Thursday, August 31, 2006

Australia Mt Kosciuszko motorcycle tour


Update 2016. Looking back 10 years later. Seems longer ago  in some ways as I have done a lot of riding since this, my first long tour but  in my life overall it seems like only yesterday. I cannot think how I managed to cover the distances we rode each day. I know one day was over 1000km, an Iron Butt rider qualification which we did in daylight hours. I recall we were up at dawn each day as well as pushing on a bit on some of the roads but I would allow three times as many days for a similar route now. I think this is the ride where I truly did some damage to my hearing with the KBC helmet which was the noisiest helmet I have ever owned and I was just starting to wear earplugs full time and had yet to find ones that fitted properly so some days I had one in and one half out. I think neither of us had taken much in the way of wet weather gear either but then at that time Australia was in a long dry spell and you could just ride with the expectation of every day being fine for weeks on end. Sigh I sure miss that living in Japan where even one fine week is a impossible dream. The tank bag scuffed up the plastic Buell tank rather bad and I wonder why I simply did not go with a bag on the rear seat? Also not sure why the post has so few photos, I cannot find any more on my archive to add so must have been all I took. My mate still has the same MT-01 today. What a fabulous motorcycle it has been for him, pushrods so can service at home and low revving big twin will last a long time more I imagine. Well I have learnt a little bit more about motorcycle touring since then but regret nothing about this trip. Always better to look back and say I can’t believe I tried that rather than I wish I had done that. Original post below.


I did a tour to the Snowy Mountains early this year, was a great trip but tiring due to the pace/time limit set of 5 days! I would very much like to do the trip again with say 7 days and some slight alterations to the route, mainly the same roads but in different directions of travel on some parts and an extra day in the snowys area itself and the daily Km's reduced with the other extra day. Here then is a ride report from Aussie Buell Riders forum I posted after getting back, the highlighted text are all great bike roads/rides, some from the 'Top 100 motorcycle rides - Australian motorcycle road atlas'

Day 1. From Brisbane to Ballina early meeting a mate on his MT01 then to Grafton to Armidale via Ebor and Thunderbolts way Walcha to Gloucester then Bucketts way to Raymond Tce first night Maitland.

The Buell brand tank bag has a small rear clipped on pouch - this detached itself on the Ebor road perhaps on some bumbs and bounced off into the bush with my digital camera inside it - at about 150kph - never to be found again.
The Thunderbolts way was a superb ride and was still one of my favourites at the end of the trip. Bucketts was bumpy and so-so.

Day 2. Wollombi Rd, Cesnock Valley Sydney, The Old Road then M7 and Hume hwy until Moss Vale and then Kangaroo Valley then down the Princess Hwy to Bega and up Browns Mtn to Cooma.

Long day , Kangaroo valley was great - but ride it in the other direction of travel to get the accent, The Old Rd was so much shorter than I imagined it would be having read about it so often, about 1/4 of Mt Glorious here in Brisbane... but nice while it lasted, hit heavy low cloud at the top of Brown Mt but it and the run out from Bega indeed are a top ride. The run down the Princess h-way was actually pretty fast flowing and very enjoyable too .

Day 3. Alpine way and the roads the other side of Mt Kosciuszko to Tumut. Jugiong to Young via Harden Olympic hwy to Cowra and boring Western Hwy to Bathurst. Laps of Bathurst raceway.

The Alpine way and rds around Mt K are fabulous - roads on the north side of Mt would be best ridden in opposite direction, ie from north to south to accend to peak then go down Alpine way and turn around to ascend on it as its not as long.
Riding Bathurst was a real buzz - an unexpected extra highlight.

Day 4. Bells line of Roads, Putty Rd, Old road Bulahdelah and on to Wauhope.

Bells line of roads was better than expected, not spoken about as much as a specific bike road it was good riding mid week (but must be slow on weekends) Putty road was a surprise in that so much of it is mostly straight ... some excellent parts either side but like the Old Rd having heard about it so much .... well you get your expectations high.

