This month I was posted to San Jose for work, but unlike most work trips this one included a stay over the weekend. So, stuck on my tod in California I decided to hire a Harley to explore the area as it’s not often you get chance to cruise down the West Coast freeways on a big hog, definitely on many bikers bucket lists and too good a chance to miss. I hired my bike from EagleRider in San Francisco, who had a wide selection of Harley’s to choose from (but also have others). I initially booked a Sportster 1200, but due to unavailability was given a Dyna Low Rider 103 as an upgrade – nice one!
This week I picked up this CBF500 bargain for my wife. For sometime now, she’s been hankering for a bike, something simply and low to get back into biking properly after nearly 15 years. A while ago we tried an old Kawasaki ZZR400 but it just wasn’t a good fit for Mary – too wide, too heavy, too tall and too much of stretch to the bars. She just wasn’t comfortable or confident on it, so it didn’t stay long.
A while ago, Mary had a great back-to-biking session at the local training centre 1 Stop Instruction on a lowered CBF500, hence we opted for this bargain. It’s definitely a commuter hack, certainly not pristine, but it’s mechanically sound and should be ideal to regain confidence. It’s a 2006 model, with 44K on clock. Engine is good, forks seals recently done, tyres 1 year old, chain/sprocket have plenty of life, wheel and head race bearing seem goo, no holes in downpipes and it came 6 months MOT left. It’s been down a couple of times, with some minor dents to tank and crack in front fender, but still a bargain at £900.
Spotting this shiny chop on my journey through London. Not your usual commuter hack.
Back home after tiring day walking around the London MCN Show down at the Excel centre. Pretty local, so seemed a good plan, however in hindsight it’s debatable if taking the two kids was also a good plan. Much moaning, whining, squabbling and numerous toilet stops later, we’re feeling pretty damned drained!
The MCN show is not huge, certainly not a patch on the Brum show at the NEC, but still visited by all the main manufacturers; Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, KTM, BMW, Ducati, Harley, Victory, Moto Guzzi. There was also an Ariel stand, some Lexmoto and Peugeot scoots on show too. No Royal Enfield’s this year though. No brand spanking new releases unveiled, but it did give me chance to check out first hand the new Yamaha R1 and Tracer, the Kwak H2 (No H2R on display though).
What on earth is going on? After being totally obliterated in the ’70s by a wave of imported Japanese bikes, the British motorbike manufacturing industry seems to be making a bit of a come back. We’ve all seen Triumph return to great success, but now many more British brands are hitting the market with brand new bikes that look pretty damned good. Continue reading “The Big British Motorcycle Renaissance” »
At the weekend the Bike Shed MC were hosting their annual show down in Tobacco Dock, East London, having outgrown their usual Shoreditch haunt. The event was a huge showcase of the best custom bikes, cafe racers, cruisers, bobbers and other random hand built two wheel mayhem. The weather was lovely, but unfortunately this was a family outing, so the bike remained at home. But that didn’t stop hundreds of other bikers descending and enjoying the chilled out atmosphere. But I couldn’t help wondering if I’d fit in better with a well trimmed beard, waxed moustache and a full sleeve tattoo. A peculiar blend of ’50s rockabilly and Chap was very much in vogue.
I couldn’t help wondering if I’d fit in better with a well trimmed beard and waxed moustache…
It was good to check out all the funky bikes, even if I’d be hesitant to take any out on the streets of London myself, style over substance seemed to pervade in many instances. Knobbly tyres and Hessian wrapped pipes are definitely this seasons look. Front mudguards are optional and the more belts on show the better.
Hope you like the snaps of all the best bikes we saw. The kids pinched my camera for most of the show as they were getting a bit bored, so please excuse the odd framing or any not quite in focus. They were pissed they couldn’t sit on all the bikes like at the last show we went to!
And there we have it, the ZZR has now gone. Mary never really got on with this bike, as great as it is, Mary was just too short to really be confident on it. It was too high (even with cut down seat), wide and too much of a stretch across the tank for her. Real shame.
Still, whilst servicing it and getting it running sweet, I’ve learnt a lot of invaluable skills. I’ve enjoyed having a good tinker and it’s been really satisfying to fix the odd niggle. It was also great to borrow when my Fazer was off the road. It’s sad to see it go, but the cash will be go towards a better suited bike for Mary.
Yesterday we had a family outing to the MCN bike Show down at Excel London, as such not on bikes, but in the car. Bad as we had to pay £15 for parking and get stuck in the rush hour jams on the way home, but good in that we stayed dry and had more room for shopping. 🙂
The show took up a sizeable area of Excel, but ironically was located directly opposite the (push) Bike Show, so cue lots of confused people expectantly finding bikes with (or without engines). A lot of the big brans were present at the show, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, Ducati, BMW, KTM, Harley, Indian, Royal Enfield, etc. However notable there was no Suzuki… On the Friday, the show was reasonably busy, but not too busy and we had plenty to opportunity to sit on many bikes and get a feel for for them. Something the kids loved doing at every step! With Mary’s short stature, it was a great chance for her to check out what bikes suited her best. The Ducati Monster 696, Honda CB500 and KTM Duke 390 all seemed good candidates.
Whilst wondering around London the other day, I spotted this funky little Yammy. It’s an old SRX-6 (SRX600) from the ’80s, a 608cc single, with kick start. Flopped in the US, but was popular in Japan (along with the 400cc equivalent). Could well become a modern classic and often compared to old Goldstar’s.