Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Reeth Ice Cream Run

On Saturday we went on a rideout to Reeth for some ice creams. We headed over to Clitheroe by our usual roads and then followed our usual route to Settle via the minor backs roads of Sawley and Wigglesworth. Due to the upcoming horse fair at Appleby we came across several travellers walking there horses and caravans down  a national speed limit road.  We got by as best and as quietly as we could and then passed through Settle. We then joined the B6479 and headed for Horton in Ribblesdale. Just before we got to Stainforth several cars where flashing us with the international speed trap sign. I always go through Stainforth with care anyway due to cars pulling out and people Settle at Reethcrossing the road. Just on the other side of Stainforth on the straight bit just before the climb up the hill was a safety camera van (van location). I gave him a nice wave as I went passed. Anyway we continued on to Horton in Ribblesdale and stopped for lunch at our usual tearoom on the far side of Horton in Ribblesdale.

After lunch we left Horton in Ribblesdale and then soon arrived at Ribblehead Viaduct. We then followed the stunning B6255 to Hawes. We passed through Hawes and then turned off the main road to take the road over Buttertubs Pass to Muker. Unfortunately their was a cycle race going on so we had to overtake several mini pelotons on our way to Reeth. I had forgotten how bumpy the B6270 to Reeth is in, especially the bit between Gunnerside and Low Row. Due to my bike still only having done around 1000 miles the suspension is still fresh and hard. This resulted in me leaving my seat and the pegs at one point, fortunately I wasn’t going very quickly and my feet came back down on the pegs. We soon arrived in Reeth and parked up in the middle of the cars and went for some ice creams.

We left Reeth and headed back the same way we had come and then stopped in Settle for coffee and cake at the  Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe. We left Settle and headed home via the usual route of Wigglesworth, Sawley, Sabden and the A56/M66.


Monday, May 30, 2016

New Helmet

Due to the fogging issues with my old HJC Helmet I decided for this years tour that I would get another helmet. I was unable to find the correct size helmet to try on at any of the shops/dealers we visited. So in the end I decided to give Sportsbikeshop a go as they offer free returns on helmets as long as you leave all the stickers on and just try it Shark Speed R Carbon Helmeton inside. I was very impressed with the service and the packaging of the helmet was excellent, the box it came in is designed so that you can send the helmet back in it if you don’t want it in the end.

Although I was unable to try the helmet on previously I had been able to see it in the flesh and was very happy with the look and feel of it. The quality and features also looked miles better than my current HJC Helmet. I opted for a Shark Speed R Carbon Helmet, mainly because of the weight as the HJC is very light. I unpacked the helmet and then went about wearing the helmet around the house for 30 mins periods at a time. After a week I decided that I would keep the helmet and so removed all the stickers and tags and fitted the Pinlock visor insert. The Pinlock fitted perfectly on this visor and I couldn’t see any gaps like I used to with my HJC Helmet. The visor is also much thicker than on any of my other Shark Speed R Carbon Helmetprevious helmets, it also moves in a lovely fluid motion as well. The way the locking cams work on the visor it means it is a breeze to take it off. The helmet also comes with a built in internal drop down sun visor, this works by using a lever on the top left of the helmet.

On my first test ride with the helmet I did notice a slightly annoying whistling noise that comes from the visor lift up tab. This noise goes away if you remove the soft under chin guard as you just end up with general noise then. With the chin guard removed the helmet ventilation and cooling system seemed like it would work very well in hot conditions. Overall apart from the noise I am very pleased with the helmet and will be taking it on tour with me. I have also already fitted my Autocom microphone and speakers to it.

Update: After some more testing I can honestly say that this is not a quiet helmet. It constantly sets off the microphone vox in my helmet if the chin guard is not in place. It is defiantly good for cooling but not for noise. So much so that I am going to fit the yellow inserts into my Alpine earplugs.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Hartside Run

While the weather was forecast to be nice and dry this weekend Helen and I decided to go on a run on Saturday. We both thought Hartside independently and it would be a good long run to test the satnav and bike to bike comms.

We filled up with fuel first thing and then headed over to Clitheroe on the M66/A56. As we already had fuel we went through Sabden and over the Nick of Pendle. When then did are usual route to the A65 at Settle via Sawley, Wigglesworth and Rathmell. We then joined the A65 and followed that all the way to Devil’s Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale. We stopped briefly to use the toilets, it wasn’t mega busy and some cars had also nicked some spaces(which they are not allowed to do on a weekend).

