Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Logitech K270 Wireless Keyboard "Almost" Just Works With Ubuntu

Last year I invested in the Logitech Touchpad and reviewed it in this post. It is part of Logitech wireless range which allows you to connect their products to a computer with a small USB "unifying receiver". This little device can support up to six wireless products so after almost a year I decided to add my second wireless device, this being the Logitech K270 Keyboard. At the current price of £17.98 I was not 100% about just how good the quality of the keyboard would be considering how well built the touchpad has proven to be. But on arrival I was very happy to unbox an item up to Logitech's usual high standard.

Logitech K270 Wireless Keyboard

Logitech Unifying Receiver beside a €1 coin


It is not a very large keyboard and lacks any of the ergonomic extra's like a curve and rest for your wrist but if you want to use this on your lap then those sort of features are not really required. As I type this blog post up using the keyboard I am finding no issues that jump out. I like that the keys make the more muted typing sound versus others that are much more 'clicky'. It does have the usual option of using it in the flat or raised positions and have to admit I found a recent article on Lifehacker about the real reason those legs are there! The usual media keys are present, except for the media forward/back buttons. They seemed to have been placed with the Home and End keys to save space, but do not seem to work. It only takes a minute to assign a shortcut to them though via the keyboard option in system settings.

Now to the only problem I had with using the keyboard with Ubuntu, when I first turned it on it did not seem to work. As it turns out you need to 'pair' the new device with the existing unifying receiver, which obviously makes sense as you could imagine the issues in a busy office! This Logitech product is branded as being Linux compatible which is all well and good, except that the software that does the actual pairing is only available for Windows and Mac. So while your products will work out of the box, as a Ubuntu user you will need to find a Windows or Mac machine to download the Logitech software, pair the devices on one of the receivers then once you plug it back into your Linux machine everything is working as hoped.

So for the price you get a very good quality keyboard, that also happens to be wireless and when used in conjunction with other member of the Logitech range of wireless products really gives you a greater degree of freedom, comfort and cleaner workspace environment. For all that I am happy to recommend giving this a try, but be warned that if you are planning on pairing devices up you will need access to a Windows or Mac machine for a few minutes.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Another Fill-Up For The NC700X

Nyx watching the sunset over the Village at Lyons

Okay, I know it is early days but I am still in the honeymoon period with the bikes MPG. Being beyond the manuals recommended 500km of conservative riding I have been trying to get into a more natural sync with the NC700X (Nyx). I had been keeping the gear shifts below 3,000rpm and had been finding the feeling from that less than ideal, but I have found that shifting in the 3,500-4,000rpm range is much better. The power delivery feels smoother and the overall riding experience has evolved from quick glances down to the rev counter to just concentrating on the the ride.

With my riding not being as conservative since the first fuel-up I knew that my next average MPG would not be as good as the last, and I was right. We dropped from 84.1 MPG the first time to 81.7 MPG this last fill-up. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. If you want to keep track of mileage keep an eye on my Fuelly page.

Essentially I am getting over twice the mileage out of my 14ltr tank then I was with my previous 15ltr tank. Am I riding her as hard as I could be? No, of course not, but I never rode the Buell particularly hard either and most of that was commuting.

I am waiting to take her in for the 1st service, then after that I am going to do some light touring with her, maybe a couple 100 km's of camping for a few nights. The MPG and how we get on in general over that time will be a good acid test for any bigger trips, though they would not be happening to next year at the earliest anyway.

So yes, I am over the moon still with how economical the NC700X is proving to be and I have yet to find myself missing the power I once had. After that planned short trip also expect some reviews of the accessories I have fitted so far, but needless to say its all been going superb thus far.

Peace and keep the rubber side down.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Honda NC700X MPG Update

FINALLY got around to the first full fuel-up tonight on the NC700X. The bike came with about 3-4 bars on the dash so when that ran out at 172 km I filled up, reset the trip and tonight the last bar on the dash started flashing to let me know I was into the reserve. Most owners seem to suggest that that flashing bar should be good for up to 70 km's depending on how hard you ride obviously!

Anyway, filled up the tank, logged it all on Fuelly and I can report that I managed an astounding 3.4 L/100km or 84.1mpg.

I am finding it hard to believe, though I should add the caveats that I have been keeping the revs low and generally riding easier than I normally would, at least until I get the first service out of the way. But to say that motorcycles can be fun and still be green at the same time...it feels good ;-)

Peace and keep the rubber side down.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Gone In 65 Days

1817 days or approximately 4 years, 11 months and 21 days of Buell ownership came to an end on June 22nd when Bikeworld rang me up to tell me an offer had been made on the bike. Little over 8 weeks up for sale she has found a new owner who I hope enjoys at least as many miles on board as I did. A well deserved thank you has also got to go out to the guys and girls at Bikeworld who not only helped me sell my bike but also arranged a loaner bike to help keep me mobile over the period. Top service and highly recommend you drop into them.

