FU Mr Avon!! You can take your Storm 2 Ultras and shove ‘em where the sun don’t shine. I’ve had nothing but great riding off the Avon Storms but my last three rears (all Storm 2 Ultras) have cost me a fortune and given me no end of grief. The attached refers for the first two, to which I received no comment or reply….and then there was this weekend!!
The bike has been running great, I did have to get a Battlax 023 fitted to the front (I might note that this was because of Mr Avon’s continued utter slackness with maintaining stock and weren’t due to have more in until the third week of October).
This weekend’s ride was doubling as a final GC conditioning ride (including a bit of night riding) and to look at a potential new acquisition, New-Beaut-Black-Beauty ST to replace the Big-Red.
Before Sunday’s ride, the Avon on the rear had only done 5,800Km, although I noted the wear would probably require taking it off for the GC, but it would have enough left in it to keep and put back on later. Throughout the time this tyre has been fitted, I’ve never felt totally comfortable and although it’s possible that all wasn’t well and I was occasionally sensing a flaw, I thinks it’s more likely I’m a head-case, and having lost confidence in the brand I would be constantly aware….was that a twitch!?....is the tyre going flat and did it just ooze slightly!?.....watch out for the tyre, better take it easy through here!...what a dreamer, that was a breeze and you just nailed that delightful set of twisties!!...there’s nothing wrong with the Storms!!! …Make mine a Tui please?
Well, my misapprehensions turned out to be well founded on Sunday as I was cruising down SH1, had just filled in Taihape and was into the final leg for home with an anticipated arrival time between 1715 & 1730. I was on a passing lane approximately 5Km south of Hunterville, or 29Km north of Bulls if you will, in fact Silverhope I believe…. anyway, I was sitting at a few kph’s faster than the general traffic and taking advantage of the passing lane to take the last two vehicles in a line of traffic. I haven’t checked the tracklog at this stage but estimate I was probably sitting at 115 – 120kph as I passed the front of the lead car when I heard a distinct pop and experienced a sinking feeling. The sort you do when the air explodes from a rear tyre on your 450Kg missile.
Combined with the sinking feeling was a rather nasty squirmishness, nothing to do with nausea or the like, but my arse immediately puckered and tried to grip onto the seat for dear life as the rear shimmied. Fortunately, everything worked in my favour! I was travelling dead straight in the middle of the lane on a long straight, I had cleared the first car and I don’t know if he saw my predicament and slowed to give me space….but he slowed and dropped back. This was rather fortuitous as I could have had two big beasty cages bearing down on me at a time when I had to stop and had no control over where I would end up.
I froze at the controls, although not a stiff and rigid frozen…more of a relaxed, panic stricken, BHM moment, where one does nothing to upset the equilibrium of the situation. I let the Big-Red have its head, whilst gently trying to ease off the pace and guide it to the very wide verge, all the while aware of the several tonnes of steel ready to flatten me if I went down. I do recall hitting the indicator and trying to signal my plight to those that would have me, and as I mentioned they played ball….didn’t stop to see if all was OK afterwards but!!
The bike would shimmy and settle repeatedly as it slowed and eased to the verge and 400 odd metres later came to a safe standstill. I was both relieved and absolutely gutted. I was in one piece but knew exactly what had happened and a quick check of the rear confirmed.
A few phone calls and all would be well! …Well! A few phone calls and I got the rescue ball rolling!?
Someone close by…no answer, bugger, must be out riding!
Ring Ann, “Call this one to get his ute and a trailer, but try this one as well to see if we can get a bike trailer?”
More calls and texts and finally she was on her way, and arrived at 1940, just on dusk. We pulled out the ramp, lined up the bike and on she goes……yeah right!! The front got onto the trailer deck, but the rear, which wasn’t being very co-operative decided to spit the ramp out the back, catching Ann on the shin and leaving the 300Kg bagless but fully fuelled beasty half on and half off…and no way the two of us could attempt to move it. Fortunately it was balanced and we didn’t have to stay to support it.
We needed help….I might note at this point, that over the 4 hours, I had been passed by the best part of 100 cars and 20 odd bikes. One biker (a Beemer rider) stopped and assisted by contacting the nearest farmer, Mark Boyle (the bikes preferred mechanic) and his friend recognised the bike and rider, stopped and left water and a ramp (which was fine for a trail bike but seemed a little frail so I was loathe to use it for the ST) and in the knowledge I was under control, they carried on. ….and a couple of other vehicles and bikes slowed, then carried on when I gave the thumbs up. Oh, and the local cop stopped when he saw me on his 2nd pass. (He thought I was just having a break on the 1st time round) Anyway, it was dark by now so I put on my reflective vest, turned my head-torch to flashing red, grabbed my silver helmet bag and tried to wave down help while Ann rang the police.
Bugger me!! Of another 20 odd cars, two slowed then scarpered and one stopped. A French Rugby fan heading for Wellington…and then the policeman turned up and we were four.
We got the bike off the trailer, lined it up again, packed some wooden blocks under the ramp to help support the weight, and tried again….and got stuck again. The uncooperative rear wouldn’t track on the ramp and as soon as the front got on the trailer, the weight to the side was twisting the ramp. Stuck again and I don’t recall how, but we got the bike off again, deliberated on strategies but it was a call from the cop to a local farmer that resulted in the delivery of a small, stout, steel framed ramp/block, the belly pan scraped but we got the bike on, tied it down and got on our way with a promise to shout our newly acquired French friend a meal in Bulls and, as he hadn’t booked any accommodation, a bed for the night. Unfortunately, at 2200 on a Sunday night, only MacDonalds is open in Bulls….but we did get a serving of 2nd half All Blacks vs Argentina with our Kiwi Burgers.
We watched the game out then got on our way, me driving the ute & trailer, Ann travelling with our new friend, to guide in case we got separated in traffic and we finally arrived home at 0020….I was absolutely shattered after a 4hour Saturday night nap then 1300Km and 25+hours straight.
This morning I dropped the bike in and ordered a Bridgestone Battlax BT023 to match the front.
Thank you Mr Avon, it was nice knowing you but our relationship has come to an end!! I will never willingly choose to put one of your tyres on my bikes!!!!
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.