The perspective of a motorcyclist medic

Hello again to everyone in the vast reaches of cyberspace. A short time ago I did a post about myself attempting to go “full squid”. This practice is thought to be quite dangerous as one travels on a motorcycle with very little in terms of protective gear. Understandably, and as predicted, our ride along paramedic, Quick Fix, did not approve of this exercise. So I thought why not give her the opportunity to tell us why she doth protest so much.

So without further adieu, here is the first ever blog post by Quick fix:

(A note to our sensitive readers, the following piece contains images which some of you may find upsetting.)


“Hello, hello, hello

Quick fix signing in

Good day to everyone near and far.

After the squidage post; done by the Bike Addict; I have been asked to do a piece on motorcycles from the view of a paramedic and the differences in the after effects regarding safety or no-safety riding.

A big factor that does come out is that there are actually a lot more motorcycle accidents on the roads than are actually realised. Many are just scrapes or bumps and the rider simply picks up their wheels and carries on their merry way.

However, about 20% of bike accidents are in need of emergency medical assistance and these ladies and gents are the ones that are most known about.

1

On an average month in the emergency setting about 20 motorcycle accidents occur of which only four to five need emergency medical help.

These are the cases where they need to be transported to the emergency ward or get airlifted immediately.

2

Having a motorcycle fatality in itself is rare but, not impossible.

The greater the force and acceleration of the accident taking place, the greater the injury or the chances thereof.

Mostly the rider skids with his wheels or gets knocked over, climbs back on and off he goes escaping with a few minor scrapes and scratches.

Severe motorcycle accident signs and symptoms include; amputations of limbs: partially or fully, severe skin removal if no jacket has been worn or jeans ripped through, head injuries due to force, multiple fractures, internal injuries, spinal injuries and shock.

3

A little message of warning, an accident can happen in the blink of an eye.

The riders of the motorcycles should ALWAYS have a helmet on. Contrary to popular belief, we in the emergency setting post-accident tend to leave helmets on. The only time a helmet will be removed (we are trained in removing a motorcycle helmet and the dangers surrounding them) is when there is a compromised airway and our patient is having a life-threatening emergency which requires specific medical intervention.

4

The first and foremost form of treatment for any motorcycle accident is to immobilise our patient ASAP.

This is done with the use of a spine board and head blocks. If any conditions pursue, e.g. cardiac arrest, the riding gear gets surgically cut off without movement of the patient. (Sorry guys and girls. But it’s your riding jacket vs your life).

If you happen to come across a motorcycle accident, panic quickly and then get over it, it’s about to get real:

  1. First and foremost, make sure that your scene is safe, don’t become the next victim! Job creation only goes that far.
  2. Call the emergency services!!!! No ifs and/or buts.
  3.  Chat to the unfortunate bloke, reassurance does wonders to the body, this way you also notice if he is conscious or not.
  4. Never remove helmet, leave to the professionals,(like me LOL)
  5. Airway and breathing can be done by simply placing a hand on the chest and feeling for rise and fall.
  6. Tell the emergency services any and all info!
  7. A few numbers to phone:
  •  ER24- 084 124
  • Province- 10177 Landline 112
  • Interesting fact, 112 is the only emergency number that can be dialled in South Africa without a sim card. (So don’t stress if you don’t have airtime)

A few personal experience stories will be shared over time, so hang in there, be safe on the roads and I hope we don’t meet by accident!

Signing off

Quick Fix


 

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T’is the season to start riding.

Hello again to everyone in the vast reaches of cyberspace.

It’s the start of a new year and pretty much the start of a new riding season here in South Africa. Myself and Anxiety on Wheels may be a little ahead of the crowd when it comes to starting the new season, as we dusted off our trusty steeds and took a ride to our favourite burger joint, Dukes Burgers. The burgers were amazing… as usual.

Below you can see our route and information as tracked by the Riser App. I must say, the app has been greatly improved since I reviewed it just before the start of the holidays. They’ve even included a “getaway” feature where you can plan trips with your friends and community.

