Motorcyclin'



  • @Kruse said in Motorcyclin':

    Figured it was beyond time that a dedicated thread for Fern Bikers (of the leathers type, not lycra) was started, rather than just continuing to hijack @raznomore 's request for advice on buying a tractor(/Harley).
    Mods - no idea if it's worth the time moving across any of the later stuff from that thread...
    But in any case - to get things started, I'll try to summarise what I've been doing for the last 4 months, as it's been pretty much living on a couple of bikes...
    3 months riding a 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 XCA from the Ace Cafe in London, to the Ace Cafe in Beijing
    And just under 1 month riding a 2019 Mustang Shineray 150cc around Mongolia
    More complete details, and photos, are on the blog I updated fairly regularly - www.kruse.net.nz ... but it is a lengthy read, I was pretty much using it as a diary to jog my own memory later - rather than making it a public-friendly/interesting read.

    I moved them here.. unfortunately they all ended up after your new post



  • So - 2019 London - Beijing
    In general...

    • A group "expedition" - organised by a company called GlobeBusters. For the last decade or so, every 2nd year they do a London-Beijing trip, and every other year - Trans-Americas (Alaska-Patagonia).
      I would recommend them - they did a great job of organising, support, etc. One thing to note - it was rather pricey, and that would mostly be down to using very high-quality hotels (where possible)... my ideal would have been a cheaper trip, with cheaper hotels, and maybe a nice 4-star once every week or two, whenever stopping for 2 nights - to get a good break/laundry-done.

    • Started off from London's Ace Cafe with 20 bikes (mostly BMW GS, 3 Triumphs, 1 Ducati, 1 Honda CB500) and 2 support vehicles - a pimped-out Hilux, and a Mercedes van big enough to take a bike (or two at a pinch). The group was larger than I'd expected/hoped... and it did slow things down at borders or when choices of petrol stations was... limited.
      But - it gradually shrank over time...
      2 bikes had opted to only go as far as Almaty, another 2 only as far as Lhasa, and 1 guy came off with about 10 days to go - breaking half-a-dozen ribs, mangling his front-forks into a shape they definitely shouldn't be, and choosing to fly back to the UK rather than "be a tourist" by riding in either support vehicle or catching a train to Beijing.

    • Ace Cafe at each end gave us a decent send-off/welcome.... London shouted us fish'n'chips the night before departure, and then breakfast the next day - with speeches and such bollocks
      Beijing welcomed us with bottles of cheap bubbly to spray all over the place, sweet cold beers, a decent spread, all sorts of "merch"... and speeches and such bollocks

    Western-ish Europe...
    From London to Turkey is a vague memory, but...

    • UK, France, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-and-Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Greece
    • Most of it was just getting the miles under the belt, trying to get out of Western Europe ASAP... quite well planned though, to keep the interest up... typically being a couple-hundred miles of motorway, and then an hour or so of some sweet twisties or country-roads, or something else a little more interesting - before reaching the hotel. So each evening, the recent/residual memory was the "fun bit"

    Turkey...

    • 3 nights in Istanbul - the first time we'd stopped for more than a single night. I'd never been before, so ticked off the major touristy things
    • Safranbolu - nice enough old town, with an absolutely shite museum
    • Cappadocia, Mount Nemrut & Ani

    Georgia-Azerbaijan...

    • Tbilisi - rather cool city, very unexpected. Very "bohemian", or "hip", or something... without (much) wankiness that typically comes with those words. Reminded me of a less self-aware Melbourne. Plenty of the old-world stuff (ancient statues, cobblestone streets, bathhouses), and then craft-beer pubs, weird-modern architecture, wine-bars.
      Oh - and look up the 1907 Tiflis Bank Robbery
    • Azerbaijan - the sign from Georgia announcing that you're approaching the Azerbaijan border also proclaims at the bottom "Good Luck!". An excellent little dig at one's neighbour
    • Caspian Sea - we caught the "ferry" from Baku to Turkmenbashi - a 13 hour crossing

