I picked up the new bike yesterday. It’s a pre-loved 2011 Honda ST1300 with (2700Km) ….3,300Km on it now as I picked it up in Auckland and rode it home. Cam was a champ, delivering the bike to the airport so all I had to do was fly in at 1400, swap the cheques for the keys and change of ownership papers, walk to the carpark and there it was.
Pristine! It’s funny how a new-beaut-black-beauty, even with a bit of road grime from getting to the airport, looks pristine and new-beaut…and of course this bike isn’t ‘brand’ new, but 3,000Km….shucks, it’s barely run in! So for all intents and purposes, I now have a new bike. It has also come with a few extras as well.
Top Box is an essential piece of kit. I have a first aid kit and compressor permanently strapped in, and then there’s the pens, tissues, camera, spare skivvy or two, water etc. etc., only this one also has a spoiler fitted with a high stop light.
There are liner bags for the panniers and topbox, plus a two-part tank bag with zip together small and large, or interchange (as if 30Kg isn’t enough luggage to carry on a bike. I know what’s going to happen now…..Ann will want to upgrade from the straightening irons to full blown hair dryer…or both!?
Stebel Horn is better than the stock standard squeaker and it has side running lights above the heads that double as extra indicators by flashing brighter. Pads are fitted to the side and rear of the tank, as well as the back of the fairing and extra crash bars fitted in front of the panniers. These impede the pillion pegs so there are lowering brackets to be fitted to take them down and forward.
I think that’s all, except when it got dark last night, I noticed an odd glow around the front wheel and though, ‘that’s odd, has he put some other lights in?’ then didn’t think much more about it, until later on when I was going through a town and stood up to stretch. I happened to look down over the screen and noticed a plastic headlight guard fitted and it was obviously refracting some of the light out the edges.
All in all, it’s a pretty damn nice bike and all the kit was loaded in the topbox and one bag so I opened the other bag and started to prepare myself for the trip home. Jacket off (damn it was hot) liner out, helmet gloves and balaclava out and stow the helmet bag, earplugs out (no GPS so I stole Ann’s I-pod), stow the bag with the first aid kit, puncture repair kit, duct tape and ties. Take a couple of pics (just in case). Take of the right bag to check the tyre pressures (I’ve always been a bit pedantic about that and more so after recent events), put on wet overpants but stow the jacket and finally ready to go so I slip around to the Zed to top up the air and get water for me…..damn it was hot at 20°!
I’m finally away at 1530, after expiring in a queue waiting to pay for the water, and shit it was nice to get moving. Oddly enough, I felt right at home on this new bike, but having noted the OEM tyres were Bridgestone 020’s, which I was never totally comfortable with on the Red, I took it carefully. There was moderate traffic and I made good time and in the end I decided to stick to SH1 for the whole trip (except for the 1B bit to avoid Hamilton of course). This was due to wanting to keep the pace off the relatively new engine and it’s easier to exercise constraint on the main roads, also, the weather was coming from the west so SH1 was going to keep me out of it for a bit longer…..and it seems years since I’ve been on that road.
I was going to have to put the wets jacket & gloves on at some stage as well as refuel, but I wanted to defer both as long as possible and if I made to Taupo, I could do both together, however, by the time I got to Putaruru, the temp had dropped to 15° and the drizzle was getting more frequent and heavier, so I stopped for a natural break, a pie, put the liner back in the jacket and kitted up for the worst to come. The 10-15minute stop was a good choice, although the weather did have a few clear spots at times, it was generally wet roads and steady drizzle from here on, but I made good time through Tokoroa and around Taupo (first time I’ve been over the whole Bypass…primo)
By the time I got to Turangi it was about 1900 and I was down to 2 bars, so that was a good place to stop again. I filled, relieved, sent a couple of texts, put the gear on and took off at 1915…..hmmm get down the road a bit and something doesn’t seem right…hand to chin….shit!! Helmet’s not secured! Don’t you hate struggling into the overgloves, then have to stop to do it all again!? I pulled over at Rangipo, took off one glove, got it sorted and away again.
From here I had to climb into the gloom and cloud with beggar all visibility, but I maintained the speed on the allowable limit. It got a bit harder though, as SH1 is crap in the wet with having to be careful to avoid the slick tar patches and strips, but the rain wasn’t heavy enough to keep the visor clean and the lights from the oncoming trucks made it impossible to see the road surface. Oh well, keep the load of the right hand, try to stay on the hump and hope.
I did have a couple of squirmy moments, but all in all, I had an uneventful ride home, arriving at 2235hrs. The first leg was at 17.8K/Ltr and the second at 18.2K/Ltr and I noticed the bike isn’t quite as economical ad the Big-Red…but then that one kept getting more economical all the way to about 70,000Km…so I guess we’ve still got some loosening up to do.
I managed the 648.3Km in 7hrs, so that was about 92kph overall average and probably close to 99kph moving. The bike now has 3,351Km on it and I guess I would have to describe it as a New-Beaut-Black-Beauty! My only planned changes will be to fit a power socket for the air and GPS, the GPS mount and I have it booked to see the pinstripe man in a couple of weeks.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.