Friday, December 23, 2016

GoPro Hero 5 Session Vs Polaroid Cube

My goal with having an action cam was something I could quickly pickup, turn on and aim while riding – to capture things when not able to pull over or just randomly for fun. I enjoy the size and shape of the Polaroid Cube which is easy to hold and operate while riding my motorcycle. The main issue I have with the Cube is it’s long shutter delay from pressing the button (can be a couple of seconds). This means many times the photo captured is of the handlebars as I am putting the Cube back away having pressed the shutter a few seconds prior. Enter the GoPro Hero 5 Session.

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Friday, December 09, 2016

Down Under Tour. Part Two – Gunpowder and Trainspotting

My motorcycle tour in Australia continues as I ride south into the state of Victoria after a very cold and wet day previously. You can read part one via this link where I rode through central New South Wales on some lesser travelled roads for motorcycles that turned out to be very interesting. Yesterday I fortunately had the foresight to remove my winter liners from the panniers. I needed them this morning in the 10 degree temperature and noted the panniers were wet inside from the rain which would not have been a good start. I did a bit of no plan riding this morning in the area between Beechworth and King Valley while my ageing Garmin Nuvi 760 refused to work. This is an area that the Australian outlaw and folk hero Ned Kelly used to frequent.

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Australia’s Best Motorcycle Roads – Updated

I have made some long overdue updates to the blog’s archive of the best motorcycle rides in Australia.

New content added includes a number of additional road suggestions, new photos to existing roads and some rewriting of old posts. Also there is now a Google map of Australia showing all the roads which can be viewed by name if you open the map full screen.

I have also brought over a selection of the best road suggestions from the separate Brisbane and Gold Coast archives. I never knew until recently that visitors were landing on the archive page from Google but then not aware that all the best motorcycle roads from Byron bay to the Sunshine coast were listed separately (despite the links) so now they should get a more complete idea of the best riding roads.

So whilst there is still much that could be improved like linking things and additional rewriting I hope visitors will find that section of the blog more helpful for their ride planning in future.

The full archive is located here (click orange text)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Down Under Tour. Part one - gold rush towns and outlaws.

I was on my way to do a motorcycle tour of Australia riding some of the best roads and exploring historic gold rush towns in the high plains of the eastern states. An area where outlaws once roamed very similar to the gold rush frontier towns on the other side of the Pacific ocean in the west of North America. This is my rediscovery of a slightly forgotten history.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Grand Motorcycle Tour of Japan – Part two

I am continuing my 17 day motorcycle ride around Japan. In part one (click here) you can read about my riding in Fukushima, Gunma, Toyama, Nara and Wakayama prefectures. Now I am continuing south towards Nagasaki and Gunkajima (battleship island) which I hope to visit. (photo wiki commons) But a lot of other things to see before I get to there.

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Grand Motorcycle Tour of Japan

I am embarking on my biggest ever motorcycle journey around Japan. 17 days, four ocean ferries, high mountains, lush green valleys, remote country roads and blue ocean vistas island hopping around Nagasaki. As Doc Neeson said, this is it folks over the top. If you have some spare time then let me share some of the real Japan with you instead of the concrete jungle that many people think is Japan or indeed many people visit and never travel beyond. (photo via Tokyo Camera Club)   

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Saturday, October 08, 2016

Two Yamaha’s – One Passion

Besides exploring the world on two wheels I have a few other interests. I dabble in photography and for a long time was interested in architecture. I thought about pursuing a career in that direction but wound up creating computer simulations of train networks instead before deciding to hell with corporate life. So anyway when Yamaha asked if I would like to attend their design exhibition I was interested on a couple of levels but I’ll try keep this post mostly about two wheels.

At the exhibition Yamaha Motor and Yamaha Corporation showcased different projects where the designers of motorcycles and the designers of musical instruments have collaborated. First of all I was invited to try the ‘&Y02’ - a auditory movement experience device.

