X-Ring, O-Ring, No Ring

Hello again to everyone in the vast reaches of cyberspace. Just a little update on the what’s been happening with us here at the Bike Addict.

Our good friend Anxiety on Wheels finally decided to that he will be keeping his Honda Bros dubbed Dusty. This meant that old Dusty would need a bit of TLC that he declined on doing when the bike was for sale. One item on the TLC checklist is a new chain and sprocket set.


Worn chain shortened by one link because it was too loose.



Brand new x-ring chain and sprocket set. Looking sharp.

As you can see from above, it truly was time for a new sprocket and chain, and luckily it was fitted shortly after he decided to keep the bike.

One thing did have him scratching his head though. What is so special about an x-ring chain? How does it differ from an o-ring chain? Where are these rings? So here’s my attempt to elucidate the key features of different-ring chains to Anxiety on Wheels and others who may want to know how these designs differ.

“No-ring”/Normal chain

We all know what a motorcycle chain looks like. In brief, it’s a little something like staggered figure 8’s linked to one another and having a metal roller in between.


Motorcycle chain

In brief a normal chain gets lubricated and the lubricant flows between the figure 8’s and into the rollers keeping them from jamming up and creating a stiff link. These types of chains have become quite outdated as they tend to wear pretty quick compared to x- and o-ring variants. If your bike still uses normal chain, I would recommend swapping over to an x- or o-ring variant with your next service. There really isn’t much special about them.

From the outside it’s pretty much impossible to tell whether or not a chain is without rings. So unless you know every motorcycle chain code off by heart, it would be really difficult to spot the different types of chains. This is due to the fact that the ring type makes a difference where your eyes can’t see, between the overlapping figure 8’s.

O-ring chain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese little guys make a massive impact on chain longevity if they are cared for properly, but there are also drawbacks to in the use of o-rings in a motorcycle chain. However in order to explain properly, we’ll have to dissect the anatomy of a motorcycle chain.

Motorcycle_chain2As mentioned before, a chain is a bunch of staggered figure 8’s linked with rollers in the middle. Now in an o-ring chain, there is already lubricant in the roller and the o-ring between the two figure 8’s lock that lubricant in place, and keeps dirt out of the roller.

An O-ring is exactly that, it’s a circular ring, with a circular cross-section, that goes between two overlapping figure 8’s to lock in the lubricant. However, these chain links are riveted together, and this means that the O-ring now gets compressed, and its cross section takes an oval form.  I will try to demonstrate using font: this ]O[ turns to this ]()[. This effectively increases the contact surface and thus increases the total friction and drag inside the chain itself. Apparently this saps some of the engines power which is then not going to the rear wheel.

X-Ring chain

So some clever engineers liked the fact that an o-ring lengthens the lifespan of a chain, but didn’t like the fact that it sapped some of your power. So they developed a true win-win sealant solution. Still a ring that fits between overlapping figure 8 links, however the cross-section of this new ring is in the shape of an x. So when the links are riveted together, the x gets compressed almost to an H shape: this ]X[ turns to almost this ]H[. This means that the contact surface remains roughly the same, and the total friction remains almost unaltered. This means that it saps less power and therefore you have more power going to the rear wheel.

So there you have it. Normal chains need to be lubricated often and wear out fairly quickly. O-ring chains seal the lubricant under the roller and keep dirt out, but they sap a bit of engine power as a result of friction. X-ring chains also seal the lubricant under the roller and keep dirt out, but they don’t sap as much power, therefore it is the perfect chain for your bike.

Ride safe and enjoy the journey.


Here we go again

Hello again from the vast reaches of cyberspace.


The Little Yellow Monster

Those who have been following this blog for a while will know that I do have a lot of issues with my Honda VFR 400, affectionately known as the Little Yellow Monster. For quite some time now I’ve been struggling to fix a pesky oil leak on the gearbox output shaft. Today marks attempt number three at fixing this.

Before I get into the details I must give a big shout out to the folks at Imperial Honda – Westrand. They’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping me source parts for this oddball of a bike. That includes sourcing aftermarket parts where the OEM parts are no longer in production. I truly appreciate their effort.

20170906_103014So today the bike needed to be dissected once again.


Look at that oily mess on the exhaust.

Once the belly pan has been removed one can clearly see a mass of oil that has leaked onto the exhaust manifold. Definitely not a good sign. Further inspection revealed that the clutch rod seal has also bought the farm.

It turns out that the bushing on the output shaft that runs in the seal has a few nasty scratches in it. This may well be the reason that the bike has been chewing through seals in the same time it takes me to finish a bag of chips.

20170906_123207So at the moment the V4 power plant is in a state of disassembly with a few things to be done in the next week or so:

  • Source a new clutch rod seal.
  • Source a new bushing or have the current one polished. (Finding parts for a 30 year old, grey import bike is a daunting task.)
  • Buy new spark plugs.
  • Clean and fiddle with the carburetor (cylinder 4 still floods when the bike hasn’t run in a day or two).
  • Assemble the engine once parts have been sourced/repaired.
  • Check and adjust valve clearance  (engine has been running a little rough with difficulties starting)

Now that everyone is up to date with the way history keeps repeating itself, I’d like to wish those who are out riding a safe ride, and an enjoyable journey.

