Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yoke Ram Mount

Yoke Ram Mount This morning I fitted a Ball Ram Mount to my Yoke on the Viffer. I also purchased a universal PDA cradle and a bracket to attach it to my new Ball Mount.

Yoke Ram Mount It was a struggle getting the plastic plug out of the Viffer’s Yoke. In the end I had to punch a hole through the middle of the plug to be able to pull it out with a set of long nose pliers. After pulling it out I realised that the middle of the Yoke had rusted slightly which was causing the plug not to come out.

Yoke Ram Mount After assembling all the parts and tightening the Ball Mount. I then fitted the cradle to the mount with the PDA in it. I then sat on the bike and adjusted the mount and cradle into the desired position. I was able to position it so that I can easily see the PDA and also have full view of all the dials on the bike. I am very pleased with the overall outcome and very happy with the quality of the equipment.

I used the following Ram Mount items purchased from GPS Warehouse.


Helen's New Tyres

Helens Worn Rear Tyre Helen had a new set of tyres fitted this morning as the previous ones rubber had started to come away from the carcass of the tyre. (See Picture)


She chose to have a set of Michelin Road Pilot 2 fitted as I think they are a really good and long lasting tyres. Her previous tyres Metzler Roadtec Z6 lasted a long time but they don’t have any grooves across the middle of the tyre or any wear indicators. Due to this we thought she had plenty left on them until all of a sudden they started to crack up in the middle.


Again we used Bike Tyre Services to change them at our house. He did an excellent job as always.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

NUKB Monthly Meet

I attended the Lancs NUKB monthly meet last night at the Old Boars Head near Hoghton Tower. It was nice and dry yesterday so I went over on the bike.


I went round the back of Pilsworth then up the M66/A56 and then went over the Grane road, it was busy as usual but I made progress on the dry roads.


A reasonable turnout considering the time of year and 4 others went on bikes as well. I left about 10:00pm and returned back home the same way. I don’t ride very often in the dark but the Viffer headlights are excellent for night riding, so it wasn’t a problem for me.




Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crossgates via Ponderosa Cafe

Helen and I went out today with NUKB to Wales. I led the rideout today with Debs doing TEC, leaving CJ free to take his action photos.


Lymm Services We started out from the Texaco garage near us were we picked up 4 other bikers. So 6 of us headed off from Heywood to Lymm Services to me the others. We just went via the motorway to save time and there’s no decent roads either. We met CJ, Ella and Wolfrunner at Lymm Services and some of us refuelled as well.


9 of us (including 3 lasses) set out from Lymm Services just after 9:30am and headed for Ponderosa Cafe for a brew. We set off for the A49 via the M56. We proceeded down the A49 through Tiverton then hung a right just after Spurstow and took the A534 to Wrexham. The roads were still a bit damp and muddy so we had to proceed with a bit of caution. We negotiated our way around Wrexham via the A5156 and A483. Just south of Wrexham we got off the A483 and took the A525 towards Ruthin. We cut out going through Bwlchgwyn by using the B5430 and rejoined the A525 further on. We then turned left down the A5104 and then left again at the next roundabout taking the A542 to Ponderosa Cafe.


Crossgates After some refreshments and a very nice scone. We carried on down the A542 and over Horseshoe Pass, the road was reasonably dry here so I had a decent go for it and waited at the bottom for the others to regroup. We then proceeded over the River Dee to the A5 (TomTom took a more scenic route over the river than had been planned on Autoroute, but it was a nice detour) and took that all the way to Oswestry. At Oswestry we took the A483 all the way down to Newtown through Welshpool. At Newtown we continued down the A483 and took the stunning 22 mile section all the way to Crossgates. We all had a great time on this road and got quite split up as we went at our own pace. We all re-grouped outside Crossgates and then proceeded to the Cafe at Crossgates for some much needed lunch for us and fuel for the bikes.


