Friday, 26 October 2007

900+ Miles and the 1st Service Over...

'Karma' (my Kawasaki) has been broken in.

It has been a relatively quick (& fun) process. Keeping the riding style smooth and relaxed has benefited us both. Giving me more chance to enjoy my journey while Karma will reap the benefits in the long term.

My first two bikes (both second hand) needed a fairly regular supply of oil. Yet over 900 miles and I have not needed to top up once, in fact, the level has not even moved! One cause of high oil consumption can be badly broken-in engines, as the mechanic was explaining to me today. If the engine has been abused, seals are damaged and thus oil escapes and gets burnt off. Then again, if you are too gentle and do not use the gears this can cause 'glazing', which I will not try to explain, but all seems perfect so far with Karma.

The gears were also much smoother after the service. The slightly clunky feel replaced by a much smoother action while she also feels more responsive in the lower gears. I also had the original bulbs taken out and replaced with 50% brighter bulbs due to the dark mornings and nights from now on, combined with twisty country roads!

Fuel consumption is also excellent, 900+ miles (or 1448km) cost me €60 (@ approx €1.10 p/l) which works out at about 26KM/L (or 60 mpg US, 72 mpg Imp). Remember I do most my commuting with the top and side cases attached, without those the fuel consumption should be even better.

I have yet to hear a bad comment about her looks. Kawasaki seems to have got the mix of looks and budget spot on. The indicators integrated into the fairing and the location of the exhaust are usually what surprises most onlookers. The only thing I would love to see is an immobiliser as standard, as with the higher priced Kawasaki's, this would be of enormous benefit.

She continues to impress me and has yet to give me a seconds trouble. We have a long weekend here now so I will let her have a well earned rest along with a wash and polish!

Keep the rubber side down...

Friday, 19 October 2007

Have Luggage...Will Travel



The Givi hard luggage is fitted...at last!

This ended up being some adventure and the most difficult of my accessories to fit. I originally just wanted the 2 side cases, as the single top box is never enough to meet my requirements. So imagine my surprise when I found out that you can not fit them without the top box rack. So, like it or not, an order was placed for the top box rack and a top box. Note Kawasaki may void your warranty if you mount a top box larger then the 'Monokey E370', so keep that in mind.

Once that hurdle was got over installation went well. I did have to buy an extra pair of M6 nuts & screws though since you have to relocate the rear indicator lights to make way for the pannier racks...as I said, do not expect this to be an 'easy' job. But time and allot of patience will see you through. As always, loosely fit all the parts before securing.

So, my bike is now fitted with the Givi 'Monokey Side V35' panniers & 'Monokey E370' top box. They look great, though the reflectors on them are more for show then anything else, so I am looking at getting some reflective tape to help increase their visibility. In operation they are simple to use, while you can leave your gear in relative security and away from the elements. Having 3 separate keys is a slight downside!

I am loving them, even though finally getting them fitted took some time. People have even commented that the bike looks like a sports tourer, which is cool! Next Friday she is booked in for her first service, so one more week of gentle riding...then maybe a trip down to Cork early next month.

As always...many more photo's on my Flickr page!

"For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as

"It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end." - Anon


Always Use Lubricant!



I have fitted the Scottoiler MK7 Universal Kit & the optional Dual Injector.

Fitting is very straight forward. Though the instructions that come with products are very general, the Scottoiler website have guides available for specific motorcycle models, these are what I used for the installing of the Scottoiler to my Kawasaki ER-6F.

It is all very straight forward. The only awkward bit is getting to the rubber bung over the spigot for the vacuum connector, this is because you have to get behind the fairing. Other then that, I took my time, test fitted the location of the reservoir and tubing several times then fixed all securely when I was happy. Make sure you have no air in the pipes, this is the problem I had, re-primed a second time fixed it.

Highly recommended addition to your motorcycle. It will extend the life of your chain & sprockets, also no messy chain lube that flings and washes off...also once less thing to worry about knowing that your chain is always well lubed.

Keep the rubber side down!

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Congratulations!

What a year for motorcycle racing! The World Superbike and British Superbike Championships are over, while MotoGP has 2 more rounds, though the championship has already been won.

So, congratulations to:
  • Casey Stoner, AUS, Ducati Marlboro, 2007 MotoGP Champion
  • James Toesland, GB, Ten Kate Honda, 2007 WSBK Champion
  • Ryuichi Kiyonari, JPN, HM Plant Honda, 2007 BSB Champion
These are the 2nd championship titles for JT (2004, 2007) and Kiyo (2006, 2007). While Stoner in only his 2nd year of MotoGP, the 1st year of 800cc bikes, manages to comfortably win the title. Ducati's 1st MotoGP championship!

