Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Tour Revised

I have been reworking my route for a 7 day motorcycle tour of the eastern states after Christmas. I want to try out some new (to me) roads, try to avoid routes I know well and where I need to revisit roads then ride them in the reverse direction of travel to last time.

Obviously getting this combination right everywhere is not possible in a mere 7 day ride so I have been playing with the possible routes in a number of times weighing up what works best.

I have reversed the direction of travel to counter clockwise. My thoughts are to ride up the Gwyder highway having previously only ridden down the range. First day considers fatigue being the longest and in full summer weather. I was considering riding via Ebor from Grafton which is excellent however I have done that many times.

Day two. I explore two alternative routes south, Denman to Rylstone and the Tablelands way. I was to have ridden this way on the Buell Muster which I missed due to health reasons.

Day 3 should be very enjoyable with a ride across a road less traveled from Yass to Tumut. A back road near Batlow that I read about. Murry River road will be a highlight and I look forward to riding via Granya and Beechworth which were both recommended to me by readers. Then Buffalo Mountain to end the day.

Day 4, mid way and the main feature ride of the tour. Tawonga pass to warm up then Falls Creek and down to Anglers rest on the newly sealed road. After this looking forward to the amazing vistas as I descend all the way to Tambo valley before turning left to Orbost. Now begins another key ride, the road to Bombala via Delegate. Read much about this road, seen the corners for next 101km sign on a couple of forum posts and am looking forward to it. But wait there is more as this truly is a living large ride day as following Bombala I will ride a series of famous mountain roads down to Bega to end the day.

Day 5. I will try the coast road from Tathra which I hear is good. I am looking forward to later in the day riding the King Highway from Batemans Bay up the valley and spectacular range which I have only descended previously. Another ride over the Tablelands way and some sightseeing late in day.
Day 6. I start with Putty road and then via Dungog and over to Wingham, should be rather good. Some back roads to Wauchope to avoid the brain numbing Pacific highway and last night away at Port. No particular highlights, just should all add up to make for a nice day.

Final day. Some highway then back roads much of the way to Mclean. Will check some more of the water features on the Waterfall Way at Dorrigo and venture back to the highway to avoid the mindless lower section of the Summerland way from Grafton. Cut across from Woodburn to Casino and the start of the good Summerland way. I might take the Lions Rd to lower the distance for the day - however if feeling fine then I will ride the extra to enjoy the superior Mt Lindsey.

Well that is a quick look at my chosen route. I ordered a new tank bag this weekend - tell you about it next weekend perhaps.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Ride Report

Full Summer outfit today, Alpinestars jeans, Dryrider Airflow mesh jacket, both have armor yet are very cool on hot days.

Less work, more life...

Work has been a bit overbearing of late. I swear some people seem to have no passion in them except for their jobs. I wonder if they will wake up at some point and realise life has passed them by.

I am only a noob at the whole corporate ladder world. I have spent most of my life until recently indulging in hobbies and pursuing passions. So whilst I have had remarkable success in new jobs of late I have dropped the ball as far as having time enjoy my personal interests. You can work so much that you don't have time to think about anything else.

With this in mind I said to hell with it and went for a ride. I decided to do a loop via Mt Lindsey, Summerland Way, Kyogle, Uki, Numinbah Valley, Advancetown. It was a very hot day, so I elected to go in that order so to be able to ride non stop back via the M1 rather than get stuck at lights if I had ridden the reverse order and come back via South West suburbs. This worked well going to as less traffic in morning so cleared the road works going on past Browns Plains with out slowing.

Remarkably fine day despite the early heat. So many motorbikes out, I recalled I saw many last time in the south west also so this area must now have become popular, once I could have ridden Mt Lindsey and been lucky to see one bike after passing the turn off to Boonah south of Beaudesert.

Took some tranquil time out near Grevilia at the stream that follows the Summerland way.

Corners near Wadesville - Woot!

Had a look at the shop at Wadeville which I have been going to turn down for some time, didnt look so inviting so I carried on. I also have wondered if the shop/cafe in Cawongla does much in the way of meals. In the end I rode on to the Uki pub where under a shady veranda I had a good bite to eat and some cold drinks while enjoying the outlook to Mt Warning.

Always nice stopping at the Uki pub.

Uki has a ever growing market day happening these days. I didn't look but wondered about the chances of making a living in some other form to what I do now. Numinbah flows pretty good from south to north, actually I think nearly all of today flowed well in the direction of travel. Uki to Murwillumbah is better southbound, I'm certain of that but the rest was sweet.

Numinbah valley

I managed to get some clean thoughts happening today. Motorcycle riding is a great way to refocus. One thing I was thinking of today is to maximise that 'defy gravity hang time' in corners it's best to be slower and smooth, no need to try and take any corner overly fast but rather try and make each corner last a little longer - that delivers more of the good stuff.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Nolan N43 Helmet review

Update 2012.

