Monday, September 14, 2009

The 1000 km Mark

Over the weekend, I managed to click over 1000km since I got my L's earlier this year! I know seasoned riders wouldn't say it is much, some people doing this distance in a couple of days. However, for a novice like myself it feels like I have crossed another step. I have noticed in my Log Book that of late I have been riding further and more frequently. I wonder how soon I will do my next 1000?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Screen thoughts

I have been thinking about getting a screen for my bike for a while for a couple of reasons – to reduce the amount of air that hits me when I ride and also for the look factor. The OEM sceen and bracket for the Virago I had a quote for $360 for the screen and then a further $104 for the bracket. They look cool, but I was hoping to get something for about half the amount, especially the screen is a small one.

OEM Screen

XV250 Classic V Screen
Classic windhield styling. Provides upper body wind protection for greater comfort on cross-town and cross-contry trips. (Adjustable Height)
ABA-1TE06-00-00 $360.72
Note: For fitting to XV250 screen mounting hardware is required. (ABA-2GV06-40-00) Chrome plted mounting hardware sold spearately.

XV250 Classic-V Screen Mounts
Mounting harware to suit XV250 Windshiels
ABA-2GV06-40-00 $104.05

So I tried a place I found through CycleTorque magazine, Eagle Screens.

Today I have ordered a screen from them called an Eagle Eater. Daggy sounding I know, but I hope it will fit nicely on my bike and look good too. It will take about ten days for it to make and ship. I am going for the "wide" version with scalloped sides.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Clutch & Brake Lever Modification

I have been having trouble, not just with my bike, but with also the bikes I used on the course, with reaching the levers. I don’t have the smallest of hands for a girl, but I guess they are smaller than the average guy, which I presume the bike is set up for. I tried to adjust the levers like it said in the manual, but that only helped slightly. Paul mentioned to me that the cast aluminium levers could be bent if heated.

So today I sought Peter’s help. He was a little worried with heating aluminium, as it doesn’t give off the telltale glow steel does. Checking on the net, there is a technique of rubbing softened soap on the area prior to heating the cast aluminium with an oxy-acetylene torch. Once the soap chars the metal is almost ready to bend. At this point he heated the area a little more, tried to bend the metal, and if it didn’t bend, continue heating. After the desired angle was created the metal was allowed to cool without quenching. It worked like a treat! In ten minutes the handles were bent to the desired angle.

This evening I placed the levers back on the bike and they are definitely easier to reach. The real test will be on my next ride.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Going out in style - The Harley Hearse

Yes, another one of those things that came through my inbox that I thought was too good not to share!

Some info:

The funeral home is in Topeka, Kansas.
This rig can be rented for $500 plus a dollar a mile over 100 miles.
The owner of the rig is the biker looking chap :-) When you see him you'll know what I mean, and I don't mean any disrespect!
The owner of the funeral home is the guy in the suit in the bottom photo.

Cat Bike

These images came through my inbox, and I would share them with you just in case you haven't seen them already. It is a nice piece of work, and I love the slogan on the tank.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Delta Technical Center Parade - Japan

I have come across this clip and I just had to share it. To be able to ride so well as these guys would be so cool!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How to pick up a dropped bike

How to pick up a dropped bike?

This is a question that I have pondered on and worried about. I came across this video through Girls On the Move. I thought I would share...

Go to: How to pick up a dropped bike

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Putty on the tank

As SuperCheap Auto were having an Easter sale today, I popped in and got some supplies for doing up my tank, including wire brush that fit onto the end of my drill. It worked so well to get rid of any surface grub and rust on the tank before I put on some reinforced bog. I am waiting for the bog to cure before sanding now. This putty as stainless steel fibres to reinforce it.

My tank all nice and shiny after the wire bush treatment. No more rust :-) At least for now!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The rust is back!

