Friday, December 31, 2010

Cortech super mini magnetic tank bag

I have had this in the cupboard unused for about 12 months. It was listed in an online clearance sale for $29 with free post and usually retails nearer to one hundred so I decided to buy it and put aside.

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The Buell had a plastic tank so it could not take a magnetic tank bag however since it already had panniers fitted this wasn’t a problem. I was then going to use it on the Euro tour but found out all the motorcycles came with luggage installed so it didn’t see the light of day until I got the CB1100.
It is a neat solution to the problem I had been pondering of how to bring my micro four thirds format camera with me on the CB1100. While these mirror less camera bodies are smaller than a SLR with a lens fitted they still are not a pocket item when riding.

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I think you could just fit your wet weather gear in one of these tank bags. I am toying with the idea of buying a pair of bicycle rider rain pants since I lost my Tourmaster ones somewhere on a previous ride and then see how small they end up. I read in reviews that bicycle rain gear is very compact to fit in a riders pocket so it is possible that pants and jacket could fit in a small space on a motorcycle or perhaps even in the left over space in my tank bag.

I don’t think bicycle rain wear is going to be up to the same standard as good motorcycle rain wear however neither do I ride in rain all that often. Actually I only got to use my Tourmaster two piece suit twice since I first got it. With day rides if it’s wet I simply stay home and if caught by a afternoon thunderstorm I wait in a café until it’s past.

Well I’ll get some and let you know in the new year how it goes.
Here’s to 2011. Cheers, IC.

Update. Still using this same tank bag a few years now. Has been good little unit for day trip stuff or the stuff you want to have at hand like camera and I can fit a drink inside (in a small insulated bag) and my GPS will fit in the map window and the battery pack underneath then when stopping for lunch all my valuables come into the cafe with me while my clothes (on tour) can be left on bike in a simple waterproof roll up bag or backpack. Its a handy item and well worth $30.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

CB1100 debut

Finally the rain has eased. It is mid week but I am off work like many for the break between Christmas and New Years and so let me introduce my new CB1100.

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How's that for low k’s haha. It arrived on the back of a truck. I thought I did pretty good saving nearly $3K off retail yet I see a further $500 now slashed by one dealer. Not sure if they are just clearing this years stock or the model is not selling well. Perhaps a bit of both, I hardly think this sort of bike would be a volume seller in Australia where so many people are still spellbound with full fairing race bikes. In Europe it was rare to see a full fairing sports bike, instead big dual purpose bikes are the clear majority with the odd Ducati or full tourer but scarcely any Japanese race/supersport type bikes. Even in Japan their home there are very few full fairing race/sport bikes. I perhaps saw a handful of GSXR’s/R1’s etc on my first ride there and none last trip. Naked bikes have been the most popular there the last ten years that I have been visiting and and there is also a huge scene for classic older Japanese bikes. Harleys also are popular in Japan and Europe and guess what there is no attitude so they wave to Japanese bike riders and visa-versa. Something that took me awhile to get used to.

South looked better on the forecast this morning so I went down the M1 to Currumbin and refueled and rested there. I did not have my Airhawk fitted and the thin seat was starting to get sore by 100km. Riding in Japan I had padded winter pants that helped a little with this and also the bike was not new so the seat would have been broken in a bit. Never mind as I already have a booking to have the seat recovered and raised to look more like the original CB seats. The benefit will be 3 fold, extra leg room, extra comfort and better looks.

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The weather was not as fine as predicted. I ran into showers at Burringbah and did a quick U-turn (not having any wet gear with me).

This photo above is at the end of the sealed section of the Tyalgum Creek Road, which I think has been extended from last time I visited. You are almost at the bottom of the Caldron ridge.  As you can see the CB is mostly the same as the Japanese version. Some polished and chromed items on the engine are only painted finish and the wheels are plain silver.

Fresh tar north of Tyalgum (mess) and a loose surface so give it a miss for a few weeks, should be good once settled.

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There was A LOT of debris on the roads. I don’t so much mind the loose stones and sand about as I can mostly get a clean-ish line by riding in the car wheel tracks however water run off in corners requires extra care as does roads that have been flooded. The Tweed valley appeared to have been under water in a number of places. There were some landslides on the road work area south of Uki and a patch of red mud on the road made a mess for all bikes.

