Thursday, April 17, 2014

17 April - Cowarr Weir

Riding the Honda home yesterday I realised that the new windscreen fitted to the bike was too tall. I wasn't too worried because I thought that would be adjustable but when I got home it became obvious that while it would be easy to raise it, it was as low as it was going to go. The end result of this was that I was looking through the windscreen rather than over it - not a good idea if it starts to rain or becomes covered in bugs. A bit of investigation on YouTube showed how various people had dealt with the same issue by cutting the screen to the right height using a variety of tools. The only tool I had which was likely to do the job was a jig saw and one very good YouTube clip suggested covering the relevant part of the screen, and the foot of the jig saw with masking tape, to prevent scratches. The other good suggestion was to cover the entire bike with a sheet to prevent particles of plastic all over the bike which would then later melt on to the hot bits.

Armed with all this good advice I gathered my tools and worked out the new profile for the shield. Ideally the top of the shield should align with your nose - a bit hard to work out while sitting on a bike. Nevertheless, the new profile was soon traced on the masking tape and a couple of minutes later the jig saw had done its thing. All that was left then was a bit of careful sanding of the cut edge.

Spent most of the day in Melbourne today but when I got home at 4:00 today it was still 24ÂșC and fine so it was time for a quick ride to Cowarr Weir to check the screen. Very pleased with the result - not only could I see over the top of the screen but also the reduced height significantly reduced the amount of buffeting around the helmet.

Finished off the day by taking a photo of the bike in the late afternoon sun.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

16 April - Bairnsdale to pick up VT750

My new bike was ready to pick up today in Bairnsdale, so this morning I caught the 9:35 train for the two hour trip. Fortunately Bairnsdale railway station is in the same street as the dealer (Doyle and Shields) and only 200 m. away. Of course, first things first - pay the money and complete all the paperwork. Luckily Joe at Doyle and Shields had everything ready to go and within a half hour or so we were ready to go out the back and fire up the bike. I've spoken to a few motorcycle dealers in the last few weeks and Doyle and Shields stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of service and professionalism.

So, as mentioned in my previous blog the new ride is a 2007 model Honda Shadow VT750, which is almost the same bike as my VT400 except for the more powerful engine. Riding position and bike characteristics are identical but the VT750 has the grunt to get up the hills and to pass other vehicles very quickly. The bike has only done 5,000 km and is in immaculate condition. So basically I've bought an almost new bike with panniers, sissybar, luggage rack, heated grips and touring windshield for $7,000 below the cost of a similarly equipped new bike.

It was a lovely day today and so I took the back road from Bairnsdale through Bengworden and Meerlieu and quickly arrived in Sale for lunch at the Sandwich Factory. From here I took the South Gippsland Highway to Yarram so that I could try the bike out crossing the Strzelecki ranges.

Got home around 3pm and very pleased with my purchase. I measured the fuel consumption at 4.6 l/100km.

Now I need to find a good home for the VT400 - it will be sad to see it go - it really looked after me during the awkward learning and gaining experience period and has provided trouble free and very economical service.

Total Distance 210 km.

Monday, April 14, 2014

13 April - Scouting a future club ride

I recently volunteered to lead a club ride in late June so I thought I'd better take a look around Gippsland for ideas.

Rode from Traralgon to Korumburra via Yallourn North, and Yarragon. Had lunch at the local bakery but decided not to use it for the planned ride and to carry on to Meeniyan instead. Meeniyan is a pretty little town on the South Gippsland Highway and it has some great cafes so that looks promising. At 130 km from Traralgon it's just about the right distance for a club ride and to whip up an appetite for lunch. Plenty of hills and twists on the way too.

The return trip through Dumbalk, Mirboo Nth, Boolarra and Churchill is about 80 km which means the group will get back to Traralgon around 3 pm. which is perfect.

Got home around 4 pm after a very enjoyable day on the Beemer.

Last week I decided to upgrade the cruiser to a Honda VT750. Although it is a 2007 model it only has 5,000 km on the clock. This week it will have its roadworthy certificate done and also will have a touring screen and heated grips fitted. Should pick it up in Bairnsdale sometime this coming week.

This picture shows the VT750 with my original Honda VT400 in the background.

So, the VT400 has had a clean and a polish and is up for sale. Sad to see it go as it was my learner bike when I started riding back in 2010 and I've put 38,000 happy and trouble free km's on it. As the 750 already has panniers, sissy bar and luggage rack I'll be able to leave those items on the VT400 for the next owner.

Total Distance 210km.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

7 - 8 March - Melbourne

Rode to Melbourne yesterday to get the BMW serviced at Southbank BMW.  I bought the Beemer on 31 March 2012 so I've had it for just over two years and today it had the 30,000km service. Hard to believe how the kilometres have flown. The service today involved a change of engine oil and a change of brake fluids. I also asked for a report on the state of the chain, and I was pleased to hear it was in good shape and will be fine for a further check in another 10,000 km. I am pretty fastidious about cleaning and waxing the chain and it looks like that's paying off.

Staying overnight with my mate Marcus (R1200 GS and Ducati) gave me the opportunity to have another great Indian meal and to catch up on Marcus' news, oh and to play his brand new cigar box guitar - what a blast.

From Marcus' place to Southbank BMW is only 5 minutes and so I had the bike there by 08:45

While in Melbourne I used the opportunity to check out a few bike shops. I particularly wanted to see the newly released Indian models.

These are absolutely stunning motorcycles.

I was quite surprised that despite their large size they felt quite easy to handle. The ultimate dream machines.

Total Distance 344 km.