You know what parents are like, strong opinions as to what is best for you, mildly tolerant of your motorcycle ‘hobby’, but secretly scared to death you’re gonna kill yourself on your bike. So my old man keeps seeing lots of big adventure bikes adorned with bright spotlights, and declares I must install said distinctive pattern of lights on my bike to ensure I stand out. My Dad has a few odd opinions, but more often than not he’s right.
After borking at the price of offerings from Givi etc, I decided to take a punt on some cheap Chinese lights off eBay. Very cheap at under £20 for a pair including wiring. I didn’t have high expectations, but they can’t be that bad, can they? Read on…
After Mary had flattened her battery twice this week, I promised to wire the heated grips up properly with a relay…
When we first bought Mary’s CBF500 it came with heated grips fitted, but they were installed with no relay so all to easy to leave on when parking up. After Mary had flattened her battery twice in this manner this week, I promised to wire them up properly with a relay to cut the power when the bike’s ignition is off. However, the heated grips aren’t the only accessory wired in, we have a satnav, USB sockets and probably more gadgets in the future. So, to help simplify stuff, I opted for a secondary fuse / distribution box.
Tapping the rear number plate live is a good choice in case the new circuit causes a short, loosing the number plate light won’t prevent us riding.
A mate happened to have a basic Mictuning 6-way fuse box going spare – perfect for the job. My plan was to tap a switched live feed from the rear number plate light circuit, which would trigger a relay, to feed this fuse box and in turn all of the bike’s gadgets. Tapping the rear number plate live is a good choice in case the new circuit causes a short for any reason, loosing the number plate light is no big loss and won’t prevent us riding. On the CBF500 this light is connected by some bullet connectors behind the rear right hand fairing panel. I opted to strip back the insulation and solder on a feed, rather than using a Scotch lock which have a reputation of failing. The final join was covered in heat shrink wrap and waterproofed with amalgamating tape.
There’s nothing more annoying than being far away from home with no battery life left in your camera or phone. It’s sods law that at this point you’ll really want to capture some video footage from an incident, need to phone for recovery or just witness the perfect shenanigans to go viral on YouTube next. All of which are easily resolved with the addition of a USB power socket on your bike.
Following the absolute nightmare I previously had removing the rear shock from Mary’s CBF500, I was adamant not to let the newly refurbished shock also get ruined by the elements. By default Honda, in their infinite wisdom leave the shock completely unprotected from the rear tyre and all the curd and wet it flings up into the wheel arch – yeah, nice one. A rear hugger is the perfect solution help keep the swing arm, shock and most of the wheel arch protected.
When it comes to hard luggage and top boxes, the name Givi is synonymous, with this leading Italian brand make some of the most popular luggage on the market. As a London commuter hard luggage is incredible useful for carrying stuff; the essential security chain, work clothes to change into, packed lunch, laptop, books etc. A top box will carry the lot with ease, whilst keeping it all dry and secure. In the event of a spill, you really don’t want to carrying all that stuff on your person.
For the last few months I have been using the rather good RoadHawk Ride bullet action camera (read my review here). It’s a fairly cheap and cheerful camera, that works well and is great for capturing footage for insurance claims. However, one of the biggest issues I’ve had is the battery life, I only get about an hour of use before it’s flat. Although plenty long enough for my regularly commute to work and back (I charge it at my desk during day), it is frustratingly short when heading on a longer ride out.
The Ride is supplied with an assortment of cables and adaptors, including wires to run from a USB socket and directly from a 12V power feed. Better still, the Ride will automatically start recording on receiving power and automatically stop recording when power is cut. Along with it’s auto-looping feature, it’s perfectly feasible to hard wire it to the bike and literally just forget about it, which is exactly what I recently did.
It seems every biker wants to be a video blogger these days, strapping a camera to their helmet/bike and recording their rides for all and sundry to watch on YouTube. And why not, decent HD camera are now very affordable and the evidence they gather can be invaluable if some idiot pulls out on you. Which, as we all know, happens far too often these days.
So back last autumn, I spotted this Roadhawk Ride camera on special offer in Halfords and decided to join the vblogging band wagon. With the insurance claim from my incident in September turning sour as the third party falsified a witness, I only wish I had purchased a camera sooner. You will probably have seen some of the footage from this camera on my YouTube channel already, but after a few months of use, here is my proper write up. The Roadhawk RIDE is a dinky little cylindrical camera, just 80mm long and 25mm in diameter, that comes with a plethora of brackets for mounting it pretty much anywhere you like. The rear of the camera unscrews to reveal the memory card and USB socket.
Recently I splashed out on a new Motad Venom complete exhaust system for my Fazer. Comprising of a stainless steel downpipes, nice oval end can and all the trinkets for fitting. Motad have their factory located in the heart of the black country up in Walsall, which is nice to know as supporting local trade is always preferable. Motad sell their products direct through their ebay shop or their website, and in either case you can get a better price than going through a reseller. I ordered their full exhaust system; downpipes, gaskets, link pipe, end can and necessary clamps/brackets. Motad offered me a good price in exchange for a write up on this blog. The whole lot arrived quickly in a lot smaller box than I was expecting, but dismantled the system is not as large as you first perceive. On opening, I had a box full of shiny goodies. All packed well, everything needed for installation included and a short set of instructions for fitting.
This is the first time I’ve tackled the fitting of downpipes, but after consulting my Haynes manual, some guides on the Fazer Owners Club forums and various other websites, it didn’t seem to difficult. Here are the steps I followed.
Treated myself to a set of nice new stainless steel downpipes and can from Motad. Current stock pipes have turned into complete rust bucket and full of holes at the bottom by the 4-into-1. Not bad considering they’re over 10 years old now.
Will fit downpipes one upcoming weekend when weather permits. But might stick can on sooner, can’t wait to see how it sounds.
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London