Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 FX-Superbikes at SMSP

The FX Superbikes were on at Sydney Motorsport Park on Sunday so I headed on out to check them out. With Bushpig being oversea's on holidays it was a solo effort for me today. There were some sweet looking bikes in the bike parking area as well as in pit lane. I spied a beautiful TRX850 and pair of H2's with matching number plates. As per usual with the FX superbikes the racing was awesome and it was a thoroughly enjoyable day out. Here are some of the photo's I took. Enjoy all the lovely bike porn.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

First ride out and something unexpected

Well here it is at last, finally revealed in all its glory. Yes I know I teased some of you relentlessly with the last couple of posts, especially with that dodgy night photo. Yes I am a bastard. I was almost bursting to tell you what it was but I thought I'd have a bit of fun with it. Besides it's not everyday I buy a new bike. The suspense was getting to even me by the end of it. I guarantee that you guys will get a giggle out of this one.

Some of you guessed it, my new stead is the 2015 Yamaha R1, packed with all sorts of electronic wizardry. This bike was set up and developed in conjunction with Valentino Rossi so it can't be all bad. I was considering the Ducati Panigale but no dice.

I'd wondered that nobody picked up on the fact a couple of weeks ago I visited the local dealer to look at the bike. Well it was a bit more than a look as I laid down some cold hard cash and this little beauty is now mine.

Well what's it like I hear you say? Calm down, here a few first impressions from the little run that Bushpig and I did on the day I picked it up.

After listening to the tech at the dealer explain all the controls and me taking in none of it as I couldn't wait to jump on board and go for a spin, what was all that guff he said about traction control mode button. Ah who cares I'll check that out later, now is time just for riding.

I arrived at Bushpigs and he was eyeing off my new stead we headed off on our way to have lunch at Wisemans Ferry at the pub. Bushpig stopped for fuel and asked if I wanted a top up. Nah its full I said as I checked it before we left his house, as we then headed off. Bushpig changed his mind and said we should head up the Putty Rd instead. I wasn't going to argue with that, and that was a longer ride so even more fun.

Some first impressions - The suspension is a bit stiff, but that's what you get for a race machine, I'll have to do a bit of fiddling and soften it up a bit for the road as it's probably set up for the track. I haven't even checked sag or any of that yet. Also the seat has a bit less padding than my old R1. The seating position seemed to be fairly neutral and much like my old bike, it didn't feel like I had any more weight on the bars or anything so all good there.

The engine - oh GOD, that crossplane crank engine noise is glorious. It sounds much like a V-twin but its not it's an in line four cylinder. The engine is probably the biggest difference I noticed right away. With the fuel injection I found it a bit hard to ride as my throttle control seemed to be either on or off. It was a lot harder to control than my old carby model R1 which was a lot more linear in response. Sometimes it felt like I'd rolled off the throttle but the throttle was still on, rolling into some bends, but the handling was so sweat you could just turn it in no problem. The steering was so sharp, sometimes to the point of me over steering it. Wow it's quick.

We had stopped at the old halfway house for a late lunch about 1:30pm. A Bacon & Egg roll went down a treat whilst we basked in the warm winter sun and looked over the bike. I have already commenced the farkling with a tail tidy going on before even leaving the dealership, I've got some oggy knobs coming and radiator guards. What to get next? I'm thinking a single seat cowl then the exhaust system.

 It was cool out today around 11°C and Bushpig said we'd better get going back. I handed him the keys as I rode his trumpet back whilst he tried out the R1. I saw him disappearing into the distance at a great rate of knots for a while, not sure that was quite legal but who am I to judge others. About 10 minutes later he'd pulled over and hopped off we swapped bikes back again.He mentioned the suspension was too hard for him too. Swapping back to the R1 we set off again. After a while I noticed the fuel light was on, no problem we are coming up to Colo Heights soon where there's a petrol station.

