Sunday, July 26, 2009

Derbyshire Blast

I went out on Saturday for a quick morning blast around Derbyshire and met up with Mike from NUKB on the way.


I left home around 8:30am and headed down the M62 to the Milnrow junction. In Newhey I turned left and took the A640 and the the A6052 to Delph. I then carried on to Uppermill and then took the A635 over Saddleworth Moor to Holmfirth. In Holmfirth I joined the A6024 to Holme and then went over Heyden Moor to the A628 at Woodhead Reservoir. I turned right onto the A628 and then turned left onto the B6105 to Glossop. In Glossop I turned left onto the A57 and went over Snake Pass. I passed a safety camera van near to Ladybower Reservoir on the big long bumpy straight section. At Ladybower I turned right onto the A6013 heading towards Bamford, I stopped briefly at Ladybower for a comfort break.


I then joined the A6187 to Castleton and then turned left onto the B6049 to Bradwell. I continued on the B6049 until I came to the A6 when I turned right and headed into Buxton. I passed through Buxton and then joined the A537 and proceeded up the the Cat and Fiddle, where another safety camera van was parked up. When I arrived at the Cat and Fiddle I met up with Mike who also happened to be parked up there. After a brief chat I headed down the A537 towards Macclesfield before turning right and heading to Rainow. I then took the B5470 to Horwich End where I turned right onto the A5004 and headed back into Buxton.


By this time Buxton was starting to get busy so I headed out on the A6 towards Dove Holes. I stopped just before Chapel-en-le-Firth at a butty van for a much needed coffee and bacon and sausage butty. After my food break I headed on over to the A624 and went through Hayfield and on towards Glossop but turned off near Hollinworth Head Farm onto Monk’s Road to Charlesworth. I then proceeded on back roads till I joined the M67 at Mottram and then headed home via the motorway network.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

BMW K1300s

Yesterday Helen and I went over to Southport Superbikes to pick up her bike and for me to test ride a K1300s.


Due to us picking up Helen’s bike, I had to for the 1st time take Helen as a pillion. It was not a pleasant experience at all, the wind really didn’t help either. The bike handled like a pig at slow speed and I got cramp in my left leg holding up the bike when waiting a traffic lights. I am so glad that Helen rides her own bike as I don’t think I would like biking much as a couple on 1 bike.


K1300s Review

My review is going to slightly biased as I am going to compare the BMW against my VFR, mainly because I have to decide whether I would want to swap.



BMW K1300s The BMW with 175bhp and 103ft/lb is no slouch. The performance is immense with bags of power all over the rev range, even from low down in top gear. Surprisingly the vast majority of this power is actually usable and I was more than happy to wind on the throttle to the stopper. The engine is smooth with no hint of snatchiness at low revs. All in all the engine is a peach and a great asset to this bike. The Viffer simply can’t compete with this level of performance and is 1 of the main reasons for me thinking of changing.



The gearbox was really smooth and I never missed a shift even when being very aggressive on the downshifts. The quickshifter is a lovely thing to have and well worth the money for the ease of the upshifts. I would say the gearbox on the Viffer isn’t as good as I do fairly often get false neutrals.



This is 1 area of the bike that was a bit of a let down. At slow speed I felt much happier on the BMW than the Viffer, as it seems to hide it’s weigh very well and doesn’t want to fall over like the Viffer. The BMW was easy to turn in but was harder than the Viffer to flick from 1 side to the other. The real problem for me was once you had it turned in it didn’t give much confidence round the bend and just seemed like it really wanted to carry straight on. Whether a set of Pilot Road 2’s would help restore some of that confidence I don’t know, but it would be expensive to find out. The Viffer wins out here as the confidence it gives me in cornering is hard to beat.



The brakes on the BMW are in 1 word phenomenal, they bring this big bike to a stop very quickly indeed. I tried 1 emergency stop and they stopped the bike very quickly and it was very stable throughout. A minor gripe for me is that the back brake does nothing what so ever. For most people this isn’t a problem but for someone who is used to trailing the back brake it is a minor let down.



I found the BMW to be very comfortable to ride and the lean angle onto the bars for me was spot on. The BMW felt more roomy than the Viffer which actually felt awkward and cramped when I got back on it. My arms didn’t ache at all after my 2 hours out on the bike, even going slow through town, I wouldn’t be able to say the same about the Viffer. A minor gripe is that there seems to be slight vibration through the bars, it didn’t really cause any problems but potentially could on a very long day.


Build Quality

Well it isn’t a Honda for sure, in some areas it looks cheap (plastic front brake reservoir for 1). Considering the price of this bike it should ooze quality and I quite simply think that it doesn’t. From what I have read the switchgear seems to be causing problems for some owners already as well.


Overall Conclusion

The BMW is a very capable bike and as a touring bike it fulfills in pretty much all departments. I would be more than happy to have it over the Viffer on a long tour around Europe. However as an A to B or day bike I am not certain which bike I would prefer, to really decide I would need to ride 1 all day around the Dales or the Lakes, but unless I buy 1 that isn’t going to happen. The real problem for me is that this bike is way overpriced when you add in all the extras, I would say £2,000 to £3,000 overpriced. As a low mileage 2nd hand bike with £4000 off the list price then it would be a serious contender for me.


Whats next? I will probably wait till next year to see what Honda do and whether any 2nd hand K1300s come on the market. The other possibility is to try a Sprint ST1050, from what you read everywhere it is a VFR beater, we will have to see.