The perfect ride

I saw this motorcycle safety advertisement on TV last night. It’s a refreshing change!

Actually, this one should come first

It then led me to the ones below which feature my local rides. These are very familiar spots that I have ridden many hundreds of times. The hazards that they mention are quite realistic though, but I had to laugh that they were happy to get off the twisty roads!

The last one in the new series.

It’s great to see some positive (educational) messages from the TAC at last!

Spyders everywhere

Mrs T and I took a short run from Geelong down to the West Barwon dam at Forrest to clock up just a few more kilometers so that the new ZX14 will be ready for its first 1,000km service next week. As we started our picnic lunch a large group of Spyders rolled in. Apparently they were part of an event called Spyder Royale, with owners from many Australian states present. You can double click on any image in the slideshow below to see the high res pics.

It was a lovely sunny Spring day to be out riding, although there were some very strong wind gusts at times.

Mrs T shot a little footage of me with the point & shoot camera – it’s a bit mediocre I’m afraid!

 

Lorne

We took the new ZX14R for its second trip to Lorne in a week. On both occasions we traveled the inland route via Deans Marsh to get there, then home via the Great Ocean Road. It wasn’t really a nice day weather-wise with gusty winds and a temp of only 12C through the hills- hence the short ride.

Mrs Tarsnakes can’t get over how smooth this bike is, though I can’t tell any difference from the last one.

Took a run inland through the Otways and then along part of the GOR today – 5 October

There’s a new kid in town

Kawasaki ZX14R Special Edition

Peter Stevens Motorcycles – Elizabeth St Melbourne

Full specifications HERE

Actually there is an even more special, limited edition of 50 only coming next month – but I’m sworn to secrecy right now! It will be something like THIS, but a different color for Oz.

First ride, two up with Mrs Tarsnakes to Lorne Vic.

I didn’t like the pinstripes on the side of the fairing so removed them. The one on the side cover is under the clear coat so it has to stay.

 

Eateries on the Great Ocean Road

A quick trip down to Colac today turned into an unexpected run along some of the most scenic parts of the Great Ocean Road. I took the inland route to meet the GOR at Lavers Hill and then traveled back towards Melbourne. Rather than post a bunch of scenery shots, I thought I’d just showcase two new places to eat along the GOR. The first is at the tiny township of Lavers Hill, (population 200) the second at Airey’s Inlet, a popular coastal holiday town. Here is a map of the interesting part of the road between the two places.

I decided on lunch at the “Shoppe” at Lavers Hill, and wasn’t disappointed when I chose a big burger.

A tasty burger and friendly staff, couldn’t have asked for more!

We have had miserable, wet weather for weeks now, however, out of the blue we experienced a balmy, classic spring day. It really came out of nowhere as we had substantial rainfall last night even. I had a great run along the GOR. There was hardly any traffic going my way. I stopped in Apollo Bay briefly for gas, then headed on to Lorne where I pulled in to take in the views and have a drink.

About 110kms along the GOR from Lavers Hill is Freestones Roadhaven Diner, a 1960’s retro diner in Aireys Inlet that just keeps getting better and better. I recently received an email from Christine Freestone, in response to a previous post I’d done on their diner not long after it opened.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our diner.   It has been a 5 year labour of love, “a moment of madness”, a place to forget your troubles and get lost in the 60s.   We have big plans for the front of the shop with the purchase of a 57 Chevy ex Disney display car which will live inside the Malt Shop.   New bi folds doors soon to be installed opening out to luxurious outdoor furniture.   We recently travelled across U.S.A. and feel what we have created on the GOR is truly unique.   Tours of the classic car display are offered in return for your support.   Paul or Brique love to explain the history of the cars, we endeavour to change the display on a regular basis.   We are about to display our 1954 21′ Chris Craft lake boat.
Cheers, Christine and Paul Freestone.

They have done an incredible job on this place and obviously have further plans.

Downstairs, front cafe. Lots of memorabilia and the car collection is right behind here.

