Sunday, June 17, 2007

Gatton ride

Brrr, OMG it was cold this morning on the other side of the range going west.

I purchased a new fleece vest on Saturday from an outdoor store and it seems quite warm. I also had my winter AlpineStars jacket on and warm shirt and left late in morning at 9.00am but still I really felt the cold this ride.

To be fair the minimum overnight for Amberly was 2 and Warwick was 0. And I rode out past the first and then over a mountain range between Amberly and Warwick. It was there I really felt it and at one stage started shaking badly before leaving the shadows and warming up again. Fortunately Cunninghams Gap (pictured below) is a fast flowing modern highway so I passed over it quickly.

I noticed the plod with radar on approach - at bottom of steep straight bit of road gunning the downhill cars, pure revenue raising.

I stopped at this rest shelter to adjust my undergarments. I traveled the country when I was a young boy in cars and there used to be many colourful road side rest stops like these, not exactly same but lots of 60's styled things, some post modernist as well. They have all mostly gone along with white post and chain fence barriers and the numerous small roadside servos and stalls that existed before highways bypassed everything.

I liked Gatton (below) alot. You skip all the towns these days which makes for a fast trip but when I next do my tour south I think I need to add a week to allow time to take in the important stuff along the way.

But todays ride went well otherwise. The MV slurped an amazing amount of fuel as usual and I am feeling the extra cost of running this bike for sure as every stop is a $20 where the XB was $10 for same distance but the suspension has improved and I have made the Air hawk slightly better as well by having it only 1/2 inflated. So at this stage the MV stays until I can find something else I like, the power has me sucked in and that means the Buell XB and Ducati Sport classic are out of the running. The MT-01 is still an option but its a big bike for me to try throw around, being honest about it I am thinking that I need to be riding a sport touring bike next - that is after all the style of riding I do most - the quest then will be one of those that isnt too hot in summer nor too big and heavy, and so the madness continues!

Good Motorcycle rides # 34

Go West!

West Haldon

A bit out of the way however this is a good ride and another place to go if wanting to do something different.

I love finding new good motorcycle roads, I am always surprised and at the same time very happy when I come across a new good bit of tar somewhere. I can not for the life of me understand people who ride the same old stuff like Mt Mee & Peachester every ride - yawn.

Anyway, West Haldon is on the Clifton-Gatton road that runs between Gatton and Allora (or actually a bit north of Allora) To get there I would suggest one method might be ride out to Cunninghams Gap via Moogerah and whatever back roads you want and then turn onto New England h-way and then go past Allora and turn onto this road marked to Gatton. Alternatively ride from Fernvale to Lowood and onto Gatton and via this road and return in either direction.

The riding is nice and easy either way and once away from the highway you can have a nice pace and forget about looking at the speedo every few seconds.

On the road itself you have a mix of open and some tight twisty sections. Mostly it is open road but with some turns and again it all flows by quite quickly and isnt boring highway road at all.
You are in the middle of nowhere here and you have the road mostly to yourself - well I did a few runs back and forth in tight sections and only saw one car and that was around midday not the crack of dawn. What a great find!

You can get Premium fuel on western side of range at the Tregony old road house, Allora and Gatton.

I had an excellent meal at the Gatton Royal Hotel and they also just do good coffee inside as well.
Then I returned via the old Mt G and Nebo and being later in arvo most of the idiots had been and gone as had any law enforcement officers as well - anyway I stick to a sensible pace there . I look at riding Mt G this way - its a place to be well know for police to use entrapment or any underhanded method possible to harass riders so just ease off and wave other riders past and then you can have the comfort knowing they will be the ones targeted while you get home safely to ride another day.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Or Yabba Dabba (Do) as said by Fred. Here is another side road I like.

Riding between Canungra and Beaudesert there is a side road you can take via Biddaddaba. Google map doesnt show the through road but it does connect. From the east take the 2nd road on the left that mentions Biddaddaba (the first you will see is unsealed) then turn right to ride over and onto Tabragalba road which joins back onto the Beaudesert-Nerang road you left before.

Its a handy shortcut. And being off the highway is always more enjoyable as you can enjoy a better pace without worry, enjoy a few corners rather than straight road and as always see some more of the countryside you are riding through.

