Our end of month ride ended up being a 'beginning' of month ride this last weekend with the crappy cold, wet weather proving not very enticing for a ride amongst the troops. An improvement in this last weekends weather saw a whole three of us make an effort to go for a spin and it proved to be a very enjoyable wander around the countryside punctuated by some interesting stops along the way. When one of the crew turned up with a new bike it is all the more interesting! Ians return from his holiday in Rarotonga (poor thing) was heralded with him fronting up to Manawatu Motorcycles on a 1980 Suzuki DR400S. With minimal kms, it looks well and truely ready for some serious riding. It also signals a growing 'trend' with some of the group wanting to spend there motorcycling time on adventure rides. It certainly encourages you to take into consideration a whole other set of less traveled routes and destinations that the likes of an XJ 750 might find too challenging at times.
Ian's bike is certainly one that was part of a maturing trend in the eighties that had seen the Japanese grow the number of bikes in the off road market. Many of us spent a lot of time learning very valuable motorcycling skills at places like the gravel pit at the bottom of Albert St. It should be no surprise that VMX is hugely popular and that adventure riding has also grown in popularity. It has been fascinating to see its development, and the origins of many of the current adventure bikes have their beginnings way back in the seventies and eighties. Ian's' DR is certainly a part of its DNA with it being a single four stroke, long travel suspension and being relatively lighter than its road going cousins. As the cc numbers crept up the marketing bods soon latched on to the profits to be made with adventure bikes. If you have a look at the current crop of single four stroke adventure bikes they are not far removed from those eighties bikes and one often wonders if they are still using much of the old eighties tooling for these bikes.
As we headed out of town we were wondering how the DR would cope with the open road. I am pleased to report it did very well. It had no problems keeping to the open road speed limit and at times exceeding it. We had decided on a familiar route that took us out to Aokautere and along to Ashhurst. Valley road came next with a few damp patches to be wary of as we came to our first stop at Colyton. All was well so along the back of Feilding to Makino Road and out to our next stop at Stanway Hall. We then made our way to back towards the Rangitikei River and eventually finding our way to Vivs Kitchen in Sanson. The carpark was full as always with the noticeboard proudly announcing the 100,000th Cream horn had been sold last week! Thats a lot of cholesterol! It was nice to see they have an extended outside area with curtains and a much appreciated outside heater.
We then thought our last stop before home should be to check out the Vic Club Winter Series at Manfeild. We were expecting to see Dion out on the track, but great to see Tim punting the CBR around on a rather cool and damp track. Not a nice day for it, but great to see the junior class full of new and young riders out there doing the business along with the other classes. It was a great ride out and about and all the more so with Ian bringing his new bike out for a play. It was interesting to see how his bike very quickly attracted some attention at Manfeild with the guy in the coffee caravan coming over to reminisce about his younger days on such bikes. It is all part of the experience of riding and enjoying our wonderful old bikes.