Sunday, July 28, 2013

The end of a riddle and some new shoes

Winter here is finally coming to an end (Woo Hoo!) with only one month of winter left one can't wish hard enough that the spring will come early. I haven't really had much chance to get out on the bike at all, partly due to the crap weather coupled with the fact I needed new tyres which is now rectified also I have been away the last couple of weekends visiting my mum who was in hospital due to a hip replacement.

I finally got the bike in to the shop for new hoops this week. We can't all be as lucky as Eric and have our own tyre changing machine. While the bike was at the shop I also asked them to check the steering head bearings. When I had washed the bike a couple of weeks ago I went up to get some fuel. I wasn't wearing ear plugs for such a short journey like I do if I'm on a long trip and when I applied the front brake I could hear a clunking sound coming from the front end. The end result was that, as I had suspected the steering head bearing were shot.I took the bike for a short run down some hills nearby and lent back and took my hands off the bars. No tank slapping occurring now. Great now the handling is sorted its time for a ride next weekend.

Incidentally I was going to put on another set of Michelin Pilot Power Pure's but when I spoke to the guy at the shop he said they didn't have any and that a lot of riders were reporting that they were wearing funny on the front causing handling problems. I just had a set of those on my R1 and had no sort of drama's as he described. Tarsnakes recently told me he had a similar issue with them on his VFR. I wonder if these so called wear/handling issues come about due to heavy bikes. The VFR is 34Kg heavier than my R1. This could cause excessive wear on the front tyre possibly. It could be that the lighter the bike the better those tyres perform.

Anyway I decided I would try Michelins new Pilot Power 3. Hopefully I will get roughly the same amount of Km's  out of these as I did with the power pure although I don't think I will. I had 58804 km on the bike when I got them put on.
Pilot Power 3

There's very little tread on the sides of these tyres so it doesn't look like they will be great wet weather tyres but they do look like they will be great tyres for spirited riding in the twisties. Time will tell.

Once I'd got the bike home on Sunday I also did an oil and filter change on the bike. Now all is in readiness for next weeks ride, as long as it not 6°C and raining.

Bring on the summer!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Contemplating a new bike

I have had my current bike a 2000 model Yamaha YZF R1 for 13 years now, which is an eternity from a biking technology point of view. From new it's pretty much ticked all the boxes for me. It's got plenty of power although I always seem to want more. Is that just a guy thing? It has great handling for a bike of its age and it has held up remarkably well in the styling stakes. It was built with an aggressive look which it still has in this day and age of ultra sleek styled bikes. It just goes to show how far ahead of it's time it was when it was released.

I have been contemplating updating my bike for some time now. There have been several reasons that I haven't actually gone out and bought something newer, lack of funds has been the major factor in that. Throw in the fact that we have had our second daughter in the last 5 years and that really tends to put a dent in anything motorcycling related as well as sucking the bank account dry, faster than an R1 goes 0-60.

Well anyway I've been wondering what sort of bike I should get when the time does finally come that I have enough funds to make the upgrade. Should I get another sports bike or should I go down the sports tourer path for a bit more comfort as I'm not getting any younger, or do I take a bit of a different angle and get a hooligan bike like a naked 1000cc. Mmmm decisions decisions. All of the bikes these days are so good there doesn't seem to be much real difference in performance in the real world. The following list of bikes are on my wish list at the moment for when I finally make the upgrade hopefully soon...

Naked Bikes
The first naked bike that grabbed my attention is the Triumph Speed Triple 1050. I was spying one of these out last time I was at the bike shop. Nice looking bike. I reckon I could have a lot of fun on this thing.....

Pro's: ABS, Single sided swing arm, light weight
Con's: Lack of weather protection

The second naked bike that I like is Kawasaki's Z1000. Now this bike doesn't look as good as the Speed triple but there is still something about this bike I can't put my finger on, maybe its the Kawasaki build quality or the fact kwaka engines have a charismatic growl.


Pro's: Cheaper than the Striple, ABS, light weight
Con's: Bit on the fugly side

The next naked bike I like is a brutal looking bit of gear. Its MV Augusta 1090 Brutale. I like the look of these but I'm not sure whether or not I would actually get one or not being a cash strapped dad and all..
Pro's: Traction Control, Single sided swing arm, light weight
Con's: Lack of weather protection, No ABS, price(its around 8k dear than the Z1000)

Sports Tourer
The next bike is in the sports tourers category. I could quite easily see myself slipping into a sports tourer, just for the fact that I could ride longer distances and not be as tired at the end of the day.

It's no secret that I don't mind Kawasaki's, having previously owned 2. The next one is the biggest mother of them all. The Kawasaki's ZX-14. I have had a look at them close up in the bike shop and they look very good, I could do some 2 up touring with the missus with one of these bad boys. Although that's probably not that likely to happen with the little ones for the next couple of years.

Pro's: ABS, Comfortable, as a certain Sith lord once said "Unlimited Power", 2 up touring ability
Con's: 268kg porker, those hideous cans

Sports Bikes
The next bike on my wish list would have to be the ultimate sports bike in its class. With leading edge technology dripping from this thing is it any wonder it has won about every award there is except most comfortable tourer. The BMW S1000RR.

Pro's: Everything, ABS, traction control, quick shifter, power & handling
Con's: Price, touring could be very uncomfortable

The next bike on the wish list is another Kawasaki, gee there certainly seems to be a few in my list. The ZX-10 is kwaka's litre sized weapon. This could be fun.

Pro's: ABS, traction control, power & handling, steering damper
Con's: Cheaper than BMW, LED tacho looks like a cheap gimmick

The last bike on my wish list would have to be Yamaha's new YZF R1. I mean why wouldn't I look at updating to a newer one. I have loved my old R1, I love the sound of the new cross plane crank. The only draw back I see is that it doesn't have any ABS which most of the competitors do. Also the rear taillight area is pretty hideous as well. Whoever at Yamaha designed that needs to be taken out the back and flogged.

Pro's: Traction control, Cross plane crank, slipper clutch
Con's: No ABS, Bike is a porker at 218kg wet, my old R1 is 201kg wet.

I have taken quite a while to piece this blog post together for one reason or another, but after putting some thought into it I was thinking "Do I even need any of this new technology". I mean my current bike doesn't have any of this it still has carburetters for gods sake. Really what is all this stuff for?

The only conclusion that I can come up with is that all of this stuff is for rider safety. The big one here for me would have to be ABS. My next bike I'd like to have ABS on it just in case. I mean I'm only human and all it takes is one little mistake under brakes and everything can come unstuck. At least ABS may stop that from happening.

I noticed that 3 of the bikes here were in the seven days seven bikes blog challenge from 2 years ago. Once I have the funds available I'll be test riding these beauties to see which one I like to make my final decision. Till then I'm still just dreaming.....