Argh! The rust is back! Anywhere Peter sand blasted it is going rusty. It is a fine later, but it is coming back quickly. Tomorrow when the shops open again I will try to buy some Kill Rust or rust converter or something!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The bike I rode today

This is the bike I used for the tuition at DECA. I also rode it at the Introduction course and the first time I tried to do my Learners. It is an easy bike to control once you get the hang of it, but as I seem to with all bikes, I had problems reaching the levers. The seat is also very hard and I found that my bum and thighs got very sore within half an hour riding it. I have included below the add from Yamaha. The pictures do make it look snazzier - the one I was riding the speedometer was held together with duct tape.


Available Colours
Yamaha Blue


You don’t need twenty large in the bank just to buy a crisp new scoot that will get you to work with a few grins along the way. And here’s proof.

Scorpio’s delicious simplicity equates to maximum value for a very attainable price point, with a strong, reliable four-stroke SOHC engine that – being a Yamaha – you know is going to last.


Scorpio is pleasantly responsive at the go-tube too. And together with the comfortable suspension, disc front brake and light, neutral-handling chassis, it adds up to a highly manoeuvrable commuting package that’s surprisingly good fun.

What’s more, a Scorpio would be a better learner bike than the majority of second hand bikes.

* The Scorpio formula starts with a newly-developed four-stroke engine that’s strong, economical and stone reliable.
* The lightweight chassis, super responsive steering and easy-to-use controls make the Scorpio a simple, no fuss commuter that’s cheap, efficient, and most of all, fun.
* Scorpio mounts a 223cc air cooled 4-stroke SOHC single cylinder that boasts user friendliness, responsiveness and enough speed for freeway travel.
* No fuss ultra reliable electric starting comes with rock solid kick-start back up.
* A 13.5 litre fuel tank capacity maximises range between stops, and with Scorpio’s frugal appetite for fossil fuels, you’ll be surprised at how far you get.
* Low, 770mm seat height allows most riders to put both feet on the ground, inspiring maximum confidence and allowing easy car park manoeuvrability.
* Incredibly low, 124kg dry weight contributes significantly to Scorpio’s easily handling, and superb low-speed agility.
* Twin piston front disc and sealed rear drum brakes provide powerful stopping control in all conditions.
* Not just a weekday commuter. Comfortable pillion seating and footpegs mean Scorpio adapts to your lifestyle.
* Single-sided exhaust emits a satisfying note without being overly noisy, and features chromed heat shield.
* If Scorpio’s blend of style with substance and economy aren’t enough to float your boat… ask the price!



Type Air cooled 4 stroke SOHC, 2 valve, single cylinder
Displacement - (cc) 223
Bore Stroke - (mm) 70 x 58
Compression 9.5:1
Fuel Management BS30 X 1
Ignition CDI
Starter Electric/Kick
Fueltank - (L) 13
Transmission Constant mesh 5-speed
Final Transmission Chain

Length - (mm) 2020
Width - (mm) 770
Height - (mm) 1090
Seat Height - (mm) 770
Wheelbase - (mm) 1295
Clearance - (mm) 165
Dry Weight - (kg) 126

Suspension Front Telescopic fork
Tyres Front 80/100-18 47P
Brakes Front Hydraulic single disc brake

Suspension Rear Swingarm
Tyres Rear 100/90-18 56P
Brakes Rear Drum brake (Leading, trailing)

Brushing up...

I arrived today at the Moonah DECA training centre fifteen minutes early like I was suppose to, passing through the high wired gates, and parked. I took off my normal boots whist I was still in the car and replaced them with the riding boots. I was trying to focus on the music that was still playing on in the car, on trying to get my heart rate down, and also get the boots on rights. They were on. With a sigh, I steeled myself, took the keys out of the ignition, and went, slipping my riding jacket, and grabbing my helmet bag from the back of the car. In all my fluster I did just remember to lock the car.

I strolled purposefully to the training centre; I could see a coupe people packing away gear into the nearby shipping container. One of them came up to me, a woman, strongly built and probably in her late 40’s. She was about my height, dark haired with a weather-beaten but friendly face. She smiled, exaggerating the weathering of her face, but not in an unpleasant way. The woman held out her hand, and I shook it and smiled, her grip was firm.
“I guess you are Gwyn?” She nods, “I’m Izzy, here for the private tuition.”

