coming back and doing some laps of 10-mile, or I even considered heading across to Wollombi and maybe Wiseman’s or Old Pac.

I headed back down the Putty, and ended up doing 1 more lap of 10-mile before deciding to start heading home. Stopped for a flash burger at Grey Gums (and flash burger prices too!), it was nice, but I see where they have put together the money to seal their driveway!

And home.

I was really happy with my riding, especially in the more technical sections. I feel as if I went faster (no one caught me, but the lack of traffic may have been a factor there) and I felt a LOT more confident as I did. I’m still not going to win any races, but I felt that I didn’t freak out at all (except a couple of moments where I lost concentration and completely forgot where the road was headed, tired). It was a good ride.

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So 2017… how did it go.

IMG_2269I thought I had written one of these last year, but I didn’t. It was 2015 as I left Canberra.

So.

About Bikes

IMG_1016The Daytona does stirling service in a task it’s not really designed for… my daily commute. It’s had a couple of problems that have been fixed and just ticked over 50,000km. I have decided to replace it, but not sure when or with what. The front runners are still VFR and Ninja 1000. I also look forward to the possibility of a Sydney-Phillip Is MotoGP trip in the coming year… will I still have the Daytona?

I did get out on the track, one less successfully and a second was very rewarding and I do intend to do some more. I got a couple of hours fun up the Old Pac as well. I’m still slow by comparison, but I enjoy it. Sadly its currently in the shop over my Christmas break as the shifter stopped working properly and of course the parts supplier had already shut for the holidays.

IMG_2302I also discovered after a morning with a Bonneville, that I basically love riding, no matter the bike. There are some bikes I’ve ridden that I’ve liked less than others, but I’ve still liked the actual riding.

About Bike (Bicycles)

Err, they’ve mostly stayed in garage and the suburb, nothing to see here, move along….

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About Bytes

This has mostly had two focus… the limping on of my iMac and several panics as it has almost died. But it lives on as a study device, if not really anything else.

Otherwise it has been a few reviews of random stuff like AirPods and Scala Rider gear.

I have also talked about how I study without paper (mostly).

About Study

Nearly the biggest thing in my life this year has been the switch to Masters and two Practical placements that have encouraged me to think I can actually be a competent Primary Teacher AND I enjoy it. I’m currently in the 4th Study Period of the first year. I am on track to finish the whole thing by about March 2019.

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She wants to what?

Friday I was not going to be working and I expected that Mrs Mab was working. I had most of the day planned: drop the girls at school, head to the gym with my trainer, then head out for a few hours ride.

Then Mrs Mab mentioned she wasn’t working Friday. WHAT! I checked her roster, nope, not rostered on, oh no, been looking forward to this Friday for ages! For the ride this Friday. Of course, she wanted to go to a movie or to the city. We couldn’t really find a movie we wanted to see, though I would have watched Spiderman: Homecoming, she wasn’t interested. When I mentioned I was planning to ride she says.

“Well, drop me in the city and then go for a ride from there. Then pick me up and we’ll go home.”

My brain couldn’t really process this as I thought it meant that she would come into the city on the bike. I checked my understanding.

“So I’ll take you in on the bike?” See, checking my brain is working.

“Yes.” and I’m thinking aliens have abducted my wife and somehow replaced her (more to come on that later). And I’m also thinking it was rather timely that I had just the day before replaced the Bluetooth headsets with another dual set. See I said in my last post it was an astute decision.

So we geared up and she discovered that it was a little different on the back on the Daytona than the VFR. And considering the last time we pillioned was before Miss 10, our eldest, was born, it’s been a while.

The ride in and out were rather dull, the supersport being uncomfortable for her, and I wasn’t as keen on cutting my way through traffic two up so it did take a while. City traffic after all.

The Scala Rider worked really well, something we didn’t have 11 years ago.

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But she did finish the day leaving me with clear instructions to get a new bike that was more comfortable for her and had better storage options. Sounds like a firm direction for a VFR or Ninja 1000. So even more suspicious about alien abduction at this point.

She didn’t specify that I had to get rid of the Daytona though. Again, those aliens.

The last thing was today. A friend of hers at her work who has been on dirt bikes for a couple of years has just got her L’s and picked up a nice white Ninja 300. Liza’s said that she wants to get her licence too.

Hey look I love my wife, but I’m not 100% sure I want her back from the aliens….. ;P

 

Scala Rider Freecom4 – first 24 Hours

I have finally gone out and replaced my Bluetooth headset. I was tempted by the Sena series, however, I have seen lots of problems on the internet with them. I have used the Scala Rider, mostly successfully, for a few years now, and a quick search didn’t bring up any problems, certainly not to the scale of the Senas.

scala-rider-freecom-4-duo~699913The Freecom 4 is new to Australia – when I went looking about a month ago they weren’t in any of the stores. They are the more budget series and miss out on the Mesh grouping set up that the more expensive PackTalk and SmartTalk get. I never ride in groups, so it was of little interest. Besides, the last time I rode with someone else with a Bluetooth, they had a Sena anyway.

I think that they are basically my old Q3, repackaged. Software a little updated too. First impressions opening the box was, smaller and slimmer. I bought the Duo as it wasn’t much less than a single SmartTalk and meant I could attach it to the second helmet if my kids wanted to come riding. And with discounting, wasn’t a whole lot out of my pocket. It turns out it was an astute decision.

