Monday, February 6, 2017


In contrast to the last EOM ride, the 2-strokes have resurfaced and our Waitangi weekend was truly a Blue Haze affair. It might of course be argued that the Suzuki RE5 of new comer John isn’t actually a 2-stroke. But it isn’t actually a 4-stroke in the conventional sense either, and as it burns 2T (to lubricate the seals) we’ll claim it as one of our own.

Sunday served up a perfect day for a ride around the Manawatu; warm, no wind, and blue skies. 7 of our brethren took advantage of the still airs and headed for Feilding then up to Kimbolton via Makino Road. We were 3 Suzuki – RE5, RGV, T500, 2 Kawasaki – H1 & H2, a Yamaha RZ350, and an Aprilia RS250.

From Kimbolton we dropped down to Apiti and stopped at the old petrol station for a chat in the sun. We then took the Pohangina East Road and made our way to Ashhurst. This is the opposite direction to that which we usually take on these roads and offers a completely different perspective to the ride. 

At the Camp Rangi Woods turn off Dion and I swapped bikes and I rode the RS Aprilia back to Ashhurst. The RS was the end-of-line for 2-stroke road bikes, and is a culmination of Aprilia’s vast design knowledge gained achieving 18 250cc World titles. It was better than I imagined, and a more accomplished bike than any other 250 race-rep I’ve had the pleasure of riding.


At Ashhurst Rich and I attempted to help a fellow biker from Gisborne who had broken down on his newly acquired 1947 Royal Enfield. He had in fact just collected it from Wanganui that day and was on his way back to Gisborne, or so he hoped. No amount of coaxing could get as much as a cough from the old girl, and he had no option but to push it to the garage to return from Gisborne the next day with trailer to collect it.  Fortunately his wife was following in the car. I’m sure if one or two of the guys from the Classic Club had been with us he may well have been on his way, but none of us are familiar with older British bikes.

After coffee and a bite at the Fusion Café we headed back to Palmerston North.

Monday, January 30, 2017

End-of-month January '17

First EOM ride for 2017 and what an interesting turnout! Not a 2-stroke in sight and not a glint of chrome to be seen (well a little bit on the Bonnie & Wing). Oh how times are changing. 

10 riders enjoyed dry roads and some sunshine to cover 200 km of rural Manawatu roads. Included were two new faces, which is great to see; Phil on an immaculate Suzuki SV1000 complete with Yoshi pipes making great sounds, and Greg on a first year fuel-injected Yamaha R1.  Also on the ride were Ian on his striking GSX-R1100, Bruce S ZX10R mounted, Graham on a Triumph Bonnie 1200, Bruce A VFR750, Alan VFR800, Russell adventuring forth on his BMW GS, Dave with his one-owner CB750 Four, and Guy on the mother-ship (Goldwing 1800). 6 bikes of 1000cc or larger, and the smallest bike in the group being the 650 chook chaser. We had a single cylinder, parallel twin, V-twins, inline 4s, V-4s, and a flat 6. 

Our plotted course went out around Pohangina Valley East and then North around the Dress Circle to Te Parapara Road, and left through Rangiwahia heading back toward Kimbolton. We turned right at Pemberton’s Corner onto Mangamako Road which provides a great ride through to Ohingaiti. Then SH1 to Hunterville to refill bikes and riders. These are some of the best motorcycling roads in the Manawatu if you have a penchant for corners, with the Dress Circle and the road out to Ohingaiti an excellent variation on the Kimbolton – Rangiwahia - Mangaweka route.

The kai was a bit scarce at our regular Hunterville eatery. To be fair there were very long lines of tin-tops on SH1 (miserable faces pressed against windows as we passed on by) and perhaps the hoards had beat us to it. Still, no one left the joint starving. 

After refreshments and a bit of a natter, Dave and Graham headed off to Wanganui and Guy followed SH1 back to PN. The rest of us took our usual suite of back roads making our way to Halcome, Mt Stewart and home. The only casualty of the day was the GSX-R which lost pressure to the clutch cylinder just out of Hunterville unbeknown to most of us, and Ian skilfully navigated his way home without having to make a stop.   

If that was summer we certainly enjoyed it!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

First Ride of New Year 2017

A German, an Italian and 4 Japanese walk into a bar and ask the Barman: "Which is the quickest way to Hunterville?"
Barman: "Are you walking or do you have motorcycles?"
The Italian: "We have motorcycles"
Barman:" Ah well then, that's the quickest way!"

Or another combination would be 3 spoked wheeled vs 3 non-spoked wheeled bikes;
Or 3 smokers vs 3 four strokes;
Or 3 pre 1990's vs 3 more Moderns;
Actually we didn't walk into a bar,  we rode into Hunterville :-)

However you want to shake a stick at it, we were on a fun but mixed bunch of 2 wheeled road eating vehicles out to enjoy the First ride of the New Year, for the First ride of the month, on the First day of the month.