Bikes at Devil'sWe left and headed north on the A683 towards Sedbergh. Around half way down this road one of the bridges had been damaged in the recent winter floods, at the moment is a sort of metal table top affair. So caution and reduced speed is most certainly advisable, it was well signed though and isn’t on one of the really fast sections. Just before Sedbergh we joined the B6256 and then did a right then left onto and off the A684. Here we joined the B6257 and continued north towards Tebay. We followed this road to the A685 and then headed through Tebay and down the B6260 to Orton. From here we continued on the B6260 to Appleby-in-Westmorland. We then joined the A66 briefly before getting off at Temple Sowerby and joining the B6412 to Langwathby. We then turned right onto the A686 and headed from Hartside. Just after Melmerby the proper climb of Hartside starts, we had a relatively quiet run and managed to catch cars at overtaking points. We continued over the top of Hartside and down the other side and into Alston where we stopped for fuel. We then joined the fast and quiet B6277 and headed over the Pennines passed High Force and into Middleton-in-Teesdale. We stopped here for a late lunch at one of our favourite cafes, Cafe 1618.

Settle in the PenninesAfter lunch we joined the equally fast and quiet B6276 to Brough.

We then followed the A685 to Kirkby Stephen and then turned off onto the B6259 to Nateby. We followed this picturesque road all the way to the junction with the A684 at The Moorcock Inn. We then turned left and followed the A684 to Hawes. Just before Hawes in Appersett we came across a Police incident that was blocking the road, looked like a crash. I knew an easy way around it so we turned around and backtracked a 1/4 mile and then turned right and headed through Hardraw. We then passed through Hawes and joined the B6255 and headed for Ribblehead Viaduct. At the viaduct we turned left onto the B6479 and headed through Horton in Ribblesdale to Settle. We stopped in Settle and parked up and headed over to the Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe to have coffee and a cream tea.

After our afternoon coffee stop we headed home via our usual route of Rathmell, Wigglesworth, Sawley, Sabden and the A56/M66. The satnav and my comms worked flawlessly and seemed far clearer on this bike. However Helen seems to have an issue with hers, I don’t always hear her and her helmet speakers are only in mono. I suspect a damaged wire from the unit, we might try and use the passenger lead instead. If that doesn’t work and us plugging into each other bikes to test her helmet wires fails to reveal anything, then we might have to replace the Autocom unit.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

SatNav and Autocom

On Sunday the weather was even better so while I had the panels off already I went about installing the  Garmin SatNav mount and power unit. I also installed my Autocom unit and a bike powered Kenwood radio. I had previously installed all this before on my previous bike so I already had the cabling cut to length and a good idea of where to put everything. As I have previously gone over how I installed this on the other bike, it’s pretty pointless to write it up again so I will post the links to the relevant blog posts below. The only differences to the install this time is I didn’t install the bluetooth module, due to volume issue with the Garmin. Also rather than removing the powerlet socket to get a switched live I instead traced the cables back and spliced into the loom and soldered the cable on. I have also managed to hide the cables and connectors better so it is a much cleaner install this time. Previous knowledge and hindsight is a wonderful thing. When I tested it after the install it sounded much clearer than last time, so maybe the tidier install helped with this. Considering this is the third bike the Autocom has been on I was pleasantly surprised that it is still working perfectly.

Garmin SatNav Install
Garmin Sound Issue
Autocom Install
Revised Garmin Audio Install


Monday, May 09, 2016

K1300S New Indicators

As the weather was nice over the weekend and now that I also have the centre stand fitted I decided to do some jobs on the K1300S.  I had decided a while back as the K1300s has so many trick bits that I would add some better looking indicators as well. I had bought the indicators and lenses last year but hadn’t got round to fitting them because of the crap weather we’ve had recently.

K1300s Front IndicatorsFor the  front indicators I decided to just fit some nice smoked lenses rather than have the standard amber ones. I got them off Ebay and they are Chinese made but because they are just lenses and have no electrical bits in them I thought it was worth a punt. Well they fit really well for aftermarket ones, the fit isn’t perfect but unless you had the OEM to compare against you wouldn’t notice really. Obviously the original bulbs are clear so I needed to get some amber ones instead. Again Ebay was the easiest place to source these and the Canbus system had no issues with the bulbs I got either.

