The New ‘Crap Bike’ – Yamaha FZR600R

The New ‘Crap Bike’ – Yamaha FZR600R

After around 6 years of service, the GPZ500, or as I fondly refer to it, The Crap Bike is being retired.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s rideable and fixable, but after new front wheel, head bearings, welding to repair the exhaust, wheel bearings, and many more hours work, it will still be just an old slightly less-crap bike.

So I decided it was time to upgrade.

I looked at what I could get for as little as possible that would do for a commuter – not even considering something a bit fun this time (apart from a CBR600F that tempted me…). It was CB500 and EN500 city, with a slim chance of snagging an SV650 to join my V-Twin stable.

Then a friend with some unfortunate circumstances offered me his bike. I dismissed it instantly, as I knew he’d done loads to it, and didn’t think he’d appreciate me killing it through the Winter.

I was wrong, and he gave a good price – and so here is my new, sensible commuter (which I’m not sure I can call ‘The Crap Bike’):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ooh yes! My very first bike was a blue and white Yamaha TZR, so this was going back to my roots!

I picked the bike up, realising that this would be the first time I’ve ever ridden a 600cc bike on the road, the rest being on track, and pootled it home to see what I’d bought.

It wasn’t running great, possibly needing a carb balance, but I was happy with the deal in whatever state, and you can’t buy a 19 year old bike and expect it to not have any issues. And it had been stood for a good while.

Other than not wanting to pull away or rev at the top end, the low-down grunt was ok. It felt much lighter and flickable than I’d expected, and with those combined it was already seeming like a good commuter.

It felt old, and with the speedo showing up to 180mph, it seemed the bike was barely moving as I was doing around 60mph – I thought that might be a bit of an effect of using such a small portion of the speedo, as a really good one may get just over 150mph back in the day.

The front brake isn’t as sharp as I’d like, but I can put R600 calipers on and sort that out, and tyres are all good.

I took it out for a blast the next day to see if I could blow the cobwebs off, stopping off for a few pics as I tried to get lost down country lanes as I got a feel of the bike.

After about 25 miles I headed back towards home, having given it beans and not scared myself. But then, after the VTR ripping my arms out on the throttle, what could I expect from a tiny old 600?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then I accidentally over-revved it and it was like flicking a switch!

The sound changed as all four cylinders suddenly woke up. I got back on the power and hooooly poop!

The front lifted as the race can snarled out its true potential, and I revved out the first few gears to see what it had got.

It’s got more than I thought!

The exhaust note was now reminding me of the 600 track bikes I’d been on, hitting that sweet spot at about 13,000rpm where it’s like a drill being rammed into your eardrum.

I was suddenly approaching the corners “quite a bit” faster, and now KNOW I need to sort out the front brakes.

It also means a track day might be back on the cards!

Who was it who told me 600’s were crap on the roads? And that old bikes are slow and heavy?

I think this little old FZR600R could make me fall in love with Yamaha again!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Advertisements

Putting ‘BIKER’ On The Census As Your Religion

Putting ‘BIKER’ On The Census As Your Religion

It’s coming around again soon – the Gubbinment will be sending you a load of questions at great expense to the taxpayers so that… umm… they know more stuff about us?

https://i0.wp.com/www.questoverseas.com/assets/images/Sept%2010/census_logo.png

Whatever.

The important thing this time around is that when they ask me what religion I am, I am going to say it loud and proud that I am A Biker.

The road is my God, and the pathway there, too.

When I ride my bike it is a spiritual experience.  It’s a comfort to me when I feel lost or down.

Riding ‘in the zone’ is like a form of meditation.  It’s Zanshin – total awareness – as I try to see my surroundings before they happen, listening to every roar and click from my bike and trying my best to make sure as I execute my religion that nobody else is adversely affected by it.

We even have Priests – the mechanics who will fix up our trusty steeds and get us back on track.

A lot of us even just ride on Sundays!  And we have those living Gods amongst us:

https://i1.wp.com/www.superbikeplanet.com/image/2008/MGP/laguna/tim07/p02.jpg

And think of the benefits or getting our religion recognised!

Would a petrol station be allowed to force us to remove our helmet if it’s religious clothing?

