Monday, June 29, 2015

28 June 2015 End of Month Ride

Middle of winter and a good turnout of 6 riders for June's EOM ride. It ended up being a short but interesting trip for a couple of reasons; Firstly Dion had his Honda NS400R back on the road following a top-end rebuild and the fitting of a set of JL chambers. And secondly we had a shed raid to view Dave T's new collection of old bikes and parts for some upcoming projects.

Dave recently acquired a job lot of old Suzuki and Honda bikes and parts. The most interesting and with the best prospects, were a Suzuki GS1000G and GSX1135EF. The EF looks to be around 1985 to '87 and was mostly intact. Suzuki claimed 124 bhp (at the crank) for the EF when new, so they must have been really quick. Their reputation suggests considerably more HP can be extracted, so it might make Dave a good 1/4 mile bike. The GS1000G is a shaft drive tourer from the early 80s with a little over 90 bhp and weighing in at around 250 kg dry! Would make a great tourer. This bike is also mostly there although is running a different set of carbs. It will be interesting to see the progress on these two. Would make a good series of articles for the website Dave.
There were also a couple of '70s Suzuki 2-stroke twins and 2 small Hondas. Parts bikes you might call them. Possibly fished out of the Cook Strait. 

Dion's NS400 has enjoyed some deserved pampering while he was doing the top-end overhaul. With the plastics removed it is quite obvious why Honda had a reputation for the best build quality in the 80s. Wheels, brakes, frame, swing arm, nothing looks worn or aged. The bike ran faultlessly first time out and sounded great with the chambers fitted. That addition has a twofold benefit for the NS; they should help the engine to develop more power and the three chambers weigh the same as one of the original exhausts, which amounts to a 13 kg weight saving. 

After a good poke around Dave's collection and a cup of coffee for the lads we headed out to Colyton and through Valley Road to Ashhurst and then various routes back to Palmerston North. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

26 April End Of Month Ride

April end of month ride

A very good and unexpected turn out for our EOM ride this month. And what a picture perfect day for a ride it was. We also had a good variety of bikes; three ’72 750s – Dave’s CB750, Paul’s GT750, and my H2. Still in the 70s were Rich’s T500 and Mike’s GSX750. From the 80’s were Dion’s TZR, Bruce’s VFR750, Ian’s GS450S, and Brian riding a BMW K100RS belonging to his mate Ken. On modern bikes were Bruce S on the Aprilia Tuono, Russell on a BMW GS650, and Ken on a BMW R1150R Rockster – a bit different for the Blue Haze boys.

After a bit of a catch up we headed out of town and through Ashhurst and up the east side of the Pohangina Valley around to Apiti where we stopped for a break. At this point Dave and I swapped bikes for a while, which for me meant finally riding a Honda CB750 four – the bike that really captured my imagination in the early 1970s. A very smooth bike which did seem quite sedate after the H2, but then the additional 40+kg might contribute to this. Dave has owned this bike from new, which makes it a bit special.

From Apiti we made our way up to Rangiwahia Rd and turned right and headed off through the twisties. This is always a favourite track for us and it looked great in autumn colours and at one point we were riding through a shower of leaves falling from trees lining both sides of the road. We stopped again at Pembertons (?) Corner to regroup, and then took the Mangamako Rd to Ohingaiti. This is also a great set of corners with a huge drop down to the river at the Ohingaiti end. Onto SH1 to Hunterville for coffee and Kai. Afterwards it was the mandatory look through MJ Trading, then on the bikes and taking the long way home.  We travelled via Rangitira Road to Rata, Porewa Road to SH1 and then Kakariki Road to Halcome, on to Mt Stewart and home to Palmerston North.

A really enjoyable days riding. Bikes all went well. Doesn't get any better than that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Ride

Always good to get in a longer ride on a long weekend. This year we decided to head out to Pongaroa for an Easter lunch at the pub.
There were 7 keen riders assembled at Manawatu Motorcycles at 9.30. Bruce A on his Honda VFR. Alan on his Honda VF1000, Kim on the H2A, Mike on his immaculate Suzuki GSX750, Ian riding his Suzuki GS450, myself on the GSX-R, and meeting us at the top of the Pahiatua track was Bruce S after a problem with the TZR 1KT meant a trip home to collect his stunning Aprilia RSV-R Factory.

Although it had rained heavily in the early morning, we were lucky to have dry roads for the whole day. Our tour took us over the first part of the Pahiatua track and then turned right and on through Mangamaire onto SH2 and then left into Hamau-Rongomai Rd. We then went right on Mangaone Valley Rd and made our way to Alfredton and then Route 52 to Pongaroa. This is a great ride in the dry and provides a seemingly endless series of corners to enjoy. As usual we stopped at Tiraumea School for a breather, then on to Pongaroa.

The Pongaroa Hotel was hosting the Annual Easter Pongaroar Hunt, and as we sat down to lunch and a beer, the pigs and deer started arriving. 