Minsterley After lunch for us and the bikes we headed out of Crossgates up the A44, then turning left up the A488 at Penybont. We had a good run down this road but it was littered in places we mud. I then pulled over at Tref-Y-Clawdd as CJ had gone missing from behind. After a bit they all turned up and I found out CJ had stopped to observe the ladies form as they rode past, sorry take action shots. We then carried on along the A488 through Clun, were I spotted a really nice looking ruined Castle. We continued up the A488 through Bishops Castle and I stopped in a lay-by in Minsterley for everyone to re-group before we got to Shrewsbury.


We soon arrived at Shrewsbury and used the A5  to get to the A49 to head back home towards Whitchurch. We then followed the A49 up to Whitchurch were we stopped so Helen could get some Super Unleaded and rest of us could have a comfort break. CJ and Ella left us here the rest of us proceeded up the A49 (Wolfrunner dropped off at Northwich to go to J&S) to the M56 and back home via the motorway.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Kirkstone & Hartside Rideout

Helen and I went out yesterday with NUKB on a rideout to the SE Lake District including Kirkstone Pass and then over to the Dales via Hartside.

Tickled Trout Scotsy organised and led the route to his usual high standards. We met up at around 9:30am at the Tickle Trout. Considering the slightly miserable conditions, we had a very good turnout especially for this time of the year.

We left the Tickle Trout in convoy and proceeded up the M6 to junction 35 at Carnforth. We then headed up the A6 towards the Lake District. From here we took the A590 up to Lindale then proceeded on very muddy minor roads past Cartmel and Holker Hall. We re-joined the A590 briefly at Haverwaite before getting off again and going via Spark Bridge to link up with the A5084. We proceeded along the A5084 taking in the scenery of Lake Coniston, we soon passed through Torver and took the A593 to Ambleside via Coniston. We soon arrived in Ambleside and then negotiated our way up the struggle to the Kirkstone Inn, were we stopped for a much needed break. You can see an on-board video of us leaving Kirkstone filmed by Lil Mike here.

After the much needed coffee break we carried on along the A592 towards Penrith. The road down Kirkstone Pass was fairly dry here so I managed to have a decent run for a while. We then crossed the M6 and went down the A686 towards Hartside. We passed through Melmerby and I set myself for the ascent of Hartside. Within no time at all we hit fog and visibility was very poor indeed. We had no other option but to take it easy up Hartside. Which spoiled it for Helen as she couldn’t appreciate the road and its big drops. We reached the top of Hartside and could barely see the cafe. Gary was standing at the edge of the road so we could see the carpark turn in.

Foggy Hartside Cafe After lunch we proceeded down off Hartside towards Alston, were some of us refuelled. We then headed down the B6277 to Middleton-in-Teesdale. On the way to Middleton we passed loads of cars parked up at the side of the road, to our disbelief we realised that they were all skiers taking advantage of the snow. From Middleton we took the B6276 to Brough then the A685 to Kirkby Stephen and the B6259/A684 to Hawes. Helen filled up at Hawes as she had lost some fuel on the way as she hadn’t fully fastened her fuel cap. We then took the B6255/B6479 to Settle via the Ribblehead Viaduct. It was relatively dry on those roads so I managed to have a decent go at them. We stopped in Settle to have coffee and scones at the Naked Man Cafe.

I then led the remaining 6 riders via Wigglesworth and Sawley back to the A59. After we had passed Clitheroe services myself, Helen and Debs headed through Simonstone back home, the others carried on down the A59 towards Preston.

Helen and I used the new comms units today. The operation was a bit hit and miss. On the motorway Helen couldn’t hear anything I said, but I could make out the odd thing she was saying. Below 50mph they seemed to work really well and our voices were clear. Although my voice kept cutting out, may have to adjust the VOX on my end slightly. Also at times the range of the signal was very poor. We will have to test the units with 1 of us on a bike and the other at home to see if we can isolate if either setup is at fault.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Snakes, Cats & Fiddles

Myself and Helen went out for a ride today, mainly to get my new rubber scrubbed in for the NUKB ride to the Lakes tomorrow.