    The 'Stans

    • Turkmenistan - interesting. Probably most people's choice as "least favourite country of the trip" - but it would be a contender for my Top-3... solely as it was interesting. This is a country where it's essentially still a totalitarian rule... by a nutter.
      Roads - mostly pretty shit, extended periods where they seemed to have laid black glass instead of tarmac. Not cool in the rain - we had one GS go down at reasonably high speed, no major damage to rider or bike
    • Uzbekistan - stopped at several classic Silk Road towns - Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand
    • Tajikistan - Probably my favourite country...
      The Tunnel of DEATH! - which was an interesting experience, but not one I'd want on my daily commute
      The adherence to Islam was very much waning this far east, and some of the ladies certainly had that "adultery-isn't-really-that-bad-of-a-sin" sparkle in their eyes
      The (bike) riding once we hit the Wakhan Valley/Pamir Highway... awesome. Riding along the Afghanistan border, unmaintained dirt roads along hill-sides, following rivers... so much fun... videos to come
    • Kyrgyzstan - the first peek at high-altitude passes, and fermented horse-milk. Some reasonably fun rural dirt roads, absolutely crazy drivers, and corrupt traffic-police armed with speed-radar-guns.
    • Kazakhstan - pretty much just a few days in Almaty, resting

    China...

    • Border Crossing, at high altitude - a full day to just get physically across the border. Then 2 days stuck in Kashgar, getting the bikes' paperwork sorted.
    • Xinjiang province - oppressive. Police checkpoints everywhere, a very very police-state feel about the whole place. I probably shouldn't write too much about it, sitting here in a Beijing hotel not using VPN, but... look it up. Xinjiang, and the "Uighur problem".
    • Tibet - the story goes that Tibet is now essentially "pacified" - and the guy that managed that, has been moved on to Xinjiang.
      There were certainly far less police checkpoints, etc - but still some
      But anyway - Tibet... awesome. Altitude, obviously. Snow-riding - not fun, when I'd swapped the visor out for goggles during the previous dirt road sections.
      Mount Everest - I've already posted about that... just awesome. The mountain itself - just being there - literally brought tears to several bikers' eyes. And the road to get up to Base Camp... motorcycle heaven. So many switchbacks... and chinese road rules - so safe overtaking is very much optional.
      And then - the Tibet-Sichuan highway - the G318 - some sections, contenders as being even better than the Everest Base Camp road. On a bike, dodging chinese fuckknuckles in Land-Cruiser-Prados - just great fun.
    • Sichuan - some decent scenery, but the roads were already becoming rather "tame" compared to the previous month or two... so just ticking off tourist boxes on the way up to Beijing... Chengdu - pandas, check.
    • Shaanxi - Xi'an - great city, with a couple of days off to rest/relax/drink, and more of the touristy stuff... Terracotta Warriors - I'd seen about 15 years ago - not a single bit of more excavation has been done since then, but there are shiny new restaurants/souvenir-shop complexes.
    • Shanxi - at this point, we're just trying to get to Beijing, on roads absolutely rammed full of the infamous "red trucks" - what are presumably state-owned trucks, shipping coal from mines to power stations. Hundreds of them... thousands. I've got a video where I passed about 200 of them all queued up. So - lots of trucks, lots of coal-dust... doesn't make for traditionally enjoyable riding. Does, however, make for some very inventive interpretation of road rules at times... I was swerving up onto pavement to get around trucks, nipping back from the wrong side of the road into the middle of a police checkpoint, taking shortcuts through building sites, rice-fields, whatever.
    • And finally Beijing - made it, 16,500 miles, I think I remember my GPS unit claimed.
      Beers were had.


  • Just wow! That's and amazing trip.

    I never got my bike but its still on the list. I have an eye issue that I need to resolve before I can even drive let alone ride a bike.



  • Great topic. About time we had one for two wheels!

    I would be interested in what any Ferners may be riding.

    I got into motorcycling at 15 when I used to jump on my sister's scooter every chance I got. I then graduated to a 50cc, a 125, a crazy two stroke RD350 and then an XJ900.

    The XJ900 introduced me to touring with trips around the South Island mainly.

    I had a break from riding from about 2000 to around 2015 when I bought myself a CBR1100 Blackbird. Great bike but riding for hours on end left me sore so I got an FJR1300.

    Love touring on a bike and next year for a milestone birthday the missus has given me the go ahead to plan a riding holiday. I have a few options in mind - ride my bike around Australia, buy or rent a bike in the US/Canada, or buy/rent in Europe. Ideally if I bought overseas I would love to find somewhere to store it for a year or two worth of visits.



  • Anyone else like older trail bikes?

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  • @jegga said in Motorcyclin':

    Anyone else like older trail bikes?

    Got a 1983 Suzuki TS100 slowly being restored.

    But main interest is in road bikes - have a 1988 GSX550 which needs a quick refresh this autumn and on the lookout for a Honda 350/4 or a '90's VRF750.

    Bought a Honda 250 Rally a couple of years ago with a view to do some greenlaning in Cornwall. The greenlaning went by the roadside pretty quickly - found my ankles and knees are way past it - but it's brilliant on the tight rough lanes and roads.

