Chain maintenance when touring

I bought this device called a PackJack to make chain maintenance easier when away on tour. Our usual routine has been to get a couple of guys and man handle the bike levering the back wheel into the air, using the side stand as a pivot. The third person then sprays on the chain lube.

The PackJack is a small temporary stand that eliminates the “two guys”, and lifts the rear wheel a couple of centimetres so that it can be rotated to apply the chain spray. It’s  simple, really well made and comes with a small carry sack (pictured).  I stress that I purchased this with my own money and did not receive any price reduction incentive to post here. The postage cost from Canada is a bit of a killer at $20 CAD and brings the total cost to around $50 delivered to Aust – which is pretty pricey.

Here are some pics. I didn’t really take these shots from quite the right angle as it doesn’t really show that the wheel is actually off the deck.

Here’s a LINK to the PackJack website with some video. When I release the stand, my PackJack doesn’t just fold back as in the video – mine typically just falls over or flys off a bit. However, I’m guessing that this is a function of releasing the lift on such a heavy (250 kilogram) bike.

I emailed Greg from PackJack with a couple of questions about the stand before I purchased it and experienced prompt, friendly communication which made the online transaction easy and personal.

Also, I’ve been using a DuPont lube on the ZX14’s chain. I’ve been using the multi-use dry wax lube (blue can).  Here’s a review of the DuPont chain lubes by WebBike World

 

 

Old bikes in Elizabeth St Melbourne

I took a stroll around the Elizabeth St motorcycle precinct Saturday morning. Travelled by car as it was a cold, wet winter’s morning. There were lots of shiny things to look at as always, but what caught my eye was that one of the biggest dealerships had some old motorcycles on display and some were actually for sale. Well, really only for sale if you are prepared to suspend reality and take their prices seriously!

This Z1R caught my eye first as we used to have one the same as this. Its condition was actually not as good as the pic makes it appear. The tank was well rubbed and much of the metal was pitted. $20K price tag.

How I’d love a Z900. This is a Z1A – 1973 model. $25K price tag. For comparison, a  brand new MV Agusta is $22K ride away.

Now I’ve heard about automatic Hondas in the past, but never seen one. This wasn’t for sale.

A registered RC30 Honda

A couple of Triumph Rickman desert racers

And some real oldies!

Not surprisingly, I didn’t make a purchase!

It wasn’t like they said….

Fog then fine and sunny was the forecast. Well, not where we went, though we started in sunshine. It lasted about 10 mins then we rode in fog for 20 min. After that it was overcast, then drizzly, then foggy and drizzly, then sunny, then raining! The whole time it remained a sunny winter’s day in Geelong – just as forecast!

We had a great ride nevertheless.375 kms is pretty good for a winter’s day in these parts. Our route – Geelong to Timboon via Colac. Timboon to Apollo Bay via Port Campbell, the 12 Apostles and Lavers Hill – some of that GOR leg was in fog and drizzle.

Timboon – they make stuff in this

But Mitch bought this …. Actually it was only 11.00am, so we all had hot chocolates to drink

Some fans. Marty’s relieved to have some respite! “She could talk under wet cement” is the phrase that comes to mind!

She’s still talking! …..get those earplugs in Mitch!

Apollo Bay for lunch

A ’57 I think. It sounded so sweet. A sensational V8 rumble as they took off.

Mitch headed home via the GOR, Marty and I went visiting, then headed home via Forrest with a stop at the brewery, though nothing but hot chocolates passed our lips. Despite some wet roads and less than ideal conditions, we had a sensational day of riding.

 

Winter sun

My neigbour Mitch joined Marty and I for a run through the Otways in glorious winter sunshine. It was 2C at our first stop at Gellibrand when these shots were taken.

The Helibar riser blocks were a great success. I was really comfortable with the bars being just that little higher and certainly I wouldn’t want to be any more upright. I suspect that a taller person might have an issue with wind blast from the fairing, but for me it was fine.

Helibar riser blocks

Most of the time I’m quite comfortable with the forward lean to the handlebars on the ZX14. However, occasionally if I’m restricted to riding under 80 kph (50 mph) as can be the case on sections of the Great Ocean Road, I’ve noticed a little more weight on my wrists that I’d like.

Consequently I’ve purchased a pair of riser blocks made by Helibar. These retain the factory clip ons, but slot in under them to raise the bars 20mm and bring them back 10mm. They are literally a 10 minute install. Unfortunately Helibar won’t ship to Australia so they have to be purchased locally and cost $40 more than the US price!

The weather is so wet and cold here that I haven’t been able to go for a ride and determine whether they will make any difference. The bars now appear to be about the same height as the stock bars on the VFR800 were.

 

Congratulations Marty!

Peter Stevens showroom, Elizabeth St Melbourne. Marty with his new 2012 Kawasaki ZX14R.

Always a good idea to set the mirrors prior to hitting the city traffic for the very first time on a brand new motorcycle.

A couple of Marty’s pics from its maiden voyage

On the Great Ocean Road near Apollo Bay

A couple of my shots.

Full details for the Australian delivery ZX14 HERE

 

Lorne for coffee

It was a chilly 5C this morning, however, the bright sunshine and promise of warmer temps along the coast lured us out for a short ride along the GOR to Lorne, then home via Deans Marsh.

We sat out in the sunshine at a Greek cafe right by the pier.

Helmets by the bay!

