Monday, April 29, 2013

Golden Leaves and Green Fields. April Ride

The weather in the morning was looking a little bit dodgy with some light drizzle and damp roads on the way in to town. It was pleasing to see four others lined up outside Manawatu Motorcycles looking for a place to go for our end of month ride. Looking to the east, the Tararuas were looking very damp, but the north was looking a lot brighter with a lovely patch of blue settling our ride direction. Hunterville was going to be our destination. After filling up with BP 98 at Rangitikei St, Dave led the way out of town taking us out to Bunnythorpe and showing us a new way to get to Colyton through Dixons Rd with our first stop being Cheltenham. Our original plan was to head for Hunterville via Vinegar Hill, but we decided to head towards Kimbolton and up to Rangawahia and across to Ohingaiti via Mangamako and Otara Roads. As we climbed up towards Kimbolton the temperature became noticeably cooler which seemed to fit with the autumn red and gold colours in the now green landscape. It wasn't that long ago it was a brown hued drought landscape! Quite a transformation. The drive through Kimbolton signaled a road change as the corners north of the town were a stark contrast to the straights to the south. The puff of smoke (well, smoke trail really) from the rear of Alans A7 signaled that it was time to play! Pauls H1b and Richards T500 followed suit whilst Dave and I on our four stroke fours made our valves and pistons do some work as we made our way through some of the best riding roads you will find anywhere. We didn't push things to much as the road was damp in places and this combined with pine needles, sheep, animal pooh, and autumn leaves meant caution was an excellent strategy. After regrouping at Pemberton Corner it was more of the same through to Ohingaiti. The run down State Highway one to Hunterville was very "relaxing" with our usual watering hole very busy. Whilst eating and drinking a local Hunterville resident introduced himself and took a liking to our bikes. Such good taste means he is the latest member to the Blue Haze and henceforth his name is Red Haze! We concluded our run by taking the back roads out of Hunterville to avoid the boredom of State Highway One. They are a nice mixture tight sections and sweeper's with some nice scenery along the way as well. We ended up outside Mount Biggs School for our final stop and Dave headed back into Feilding to catch up with the local and Wellington Classic Bike Club lads whilst the rest of us headed home. It was between here and home we encountered our only precipitation of the day with a brief shower or two and it certainly didn't dampen what proved to be a great autumn ride. See you on the next one!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Golden Summer Part 2: Wheels with Attitude Annual Show

It doesn't take to much to persuade some of us for a ride. Having heard positive comments about this show in Dannevirke over the last few years a group of us decided to go and check it. We assembled at our usual spot outside Manawatu Motorcycles and much interest was shown when Bruce Sagger turned up with his latest purchase, a Suzuki GSXR 750, the first of the slabbies. These bikes are becoming very collectible and if you are interested now is a good time to buy before they start appreciating in value. There comparative lack of chrome compared to earlier bikes can make them more of DIY proposition. However the acres of plastic on many of them has its own costs and challenges as well. Bruce was keen to see how it went as were the rest of us! Alan was on his trusty Kawasaki A7, with Dion bringing his RG400 out for a spin, Paul De Lautour on the mighty GT750, Richard on his trusty T500 and myself on the XJ750. Our trip over the Saddle road convinced us not to include this in any rides for a while with a lot roadworks underway. Once they get it sorted it will once again return to being one of our favourite stretches of road. After regrouping at the bottom of the saddle we continued on to Dannivegas along Top Grass road. A far more interesting route compared to State Highway two. The show was at the northern end of town and what we hadn't realised was it was a part of the annual A&P show. It was a very busy place and had a great carnival atmosphere to it. Well worth the $2.00 dollar entry fee. Once we managed to find a parking/display spot we quickly ditched our gear as the temperature was heading towards 30 degrees and headed out to view and soak up the surroundings. Right next door to the equestrian ring were not only the hotdog and Candy floss stands but a flea market full of vehicle related treasures. Most of the treasures were of the car variety, but the second hand book vendor had a great variety of ex public library motorcycle books. The Kawasaki book I purchased had a some excellent photos but some dubious text and Paul De Lautour managed to find some great Jag books to go with his latest heritage interest, a 1963 E type. (Might have to do a blog on it, Its a beauty!). One of the locals had an interesting selection of bikes on show that included a Honda CL175 and a CT90. As we were enjoying the sites and sounds a few other bikes joined our lineup of VJMC bikes including Roger who turned up on his Walter Wolf RG and a rather nice CBX1000. It was a great morning out and we headed into town for a drink and nibbles at an excellent cafe that had a much appreciated air conditioning unit going full bore. We then retraced our steps back along Top Grass road and home thinking that we will definitely add the show to our calender. Its on in the first weekend of February.
Another excellent reason to go for a ride!
All seems rather surreal looking back as we head towards winter and put another log on the fire!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Where are all the two strokes and where do you buy the biggest custard squares in NZ?