    Pic of a great ride on the edge of Bodmin Moor below. The search for the perfect ride is never-ending...

    Bodmin.jpg



  • @Victor-Meldrew I spotted a mint condition Honda 400/4 the other night in Wellington. I haven’t seen one in ages .

    There was some weird rule in Japan that meant they didn’t the high capacity bikes overseas markets did or they had really high road taxes . I met this Japanese guy a few years back who was riding the length of NZ on a really nice CBX six cylinder he bought here . He reckoned the profit from selling it back in Japan was going to pay for his holiday . He was looking for a Z1300six cylinder but found that , jammy bastard.



  • @jegga

    Yeah, think there is/was a 400cc restriction on bikes in Japan There's loads of mint 400/4's for sale in the UK at crazy prices. There's a whole industry restoring that particular bike.

    Classic bike prices have gone thru the roof in the last couple of years. I've seen tatty CX500's for sale at £3-4k.





  • @antipodean

    Three words:

    Puncture repair kit



  • @booboo Based on my experience, not required. 😉



  • Great thread. Picture of my steed:

    Screenshot_20200101-212647_Gallery.jpg



  • @TeWaio After riding a Classic 500 in India (video above), I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable, predictable and strong they were.



  • @antipodean yes it's a lovely bike to ride, but the "Made in Chennai" build quality isn't the best.

    Had it 2.5yrs, done 5.5k miles, and had to replace chain, rear brake master cylinder, battery, and rectifier. The latter burnt out on me while riding a few weeks ago and started a small fire!

    Some rust on a few parts despite me being pretty meticulous with cleaning it. Although winter salted UK roads are pretty harsh given I commute on it.

    At 27bhp its a bit underpowered for me given my weight, but was my first ever bike so a good "entry" model and didn't cost much new.



  • @TeWaio said in Motorcyclin':

    Great thread. Picture of my steed:

    Screenshot_20200101-212647_Gallery.jpg

    That's so cool.









  • Here is my old girl, little outdated now compared to the new sportbikes, but I love the sound of the vtwin.
    bike.jpg



  • Think I've just found a new hero....

    Capture.JPG

    “Don’t buy a motorcycle because will get you killed.” Really? Our guy wouldn’t agree to this stupidity. He’s turning 100 this year, update: he just turned 100 and he might still be able to ride. We just talked to the guys at the Bordertown Biker Bash, a motorcycle rally in Amherst Nova Scotia held in July, and they confirmed that Wymann Betts could lead the motorcycle parade again. It would be just a month before he turns 101.

    However, there are some concerns about his ability to ride a motorcycle. There is talk about him either riding in a sidecar or antique car. However, he's proably the oldest guy in America to be able to ride. The secret: “not thinking too far ahead”, he says.

    “Bun,” as his friends call him, has been riding motorcycles for more than 50 years. He started his life on two wheels riding a scooter - it was easier for him to commute to a nearby sawmill. He traded a lot of bikes, and the last one he bought is a 2003 Honda Gold Wing he’s still riding. "When it's moving about 15 km/h … everything goes fine, but it's heavy," Wyman "Bun" Betts told CBC's Information Morning a couple of years ago.

    “I’ve just never grown up,” he also says - which seems to be a great strategy when fighting with age.

    https://riders.drivemag.com/news/still-riding-at-100-i-ve-just-never-grown-up?fbclid=IwAR0Fp2y_vDqAvi-uXrM1440sQnlkuQVYS1jmRpB_VToWr9L55SsOxTu7cCQ





  • @Kruse Nice twisters. That would be fun.



  • @TeWaio said in Motorcyclin':

    Some rust on a few parts despite me being pretty meticulous with cleaning it. Although winter salted UK roads are pretty harsh given I commute on it.

    This is your friend; It's absolutely brilliant at keeping rust and corrosion away.

    I also use a greenhouse heater under my bikes to keep warm air around them. Tip I picked up from a classic bike shop. Costs peanuts to run

    Capture.JPG
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/ACF-50-Motorcycle-Automotive-Metal-Anti-Corrosion/dp/B0761TV16Y/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1NEZ5U2V0065F&keywords=acf50&qid=1582489560&sprefix=acf%2Caps%2C149&sr=8-2







  • Ok, I'm getting involved.

    Got my CBT booked for next Monday (the way it works here in the UK is that you get moped license on our car license, but then need to do a CBT course to get up to 125cc). Quite looking forward to it, not been on a motorbike for years.

    @raznomore - did you ever end up buying the Harley?