As we were leaving a guy offered to take a shot of us by the ZX14

It got cloudy and cool as we wound our way up through the bush and the curves to Deans Marsh. We overtook a couple two up on a sport bike who were going extremely cautiously – I’m sure the bike’s stability was not helped by how high up the pillion was perched. As we came up behind them I actually thought the lass on the back was standing up as she was literally head and shoulders above the rider.Once we hit the Cape Otway Rd the sun came out and we enjoyed a good run home.

 

A familiar voice …..and Flying Squirrels

Mrs Tarsnakes and I took a drive to Lorne for a coffee. After a bit of procrastinating we decided not to ride the ZX14 and drove the car as the weather forecast was fairly grim. As we pulled into town I spotted a bunch of historic motorcycles parked,and I mean really, really old bikes. Naturally we pulled in to have a look and as I walked towards them to take a couple of pics, I heard a very familiar voice – it was that of my boyhood motorcycling mentor (and hero) Tom Kingston (TK).

Tom was my Dad’s boss, and friend, when I was a young lad in my teens and he encouraged my pre-existing interest in motorcycles. To a young ‘fella he was extremely charismatic and raced motocross (scrambles in those days) and was a highly competitive club road racer as well. Actions speak louder than words, and Tom coached me in riding technique around our huge backyard on his then brand new Yamaha CT1, and even succeeded in charming my very anti-motorcycle Mum into permitting it! Later I recall accompanying him to a road race meeting that he was competing in and I was given the thrill of my young life as Tom let me ride his XS1 650 Yamaha race bike through the pits. I recall blipping it far more than necessary to make sure that everyone could hear the glorious sound from its megaphone exhausts (and see me of course!). I guess I was around 15 or 16 years of age at the time. I’m guessing that these reminiscences sound a little self indulgent, however, I can see those events in my mind as clearly as though it was yesterday.

Anyway, although a huge fan of Japanese motorcycles, TK has spent the last few years restoring a 1930 Scott Flying Squirrel. When I last saw this bike 4 years ago it was a pile of rusty bits that I thought were completely beyond restoration. What has been achieved with this restoration is a great credit to TK. He is a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of Australia. All bikes must be pre Dec 31st 1930.

Tom with his Scott

Exposed valve gear on this 1920’s motorcycle.

Another Flying Squirrel . There were 1928,1929 & 1930 models represented in the group!

A lesson that TK taught me around 40 years ago was that good motorcycle control was achieved by getting your feet up on the pegs as soon as moving and looking ahead. Control of the motorcycle was characterised by little need to ‘dab’ once moving. Now take a look at the following video clip, keep in mind that Tom is 73 years of age, riding a hand gear change vintage motorcycle, and note the bike control – even whilst giving way at the roundabout.

Tom aboard the 1930 Scott Flying Squirrel

These guys must have ridden from Lorne up through the twisties to Deans Marsh and then back towards Geelong on the Cape Otway Road. We chanced upon them later in the afternoon and Mrs T took a few shots from the car window.

Bumping into TK like this was an unexpected treat.

Keep in mind that these enthusiasts were out riding 70 & 80 plus year old motorcycles in 10C-13C temps, shame on us for taking the comfort of the car!

Some more high resolution pics HERE

Damp day in the Otway Ranges

Marty and I headed for the hills for a short ride today. It was around 8C and dry when we left Geelong and remained so for most of the ride.

Our first stop was at the Gellibrand store where a friendly greeting from Maria,a mug of hot chocolate and a chat with some nice folk from the Colac Ulysses club made for a very pleasant stop.

However, around Beech Forest the temp dropped even more and along Turton’s Track the road was particularly greasy. It was pretty obvious there had been significant rain overnight up there. I was glad to have new tyres with plenty of tread on them!

By the time we joined the Apollo Bay – Colac road there was a long line of slow cars ahead, so we pulled into the West Barwon dam lookout.

The brewery cafe at Forrest was stacked out so we headed back to Colac for lunch, then dropped in on Steve from 79 x 100 blog and inspected his latest Norton resto project.

From there it was a quick sprint along Hwy 1 back to Geelong.

Pilot Road 2CT again

I’ve followed the lead from Chillertek over at The Road to Nowhere blog and had some new tyres fitted. I was very satisfied with the Michelin Pilot Road 2’s that I had fitted at around 2,000kms to replace the disgraceful old school OEM Bridgestones that the Kwaka came with. Well 9,400kms later they still had just a little tread left, especially the front, maybe just enough for the rear to top the 10K kms with, but after my ride in the rain last Saturday I decided to get them changed. I think it’s great that a tyre with so much grip can last so long on a 250+ kg bike. I bought these online ages ago from the USA when the Aus dollar was running at $1.10 against the US dollar. I think that we are getting shafted buying locally when a pair of the Michelins delivered to my door from the US cost the same as the retail price of a single rear tyre here in Oz.

I also had some lovely 90 degree Ariete valve stems fitted. I had these on the VFR800 and they make life so much easier for checking tyre pressures.

I also learnt something interesting, namely how to check the manufacture date of a tyres. Amongst the series of letters on the side of the tyre after the ‘DOT’ is a panel with 4 numbers. The first two numbers indicate the week of the year the tyre was manufactured and the second two numbers indicate the year of manufacture. So the tyre in the pic below was made in the 14th week of 2011.

Also, so far I’ve bought Michelin PR 2’s made in Thailand and some made in Spain. In both cases they were purchased from the USA. They certainly are well traveled tyres by the time they get to me in Australia!