K1300s Rear IndicatorsFor the rear indicators I chose to remove the large old style bulbous indicators and instead fit a set of cleaner looking Led indicators. I went for the official BMW indicators as fitted to the front of the K1300R and other BMWs. The front ones are shorter than the rear ones, but I needed them for the K1300S due to the way the luggage is shaped to fit around the standard indicators. The BMW part number is 63 13 8 522 499 and they are £26.60 each. However again I got them off Ebay for a lot less. I got the BMW ones as they are true plug and play and don’t upset the Canbus K1300s Rear Indicatorssystem either. All I needed to do was to locate the indicator connectors in the rear tail unit and unplug the old ones and plug in the new ones. I had to remove the rear light, rear luggage rack (grab rails on standard setup) and the black plastic cowling to get at them. But once removed actually changing over the indicators was very easy. I am very pleased with the result and I think both sets look better against the white of the bike rather than the OEM bright amber ones.


Monday, May 02, 2016

It was a No!!

Helen took the K1300s out yesterday in the awful rain to see how she would fair on some tight hairpin corners. She had a good hours ride on urban 30mph roads to simulate the slow going that we doing passing through French villages at 50kph. She then had a blast over the moors to test the weather and wind protection. Unfortunately although she thought the lean to the bars wasn’t that much she ended up noticing that it was effecting her T5 joint in her back. Then later on yesterday evening she noticed her hands started to go numb and she also got pins and needles. This was the same feeling that she used to get on the BMW F800ST, which for the last 3 days of one of our tours made her unable to feel the controls of the bike, which was not good at all.

K1300S on Saddleworth MoorSo today I rode the bike back to Bowker Motorrad in the poring rain and she followed behind in the car. Kirk said if you wanted to get some bar risers they would fit them and let her test the bike again. But I suggested that she maybe try the R1200RS again but for a much longer time than she got from Williams BMW. After a brief chat we headed back home with Helen on her bike and me in the car and typically it had stopped raining by then. Although the rain has confirmed that I need a new helmet as the visibility was very poor after it started to mist up slightly on the way there.


Sunday, May 01, 2016

K1300s First Service

Well after having to cancel the service last October when my back went and then the chronic weather we have had since. I have finally been able to take my bike over to Bowker Motorrad in Preston to have the 600 mile service done and a centre stand fitted. Although after the snow on Friday morning that plan looked like it might get scuppered again. Anyway although damp when we left for Preston on Saturday morning the conditions throughout the day were mainly dry and the majority of roads dry as well. We arrived at Bowker Motorrad on time and handed the keys over to the service department. We then hit a problem as we had reserved two bikes to take out on a test ride to kill time, but had forgotten our licences. Fortunately we managed to get our licence numbers and national insurance numbers so they could do the licence check and let us out.

We took out the same K1300s Motorpsort bike as mine and the S1000R. Initially I rode the K1300s and Helen went on the S1000R. We managed to get out of Preston but it took ages even with all the filtering and headed on the A59 towards Clitheroe. We then took our usual route to Settle via Sawley and Wigglesworth. We then joined the B6479 and headed for Ribblehead Viaduct but stopped on the far side of Horton in Ribblesdale at our usual tea room for a late lunch.

Bowker BMW Test Bikes After lunch we swapped bikes and then headed back to Bowker Motorrad via pretty much the same route except we used the M65 to get into Preston on the south side instead of trying to get across from the A59 junction on the M6. The S1000R is a real hoon bike, so easy to ride and with bags of power and insanely powerful brakes. It also turns on a dime, but for me it was too easy to ride and could be very dangerous to an inexperienced rider. The seat was too hard for me and crippled my buttocks and the zero wind protection would make long rides tiring. All in all a great bike for just hooning around on, but for anything else a pretty pointless bike. On the way back Helen was keeping up with me very well, which could only mine one thing see was really enjoying the bike. When we arrived back at the dealers she announced that she loved the bike and was going to get a price to swap. To cut a long story short Bowker Motorrad have given her the keys to the bike and said bring it back by 3:30pm on Monday. So over the next to days she is going to test it a bit more and then decide whether she wants to swap. The only downside is that we will have identical bikes, which is a little sad but hey ho.