Gwyn offers me a drink, and I go for water, my nervousness making me thirsty, as is the warmth of the autumn day. Foam cup in hand she leads me to the classroom where we sit down and discuss what I have done before riding wise, and what I want to get our of today’s session. In all this time she is re-assuring that it is common for people needing extra experience after doing their pre-learners course, as it is sometimes hard for people like myself who haven’t ridden before to pick things up straight away and so failing h course the first time. She also said the “odds were stacked against me” with the type of class I was put in. After our talk and some initial paperwork, it was time to “play” and Gwyn put it.

Outside I had a choice of bikes, two types of dirk bikes and the 225cc Scorpio, the last of which I had ridden in the intro course and pre-learners. Gwyn said her preference was for the dirt bikes, but others like the “Scorpie”, which is the heaviest of the lot. A dilemma, to go with the bike that caused so many problems for me in the pre-learners, but it was something familiar and closer in style to the one I own. I went for that one, and if I had too much trouble I would try one of the dirt bikes.

Gwyn went through with me what I remembered after not riding so many months, but things were surprisingly still there. She saw my tension and kept telling me to breathe. Her style and teaching manner I noticed was similar to my own when I teach pracs, which made me smile and relax even more.

Unlike doing the pre-learners course, there wasn’t the pressure, I did things at my pace, and I picked things up reasonably well, or so I was told. I was encouraged to go beyond what I had done before in each step, but only to what I was comfortable and I knew I could back down, but I didn’t feel that I needed to. There wasn’t the macho testosterone thing that went on the last course that applied so much pressure. This time when I did do something wrong, it was explained to me, logically; not only how to fix it, but why mechanically it made sense to do it that way. That logic made me understand the machine better, understand how to handle it better and stuff up less. In over and hour I only stalled it twice. Once when I didn’t have enough revs when I went into second, and the next was when I accidentally went into third.

By the end I was having so much fun, the buzz was amazing going as fast around the tight corners as I felt I could, controlling the bike with the rear break and even staring to lean into the corners. Shifting up and down seemed so much easier. Sometimes I would make it a little messy and jittery, but other times you could hardly hear when I was up-shifting.

It all had to come to an end, but I didn’t want it to, I wanted to ride longer, but my time was up and I think Gwyn sensed I needed a bit of break before I started making mistakes and then left on a low rather than on a high. With a warm handshake when I was still on the bike she beamed, “I know you will be grinning like that for the rest of the afternoon. I know how you feel, I feel like that every time I ride.”

What a way to feel! It was like a drug that I wanted another hit later this afternoon. I know tomorrow will be worse.

Feeling more confident again, I have booked myself into the pre-learners for the 22nd and 23rd of April for the afternoon sessions. It will be with Gwyn. I hope after that I will have my ticket to ride. Being mid-week I will have to flexi work, but I like Gwyn’s thoughts on this, it is for “my health”, my mental health :-)

Cost for a one-hour session of private tuition at DECA: $120.00
(using their bikes is included in the fee)
Distance covered: about 2 km

Monday, April 6, 2009

Corney but kind of cool

I have love the style of the R1200C ever since it was released. It is very sad that they no longer make them. I hope one day I will get to go for a ride on one of them... One day when I grow up! :-D

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It has been on my mind for a while...

Yesterday I picked up some stuff from my parents place as they are moving and what ever I had stored there has to come here. Looking through what I had brought down I had found a clipping I much had cut out from the RACT MotorNews many years ago. So many years ago, that the training group for Tasmania was not DECA, but StayUpright!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

In the News: Global Downturn Biting Yamaha

Yamaha to cut motorcycle output

Yamaha Motor, one of the world's largest motorcycle makers, will cut production in Japan by up to 24% this year amid falling global demand.

Production may fall to slightly more than 260,000 units in Japan, a spokeswoman said. Analysts said this would represent a 40-year low.

Yamaha Motor may also reduce its motorcycle output by 20% in Europe, the spokeswoman said.