Bikes @Ladybower Reservoir We set out at about 11:00am and decided to head over to Buxton and the Cat & Fiddle for a change from the Dales. We filled up at are local petrol station then proceeded down the M62 to Milnrow getting off at junction 22 and heading into Denshaw. At Denshaw we turned left and went up the A640, when we got to the next crossroads the lights were flashing to say that the A640 to Huddersfield was closed. We weren’t going that way but I was expecting that other roads would be shut and we wouldn’t be able to get to Buxton the way I had planned.

Anyway we carried on regardless and took the A6052 to Delph and then the A669 to Greenfield, we then dropped on the lower road and took the A635 over Saddleworth Moor to Holmfirth. Now I was expecting this road to be closed but it wasn’t, but there was snow everywhere but the road, which was lined with snow banks. Unfortunately there was nowhere safe to stop to take a nice photo.

Bikes @Cat N Fiddle In Holmfirth we turned right and took the A6024 over Heyden Moor via the A628 and B6105 to Glossop. In Glossop we stopped at a cafe for a brew and toilet break. After a brief rest we took the A57 over Snake Pass to Ladybower Reservoir. We stopped at the toilets at Ladybower but didn’t risk going into the carpark as it looked dodgy.

After this brief stop we continued down the A6013 then turned right on to the A6187 to Castleton. Before we got to Castleton we turned left on to B6049 and then proceed through Bradwell and Tideswell. When we got to the end of the road we turned right on to the A6 for Buxton.

In Buxton we followed the signs for the A537 to Macclesfield and eventually fought through the traffic and started the ascent of the Cat & Fiddle. We soon hit the fog/mist and it was difficult to see, constant visor wiping. Just managed to make out the Cat & Fiddle to stop for lunch.

Bikes @Cat N Fiddle After Ham sandwiches and Coffee we proceed down the other side of the Cat & Fiddle toward Macclesfield. We turned right towards the bottom of the road, down the B5470 through Rainow to Chapel-en-le-Firth. We then took the A624 back towards Glossop.

We didn’t go through Glossop as I know a sneaky back way through Charlesworth and Broadbottom, that brings you out at the M67 roundabout. We then proceeded via the motorway network back home to Heywood.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rear Hugger

Hugger After a lot of thought, I have finally purchased a rear hugger for the Viffer. I was initially going to buy a NWS hugger but after hearing that they had been taken over by Pyramid I decided against it. In the end I opted for a Red-Fox hugger which I got from the Simpson Detour (manufacturers) website.

I opted for this one in the end after reading several threads on the VFR Club Forum. Although some people had suffered some cracking it seemed that they had been able to get them replaced without to much fuss.

Hugger Anyway I went and picked up the hugger from the post office today and then proceeded to fit it. The hugger attached by using 2 replacement bolts on the chain guard and a cable tie round the bottom of the swing arm by the shock. I fitted it pretty easily considering the instruction were a little vague. The hugger seems to be a decent strong construction and fitted very well and without much fuss. I went for a carbon look one in the end to blend in better.

Update: This hugger turned out to be no good in the end as it cracked due to vibration. It has since been replaced with a NWS hugger from Pyramid, which is a quality product.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bike to Bike Radios

Due to us going touring to Catalunya in June this year, Helen decided that we needed to keep in touch even when we are out of sight of each other. The only way to do this without the cost of mobile phones charges is via bike to bike radios.

Cobra 975 Radios So my task was to find a decent set of radios and headsets to do the job. I went for a set of Cobra 975 PMR radios from Bike to Bike. They have a decent range, rechargeable batteries with a charger unit, plenty of privacy codes and channels and most importantly Vox. Can't be doing with push to talk buttons.

I initially looked at Bluetooth units so we didn't need the problem of wires and I also wanted to integrate my phone and sound from TomTom. Alas after looking at various reviews it seems Bluetooth is more trouble than it is worth. So I looked into the hardwire version instead, I was recommended Autocom units. So after a brief visit to their website I came across one of their old 2008 products that would do the job, the Active-Plus Kit 200. What is even better is that they are currently half price due to new 2009 models coming out soon.