Reality check.

Hello from the vast reaches of cyberspace. So today I had an odd epiphany following a specific incident. However, before I delve any deeper into this I must once again apologise for what I consider to be another of my rants.

So, picture this. It’s 8:30 something PM on this fine Thursday evening. After a long, busy day I’m on my home on Mechanical MacGyver’s Fireblade. (My Little Yellow Honda is still down for repairs). About 3 blocks from home I see headlights approach a T-junction to which I have right of way. (I.e. no stop or yield for myself or oncoming traffic, and a well marked stop for joining traffic, see the diagram below. One slight difference is that in South Africa we drive on the left of the road. I.e. keep left)

All of a sudden I get this bad feeling in my gut that the car attached to the approaching headlights won’t be stopping. No surprise as the said car flies into the intersection without even trying to slow down. Instinct and adrenaline take over and I take evasive action, almost going off-road with a R 50 000 sports bike which isn’t even mine. Hearing screeching tyres, and the horn, the car then decides to stop.

Here’s where the story gets quite interesting. Still fuelled by adrenaline, I must enquire, quite loudly, why the heck didn’t the driver stop? Here’s where I get a reply that I didn’t quite expect. To paraphrase, I was told my brakes work well enough so I should use them, and that this driver is sick of having us <–[insert foul language here]–> on the roads. I tried to respond as anyone would… with a loud, shocked “Excuse Me”. Thereafter I get told that this driver doesn’t appreciate my tone. Dumbstruck, I stood there and watched this driver continue on his merry way. 

So here’s my questions regarding what happened: a) How can anyone think that it’s appropriate or acceptable to endanger anyone’s life and property in this manner? b) How can said driver be upset if a biker then takes offence to what this driver had said? c) Would any other rider not have been upset by this incident?

That’s it. End of rant. I wish everyone a safe ride and enjoyable journey.

What the heck is a ‘day jol’?

Hello once more from the vast reaches of cyberspace. In my last post I hinted that I would be attending a day jol the previous Saturday. Just after the post was published I received a question from one of our non-biker readers: ‘What is a day jol? Does it differ from rallies? How is a run different from both rallies and day jols?’ The first of these questions I do get quite often, as the term ‘day jol’ seems to be unique to the Southern Africa biking community. So now I’ll try my hand at answering these questions per category.

Day Jols

The term ‘day jol’ seems to be a colloquial term used throughout Southern Africa, by biking communities to describe a specific form of gathering. It is usually an event hosted at a single venue where riders and non-riders gather to share food, drinks and stories. Although the larger percentage of participants are usually bikers. These events usually have live entertainment and boast an assortment of trade stalls usually selling food, drinks, and biking paraphernalia. In essence a day jol is like bike nights, only taking place during day time, on either Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays.

Day jols are usually held to raise funds, celebrate a motorcycle club’s “birthday”, or celebrate members being patched in.


The main difference between a day jol and a run is the fact that during a run, a mass ride takes place. All riders who wish to participate in a run, will gather at a designated starting point. From there, all participants will travel as a massive riding group to an end destination, following a specific planned route. At the end venue of the run, the event takes a similar form to a day jol. Offering live entertainment, food, drink, and trade stalls.

Runs are in most instances events with the aim of drawing attention, raise awareness and/or gather donations. It’s very difficult to miss hundreds of bikes roaring down the road. The most prominent run here in South Africa would be the Annual Toy Run. It’s aim is to gather toys for the less fortunate and raise awareness of the circumstances that these children grow up in. It’s an event that I hold very near to my heart and do my utmost to attend every year.


Myself, Anxiety on Wheels, and Mechanical MacGyver at the start venue of the 2016 Toy Run. Each of us carrying our fluffy passengers who will be donated to needy kid.


Once more an event held at a single venue. These events also offer live music, stalls for food, drinks, and riding paraphernalia. However the key difference between rallies and day jols is the time span. Day jols only take place during the course of one day, whereas rallies often occur during the span of a weekend, if not longer.

Rallies here in South Africa are predominantly held at camping grounds as most riders will set up camp for the duration of the event. In essence, a rally is the biker equivalent of a quiet weekend away.

And there you have it. The key differences between day jols, runs, and rallies. Those readers in or near South Africa can keep an eye on the right hand side of our website for upcoming events here in South Africa.

Ride safe, and enjoy the journey.

Breaking silence

Hello to all in the vast reaches of cyberspace. So it’s been more than a month since my last post and it’s probably a good idea for us to give you as readers a quick update about what’s happening in our world of motorcycling.

Let’s start with our good friend Anxiety on Wheels. Man has he been busy. After the theft of Dodgy the dodgy Suzuki the man saved up and bought a new ride. Check out the specs and Anxiety’s review of his new ride.