The N43 is now released in Australia for anyone still thinking of one. Now with a few years of ownership I want to give a long term update. I have criticized the helmet in my comments below but I always end up back using it again. The reason is the vision is the best. After using it regular full face helmets feel very closed in. In fact you need to move your head about a lot to obtain the same vision you have standard with the N43.

Yes it is more noisy than a closed in helmet but that's the compromise, want a great venting helmet then it will not be a quiet. Always wear ear plugs and it will be no problem, Don't ignore and like every mature rider that ignored discover you then have permanent hearing damage cause it crept up on you.

I do find I get a pressure point effect with it occasionally. This is not the only helmet to do that but still no denying the liner is not as plush as a Shark of Arai and not as comfortable a design. I find wearing a summer Buff on my head eliminates this without making it hot in summer and also makes the helmet better in winter. 

The internal sun screen does not come down as far as I would like but you can force it down a bit more. Factor in the cost of a tinted main visor as the unlimited additional lower vision means lots more road and instrument glare. I have their light smoke visor and the combo with internal screen covers shady winter roads to blazing late afternoon summer sun.

Final verdict is not perfect but if I was purchasing another helmet it would likely be one of these again.

Original post below:

As you may have spotted in my last post I purchased one of the new Nolan N43 helmets recently.

I first ordered one from a eBay retailer in Italy. This is where Nolan are based and the helmets seem much cheaper from Italian retailers. Unfortunately the seller tried to increase the shipping from 20 euros to 120 euros after the sale. Eventually I got the sale cancelled and decided to purchase from Germany where the helmets were slightly more expensive but the retailers seemed much more professional and had no problems with shipping.

I ordered the white with black splash graphics, which is more expensive than plain colours however makes a difference to the look of the helmet and appealed to me enough to option the graphics. I wanted a white helmet specifically as every safety study I read says that the number one thing you can do to increase visibility on the road to approaching vehicles is wear a white helmet.

To the helmet itself. The finish is very good, it has a feel of above average quality to it. The liner is quite comfortable, it is not up to the plush level of a Shark or Arai however it is well above the budget liners. A slightly less dense weave in my experience translates to less perspiration in summer than the super plush liners which I find to overly warm on humid days.

Now to that unique design. the helmet has a smaller than normal chin bar area. This is made of a super strong material to let the helmet pass the strength tests for a full face yet offer forward vision comparable to a open face helmet. The amount of forward vision you have is incredible and whilst the gains are in your lower viewing area I was delighted with the result.

The chin bar can be detached to convert to a full Jet style helmet. In use I found the chin bar to be so low in my line of vision that I could barely focus on it so for me it felt like a Jet helmet but offered the normal full face protection with the bar in place and I could see little difference with the bar removed however some people no doubt will find this option appealing and it's amazing what Nolan have achieved to make this work.

The helmet has these massive vents on the top as well as a series of venting at the rear. Without a doubt it disperses heat from inside like no other helmet I have ever tried. I was wondering if such large vents would make much noise however that was not the case and noise was not as much as expected

The helmet has wind noise similar to other good vented helmets on the market however less than noisy helmets like KBC. It doesn't get excessive lower helmet wind noise but is more than the quietest helmets. By this I mean the wind noise that full face helmets generate at the area between their bottom edge and rider's neck at highway speeds.

Now to a couple of things that didn't work as well as I had imagined.

The internal tinted secondary visor can be operated by a slide control on the side of the helmet. This is easy to use however the tinted screen doesn't come down as far as I want it to leaving the lower edge of the tinted visor a tiny bit too high for my eyes. I am hoping there is some way of adjusting this internally as it has some tinted screen in reserve. Related to this then is the fact that you now have this extra lower forward vision however the tinted visor only shields straight ahead vision from glare. So you are exposed to more glare from the road and dash that was obscured previously from your line of sight. The great thing about this sort of system however is in the rain forest or mountain roads where it is impossible to make out the road condition clearly with a tinted visor I could slide it up and see clearly the condition of the road. This would be doubly valuable on winter mornings when with a tinted visor you often cannot make out the still damp sections of road hidden in the shadows.

Back to that new lower vision, something that all Jet helmets must suffer from is you have no breath guard or ability to have the visor slightly open to draw in air as the Jet style visor goes to the front lowest point of the helmets. This was not such a big issue for me in use so far, once moving I always have fully closed my visors anyway after being struck by a bug in the eye years ago that came straight through my slightly open visor. In towns going where the speed was very low I flipped up the full visor leaving the tinted one down and this worked very well, better than flipping up a conventional visor as your eyes are still protected by the tinted one yet your face has extra amount of cooling air upon it.

So to sum up then. If I can get the internal tinted visor slightly lower then I really will be very happy with this unique helmet. Even if this is not possible I do not know if I can revert back to my conventional full face after experiencing the extra forward vision this helmet offers as well as safety when on heavily shaded roads.