For those of you who would like to take a trip to Dukes Burgers, I include the map bellow.

From all of us here at the Bike Addict, we wish all our readers a prosperous 2018.

2018 and Bike Addict

So enough with the niceties and straight down to brass tacks. 2017 is behind us and 2018 has arrived. 365 days of opportunity (give or take a few days passed). I sit here typing this post with beads of nervous sweat forming… 2018 is here…

2018 promises a few big changes both in my personal life as well as this blog. For those in the know, I’ve completed my studies and obtained my degree. This means I’m currently in the job hunt. (Fingers crossed). What does this mean for the blog? At this point in time I cannot concretely say, but I do hope that it helps with the much-needed funds to properly repair my Little Yellow Honda. We’ve been patching it up as best we can with a non-existent budget for the past year.

As for my vast amounts of free time, I fear it would come to an end when I take up a new job. Is this a bad thing? Yes and no. Yes, because instead of spending most of my time tinkering, I would have to spend it working. No, because, as I’ve said, the funds are needed to repair my bike, and make a few investments to improve our blog.

So from the above, I hope that 2018 would be the year where I write more posts from trips rather than posts from the garage. Along with this I hope to invest in some tech and gear to bring my motorcycle blogging into this century, and do some tech reviews.

Our good friend Anxiety on Wheels has also completed a qualification, which I would leave in his hands to discuss further. As for his Dusty Leafblower, we’ve been talking about this little machine and Anxiety has some great ideas. Watch this space and see what develops.

So instead of setting a list of things to attend in this year, We’ve set a single goal: “Make it better”. How much better you may ask. The answer is simple, better than it was the previous post. This means that (I hope) we can keep improving throughout 2018 and involve a larger community in this project. As Anxiety on Wheels and I have discussed, we’d like to change things up a bit. This isn’t just our blog, we want it to be a true bikers/ motorcycle enthusiasts blog. Our goal would be to involve participants from all over the world to share their riding stories with us.

What type of stories? Absolutely anything goes as long as it involves a motorcycle and a PG rating. Written a biker fan fiction of your favourite show? We’d love to read it. Set a new land speed record on your 250cc? Please tell us more. Had an interesting event occur on your commute? Please let us know. We would really like to involve our readers in this blog.

Definite Changes

For now these are some definite changes that are coming to the blog:

  • I’ve received some complaints about events requiring bookings or registrations only being advertised when the event takes place. So to fix this events, where pre-booking/registration is required, will be advertised in our upcoming events for one week prior to the close of bookings. We’ll be calling these “One Week Warnings”. On same note, the first few advertised events for the year should start showing in the upcoming events shortly.
  • Secondly, every event I attended or solo ride I do will have a post about it. This guarantees that I will make time to maintain the blog and keep riding. I started this blog almost 2 years ago to share my riding stories, if I decide not to post about a ride, it defeats the purpose. This will drive me in keeping up with the initial purpose of this blog.
  • Thirdly, it’s time for social awareness. More on this as it develops.
  • Additionally, our site will be undergoing some maintenance, please bear with us while we try to bring you a cleaner, better looking blog.
  • Lastly, reader involvement. Like I’ve said before in this post and many others, this isn’t just a blog for ranting and sharing my stories. I’d love to involve our entire reader community in sharing their stories and their take on events. We receive info regarding events in South Africa and surrounding regions, but we would like to know what’s happening, for example, at Sturgis in the USA, or when this year’s Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride in the UK will be? For this to happen, we’ll need a few folks in those regions to share with us. If you feel that you would like to contribute please head over to our contact page.

And there we have it folks. Here’s to what were hoping to be a year full of safe rides and enjoyable journeys.

T’is the season to be jolly.

Hello to everyone in the vast reaches of cyberspace. It’s that time of year again. The holidays are just around the corner and Christmas is in the air. Our friends in the north have packed their bikes away during the freeze, and ourselves here in the south have parked our bikes to be with family during the holidays. Life in general has slowed down as we approach the end of the year.