After another generous Pongaroa Hotel lunch we vacated the parking spaces and headed for home. Our track was over the Puketoi range, through Makuri and on to Pahiatua. This is another road full of corners although with quite a bit of loose gravel to watch for. A quick top up for the Aprilia at the Pahiatua BP and then over the hill to Palmerston North.
The bikes went well.  Alan had some fuel pump problems on the VF and Bruce is planning to fit a new rear shock to the VFR (this ride highlights any shortcomings in suspension). I enjoyed a bit of time on the VFR and as per previous rides I cannot believe how good this almost 30 years old bike is. Ian’s GS450S is another bike that always surprises with its turn of speed and ability to hold on the hills. It appears superbly agile (with Ian riding it) and shows just how good a 44HP parallel twin can be. 

I really enjoyed my ride on the GSX-R and was surprised how well it coped with the road conditions. Its stress free handling, steadfast braking, and howling exhaust note contributed to a very pleasant days riding. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Jawa Perak Training Motorcycle

Those of us in the Blue Haze are interested in all types of motorcycling, but we do have a bent for two strokes. Its not everyday Palmerston North is home to probably one of the rarest two stroke motorcycles in the world but you get to see it and hear it in action for the first time on the Blue Haze blog site! Warren and Stan Turner have been working on this 1954 Jawa Perak Type 11 Tutor training motorcycle for a while now because as you can imagine some parts are hard to find. They had it on show at the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle show at the end of last year and it created a lot of interest. Its great to see Warren encouraging the next generation of motorcyclists with his son taking the 'learner' role in the video!
Looking forward to seeing Warrens next restoration which is a Suzuki GT380. I am sure it is being done to same standard as this Jawa Perak. Congratulations to Warren and Stan for a job well done and keeping our motorcycle heritage alive and well!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Apiti Loop de Loop de Loop!

What a great way to spend a Sunday morning! A group of eleven gathered at Manawatu Motorcycles last weekend to make the most of yet another glorious Manawatu day. It has been a while since I have been out riding with a Masters exhibition and thesis requiring way to much attention! A big thank you to Al and Ian for stepping in providing some great posts. But what a way to get back into the riding grove with the plan being to head up to Apiti via Pohangina then instead of turning left at the Orua Valley Road, turn right and end up on the Main South Road that then takes you to Rangiwahia. The tarsealing has only been completed quite recently as part of the Manawatu Trail route so we were keen to see what it was like.

The run out of town was uneventful with the first stop being at the Raumai turnoff where we meet up with a Mike and Dave from Feilding. Unfortunately, Paul De Lautour had to leave us with his GT750 not co operating with intermittent electrical problems. We had a great run through to the Makoura turnoff although caution was required with non signposted gravel on a few of the corners and it was here that Dion on the RG400 left us as he and Cheryl had a 2:00pm appointment in Hawera to look at Mini!

After a little breather we were on our way again with and when we got to Oroua Road junction we made a left turn instead of our usual right. What a great piece of countryside and the contrast between the bush in the twin gorges, farmland and Ruahine Ranges was spectacular. Some caution needed with some loose gravel on the newly tar sealed sections of the road. A thoroughly recommended addition to the Apiti loop that has you popping out on the main route just north of Rangiwahia. Another stop at The Rangiwahia Hall to regroup and we headed south to Pemberton corner and took a right to Ohingaiti on State Highway One. This is a great road with some wonderful corners and scenery. A few of the lads forgot to take a turn and ended up exploring more new country but finally caught up with the rest of us at our favourite Cafe in Hunterville.

There aren't many places left with Mince and Toast with a side of chips on the menu! the usual suspects made the most of the cream filled pastries! It was good to catch up with John on his new (old) 1972 BMW 600. The seventies certainly were a great time for for motorcycles of all persuasions. Interesting to hear Dave R comparing the price of his Honda 750 he bought brand new for $1740 dollars (which he still has) versus the BMW over $4000. The build quality of the BMW was superb and has certainly aged incredibly well. Other bikes out for a spin was Kim D out on his 3XV (otherwise known as the radio station). They certainly are more than a classic in waiting.

Sir Al was having a ball on his GSXR 400 with the roads proving ideal for it and definitely an underestimated classic. Can't wait to see its new yellow tank to go with the side covers. Must be time to update 'The Garage' article Al? the Brucies were out on their Vees with Bruce As VF 750 looking wonderful in its newish body work and Bruce S giving his Aprilia twin an opportunity to stretch its legs.
Mike had his GSX 750 out and gleaming in the sun. Sounds like his Suzuki GT750 is coming along nicely and spring might see its appearance. Richard was out enjoying his T500 and following along behind him it was certainly making all the right noises. Some new brake pads in the front had him thinking he was on a GT500! Great seeing Brian out on his trusty XT600 thumping his way around the countryside and Ian was giving the old GS450 a few revs having sorted out some issues with the carbs. The old XJ750 proved yet again what a great fuss free ride it is and probably still one of the most underestimated bikes of its era. Hard to beat the shaft drive and the inline four for longevity and it is a great chassis that encourages you to put the sport into sports/tourer.
The trip home via Vinegar Hill was a nice way to wind down after such a great run. We covered nearly 300kms by the time we got back to Palmy, but it certainly didn't feel like it. The twin gorge loop is a great addition to our touring map and I am sure we will be riding it again real soon.
Mr T (Richard) has just written an ongoing post for The Garage section of our website. He is in the throes of restoring a Suzuki T350 and is going to be reporting periodically on his progress. Definitely worth following with lots of tips borne from experience. So check it out here