If you were to continue on this road (from the east) you will come to the Kerry road and then can ride in Beaudesert from there or on south via Darlington to Tamrookum or onto the start of the Lions Road.

I should mention when you ride Darlington, after Hillview if you take first left then you end up on the old Lions rd, keep going and take 2nd left to go to Tamrookum of straight on to Christmas creek.

Twisty Rating: 1 (a few corners)
Surface quality: B (average condition)

Monday, June 11, 2007

First winter ride for the year

A chilly outing today, well in the morning anyway, almost too cold for me at first. On the ride down to Robina to meet my ride partner in the lengthy sections where I was out of the sun and in the morning shadows I started to get a chill spreading over me that was borderline on making me stop half way to warm up. I was saved by the sections where the sun was shining on the M1 as this had an instant effect to allow my body to warm back up a little. (was still cold with the wind chill factor on a motorbike with no fairing)

Beautiful day however, lots of people were out and about on all sorts of motorbikes, cars and flying machines. I saw this great view coming past Nerang of four hot air balloons and didnt think quickly enough to stop there, so by the time I did one had dropped below my line of sight and I spotted it landing at Robina a moment later.

I managed also to sight four M109R's today, but only one was up close, alot of cruisers out on the roads. I am very comfortable now with my decision not to buy one at the moment since I acknowledge that my riding style is still too spirited in nature. I dont think I am an overly fast rider, simply I am comfortable on backroads and can maintain a steady pace and predict the road ahead based on the survey style of the road and the lie of the land. Being smooth and maintaining a nice pace does require a bike that can pull some serious lean at short notice for those corners that you notice late are reducing radius or incorrectly signposted or not marked at all. This is where any bike lacking full ground clearance would get me into trouble one day.

Revisted the Darlington area at request from mate - saw a few bikes on the road there (2 MV Agusta's which is rare sighting) and noticed they were getting a very rough ride on the backroads there. Mine is a bit more comfy after the 2nd softening up of my suspension at the shop but really I still wouldn't be able to ride the bike without the Airhawk seat cushion. The MV suspension all things considered is just so limited in its application that if it was not some prestigious brand it would simply be labeled as rubbish - which it is.

Today I was thinking to explore more of the Scenic rim beyond Boonah but mates MT-01 had trouble, looks like the clutch is gone, so we turned back there and with the days being so short the ride was further trimmed to get us back home before dark. Might take up where I left off next weekend! BTW if you have not been to Boonah lately then well worth revisiting. A few nice cafes and decent coffee (I hear owner of Merlo lives there?) and pub grub as well - I'll be using Boonah as a kick off for more western exploration in the coming months for sure.

The impressive Mt Barney.

So did I get the MV sorted this outing. Not really. Its a bit better but still harsher than it should be. I am yet to fully explore the full possible range of settings with the new rear valving, so will do that and see if I can get a bit more compliance again by fiddling. Its rideable now on rough roads if not as comfortable as the Buell so thats a relief.

I have ordered some foam handlebar grip 'covers' from a Californian touring club. Their items have good reviews about reducing bar buzz ( if they actually ship them, no word back so far - Edit - wow speedy service and no surcharge! - I didnt get the usual email saying extra postage for Australian order so was wondering if order went through then parcel arrives a week later! full review coming up soon). I acknowledge every inline four I have ridden has had some buzz but I somehow think the MV has it little worse.

Another issue is throttle abruptness. I read that this can get better with a service and possibly removing the cat convertor which also boosts lower rpm response so thats on the drawing board if I can get used to the ride issues.

Now that I am able to ride the bike fully I have picked up the bike has an incredible thirst for fuel. It hits reserve at 150km or less, (19 litre tank 4 litre reserve) thats very poor economy compared to most modern bikes, and rather bothersome to have such a short range in country areas. The Harley powered Buell which people loved to mock used to get average 175km from 10 litres and well over 200km on highway riding.

And lastly I will mention the MV's turning circle is as big as a cruiser ... wtf, the bike is small but on full lock needs two lanes to do a 180! I dont think I will ever be very satisfied with this bike having owned other bikes I know that some things should be so much better.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday afternoon motorcycle ride.

I chanced the weather this afternoon and from what I can gather, I got lucky!

I ran into a few damp spots where rain had been and looking behind me at stops cold see rain in the distance coming in and back home watched the radar show the rain had indeed followed me.