Day 5. The Oxley hway , then back to Tenterfield were I bid farewell to my ride partner and home to Brisbane via Warwick etc.

The Oxley still shined as a truly great road after all the others but I was bit tired having stayed in the Star Hotel at Wauhope overnight which unfortunately had a noisy function that ran all night. It was so bad that even after a lot of drinks I needed to put my ear plugs in to get to sleep.
Missed the rain that was threatening at times all the way until nearly back in Brisbane when I had to get the wetsuit off the pillion seat for a heavy downpour.

Learnt a few things about touring - surprised how well the Buell tours, quite a versatile machine, looking forward to doing some more in the future, but definitely the one thing needed is a cruise control or throttle lock device and comfy seat - I changed to a City-X seat now so just the other to sort out.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Good rides no.19 Lions Road Queensland

Lions Rd

From Rathdowney to the Summerland way runs the Mt Lindsey h-way which I have already posted and is a great ride. If you were not going on to Uki from Kyogle then you could allways ride back over this route, the Lions Rd. Or you might approach this from the Gold Coast side having gone down to Kyogle via any of the numerous good rides on that side of the ranges.

Like most rides I post this isnt a billard table road and it does get a bit bumpy in places and also narrow in parts but so few cars allow you to choose a smoother line at times and not worry about the narrow parts.

If the road seems to turn a bit unpredictable in some bends then you'd be correct. This reflects its origins when it was unsealed and zig zagged across the creek numerous times with no bridges. Now there is a mix of some modern surveying and some old parts that have simply been sealed. Not a road you can travel too fast on near the border crossing anyway but the mix of survey style needs alot of caution in parts.

Perhaps best to ride it from south to north for the best run. Superb scenery in either direction. No fuel or shops, nice park on QLD side popular for picnics or bbq etc, lookout on NSW side.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Review - KBC VR2 Helmet

I bought a new helmet start of 2006, however its turned out to be a disappointment.

This is the best looking helmet I have ever seen and I had to have it when I saw them on the net. Great graphics design and everyone says they love the look however the helmet is unfortunately rubbish. The blue visor lasted 2 weeks before scratched beyond use. The liner which was a bit cheap feeling to begin with has become worse and is mildly uncomfortable. The worst thing however is the noise level which is the loudest I have experienced in a helmet and after a few weeks and I have stopped using it.

I went back to my last helmet which was a KBC VR1 chrome finish helmet one year old. It has a much better liner and is quieter as well however I started to experience some issues with it within the next few months. The chrome look paint started to flake off and the rubber around the visor opening has come away from the helmet shell.

I have shelved both and purchased a Shark RSR2 which is in another class in comparison, quieter, lighter, better liner, better visors, better finish.

I took a look at the KBC VR2 this year (2008) and the paint finish is melting on the top of the helmet - the clear coat literally looks like it has been hit with paint stripper despite being kept clean and dry indoors the last 2 years.

In brief I have to advise against buying any KBC helmets.

Have a look at Web Bike World site for some good honest helmet reviews and also look at the British independent helmet safety testing site (SHARP) Arai and Shoei are not always the definative helmet to buy but do have some decent models in their range as do some of the lesser well known brands as well. At the moment the Shark brand does very well in testing and independent reviews and I am very impressed with the RSR2 I have so consider taking a look at one of them or their RSI model.

Please visit this blogs home page for Australia's best motorcycle roads, Motorcycle touring in Australia and Japan as well as more motorcycle item reviews to mention just a few topics.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Billinudgel - Mullumbimby - Federal

Billinudgel - Mullumbimby - Federal

This is quite a way south so most Brisbane people have not ridden on these roads much, but its really not so hard to do, even from Brisbane northern suburbs this ride is still only a day trip if you leave early-ish.