Cough, cough...... went that sweet sounding engine then disquieting coasting noises......F#ck I'd run out of gas on the first ride out as I saw Bushpig disappearing into the distance. He soon came back and asked whats up. I told him and we both looked at each other and pissed ourselves laughing at the hilarity of the situation. Me not topping the bike up when I had the chance and him doing break neck speed whilst the fuel light was on.

So this is where I'd coasted to a stop on one of the worlds fastest sport bikes going no where in a hurry. Ah well, photo Op time is all I could do as I chuckled to myself again. The first time I'd run out of fuel on the bike in 20 years. All I could do was laugh.

Bushpig returned about 15 minutes later with a 5 litre can of fuel, I'd run out 3 kms short of the service station. Topping up didn't take long and we were soon filling up at the bowser in Colo Heights. I put 17 litres in, I wonder if it was completely full from the shop otherwise the fuel consumption on this thing is a bit heavier than my old R1. It was showing 211km on the odo. I'll have to wait and see after putting a couple of tanks through to make sure how much I'll get. A couple more bikes pulled in and we chatted with them for a bit over a cold beverage. Before long we had hit the road for home. Another good day out, luckily I hadn't run out of gas 30 or 40 kms up the road is all I can say.

I'm loving the handling and the engine on this bike. Oh that engine is glorious - so much power it just builds and builds, it grunts out of corners with plenty of torque. So much more than my old R1 and that wicked engine sound. I think a pipe will definitely be on the shopping list at some stage. I'll touch on the electronics in an upcoming post as I've not yet had a chance to play around with it. One thing is clear this bike is MotoGP for the road, make no mistake about that. It's seriously fast with handling to match. There is no mistaking its track focus. My old R1 feels like a sports tourer compared to this. Now to turn off that Lift control to let that front wheel fly....

Monday, June 22, 2015


Since the dawn of time when the primal ape had developed into what we know as current day man he has striven to improve the very world he lives in. Progress was slow in the beginning, early caveman struggled to survive in a world dominated by man eating dinosaurs. Man was dumb and slow until one day man discovered how to create and use Fire. Fire made man powerful, he could bend it to his will and it was used by all. Man was pleased with his ability to control fire, but he was still dumb and slow.

As the decades passed by, Summers dwindled into Autumns, which froze its way into winters and then melted through to spring and life repeated its cycle relentlessly, many ages of man passed by. Then one day man had another brilliant idea and the second most important invention in the history of man came into being just after fire, man had created the wheel. Man realized that this was a great thing, he sat and pondered it over a few cold beers......the thirst for technology had just been sparked.

Several thousand years went by relatively uneventfully, man continued to create and invent and he gradually got smarter with some minor creations taking place like ships, bridges, jesus christ, the steam engine, electricity, refrigeration, TV and sliced bread just to name a few.

With all of these new found inventions man was contented with his brilliance, but there was a lingering thought in the back of his mind that there was something missing. Man thought long and hard and in 1885 he finally invented the first motorised bicycle, or to us the first motorcycle. Man was pleased, he would sit in his shed for days at a time and stare at it whilst blowing the froth off a few Weizenbiers.

Once man had made the first motorcycle there was much rejoicing and women and children were pleased with their men, but something else was missing.......a second motorcycle was then made and soon after then motorcycle racing was born. 

A century passed and man improved on his designs until it had reached a point where it could go no further and had become perfection. This year was 1998. Yes a man with vision named Kunihiko Miwa who should be lauded as a God among men was content that he had actually finally made perfection. Many more sheds were filled with these beasts of perfection. Yes Yamaha had created sportsbike perfection in 1998 with its R1. A race bred bike with lights and to this day still the best sportsbike ever invented......

Man was happy, he had invented perfection. Man tried to improve on this perfection, to little avail as there is no improving on perfection. Everything that came before and after has failed to live up to this mighty beast.

Then one day along came another beast that was more capable in every way. Perfection had actually been perfected yet again. Man was now happy that he actually improved on perfection which was previously thought impossible, man rested on his laurels knowing in the fact that it will be at least another 15 years before perfection can be bettered....