Make: Honda


Truly one of the best bikes that have ever graced our presence

Model: Bros
Year: 1988
Engine: 398 cc, carburetor, SOHC V Twin
Status: For Sale

“We all struggle to find our place in the world. What you need is a bike. A bike would never make you feel unwanted, cheated, lonesome or apprehensive.
This was the case with my bros, my “1988 Honda Bros Vtwin 400cc”. Or as we’ve come to call her, “Dusty Leaf Blower” and for good reason.. Twin clean choke pipes facing downward, blowing up debris and causing mayhem in unsuspecting, unprotected, unwary neighbourhoods. Making little girls run in terror and little boys giddy at its brutal gurgle as the engine brake sounding like a little truck using exhaust break while a little whisper of “guess who b$#@&!!”
The Honda Bros Nc25 or just “The Bros” was intended to be a “low-budget low maintenance fuel-efficient commuter” back in Japan and was never meant to be an export. But you know humans… We like to do the opposite of what is intended. Being old model, she doesn’t have a petrol gauge and her trip distance indicator has been saying goodbye since the day we started our relationship. But no matter… the fuel usage is about 18km/l on short distances and even a little more if you ride her as intended, smooth and cruising, kicking up sh*t and making little kids yell “rev it!!!” As you pass their primary school. Long distance (again if you cruise and not try to chase the busa (hyabusa)) you are looking at about 22km/l.
Four spark plugs which means twin spark delivers a smoother engine start, is adorable but… One problem. No two spark plugs are even relatively in the same height, sort saying “not linearly”. One spark plug is specifically difficult to get to as it is below and behind a piece of frame, not to mention the hassle getting the “specially grinded down spark plug lug” which is the only one that can fit in those spaces. Petrol filter and other serviceables are relatively hassle free, but removing the tank is difficult as the petrol leaks a wee bit out of the tap or “kraantjie” even when you turn the petrol to off, thus the petrol had to be sucked out and put in a container to be put back later.
All in all everything works beautifully, except rear indicators being painfully OUT THERE to be walked off or knocked off while getting on or off  (stock btw and a change of indicators is fairly easy and within a tiny budget).  Other than that the Honda Bros 400cc is nice and powerful (even with my clean pipes) a d a joy to ride.
So if you should ever find a 1988-1992 Honda Bros 400cc Vtwin, you have struck gold my friends.
Oh and by the way, with the clean pipes your noise level is on a whole new level of “what a beautiful noise””

So it seems that Anxiety is really enjoying his new wheels… but as you would also have read, the bike is currently for sale. Seems like our friend here has a serious need to upgrade. More power usually made by more capacity. Yup, Anxiety is attempting his exit from the 400 cc club to something bigger and more powerful.

As for myself… That is a completely different story. We all know that my Little Yellow Monster (Honda VFR 400 cc) is really getting old. With this age she is also showing some of her flaws. The largest of these being a massive oil leak on the gearbox output shaft. I’ve tried to replace the seal twice now and the leak still hasn’t been stopped. Further inspection showed that the shaft itself has been damaged. Thus I will have to either replace the said shaft or have it welded up and machined back to spec. Both these options fall far outside my budget at the moment. This means that I am not riding as a result. This blog has been silent for a month because that is about how long it’s been since I’ve ridden any sort of motorcycle.

However, not riding is literally driving me insane. So I’ve decided that I’ll be riding my Little Yellow Monster, but only on recreational, short trips. In these scenario’s it’s quite harmless to top up the oil before every run, and lose a bit on the way. Critical attention must however be paid to the to the oil levels.

Speaking of recreational trips. I will be heading to a day jol near my residence this Saturday. It’s been quite some time since I’ve ridden my bike and I am really looking forward to it. So here’s to topping up oil, and clocking up miles.

As a side note, I will really be doing my best to keep this blog from going silent again. I’m currently trying to find topics to write about that would interest both our riding and non-riding readers. If you have any questions you would like to have answered, please feel free to ask. Or if you’ve had a fun road trip and would like to share it with us, please do so. We love to hear riding stories from around the world and would love to feature stories from our readers on our blog.

But for now, I wish you a safe ride and enjoyable journey.

To club or not to club: that is indeed the question?

Around the same time that I started this blog, I was part of 11 brave souls who decided it would be in our best interest to start our own motorcycle club. A little more than a year later the club still survives and has grown to 13 members. All people bonded by the same power that draws men to machines, a riding family if you will. We ride together, we attend events together, and most importantly, we stand together. However, some events unfold that leave an unsavoury taste in one’s mouth.

First of all, this isn’t a club bashing post. My intention is not to badmouth my club, nor embarrass them in any way. To further illustrate that I am merely giving my personal opinion in good faith, the club concerned shall not be named. Secondly, I would like to apologise in advance to any club member that does read and take offence to this post.

In order to understand my reasoning, I must once again delve into the past and give the readers some background on my thoughts. Since we as the first 11 started this club, we’ve always looked out for one another. No one we would ride out with, was ever left by the side of the road. We leave together, we come back together. This included any of our friends that we invited along with us going to any event. Personally, I’ve been the guy whose bike would be brought home on a trailer on most occasions, and the members who rode out with me would stay by my side until my bike was loaded up and we were on route.