In the same sense biking things here have slowed down as the festive season approaches. The last advertised motorcycle event takes place on the 16th of December and our club year end function is to be on the 17th. This basically marks the end of the 2017 riding season here in South Africa. This means that Anxiety on Wheels, Mechanical MacGyver and myself will also be taking a break this festive season.

Don’t fret though, we will be back when the riding season in South Africa kicks off again mid January 2018. The new riding season promises to bring new stories and some big changes here at the Bike Addict, but until then enjoy the festive season with your loved ones.

For those still out riding. Have a safe ride, and enjoy the journey.

KNEELING FOR THAT PRAYER EVERY TIME YOU GET ON YOUR HORSE

Wake up, breakfast, brush your teeth, put on your suit, dust off your saddle, ride with purpose.

For a long time I’ve been using my motorcycle, my horse to keep me sane and get me from home to work and the usual trips. But for the next 4 weeks I will be using my horse to not just transport me, but to better my mind.

Both The Bike Addict and myself now use our horses to get to class and back. Only difference is I’m living out-of-town while studying, which further raises the question of what my petrol usage would be if I’m studying and living out of town. Studying about 19km/11miles from where I’m living currently.

But contrary to popular belief it doesn’t matter how far you travel each day. But how many stops you make, how fast you travel taking in consideration what work load your bike can take, and the consistency of your speed DOES however matter.

How many times you stop:
If you stop many times on a trip, there will be a lot of engine working in place, changing gears etc, which results in more petrol usage.
Travel speed: What I’m talking about here is not just how fast you go, but how much speed your bike can comfortably handle. For instance my old 125cc Honda fared better at 40-60km/h(25-37 mph) than pushing her to 80-120km/h(50-75mph), which nearly halved my petrol usage.
Consistency: How you ride determines your petrol usage. If you get up to 80km/h(50miles/h) and then keep it within that range and then gradually bring it down, your petrol usage would be better because of consistency.

As a matter of fact, because of my consistency and amount of stops I make etc when I’m studying, my petrol usage is even better than my long distance petrol usage (for newbies, long distance usage is usually considerably better than in-town usage, because of less stops and constant speed).

To cut through the economic cheese… Despite my bike turning into a jet ski last Tuesday in a pond of water because of the heavy rain I get in this town and the 20km ride in rain, using my horse to study is one of the best decisions about this whole study business I could have made. Nothing calms one down like the sound of your love or a horse ride after a long tenuous day reading medical terms and trying to put the human respiratory system together.

With knowledge comes power, but with horse comes peace.

Insult to injury to acceptance

Hello from the vast reaches of cyberspace. It’s that time again. Once more I turn to this blog to rant. About a week ago I received what I only can describe as hate mail. “We’re just a bunch of kids messing with tonka toys in our garage. How dare we call ourselves bikers.”  The mail goes on and on, but is filled with other averments that I wouldn’t want to repeat on here.

Instead of slinging filth back and forth, I feel that I can rather spend that time better by elucidating our predicament. To answer the statement in the mail, yes, that is true. Myself and Anxiety on Wheels are young adults, and we do spend considerable time tinkering on our small displacement motorcycles. Furthermore, if the term biker offends then I’d rather consider myself a motorcycle enthusiast. But, what we’re doing, isn’t that what being a biker is all about?

What is a real biker? How do I then apply for my “real biker” card? Do I have to be a 1%er on a Harley? Do I have to look one way or dress another? Should I only take my bike to an authorised dealer to service it?  What’s the definition of a biker?

As I sit here and look around I see that biking isn’t about what you wear, what you ride, how you look. It’s the sensation of screaming down the road without a care in the world. It’s being connected to the scenery and the road as you travel from A to Z and every letter in between. Wasn’t the principle of being a biker to escape the stereotypes of society? Therefore, trying to tell me that I don’t fit into the biker box is contradictory to what being a biker is about. But as I’ve said, if that’s what’s bothering the letter’s author, I shall concede , I am therefore merely a motorcycle enthusiast.