T model Ford

Some of their car collection

Upstairs diner

Pretty quiet as I was here late afternoon

A couple of 1960’s Mustangs pulled in and an E Type Jag was parked around the corner.

Quite a few pics I know, but I’m really happy to support people who have obviously invested a substantial sum of money to make this place happen! Below is a video walk through of Freestones, done by Unique Cars magazine.

The future of helmets?

I came across an article in The Age newspaper about a new concept motorcycle helmet. It features new generation active energy absorbing materials, integrated communications and a simple heads up display, all of which sound very functional. The Forcite helmet is proposed by an Australian design student, initially for police use.

It’s no secret that at present the helmet safety standard certifications in Australia are a mess and that helmets that are legal in some states are not in others. Also anyone who imports a helmet from overseas can be booked for not wearing a helmet as the imported lid will not have an Australian certification.Lobby groups are working on this and are beginning to get some traction, as illustrated by the news clip below.

A ride around Australia 60 years ago

Here’s a great story about two ‘fellas who rode around Oz 60 years ago to prove the reliability of the Renolds chain – the employer of one of the riders. The story claims that only 10% of the roads were sealed at the time. There’s some great old footage of the bikes and an engaging interview with the two old guys. It’s on the ABC web site, CLICK HERE  

Two guys have done a re-run of the trip earlier this year. They left from the All Brit Rally in Newstead. Here’s a link to their blog CLICK HERE

Now for something less impressive, a few shots from a 346km run that Marty and I went on in some VERY cool winter temps here. We did the same ride this same weekend a year ago in virtually identical conditions.

 

We are becoming ‘regulars’ at this joint.

This photo on the wall caught my eye.

Update on the Shoei NeoTec: Other than being a tight fit my main criticism of the new NeoTec was that it fogged badly in cold conditions. I’m pleased to report that with the Pinlock insert in place it didn’t fog at all – in even colder conditions than the first ride. There was much less pressure from the cheek pads and the helmet proved to be very comfortable this second time out. I’m loving the inbuilt sun-visor that is really easy to put up or down on the fly.

I found a Shoei promotional video for the Neotec – nice scenery!

 

 

First winter ride for 2013 & the Shoei NeoTec

Yesterday Marty and I headed off at 9.30am for our first ride for the winter of 2013. It was sunny but cold 7-8C when we left and unfortunately hovered around 7C (44F) for most of the ride. I debated whether to don the textile gear, but the sunshine and a forecast of 16C fooled me and I went in leathers. Even with merino wool under layers and pullover I was just a tad cool all day.

However, the big news for me was that this was my first outing in my new Shoei NeoTec modular helmet. See the (not so great pic) below.

Just a bit of back story on the helmet purchase – I was a bit interested in buying a new Bell RS1 full face helmet (being the proud owner of a Bell ‘Star’ in 1975) and had researched them, along with both the Shoei TZX (Qwest) and the NeoTec. When I had a good look at the Bell in the store recently, I found, to my surprise, the Bell helmets here in Australia are actually made in China, which was disappointing as I know that they have a fantastic factory and R & D facility in the USA. I wanted a ‘Made in the USA’ lid, just to bookend with my 1975 Bell Star. Irrational? Maybe, but as the marketing people know, every purchase has an emotional component to it as much as we, the purchaser, might like to think otherwise.  So with the Bell off the list, the next consideration was the excellent Shoei TZX (Qwest) which Marty has. However, I couldn’t get any discount on an already overly expensive price. After a bit of procrastination I asked about a best price on a NeoTec. I love the convenience of my current flip front helmet, but the Shoei modular helmets really come at a premium price. I was ready to leave that store without a helmet, as I had already secured a good discount price over the phone at another dealership, who were a bit out of the way though. Long story short, I got a reasonable discount and consequently bought it at the Elizabeth St (Melbourne) dealership where I purchased my ZX14 a couple of years ago. As an aside, read all about footpath parking motorcycles in Melbourne HERE.