As time progressed, I found that tensions grew between member. We started snapping and bickering with each other over the smallest of things. Insults started being thrown around, instead of our usual lighthearted jokes. Riding also took a turn for the worst. Everyone has a point to prove. Everyone wants to show that their bike is the fastest. Group rides turned to a race to the end venue, and a race back. I really started to miss riding alone. This became particularly evident when myself, Mechanical MacGyver and Anxiety on Wheels attended the South Africa Bike Festival. Not a solitary ride, but a ride with a few good people I hold dear. This planted the seed in my mind that maybe it was time for me to exit the motorcycle club scene.

This seed has been germinating in my mind for some time now, and I feel that recent events may have just pushed me to the point of letting it flourish. On a particular weekend, the club decided to ride out to a biking hot spot near Hartebeespoort Dam. It’s a beautiful, winding road that leads you past several nature reserves and over the dam wall. We would stop for some food nearby. Arrangements were made for a close friend to join us on this ride, as he hasn’t ridden out of the city in a while, and it would be the first trip with his new bike.

About three-quarters distance to the food stop, we pulled of the road to stretch our legs and wait for our car-bound members to catch up. As we were about to set off again, our guest’s bike started having electrical issues and stalled on the side of the road, not being able to restart it. Naturally we thought that the club would wait until a solution can be found, but to my surprise, all the bikes but Mechanical MacGyver’s pulled onto the road and raced off into the distance. Leaving myself and our guest, a very close friend of mine, Anxiety on Wheels, stranded at the side of the road, with Mechanical MacGyver chasing them down. Trying the get them to at the very least wait for us to rejoin.

Quite some time later we saw headlights in the distance. Another of our guests turned back because he didn’t see us in his mirrors. Where was the rest of our club? What happened to the motto “we leave together, we come back together”? With the help of the returning guest we were able to restart Anxiety’s bike and continue the journey.

When we reached the food stop, we found that the other club members have already made themselves comfortable and order their round of drinks. Oblivious to the fact that they had left a rider next to the road at least 45 minutes earlier. This had me fuming. I held myself together not wanting to spoil the ride for anyone else.

However, I lost it completely when I overheard the following: Mechanical MacGyver caught up with the club as they entered the food stop. When the club showed little effort to find out if we managed to restart Anxiety’s bike, he hastily turned back to catch up with us. According to the club, he was reckless in doing so and must be penalized.

How on this earth do you leave someone you rode out with by the side of the road? Secondly, how do you fault the only club member trying to help the stranded? What’s the point of being part of a motorcycle club if you’re practically riding on your own when stuff goes wrong?

It’s here that I now find myself. Angered by the club I helped start, and embarrassed in the face of my close friend by the same club. It’s now that I ask myself if it’s still worth being a member. The more I ask myself this , the louder my mind screams NO!

2017 Honda Fireblade CBR 1000 RR SP1: Insanity, Black Magic and a set of bronze wheels.


2017 Honda Fireblade SP1 on display at the South Africa Bike Festival


The Fireblade has been one of Honda’s flagship litre-bikes since the first model was introduced around 25 years ago. Since then the Fireblade has undergone several revolutions in its design and performance. From the sharp and angular design of the early 2000’s models to the round-nosed version, colloquially known as the Bullnose Fireblade, in the more recent models (around 2009). For some time Honda riders thought that this was it… the Fireblade could not get any better, until 2017. In late 2016 Honda announced that South Africa will see new models of the Fireblade in 2017. As expected, the base model CBR 1000 RR and the meaner SP1. Our focus will now be on the SP1.

The Specs

Frame & Fairing


A narrower, aggressive looking front end.

No big changes are visible on the frame, however Honda holds that the frame is more rigid, and lighter than its predecessor. Furthermore, the incorporation of titanium into the making of the fuel tank reduces weight even further.

In addition, Honda succeeded in making the fairing of this bike narrower than its predecessors by shaving around 18 mm in width. In totality creating a 14 kg leaner and 11 BHP meaner machine.

The styling has also been completely changed. The bike looks extremely narrow and highly aggressive.

Suspension, Wheels & Brakes


A sneak peek at the Ohlins TTX36 rear mono shock and titanium exhaust system.

The SP1 sits on a Ohlins NIX30 front fork and a Ohlins TTX36 shock holds up the rear end. Both front and rear integrate into the S-EC semi-active suspension system, which is controlled by a Bosch MM5.10 IMU. Choosing from a variety of riding modes ensures that the rider can get the most out of the new suspension setup.


With the amount of power created by the


Big Brembo brakes linked to a beautiful bronze-coloured wheel.

engine, it’s clear that the bike needs to be able to stop as fast as its able to go. For this the engineers/designers have incorporated Brembo monoblock calipers. In addition the Bosch MM5.10 IMU also replaces Honda’s clunky ABS system, and adds a few features. Such features include cornering ABS, which measures all sorts of parameters to allow for safer trail braking; and Rear Lift Control, which keeps the rear end on the ground under heavy braking, very helpful in those blind corners.


The SP1 contacts the ground on a set of beautiful Y-shaped 5-spoke rims, wrapped in a 120/70 R 17 front tyre and a 190/50 R 17 rear. Not much change in the overall wheel dimensions of the bike, apart from losing some unsprung weight in the rim.