So examining the MV yet again I can state two good points are the power is indeed very nice on the more open roads, like those I traveled on today. That was and still is a weak point on the Buell and perhaps on the lower hp v-twins in general. Riding them requires some amount of thought before pulling out to pass cars. The extra power with this bike means I can pass cars sooner and quicker not needing a big space as the acceleration is so very quick in comparison.

Another good point is the bike turns corners at speed better than the Buell as well. That is to say the Buell at higher pace had a resistance to turning which is to do with the weight being low in the bike. This issue used to happen on the Moto-GP bikes in the Wayne Gardiner era and he was very vocal to the factory that the weight needed to move up a touch to aid turning at speed - which was confirmed later.

Now its not all roses, that weight down low in the Buell is the reason it is so stable and rides over bumps like they don't exist despite having 250Gp bike steering angle. And as for the power well the less powerful engine in the Buell went a lot further on fuel than this guzzler.

I managed to get some comfort by moving the Airhawk cushion forward as far as I could fit it. The suspension on the MV is still harsh , I am at a loss to know why after all the money spent on it - I guess I have to take it back to the suspension shop as they simply must not have done the job correctly. I think I can improve the inline 4 handlebar buzz by fitting the old foam type hand grips and filling the bars with silicon. The on/off throttle is another issue - couple of ideas are put a softer return spring on the throttle and replace the cat converter with straight pipe which will free the engine up down low and more hp through the rev range.

So am I thinking of keeping it now? - perhaps - at present I dont have a choice as there really isnt any clear solution out there for me. Thourght about trading the bike on M109R but dealers wouldnt trade it, probably as no money in it for them due to the very high value of this bike which is fair enough. Then was going to buy the other bike outright but other unforseen factors came into play - which turned out to be a blessing for now I have had a very good feedback report on the M109R from a fellow Buell rider who did a 500km day of riding and his report really has blown it out of the running for me completely. (Feel extra sorry for my long suffering local Suzuki dealer who I have messed about big time over this bike - but better that than make a big mistake)

So other options are still another Buell, and I am yet to resolve the same issues I had before which are the power on open higher speed roads like those today and other's I tour on was not enough with the Buell so then will I simply end up modding the exhaust again to gain more power and bea back with the noise problems that made me sell my last Buell - very possibly. Other options are the MT-01 or another Speed Triple, both bikes that I like the engines in alot. The MT I wonder if it would tire me due to its weight. The Triumph is also a gamble, the last one I had used to tire me out turning it, the new ones have a much steeper angle steering but then they require a steering damper as they shake their heads on bumpy roads easy and the chassis is same as on my '98 bike which was easy to overwhelm.

So for now the MV wins simply by default it seems and I wait for the '08 model range to release.

Quick Southwest Rides

Quick ride ideas on the southside.

I know many riders go north as its seen as the quick/lesser distance ride however some options exist on the south that are quick.

For a start you can actually do a pretty good ride in the Gold Coast hinterland and be back after lunch however even shorter ride would be simply Mt Tamborine which I dont really speak alot about however it is popular for many riders.

From Beenleigh there are two routes so perhaps take a different one each way. Try the Beenleigh-Beaudesert rd one way and the Waterford-Tamborine rd the other way. Both actually have some nice curves in a few spots and are not boring rides. The climb up Tamborine isnt much however you can loop about the top a number of ways perhaps take one of the other climbs down and back up or simply have brekky or lunch or afternoon coffee and return - its quite easy to complete this in a few hours.

Another idea is form a loop of you own design that takes in Boonah - Beaudesert - Canungra. Perhaps via Tamborine or via Lake Moogerah or via Darlington for something completely different. You can really just hop on your motorcycle and make it up as you go, lots or scenic rural views and easy pace riding for a Sunday arvo.

Good Motorcycle rides near Brisbane # 33

Darlington - three churches ride.

Try this alternative route when coming back from South West, Mt Lindsey-Queen Mary's etc.

Riding north from Rathdowney heading back to Brisbane the road to Beaudesert can get boring. After Rathdowney next town is Tamrookum, I use the term town loosely there, its mostly a few houses, a roadhouse and a hall from the highway. The roadhouse is worth a stop for fuel as they have premium and price is not inflated. 100 metres south of the roadhouse is a road heading to the east signposted Hillview turn off here.

