Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fun in the ... rain! 1st of Feb 2015 Ride

Bruce's all day breakfast (was his breakfast, morning tea and lunch combined)

With a 50/50 chance of rain for the Palmy weather forecast the night before I thought what's the worst could happen.

So I texted the group about a Sunday ride thinking might get a couple of keen mad buggers put their hands up. Al was keen as usual, and so was Bruce S. I heard that Dion was a possible starter too, but maybe he slept in ;)

I turned up to find Stephen (sorry if not the correct spelling mate) on his beaut TX650 already there.

It's the type of bike I was keen on in my early twenties, that or the later model XS650. I couldn't find one back then at the right price, so I bought a rough but sound Yamaha XS750 Special triple shaft drive which I refreshed a bit and enjoyed riding to work at Coca-Cola and around the place. I guess I was a bit of a bogan back then, as I didn't want it obvious that it was a Jappa so debadged the engine, seat and tank of anything saying Yamaha. Plus being into hotrods, had to have flames painted on the tank :)

Anyway, back to today, next to turn up was Al on his Aprilia and then Bruce S on his TZR 250. I was on my GS450S. With a quick chat and a look at the dark clouds all round, we thought the ranges would be in full flood so thought heading North can't be any worse so decided on a trip to Hunterville.

With the rain starting to come down, we headed out Rangitikei Line and then the turn off to Bunnythorpe, Colyton through the backend of Fielding onto Makino Road and then along the great State Highway 54.

The light showers came and went without notice as it was warm enough and quite enjoyable getting out in the country. Some nice corners later and a short ride South on State Highway 1 had us parked up outside the usual cafe in Hunterville for something hot.

Three of us had decided to park our bikes under the shop eaves so after several good showers we came out to dry seats. Not that it mattered much as we were all a bit damp already and with the rain still falling we headed off again along Rangatira Road.

My brand new rear tyre held to the road very well, and real glad I had replaced the bald tyre on Thursday as that would have been interesting with the wet roads.

With a stop at Bulls petrol station and us all dripping wet, but big smiles all round reminded us that we don't only need to wait for dry days to get out. We thought a good idea would be to bring the rainsuits next time :)

Looking for the bigger puddles to zoom through all the way home to Palmy was like being a kid again. We split up once getting to town to head for home. No doubt everyone keen to remove the wet gear, and for me a nice warm shower and some dry clothes.

What a great day, keen to do it all again.

Here's a couple of old photos I dug up today of my XS750. The photo of me was by selftimer and I was waiting for it to take the photo, and was just about to get off bike thinking it hadn't worked, when I heard the click. Hence the frustrated look. Didn't have digital cameras back in the day to double check how it came out :)

This was taken at a later date as I had the mufflers cut down.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Wellington Anniversary Day

Wellington Anniversary Day 2015

As per previous years we organised a ride to celebrate Wellington Anniversary day. Only 6 starters as it turned out, but a good crew.
We decided to head over to Pongaroa for lunch and travel there via Mangamaire and Eketahuna, then Route 52. We were 4 chromies and 2 plastics; Kim on his H2A, Rich on the T500, Steve M on a very original looking Yamaha TX650 twin, myself on the 350 Avenger.  Bruce A was riding the Great White VFR750F, and Bruce S on his hot RZ350.

We enjoyed a good ride over the track and through Mangamarie, then R52 to Pongaroa. We battled the coastal breeze in parts and gave the bike’s suspensions a thorough workout. Did envy those 80’s bikes a few times with their better suspension. A lot has been done post-earthquake to fix up the roads, but there is still a quite a bit to go!

We arrived at the pub just before 12 (and before the cook) and enjoyed a cold beer or two, and eventually a generous lunch.

After lunch we plotted a course for Pahiatua returning over the Puketoi Range. There was a stop at the BP in Pahiatua for the few with thirsty bikes, then over the track and home. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

1st Ride 2015

2015 got off to a good start with a full day’s ride on Friday 2nd January.