Now JT will be in MotoGP next year on one of Yamaha's satellite teams, with many hoping he will end up taking Rossi's ride in 2009!? While Kiyo takes JT's place with Ten Kate in WSBK. Stoner's domination of the MotoGP championship has caused many waves, with talk of maybe just one tyre manufacturer for next year (a control tyre, like in WSBK), or maybe a relaxation in current regulations.

Who knows? In fact, I just want next year's season back on TV as soon as possible. WSBK, in my opinion, was the best championship to watch this year. BSB second, mainly due to ITV's very 'interesting' viewing schedule, while MotoGP was hurt simply by the runaway success of a very talented rider, backed by a relatively small factory team.

If next year has half as many surprises as this year then it really can not come quick enough.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Ermax Mudguards Fitted



The Ermax mudguards have been fitted, front and rear, with very little trouble. Here is a brief summary.

The easiest, in my opinion, is the rear hugger. Simply follow the instructions that come with the hugger and job should be done in 10 mins. Basically, you remove the chain guard (to be placed safely away for future use). Then remove the rear suspension nut. Slide in the rear hugger. Make sure your happy with the position, then refit all the nuts & screws you removed (gently, over tightening will damage the hugger). There, now you should have a sexy looking rear hugger!

Now the front mudguard extension...this I was tempted not to do after reading the instructions, but then decided to do it my way. Basically, I would recommend you remove the front mudguard all together and do the work on a bench. I marked a line about 10mm up from the bottom lip, then measured in from each side about 30mm, then 40mm. At these points I 'very carefully' drilled 2mm holes. Then I test fitted the extension, marked out the corresponding holes, drilled again. Then I fitted the extension with the adhesive strip (supplied) then secured with the self-tapping screws (supplied). Now slip back into position and job done!

Head to my Flickr page for more close-ups.

Keep the rubber side down.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

The Politics Test...My Results!

You are a

Social Liberal
(60% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(38% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Centrist (38e/60s)










Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Friday, 5 October 2007

If You Have The Time, I Have The Ride...


Today I collected my stunning new Kawasaki ER-6F.

Was this the motorcycle I originally wanted...no. I had intended to get her twin, the ER-6N, but after some hurdles (and maybe some pragmatism?) I 'settled' for the ER-6F. Now I have never liked the term 'settled' (think, 'settled down') as it seems to imply that you have not gotten what you wanted and have settled for the next best thing, if you were lucky!

I felt like that initially. Sure, I told myself I had the benefit of the fairing and it would make my year-round riding that more comfortable. Since I have never had the benefit of a screen before, yet alone a full fairing, I could only see it as a good thing. But good is an understatement, it really does make a vast difference on open roads. Getting off the motorcycle I felt great, no battling wind-blast, just a relatively relaxed ride.

Now I can appreciate what touring riders are talking about when they get into that 'bubble' behind their screen. I doubt their is very little comparison between my little fairing and a full on tourer, but I am loving it.

The ride is very smooth and she is very forgiving. I have been a bit sloppy with my clutch on some low-speed manoeuvres, but she has not complained. I will make up for it by giving her a nice soapy bath and a coating of Scottoiler FS 365, all should be forgiven. The hardest aspect of owning a new motorcycle has to be the break-in period. The dealer has told me to keep it below 6,000rpm for the next 800Km, then bring her in for the 1st service. With commuting each day that should be within a month...then I can really start to explore both of our limits.

I also had the dealer fit some crash bungs and an alarm/immobiliser, they should help put my mind at ease when I take her out for a spin. Also will be posting pictures of my Scottoil and Ermax accessories I have fitted, so keep an eye on my Flickr page. All in all, I think I got the better looking sister of the pair and she will even be easier to live with. What more could I want?

Time for me to return to the garage and take in the beauty of my mistress...

Thursday, 4 October 2007

The Return

I am happy to announce that all has been sorted out and my return to two wheels will be tomorrow morning!

Admittedly, I had my doubts, this has been a rollercoaster of an experience over the last few weeks trying to get the bike, returning to education, trying to get into some sort of routine and the added complication of chasing buses and trains...today alone 2 people commented on how tired I looked. Though stressed would probably be more accurate.

So...within 24 hours you loyal viewers should be treated to photos of my new 'mistress', while over the coming weeks I will post follow-ups on the modifications I intend to carry out. Those currently on my 'to-do' list being:
  • Fitting a Scottoiler (with Dual Injector)
  • Rear Hugger (From Ermax)
  • Front Mud-Guard Extension (From Ermax)
  • Givi Panniers & Top Box
Plenty for me to cut my knuckles on while I do some bonding and of course the mandatory test ride after making even the slightest of adjustments!

Keep the rubber side down.