Have a look at the 1st of three interesting churches on your left, this is Tamrookum's which disappointingly has the grounds closed. Now continue to a T junction and turn right, you are now actually riding south east, but don't worry you swing around again. You travel through farming land and its a nice open bit of countryside that you should be able to make a good pace over.

You will come upon the village of Hillside, which is little more than the church and hall. Shortly after the church you turn left onto the road marked 'road to lost world'. Yes it is a real name for the area at the end of the valley in the mountains. I have not been there for the road is unsealed but I admit I have a strong desire to see what lies beyond. (see pic below)

After Hillview you have a small but steep climb then on the other side you come to another intersection and turn left again. Now you are on the road back to Beaudesert. Soon you will come to Darlington park, home to 100's of 4 wheel drives camping on long weekends then further north you will see the 3rd church - this is the area known as Kerry.

Now a fast run back into Beaudesert. Its a lot further but also a lot more fun than the h-way!

Riding in the other direction then after Hillview remember this, first on left will take you to Old Lions Rd, 2nd to Tamrookum and straight ahead to Christmas Creek. Also you can join onto the road to Kerry from the Biddaddaba creek road and by pass Beaudesert (this is a real time saver if say heading then onto Lions rd as can skip h-way completely! I will post more about this side road soon.

View Larger Map

Good Motorcycle rides near Brisbane # 32

Boonah - Rathdowney road.
I have mentioned this before, but didn't get around to doing a post on the road.

From Boonah if you are not heading to Queen Mary Falls or back to Ipswich you can ride the popular and fast (but tame unless doing double the limit) Beaudesert-Boonah road or you can ride this more interesting road instead.

Head south past the Airfield where you might see some gliders soaring so very slowly above and follow the signs that say Rathdowney (or Lake Maroon)

This road flows nicely, plenty of corners more around the town of Maroon with some gentle rises and falls and a couple of very scenic outlooks one as you head down towards the turn off to Queen Mary falls road and another of Mt Barney near Maroon.

Still a small section of single lane sealed road towards the end but you are over it quickly and then arrive on the Beaudesert-Woodenbong road (Mt Lindsey H-way) just south of the township of Rathdowney where the pub serves a hearty meal with a cold drink should it be that time of day.

Nearby on the Mt Lindsey H-way south of Rathdowney you can see a magnificent view of Mt Barney and other nearby mountains on the road signposted as Mt Barney view. (below)


Good Motorcycle rides near Brisbane # 31

Lake Moogerah - Mt Alford
Here is a ride that perhaps does not immediately spring to mind but is quite fun way to get to the south west corner.

This and the next ride are two alternatives to the Beaudesert H-way which is fairly boring and can be slow going until beyond Jimboomba.

Head out west to Dinmore then onto the h-way to Warwick, turn off on the Ipswich-Boonah road. Take this out as far as Peak Crossing then turn right onto Kalbar-Peak Crossing-Munbilla road to Kalbar. Afterwards turn right onto the Boonah - Fassifern road and then left very shortly afterwards onto Lake Moogerah road. These are not the most twisty roads but they sure are scenic and seem to have few cars and plenty of places to pass. You should be able to make a nice pace and be well out of town before you know it.

You can also get there via Roadvale or on Hoya road into Boonah via Teviotville - cant go to wrong but for the best views my tip is steer towards Kalbar which has a great cafe and a number historic buildings.
After this turn towards the New England highway then left into the Lake Moogerah road. Some nice curves along here and the views continue to be outstanding also. Stop in at the lake for a look if you want or here is another of my tips - before the lake take the Charlwood road west for the short ride to Aratula and get fuel there rather than Boonah. The fuel is cheaper on the highway and the bakery adjacent is excellent and also offers good coffee.

Return to the lake rd and continue on some more nice curves past what would be the upper reach of the lake if it wasn't so dry (update now ok!) (watch out for cattle there) and then on a roller coaster section on to Mt Alford.

From Mt Alford you have a few choices. Take Ganthorpe road to the Rathdowney-Boonah road or Dwyer ridges road to the Queen Mary Falls road or simply ride through and back to Boonah.

I like this area more and more, the rain has the place green again and it looks superb - get out there.