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.

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

 

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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.

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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 These types of chains have become quite outdated as they tend to wear pretty quick compared to x- and o-ring variants.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.

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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.

The Cut: a Biker’s Passport

A question I get asked quite often is what purpose does one’s cut serve? In a personal sense the answer may be simple. However, looking from an “outsider’s” perspective the answer may not be as clear-cut. (Pardon the pun.)

A cut can have different purposes in different settings. This all depends on the bylaws that the club holds its members to. Each club is a unique entity. An organism evolving and moving similar to others, but unique in its own right. Once one understands that each club is different, and that the biker culture differs from region to region, the cut becomes somewhat easier to explain.

The heart and soul of every cut is definitely the patch. The patch is the piece of embroidery usually on the back of the cut bearing the club name and insignia. Think of this as a club’s identity. This is how members show their affiliation to a specific club. The club name above the emblem is commonly refered to as the top rocker. The piece below the emblem is refered to as the bottom rocker. The bottom rocker usually displays the location of the charter that the member associates with.

On the front of the cut, some clubs prefer to display the club name once more, and the rank of the member if applicable. Most clubs have ranks in the following order: President, Vice President, Sargent at Arms, Road Captain, Treasurer/Secretary. However it has been seen that clubs prefer to place the rank on a secondary bottom rocker in some regions.

Another addition that some clubs hold members to is a 1%er emblem. There is a stigmatic history attached to this emblem, although some clubs claim that the symbol is merely decorative. If my research serves me right the 1%er symbol is usually linked to outlaw clubs, i.e. clubs that willingly and knowingly conduct themselves in contravention to the law. I don’t want to speculate on the truth of this, as I feel there are too many conflicting views on the subject. Furthermore, it is not my place to judge the manner in wich others conduct themselves.

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Badges on my new club cut.

Another tradition that I have come across and partake in here in South Africa is badge and pin collecting. In some regions, such as South Africa, riders receive, upon entrance, a metal or cloth badge commemorating the event. Riders often attach these badges to their cuts as a way of displaying events that they had previously attended. Once more the club bylaws dictate whether or not this is allowed. For instance, the current club I associate with encourages this collection. Whereas certain clubs in the same region do not allow for this.

 

Along with the commemorative badges riders will often add other personal/customisation badges. Like in the image above I have added the Honda Wing emblem as I prefer Honda bikes. So each rider will add trinkets and such to make his or her cut their own. Another piece of customisation that I have come across is riders having their nickname embroided just below the bottom rocker on their cut.

So in essence, and to summarise, the cut can be seen as a biker’s passport. The patch and rockers displays the riders “nationality” (club), the customisation bits convey the rider’s identity and the badges can be seen as passport stamps, showing all the events and locations where the rider had previously been. All these things combined gives a rider a significant bond to their cut.

With all this in mind I wish you a safe ride and enjoyable journey. Go collect some “stamps”

New Year, New Addict

Hello all and happy new year. 2017 is here and that means that the Bike Addict Crew is back on the road, and the riding season is back in full swing. Like I had mentioned in our last post before we signed off for the holidays, I have made a few changes to the Bike Addict, WordPress hosted, site. Here are some of the changes that have been made:

  • First of all, we have added a past event page. Those of you who are feeling nostalgic can browse here to find links to articles about events that we have mentioned and attended in the past.
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  •  Secondly, we ditched the old “Milestone” widget for events countdowns and have instead replaced it with a genuine, fully functional upcoming events calendar. Here you can find a list of up to ten events to take place in the near future. This will be visible in the right margin of our Home/About, BlogPast Events, and Contact pages.
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    For the time being, this will only display events in and around South Africa. However, if you are in another region and have an event you would like to share, please let us know by making use of our Contact page. We would like to add events from all over the globe.
  • Thirdly, we have made a few visual changes. Adding a new background image, removing margin and footer clutter, and cleaning up the appearance of most of our page. Hopefully, delivering cleaner, more visually appealing pages for you, our fans.
  • Lastly, we have started a YouTube channel, which you can find here. Now we can share videos of our trips, or future “how to D.I.Y.” with our fans. Some of these videos will also be embedded in our posts for you to enjoy. For now, the channel is still under development, so please bear with us.

So there you have it. The Bike Addict Crew would like to present the cleaner, better looking site to you, our fans. We hope that we can share many stories with you in the coming year, and that you would share stories with us.

Have a save ride, and enjoy the journey.

Keeping your bike safe and secure

I’ve recently read an article in the Roodepoort Record that sent shivers down my spine. To read the article click here. I believe that this article will induce fear into even the most hardened rider. Having one’s trusty steed stolen is probably one of the worst feelings that any biker can experience. This also hits close to home, as my good friend , the not-so-stig-like Training wheels’ first ride had also been stolen recently.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to do some research and try to give some advice on trying to keep one’s ride safe.

At first glance, a disk lock or wheel lock, can inhibit the ability of a potential thief to move one’s bike with ease. These items generally lock onto the brake disk and/or wheel and inhibit the rotation of a wheel. This makes the bike very difficult to move for a single person. However, multiple thieves may still be able to pick up the bike and carry it away. Personally, I make use of a disk lock when parking my bike away from home. These locks are fairly inexpensive, small enough to fit into one’s pocket, and provide some security if you are on the go.