Forecast was for a chance of showers, but the wet stayed away and we enjoyed dry roads the whole time. Stuck to the usual back roads and before we knew it we were at Hunterville. Man, that went quick.

Enjoyed sitting outside at the cafe with our food and drink, and many chats later we heard the road calling to us again. A couple of motorcycle admirers took some photo snaps and chewed the ears off some of the guys, then it was time to depart.

Headed West out of Hunterville for a spirited ride mainly off the main roads had us quickly back in the Manawatu at Mt Biggs.  A quick yan before accepting the fact that good things must have an ending, we headed for home with some more memories locked away, to look back and remember sometime in the future.

Dion on his Aprilia and me on my GSXR (fairings currently off) were both very happy and impressed with our new bikes as today were their first decent ride out on a good number of twisties.
I can not wait for the next one!

Monday, December 5, 2016

First Ride of Summer 2016

A 9 am start on Sunday morning and a group of us gathered at Manawatu Motorcycles to celebrate the first Sunday of Summer and the start of the silly season. John and Graham from the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club joining us for the ride on BMW 600 and Triumph Bonny 1200 respectively, with Blue Hazers Dave on his CB750, Alan VFR800, Dion Honda NSR, Rich on the T500, Bruce S TZR, and myself on the VX800. Our fuel burning 2 wheeled steeds.

We made our way North along familiar roads aiming for Hunterville. Over Vinegar Hill with our backs to the advancing rain, and a haze of blue provided by Rich and Dion's sweet smelling 2-strokes.

A nice leisurely (for some) ride on a drying track, with Dion testing the fuel economy limits of his thirsty race-rep 250 discovering that 1 km short of Hunterville was about it's limit. A change of role saw Dion providing motive power and the NSR having a spell. Bet he was glad she's a nice light racer built for speed, and not a big old draught horse designed for cruising the interstate. 

We all refueled on a combination of pies, coffee, etc and a walk down the main road to view a interesting V8 RatRod. Some eye opening attachments and several plastic rats adorning the mat black body with an artwork of white header pipes pushing out from under the hood.

Then it was time to head home via our usual collection of back roads. Another great start to a promising warm Summer of riding in our patch of paradise!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Dirty Weekend in Taihape: 2016 Gumboot Rally!

The Gumboot Rally has been and gone but for a those who went the memories will linger on. For some of us it was the aftermath of the patina left behind on the bikes by some very damp weather. I think most of us are still cleaning dirt off our bikes! However that is but one memory and rather minor considering the weather events that were to happen the following weekend. a lot of it was from the papa small group of us from Palmy made the decision to to pop up to Taihape for the early Saturday part of the Rally.
The Rally is a very informal affair with people booking their own accommodation with meals and refreshments organised on the day with a local eatery. Participants arrive over the day with a gradually growing welcoming party greeting arrivals with a smile and a beer in hand. Our plan for the day was to leave town at 11:00 am and make our way north via the Pohangina Valley and a stop in Kimbolton for lunch. 11:00am saw the crew front up to Manawatu Motorcycles with Barry and Bruce from Wellington also in attendance. Bruce was on his lovely spannied Suzuki GT750K whilst Barry turned up on his Honda VFR400 NC30. I must say I was very impressed with the way Barry was able to 'wrap' himself around his NC30. A bike not renowned for its ability to accommodate people of large stature. Also fronting up for the run was Bruce S on his speed blocked Yamaha RZ 350, Kim on his trusty RZ 250, Sir Al on his VFR, Ian on his cruisy but quick VX800 and yours truely on the XJ.  Our departure was a little delayed as Bruce C sorted out a battery problem that has hopefully been solved with his purchase of a Motobatt battery from Paul. (They are excellent batteries and worth the extra dollars!)
The trip out to Ashhurst had us looking at the Tararua Ranges and what became readily apparent was we were going to get wet. As we made our way up the valley this proved to be true as the odd shower deposited water on us and the road. This required a bit of extra caution as we navigated our way through the valley to our lunch stop at Kimbolton. If you haven't been to the Kimbolton Hotel for a Biker Burger, you haven't lived. Generous would be an understatement. For those staying on in Taihape for the night it provided a wonderful lining for that evening's refreshments. With our bellies full the bikes were pointed northward again for the run up through Rangiwahia to Mangaweka. The road was still a little damp with extra caution through the papa cliff section of the road. After meeting up with State highway one at Managaweka it was a straightforward run into Taihape.
The Taihape Motel is the main venue for the rally and there were already a number of people there to greet us. As always it was great having a yarn with like minded people and checking out the machinery, but all too soon it was time to head south again. Some of us decided to take a more direct route home with the promise that next year we would stay the night and if the bikes are going to get dirty again we might as well make a night of it!