Old R1 meet your new stable mate. I now sit in my shed, beer in hand staring at this lovely beast of perfection.........

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Fond Farewell

After 15 years of good great times it is time to say goodbye to my R1 as it is finally retired. The minister of finance and warfare has finally relented and I can get myself a new bike. This is my tribute video to this great bike with some fantastic memories from the last 15 years.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Something for Kate

I hated the Miley Cyrus version of this song, but Paul Dempsey really shows the emotion in this. I loved this version.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What is faster: Cars vs Bikes

For eons car drivers and bike riders have been at war with each other over which is the fastest, the car or the motorbike. All one has to do is that a look at youtube and you'll see a plethora of car vs bike videos and then look at the comments section to see tons of arguments raging. There's been magazine shootouts between cars and bikes and even top gear dabbled a couple of times with bikes.

There are many technical arguments either way for which is the better machine. But if you go straight to the top of both sports like F1 and MotoGP it's pretty clear that the F1 car completely creams the bike in every way except straight line acceleration.

Lets examine a circuit like Jerez, Spain for example and the fastest race lap times there as follows
Formula 1 = 1:23"135 Heinz Harald Fretzen 1997
MotoGP = 1.39"565 Jorge Lorenzo 2013
WSBK = 1.41.691 Tom Sykes 2013

It's pretty clear the F1 car wins hands down by a whopping 16 seconds. Not really a contest here.

Here's a short video from Top Gear Australia's lap of Eastern Creek with F1 car(piloted by Mark Webber of F1) vs V8 Supercar(piloted by V8 supercar champ Jamie Whincup) vs Honda fireblade street bike (Piloted by Casey Stoner). The F1 cleans up but Casey does an impressive job of not getting killed by the  car drivers with a ton of steel bearing down on him. Note: that a Street bike Honda fireblade is nothing like a MotoGP machine it's only down about 100 hp and about 50kg heavier. Just goes to show an $16K street bike is as good as a $500,000 V8 supercar and I've seen the extended version of this from Top Gear and Casey waved the car by with his foot out on the final lap, so the F1 and V8 went through, he could have held out the V8 easily, but it was a car show after all.

One of the biggest bonus's for the cars is that they have so much more rubber on the road than the bike they can out corner and out brake motorcycles. They can brake later and turn and corner faster. Cars have what about 30-40 odd inches of rubber on the road if not more.

The arguments on the bikes side is that they are lighter and have a higher power to weight ratio making them out accelerate just about anything. They have high levels of cornering performance that is only surpassed in the car world when you start to spend shit loads of dollars. The bikes are limited by only having a small contact patch on the road with only about 1 inch of rubber in contact with terra firma.

With only an inch of rubber on the ground at any one time any sort of slip or slide can put you down the road faster than you can say "another beer please"

Most bikes in the real world are fairly standard with maybe a pipe here and a power commander module there which is good enough to outclass most road going cars. Although I have seen a few hot cars that have over 1000bhp and they really wipe the floor with a standard bike. If you look at the costs involved I'd say the bike wipes the floor price wise with the car. Here's a vid of a 1056HP car vs a 182HP R1. This is a seriously fast car, but I still can't help but feel that dollar for dollar, pound for pound that the bike would be much more fun.

Then there are some bike lovers out there that the power of a Hayabusa is just not enough and they feel the need to tinker with it, just so it will go a little faster. Like how fast? How about 500HP and 350kmh. Yes that's fast especially when you see the chase bike doing 300kmh and getting left for dead.

That Clarkson wanker is a known bike hater unlike Captain Slow who has several bikes and loves them. Well Jeremy Clarkson I'm proud to wear "rubber trousers" on my motor bicycle, you fucking git oh and by the way the BMW S1000RR has one of the fastest lap times around your shabby little airport goat track.

My preference is and always has been for bikes. Sure cars are fast, sometimes even faster, but in my experience in the real world, my bike is fast enough to blow most cars into the weeds and also heaps of fun in the twisties and at the same time cheaper to operate than any high performance car.