The Fireblade SP1 still uses the 999.8cc displacement engine block, but this is where similarities to the old bike end. All the other engine components have been tweaked to the point where the engine delivers 189 BHP at the crank, with a rev limit of 13 000 rpm. The engineers at Honda have also reworked several of the main components and substituted magnesium alloy engine covers and a titanium exhaust system. All this has achieved striping around 2 kilograms of weight out of the engine. Honda has essentially squeezed every ounce out of what the base infrastructure can handle.

Combine this with the ride-by-wire system that Honda uses on the engine, and one has access to one of three power modes, nine levels of torque control and three levels of Selectable Engine Braking. This allows the user to “play” with different output settings and find one that suits your riding style.

The integrated quick-shift works beautifully with this setup, allowing for very quick, and smooth gear changes under heavy acceleration. Shifting down is also assisted by a redesigned slipper clutch and an auto-blip. The only oddity that I could find is that Honda has opted for a cable-operated clutch instead of a hydraulic clutch found on other models dating as far back as 2006.

User interface

As one can see from all the above, there are quite a few things that must be communicated to the rider, from engine revolutions to riding modes. Honda have devised a beautifully designed LCD display to assist with this. Neatly “packing” all the related information together, without drawing too much attention away from the important measurements.

The Ride


Test riding a SP1.

This is where my path crosses that of the SP1. At the recent South Africa Bike Festival, several of these machines were available for test rides around the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. I seized my opportunity and booked myself a time slot.

As our returning readers may know, I’m a big bloke, with average riding skill and a daily ride of 400 cc. Not even a few rides on Mechanical MacGyver’s modified 2006 CBR 1000 RR Fireblade could have even remotely prepared me for what the SP1 offers.

The first thing one notices is the acceleration. As I’ve said before, I’m a big bloke, and because of that, it’s rare to find a bike that really accelerates aggressively with me on it. Nothing compares to the SP1. Gunning it as I exited pit lane, I was shocked at how this bike is trying to pull away from underneath me. The clever electronics kept both wheels firmly on the ground, but this didn’t stop this bike from trying to leave me in the dust. Wide eyed and holding on for dear life I powered up to the first corner.

With the braking markers mere meters in front if the bike it was time to bring the machine to a crawl, going into a tight hairpin corner. Once again, I’m almost flung from the bike, this time under heavy deceleration. Those Brembo brakes clamp on with enough force to pull your breakfast back into your throat. Once again, the clever electronics keeping traction on both wheels, as there’s room to spare before entering the corner.

Ohlins have prided themselves in creating suspension systems for some of the world’s best handling bikes. The Fireblade SP1 is no exception. As aggressive as it may accelerate and decelerate, it’s a real softy when it comes to handling. The cornering ABS and fantastic suspension makes it very easy to get this bike into a corner at some extreme lean angles. “Getting a knee down” is a breeze on this.

The rest of the lap is pretty much a repeat of the above, clinging on as the bike roars out of corners and trying not to go over the handlebars while braking. Yes, going around a bend on this bike was the easy bit. Coming out of the last corner leads one to a pretty decent front straight. It’s here that I found out that this bike really accelerates like a bat out of hell. Doubling the speed I exited the corner with in a just over a hundred meters.

Even when I misjudged a corner, the SP1’s electronic brain comes to the rescue. Entering a corner way to fast, I had to clamp on those brakes to keep me out of the kitty litter. The cornering ABS and Rear Lift Control meant that I could just clamp on and the bike came to a halt with enough force to pop eyes out of your skull.

By extrapolation, if the bike performs that well in stock form on a track, it should make a pretty awesome road going bike. Being very forgiving and having more power than one would ever need on city streets.

As an after thought, it has a pretty comfortable seat, should be okay to ride it for medium distances without stopping. The riding position isn’t that bad for a sports bike either. There’s more than enough room for a 6’3″ bloke such as myself to sit comfortably, without having to squish bits in order to find a reasonable riding position.

Final Thoughts

This is the point where I have to ask myself, would I buy one? To answer this we have to consider what an SP1 would put a potential buyer out-of-pocket. The SP1 retails for around R 320 000 (ZAR), £ 19 125 (GBP), or $ 24 600 (USD). This puts the SP1 at the expensive end of the motorcycle spectrum. Take into account that even Mechanical MacGyver’s ’06 Fireblade is too much bike for city streets , and you don’t need more than 2 gears. It’s reasonable to think that the SP1 would be similar in the city streets.

So back to the question, would I buy one? My answer is absolutely. I can see in my mind how many readers gasp. “What am I thinking?” “Didn’t I just say that it won’t be any good in the city?” And that’s exactly what I said. Why would I buy one then? The answer is simple. As soon as that bike hits the highway or a winding back road it will once again come into its own. On these types of roads it’ll be like being on the GP circuit again. Running beautiful back roads and speedy highways with a bike that handles and performs like nothing I’ve ever ridden before. That’s why I would buy one.

South Africa Bike Festival: Festive indeed.

Hello once more to all of our readers from the vast reaches of the worldwide web. For those of you who have been following the ramblings of this mad man, you would know that this weekend marked a very special occasion. Another item ticked of my 2017 biking bucket list. The 26 – 28 May marked the weekend of the South Africa Bike Festival, “South Africa’s Premier Motorcycle, Music and Lifestyle Festival.”

