Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grevillia Loop

After a short break previously talked about I am back on the road.

While off the bike I took it to a exhaust and polish shop and got some work done. I ordered a custom made exhaust system in the CBX style. 4 into 4 chrome plated header pipes and four stainless steel mufflers. At the same time since a metal polish shop is attached I decided to get some items polished. Here is the result.

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The exhaust was made by Pipemasters and it is still a work in progress needing more baffles as it is insanely loud at the moment and then a final polish of the mufflers.

Polishing was done by Matt who shares the Pipemasters office and this included the rim edges, engine covers and rocker cover outers. The finish is a superb mirror shine. With the chrome side covers the whole thing comes together nicely.

The weather looked a bit wet on the Tweed Coast so I took the safe option to ride west today. I had a new idea for a loop west and south that popped into my head last night. Riding out of town via the Western freeway, Ipswich motorway and Cunningham highway really works well on a Sunday morning, before I knew it I was at Yamanto exit and the deserted petrol station where I stopped for the above shot but the sun had already risen more then I had hoped lighting wise.

Over to Moogerah Dam via the back roads. A quick fuel stop seemed to indicate that unlike the MV Agusta, freeing up the exhaust was not going to deliver any huge boost to mileage on the Honda. There was a big organised ride happening on a similar route to mine so I stopped at the dam to take a couple photos to let the group get in front a bit.

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Another look at the exhaust system.

I rode over Mt Alford and turned onto Dwyers Ridge road then along the Rathdowney Boonah road and bumped into the big group ride again a couple of times and was going to turn off and go via Mt Barney view road for a change but the group ride were (surprisingly) all turning up there and not to be unsocial but I had been dawdling along and was ready to put some miles down and not wishing to pass slower bikes those narrow roads I decided to ride straight on to Mt Lindsey highway.

They have put down some new hotmix on some of the previously damaged sections of the Mt Lindsey highway (mountain section) and it is back to half decent. Looks like more to be done there too so considering all the flood and rain damaged roads I am happy this country road has seen prompt attention. The NSW side has some new surface on the Summerland Way also.

Stopped at Grevillia for fuel and an early lunch, sorry forgot to take a photo but it’s a good mid ride spot when playing in this area to rest up and they make a decent coffee as well. Having fueled up there also means you can ride back via the Lions road rather than try push on further and this then completes the loop I had in my mind but previously never tried. P3271431

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The Lions Road is an oddity in that it is sort of famous or at least very well known amongst riders yet is not a particularly good riding road. However it is scenic and I did want to take more time today to try capture some of that but rain blown over from coast literally chased me out of the hills and indeed then the valley when I tried to stop.

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Todays ride is really such an easy outing that I don’t think anyone would find it too long and it offers a great alternative to the usual loop via Kyogle and the Hinterland. My hands are not mended but those PK glove liners seemed to help a lot.

Route here.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Checking in

I am still on my self enforced break from riding to try and get my hands mended. I think I am winning.

In the mean time I have put the bike in to get some work down on it. I am getting some polishing done, the rim edges and engine covers like the Japanese model has done and also I am getting a custom exhaust installed. These things are coming along and I hope I will be back riding in April.

I have been planning a 5 day ride for Easter this year to visit the Tablelands way and Blue Mountains however I will see how things go with my hands as to if I can undertake this or not. Last Easter I did a 3 day ride which was brilliant. Riding down to Armidale via the Waterfall way then leaving the bag at the hotel to do a loop over the Oxley highway and Thunderbolts way then returning over the Gwydir highway. I think I could try this one again, perhaps mix up the route to ride the roads in opposite direction from last and try trim it a bit to reduce the time in the saddle.

Here is a draft of what I might ride if the weather is fine.








Saturday, March 05, 2011

Mighty Plugs review

Revised 16.04.2011 and 25.06.2011. Also see updates below.

Further update - I stopped using silicon type molded ear plugs and change to "no roll" type foam ear plugs which I find superior. 

You know I love ear plugs for riding. Besides saving you from  hearing loss they greatly reduce rider fatigue. Like most people I never used to wear ear plugs however I noticed sometimes ringing in my ears after a long days ride and discovered that the wind noise when riding is loud enough to cause hearing damage and so started my quest to find comfortable ear plugs for riding.

I cannot wear the regular foam ear plugs. I tried for many months but they simply don’t work for my shape of ears and come loose while riding. Additionally with those plugs being designed for industrial situations you end up with a total sound isolation effect which I and many people find less than ideal when riding as I want to still hear but reduce volume of noise to safe level.

To complicate matters, I like many people also find canal plugs uncomfortable. Be it music canal phones, the reusable canal industrial plugs or custom molded canal plugs. Some people seem to struggle to understand this but everyone's ears are shaped very different and what works for you may not work for someone else.

By chance one day I tried swimmers soft silicon moldable ear plugs and struck gold. These style of ear plugs are designed to seal water from the ear but also offer medium noise reduction. For the rider they work by cutting the wind buffering but leaving you still able to hear the world around you. Basically think of the perfect quiet helmet that has very low wind noise but allows you to still hear your motor and the road. Seems many people had figured this out before me and soft silicon plugs are very popular with riders around the world. And so I present another soft silicon plug for consideration.

Most recent in use
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And the latest the Mighty Plugs
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They look like the Hearos swimmer plugs and are soft moldable plugs like the others I have been using however they claim a new highest possible noise reduction rating of 34db – which is misleading as they are no where near that figure. The MAX foam plugs I tested once offer 33db and are recognised as one of the worlds quietest. At that level it is near total isolation where you cannot hear a single sound on a motorcycle as they are made for heavy industry. The mighty plug is no where near that sound reduction level. Regular swimmers ear plugs are around 21 db, these are perhaps 24db which is still a real noticeable improvement.

Similar to all of these style plugs they say reusable and with the mighty plug they actually do last a few outings, much longer than the others I have tried, however after a few days use you will need to throw them away.  They are softer than other swimmers plugs once warm and sometimes seem to be almost too soft and can shift and loose their position on the outside of your ear canal and allow noise to penetrate.

Warning - If you are not used to soft silicon plugs then you may wish to purchase just one pair of these or indeed any of the other major brands like Macks or just try what they have at your local chemist shop as a trial to see how they feel in comparison to foam plugs before jumping in. Some people find the feel of these type of plugs unpleasant.

Update 1: On my Easter 2011 holiday tour I took only my Macks clear silicon plugs and noticed in comparison to the Mighty plugs the Macks did not reseal as well by the end of the day as they became more greasy as used whereas the Mighty plugs maintained their slight stickiness to seal however by end of day became softer and sometimes needed a few try's to get them positioned right.
The Macks are easy to remove whereas the Mighty plugs sometimes break in half when removing however this has not caused any problems so far. I have ordered some more Mighty plugs on the basis they do cut more noise when they are positioned just right.

Update 2.  My opinion now after further use is like the other silicon plugs they work best for the first one of two times applied then as you mold and reapply all these styles of plugs seem to loose something. They cut less sound and do not want to sit firm. This applies to all the silicon plugs I have tried so these still are the best I have used but when you need to replace every day or even twice a day if touring and removing often then they are a bit expensive.