    I'll never be a sports rider, will certainly just be for cruising only. Hoping to build myself up to something like this ...
    https://www.bikeexif.com/new-triumph-bobber



  • @MajorRage a good bike for blatting around on your CBT...

    alt text



  • @MajorRage that's some bike. Good work.

    I still have my eye on this!
    eb7c5543b54758d43dc05ed37c3f4ab3.jpg



  • @MajorRage said in Motorcyclin':

    Ok, I'm getting involved.

    Got my CBT booked for next Monday (the way it works here in the UK is that you get moped license on our car license, but then need to do a CBT course to get up to 125cc). Quite looking forward to it, not been on a motorbike for years.

    Wise approach.

    When I got back on a bike 6 years ago I booked a few sessions with an advanced riding instructor rather than just hop back on a bike. Heard too many stories about silver bikers hopping on Harleys and wrapping themselves around lampposts. Invaluable.



  • @Victor-Meldrew said in Motorcyclin':

    @MajorRage said in Motorcyclin':

    Ok, I'm getting involved.

    Got my CBT booked for next Monday (the way it works here in the UK is that you get moped license on our car license, but then need to do a CBT course to get up to 125cc). Quite looking forward to it, not been on a motorbike for years.

    Wise approach.

    When I got back on a bike 6 years ago I booked a few sessions with an advanced riding instructor rather than just hop back on a bike. Heard too many stories about silver bikers hopping on Harleys and wrapping themselves around lampposts. Invaluable.

    My bro hasn't ridden since an accident in central London a couple of years ago. Woke up on the ground, to this day no recollection of what happened at all and no idea how he came off his bike, whether he was hit, etc.



  • @Bones said in Motorcyclin':

    My bro hasn't ridden since an accident in central London a couple of years ago. Woke up on the ground, to this day no recollection of what happened at all and no idea how he came off his bike, whether he was hit, etc.

    Hope he's OK.

    I can remember most of my accidents - particularly the embarrassing ones. The Bowen Street/Lambton Quay "I think I'll use my left knee as a 3rd wheel" spectacular still lingers after 4 decades....



  • @Victor-Meldrew said in Motorcyclin':

    Hope he's OK.

    +1

    The vast majority of the time I ride I have a gopro recording. I also have dash cam (front and rear cameras) on two bikes. But the best is a paranoia about cage drivers.



  • @antipodean said in Motorcyclin':

    @Victor-Meldrew said in Motorcyclin':

    Hope he's OK.

    +1

    The vast majority of the time I ride I have a gopro recording. I also have dash cam (front and rear cameras) on two bikes. But the best is a paranoia about cage drivers.

    The biggest change I noticed when getting back on a bike was the performance of cars. Whereas before you'd expect them to slow down on corners/slippery roads, they carry on as normal due to traction control/ ABS etc.

    I think drivers have improved in their attitudes towards bikers and seem more considerate than in the past.

    But you still get the loons who think their Ford Transit can out-accelerate an '88 GXS550. It may be old, but it's still bloody quick.



  • @Victor-Meldrew yeah physically all good, had a sore back for a while but doesn't seem to still be suffering. I know he suffered pretty badly in relation to the memory loss, think he lost that whole day and maybe part of the next day - found it extremely frustrating.

    Hah the only accident I've had I think I've mentioned before - wrote off the little FS50 in Queensgate car park when a lady decided to selfishly pull out in front of me while I was probably going too fast and also stuffing a magazine in the front basket.



  • @antipodean the biggest hazard in London is the fucken twist and go riders. They'll pull in front of you on an angle at intersections, etc.



  • @MajorRage no and I don’t think I ever will. I had a fair few rides on a mates Vrod and to be honest it was terrifying. Not the ride itself but the near misses. I have shit reflexes too. Just left it too late.



  • @Bones said in Motorcyclin':

    @Victor-Meldrew yeah physically all good, had a sore back for a while but doesn't seem to still be suffering. I know he suffered pretty badly in relation to the memory loss, think he lost that whole day and maybe part of the next day - found it extremely frustrating.

    Glad to hear he's on the mend.



  • @Bones said in Motorcyclin':

    @MajorRage a good bike for blatting around on your CBT...

    alt text

    Is that only a 125cc?



  • @MajorRage yep! Great bike for getting around while restricted. Doesn't look it eh! Sit nice and high too so good view while you're learning.



  • @MajorRage said in Motorcyclin':

    I'll never be a sports rider, will certainly just be for cruising only. Hoping to build myself up to something like this ...
    https://www.bikeexif.com/new-triumph-bobber

    Great looking machine, and you will never have to tell the wife why she can't join you.


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