To celebrate one full year of riding since passing my DAS test, I’m kicking off a little competition to win some handy goodies useful to all bikers out there:-
First Prize: NikWax Leather Care Kit. Featuring leather cleaner, leather restorer, aqueous wax for footwear, glove waterproofer and visor water repellant. Ideal combination to see you through wet weather. I reviewed this leather care kit earlier in the year.
Second Prize: Can of ACF50 anti-corrosion spray. Halts existing rust and prevents new. Perfect for protecting you bike through the winter.
My wife finally sourced herself another motorbike. After passing her test in ’98, first riding a crappy YB100, then a VT250, but sadly bikeless for the last 12 years. Now she has picked up this classic Kawasaki ZZR400 E off a good friend. It’s getting on a bit, not in perfect nick, but solid and well maintained since a recent full rebuild.
The ZZR400 is a veritable pocket rocket. Jap import, sleeved down version of the ZZR600. Great handling, plenty of beans, loads of fun from 8000 rpm up.
The seat has already been trimmed a bit, to shave a couple of centimetres off to aid Mary’s stability. Some crash bobbins are also on order to protect that precious fairing. Watch this space for more antics on this bike.
A good friend is looking for a bike upgrade and so has this old Kawasaki ZZR400 going cheap. Getting on a bit, but a good little pocket rocket, which we know has been well looked after. It’s petite enough to suit Mary’s stature perfectly. However I found it very cramped for my legs.
When planning to take to the road on two wheels, novice motorcyclists should realise that motorbikes vary considerably in size, power, weight and handling. No beginner should hop on a Kawasaki 2012 ZX-14R, which packs a 1,441cc engine and can reach speeds of up to 186mph (or higher with the limiter removed), generating 11,000rpm, 192bhp (over 200bhp with a modified exhaust) and 113lb.ft of torque. The ZX-14R is certainly no bike for beginners, but some of the models listed below may be suitable.
Spent the afternoon giving the Fazer a damned good clean and wax. Washing off all that bike eating salt that had accumulated over the last few weeks. Looks much better now.
I was hoping to put some fresh ACF50 on it to help protect it from corrosion, but I was totally out and on visiting Halfords, they had never heard of the stuff! Very annoying. As you can see them downpipes really need some ACF50 on them. Otherwise I can envisage myself replacing them with some new stainless steel ones in the not too distant future.
And there she is. Damned she’s nice. I only hope I can keep her looking this sweet.
Found this on Gumtree, it was a little more than I initially wanted to spend, but it’s great condition. Owned from new by a fair weather ride, who has kept it in a shed and only put 13K on the clock. I took a good friend along, whose been riding bikes for decades, to give it a once over and confirm there’s nothing dodgy about it. He told me to buy it quick, otherwise he would!
Now I’ve passed my test, I can’t stop itching to get back on a bike. Every day I take the bus/tube to work, I longingly look at bikes going by wishing I had my own.
But what bike do I get? I’m very tempted by the Honda CBF500, it’s what I learnt on, what I know. It’s a good bike, that seems to be universally well regarded. A city full of couriers on them can’t be wrong. I like the idea of ABS, as an extra precaution and help me while I continue to build up my experience. I will inevitably make mistakes, maybe the ABS could prevent some.
The CBF’s are still quite new ish though, so not the cheapest second hand. Unless its ex-courier and has done intergalactic miles. The older CB500’s are more reasonable, definitely fit a budget of about a £1000. But older and no ABS.
A good friend has recommended a Yamaha Fazer FZS600. Slightly bigger, more powerful and similar in price second hand. Insurance costs are about the same as the CBF500 too. Bit more edge, probably last me longer, I’ll less likely to out grow it so soon. But no ABS.
The bikini fairing on the Fazer should afford a little more protection from elements on the motorway. But it’s also a worry, as I will inevitable drop my first bike and probably crack or scuff it.
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London