4 men hale & hearty (would have been 5 but Bruce A came down with a bout of Eastern equine encephalitis) met outside Manawatu Motorcycles at 9am and headed off to Kimbolton in route for Taihape via Rangiwahia. From Taihape it was over the Gentle Annie to Hastings and down SH50 to the Tikokino pub for lunch.

Kim rode his recently re-clothed Yamaha 3XV, Ian on the black GS450S, Bruce S on his Aprilia Tuono, and I took the GSX-R400 for its first long run. So we had a V-twin, a parallel twin, an inline-4, and a V-4.

The GSX-R is a bit of a rescue bike which has been returned to road worthy condition over the last couple of years. These bikes must have been a bit of a revelation in 1984; alloy frame, mono-shock, 8-piston front brakes, 150kg and with 60bhp from a twin cam, 16 valve, water-cooled inline-4.

Unfortunately the engine was sucking oil into the combustion chambers on the over-run and caused some moments of concern with the red light going on and off after Mangaweka. This was rectified (?) in Taihape with Wynn’s toolkit-in-a-bottle – don't leave home without it!

While filling up with petrol and coffee at Taihape we were joined at BP by a large group of bikers heading the same way. Several were known to Kim. They rode everything from a motard to cruisers (See Ian's photo of the red Triumph Thruxton 900).

The day was perfect and the ride over the Taihape-Napier road was at its best. We caught up with the first of the big group just after the turn off – a modern Triumph Bonnie which had run out of road and into a bank. A little later we came across another member of the group that had out cornered himself and his Harley, which was upside down in the scrub at the bottom of a bank. He was lucky not to be under it. The road down into Hawke’s Bay is made for bikes and flows beautifully corner after corner. The expression ‘grinning like a fool’ springs to mind.

After a last top-up in Hastings it was onto SH50 and down to the Tikokino pub for lunch and liquid refreshments, enjoyed in the shade. After lunch we headed south to Dannivirke, then down to Woodville via Topgrass Rd., then through the George and home by 5pm. Apart from initial oil consumption with the GSX-R, all of the bikes were problem free. Kim’s 3XV and the Gixxer used the same amount of fuel which was later calculated at 50mpg average. If only a certain RG400 could approach that figure at over 50kph! Ian’s GS ran smoothly and handled well, and looked to be a comfortable ride. I was also surprised at just how comfortable to GSX-R was over a day’s riding, better than the H2 or the A7.

We talked about possibly doing the same trip but in the opposite direction at some stage over the summer. We might get a few more starters outside of the holiday period.

28 December 2014 - last ride of year

Ian sent these photos in from what looks like a well attended final ride. Looks like those of us who were elsewhere missed out on a great run and it will be good to get back a report on what the Kimbolton Hotel was like!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

On Any Sunday

On Any Sunday in the Manawatu you'll likely find a group of keen VJMC members gathered outside Manawatu Motorcycles at 9am ready for the off. Last Sunday was no different and proved a good turnout with 7 bikes lined up. Of particular interest were three Yamaha TZRs; Bruce S 3MA, Dion's 1KT, and Kim's 3XV. To counter the plastic invasion there was the shiny chrome and 70's paint of Paul's GT750, Rich's T500, and the trusty H2. And in between was Ian's GS450 twin. 
We made our way up to Waituna West via Hiwinui, Colyton, and Makino Rd, then on to Hunterville for coffee (and the legendary door-stop custard square - Bruce). 
After checking out Mike J Trading Collectables, we headed back via Leedstown Rd, Porewa Rd, Kakariki, Halcombe, Mt Biggs and then home. 

Then at 5 it was off to the Downtown Cinema to watch On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter. Barry and son Danny joined us from Wellington, along with Bruce A, and after the film we all enjoyed a meal at Chada Tai. A great day's biking!