Again, one of the events that I’ve really been looking forward to since the start of this year. That includes the Dunlop Charity Ride in support if Ride for a Reason – Claws and Paws.

Sunday Charity Ride


First few bikes at the starting venue.

We got off to a pretty early start on the Sunday morning. Gathering at the Fairlands Walk Shopping Centre. This was the official starting venue for the Dunlop Charity Ride. The parking lot filled fairly quickly with fellow riders joining in to support a worth cause.

Soon thereafter we set off to the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, where the rest of the event would unfold. Still very battered and bruised, the Little Yellow Honda kept up with the crowd and gave me the best ride in such a long time. Once we reached the GP Circuit, completed two parade laps around the circuit, which was quite an experience. The eagle-eyed among the readers may even be able to spot the Little Yellow Honda in the video below.

What an experience. Riding with 1261 other bikes around what is probably South Africa’s most iconic race track. Really looking forward to doing this again next year.

The Festival

Once the bikes were parked, it was time to head into the Kyalami Pit building to see what was in store. First of all, we had to collect our festival wristbands, lanyard and maps, just to get around without much hassle.

Test Rides

Thereafter, we had to make our way to pit lane, as we have booked a few test drives on the latest models of some of the larger bike brands. Mechanical MacGyver decided that he would try out a bike that he’s been eyeing for quite some time. The 2017 Suzuki GSXR 1300 Hayabusa.


Mechanical MacGyver on his “out-lap” with the 2017 Suzuki Hayabusa.

Mechanical MacGyver, being a man if few words, didn’t give much information regarding his experience on this bike, but we do have a little feedback.

“Not bad” he said, exiting the waiting area. “Pretty good on the straights, difficult to get into the corners. Probably a good bike to clock some distance with if you don’t want to race. I still think I like my Honda more.” The Honda he is referring to is his personal “Duiweltjie” or little Devil, as seen in the first photo.


Waiting to unleash the power of the SP1.

I had booked myself a test ride on the 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP1. I will be posting a review of the bike in the near future, so I am going to try not to give away my true thoughts on it. As a bit of a teaser, this bike is quite fast.

Stay tuned to read what I think of this bike.


The two-stroke club of South Africa had a fantastic exhibit containing various two-stroke legends. This collection included, amongst others: a Honda NSR 250 cc, both a road-going and track version; An Aprilia RSV 250 cc, also  track and road-going versions; A Yamaha RZV 500 cc; and a Bimota that I couldn’t really identify.

The rest of the exhibition contained other classics, such as the Kawasaki Z1000, a few Cafe Racers, and a supercharged Boss Hoss trike.

And a few other quirky and custom builds.

Other attractions

For those who like to play with their two wheels in the dirt or in the air, there were a few FMX and trial bike shows as well. The Monster Energy FMX shows were one of the greater attractions with big names such as Jimmy Hill and Alastair Sayer. Entertaining the crowd with their high-flying, adrenaline fueled madness.

Considering all it was a fantastic day. Can’t wait for next year’s festival.

The road restarts

That moment you turn the key. The moment the warning lights turn on… glimmering like the leprechaun’s pot of gold. The starter turns… The engine fires. The noise, the vibration, the humbling sensation that restarts one’s soul.

It’s been months since I’ve heard my little yellow monster start, and about the time since I’ve ridden on a bike. Those of you that have been following my mad ramblings will know that my bike had suffered oil seal failure, causing it to spew this precious fluid all over. I had tried to fix this by fitting a new seal, that can only be done by splitting the crank casing. If you want to know more you can read about it here.

The problem seemed to be fixed… i thought… Unfortunately, mere days after installing the new seal my machine started to spew oil from the exact same spot. I was at wit’s end. What could have been the cause of the catastrophic failure? Was it something I did wrong in assembling the engine? Was it manufacturer fault? Or was it just plain bad luck?


Into bits once more.

As usual, there would be one way to determine where the fault lies. This inevitably meant that the motor had to be pulled apart once more. This time it revealed that a few deep gouges on the gearbox output shaft had literally chewed through the oil seal. Once again a new seal had to be ordered (as this part is on permanent back order. ETA 3 weeks). This meant that my power plant would be upside-down on a workbench for that 3-plus weeks. In that time, the sharp ridges from the gouges have been polished down as far as possible without altering the dimensions of the shaft. This will, hopefully, solve the problem, or at the very least extend the lifespan of the new seal.


Assembled. Just before an alarming surprise.

As I am writing this, a little less than three weeks have passed. I’ve received a phone call informing me that my part have arrived. The largest part of my weekend was spent on assembling the engine once more. Not an easy task for one man alone. (Mechanical MacGyver hand work commitments to tend to, and was unavailable to assist for the largest portion of this.) The engine had been installed once more and the battery charged, ready to turn over the power plant once more. Key to the on position… and… hit the start button. Something that should have easily turned the motor over and forcing it to roar to life. But what type of story would this be if that was the end?


Carb cleaning and float tuning.