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Saturday, October 01, 2016

Nolan N44 Helmet review

I have been very happy with my Nolan N43 helmet which I have had for 6 years. A replacement liner gave it a new lease of life however I recently discovered there is a legal issue with my third party vehicle insurance if I have an accident wearing a non Japanese approved helmet. That is, one with a sticker saying this helmet meets safety standards for Japan. I thought it best I do something and brought the replacement of my N43 forward. Since I am in the land of many famous helmet manufactures I naturally went to look over all their wares. And despite the pricing for Japanese made helmets here being much better than Australia I came back to preferring the successor to my existing helmet – the Nolan N44.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Journey is the Destination

I saw a meme on Facebook the other day with that quote. The Journey is the Destination attributed to Dan Eldon a photojournalist who’s life was cut short tragically. A book with the same title has been released based on his journals. As a motorcycle rider I certainly relate to those words but like Dan I also keep a journal. Mine would not make a good book but it does help me if I write things down. I have this section I labelled The Big Picture, where I am, where I think I should be going in life sort of thing. I came to the same conclusion as Dan that life is all about the journey and decided since I already spent a half century on earth not making the best use my time I better change how I do things.

I started questioning the way people around me chose to live. Their desire for ever more expensive real estate and more prestigious vehicles and buying lots and lots of stuff. Living to work. Living to consume. Acting like time is as plentiful as water from a stream that always flows and planning a whole other life after retirement as if they will live forever yet reality is men of my generation have an average life expectancy of 71 years. Of course I hope to beat the average, I’m fit and intend to stay so but by the same token am not living in denial like one of my mates who has a 99 year plan and gets very angry if you question that logic. What may be more difficult to beat is the drop off in confidence and desire to do stuff. I see it in most every guy I know mid 60’s. The motorbike stays in the garage or has been sold, the boat stays in it’s mooring. The idea of setting off somewhere has become too hard and too much of a hassle.  

Of course getting old is not a bad thing – it beats the alternative right!? Interestingly I think for once I can kind of see ahead to a certain degree therefore I know in advance that time right now is extremely valuable. Too valuable to let slip by like it had been in my former life before leaving Australia. As if in conversation with a friend on a train then looking out the window to realise you have already reached the destination and the years are gone. Hopefully I made the right call to leave the herd and try achieve some personal goals for awhile. Could turn out to be my biggest mistake leaving a successful career, comfortable life but if Dan is right then surely it makes some sense?

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The Journey is the Destination first appeared on Motorcycle Paradise September 2016

So then less Facebook and more real life or Carpe Diem as Horace put it. I’m riding more of the beautiful Japanese countryside very soon on my biggest ride here to date if I can get a few weeks without a typhoon. Country pubs and dirt roads tour immediately following this when I revisit my home land down under. Then next year I will pull out all the stops to do some really special rides.  

Ok, normal transmission about motorcycling will now resume here in a new wider screen format after this little interlude of my personal musings.

P.S. Please back up your blog if you have one. Completely. I found some of mine had been deleted. Not sure how, perhaps an automated process gone wrong. Fortunately not too much as far as I can tell but it has been a big wake up call that I cannot rely on Google to safe guard the data.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hokkaido Motorcycle Tour– part two

Continuing my 14 day tour from the northern Hokkaido town of Nayoro. Part one can be read here. After some wet days I was feeling upbeat knowing the rain was mostly finished. I decided to push out the mileage today about as far as I dare to try see some extra places and regain a little that had been lost due to wet weather. A teaser of what is coming up in the picture below but before that I had another wet and overcast start today on day eight.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Hokkaido Motorcycle Tour - part one

Every Summer many riders in Japan head north to cooler and dryer weather in Hokkaido. Ever since first visiting Japan in the 90’s I have been told Hokkaido was the best riding so I decided it was about time I went for a look. Turned out different to what I imagined and if you have some time then I’d like to tell you about it.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Alpinestars Transition DS Gloves review

I purchased the Alpinestars Transition gloves when I was riding in Spain a couple of months ago. I arrived in an unseasonal cool week and after one day of riding with summer mesh gloves I realised I needed better protection from the elements to continue.

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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Polaroid Cube Action Cam review

I have been testing an action cam on my last few motorcycle tours and it is about time I posted a review.