Could they continue forcing us to pay such high tax on petrol – essentially taxing our religion?

It is my form of worship.  Being a Biker means I enjoy life, and get more out of it because of my choices.

We’re family out there – nodding a greeting as we pass total strangers simply because they’re on a bike.  Sure, there are different faction within the Biking religion – the Sportbikers have some hostility towards Harley Davidson riders, and everyone dislikes Scooter riders.  Motard riders are just thugs.  We’re not going to go to war over it, though, and many of us treat everyone under the Biker banner equally, as it’s something that unifies us all.

https://i0.wp.com/lichfieldlive.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Bassets-Pole.jpg

If you ride a bike, I bet you’ve put more effort into that than you have the made-up-deity, war-causing, only-when-it-suits-you religion that someone decided they’d choose for you before you were out of nappies!

It’s got to be done!

It is the time to show the World what we REALLY believe in!

Just put that single word as your religion: Biker.

—-

***EDIT***: There is now a Facebook group for this, so get theeself joined and spread the word: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_169227299791835

‘Merkins Vs. Brit Riders

Merkins Vs. Brit Riders

You’d think that riding a motorbike would be a universal skill, with the same style and technique used by riders everywhere in the world.

Looking at the vids on YouTube, and those of friends, I have come to the conclusion that this is certainly not the case.

Now, I could be here all day poking at people, but for the sake of this I’m going to just include sportsbike riders. More specifically, those from the US and those from the UK.

We’ve both got equal representation overall in World class racing, and let’s face it – we ride sportbikes to emulate out on-track heros.

When I got my first Yamaha TZR125 from the off I was concerned how far I could lean the bike over. If you’ve never ridden a bike, then the answer is that you can lean a bike over to an unbelievably stupid angle that your brain simply does not allow you to do without significant practise and experience.

Many bikers, myself included, have crashed where we could have made the corner safely had we just leant it over more instead of panic-braking or going straight on. Even my 1991 TZR would have been awesome in the corners had I had the skill back then to exploit it. I’ve always said that I’d love a go on a 125 again just to see what they’re like in the corners when you can actually RIDE a bike!

Sadly, most of us move on and up the cc’s well before we have any real riding skills…

Even though, I did try to get my knee down on that TZR! A lot. For a year.

Then I tried for another year on a Kawasaki ZXR400 with no success. I actually did it for the first time on a 1988 Honda VFR750 FG streetfighter with raised bars and a 130 section rear tyre! Once I’d done it, I could do it. I still had the ZXR, and once that was back on the road on the very first run I took it on I could scrape my knees on any corner at any speed at will! I still have memories of riding around The Redditch Cloverleaf with my footpegs scraping as well as my knee – when my knee was still tucked into the tank!

Anyway, my point is that doing the two-odd years of my trying to scrape my knee, I read every article and watched every video I could about how to do it, and the biggest factor other than leaning the bike more was Body Positioning.


On a bike your body position is vitally important for it’s stability, and in my opinion it’s the first thing any rider should look to perfect to improve their rising skills as a whole. I’ve followed many mates who should have been able to get their knee down but just couldn’t get down that last inch or two whatever they did. Just like I was on the TZR and ZXR.

Which brings me to the ‘Merkins.

There is an excellent poster on YouTube called rnickeymouse, who films riders on the irrisistable road that is ‘Mulholland Drive’ in California.

Unlike the Brits, the Americans seem able to jump on a brand new sportsbike and lay that sucker over on its side like most Brits never build up the balls to do.

The problem is that their body position is absolutely terrible! This has the unsurprising result that solid bits of bike touch down whilst the rider sits bolt upright, or twisted in the saddle at an obscene angle, and the bike either grounds out or the suspension runs out of, err, suspension and they highside or lowside. Often without even the lightest scrape of a kneeslider.

The idea of getting your knee down… well it’s for fun! But the original function, and as used on a racetrack, is to gauge how much further you can lean the bike over before solid bits of it hit the deck and you crash.

So is it that the Yanks just don’t have that same thirst as us Brits for getting their knees down? Maybe they just have no interest in studying how to ride, and just want to get out there and thrape it?

Or are Brits too scared to lean their bikes – and could our weather and crappy roads be the cause of that?