I 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!
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.
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.
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
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).
The slowest rider on the Old Pac!
Special thanks to Gideon Motorcycle Imagery (on Facebook) for the pictures.
Commuting home on the Daytona the other day I finally decided that it was no longer the bike for me.
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
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.
Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX – I step up to 1000cc. Plenty of power. LED lights, ABS, traction control. Panniers OR topbox, not both at same time.
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.
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.
The Daytona went in for a service yesterday. 40,000km in 4 years. I’m almost running it exactly 10,000 per year as each service comes up about Easter time.
Overall everything was okay but they thought at one stage that they had found a birds nest inside it. They described a bunch of sticks and flower down the intake near the air filter.
Didn’t make a lot of sense as the bike is ridden almost every day and stored in a garage. I didn’t see how a bird would decide to nest there, and I thought it unlikely that a mouse would have enough time to set up. I have heard of mice and other such things nesting in bikes, and even being there for some time, but it usually bikes that spend a chunk of time off the road (such as laid up for snowy northern hemisphere winters), but not really heard of it in bikes that are ridden often. So it was initially a mystery, but I think I’ve figured it out.
At work, the bike parking closest to my office is under a big tree. A big tree that also has heaps of tiny pink flowers. And that’s a match – I’ll have to park somewhere else from now on. Not too annoying as the next closest parking is about 20m away.
So apart from a new air filter there wasn’t anything of not from the service. And that’s good.
It didn’t go how I expected at all. There weather was warm but fine, if a little windy. I didn’t crash and that was an excellent result. I also made it up to 195kmh and I am confident that the bike could go a lot faster, I wasn’t very good at fully opening the throttle as quick as I could.
But I hated it.
I was terrified the whole time. Not so much about the possibility of crashing or even of getting hurt so much.
I think I was terrified that my bike would be damaged.
I felt a lot of pressure from the other riders and I know that was only perceived pressure, not actual pressure and that didn’t help.
I kind of feel that it was a combination of all of the things I don’t like about group rides and the only positive was the lack of things to run into.
There were a couple of small niggles about my bike that could have been hurting my confidence, but if it had been a ride out the Putty or something they wouldn’t have bothered me so I don’t think they were a big factor, certainly apart from a single moment in one turn the bike was flawless.
But coming down the main straight at 190kmh looking at the turn that others were taking at probably 180kmh I was terrified, slowing ages before the turn to I guess something like 100kmh.
It’s even got me to the point that I am considering changing bikes – getting a VFR or something rather than having a supersport. I do miss the VFR terribly (yes silly I know, it’s just a bike).
Do I try a track day again? I’m not sure. If I did I would want to fix those couple of things and they’re easy fixes.