Polaroid is a name I associate with polarized sunglasses and instant cameras. In film days their cameras were very popular and remained so right up to the early digital days being able to produce a ‘print’ of the photo within a short amount of time using self developing film. My friends mother had one, it was ok daytime good light if the person using the camera knew how to compose correctly for the cameras lens and film format. At night it had a weak flash with those old bulb flash units and party photos were poor. I got a autographed Polaroid photo with a celebrity Iron Chef in Tokyo on one of my first trips to Japan (and chose that alias to write this blog as a bit of fun) and that Polaroid was a more modern version that worked quite well. Polaroid like Kodak were in a success bubble when digital came and now are just shells of their former selves but the name lives on with the Polaroid Cube

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

5 small items to help you enjoy your ride

Most riders spend a fair bit of money on a good helmet and jacket and gloves. Some build on this with boots and riding pants and rain gear. However sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference. Here are five things that I cannot ride without now that I never thought of when first riding.

1. Buff or other brand of neck tube/scarf. These are great. In winter they seal the wind out from entering the top of your jacket and chilling your back often something that leads to getting colds. In summer with jackets open at the top to catch the breeze they stop the back of your neck from getting sunburnt as no amount of sunscreen seems to hold this off if on tour.

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I have a couple of Buffs, this is a summer thin one I found on sale one day. In serious winter conditions I reach for my thermal neck gator but rest of the time I find a Buff does the job.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Japan Summer Motorcycle Tour

I wasn’t planning any riding when out of the blue a week of sunny weather was being predicted prior to the arrival of Japans rainy season. I set off one day later with part of a ride worked out on a bike that was not running the best but a week of fine weather is as rare as hens teeth in Japan so the moment had to be seized.

I started by going west along the coast past Enoshima to Hakone. I actually live not that far from one of the more popular riding/day trip areas for people in Tokyo but the traffic density even this far out from the metropolis makes it a slow and laborious journey so I tend not to bother doing day rides since moving to Kanagawa. Today I stopped at Lake Ashi in the mistake thinking to see Mt Fuji. I had read this was a good view point on a travel page but obviously that was complete nonsense. Oh well it was a nice spot on glorious morning kicking off six days of touring so no problems.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Sicily Motorcycle Ride

I have had an interest in Sicily for since childhood thanks in part of to some of my family having grown up in with the Italian community in Innisfail North Queensland which had a strong connection to Etna region Sicily. An opportunity presented itself recently to make a small visit. First order of business was some lunch before leaving the airport. This is a great start Smile 

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Yamaha FZ8 review

Got to spend four days riding a low km Yamaha FZ8 in Spain so I want to talk a little about this motorbike.

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As usual with my motorcycle reviews I am not going to be talking about the specifications or history and the other press release type stocking filler that is the content you will find on commercial motorcycling web site reviews. What I am going to do is chat about how the bike actually rides and feels and other real world things lacking on the commercial sites.

 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Andalucía Motorcycle Ride

Whilst I more or less decided not to do any more riding in Europe circumstances changed and I unexpectedly found myself flying to Spain for a couple of weeks. I dusted off my plans I once had for riding Andalucía. Spain had been one of the places on my bucket (ride) list so I was happy about the opportunity to ride there.  

I arrived in Madrid and immediately was pleased to find the feel of the capital city more relaxed than I have come to associate with Europe. After a couple of days I took the high speed train to Malaga where I was going to base myself for the next week and found the place quite laid back and the people friendly with good attitude to tourists which was such a nice surprise. I have been to Europe a number of times and always found it interesting but often the people unwelcoming to the point of being obnoxious so I had decided that I wasn’t going to return ever again as so many other nice places on earth but I may have to make an exception for Spain.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Reaching Peak Travel

I do not often write a post to recommend an item but recently I enjoyed reading this book. 

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Motorcycle Messengers was a nice read of short stories or excerpts like a sample pack from the contributing authors. Very easy to access or read a few stories then put away while boarding a plane on my recent travels. The stories are quite varied, one made me chuckle out loud while one almost had me in tears. I will certainly look to obtain more work of at least one of the contributing authors.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Everything you need to know to motorcycle tour in Japan

 

Few people know how beautiful Japan is. Aside from the Aussies who flock to the ski resorts in winter most tourists visit just Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, 3 enormous cities. Either way the vision people have is crowded cities and bullet trains which is one aspect but beyond the highly urbanised areas lies one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my travels around the world.

Riding a motorcycle in Japan is a very special experience. A land with a rugged spectacular coastlines, a mountainous interior as high as European alps with deep valleys criss-crossed with superb roads. It is also one of the safest places on earth. There is no petty crime, none, you can leave your wallet on a bench and it will remain there while people sit either side of it. The people are really friendly and go out of their way to help you even if you don’t speak the language. It is easy to access anything you need and as well as amazing scenery you have rich history and wonderful food to explore if you choose.