The final word

Personally I don't really care for who's fastest, maybe 10 years ago I could have but not now. I'm happy enough doing an occasional track day to settle my need for speed. Lastly but not least there is nothing and I mean nothing in the car world that can match the feeling of being cranked over at 170 kmh only inches from the ground with your knee on the deck, scraping the tarmac. Simply exhilarating, the adrenaline rush is unbelievable. Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsports Park have bits of my knee sliders on the tarmac to prove it. Dream on car lovers until you've had your knee on the deck at high speed you have no idea, its the equivalent of sex on wheels..........

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Year of the Yamaha?

Lorenzo and Rossi put in another superb performance at the Catalunya MotoGP. I know it's very early days yet and anything can happen in racing but could this be the year of the Yamaha?

Everyone else's view of Lorenzo

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Vivid long weekend

This weekend was the Queens Birthday long weekend made even better by me having a RDO on the Tuesday giving me an extra long weekend. Firstly it was time to head into the city to spend some quality time with the family at Sydney's Vivid festival. Vivid is a festival of light, sound and ideas. After last years excellent effort I think they ran out of most of the good ideas. The general idea is that there are massive lighting displays put onto the sides of some of the buildings in the City and Rocks area with the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Museum of Contemporary arts showcased as the centre pieces with various other small displays scattered about.

Various lighting displays of multi colouredness, looks like they made this whilst high on ice

Multi coloured buildings

Museum of contemporary arts
Multiple images of the Opera House with a rolling display of multi coloured shapes and symbols

My 2 year old did her best pepper pig snorting sounds upon seeing this

Tuesday morning rolled around and when everyone was heading back to work Bushpig and I were both on RDO's(Rostered day off for those not in the know) and it was a glorious day and double demeritts had also finished. Time to get on the bikes and hit the road for our first winters day ride. We couldn't have asked for a better start to winter as it reached 22°C(72°F) on today's ride. We hadn't been up the Putty Road for a while so we headed off just after 9am. On the way I said to Bushpig that we should stop in at Team-moto on the way and have a look at the new R1. What a beautiful looking beast it is too. I had a sit on one and it was much the same seating position as my current bike, it didn't feel that bad for a race bike. This thing looks like a rocket just sitting there. They had the R1M as well which had already sold.


Fueling up at Vineyard we continued on up to the half way house for a quick stop and rest break, not before seeing a car swerve into the path of a truck Bushpig was following and nearly hit it in a head on, before at the last minute swerving back onto the correct side of the road. I bet that bastard was on his mobile phone. There were a few bikes out today doing the same as us and just enjoying the quiet weekday roads after the long weekend.

Here's me in my new dud's, does my bum look big in this?
We set off after a little break and I put the gopro on for a bit as we headed up to the Ten mile of twisties. Some of the bends have been resurfaced with fresh smooth hot mix, making this a real joy to ride, however being winter there were a few sections where the sun didn't touch the road surface and moss was growing on the road as you could clearly see the green lines following the centre lines of the road on each lane.

We stopped in at the Cockfighter tavern at Bulga for lunch and a quick bite to eat as both of us were famished. We both ordered the hamburger with chips. They make a nice burger here too, washed down with an icy cold beer. Does it get any better than this? It was 2pm by the time we had finished and thought we'd better get going before it got to late. There are many tree's along the road side casting shadows across the road which makes it difficult to see in places not to mention it's kangaroo country and you don't want to hit one of those on the bike.

It was another good run back down through the Ten mile and beyond. We didn't fuel up in Bulga and my fuel light came on 1 km before the Grey Gums cafe, which is roughly half way between Windsor and Singleton(170kms). I wasn't to concerned as the R1 has excellent fuel economy and we made it to Colo Heights and fueled up after 50kms on the reserve light. I'd put in 16 litres for 285kms with 2 litres still to go. This R1 is a great bike it does everything, it goes hard, it corners, it brakes well, it tours well, it has great fuel economy and after 15 years it still looks good. What a magic day out. I can't wait for the next one.