Turns out that about 3 weeks of being upside-down doesn’t do carburetors any good. Some fuel has seeped into the diaphragms, immobilizing them. In addition, evaporated fuel leaves a sticky residue. This residue has basically “glued” the carburetor float levels into position, holding the needle and seat in the open position. In laymen terms, the thingy that stops too much fuel getting into the carburetor was jammed open, causing the engine to flood.

The engine flooded to the point where the pistons were jammed into position by combustion chambers filled with fuel. The engine would NOT turn over.

This problem could easily be solved by leaning the carburetor with some off the shelf carb cleaner and elbow grease. A fun day of opening up the carburetor, cleaning the float hinges and fuel jets.


Jerry rigged testing system.

I really wasn’t in the mood too have the engine lock up again if the cleaning wasn’t the only thing required to stop the engine from flooding. Therefore, it was time to employ some of my backyard ingenuity. ————->

Basically just connecting a gravity-fed fuel source to the carburetor inlet. And this worked surprisingly well. We found that the carburetor supplying cylinder 3 was still allowing an immense amount of fuel to flow. Some fiddling with the float position seemed to have sorted that problem out.

Once again, with the carburetors and fuel tank fitted, it was time to see if the little power plant would be able to start. It took some time before the little engine roared to life. What a beautiful noise that was. The churning of cam gears and the roar of the exhaust. I haven’t heard this noise in a bit more than a month.

I write to you this lovely morning as I am about to embark on the first journey back on my little yellow Honda. Turning the engine over and hearing it roar, brings a sense of peace over my soul. A sensation of feeling alive again. I wasn’t made to spend my days rolling around in a cage, I was ment to fly down the road on the back of an iron steed. Having my bike start once again has, in effect, restarted my soul.

On this new-found drive, I wish you all a safe ride and enjoyable journey.

Heroes from our past

Valentino Rossi once said “Riding a race bike is an art, a thing you do because you feel something inside”. Others hold that the best bike in the world is the one you are on. Not because of how it measures up in numbers, but because of the way it makes you feel. Most expressions regarding motorcycles speak of that intangible, indescribable sensation that one can only experience on a motorcycle. However few acknowledge when and where that sensation originates from.

Well, we here at The Bike Addict we do things a little differently. We would like to pay tribute to all persons and machines that have influenced us, inspired us, and have brought us to where we are now. We have done so by creating a page especially to say thanks to those who have influenced us. Call it our influential hall of fame if you will. Check out the page and leave your comments here.

A special thank you to:

Mechanical MacGyver

A gentleman worthy of acknowledgement. Mechanical MacGyver is the true driving force behind our addiction to two-wheeled machines. Our resident mechanical maestro, riding companion and a father to me. Without his mechanical skill contributions neither Anxiety on Wheels’ Dodgy, nor my Little Yellow Monster would be on the road today. We say thank you for the late nights spent working with us and long weekends spent riding with us.

The machines that have brought us here:

Old Faithful


Yes. That is a 13 year-old me on Old Faithful.

Make: Kawasaki
Model: ZZR400
Year: 1998
Engine: Original – 399 cc DOHC, carburetor, inline four-cylinder.
Current – 599 cc DOHC, carburetor, inline four-cylinder.
Status: Active duty.

This beauty was one of several bikes that Mechanical MacGyver had owned over the years, and probably the bike he had the longest. A machine that would never truly die. Over the years several pistons, heads and cylinder sleeves have been replaced or re-machined. I have fond memories of riding passenger as a kid, clinging on for dear life, and having to push-start the bike due to charging issues. Old faithful is also the first bike I really rode on my own, given I was only 13 years old when I first rode it.

Later, I passed my learners license and started riding the Popcorn Machine. See, here in South Africa a learners license limits the maximum engine capacity to 125 cc if the holder is under the age of 18. Therefore I couldn’t ride Old Faithful even if I wanted to. During this time Old Faithful destroyed its 400 cc engine. Instead of trying to salvage it, Mechanical MacGyver decided to upgrade to a bigger engine. The ZZR 600 cc engine bolted right in.

More years passed, and I finally turned 18. That meant I could use it occasionally, if Mechanical MacGyver wasn’t riding or tinkering.

However, all good things must come to an end. Mechanical MacGyver bought himself a new bike in 2015. This meant that it was time for Old Faithful to find a new home. My cousin, (let’s call him The Beard), was glad to take it in. The Beard continues the ritual of tinkering on, and upgrading this treasured machine.

The Popcorn Machine

Make: Honda
Model: CBF125
Year: 2011
Engine: 125 cc OHC, fuel-injected, single cylinder.
Status: Missing in action.

The Popcorn Machine, as it lovingly became known as, is a 2011 Honda CBF 125cc. The first bike I could truly call my own. Mechanical MacGyver had bought it as a 16th birthday present for me. Finally I had the freedom to ride to where I wanted, when I wanted, within limits of course. It was neither fast, nor exceptionally pretty, but it was mine. In the span of two years I had covered 6000 km with it. It may not be much, but for a 16 year-old, travelling to and from school, it was 6000 km of pure independence. Those 6000 km also contained, what I would call, my first proper fall. At the end of 2013, The Popcorn Machine had been parked in the garage indefinitely. The bike had just become too small for my needs, and I was working on my restoration project: the Little Yellow Monster.

