Sunday, October 24, 2021

Why would you ever want to own a CBX 1000?

There is something about the sound of a Honda CBX 1000 that makes some mature men weak at the knees. Fours, twins, triples and singles make interesting noises, but sixes have that extra something that is more than just extra cylinders. Last weekend saw a small gathering of The Clans at our usual spot at Memorial Park when a new sound was heard pulling up to the assembled bikes. It was Glen on a rather red and rather chromy Honda CBX 1000. After checking our intentions for a ride he popped off for some petrol and was soon back ready to role.

We were soon on our way with Gary A volunteering an interesting route through the Hopelands area and on to one of our favourite cafe's, The Windmill cafe in Woodville. We were soon on our way over the busy Pahiatua Track and Gary had us snaking our way through a myriad of back country roads once we left Pahiatua's town boundary. we eventually popped out just south of Woodville and were soon sitting outside the Windmill Cafe shooting the breeze mostly on matters to do with motorcycles.

Glen shared his youthful fascination with motorcycles and the awe he had for the six cylinder CBX 1000 when it came out in the late seventies. He never got around to owning one. Until now that is. He is  'scratching that itch' and now has a big tick next to CBX 1000 on his bucket list. 

Following along behind Glen it was wonderful to see and hear the CBX on song. Are they the ultimate street bike of the seventies? For many yes. With its sophisticated mixture of in your face mechanical engineering mixed with candy paint and chrome it certainly stands out. Even today.  These bikes are becoming increasingly valuable so it is great to see one out and about being used. I do believe that amongst our group there is another one hiding away in a garage. Now wouldn't it be wonderful to hear two of them wandering around the countryside together? Eh PC?

Role call

Ray - Triumph 900 Tiger

John - BMW 600

Glen - Honda CBX 1000

Rich - Suzuki 650 Vstrom

Gary A - BMW GS650

Gary W - Suzuki GSR 750

Saturday, September 18, 2021

How good is a 43 Year old Suzuki GS750?

I can still remember the day I first saw a Suzuki GS750 in Palmerston North. It was a red single disk model and it was different in every way to the Suzuki two strokes we got around on. All of a sudden it made my T250 look so unrefined and along with the GS 400 Suzuki had begun the shift into the four stroke world. If the Motorcycle magazines tests we had been poring over with GS750 tests were to be believed this was the bike that not only had a wonderful motor, but it also handled well. Our first post Covid internment Mk 2 ride on Sunday saw a group of six of us line up at Memorial Park for a much needed Sunday morning ride and little did I know today I was going to satisfy my curiosity about what a GS750 was like to ride.

Our chosen route was the world famous Apiti loop and a stop at Apiti Tavern for a cuppa and something to drink. With Ian leading the way we headed out to Ashhurst and up the valley. The Raumai bridge signalled the beginning of the curves as we made our way through a lot of wonderfully familiar corners. It was great to get back out amongst the country smells, and spring colours of daffodils and blossoms with glimpses of lambs in the fields. Care needed to be taken with corners that were yet to be touched by sun and the odd loose metal around the place. The air became a little cooler as we climbed up the valley and made our way to our first stop at Totara Reserve where Gary left us to go and surf some gravel on his BMW 650/800. 

We were soon back on the bikes heading to Apiti and we were still enjoying the chorus of countryside sights and smells. The final straights into Apiti invited a prolonged twisting of the throttle that soon had us sitting outside the tavern. The smell of something on the grill certainly activated the taste buds but much to our disappointment they didn't open until midday and that was thirty minutes away. So it was off to the Kimbolton to see if we could chance our luck with a cuppa and fed there. Bruce offered me a ride on his Suzuki GS 750 and I gladly accepted . Ian took the reins of the GSR and Bruce pushed the starter button on Ians W650. 

It was a bit of a revelation. The GS was definitely not as refined as the GSR, but the suspension work Bruce has had done on it made for an extremely pleasant and sure footed ride. The sumptuous seat felt like you could ride around the South Island no problem. The motor ticked over nicely and as the revs rose it certainly got into its stride and proved very precise and steady through the twisties. The twin disks did a great job of slowing down the 500 plus pounds and it was with some disappointment the ride came to end as we parked up in Kimbolton. 

The conversation around the table at the Hotel was very much around how we found our rides on each others bikes. The GS750 is definitely a very useable classic and one I would put in my garage any day. Sir Al also had a spin earlier in the ride and was also impressed. Bruce was pleasantly surprised at how well Ians W650 ran and I think Ian found the GSR more of an acquired taste. Most of the crew ordered Biker Burgers on the recommendation of our previous visits. Unfortunately they weren't up to the previous standard with the steak more like trying to chew a large piece of inner tube. Nga Boyz weren't impressed. However my Hawaiian Chicken burger was very passable but next time it will probably be a muffin or Pizza over the road at Hansens.

