Winter is…. well its here

The last couple of weeks have been COLD in Canberra. The week before last we had three days where it started around -7C.

Winter gloves are a real design problem for riders. Too much padding and you end up not being able to feel anything. Often the wind still gets through, sucking what little heat gets generated by your fingers. Less padding and they don’t keep you warm.

Heated handlebars are one solution, but on the VFR I was always concerned to add more load to the electrical system. You can now get heated gloves (and socks, and vests). I just wasn’t sure about that either, the problem of wind chill would still be there I thought. Instead there is this option, known as handlebar mitts.

Baxter Box-R

Bagster Box-R

They worked very well, cutting the wind which is a large part of really cold hands on a motorcycle. In these I comfortably rode all winter in summer gloves. Adding some heating (gloves or bars) would see you able to cope in quite extreme temperatures I think.

But now there is no VFR. These mitts don’t fit as well on the Daytona (sure they look silly, but that’s not what I’m talking about). The ergonomics of the bar position, fairing shape, sitting position all mean that they are problematic. I have done it once on a Sydney to Canberra commute along the Hume. I’m just glad I didn’t have to turn much.

So -7, time for my winter gloves then.

Er, where are they?

I hunted around in my Canberra place to no avail. I rode into work one day in the -7. The right hand especially must have been very close to frostbite (at 100kmh, -7 is something like -20 or -25C in light weight leather….). Was well into the morning before my hands felt right again (I have a niggling concern about my pinky on one hand still).

That weekend I hunted about the Sydney house to no avail.

Did I throw them out last winter after I got the Bagster? Strong chance of that as I was never happy with either pair I had.

So this weekend I picked up a new set.

Dainese Scout Gore-Tex

Dainese Scout Gore-Tex

Not cheap, but I do have a strong trust in the performance of Dainese gear now. Both on bike (keeping me warm and dry) and off the bike (along the road).

Of course this week it’s 8C and raining so I’m leaving the bike in the garage.

Why are they all Ninjas??

Been browsing the motorcycle For Sale as I ponder a possible second bike again. I’d like to pose this question to Kawasaki.

“Why are so many of your model’s called Ninja?”

Off the top of my head we have

  • H2 / H2R
  • ZX-14R
  • ZX-12R
  • ZX-10R
  • ZX-7R
  • ZX-6R
  • ZX-2R
  • Z1000
  • Z800 / Z750
  • Ninja 300 / 250

Seriously, this a sport orientated list, but some of these are very different bikes. Let’s compare with Honda

  • Fireblade = CBR1000RR (I’ve never heard the 600RR called this?)
  • Firestorm = VTR1000R, SP-1, SP-2 (also known as Superhawk I think)
  • Interceptor = VFR800
  • Cross Tourer = VFR1200X
  • etc, etc.

With a Honda, there’s no confusion, but I asked someone which bike they rode and they said a “Ninja”, it could mean anything. Normally I would expect them to mean the ZX-10R, possibly the -6R, but it could be the supercharged H2R or the learners 300!

Now they don’t call all their bikes Ninjas, we have Vulcans and Versys and others. But their whole street/sport (not cruiser or dual sport or dirt bike range) are called Ninja.

Imagine Nissan called all their 4WDs the Patrol, not the Patrol, the Murano, the Pathfinder, the X-Trail, the Qashqui, and the Dualis! You can see how confusing that is.

She’s back…….

Triumph_DaytonaR_10Ok, that’s not me, but it how I feel :) Picked up the Daytona after about 3 weeks in the shop waiting for a part. Worth the wait, as the part fixed the warm (not) starting problem I had been having for about a year. So went for an hour up the Cotter :) You know, just a shakedown after the service ;) tumblr_m8mbsj2rbx1qgolyao1_1280

Missing you.

The Daytona went in for a service about two weeks ago. One of the things that has bugged me is that it is often hard to start when hot. I’ll get it out of the garage and ride down the street to the petrol station. Fill up and it won’t start for several attempts.

So they found a broken valve in the intake somewhere. Been making the bike run lean, which (someone with more knowledge than me can talk me through this) should make it hard to start when warm??

Anyway so the part is on order (from England they reckon). But still under warranty so I will only pay for the service.

Even with the rain coming down I want to ride.

Missing the VFR still too.

Two wheels (move the soul!)

Monday seems to be a standard ride the Daytona day this summer.

Not that I mind.

This time I headed somewhere different. The road from Canberra to Bateman’s Bay is apparently interesting.