However, one isn’t always riding, nor at home to keep an eye on your bike. What can be done in such an event? This will depend on where and how your bike is parked.

If one’s bike is parked outside the best possible deterrent against theft is possibly chaining one’s bike to a sturdy object, such as a fence post, car port roof pillar or something similar. I would however advise against leaving one’s bike outside.

In my opinion the best place to park one’s bike overnight, is in a locked garage. This gives the least possibility of accessing your bike without your consent. Furthermore, one’s garage can be added to one’s alarm system, further hindering any unapproved access to one’s steed.

There are also those extremists who fit alarm systems, reacting to motion, and tracking systems to their bikes. If you have access to that sort of funds, it may be a good idea to go down that route.

Keep safe, ride safe and enjoy the journey.

Rider safety

A lot can be said for rider safety, especially in a country such as South Africa. But I think riders everywhere would agree that the roads are not as safe as they used to be, and bikes are faster now than ever before. Therefore it is important that every rider pay attention to ensure his or her own safety.

So a few points that may assist you in ensuring a safe journey:

Let us now address the age-old issue known by many names. Lane splitting. Line hopping. Line riding. In essence, the act of riding on the white line between lanes. I know a lot of riders do this to avoid traffic, this is twofold, as it reduces travel time and keeps the bike from running hot. However, non-bikers tend to dislike this and believe it’s against the law. Luckily for us it isn’t, but please double-check the laws in your region. Here’s the catch, cars in slow-moving traffic tend to switch lanes and bikers tend to get caught up in this mess. Keep a manageable speed, and be alert. Think about every possible action the cars ahead of you can perform.

Going along with the above is the issue of speed. That sweet, sweet temptress all true riders chase after. In many cases to our detriment. If the ignorant lane-changer doesn’t get us, the speeding fines surely will. Therefore, in my opinion, keep the speed well within the limits while traveling in urban areas. Leave the high-speed runs for when you are well outside urban areas and the reach of traffic.

Furthermore, keep your bike well maintained. A large percentage of bike accidents are caused by mechanical failure. Checking tire pressure, oil and coolant levels, remaining brake pad material, and light functions before a trip is of far more importance than most riders realise. If any of these components are not up to scratch, top up fluids, replace brake pads and check your electronics.

On the topic of electronics, riders should ensure that all the motorcycle’s running lights are functional. In a country such as South Africa, law dictates that riders should keep their headlights on at all times. Even if this is not mandatory, a running light or headlight greatly increases the notability of a motorcycle and therefore I recommend keep yours on at all times.

Alas, being mindful of one’s machine and surroundings can only decrease risk to a certain extent. This brings me to an old saying “Dress for the fall, not for the jol(party)”. Therefore wear all your protective apparel regardless of the weather conditions. In the event that your skill or machine lets you down, your gear will keep you from injury to a certain extent.

Ride safe and enjoy the journey

 

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Roar

In many ways, attaining a motorcycle could be one of the best decisions of your entire life. It is more than a bumper sticker, a phase, a feeling.. It is a calling, something only some hear, and fewer dare to answer. From personal experience, riding a bike can have amazing effects, such as stress and anxiety reduction, mood improvement, cleansing of the mind, and sudden feeling of awesomeness. Once the “bug” (as they call it) bites you, you’re hooked. This experience is like being splashed with cold water when you least expect it. Some experience this when they watch an incredible horse (or rider) for the first time, or it feels like the first time.. And at that moment the adventure-seeking adrenaline hungry part of your brain goes “I wanna do that”. Another way, which I experienced, is by riding passenger on a bike powerful enough to set alight the fire in your very soul. My experience was riding passenger on a 1000cc Honda Fireblade, which was the first time ever that I rode an iron horse.

Learning to ride may be easy..
But for some, earning respect for your horse comes at a price. If you do not respect the machine, it will buck you off like a wild stallion.

First thing to get used to may be the weight of the bike while your confidence builds. At first you may struggle to make some of the simplest turns, but after a while you will be so confident and you will know your bike weight so well you will start turning almost like Rossi (from experience, this is not recommended.. Trust me)
Secondly all together to get used to may be the throttle, clutch gears. A few things to look out for: trying to pull away in second gear….uphill (make sure you gear down as you come to the stop to avoid this), trying to get to first from neutral in a still standing position (best solution would be to release clutch and then pull, then try for 1st gear again), grinding gears (one reason could be because you release the clutch before you have completely selected your gear), The bike gives a violent jerk (after selecting a gear, slowly open your throttle to avoid this scare)

Last few things I wish to mention:
Function over form. Another way to explain would be dress for a fall, not for a photo shoot.

Don’t be a maniac. Ride properly and keep respect for your horse or else your family might have to pick up the pieces, and then they also have pick up pieces of the bike (understand what I’m saying?).

Just because a bike is beautiful and spotless doesn’t mean it’s a bargain when it’s going for 15000. Check your buy or take a biker-friend along who knows a thing or two.

Nod at your fellow bikers riding by, spread the love

“Riding a motorcycle is like chicken soup for the soul. It’s more than a phase, it’s a lifestyle.”