Friday, July 29, 2011

Speed Triple test Ride.

Well the sprint had to go into the dealers and have a part replaced this morning, I thought while this was taking place, I would organise a test ride on the new 1050 Speed Triple.  

I have always enjoyed the look of the S3, but have never had the opportunity to ride one. I have thought it would be a great second bike, so was excited to get the chance to see if all the reviews were correct.
The morning was fine, but the forecast was for rain later.  I was keeping my fingers crossed that the weather would hold, as it turns out it didn't!

Arriving at Auckland Motorcycles, I dropped the bike into the service dept, and headed up stairs to see the sales guys. Once the paper work was sorted I was off.....carefully I will add, at $21000 to buy and a $2500 insurance excess if I ding it, I was more than a little cautious.

I headed north towards Warkworth, this would give me some motor way riding as well as some open road twisties.

This first thing about this bike is how much more you are exposed, than on the ST.  I felt like there was no bike in front of me, where as on the sprint I feel I am sitting in the bike, not just on it.  It is certainly not an aggressive riding style, but it very different to what I am used to.  I have always liked the look of the S3, on this newer model there has been some on line complaining about the look of the lights, but personally I like them.  Each to there own I suppose.

As always the real strength of this bike is its engine. The deep throaty groan of the triple is addictive and far more pronounced than the sprint.  The throttle response is twitchy, and I learnt quickly to be careful as I was exiting corners, to harsh and I could see myself getting thrown off this beast!  All said though, purring long in traffic in 4th of 5th gear, and the bike is very responsive when you ask for it. The power comes on immediately and it effortlessly pulls from all the way down the gear box.

I found the suspension hard, and it seemed to turn in quicker than the sprint.  Compared to a lot of Triumphs I have ridden the suspension is good, and certainly not soft by any means.  Perhaps a change in tyres would offer a different effect.   Once the rain started, I was not feeling comfortable on the Pirellis Corsa's that the bike was shod with.   The were not offering very much feel from the back and I think a more dual sport tyre would offer vastly different result.  

The brakes are excellent, perhaps the best I have used on a bike for some time.  

Overall the bike is a lot of fun, I was certainly starting to enjoy myself before the rain came down and the need to return the bike in one piece was playing strongly on my mind.  So would I buy one?

Well, probably not.  It is definitely a fun bike, and I am sure with a few miles under my belt on it I would probably enjoy it a lot. It is no good for pillion and as a lot of my riding entails taking my partner I could see it getting left in the garage a lot. Perhaps in a few years when second hand ones become available, and as a second bike maybe.  But at $21000 it doesn't seem like you are getting a lot of bike for your money.

Still I enjoyed the opportunity, but I am more keen than ever to take the Sprint  GT for a run.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Speed show, and a severe lack of blogging.

My blogging of late has been spasmodic to say the least.  Coupled with moving and a very wet, but warm winter.  I have felt I have had little to blog about.  Apart from my ride last week with Geoff which I thoroughly enjoyed, I have hardly done any riding.  Geoff covered the day so well I felt I had nothing else to add.  It was great to get out that weekend, as cabin fever had hit record levels.  Still sitting around in front of the fire, drinking wine and nibbling isn't all that bad.

This weekend I had my kids, as well as organising a dinner party for some friends.  Taylor's soccer was  cancelled for the 5th time in 7 weeks.  Although the big news on that front was her team recorded there first competition point last week, when they recorded a 1-all draw.  Man I was excited.  They way I raced up and down the field like we had just won the world cup.

I had decided to take the kids to "The Speed Show", which is nothing more than a collection or cars and bikes, some of which were exotic and other vehicle related stuff.  Our "SHOWS" in NZ are certainly nothing to get excited about.  So on Sunday morning we headed off.  I was feeling a little bit precious after the previous evenings entertaining and could of done with at least another six hours sleep and a few more disprin.  The best I got was disprin.

The show it self was OK, the kids enjoyed it, but I was disappointed with a distinct lack of bikes.  In reality I suppose a morning  wondering around bikes shops normally does the trick for me any way.  I did get to see the Latest BMW K1600, which is pretty big, but at $45000 NZ dollars a bit much for me.

