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.

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