Now for the part of me “messing with my tonka toy”. Yes, I do spend a lot of time working on my bike, yes, my bike is a tiny little 400 cc and yes, some of the bits on my bike are jerry-riged. The concept of doing your own maintenance and modifying one’s bike is as old as the concept of the motorcycle itself. I challenge the author of the mail to show me a “biker” that hasn’t done a bit of custom work to his/her bike, and I feel adding even a single sticker should be seen as adding your own custom touch to your bike. Modifying one’s bike, or “messing” with it is the basis of the custom bike world. Without someone “messing” with their bike, cafe racers and scrambler builds would never exist.

It’s not just Japanese and European bikes that are being “messed” with. Some of the earliest, modified bikes (dating back to the 1930’s) is the Harley-Davidson based bobbers. This in turn sparked the Chopper revolution with custom bikes from the likes of Arlen Ness, Orange County Choppers, and West Coast Choppers. Harley-Davidson even offers an extensive line of catalogue bolt-on parts for those who wish to make their H-D bike their own. If you aren’t brave enough to do it yourself, Harley will bolt them on for you. Still making it a custom bike, that has been “messed” with in some sort of garage.

The aforementioned, decorated custom bike builders were all just “kids messing with tonka toys in their garages” at some point in time. Hell, Harley-Davidson, one of the biggest American bike manufacturers, was founded by a few kids in a shed. I’m not saying that I’ll be the next Arlen Ness or William Harley. I’m just saying if those guys could be tinkering in sheds and be seen as real bikers / bike builders, Anxiety on Wheels and I can’t be that far off.

Rant over.

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.

IMG-20170918-WA0005

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

 

IMG-20171002-WA0008.jpg

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.

download.jpg

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.

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.

Runs

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.

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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.

Rallies

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.

Mechanics Masterclass: Horsepower, torque and other important words.

Hello again from the vast reaches of the world-wide web. A friend of mine, who is considering buying her first bike, posed a very interesting question: Which is more important, torque or horsepower? This had me thinking of how to properly explain to someone what these concepts mean and how they factor in to how a machine performs. How does one explain this mechanical lingo to someone who isn’t really mechanically inclined?

To answer this in brief, one can always refer to the age-old saying : “Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall, torque is how far you drag the wall with you.” However, this doesn’t really capture the true linking of these concepts. To this extent I have done some research and phrased it as best I could, so that even the most mechanically challenged person should be able to understand. So if you think “fuel goes in the tank, magic and unicorn farts happen, and then the vehicle moves forward”, pull up a chair, grab a notepad, because class is in session.

Before we can get into the nitty-gritty detail, I think it is appropriate to first create a scenario to help explain what I’m about to say. So, create the following image: you have a work horse, capable of pulling a specific load, let’s call him Steve. Steve is connected to a rope that runs through an intricate pulley system that can alter how force is applied by a pull of a lever. The other end of the rope is attached to a weight. Everybody got that? Now let’s dive into the first concept.

Torque

You will not find a dictionary definition here, as these are just words that don’t really explain the effect of how torque applies. To define torque, once again it’s important to create an image: Engines consist of pistons moving up and down, applying force to a crankshaft. It’s the crankshaft that converts the up and down motion of the pistons to rotation. Think of torque as the amount of force the engine turns the crankshaft with. Alternatively think of torque as how strong you would have to be in order to stop that rotation. The higher the torque output of an engine, the stronger the rotational force of the crankshaft. This is usually measured in ft.lb (foot pounds) or n.m (Newton metre) depending on which side of the big blue pond you are on.

To bring Steve back into the picture, Steve’s torque output would determine whether or not Steve can apply enough force to move the weight attached to the rope. This is the force measurement that defines how easily Steve can overcome the static friction of the weight, and overcome inertia. In laymen’s terms: It’s the measurement of how quickly Steve can get the weight moving and at what rate the weight would accelerate.

