Back to Basics

Hello to everyone in the vast reaches of cyberspace.

It’s been quite some time since I have posted something on the blog. I must admit I haven’t been giving the blog as much attention as I did in the past. This is largely due to the fact that the free time I once had has been drastically reduces by work commitments.

Nonetheless I have been doing a fair bit of riding, and once more an epiphany struck me as I was moving in unison with my two-wheeled machine.

But before I get to that, a little bit of background. Being part of a motorcycle club carries with it the duty to attend specific events at specific times as decided by the club. However, if such an event is perhaps cancelled for some specific reason and one has already planned to go riding on that day, one can’t let the opportunity go to waste.

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The route that had been planned whilst remaining unplanned.

So with the event being cancelled, I still set out riding on the 30th of June this year with a nervous pillion on board and a few key points I hoped to reach during this ride. My pillion on the other hand was just along for the ride.

We spent some good time on the road, riding one of my favourite road sections colloquially dubbed “the twisties”, a somewhat winding piece of back-road that runs through an area called the cradle of mankind. One starts roaming through the valleys and then moving up the side of a hill. At the highest point on the road one has a magnificent view of the valley below. Thereafter one descends back into the valley and on route to Hartebeespoort dam. The route we wound up following takes one across the dam wall with another magnificent view.

We spent the day riding between Upperdeck restaurant, “Tant Mallie se winkel” (translated to Aunty Mallie’s Shop), and the Chameleon village flea market, and having dinner at Upperdeck before setting off to home. At this point in time it was dark already and the winter air was extremely cold. The route home took us past the Hartebeeshoek Earth Station, on a route once again colloquially dubbed the “satellite road” thanks to the large radio telescope and dish arrays found along the route.

Now we come to the epiphanies that had occurred to me during this delightful day of riding. The first of which is the title of the post. Back to basics. Riding as part of a club is quite fun, and it has a massive impact on moral when a large group comes together to brave the weather and have some fun. But in some instances one yearns for the solitude that comes with solo riding. I understand that my travels on this day is not exactly solo in the presence of my pillion, but the solo riding I’m referring to is having the ability to divert and change routes on a whim and just travel to where the road takes you without having an impact of other riders in a large group. Its this type of riding that I have yearned for in quite some time. Setting out with no plan, no time limit an no set destination with the sole objective of enjoying the day.

The second epiphany came on the travel back home in the dark. There’s something poetic about riding in the dark. Staring at the canvas of black and stars and watching your headlight paint a narrow beam of tar mere meters in front of itself. The absolute desolation of these country roads at night, the eerie hum of engine and screech of wind makes one feel so alone, so at peace. One is lost without truly travelling off the beaten track. The road so familiar also so unknown.

Its one trip I wouldn’t soon forget, nor is it a trip that I wouldn’t wish to repeat. To all my fellow riders and readers, ride safe, and enjoy the journey.

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The School of Hard Knocks is in Session

There’s a trick that gets played on your heart every now and then. A hand being shown, edging you to either do something or not pursue it at all. Your “gut feeling”, if you will. Selling something or doing something, maybe even saying or asking something which may or may not exact some price on either your heart, conscious or your very soul.

Avid readers and even newly-joined, I have made many mistakes in my life, and Monday I nearly made another grave one. Nearly selling my most trusty mount ever, at a price not even half what she would be worth if you take into account all the blood, sweat and hard work it took myself, the Bike Addict and Mechanical MacGyver to get her to a point where she doesn’t even drip… well a drop.

The feeling that made me change my mind? A bullhook knuckle sandwich in my temple, shaking my hands and shaming my heart, making me ask myself “what do you think you’re doing?!”. A retro-fitted poltergeist oil slick making me fall right on my tuckis (a person’s behind, for those who don’t know), slamming me so hard I realize what a mistake I nearly made.

See there’s something magical about a man (or woman) and their machine, when they come to a complete connection, an asphalt coated tri-star spacial heart-throb of a link between machines of both steel and animation. When you get there, why sever it?

Just because your bike is small doesn’t mean you need to get rid of it to go bigger, I say this once again, preaching to the choir (being a hypocrite, to be straight forward). Bigger isn’t always better, and if you need to sacrifice a trusty steed to get to it then maybe you’re following the wrong path.

Go in peace, ride safe and ride respectfully.

2018 SA Bike Festival

The weekend of 25 to 27 May 2018 marks another rendition of the South Africa Festival. This year it wasn’t a weekend with the boys for me, rather a time to catch up with an old friend, Quick Fix.