Oh well, at least we got to finally get out and about on our bikes and blow some cobwebs out. Being able to finally ride a Suzuki GS750 was a real treat. Thanks Bruce and the rest of the crew for a great post Covid ride.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Off to Tui to see some Jappa's


What a lovely change weather wise from a previous months end of month ride. It was a beautiful day for a ride with plenty of blue, little wind and a great temperature for an air cooled motor. It was good to see a very good line up of appropriately aged classic Japanese bikes for our July end of month ride. Just right as we were heading over to Tui Central for there Japanese Car and Motorcycle show. Gary was on his CX500, Dave turned up on his Honda GB500 and Bruce S brought his Yamaha TDR out for a play. It was also good to see Kim had sorted out the H2's sparking issue and Stuart on his Water Bus and Warren having a break from driving his milk tanker on his Yamaha XJ900. The rest of the gaggle were on moderns with Rich on his Vstrom, Ian and Lydia on there W650 and yours truly on the GSR750. We were soon on our way heading for the hills and then over the busy Pahiatua Track. We were soon through Pahiatua and onto Mangatainoka where we were greeted by a great lineup of classic and performance Japanese cars. It is always great to see fellow enthusiasts of Japanese machinery celebrating it and a big thank you to Tui Central for putting on these special events. A special favourite of mine was the Suzuki Cappuccino, a lovely little 2 door Kai car built around a 665cc turbo charged triple. There were a lot of  old school cars from back in the day that brought back many memories. There aren't that many around now as most suffered from poor to non existent corrosion treatment with most ending up in wreckers yards way too soon. 

We were soon on our way again heading for the metropolis of Woodville with our destination being the ever popular Windmill Cafe. Of course we had to take the back way with Gary in the lead promising us an extra special scenic route. It was going well for a while until our way was blocked by a tree across the road. Luckily no one was driving or riding by when the very large limb fell. The neighbouring farmer was soon on the scene with his tractor and we were soon on our way again. The Windmill cafe is a great destination with excellent food and beverages and plenty of parking out the back. After a good natter and putting the world right we headed home to more mundane things but happy to have been out and about on our bikes on a glorious sunny day with great company. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Another Stroker Joins the Haze


With winter well under way it is a time of the year that one reflects on what has gone before and also plans are made for the future. This ride happened a couple of weeks ago and it was great to see these two things in operation. Looking back it was great to see Al bringing his H2 out for a spin and Warren bringing the latest addition to his collection along for us to have a look at. The Suzuki Cobra is the epitome of a sixties Japanese bike in all its blingy glory. It would be very easy for Al and Warren to keep these old bikes ensconced in the safety of there garages but nice to see them getting them out to ride and for others to enjoy. The sights and sounds of them being ridden are a wonderful reminder of the past. It was good to see Gary A all excited about a book he had discovered by Mike Hyde who has written up a whole lot of special rides around New Zealand. Gary has done some of them, but was looking forward to undertaking some new ones over the the rest of year. We are certainly lucky to live in a country with so many wonderful places to ride a motorcycle. 
Our ride for the morning was a fairly short one with a run around the Makino loop and a cuppa somewhere in that direction as well. Along for a spin was Ian and Lydia on the W650, Rich on the Strom, Stuart on his Bandit, Bruce the Painter on his BMW as was Gary A and yours truly on the GSR. Our stop at Stanway had us sorting out our cuppa tea destination with the Rusty Radiator getting the nod. We were disappointed to find it packed out. It is rather small actually so an early arrival is essential if you want a table or two. So it was decided that a run into Feilding and the Rose Bowl Cafe and Bakery would give us a better chance of a seat and a great selection of food. The mutton bun certainly hit the spot and our two vegetarians really enjoyed there vegetarian pies and thumbs up from the rest of the troops as well with there choice of food. Another pleasant ride around the countryside and hoping that winter will give us a few more opportunities to enjoy our riding with clement weather in the months ahead.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

How Dare You!

 A party political broadcast on behalf of the Blue Haze sponsored by Paul Q

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

March End of Month Ride

 With the warmer months slowly receding into autumn, sunny Sunday mornings are finding people out making the most of the warmth out on motorcycles enjoying themselves. None more so than those who enjoy their bikes with a Vintage Japanese flavour and even some with an accompanying whiff of smoke. Whilst these bikes are regarded by some as an 'acquired taste' our March end of month ride saw a great turnout of said motorcycles with a crew of 14 lining up at Memorial Park for our March end of month ride. Our ride for the morning was to be the Makino Rd loop with a stop at Stanaway Hall and then onto our final destination at the Woolshed Cafe just south of Sanson. 