Well it is, but you have to ride for about 45mins down a pretty boring road across the plains to get there. But Clyde Mountain, wow. It’s pretty steep and winding and I don’t think I got to the end before I hit my turnaround time. It was also in the middle of being resealed so I’ll give a month or so and might head that way again. Except for the hours of boring stuff.

The road out to Marulan, though less technical, more interesting. I might do that next Monday. Or tomorrow?IMG_2699

OOOOhhhh Friday morning on the MTB, I was massively happy. There is a turn on a track called See Saw that I fallen on 3 times and skipped at least twice. Rode down it without falling or stopping Friday. I think the whole forrest heard my happy yell.

Got out again this afternoon, trying a newly built trail. A fun ride actually, “Brake Dance” and “Rock and Roll”. Both had some tricky stuff and both were mostly downhill, so good fun. However the uphill bits were harder as the new trail was still pretty soft (not compacted by lotsa tyres).

Disappointment though in the end as I hit “Creek Run” a fun quick blast at the end…. the back started getting really loose and it was obvious I had another flat. Two in three rides.

Spoiled that last hurrah.

Home and I FINALLY washed the Daytona, the Trance (my MTB) and fixed the tyre. Actually pretty happy about getting that stuff done.

That guy was quick….

And it wasn’t me.

I got an early mark on Monday and with the sun shining I rushed home to change into my leathers.

I headed out to the Cotter again. I spent about an hour practising up and down the road. Enjoying the road and the Daytona.

I did laugh to myself at one point. I was about a third of the way back down when a Ducati rode past the other way. He looked to be going fairly quick.

At the bottom, where Brindabella Rd meets the Cotter I paused to see if heads back this way. I reckon I was stopped for about 30 secs when he pulled up. A quick hello and he was off back to Canberra.

Another fun afternoon.

Daylight Savings (Summertime) rocks.

Enjoying the Daytona again.

I got back from Sydney Monday and with the afternoon off, I decided to head out on the Daytona in order to see how my leg had improved. My wife had been getting me to tag along to her gym sessions and we had been working hard on the knee (and the rest of me) to get rid of the stiffness and start getting back to fully operational.

I geared up and decided that a run out to the Cotter and environs would be a good start. I had only been out that way a couple of times and would be a good test of the leg (and my confidence) without being too far away (and having a high proportion of turns to straights, grin). It is probably the closest good road to the city (only about 20 mins away).

I spent about an two hours out there, riding up and back, enjoying it immensely. I didn’t push too hard as the roads are still very new (and not in the best conditions) straight away. Gradually I increased the pace and was very happy that my knee didn’t have any pain or stiffness throughout. A vast improvement on even the short commute about three weeks before.

Eventually, and with some nasty grey clouds gathering over the hills I headed back towards home.

Got home, very satisfied, very happy and a bit tired. What a great day.

It didn’t help me decide if I should change my bike over or not…. didn’t help with that decision AT ALL.

I love the Daytona, it’s a hoot to ride and so light and quick.

I miss the VFR and traveling about on it.

Though there is no real reason I can’t do that on the Daytona……………….

Post crash – Update 2

Not a lot to post, sorry. I’m still at home in Sydney healing up. Still can’t really move my leg much so sitting at the computer isn’t really appealing.

Frustrated, I want to get back on the bike and even back to work, but I can’t imagine how much more frustrated I would be if I had been more seriously injured.

Haven’t been paid for the bike yet, there are some documents I need to send them, but they are in Canberra at the moment and I haven’t been back.

Anyway I’ll potter about this week and hopefully be back the next one. I’m really keen to put together a vid showing my gear and the crash site etc, but need to get out there again to do that.

Post crash update

Okay so it’s almost a week since I decided to closely inspect the road surface at high speed. I have had a plastic surgeon stitch up my wound. Then I was discharged from Canberra and finally got home to my family on Friday evening.

All seems to be healing well but it will be a while. I’ve had suggestions of anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks before I can even drive let alone swing a leg over the Daytona. So work will be frustrated but not more than me.

I do really want to ride again and there isn’t anything to stop me. Even Mrs Mab is happy for me to keep riding. The only thing that might stop me is me.

The docs have suggested that I may not yet have dealt with the whole event and I expect that’s true. But to what extant I need to deal with anything you never know.

So I might swing that leg over and be too nervous to roll out of the garage. At this time I don’t see that – I can certainly think through some rides and all I feel is the urge to get out there.

I expect I will also mourn my VFR at some point. Sure it’s only a bike to some but it was a big part of me for a long time and many miles. And I am going to miss it.

So all is as well as it can be and I look forward to what the future holds. Thanks again to all the support from here and elsewhere.