Export-oriented Japanese firms have been hit hard by the downturn.

Official figures showed on Wednesday that Japan's exports plunged 45.7% in January compared with a year ago to hit the lowest figure in 10 years.

The Japanese economy contracted at an annualised rate of 12.7% in the last quarter of 2008, recording its worst performance in almost 35 years, officials said last week.

Net loss

Yamaha Motor had already planned to close some of its plants for 10 days in February and March to reduce output by 13,000 motorcycles.

It also plans to discuss further plant stoppages in the April-to-June period with trade unions.

The company has predicted that 2009 will see its first net loss for 26 years. The loss of 42bn yen ($430m, £303m) would come after a net income of 1.85bn yen last year.

Sales are expected to decline by 22% to 1.25 trillion yen.


Monday, January 12, 2009


Having looking up about Polish motorcycles of the 60’s era, I think it was a Polish Junak in the photo with my father, perhaps a model MO7, but I cannot be sure.

For more info on the model and pictures of the bikes, see...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Black & White Era

I visited my mum’s place in Devonport today, and the conversation went onto a photo that I remembered since I was a child of my father and his two brothers all on one motorcycle, it was hilarious!

Can you guess which one is my dad?

A: The one on the back!

This isn’t the oldest photo of my dad on a bike, there is one when he is about 16 on an older style motorcycle. Sadly I could not get a scan of that one.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In the News: Vegi Helmets

Nigeria bikers' vegetable helmets

Motorcyclists in Nigeria have been wearing dried pumpkin shells on their heads to dodge a new law forcing them to wear helmets, authorities say.

Officials in the northern city of Kano said they had stopped several riders with "improvised helmets", following this month's introduction of the law.

Road safety officials said calabash-wearers would be prosecuted.

Thousands of motorbikes have been impounded around the country and taxi motorbike drivers have staged protests.

Calabashes are dried pumpkin shells more commonly used to carry liquid.

According to the new law, all motorbike drivers and motorbike passengers must wear helmets.

Kano Federal Road Safety Commission commander Yusuf Garba told the BBC they were taking a hard line with people found using the improvised helmets.

"We are impounding their bikes and want to take them to court so they can explain why they think wearing a calabash is good enough for their safety," he said.

Fifty motorbikes had been seized so far in Kano city alone, he added.


Motorcycle taxis, called "achaba" in the north of the country and "okada" in the south, are a cheap way for Nigerians to get around congested and chaotic city streets.


  • Achaba comes from a Hausa phrase meaning "double enjoyment", referring to taxi drivers being paid for being close to women passengers
  • Okada is from name of ex-state governor's now defunct airline
  • Okada bike taxis were banned from the capital Abuja in 2006
  • The motorbikes cost around $290 (£200)Passengers pay about 70 naira ($0.50; £0.35) for a short trip

Many drivers of the motorcycle taxis are furious over the new law, which came into force on New Year's Day.

In the city of Kaduna, drivers waved palm fronds and rode in convoy to protest at the price of helmets, which can cost up to $29 (£20).

They say passengers often steal the helmets once they reach their destination.

Stories have also appeared in the local papers highlighting passengers' fears that the helmets could be used by motorcyclists to cast spells on their clients, making it easy for them to be robbed.

"Some people can put juju inside the helmets and when they are worn the victim can either lose consciousness or be struck dumb," passenger Kolawole Aremu told the Daily Trust newspaper.

Local government authorities often give motorbikes to jobless young men, saying it gives them a way to make a living.

But the BBC's Andrew Walker in the capital, Abuja, says handing out the vehicles does not address the underlying cause of Nigeria's economic problems.

It is often an attempt to buy support for elections, our correspondent says.

The number of motorcycle taxis in big cities has exploded in recent years, causing concern about road safety.

Often untrained and illiterate, the drivers are considered a menace by many motorists.

Fatal accidents are common. Road safety authorities say almost every collision in Nigeria's cities involves an okada.

More than 4,000 people die on Nigeria's roads every year and 20,000 are injured, according to the Federal Road Safety Commission.