The roll call 
Paul D - Kawasaki H2
Sir Al - Kawasaki H2
Dave - Honda GB500
Bruce S - Suzuki RG500
Gary A - Honda CX500
Paul C - Kawasaki S3 400
Ross - Suzuki Cobra
Stuart - Suzuki GT750J
Murray - Yamaha XV 920
Warren - Benelli Tornado Tre 900
Richard - Suzuki 650 Vstrom
Ian - Kawasaki W650
Ray - Triumph 900 Tiger
Gary W - Suzuki GSR750

It was good to see Sir Al back out on his H2 that was playing up with clutch cable issues. Thanks to Paul D with his huge knowledge of these bikes he very quickly helped Al sort out a missing clip. You would have great difficulty sorting this sort of thing out if you were relying on manuals and parts books etc as they don't seem to show this. Another great example of being a part of of a group like ours where you can access such help and knowledge.  It was great seeing Paul out on his blue H2 and it performed as reliably as ever. Murray popped over from Whanganui on his latest ride around, an XV920. It is an American import but similar to the TR1s we got here. Its fully enclosed drive chain is a really interesting feature of these bikes. It's non standard Brembo front brakes certainly looked up to job of stopping the bike. 

Ross was back out on his Suzuki Cobra and his ongoing fettling is turning it into a really reliable classic that should provide many years of service. It was nice to see PC out on his S3. This is also a well sorted out bike with a trip down south a few years ago attesting to its reliability (and fuel consumption!). It was good to see Stuarts fettling has now got him a reliable push button classic that should also provide with years of service. It has been a little while since we saw Bruce S on his RG500 which was having a few issues for a while and it was interesting to see the attention it got at Manfield on or way home. Pauls H2 also garnered plenty of attention with the racing fraternity as many a grey haired person paused to view.

Dave and Gary A held up the Honda flag with Dave fettling his resurrected GB500. It certainly didn't miss a beat and it is interesting to see Honda applying the GB title to its latest 350 single road bike. Hopefully they will be making there way to New Zealand where it will make a great commuter. Gary's CX500 behaved itself as always and it is easy to forget that back in it's day how suspicious the punters were of its configuration only to now being almost a cult bike. Warren decided to take his latest purchase, a Benelli 900 out for a test spin and its unique sound and water cooling configuration got plenty of attention. Its brief lack of sparks during the run certainly had all the usual 'Italian electrics' phrase bandied around at the Woolshed Cafe.

There was a good range of modern bikes accompanying the classics with Ian on his trusty Kawasaki W650 that many consider a worthy contender for a modern Triumph Bonneville or Tiger. Ray was out enjoying his 2020 Triumph Tiger and having ridden it I can see why they are so popular. Wonderful handling with generous suspension and a stonking motor. Ideal for New Zealand roads. Rich was back out on his Suzuki Vstrom having spent a great summer on it clocking up the kays. He certainly swears by its wonderful motor and its midrange which belies its 650ccs. That leaves yours truly on the Suzuki GSR750 and after clocking up 9000 ks on it, it is a wonderfully crazy bike that commutes with ease but has plenty of bark for spirited riding in the weekends. It is commuter docile friendly up to 5000 rpm but lights up like two stroker from 8-12000 rpm. Its motor is very smooth for an inline four and the suspension is harsh but works well at speed. It will certainly be in the garage for a while yet.

The run through to Sanson via Ashhurst and Valley road was punctuated by as already mentioned Warrens Benelli having a zero sparks moment. Our one and only stop at Stanaway allowed us to regroup and our Road Captain, Ian soon had us on our way again to our destination. Sanson was its usual busy self and the Woolshed Cafe was also busy but there reputation for quick service and good food had us fed and watered in no time. Whilst some had to head off home a few of us decided a quick visit to Manfeild was in order to catch up with some other Blue Hazers who were racing at the Victoria Motorcycle Clubs TSS series.

It was good to see Dion and Tim out doing the business with Tim on his Honda CBR 600 and Dion on the Aprilia 150 two stroke. Dion had all the 150ccs on song with the Aprilias lonely expansion chamber out on the track amongst the hordes of four strokes. Tim and his CBR were reliably circulating amongst a gaggle of younger bikes and riders but seemed to be enjoying his Sunday 'outing'. Nice to see Kim in support and apparently the search for H2 sparks is well underway with many cunning plans being explored. Hopefully we shall see it out again shortly. 

All in all a well supported EoMR. These end of month rides are there to encourage the restoration and use of our classic bikes and because of this a reminder that these runs are going to be shorter in distance compared to our Classics Crew Sunday rides. Hopefully this will encourage a few more people to restore and bring out there Vintage Japanese bikes. This is not to say these bikes aren't up to doing longer distances. They certainly are with some of our crew heading down south last November to the Southern Classic racing at Levels on a range of strokers. All performed reliably although a degree of private finger crossing is needed with anything electrical or mechanical that is over forty years old and when it all goes to plan, one has more cause to celebrate than if you were on a modern bike. 

As Daylight Saving makes the switch to Autumn and Winter it is a timely reminder that we have had really good summer riding season. This time last year the response to Covid 19 was in full swing and many unknowns were hanging in the air. Thank goodness we got through to the point where we were able to once again, indulge in our passion for motorcycles and in particular heritage motorcycles. It is a great community of like minded people. Long may it continue.

Thanks to Graeme White for the Manfeild photos.