Autocom 200The unit has 4 Aux inputs and leads for a rider and pillon headsets.  So I can use my phone while riding, listen to navigation instructions from TomTom and talk to Helen via the Cobra radios. I could also listen to our Ipod as well, but I think it might make me concentrate less. Besides when you have a V4 do you really need to listen to anything else.

Initial tests are very good and I really like how I can hear my own voice though my own speakers, helps you gauge correct volume and lets you know you are transmitting. Just need to get out and the bike and test them out for real, initial tests with the blast of a hairdryer would suggest that they will not be affected by wind noise, fingers crossed.

Autocomm Helmet Install The earphones and mic fitted really well into my helmet and when not in use it is a virtual stealth install. Due to Helen not having one of these units I have installed the headset that came from Bike to Bike, that also installed very nicely and discretely and also passed the hairdryer test.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

New Tax Disc Holder

Tax Disc Holder Due to severe corrosion on my original fork mounted tax holder. I decided it was about time I purchased a new tax holder. I got this nice carbon effect one from Hein Gericke and while I had the panels off the bike, I installed it on the left side just above the gear lever. I used one of the water expansion tank bolts to fix it with. Seemed to have plenty of length on the bolt to be able to hold the tank and holder in place. But I did have this location in mind so purchased a holder with a thin bracket on it.


Thorough Clean

Due to rather snowy weather this week it has been impossible to get our bikes off the drive. But I did manage to clear the driveway enough to get the bikes out to at least give them a good wash.

Naked VFR After my bike get covered in mud in Normandy last year and recent muddy roads, I decided to remove my fairing panels to give the Viffer a real good clean. As expected loads of mud had collected behind them so it was good to get it off.

Naked VFR I also gave the chain a good squirt of cleaner and left it to soak for 15 minutes and it came up really well, it has got some rust marks on it though. The pannier rails are also showing some sign of surface corrosion as well. I also noticed some scratches on the left panel as well. Not sure how they have been caused but I suppose when you actually ride them rather than look at them these things happen.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

New Tyres

Well with the bike on 9811 miles my rear tyre is shot again, completely past the wear marker across the middle 1/3.

I have been very happy with this set of Michelin Road Pilot 2's with their dual compound, that I have opted to have them again. They have lasted for around 6000 miles compared to the 3800 miles that the Metzelers did.

I got the tyres fitted at my home by bike tyre services again for £225 all in, can't recommend the bloke enough.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Rideout to Glasson Dock

Myself and Helen went on a rideout with NUKB to Glasson Dock today. It was bloody cold today and very windy, we encountered temperatures of -2°C over stocks reservoir.

We met up with the majority of people at the Tickled Trout at 11:00am. It was a really good turnout considering it was so cold. Debs led us to Glasson Dock via Broughton, Inskip, Hambleton, Pilling and Cockerham. We arrived at around 12:00pm and met a few other new faces there and had a Coffee and Twix to keep us going.

My VFR @Glasson Dock Quite a few of the group left us at that point, the remainder of the group headed over to Devil’s Bridge via Quernmore and Caton. On the way up to Devil’s Bridge we encountered a few snow flurries here and there. We decided to head home after Devils as the snow looked like it was coming in.

Bikes @Glasson Dock There were a few bikes up at Devil’s Bridge but as usual the arrogant car drivers had decided that they would park in the weekend bike only area. Helen decided to vent her anger about this to one unlucky 4x4 driver that obviously can't read signs and blocked his exit from the carpark, she eventually moved and let him on his way. As soon as he was at a safe distance from us he produced the finger to us, not sure what his young daughter would of made of that. Maybe he will think twice about parking there next time but I doubt it. We then got a cup of coffee and some bacon butties and then jumped on our bikes leaving everyone else except Debs at Devil’s Bridge.

We proceeded home via Ingleton, Clapham, Gisburn Forest, Sawley, Clitheroe by-pass, Simonstone and then got onto the A56/M66 and arrived home just before the snow flurries came again.