The pipes, the pipes ……

The Ninja now has some new Yoshimura, R77 slip on pipes. I went for stainless steel with carbon fiber end caps, though I was sorely tempted by full carbon. Some better pics to follow, but here are a couple I shot indoors yesterday. The weight saving is substantial.

I should have taken a pic when unboxing. Basically it looked like the pipes were wrapped in plastic, placed in a long cardboard box and then gap filling foam was sprayed around them. This is the box of foam after the pipes had been removed.

 

Old Brits rock the Rock

Steve had been hatching a plan for some time to get Marty and I on board some old British iron. To that end he tee’d up a ride with he and Andy supplying Marty and I with old Brit motorcycles to sample for an afternoon. It seems another West Coast Procrastinators event has been added to the calendar of annual rides.

Just by way of context, Saturday was the first cool day after four consecutive days over 40C (104F) and it had actually peaked at 45.4C (113F) the day prior – the hottest day ever recorded in Geelong. As you will see in some of the following pictures, the countryside is absolutely parched.

We met at Steve’s place just out of Colac, the plan being to take a scenic ride around the area’s volcanic lakes –  the best known being Lake Corangamite. Being unable to ride two motorcycles at once, Andy trailered his bikes from his home in Ballarat.

The motorcycles:

Steve’s 1948 Norton 500 twin and 1970 750 Commando

Andy’s 1948 BSA 500 twin and 1969 750 Commando Fastback.

The plan was to swap around motorcycles so that Marty and I would get a feel for any of these old machines that took our fancy. I elected to head off on the ’48 Norton Dominator.

Our destination was the lookout at an extinct volcano, known as Red Rock. However, in true Procrastinator’s style, the destination was at no stage communicated amongst the participants! Consequently, the slower bikes being ridden by Andy and I rode straight past and had to be chased up by the two 750’s being ridden by Steve and Marty.

From the lookout it was easy to see that the small craters which usually form small lakes, were completely dried up, thus making the volcanic nature of the area very evident. Far in the distance is the huge salt lake, Lake Corangamite.

OK, so back to the motorcycles!

No electric start Marty!

“What, this thing?”

Below – the ever grim Tarsnakes firing up the BSA for the return trip! The two ’48 twins were very similar to ride in terms of power, seating position and (lack of ) brakes. Each bike fired up first kick and you will note the absence of oil drips under either of the bikes in any of these pictures – a credit to the engine restoration skills of Steve and Andy.

The small fuel tank on Steve’s Commando can pose a problem at times

From Red Rock we tracked along the back roads to Steve’s home. As I bopped along on Andy’s BSA I felt really contented, and scoffed at the “SLOW DOWN” signs along the way – instead I sped up to 90 kph in defiance! Back at Steve’s we had a debrief with our partners over cheese, bikkies, a selection of beers and wine and some lively conversation – a really enjoyable conclusion to an excellent day out.

Special thanks to Steve and Andy for their generosity in providing this unique motorcycling experience for Marty and I, and in so doing risking potential damage to machines that they have invested enormous amounts of time and skill in restoring. What risk you ask? Well it’s incredibly anti-intuitive riding motorcycles with right side gear shifters (one up and four down) and left sided rear brake, after a life time of riding left side gear change Japanese motorcycles.

For high resolution pics, click HERE.  (They are best viewed by clicking on ‘Slideshow’).

Post Script: As we were looking over at Lake Corangamite a few of us mentioned how the last big drought reveled the remains of a wreck of a Wirraway aircraft in the lake soon after WW II. Apparently there are now plans to retrieve the wreck. Full story HERE

 

 

Procrastinators’ New Year ride 2014

The 2014 New Year’s Day AGM of the West Coast Procrastinators was thwarted by an unfavorable weather forecast, which actually eventuated in a day of wind and rain of ‘biblical proportions’ as Marty described it. In a rare display of decisiveness, the ride, lunch & AGM were re-scheduled to 2nd January, 2014. Mind you, I packed my wet weather gear as I wasn’t 100% convinced that it would remain dry for the whole ride.

Marty and I met on the outskirts of Geelong then headed via the Cape Otway Road to Steve’s property just outside Colac.

When we arrived at Steve’s the team were found to be in good form, with Andy deriding the exhausts on my ZX14 before I even had a chance to get my helmet off. It seems that size does matter in this case! There were two very different generations of motorcycles present – the old 1970’s Brit bikes and the latest from Japan.

Two ZX14R’s and a Commando

Steve’s Norton Commando

Marty’s ZX14R

After some more good natured banter and New Year handshakes we headed off for a tour of the salt lakes near Warrion, then on to our destination at the Timboon rail shed distillery for lunch. Fortunately we had booked a table as the joint was packed and even getting a parking spot was problematic.

Tarsnakes’ ZX14R

The ambiance of the restaurant was only sullied by the presence of a former politician who had been at the heart of the “Children Overboard” affair (suggested by some as one of Australia’s great political lies) and who had condoned unprecedented strikebreaking measures during the Waterfront dispute. (Imagine security guards in balaclavas with German shepherd dogs used for the first, and only, time in Australia’s history).

Anyway, after a tasty lunch and an uneventful and mercifully brief AGM, we hit the road and headed for the 12 Apostles via the Great Ocean Road and then tracked inland to Beech Forest for a pit stop and photos.

Three of four at Beech Forest

And with no procrastination at all, rode Turton’s Track to Forrest. Turton’s was in excellent condition with none of the usual slippery wet bark covering the asphalt.

Here’s a file shot of Turton’s Track

Our last stop for the ride was the Forrest Brewery. Time for a drink, swatting the abundant flies, a bit of a debrief, some more New Year handshakes and we were on our way again – Marty and I back to Geelong and Steve and Andy back to Colac.

 

A really enjoyable day of riding and banter with mates – a great way to start the new year. All up, I’d done 390 very enjoyable kms for the ride – and it didn’t rain once!