In this post I am going to write a few things aiming to help motorcycle riders thinking about Japan but not sure. It is not intended to be a general travel guide for Japan, there are 1000’s of people writing those already. Nor is it for the intrepid adventurer riding around the world who will likely find this article too basic. This is written for the average rider like myself, curious about riding different places but not always sure about their ability to deal with every challenge. It’s a collection of simple ways for almost anyone to experience motorcycling in a Japan.

 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Japan Inland Sea Tour

I just completed a motorcycle ride visiting some of the best view points around what is referred to as the Seto Inland sea of Japan. I then went island hopping across these waters to visit some of the islands in the middle where few people travel. If you have a little time then perhaps you might enjoy to see some photos from the tour.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Europe alps remastered

Six years since I did the ride in the Europe alps. I just revisited the post and saw how crappy the photos had been all limited to low resolution. Fortunately I still have all the photos from that ride archived and so just updated them to high resolution versions as well as adding quite a few more never posted originally. Added a little extra text too so now it actually looks how it should have - and only took me 6 years!. If this endless freezing rain continues here who knows what else I may get around to fixing on this blog Smile

Europe Alps Ride link

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Yamaha MT-09 Tracer review

I had the pleasure of being able to ride a near new 2015 Yamaha MT-09 Tracer around New Zealand for 9 days so it seems fitting I put a few words to paper metaphorically.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

New Zealand North Island Motorcycle Tour

It was so nice to revisit one of the best places to ride a motorcycle, New Zealand.

Last year I had been thinking I should try return to New Zealand and ride the lower north and upper south islands. I then forgot all about it while yet again thinking what to do about my plan to ride in Europe with the Versys 650 I have in Ireland. The Aussie dollar remains so weak and everything is already so expensive there that I decided rather than let it sit in a shed another couple of years best I sell it. Sometimes things are not meant to happen. Already cancelled two planned trips then when I eventually got there was not able to ride far on the third attempt so even I who is not the most perceptive picked up that this was a message.

So finally having moved on I remembered I wanted to go back to New Zealand and what good timing as the exchange rate is not going to be woeful there and I already had a trip to visit family in Australia coming up which placed me just a few hours away. So rather last minute I phoned New Zealand Motorcycle Rentals and asked what they had available for about 9 days late January. This was peak season but my window of time matched exactly when they had a new Yamaha MT-09 available which was my first choice from their list so perfect and I booked that on the spot.

I decided after some consideration to ride only the north island. I saw so little of it last ride and that way I need not rush things at all and would also ride north of Auckland along the Twin Coast Discovery route. Getting to the rental shop was easy, a taxi ride across the harbour about 20 minutes from the city centre. It took awhile to get the bike but I was on the road by 10am and only had a short route the first day. Traffic heading north to the beaches on a Saturday was grid lock once off the multi lane highway. Like travelling to the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia in the old days with cars banked up 10km. Fortunately on a bike you can get around all this one way or the other and having ridden in Philippines and Thailand I guess my methods of dealing with traffic have picked up some bad habits that even the NZ riders were not game to follow. Needless to say my wheels never stopped turning Smile.

The coastal road riding north is very scenic indeed. Fine day 29 degrees while it was 4 in Tokyo. Beautiful green rolling hills. New bike and relaxed schedule. My spirit indeed did start to soar. 

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sport touring tyre comparison

A brief and unscientific comparison of four popular sport touring tires fitted to a Yamaha FJR1300.

I have tried four different sport touring type tyres on my Yamaha FJR1300. Metzeler Z8 which (somewhat oddly) came on the bike when new. Bridgestone BT023, the non GT variation of what is usually fitted to this bike new. Pirelli Angel GT which was suggested by others and Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT. This is an account of my experiences not a controlled test just some real world feedback for people to consider since what I read on the net regarding these tyres is always just peoples initial feeling when fitting them, usually after that days ride, and some wildly optimistic estimate of mileage they expect to achieve not close to the real results.

I am not hyper sensitive about tyre road feel. I was initially when first on road motorcycles but after riding moto-x/off-road for a couple of years I got used to a bike moving about at times. Returning to pure road bikes any road tyre seemed to have enormous grip but I have come to experience better and worse road tyres over the years and all four of these tyres are good so the difference is between each of them not to other tyres. I will just give simple general notes about things like wet grip and lifespan and of course cornering.