From Murwillumbah follow the old highway (Tweed Valley Way) until the new highway then ride the service roads to past Biilinudgel where you will see the signs for Coolamon scenic drive.

Now follow this road to Mullumbimby - this is a twisty road that is alot of fun, some really tight corners to be found but road surface is bit bumpy so like nearly all of my postings need to have your suspension set compliant. When you arrive at the edge of town centre, turn right and go through the town's main street.

Doesnt get much more twisty than around here, the road into Mullumbimby

From Mullumbimby you can ride two routes to Federal, here is the first route:

This takes you along the top of a high ridge and is very scenic. There is a lookout half way along that is half hidden on your left however I recommend you take a look as you can see down to Byron Bay from here.

This ride continues in the second section titled Federal to Clunes.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Great motorcycle roads No. 17 O'Reilly's

O'Reilly's Mountain (Lamington national park road)

Yes there is yet another mountain range in the hinterland to ride! This is a ride not so well known as the road surface in the past has been poor - even by aussie standards - but it has been resurfaced and widened in many places and some parts are now excellent.

The road out from Canungra is new, and alot of bits have been resurfaced on the hill itself.

From the coast this would be the 4th range, Springbrook then behind that is Beechmont which has two mountain ridges you can ride over (or a U shaped one with Binna Burra at the top to be more precise) and north is Tamborine and behind those are O'Reilly's. Indeed you can look across the valleys at the one another in certain spots.

This is still a low volume traffic road -not enough cars to sweep away all the stones or bit of gravel on some corners that washes across from the embankments - but also not enough cars to make the narrow sections too difficult - but you do need to use some care in parts.

Lookout and park on left before actual top of mountain is best and this is Oreilly's Mtn - the road beyond is actually Green Mountain (as far as I know) and becomes narrow and shrouded in rainforest. Cafe and tree top walk and bird feeding at the very top and end of road.

The only other cafe (just before the lookout) has been closed down so Canungra is closest food and fuel.

Top ride

Huge ride today - phew I am tired, covered about 600 km and just made it back home before dark at about 5.30pm.

I met my regular ride partner about 9.00am at Mudgeeraba and we went south and did some roads we knew and some we didnt (well some I didnt know anyway) I have a new variation on a couple of roads I allready knew. From Chillingham to Uki via Tyalgum which seemed a bit bumpy first time I rode it but today I liked it alot and from Mullumbimby to Federal via Shooting Possum road which forms part of another ride I will post up soon.

Further south we covered numerous back roads at our usual 'brisk pace' around Lismore-Alstonville-Ballina area without actually going much on the main roads or in the towns themselves - all good riding roads with lots of corners in some of Gods own countryside (it really is beautiful around there) just wish it wasnt so far away from here as its bit of a stretch from Brisbane but then if it was closer and within easier reach then it surely would not remain the same.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Chefs cafe or coffee suggestions

Alot of posts get lost in the archive and some belong there I guess but good places to stop for lunch are more important. Here then is the collection so far in no particular order.

Uki Pub. Oddly no pictures yet, but one of the best pubs as far as food and location.

Kunghur Sphinx Cafe. Great food and coffee and many motorcycle mags to read while you wait.

Graze cafe, Mooloola Valley. Tasty food and good coffee away from the Maleny crowds.

Clunes Cafe. Next door to the general store, interesting menu and good coffee.

Veranda cafe, Kenilworth.
Well know cafe in main street again with good food and coffee.

Canungra cafe. County style cafe, serves hearty food and good coffee.

Tweed Valley Gallery. Superb views and coffee and light snacks.

Royal Hotel, Gatton. A family eatery that is very comfy on a hot day - great food.

Club Fed, Federal. Focus on local produce, coffee varies but not bad.

Flutterbies Cafe, Tyalgum. A superb cafe with top notch food - get there early.

The cafe and the pub on the Tweed river at Tumbulgum are both good and nice views.

Binna Burra mountain cafe.
Recently rebuilt and beautiful.