Like they say, when one garage door closes another one opens (or something like that). On Friday 5th July I dropped into Bikeworld again, but this time to collect my new ride. I will admit that economics played a large part in my decision process, but it also ticks all the other boxes I look at when looking for a motorcycle, most of which I talked about in a previous post. This motorcycle will be a new Honda NC700X.

Honda NC700X with fool (me) on board at the 2012 NEC Motorcycle Show

If you are not overly familiar there are some reviews at MCN, Motorcycle USA, Ultimate Motorcycling and Ash on Bikes that should give you a sense of what its all about. On paper it is a lot less motorcycle then the Buell, 1203cc down to 670cc, 103hp down to 47hp and the Honda appeared to weigh heavier at 218kg but that is a wet weight versus the Buell 211kg dry. When I first saw the Honda at the 2011 NEC Motorcycle I was not completely convinced but ever since the first reviews dropped, the owner forums comments and finally my own test ride on one I have to admit that I have become a believer. My motorcycle insurance company, Adelaide, told me it would be a drop of 6 classes, so the long term savings keep coming.

With the Buell I admit I came into ownership more heart then brain lead, while now I am buying the Honda more brain then heart lead. I see little reason why I should not enjoy at least the next 5 years with this bike but it is early days yet and I will be sharing my progress as I go. I have been lurking on owner forums and generally there is little to say about ownership, its a brand new Honda and you get what people have come to expect from the brand.

This will be the  first Honda I have owned, so excited by that aspect too. It has Honda HISS security features in there. There is little more to say now as I frankly have not spent much time with it though I will mention my farkle list, at the first service Bikeworld will be fitting heated grips and a 12v accessory socket. The rest I will add over time, but this is what I am starting out with;

Luggage:



A 3 box Hepco & Becker system since I already have Hepco & Becker luggage and accessories which can be re-used on the NC700X. After almost 5 years using their products and comparing them to my precious Givi experience I find them to be a much better luggage option all round. The Buell had 42ltr Journey side cases and a 38ltr top-case. The size of the side cases would prove to be awkward when commuting, so I have gone for the smaller profile Junior 30ltr cases and matching Junior TC40 top-case. The top-case will fit my small Caberg Justissimo GT flip-up helmet. Thanks to the trunk in the NC700X I have only lost 1ltr in total storage (Buell 122ltr, NC700X 121ltr). I ordered all the luggage from Moto24.org.

Hand-Guards:

Right now leading contenders are some SW-Motech branded barkbusters. Buell was the first motorcycle I had owned with hand-guards and I loved them. Its not like the NC700X has a fairing with sculpted in wing mirrors so hand-guards make a massive difference on those winter night rides home. In conjunction with the heated grips its my idea of luxury. I have these on order from Maddocks and should hopefully have fitted within the next few weeks.

Mud-Guards:




What is it with motorcycles these days and mud-guards? The NC700X does not even have a rear mudguard and that leaves the rear shock prone to undue grit blasting in my opinion. That and getting off the bike to go into somewhere is always better when your back is not covered in mud. Going by owner reviews this seems to be a no-brainer. I used Pyramid plastics on my Kawasaki Er-6f so happy to use them again.

Chain-Oiler:



I do not own a car, if I am going anywhere its on the bike. The Buell was the first non-chain bike I had and it was brilliant. My previous two bikes had Scottoilers fitted, but due to how the NC700X is constructed you need to fit an electronic Scottoiler, which seems silly expensive and an overly complicated solution. Other owners on the NC700 forums and a few magazine reviews speak highly of a new UK company making the Tutoro chain oiler. This is what I have fitted, will need to play around to get the right drip rate, but it seems like a decent bit of kit.

Crash Protection:

Considering getting some crash bars to match the style of the bike and to help protect the plastics in the case of slow speed off. These items will be further down the road after all the rest has been sorted.

Wrapping Up

With ownership I am sure other tweaks may come along based on my own preferences, the above are just items I want to get things into my comfort zone. I already have various universal items so they will be bolted on as and when needed. The best compliment would be that I do not need to add anything else, but lets just wait and see.

On personal note, I do like naming my bikes and have continued the tradition with the NC700X. She shall be henceforth known as Nyx and I am looking forward to many happy miles on board.

Peace and keep the rubber side down.