First an important update – since this was posted I have fitted another set of BT-023 Bridgestones since I decided I need more mileage than slightly more grip as I don’t ride that demanding and the odd thing is this time around they are significantly better then than the first set fitted so the scores below may need to be raised. The set I have now is the ‘GT’ spec which has harder sidewalls as far as I know but otherwise same compound. I have not read of Bridgestone changing the BT023 compound but that is not to say they are not improving tyre models and that maybe the case with the BT023 or otherwise last time around I may have been sold very old stock. I did get them at 1/2 price from Naps Bayside Yokohama, a shop that since has done some dodgy work on my bike when asked to do a service so it is possible the tyres fitted by them previously were not a good representation of what the BT023 offers. Grip wise these GT spec are as good as the Angel GT in wet or dry and I will come back to update on their lifespan and refresh this post soon as I get a chance.

 

Dry weather cornering.

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The BT023 was for the most part perfectly acceptable to me. However if comparing to the other three tyres their feel is less sticky than the others in cornering and they let the bike move about a bit on turn in which I was fine with but some people might not like. They do not inspire high levels of confidence that the Angel and Pilot Four do but they have other positives aspects to offset that.

The Metzeler Z8 was a little better feeling on corner entry and felt more confident mid corner on the FJR than the BT023. Still a tyre that like the BT023 lets the heavy FJR push the front around a bit on entry but on their sides feels little more planted than the 23’s. 

The Angel GT offers a high level of grip feel on the FJR. It rarely lets the bike move about. Corner entry with these tyres is very nice sure footed feel with no movement and inspires confidence. Similar mid corner grip is notably better feeling than the previous two.

The Pilot Road 4 is the stand out in corner grip feel of this group. Corner entry feel is rock solid no movement which continues mid corner. Confidence cornering is always at 100% with these tyres. The grip remains high on cold roads or having to suddenly change line or even needing to brake mid corner. Always offering a very planted feel is how I would describe them.

A couple of things to consider however is the Pilot Road 4 is a very slow turning tyre on the FJR, ie it makes the steering feel slower than the other tyres. Not talking about as they wear which I will compare in the next section but just fitted brand new they are quite noticeable a slower steering tyre to all the others.

Another item to note is the FJR exhibits a cornering trait where it understeers then suddenly changes at half lean angle to oversteer. This has been noted by AMCN in their tests and is not my imagination. The Z8 and BT023 demonstrated this effect to me but with the Angel GT fitted the bike ceased to behave in this way and steering became much more neutral. Pirelli claim the Angel has a slightly different curvature for better wear (that is left to right not how round the tyre is) and this may be at play here or more likely it might be simply the way the tyre steers on the FJR. The PR4 was also more neutral feeling but the slower turn in and change of direction I feel was what I felt rather then a different attitude all together.

Now just to clarify most of the time I simply dawdle along rather slow and any of these tyres is enough for me. However occasionally I might want to feel the bike leaning over a bit if I come across some nice bends so I am just giving my impression on how these tyres performed when asked to occasionally act out the sport part of their sport-touring classification.

 

Wet weather grip.

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Now to wet weather grip. Something I used to not bother much about when only doing day rides in Australia. If it was raining I stayed home. If caught in a storm I would wait it out in a café. Now that I tour for extended time riding in rain and on wet roads all day is always not if but when on a tour and the way tyres feel on wet roads makes a big difference to my touring enjoyment.

The Z8 is a tyre I never liked in the wet. Always feeling like it was moving about and squirming. I used to tippy toe along when encountering wet conditions with these fitted. The BT023 is not much more enjoyable in the wet but certainly less moments when you think oh crap with the bike slipping about.

A huge leap forward is the Angel GT tyres which feel very good in the wet. You can ride and not have the bike constantly moving about and feeling loose as with the other two tyres and only on the coldest wet roads might I notice the grip not always being there.

The Pilot Road 4 in the wet are a revelation. I forgot I was riding on wet roads after a while - the grip is that good. I would never had imagined this level of grip could be obtained on road tyres. Not saying you can lean over like in the dry but you can ride a modest pace and not feel the bike move about at all such is the grip level provided.