In 2016, Anxiety on Wheels decided it was time for him to start riding. To this extent, the Popcorn Machine was sold to him as his first bike and training wheels. It had served him well as a training bike before it was stolen less than 5 months after he bought it. The bike has not been tracked down at this time, and it probably never will.

The Little Yellow Monster


The before and after images of my restoration project

Make: Honda
Model: VFR400R (NC24)
Year: 1987
Engine: 399 cc DOHC, carburetor, v four-cylinder.
Status: Active duty.

The Little Yellow Monster was found in a garage, heavily neglected and with most of its parts missing. A hunt for the owner, more than a year of elbow grease, and pretty much all of my savings have gone into creating the story of my Little Yellow Monster. I’ve written extensively on how this machine came to be my daily driver, you can find that post here. At the start of it all I really hated that awful yellow colour, but going riding for the first time after finishing the project one realises something. It grows on you. About 3 year down the line I can’t imagine this bike being any other colour than yellow.

I’ve had some crazy experiences on this bike. I spent weekends and nights working on it. I bonded with family, because of it. I’ve gotten lost on it. I found myself on it. I’ve seen some amazing places on it. I’ve ridden some fantastic roads on it. I’ve fallen with it. It nearly set me and itself on fire, (the reason why Mechanical MacGyver calls it the “Yellow B*tch”). All these experiences makes this the best bike I’ve ever had. Not because of its specs, but because of its stories.

The Little Yellow Monster has served me well as a daily driver since it was finished. It’s gotten me from A to Z and every letter in between. However, it’s now starting to show its age. It’s machine build far before I was even born,the passing of time and not knowing how it was previously treated has led to us finding some flaws. Hopefully, with time, these flaws can be mended and the bike restored to its former glory.



Dodgy’s first ride to our garage.

Make: Suzuki
Model: RF 400
Year: 1994 approx.
Engine: 398 cc DOHC, carburetor, inline four-cylinder.
Status: Missing in action.

The tale of Dodgy involves late-night dodgy deals, and some horrendous bike abuse. Throw in a gallant young knight named Anxiety on Wheels and you have yourself the stuff of legends.

The tale starts after Anxiety on Wheels received the insurance payment, following the theft of Popcorn Machine. Him, Mechanical MacGyver and myself had set out in the hunt to find our friend a new set of wheels. Following a long day of disappointment in viewing bikes from local classifieds we made one last-ditch effort. The last seller we phoned, around 6:00 pm one Friday evening, had told us that the bike we were looking for had been sold, but he had another bike if we were interested.

We set out, in the dark, to a neighbourhood we had never ventured into before, to meet a young chap selling a bike from his back yard. Immediately some faults were brought to our attention, and Anxiety on Wheels still decides to buy the machine. It was set, in a week from now, we would return to collect the bike. The minor faults that had been highlighted would be mended before our return.

The week had passed and we returned to retrieve Anxiety on Wheels’ new ride. Alas, what a nightmare it unfolded to be. You can read part 1 and part 2 of the saga in our previous posts. For those who did not read the tale of Dodgy, the machine had been repaired and its new owner used it as his daily commute. In so doing having his first proper fall.

Unfortunately, Anxiety on Wheels seems to be having the worst of luck regarding bikes, as Dodgy also was taken from him by the criminal underbelly of society. As with Popcorn Machine, we have been informed that the Police are doing all they can, but are yet to recover his pride and joy.



Duiweltjie’s first ride out.

Make: Honda
Model: CBR1000RR
Year: 2006
Engine: 998 cc DOHC, fuel-injected, inline four-cylinder.
Status: Active duty.

Duiweltjie (pronounced ‘dœivəlki) is an Afrikaans word that translates to little devil. Which is exactly what this machine is.

Near the end of 2015, Mechanical MacGyver, had decided it was time for him to buy a newer bike. Old Faithful had lust its oomph and could keep up with the riding group on their newer 600 cc bikes. In the bike hunt we came across a 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade that had already been modified slightly. These modifications included a full Yoshimura exhaust system, modified cam shafts, and a Dynojet Power Commander. Uping the standard power output considerably, and removing those pesky restrictions.

Mechanical MacGyver fell in love with this bike at first glance, and with the paperwork completed and payments made the bike came home with us. Now, instead of chasing the pack, he could lead it. After the fist ride one could notice a change… The former Kawasaki die-hard has become a Honda fan. He dubbed the bike Duiweltjie because of its aggression and sheer power. The new Honda groupie often refer to this as his forever bike. Not wanting anything else than his ’06 Fireblade.

Being the son of the owner has its perks, as I’ve taken Duiweltjie out for a few rides myself when my bike has been acting up. The power difference between 400 cc and 1000 cc is what catches one off guard. An immensely powerful bike, and a fantastic ride.

So there it is ladies and gentlemen. Here is the story of how man and machine has influenced two young blokes into becoming completely addicted to our iron steeds. Feel free to share your stories of “getting hooked” on bikes with us in the comment section of our tribute page, which you can find here.