*Side note for all the two-wheel fans reading this: Torque is also the magical measurement that determines if your bike’s front end would still lift in 3rd gear.

Horsepower

This is where the explanation becomes a little tricky, as horsepower is directly linked to torque output. We all now understand that torque is the force that the crankshaft rotates with. We next have to determine how “good” or “efficiently” or “consistently” that rotational force is delivered.

To go back to Steve. We know that Steve can apply X ft.lb or Y N.m of torque. Now we can create the scenario where Steve can move the weight, weighing 100 kg (220 lbs), a distance of 2.5 foot, in one second. This means that Steve, with his torque output of 550 ft.lbs (745,58 n.m), is able to produce 1 horsepower. In this 1 hp = 550 ft.lbs of torque delivered in 1 second.

Now imagine that Steve has a buddy. Another work horse that we will call Phillip. Phillip agrees to help Steve to pull this 100 kg or 220 lb weight. Together Steve and Phillip pull it a distance of 5 foot, in one second. Keep in mind that Phillip and Steve individually can still only apply torque of 550 ft.lbs. The torque output has remained unchanged, but the horsepower output has doubled to 2 hp.

*Side note: the average horse produces about 1 horsepower.

Thus, horsepower is essentially the product of the torque produced or applied in a specific time. Linking this back to an internal combustion engine, usually increasing the number of cylinders would lead to an increase of horsepower. Alternatively, altering how much torque a piston applies to the crankshaft would also alter how much horsepower is produced. That is why, increasing bore size, and compression ratios leads to higher horsepower, because, effectively, each cylinder is now applying more torque to the system.

So… now back to the question of which is more important. To answer this question: torque is the power that can be applied by the engine. Horsepower is how well the aforementioned torque is delivered. Therefore neither is more important in relation to one another, unless another aspect is thrown into the mix…

Power-to-weight ratio

So we now know that horsepower is the amount of torque that can be applied in a set time, but what does this mean for different types of vehicles. Well, let’s first refer back to 1 hp Steve. In the scenario we know that Steve has to pull a weight of 100 kg, and can do so with 550 ft.lbs of torque. So, to determine the power-to-weight ratio of Steve we do the following: We take the horsepower that Steve can apply and divide that by the weight that needs to be moved, in metric tons. This would look a little something like this:

1                                                           |           –  Steve’s horsepower.
0.1                                                        |           – The 100 kg weight converted to metric tons
=  10 horsepower per ton.

I don’t really know whether this is good or bad, seeing as Steve is a horse, and one would never really need to determine the power-to-weight ratio of a horse. However we now know how to determine the power-to-weight ratio. Which means that we can now use this math in a different scenario. Let’s say that we have a 150 hp engine that we are now going to use in 3 different types of vehicles. A bike, weighing around 190 kg, with the engine installed and without a rider. An empty car, with the engine installed weighing around 1200 kg. Lastly a truck, without a trailer, with the engine installed, weighing about 4500 kg. Keep in mind that the exact same engine would be fitted in each of the vehicles. Now the math looks a little something like this;

Bike

150                                                | – the horsepower from the engine.
0.19                                               | – the 190 kg weight converted to metric tons.
= 789 horsepower per ton.

This would be a ratio in the supercar territory, and which explains why most modern sports bikes accelerate like a bat out of hell. A vehicle with this type of power-to-weight ratio would definitely feel very aggressive and sporty on acceleration.

Car

150                                                | – the horsepower from the engine.
1.2                                                 | – the 1200 kg weight converted to metric tons.
= 125 horsepower per ton.

This is pretty much what one can expect from the family sedan. It would be able to adequately transport you from A to B, but it wouldn’t be an experience to write home about.

Truck

150                                                | – the horsepower from the engine.
4.5                                                 | – the 4500 kg weight converted to metric tons.
= 33 horsepower per ton.

This is very poor. This semi-truck would barely be able to move itself about, let alone pull a loaded trailer. Normally a vehicle such as this would have much, much more horsepower, however this was only done to illustrate that different vehicle weights also factor in on how a vehicle performs.