Readers in the USA & UK will be astounded at what we pay for helmets in Australia, which is in large part manipulated by having to meet an Australian (and New Zealand) standard (AS/NZS1698) in order to be legal for street use. So much for the global economy, free trade agreements and US and European safety standards! In fact, the US online retailers won’t even sell us Shoei visors anymore, as they are ‘prevented’ from doing so by Shoei they claim. The visor also has to meet the Australian/NZ 1698 standard.

Interestingly, the best info I could get on the NeoTec features was from a ‘non official’ Shoei site HERE

Rather than describe its features I will link to a great video review from Web Bike World and then give some of my own initial impressions, and ongoing reviews, in future posts. However, my first comment is that the build quality and finish is excellent.

Whilst I’m embedding videos, here is a really interesting look into the Shoei helmet manufacturing process.

I will do a comparison of the NeoTec Vs MultiTec features in the near future. As I don’t have any advertising on this site and buy my kit with my own money, my reviews are not compromised by incentives, only by my own human biases! So my initial impressions from the first 200 miles in the NeoTec? The sun visor worked brilliantly being able to raise and lower it riding through the bush from completely shaded areas back into the sunshine was excellent. The aerodynamics were impressive and it felt light and stable – I didn’t end up with any neck pain. Interestingly, the first thing that Marty commented on was that the helmet looked a lot let bulbous on my head than the MultiTec. Certainly the shell is far more stylish than the old model.

Any negatives so far? Well with my height in relation to the fairing screen on the ZX14, I actually found this helmet to be a fraction more noisy than the MultiTec it’s replacing – despite all the advertising to the contrary. As I wear earplugs under the helmet that really doesn’t matter much to me.

At low speed in these cold conditions the visor fogged badly. I will definitely have to purchase the Pinlock insert.

EDIT 21st June

I went into my local bike shop and was about to pay $49.95 for the Pinlock insert, when the young sales guys informed me that I was meant to get one included for free when I purchased the Neotec. It was bought from another branch of the same company, so he made a call and then handed me over the Pinlock free of charge. His initiative was very much appreciated!

The other negative experienced was mainly a function of the helmet being brand new. I found the cheek pads were way too firm and forced me into a ‘trout pout’ which became uncomfortable during the second half of the ride. However, I expect that to diminish as I ‘run it in’

Aside from the helmet focus of this post, allow me just one little rant. As Marty and I were walking back towards where we had parked our bikes in Apollo Bay we found overseas tourists hoisting a child up on to my motorcycle to take photos. I yelled out at them from a distance and they removed the child from my bike. What a bloody cheek! And there was no apology. Marty’s bike had kid’s fingerprints over the tank. They were damn fortunate, as I know some motorcycle owners who would resolve such a situation with their fists!

The cat’s away ……

I’m batching at present and planned a big ride while Mrs T is away – though just a day ride. We are having a spell of unbelievably good weather for this late in Autumn. The forecast for today was 25C and windy. Marty and I headed to Lavers Hill via the back roads from Geelong. We stopped at a new coffee shop in Lavers Hill which has some lovely recycled timber in it. From here went our separate ways, Marty headed to Apollo Bay via the Great Ocean Road and I headed for Warrnambool via the 12 Apostles and the Shipwreck coast. After lunch in W’bool I made my way back to Geelong via Timboon, Port Campbell and part of the GOR back to Lavers Hill (the twisties near the Moonlight Heads are sensational so I had to ride them twice today). From there I tracked inland to Colac. After a quick visit to Steve’s I made my way back to Geelong in failing light, but balmy temperatures. A few shots below, for high res pics click HERE

mjo

Marty at “The Shoppe” Lavers Hill (Vic)

From the inside looking out

Port Campbell (Vic)

Deakin University, Warrnambool “Sherwood Park” campus. When I was a student here in the 1970’s part of the old sandstone mansion was still in tact. All that remains now are these pillars. This is a very attractive rural campus.