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Crazy two U beam car bridge to a property south of Tyalgum. More substantial bridge further south was washed out. (again)

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After Mt Burrell I further ran into light showers so turned back and called into the Sphinx Rock Café for some early lunch. Coffee was better this time than last visit and the food was tasty enough but nothing remarkable for the price.

Below; looking east at rain near Mt Burrell.

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Did I mention there were a lot of road hazards today. This water was deceptively deeper than it looked, which at least washed off some of the other road grime.

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A easy paced ride today then with one eye scanning for the next item of danger on the road ahead. The great thing is the easy pace is where the CB1100 shines and one reason I purchased it.

Just some perspective on that, I don’t mean to suggest a snails pace but if I use the Burringbah range as an example, which I rode today, it is still enjoyable there despite the wide smooth hotmix at a lesser pace than my Buell which itself was rewarding at a lesser pace than my MV Agusta – which wanted to be ridden fast all the time.

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Of course all this may sound like some old mans talk except I am not that old yet. Just reached a point where I do everything for just my own fun. Not concerned what other people think of my bike or rider equipment or pace. Feel no need to respond to what others are doing nor do I still have any personal riding tests calling me.

It’s not a bad place to be.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Some holiday reading

No chance to ride while this monsoon pours rain every day. So not much blogging about any rides is going to happen until the clouds lift.

Plenty of photos and links each day on the Motorcycle Paradise Facebook page where now I post all the various motorcycle small items of interest I come across while surfing the net. That lightens the blog of content but also keeps it more focused.

Here is a a couple of suggestions for motorcycle blogs to read while waiting for the weather to improve.

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Fuzzy Galore has kept me busy reading with lots of interesting posts about motorcycling. I enjoyed revisiting the European alpine passes I rode this year that she also traversed. Great photos, great blog!

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And from Fuzzy’s site I found Orsons Travel Blog which is an amazing collection of motorcycle travel stories. I have read some of Orsons ride reports previously on a motorcycle forum, either SportTouring or Pashnit, I cannot remember but I am so glad to find his blog.

(Photos via Fuzzy Galore and Orsons travel blog)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vitesse Boots

I currently have in the cupboard a variety of unsuitable riding boots. One pair are simple walking boots/shoes with little protection and which I have already stopped using. Another pair are also short height boots/shoes from Alpinestars that after a days riding bite into my arch no matter what I do with them. The final pair are mid height waterproof items from Joe Rocket. Purchased for my Euro tour these fit yet are awkwardly sized where your big toe sits and can apply pressure that becomes very uncomfortable by days end.

So none work well for me, the short boots lack full protection, the Rockets are cold weather only and each one has comfort issues. So the short story is the money saved from not riding much lately due to constant rain (grr) has been spent on these new boots!

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I have had the Vitesse boots site bookmarked for a couple of years with the intention of one day getting a pair. Whilst they have regular style black boots I always admired their retro brown lace ups which is what I now have. Vitesse boots are made in France and the design and build quality is superb, no quality control issues causing sizing anomalies here unlike the other three I have all from China.

The traditional lace up boot allows me to adjust them to suit and be comfortable. The boots really are easy to walk around in and I will be able to tour wearing these on and off the bike. In the evening under a pair of jeans I will not need a carry a second pair of shoes. For me this is great as I like to go riding for a few days and travel light.

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I think they are simply beautiful.
It is raining here most every day with forecasts for it to continue for the next month so unlikely to have any ride reports in the near future. Wettest weather I can recall.

Update, well I have had these boots for a long time now and they have turned out to be very good. I think if you like this traditional sort of look then they age very well and look just as good after some wear and tear.

Issues I had had are the inner hard rubber side plate as seen above can at times seem to apply pressure to my right foot. How I have my foot on different bikes makes a difference but on the less this item is a design fault as it happened enough that I went to the effort to cut away the top pointed section to stop this from digging in.

I no longer ride a classic style bike and live now where it is colder and wetter so a pair of plain black waterproof boots is on my wish list as these are a little cooler in winter than I would like but then in summer breath very well.