I wasn't planning on a ride today but I ran into Woody yesterday, when I was putting some air in the tyres at BP J'ville and next thing you know, we had a plan. There was a Uly ride today but because it was programmed for the Akatarawa Rd (which I think is a waste of time ride) and because I'm in more need of more kms, we decided to scoot up SH1, nip over the Fordell-Hunterville road and Vinegar Hill, have a spot of lunch in Ashhurst and make our way home.
Since we were embarking up SH1, we opted for an early'ish start at 0900 and ended up departing BP at 0910. I thought we would beat the traffic but the motorway and highway was pretty thick with traffic all the way to Levin and from there it was steady, consequently our average to Waikanae was barely 75kph, but it rose from there to be 80kph by Foxton and 83 by the time we turned off onto Campion Rd, to go around Ohakea and a more respectable 85kph by the time we rejoined SH1 at the Bulls Bridge.
More easy riding saw us up to Warrengate Rd and over to Fordell for the fun parts. It's been awhile since I've been on this road and it always requires the utmost respect and should be ridden with an expectation for smatterings of loose crap on every corner. On this occasion it was quite good, but there was a big stretch of hard pack road works around the Kauangaroa area, then a stretch that must have been resealed 6 months to a year ago that still had bits of grit about.
We arrived in Hunterville at about 1200, Woody fueled and we were on our way again at 1207, scooting up to Vinegar Hill, across to Cheltenham and through Colyton to Fusion Cafe in Ashhurst for lunch.....although I was forced to have a very late breakfast....and very nice it was too.
Just over an hour later, we were back on the road for the Track, and I must say that that is in pretty good condition as well. The only cause for concern through there was the odd gust in places, but even the wind calmed as we came off the hill and through Nikau.
I'd started the day with 50-60 km out of the tank and I find this bike significantly less economic than the old Red, in that I was sitting on 17 km/ltr where, for the pace we were on, I would have expected the Red to be between 18-18.5. Consequently I figured I probably wouldn't make it home on the tank, or I'd have to drop back to 80kph or start drafting, so I decided to pull unto GAS Eketahuna, but as we were about to pull in, a car and three Harleys beat us to the two pumps.....so we continued to the Mobil on the bypass in Masterton. Before that though, we needed to sample one of the best bits of the road the 'rapa has to offer, the Opaki-Kaiparoro Rd!
It only adds 5-10 minutes to a scoot up or down SH2 and it's pretty much always in very good condition....bloody marvelous....and after that we just had the hill.....but there was a reasonable amount of traffic on that so nothing flash there.
It was a pretty good day of smooth flowing riding at a moderate pace and I finished the 491 km feeling pretty fresh and didn't have to stand or squirm around at all to alleviate the butt, although we did have a few stops, so the conditioning for the big rides is coming along well. One thing though is the tyres.
When topping up the air in the tyres yesterday, I found the front is further along that I thought (maybe 2-3,000 km on it) so I'll need to order one straight away, but I've been struggling at times with my cornering and often find myself reluctant to push on...or rather, swing in. I've been finding myself cranking in too early and coming out wide, or if I hold off, finding myself not comfortable to crank into the apex...and coming out wide! Today the rear twitched on dry paint, (not that I should have been near the paint) but it made me realise the Pilot Road 4 on the rear has me feeling the same way I did when I was running Pilot Road 2's....which I never, ever liked. I've generally found it good, and can certainly get the bike well over on it, but with it now about a third the way through its life, I've decided that I don't really trust it! Nothing solid, just a feeling, but that feeling and confidence is what it's all about, so my jury is out. I'm thinking I'll go back to the Z8's!
So, good ride today in 8° - 15°, with the signs that conditioning is going well and I've made a decision on the next set of tyres. Stats are that we did 491km at an moving average of 85kph and the bike now has 47,819 km on it. I'll be ordering tyre tomorrow and booking in for the next service.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.