Interesting to that as the NZ dollar gains against the greenback and euro, bikes should be cheaper here for us than they have ever been.  Here's hoping anyway.   In case anyone is interested a few years ago the NZ$ would buy you just 39c American, now it is 87c!  There is rumour we may be level pegging with the American dollar before Christmas, as investor's look to bail out of Euros and US dollars and look for a stronger currency.

It was still a good morning with Taylor managing to score a ride around the track in a MINI.

Here a few of the days pics.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Motorbike Culture.

Over the years of owning a bike I have discovered distinct groups of motor bike culture.  Here is my take on it, and some of my views.  Of course not everyone fits into these groups, some may off from time to time.

THE LEARNER:  The young and some times not so young new to biking enthusist.  They have been introduced to bikes by some one and have fallen in love with the whole biker thing.  They have done some basic training to get a license, but by no means are a good rider.  They are often on a budget so cheap safty gear becomes the norm.  They are at there most dangerous at this time, they are at there most vunerable and can be easily influnced by more experinced riders.  There motorcycle control levels are low, and the learning curve is steep.  But there enthusiasm is contagious and brings a smile to everyones face.

THE SPEED FREAK:   The hardcore go fast, not happy unless they are 80km's above the limit, knee down rider.  They are often young and in experienced, although not just limited to that.  They ride is if they are bullet proof, not interested in other road users, or the worlds perception of them.  Some of them are skillful, some of them are not.  Some ride far above there ability and while other's will show discernment.  This is a risky group to be a part off, driven by egos and speed. They think cruisers are for old men and poofs. They don't notice the scenery as it fly's past in a blur. They will weave recklessly through peak hour traffic at speeds that would scare any unsuspecting pillion.  They will have the latest and fastest bike, some will be decked out in all the latest racing leathers while others are happy wearing shorts and a T Shirt. Big rides consist of a Sunday afternoon blat.   If they do crash it wont be there fault, it is the road, or the sheep, or the other driver that got in there way.

THE RETURNING RIDER.  This group consists of the older, baby boomer, who is returning to biking after the kids have left home.  They learnt to ride  a bike in their youth when the most horse power a bike delivered was 35 hp, where the brakes were crap and the correct gear to keep warm entailed sticking a newspaper down there oil skinned jacket. They love biking, but have no idea that the Rocket 3 they just purchased pumps out a lot more horse power than what they are use to, the bikes are bigger and the brakes do actually work They have all the right gear, don't often break the speed limit and there rides consist of a Sunday afternoon jaunt to the local pub, where they sit and admire the other cruisers.  They have no time for the youth on there sports bikes. They will spend endless amounts on safety gear, yet not a penny on getting some training.  They have seen it all and know it all.  There 'wisdom' on riding a bike is clouded by there age and there in ability to see fault in there own actions.  They think accidents only happen to mad sports bike riders.  They will buy a bike that is too big, and not practical for them but they do it anyway because that is what you do.  When they sell it three years later it will have 1900kms on the clock.

THE TOURER AND THE ADVENTURER ;    They don't care about what type of bike you ride, they just love being on two wheels.  They have one time or another belonged to one or all of the previous groups,  They have probably crashed at some time in their life and have learnt from there  mistakes.  But complacency is there enemy, and getting into the groove can be forced.   They prefer to ride alone, yet they are comfortable around people, especially people who are passionate about bikes.  When they do ride with a group, they ride with a select group of friends who  they are comfortable with.  They realise they are not infallible.  They will ride the long route home, and search the map for unknown roads.  They will push themselves to the limits of endurance, just for the chance to spend a few more minutes on the bike.  They will do this at a risk to there own helath, where miles count for more than anything.  They will sell there bike after five years with 80000kms on the clock.

Regardless of what group you belong to, or where you are currently at, we all have a moral obligation to encourage safer and more comon sense riding.  We must learn from our own mistakes and not be afraid to share them.  We must not be influenced by stupidity  and egos.   Are you riding a bike to be a part of a culture or because you love to ride. Are you skilled? Do you have the right to "teach" other riders?, or should your self be seeking out some training.