The second part of the question is easy to answer, Hunterville! The first part is requires some consideration. The Blue Hazes latest ride wasn't as hazey as it ususally is. Only one two stroke between the six of us! Even the plumber next door who was cleaning the mud off his stock car passed comment. The only thing that was blue were our fingers and other body parts as we turned up in summer riding gear on a very wintery day! Thank goodness Sir Al turned up on his trusty A7 to keep the flag flying. The rest of us wheeled out our 1980s+ four strokes to enjoy a wander around the countryside. Following behind Als wafting haze was a reminder of why the poor old two stroke has had a hard time of it. Here were the rest us following along behind with not a hint of smoke exiting our exhausts. Bruce Andrews and Bruce Sagger were on their Honda Vfours and John Loggie on his new Triumph Street Triple that he brought for a play with Clint on his Katana and myself  on the XJ  rounding out the four stroke line up. One can't but help appreciate and enjoy the unique sound of each engine configuration as we started our engines outside Manawatu Motorcycles.
 Our destination for the morning was decided using two criteria. An aversion to rain and Bruce Andrews craving for the world famous Hunterville custard square. Our route was to be out through Colyton and then on towards Kimbolton so we could tackle one of favourite bits of road, the Rangiwahia twisties. Rather than heading all the way through to Mangaweka we would take the side road at Pemberton Corner that brought us out on State Highway One at Ohingaiti. It was then just a short run down to Hunterville for refreshments.
Alan led the way on his A7 and he certainly had it singing from Kimbolton through to Ohingaiti. It is well sorted out with the Hagons looking after the backend and the front end responding well to 90 weight oil in the forks and a surprisingly effective front brake. He has recently been experimenting with handlbars and the flat ones he had on were working really well. Alongside all this you have that wonderfull disc valve motor that pulls remarkably well from down low through to strong top end. What a shame Kawasaki didn't continue on with the development of the 500 version that they were developing at the same time as the H1. Bruce Sagger was having a great time on his NC24 as he has specced the suspension recently. Great country for these little bikes and it does make you wonder about the point of having larger high horsepower bikes. The only incidents were the sheep on the road and my headlight falling out of its fairing. Als tool kit with its velcro and cable ties came to the rescue!
Our refreshment stop was up to its usual standard with Bruce, Bruce and John enjoying their custard squares. You wouldn't want to eat to many Hunterville custard squares if you were on a smaller bike as it would over time have a detrimental effect on your power to weight ratio. Maybe thats why Bruce Andrews sold his Rz350 and bought a VFR 750?
Bruce Andrews and John left us for quick ride home down State Highway One whilst the rest of us took the scenic route following the Rangitikei river south. Bruce Sagger and Al swapped bikes with Al really impressed with the Hondas handling and its very linear power band. After heading towards Halcombe and turning off to Mount Stewart we all headed home having had a great run around the Rangitikei but all of us digging out the the liners for our pants and jackets ready for our next ride.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Golden Summer Part 1

 It is interesting looking back over the past few months and realising what a golden summer we have had for those of us who enjoy getting out and about on our motorcycles. It was a busy time for me on the domestic front but I still manged to spend more than a few hours enjoying my older motorcycles with like minded people. I have put together a few photos and words from some of the rides and will post these as I find the time. This is to encourage you to get out there and ride when you can and with the long nights approaching making sure you have some quality shed time restoring an older motorcycle.