We set out early on Saturday morning to be (almost) the first bike through the gates at the festival. We treated ourselves to some V.I.P. tickets, which in turn gave us access to the Jamie’s Italian VIP lounge situated on the second floor of the pit building. We had a great view of the test rides out on track as well as the Monster Energy FlightNight show later that evening.

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Guess what beauty we could stare at whilst enjoying the show from the V.I.P. lounge.

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Quick Fix, enjoying a taco.

One of the perks included eats and drinks for the day but myself and Quick fix definitely tried some of the other delicacies offered at the event’s “Eat Street” section.

Here one can find tons of interesting munchies ranging from the free range chicken tacos, to wood fired oven pizza (with the oven mounted in a truck), to artisan crafted ice cream for desert. It was definitely not slim pickings when it came to a variety to fill one’s belly.

The rest of the show wasn’t boring either, at the Harley-Davidson stand, Quick fix had the opportunity to feel what it would be like to handle a bike. A Harley forty eight strapped to a rolling road gives one some of the sensation one would experience in riding such a machine on the open road. An experience she wouldn’t soon forget (judging from the facial expressions.

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Quick fix, admiring a Suzuki… (what else?)

The lower floor of the pit building was home to all the usual culprits. Honda, Suzuki, KTM, Husqvarna, Harley-Davidson, Indain, and newcomer Zontes all had their respective display areas on the floor. Oddly, there wasn’t any new, or more exciting featured from these motorcycle building giants apart from the arrival of Zontes, who mainly produce small displacement machines.

Bosch also made an appearance on the display floor with a ton of interesting tech. Most interestingly was a secondary battery system, I’m guessing would be more popular with the adventure bike crowd. The system allows a secondary battery to be used to jump an otherwise dead main battery or provide an alternative power source for all kinds of adventure gear.

As per usual the 2 stroke club of South Africa provided for a few prestine and highly saught after twostroke legends. Furthermore, there were a few awesome custom creations on display. You can view two of the fsvourites up above.

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Super GP round on Saturday

From the V.I.P. lounge we also had a good view of the Super 600 and Super GP races at Kyalami GP curcuit during the weekend. The enclosed lounge did however muffle the beautiful exhaust notes of these awesome machines.

Later on in the evening we were entertained by the LeRiche trail bike show and the Monster Energy Flightnight stunt show. No photos of these as light conditions didn’t really make for good image quality. But the gist of it culminated to an absolutely fantastic festival. A lot better than I expected and a definite improvement on last year.

Until next year’s show, safe ride and enjoy the journey.

A clean and maintained kitty is a happy kitty.

As I’ve learned since my very first little 125cc Honda, servicing and maintenance of your bike makes ALL the difference. Doing a top to bottom is essential, and skipping even one part can have some draw backs or even worse.

For instance my old beater, Dodgy, used to backfire horribly with engine braking and even made me think I was about to burn valves. After swapping out the old spark plugs (which weren’t even for that bike), she was purring like a kitten again on all 4.

My newest horse has also been horribly neglected for years (service wise), being ridden once every few months and standing between. She had not been serviced for about 2 years or longer, with the logic “hey we didn’t ride her that much so the parts were still good, don’t worry”. For those who don’t know, a lot can go wrong when a bike stands for months on end, such as engine oil escaping from vital areas completely due to obvious gravity, as well as oil in wheel bearings drawing to the lower side. Oil becomes awful when standing for a long time which is why when restoring an old car or bike you drain out the old oil completely and replace it.

Dusty had been standing for a long while, with a tank of petrol more or less half full. Now due to chemistry, this can cause tank rust on the inside with a steel tank like the one our beloved little monster has. This rust became so bad it clogged up my reserve tap, making it seem like I had almost no petrol left when on reserve which made me stall less than a kilometer from a gas station which I should ACTUALLY have made due to simple math and usual petrol usage, but with a strong petrol pump on Dusty it clogged up that reserve flow and made me stall. I changed the fuel filter but not even a month later it got clogged up again to the point where my horse sounded like she had flemgh in her throat.

If you have an old steel tank, make time one day and drain it, and then shake it around and see what comes out. If it looks like you threw Robertsons Spices in your tank then DING DING DING you are the winner. Have your tank religned at a reliable dealer such as I did at TRD Motorcycles in Boksburg here in South Africa, where they clean the tank out and relign it with a coating to stop the petrol and water eating the tank, and believe me it’s worth it. THEN change your petrol filter.

Make sure whatever service parts you buy, they are for your bike model or else you may struggle, waste money or completely just become aggravated.