Tatra cafe Mt Tamborine. Not cheap but worth it for that fantastic Polish beer!

Art Cafe Du Kalbar Nice country cafe, Merlo coffee, breakfasts on Sunday.

Aratula Bakery Di Bella Coffee and excellent cakes both at good prices.

Mudgeeraba Cafe for morning coffee only - they dont seem able to cope at lunch time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Australia’s Best Motorcycle Roads – Sapphire Coast highway

From Tathra to Bermagui NSW is a lovely road with sweeping bends then some more tighter bends and excellent ocean views. Nice food in Bermagui at Guys Place cafe.



Good Rides No.16 Burrinbah Range

Burringbah Range via Tweed Valley Way

From Murwillumbah head south on the old pacific h-way to Burringbah range. This is a well known favourite of bikers, wide cambered hotmix mountain range that was the main highway 1 Brisbane to Sydney before being by-passed and is a very fast addictive set of curves.

There is one fix mounted speed camera that you need to be aware of travelling south - don't worry it does not ruin the ride in anyway.

You will want to do a few runs over this wonderful bit of road, I added a Homer to the rest stop (see photo) at the top of range who sums up this bit of road nicely - its really is that much fun!

Past Burrinbah range is a the township of Mooball and Burringbah township, there is fuel and coffee at the servo just north of Burringbah villiage, further south colourful village of Mooball, the pub is a popular lunch spot with the Harley set and then the road goes over a small but fun couple of ridges with more nice hotmix before it comes to the new highway.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Australia’s Best Motorcycle Roads – Sofola and Hill End roads

Between Mudgee and Bathurst is the tourist route that runs via the historic gold rush towns of Hills End and Sofola.

The road used to be gravel some way but now is all tar, with a beautiful new section. The road has everything for a rider, sweepers, mountain climbs, roller coaster undulations and some tight stuff too.

Then you have Hill End which is one of the most interesting 19th century gold rush towns in Australia in my opinion. This is a fantastic ride.





Monday, August 07, 2006

Good motorcycle rides # 15 - Mt Tamborine.

Mt Tamborine

Update 2011. The northern ascent is being resurfaced and should be much improved once finished. The road to Tamborine village via Logan Village has been resurfaced on the 2nd half and is much improved on it's previous condition.

This is not one of my favourites but unfortunately it seems to be the place on the south side people mention if you were to be talking about riding a motorcycle. I am not sure why, it is the closest and many people dont want to or are unable to ride too far so perhaps that is the reason.

One reasonable ride is from Beenleigh, take the road from there to Tamborine village via Mt Warren Park (the other route would be via Waterford and Logan Village)

Once past Windaroo this road has some nice curves along the way and flows well at times and then from the village this side is the most popular of the 4 roads that accend the mountain. A bit bumpy in parts and just a short climb but ok if you can get a clear ride. Need to go very early or be very lucky.

Looking west

Other climbs are from Oxenford - this one is smoother but short and fewer corners. Or from Nerang go on the Nerang-Beaudesert rd and then turn right into Henry Roberts drive - this is very steep (18% incline!) with a just a few tight corners but some really great views.

Henry Roberts Drive

And lastly from Canungra - another 'goat track' a single lane road in parts with hairpins and steep narrow sections - I like this climb myself but its quite short and at the far side of the mountain.
The goat track with its switchback corners - this road now re-opened is quite good.
One suggestion is ride over Beechmont from the east side to Canungra then go up Tamborine via the goat track and back down Henry Roberts Drive and across Clagiraba Rd to get back to almost where you began. Or ride up there after the hinterland for lunch and home via Beenleigh.

The trouble with Mt Tamborine is there usually lots of tourists in cars driving very slow. Like Montville and Maleny, great places to visit for lunch or coffee but can be slow going. Parts of Mt Tamborine seem like every 2nd house has been converted to a B&B or art cafe or winery and while I enjoy all that I more often than not want to turn some wheels and just ride.