These photos are from one of our favourite loop rides that takes us up to Apiti via the Pohangina Valley and back through Kimbolton and home. Our usual watering hole at Kimbolton was closed so we headed down the rode to Feilding for a cuppa. I dragged out the mighty KH250 for its first time around the loop. I have always been abit apprehensive as it is a long way between petrol stations for the baby triple as it has to work hard in the for much of the run. A fill at Ashhurst was enough to get me around to Feilding where I filled it up again with a whole 2 litres to spare! 33mpg! Might be time to do the top end me thinks. Dions KH400 went like clockwork and the extra cubes definetly help. Alan brought along his trusty A7 and one has to wonder at why this motor was ditched in favour of these smaller triples. Bruce Sagger brought out his latest purchase for a spin, a Honda VF750. It is a very impressive bike. So much so, Bruce Andrews has traded his RZ350 for it and purchased it off Bruce. He absolutely loves it. These 1980s Honda V4s are very underatted bikes that are very good buying at the moment, so if you are wanting to get into the Classic Japanese bikes they are a budget way in at the moment. Check out Trademe. Kim came along on his RZ250 that always impresses with its power handling and economy.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bunny Hunting. Blue Haze VJMC Easter 2013 Ride Out

A great day for the hunt!
The Yamaha R1 a modern classic
Suzukis TS/ER 185s. A NZ  Japanese Classic
Enjoying the sun in Pahiatu. 
80s classic meets 90s classic.
Bryans ER185 had no problems keeping up!
Line up at the cafe
Dave won most original at the Raukawa Falls Classic Rally recently 
The Bunnies don't stand a chance next year!
Ballance Bridge Cafe. Recommended

Easter Sunday is the day many people over indulge in chocolate with consequences to the individual and society as a whole. This is contributing to the obesity epidemic in New Zealand so we thought we might do our bit for this cause by reducing the number of Easter Bunnies and therefore reduce the number of eggs distributed. The plan was very simple. We were going to smoke them out of there hiding places with the two strokes and then the four strokes were going to run them down. Eight hardy souls turned up to do there duty for Queen and Country outside Manawatu Motorcycles on Sunday. The roll call was
Alan Clark - Kawasaki A7 (Smoker)
Dion Tornquist - Suzuki RG400 (Smoker)
Bryan Cresswell - Suzuki ER185 (Smoker)
Tim Kendall - Yamaha R1 (Chaser, especially for the very fast Bunnies)
Bruce Sagger - Yamaha RZ350 (Smoker)
Dave Robinson - Honda CB750 (Chaser)
Richard Kerr - Suzuki T500 (Smoker)
Gary Whiting - Yamaha XJ750 (Chaser)
Intelligence had reported sightings in the Tararua district around Rongomai so we set off making our way over the Pahiatua Track to our first stop at Mangamaire where a discussion and brief reconnaissance revealed no signs of bunnies. We pushed on to the Rongomai turnoff with eyes scanning the countryside for any signs. I don't think the lads were giving the hunt the attention needed as they were to busy enjoying the Mangaone Valley Rd with its wonderful variety of open and tight corners. We then came to our next stop in Pahiatua and decided to give up on the hunt due to parched mouths and rumbling tummies so made our way to the Ballance Bridge Cafe to evaluate our lack of hunting success. We should have made more use of Bryans ER185s dirt attributes and we will encourage Tim to fit knoblies to his R1 (his tyres were looking a little bit worn)to follow up Bryan as he smokes them out from the road edges. Looks like the Bunnies are safe for another year, but in the mean time we will work on even more stratergies that will require many rides into the country to gather intelligence and cafe stops to discuss tactics for next years hunt! Roll on Easter 2014.