Tires are another topic all together. Buy tires that suit your needs, not how cool they look. The Muppets I bought Dusty from put on “X-race tires” or whatever that means, saying they are so star-spangled awesome because they’re racing tires, meanwhile it’s a soft compound tire which doesn’t seem to like rain as far as I’ve noted as well as eating away fairly quickly. If I were to start drifting with Dusty then yes, but grip wise with the new exhaust we at The Bike Addict installed the tire literally can’t keep up with me, it’s like putting a turbo Busa engine in an old mini with those tiny tires just spinning the first 40m. So if you want your tires to take you a long way, maybe look at sports touring tires, if you want to look fast then go for a more aggressive road tire and so on.

If you see a problem on your bike, deal with that first before doing any custom beautification such as a spray job. For instance an acquaintance of mine had his bike sprayed, meanwhile his bike doesn’t hold charge and he can’t get into 3rd gear.. So when spending money on your bike, prioritize.

Ride safe, ride often and for goodness sake greet me when you ride past me.

El Potato Gun

Hello again to everyone in the vast reaches of cyberspace. As we’ve said in an earlier post, it’s been a busy time for us behind the scenes of the Bike Addict. One thing that’s kept us quite busy is some modifications to Anxiety on Wheels’ NT400. As you may have already seen, we have fitted an aftermarket gauge cluster to replace the broken speedometer that was on the bike.

Our backyard ingenuity didn’t stop there. Some time before that we had removed an open pipe exhaust system and replaced it with a partially gutted version of the original exhaust system. You can read more about it here.

 

But as all things go, and as human nature predicts, Anxiety wanted more. Not necessarily more, or louder noise, but rather some refinement of the noise that the bike already produced. We’ve heard the bike produce deafening bellows with its open system. We’ve heard it produce low thunderous roars with the gutted stock system. Neither of these were very pleasing to the ear.

To this extent Anxiety made an investment in a brand new exhaust muffler. Shopping online, and half way across the world, it took some time for the bits to arrive here from wherever it originated from. It did, however, arrive in one piece and with all its required mounting hardware. (unlike the gauges).

The next issue is that we now have a single exhaust, but 2 exhaust ports. This means that in some way we needed to build a 2 to 1 collector. Harley_Lover_248 to the rescue, who has a welder and a little experience in welding stainless steel. The old open exhaust tips were sacrificed to form the basis of the abovementioned collector.

After the collector was built, it was time to figure out the mounting for the new ‘potato gun’ as Anxiety had so eloquently phrased. A good polish also made the collector shine like a brand new off-the-shelf part.

The last step is to mount the muffler to a solid point on the bike frame.

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This brings us to the final product of all the hard labour.

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Here’s the funny thing. Anxiety’s fuel tank had been sent in for some rust repair, but we all wanted to hear what the bike sounded like now. Mechanical MacGyver and Anxiety had a plan to set this matter right. In short, we now know how the bike sounds, and Anxiety took it for a tank-less test drive.

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Until next time, safe ride and enjoy the journey.

 

The gloves on the other hand.

Hello to everyone in the vast reaches of cyberspace. It’s been a busy time at work, which is a good thing. A busy weekend has also passed as we fitted a new exhaust system to Anxiety on wheels’ Honda. More on this a little later.

After checking on the status of some of Anxiety’s bike parts, we decided to visit a trader’s square/ flea market we’ve done some business with in the past. I went along with the sole purpose of replacing the riding gloves I’ve had since 2011. After 7 years, 2 slides and 1 fall they are knackered in every sense of the word.

At the trader’s square we were lucky enough to come across a vendor stocking Dainese Veloce riding gloves at reduced prices. This deal was just too good to pass up so both myself and Anxiety invested in a pair.

My plan is to break these gloves in over the next few weeks and share my thoughts about these. So here’s to safe rides, enjoyable journeys, and comfortable hands.

Wolf spirit breakfast run.

Hello again to everyone in the vast reaches of cyberspace. I know I’m late with this post but I do have a compelling reason. But more on that later.

It was a cool, cloudy morning as we set of to the Cock & Bull pub in Hartebeespoort. Add to that some light rain and you have a cold, moist ride for about 87 km.

At the event the weather got better, but not by much. Part of the festivities was a burnout competition. Check out the video of the winner below.

An awesome ride. Safe ride and enjoy the journey.

Negotiations For The Terms Of Your Surrender.. Are Over.

The past while The Bike Addict and myself have been fiddling with my little yellow dust kicker. And… I’ll tell you.. People have had mixed opinions haha. Some have come at me with the “holy cow that’s awesome” and the “oh okay”, but one that just sort of bothers me is the comment our page got about how we’re just stupid kids playing with our tonkaĀ toys.