With all the above in mind it becomes a little more clear. Horsepower is the definite defining characteristic when it comes to how a vehicle can and will perform, when the weight of that vehicle is also brought into consideration. In essence, the power-to-weight ratio of a vehicle will determine how well the vehicle copes with acceleration and an all together aggressive feel.

Bonus concept: Power curve

For those of you who have now scratched your heads and thought : “how is this power available from idle” or “whats the purpose of a gearbox then”. This section is especially for you.

This is the reason why Steve’s rope was connected to a pulley system that can alter force with the pull of a lever. Think of Steve as being the engine of that system, and to make Steve’s job as easy as possible one sometimes need to trade torque for speed, or vice versa. This is exactly the job of the gearbox.

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Power curve of the 2008 Triumph Street Triple 675. View source here.

View the power curve above. As one can see the torque output of the engine is very consistent throughout the RPM range. However, at around 2500 RPM the engine barely produces 20 hp. This means at low revolutions, the engine is not very efficiently applying torque to the system. The maximum of 92 hp is only achieved at the peak end of the rev range. This means that if an engine would only have a direct drive, one would only have 20 hp to pull away with. This is would prove to be very difficult.

This is where our hero, the gearbox, steps in. This is a mechanism containing different ratios (usually 5 or 6) between the speed of the input (crankshaft) and output (wheels) shafts. These different ratios allow the driver to trade speed for torque (the 1st gear end of the spectrum), where the crankshaft could be turning around 2 and a half times faster than the wheels. Thus giving the vehicle more torque to overcome inertia. In essence the driver would be able to use close to the maximum horsepower to get the vehicle moving from a standstill, without much strain on the engine.

Or vice versa, trading torque for speed (5th or 6th gear end of the spectrum) where the crankshaft could be completing about half a rotation for every rotation of the wheel. Here the driver trades torque for speed. In essence having the wheels rotate faster than the crankshaft. This either leads to an increase in top speed, or alternatively a more fuel-economic lower speed. However, attempting to accelerate quickly would put a lot of strain on the engine, hence the intuitive gearing down before accelerating.

It is now, with all this new-found knowledge, that I must send you into the world to experience the science for yourself. In that sense I wish you a safe ride and very enjoyable journeys.

Winter is coming

Hello again to all of you out there on the world-wide web. The first few days of March have passed, and that makes this the start of the fall season here in the southern hemisphere. As I’m writing this, I can feel a definite change in the temperature over the past few days. Along with this we have been having some really peculiar rainfall in the South African High veld. Winter is coming indeed.

However, for us here in the High veld, this does not mean that the riding has come to an end for the season. Nor that time has come to prep our bikes for winter storage. For those die-hard riders among us, the change of season is merely an indication to prepare for a little cooler ride. See, in the Gauteng province we experience average winter temperatures of between 17,8°C (64°F) and 3,4°C (38°F) (around middle June). Yes, that is cold for someone used to 29°C (82°F) summer weather. Yes, the wind chill will be something fierce, but we fortunately do not have to deal with the possibility of snow and ice endangering our ride. I have found if one prepares well for a ride during this time of year it can be as good, if not better than a summer ride.

This is especially true in the early mornings on weekends. The roads seem eerily abandoned. The cold piercing through your riding gear, keeping one alert. An experience quite enjoyable for someone fond of colder temperatures, such as myself. In addition, empty, twisting, country roads are a playground to bikers. I am planing several mid winter trips this year, that’s if I can get my bike fixed properly in time.

On that note, I wish the die-hard winter riders a safe ride, and enjoyable journey.

South African Biking Events 2017

As we’ve said in a previous post we will be displaying dates and venues of events that will be taking place in 2017. From this list I’ve compiled my own shortlist of events that I intend to attend if my schedule and budget allows. There will most likely be a review post about these events afterwards.