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The mount has changed significantly. It now just slides up into the helmet. This was super easy the old unknown brand my wife uses, but in my AGV was a little more difficult and required some cutting of the pad around the bottom of the helmet. In both cases, there was plenty of cord length and the application of a couple of velcro pads and it was installed. This setup is going to make it super easy to remove at a track (sometimes the track staff don’t like things attached to your helmet, at least at SMSP anyway). It does come with a stick on version as well, but I’m not a fan of doing that.

Switching them on and connecting them to various devices was easy, and they start and connect MUCH faster than the older ones. I’m also not required to fuss about in order to have the music play when I hit the button. I suspect that was caused by several phone OS updates with no Headset software updates, but it was nice to have that working properly.

First ride, a commute, and initially the music was very quiet. I remembered on arrival at work that I hadn’t turned up the Bluetooth volume on the iPhone, so it was much better on the way home. The speakers aren’t going to set the world on fire and do seem to struggle when the music is very full (?) like crescendos and big parts of the song. But they are clear and loud.

The next day the Mrs and I rode into the city and apart from a delay a couple of times, when the connection had gone to sleep, they worked excellently.

Overall I’m very happy and would certainly recommend them as an option. It’s also fantastic after the past 3 months of trying to keep my earbuds in my ears as I don my helmet and not being able to answer calls etc.

Let Out

The last day of the school holidays came along, and Mrs Mab had the day off. But she was sick and I think that’s why after lunch she let me out for a ride. With a couple of hours free I wasn’t able to get to the top of the Putty or Mac Pass, so I decided to head up Old Pac for a few laps south of Brooklyn Bridge. And while I actually I managed to catch one bike, I was mostly a rolling roadblock for the more skilled riders.

Even more amazing, there was a photographer out (I normally pass through the area in the week when they aren’t there). So I have photos from a rare recreational ride of mine. And I have super rare pictures of me riding AND the first photos of me on the Daytona (I’ve had this bike for 4 years).

So enjoy.

 

The slowest rider on the Old Pac!

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Special thanks to Gideon Motorcycle Imagery (on Facebook) for the pictures.

Ninja time

No not turtles. Oh that reminds me – I do have to sit through the latest one. 

I test rode the Ninja 1000sx this afternoon. I really wanted to like it, it was smooth, plenty of power. Nice seating position and I can’t see it struggling with full panniers or two up. Brakes seemed good too. 

But I found that the seat had two creases that I found quite uncomfortable after only a few short minutes. Even after I got off the bike I still was a bit uncomfortable for at least a half an hour. That really made it hard to like the bike. 
The VFR moves back to the top of the list and I’m considering that the newer one is the better choice. Revised and refreshed with some better technology. And available at some reasonable prices second hand. 

Reached a quiet decision

Commuting home on the Daytona the other day I finally decided that it was no longer the bike for me.

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What’s not to love about this sweet machine??

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic bike. And I’m still super happy to have decided that my experiment into the sportbike world was on such a sweet machine. Its performance is amazing, handling is fantastic. It’s actually pretty easy to ride every day even in traffic. And I have travelled some distance on it.

It is the decision two years in the making, ever since the roo jumped onto the Hume and laid down my VFR. I didn’t enjoy the track day, I don’t have time or the real interest in putting effort (time, money and stress) into track day schools. I have also decided that I don’t really like heading out to the same road and just repeating it over and over.

I want to head out for a couple of hours (or days or weeks) and explore. Heck, this even sounds like my WoW interests, lol.  The Daytona doesn’t really lend itself to that. I’m not out there wanting to shave seconds off time, I’m happy cruising along at the speed limit(ish) and eating miles looking around. A topbox would be great for work commute.

So I’m heading back to the Sports Tourer world

But no idea how I’m going to pay for it.

Sell the Daytona is the first step.

That should give me enough money to get a good condition VFR800, say 2010 or so. A known bike I would be content with.

So what else?

Well the new VFR seems an obvious choice. I have decided to loosen up my personal restriction and investigate the over 1000cc bikes. Otherwise, there basically isn’t anything to choose from that isn’t choked by Learner Approved restrictions. I may also consider the strongly road orientated “adventure” bikes, this opens it up somewhat too. I would like at least a windscreen (so no nakeds please!) and hope for factory panniers/topbox. LED headlights are a big plus having experienced that in my car now. The difference between normal halogen and LEDs is massive! Maybe I would have seen that roo???

So my list currently has

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2014+ Honda VFR800 (White or Red)

Honda VFR800 – Newer than my old one. Has LED Lights, same sweet engine and similar ergonomics. Almost a known factor, can get second hand too. Panniers/topbox, tick.

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Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX – I step up to 1000cc. Plenty of power. LED lights, ABS, traction control. Panniers OR topbox, not both at same time.

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Triumph Tiger Sport 1050

Triumph Tiger Sport – LED lights, ABS, traction control. I presume options for topbox, panniers. More adventure tourer than sports tourer. 1000cc triple (triples are sweet). Heated grips etc etc.

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Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

Yamaha MT-09 Tracer. – LED lights, ABS, traction control. I presume options for topbox, panniers. More adventure tourer than sports tourer. 900cc triple (triples are sweet). Heated grips etc etc.

All four of those are improvements on the version before. Better suspension or better tuned engines, improved seating or some such. Ninja, VFR and Tracer should be available in good second hand versions, without some of the newer bits and pieces (LED lights mostly).

I can’t really think of any others. Possibles might include Suzuki GSX1000F (though it’s pretty ugly). Ducati Multistrada 950.

I’ve put the Daytona up for sale at work. I’ve tested a 2017 VFR800, and plan to test the Ninja on Friday. I think thats the strongest alternate to the two VFRs.

But then I have to figure out how to pay.