Mileage.

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Ok don’t read this chart as a score out of 10 like the previous – this time the numbers are distance in ten’s of thousands of km.

I ride just for fun not commuting. Besides the odd bit of highway I ride only country roads with curves. So middle of my tyres is not where I experience the most wear.

The Angle GT’s were worn out by 6,000km. Front tyre sides were completely gone and tyre had that pronounced egg shape making steering very slow and really high effort. Rear tyre was wearing consistently but at the wear tabs already. Terrific tyre in the way they feel but they wear out far too quick. I was surprised because on the net I read people saying they were getting 15,000km but this surely must be just commuting mileage on a light bike or just BS as is so much of what is written on the net.

I changed the Z8’s out at 7,000km at which point the front tyre was very badly scalloped on the sides making the steering wobble under braking and the pronounced egg shape made turn in effort high. The middles still had some rubber remaining and if I was commuting the lifespan might be totally different but for sporty riding they did not last long enough and the hash wear on the front sides to me meant the tyre was not suitable for the heavy FJR.

With the Pilot Road four I had problems with uneven wearing on the front tyre. By just 1500km I had a mild shake in the front when the throttle was closed and this extended itself to a shake or vibration with throttle open or closed shortly after. Holding the bars I could negate the effect. The wheel was balanced and had not lost it’s weights. I had it examined and the issue was identified as uneven wear on the tyre. Now these tyres cost me a lot of money, they are twice the price of the Bridestones in Japan so I elected to continue with them. But at 5000km I put the bike into the shop for a service decided to just throw away the PR4’s due to this problem. The front tread depth was by then well worn and would be good for another 2000km so I at least got a good portion of the miles available before swapping them out and I have shown the estimated total mileage in the chart. Is this an isolated incident or something else. I was warned to stop using Michelin by my regular tyre shop back in Australia as far back as about 2004/5 when the shop owner told me lots of guys were having premature uneven wear issues with the Pilot Road first series. But this is a very popular tyre and one I rode on in New Zealand with no problems for many thousands of km so I can only assume I was unlucky to experience this. In the overall wear comparison then 7000km is like the Angel’s very low mileage. 

The Bridgestone's are the clear winner in mileage. The BT023 was the only tyre to wear consistently across the tyre. No scalloping and less of that egg shape which meant turn in effort remained less difficult as the tyres wore and only at the end of their life did they develop that higher steering effort issue as the egg shape became more noticeable on the front. While they lose out in grip they are the only tyres with anything resembling reasonable mileage on the FJR.

So that is my real world results which are very different to some of the talk on the net but the FJR is indeed very hard on tyres. I read claims of people getting huge mileage out of the PR4 and Angel GT tyres and even allowing for lighter bikes I would have to say now I think that talk is not all true. Perhaps up to 50% more could be achieved on lighter bikes which would make the Z8 and PR4 about 10,000km tyres, the BT023 about 15,000km tyres and the Angel GT’s about 9000km.

I now have the BT023 R GT variation fitted and will add how they perform to this post in the future.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Deux roues déplacent l'âme

I wonder why I am so drawn to travel by two wheels. I am pondering this as pack my motorcycle touring kit into my suitcase leaving about two shoeboxes of space for actual clothes and regular items.

Yes it is the freedom of the open road but also something more. Not easy to summarize or describe. I could rent a car for 1/4 of the cost of renting a motorcycle and do much more travel but I don’t. I could be warm and dry while exploring with no need for armored clothing, boots, gloves and helmet. I could sit in a train with a window seat and a cold beer and not need to navigate city traffic. I give these a bit of consideration from time to time then discard the notion of doing them. The motorcycle is a different experience to other means of travel. The panoramic view from a motorcycle is I feel rarely challenged except by luxury special trains but then you cannot stop the train as you please. I feel immersed in the environment on a motorcycle yet I also have infinite personal space unlike on public transport. The reasons the car comes up short are harder to summarize. Feeling closed in and not having that unlimited vision is part of it but there is something more that I cannot quite put into words.

Interlude. I have been blogging about riding in Japan the last 12 months but consider my photos to be average and not always capture how interesting this country is so here are a few photos from Yamaha Japan. With the exception of Hokkaido and Okinawa these are taken on the same roads I have been riding.

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(above/below) Hokkaido