I will be editing this post as the events take place in order to help everyone keep track of where we currently are on our shortlist. Therefore I find it useful to include a key to interpreting the list:

  • Events that have been stricken through = events that have been attended, including a post on the blog.
  • Events described in yellow paragraphs = events that have passed and/or could not be attended.

So here’s my shortlist:

  • First of all, club voted day jols. Our club bylaws hold that every patched member is obliged to attend one day jol a month. The mandatory event for the month is determined by a vote at our club meetings at the start of every month, therefore I am unable to give specific detail on which jols I will be attending.
  • Secondly, an event in my sights that I haven’t attended since 2008. The Impala Rally held at Hartebeespoort Holiday Resort from 10 to 12 March 2017. Bike SA has the updated info for the 2017 event on their site. From memory, the Impala Rally is one of the more relaxed, civilised events in the calendar.
  • Chronologically, the next event I am going to attend (tickets already bought) is the South Africa Bike Festival. Held at Kayalami GP Circuit from 26 to 28 May 2017. Basically this event is a platform showcasing new machines, classics, and custom bikes built by some of the biggest names in South Africa. Paired with some insane stunt shows and test rides around the GP circuit, makes this one event not to be missed. More info and tickets are available on the site.
  • Sticking with the chronological order, I would like to attend the Rhino rally. This event usually takes place in August, which is also the busiest time in my calendar. More info on the event will be shared as we receive it.
  • The Gauteng Annual Toy Run held in November at Benoni Northerns Sports Grounds is a must for me. The event is aimed at gathering toys for those who are less fortunate. A well supported event in the biker community.
  • A definite must is the Poison Rally. Usually the first weekend of December. It is one of the biggest event in the biking calendar, and the last rally event of every year. Held at Kroon Caravan Park in Kroonstad, Freestate makes this quite a trip at around 200km from home. Unfortunately, this is not an event for the little ones and it is advised to arrange alternative care for them. More info to be relayed as we receive it.
  • Along with all the above events I’ve planned a few solo/informal rides to a few interesting destinations. Some are quite new, others are old favorites waiting to be visited again. I’ve included maps to the list below, as some of these places aren’t that easy to find without a little help. Here’s the list:
    • The Upperdeck Restaurant, Hartbeespoort has always been a breakfast run favorite. Situated on the R104, the trip offers beautiful scenery (when taking the twisty, scenic route), good food and many interesting trinkets to be perused in the surrounding crafters markets. The outdoor, open air restaurant offers live entertainment on various occasions. Definitely looking forward to my next visit. This round trip racks up about 180km on my machine. Well worth the trip.
    • Dukes Burgers, Greenside is another personal favorite. Dukes offers enormous burgers made to one’s personal taste. Beef, Chicken, Ostrich, the patty choices are near endless. Served with a truck load of fries or gigantic potato wedges.  The milkshake specialities will also tickle the taste buds of us adults. Dukes isn’t a long trip (about 10km using the long route), but the food definitely makes the short trip worth it.
    • Rim & Rubber Assembly, Greenside is a must for every bike fan. An interesting concept from what I’ve come to know. A restaurant, bike workshop and apparel shop rolled in to one. With amazing bikes, built by the in-house mechanical maestros, used as decor definitely makes it an interesting visit. I’ve been to the workshop and apparel shop, but I am yet to sample the food on offer. Another short trip, similar to that of Dukes Burger, but a unique experience guaranteed.

      Note: in the previews we’ve had some trouble with this map loading properly. Use this address if the map fails to load.
    • Historic Motorcycle Museum, Deneysville is another unique biking destination. The first dedicated museum of its kind in Africa, it promises to deliver a reputable collection unique and historic motorcycles. Definitely worth a visit according to some of my fellow riders. You can read up on the museum on their site. The scenic route will put 113km on the little yellow monster to get me there.

So there it is. My shortlist for 2017 events that I will most likely attend. Offering me some new sights and experiences and long journeys on the back of my little yellow monster.

Here’s wishing myself and you a safe ride and many enjoyable journeys in 2017.