Now in a world where brothers kill each other, men die before their fathers, women lose themselves, presidents steal from the people and evil monsters kill the dog who saved my life over a 125cc Honda, how can people still be cruel enough to put down their biker brothers and sisters?

Life is cruel sometimes, and a lot of the time we bikers take the brunt of it. I got new and interesting/cute/funny patches on my cut last week, and you should see the looks people give me. Reading me like a book, judging me, running through their heads briefly “I wonder how much laws he’s broken, how wrong he’s done.”

Half of the world adores us, my friends. And unfortunately the other half thinks less of us, some more than others. But in an evil-ish age like this, why can’t we stand together? If people in cars won’t look out for us, what else can we do but look out for each other?

One day I was riding with my previous horse Dodgy and I stopped next to the road for 10 seconds to improve my glove feel. 3 bikers going the opposite direction slowed down hastily one after the other and gave me the “are you okay?” finger point. THAT is respect, THAT is why we do what we do.

We are a band of brothers and sisters, fighting for unity and freedom in the chaos of this new world. The “Smiles Per Gallon” doesn’t just apply to the people around you, it applies to the smiles you receive as well..

So ride good, ride safe, and look out for each other. You’re not alone out there, you have a family of 600 thousand PLUS put there, you just need to show them you’re there for them too.

Have Bike? Will ride. Now smile šŸ™‚

Pillion, I am no more

Hello to everyone in the vast reaches of cyberspace.

I have been active in the motorcycling lifestyle since the tender age of 13. Since I first hopped onto the pillion seat of Mechanical MacGyver’s then Conti 200 cc. The bug had bit me quite hard and caused me to spend countless weekends clinging onto my father’s jacket on the back of every machine he had ever owned. In this time I was given the opportunity to dip my toe into the strange world of piloting a motorcycle. (None of which was done on public roads, as operating a motorcycle without a license on a public road is illegal.)

Three years down the line, just after my 16th birthday, I could legally pilot a motorcycle on public roads, if such a bike had an engine displacement equal to or less than 125 cc. This is where my journey with Popcorn Machine began. The little 125 cc Honda that took me wherever my 16-year-old heart desired. Though I would often still ride pillion on my father’s machine on long trips or trips requiring a brisk pace. The transition between pilot and pillion at this point still occurred seamlessly. As one does not exactly develop a unique riding style on a tiny, slow 125 cc.

Add another three years, and we come to the point where restoration of the Little Yellow Honda (my VFR400R) reached a stage of completion. In the preceding three years I did occasionally ride Mechanical MacGyver’s Old Faithful (a mean Kawasaki ZZR400, with a 600cc engine swap). However, very little of my time was spent as a pillion. With the more powerful machines one does tend to develop a unique riding style. A “spidey sense”, if you will, of how and when one starts to slow down for corners, a preferred lean angle limit, and when to roll back onto the throttle.

Enter the present. I’m still avidly riding my Little Yellow Honda, and Mechanical MacGyver has upgraded to a beast of a bike. His personal “Duiweltjie” (little devil) of a Honda CBR1000RR. This is also the point in time where I make the realisation leading to the title of the post, as I discover that a pillion, I am no more.

Around two weeks ago, Mechanical MacGyver’s bakkie (a pick up truck for those across the pond) suffers a blown head gasket. This means that, under the vehicle’s warranty, it had to be repaired by an authorised dealer. Hence we set out to deliver the vehicle to said dealer. As the vehicle is still somewhat operable, Mechanical MacGyver drives it to the dealer, with me on the “Duiweltjie” following close behind. (The bike would be a traffic and hassle free return trip to drop me off and Mechanical MacGyver’s ride to work)With the vehicle dropped off, I hop onto the pillion seat of this beast and we set off.

Oh the horrors that ensued. Barely exiting the dealer’s lot I am already sick to my stomach. The forces of acceleration, deceleration and cornering feel all but friendly and familiar. My “spidey sense” goes completely haywire as Mechanical MacGyver goes about riding in his usual way, completely contradictory to my own style of riding. For the first time in a very long time I am truly afraid of a motorcycle. My stomach is churning and I feel like I’m on a carnival ride from hell. I have lost all sense of control and was clinging to Mechanical MacGyver for what felt to be dear life. It was truly a horrifying experience. Surrendering control after almost 6 years of riding in control. The 20 minute return trip turned out to be the worst 20 minutes of my life thus far. I hope that I never have to experience anything similar again.

A very queasy Motorcycle Addict, wishing you all a safe ride, and more enjoyable journey.