I’m sure there are few bikers who wouldn’t want to take their bikes onto a super smooth track, with no speed limits and great corners to tip into. However, I’m also sure there are many lesser experienced bikers who are a little nervous or put off booking a full on track day. If you’ve only got a little street bike for commuting or are not a confident rider, you will likely be daunted by the idea of hitting the track with loads of race replica, crotch rockets, fresh out of tyre warmers and fuelled on testosterone and macho posturing.
Undoubtedly they prefer teaching bikers to ride better, than cleaning up motorcycle mess off the roads when things go wrong.
However, a track day is a great way to improve your riding and learn what your bike can do in a safe environment. And this is the core aim of this novice Ride Skills track day I attended, run by Kent Fire service in conjunction with IAM and MSVT. Undoubtedly they prefer teaching bikers to ride better, than cleaning up motorcycle mess off the roads when things go wrong. The day included:
Somehow, I managed to break one of the clips for the inner sun visor on my Schuberth S2 helmet (same visor for C3 and C3 Pro). Despite using duct tape to secure it, invariably it would come free and start flapping around whilst I’m in the middle of riding. Less than ideal.
Today I finally got round to fitting my replacement sun visor. A little bit tricky as the pins on the hinges that go through the visor are slanted to ease the visor slotting in and prevent it coming out. I managed to gently push one pin from behind with a piece of wooden dowl, then prise the visor out. The visor having broken on the other side negated the need to repeat on the other pin.
No matter how hard you try, you inevitable cover it in finger prints…
Fitting the new sun visor was a bit easier, but required some coordination to slide both sides of the visor into both hinges at the same time whilst keeping them and helmet still. No matter how hard you try, you inevitable cover it in finger prints… 🙁
The replacement sun visor cost £35 from SportsBikeShop. Note it comes in two sizes for different helmet sizes.
Just picked up this Alpinestars one piece suit off eBay. With a bit of patience I managed to blag this decent nick one for a monkey, not bad as they often go for £150-300 odd. Sizing was a bit tricky, as I’m pretty tall and skinny (6’1″ & 11 stone), but an EU52 fits well for height, not too bad around the waist and it only a spot baggy around the arse. Plenty of room for my separate back protector. The knee sliders are also nicely worn, so I won’t look a complete track day virgin… 😉
My plan is to try some track days, starting with a Novice Skills Day at Brand Hatch. Run in combination with Kent Fire Service and MSV, it covers Biker Down, slow speed control, an IAM/RoSPA observed ride and two 20 min track sessions. All for the princely sum of £55. It’s been a while since I did a Biker Down course and more slow speed and IAM tuition is always handy. Watch this space for my report back on the day.
It seems everyone is riding with a camera protruding from their helmet these days, all super hot shot VBlogger’s in the making and hoping to match the likes of Baron Von Grumble / Royal Jordanian, or simply bring all wrong doers to justice. The reality is, 99% of the footage shot on a bike is pretty dull to watch and the remaining 1% needs some serious editing to create 5 minutes of entertaining YouTube video.
However, here are some more adventurous riders whose YouTube channels don’t contain yet another dull city commute dodging pedestrians. Enjoy!
You’ve all been there, spent ages on Google Maps trying to plot a perfect super twisty route down all the quiet back roads; but come unstuck when trying to follow the route whilst on the bike. At the end of the day, you’ve got a computer with a route on the screen and a phone in your pocket with a GPS and maps – why is it so hard to your route from one to other and then ride it? This howto guide goes through all you need to ride a route off Google Maps on your bike, using your phone.
The ABUS Granit Detecto is a big chunky, yellow disc lock with a built in alarm. But, as we already have big chunky security chains, why did we buy this disc lock which is surely not as effective? Yes, it’s true, chaining your bike to something does make it more secure, but lugging a 10kg of chain and padlock around where ever you go is less than ideal. Especially as a Givi Monokey top box is officially only rated for 10kg…
Thus the choice to use a disc lock that is easier to transport and still reasonably effective as a theft deterrent is appealing. For example, when touring and you’re already carrying tonnes of luggage, the last thing you want to pack is a huge chain as well. That and spotting this lock reduced on Amazon prime sealed the deal.
Today has been a productive day finishing off my regular servicing of the bike. The big downside of tackling routine servicing yourself is finding the time, and so I was forced to split the work across to free weekends a couple of weeks apart.
First the oil change, air filter and rear brake service (which included a new Hel brake line). Today finishing off, front brake service, carb balancing and other remaining checks etc.
The Morgan Carbtune tool makes easy work of balancing. The most difficult thing on the Fazer is finding the adjustment screws buried deep between the carbs. They’re almost impossible to see and you just have to poke a long screwdriver down into the engine and guess where they are!
Last weekend I made another motorcycle trip up from London to Welshpool, North Wales to visit family and friends; which of course took a long, convoluted and twisty route there and back. Come on?! With beautiful weather and a couple of days to kill on the bike, you think I’m just gonna sit on the motorway for 4 hours? Stuff that…