Monday, 25 June 2012

Yamaha FJ1200

While looking at my poor XJ900 in the shed I felt the need to get back on two wheels after a break of about 12 years.
Saw a FJ1200 on Trade Me not far away in Lower Hutt so decided I should go and have a look.
Had a full krauser luggage setup and various spares like new chain and sprockets that the owner hadnt got around to changing.
Bike had seen some life ( 80000kms ) had a few battle scars but I thought it would be a good fit for me.
My two riding buddies in the UK both had FJ,s so I was fairly up on the pro,s and con,s.
I has ridden many thousands of miles with Steve on his FJ in all weathers . We had also been to the Bol'O'Dor in the south of France in I think the early 1990,s.
Rode the FJ home no drama,s . The chain was totally worn out Adjustment at maximum and the chain was so loose Im sure it wasnt far from the ground..  Some peoples idea of maintenance sure leaves a lot to be desired.

Ride along Parapara,s

Had the FJ now for two and a half years been great fun and got me excited about motorcycling again.  She is showing her age so now I have XJ up and running going for a bit of a makeover during the winter months.


Paekakariki Hill Lookout

My 1986 XJ900F is the bike that I have had the longest relationship with! Bought this in 1989 from my great friend Jim in the UK.  Used it fairly regularly untill about 1996 when children became more important in life. Sat in the shed then moved with me half way around the world to New Zealand where it sat in the shed until earlier this year when I finally got the urge to get her going again.

Carbs were totally blocked with all sorts of foreign matter.  Cleaned out carbs only to find that a tee piece between the carbs that was plastic had gone hard and leaked fuel as soon as I turned the tap on..  No worries I thought so tried to get a replacement !  No luck no longer in production. After a bit of research found a beautifully made brass tee piece from a company in Canada Sirius Consolidation
Order online Thusday night in NZ delivered to my door the following Tuesday !!  Thats what I call service..

                            Then fitted new tee piece to carbs ready for fitting back to bike

Carbs fitted new battery charged and fitted .  Moment of truth as I hit the starter.  Coughed and spluttered a bit but then purred into life just as she had 15 years earlier.
After balancing carbs and tweaking the idle jets she seemed just fine. A very big smile on my face...

Off I went got a WOF and some rego and off for my first ride like I had never been away..

Any way put about 500 miles on her in the last few weeks and although she is 26years old I really get great delight from riding the old XJ...   Not the greatest handling bike certainaly by modern standards but brings a big smile to my face still the same.

Friday, 22 June 2012

My GPZ900R Era

The XS500 was finding it hard to keep up with Jim and Ed while out on our group rides so something else needed to be found...
Weekend ride to a few bike shops . Ended up at Wheels International at Hockliffe and ended up coming out the proud owner of a 2 year old GPZ900r.

Collected it the following week....  nearly ripped my arms out of their sockets on the way home.  Soon got used to the GPZ and have many great miles throughout the summer.  Went up to sixteen foot drain near Chatteris where the road is dead straight for about 9 miles and managed to crank her up to 150mph, man the road gets very narrow at that sort of speed and when you slow down to 100mph you feel like you can get off and walk. Or course there were very few speed camera,s etc around in those days!!

Was off to work one morning in 1987 in rush hour in Bishops Stortford when a lady decided to pull out of a t junction right in front of me. Luckily I was going very slow less than 30mph and was being followed by a driving examiner taking someone for their car test ( great witness for insurance company )  I had no opportunity to brake and hit her right front wheel squarely on, left the bike flew over her car tumbled up the road and just missed being hit by a car coming in the other direction.
I laid there for a moment thinking this is going to hurt but to my surprise everything seemed be work and still be in the right place !  The bike was written off by the insurance company and I did a good deal on a brand new last year model Blue GPZ900R . 

This was a great bike although a sideplate on the chain broke at less than 1000miles not impressed, had to get Jim,s brother in law out with his transit van to rescue me... 
Other than that the GPZ,s were great bikes and gave me a great deal of pleasure..

Yamaha XS500

The XS 500 now that was an ugly bike !!!!!
Bought this in 1984 thought I should get a big bike !
Found in Exchange and Mart just local to where I was living at the time in Takeley Essex.
The guy who owned it was a pilot at stansted airport just up the road and very rarely used the bike.
The main reason I bought it was it had never been out in the rain and was totally spotless..

Anyway had a great engine with counterbalance shafts and performed very well..

Although looking like the smaller XS400 and XS250 bikes, the XS500 has a different twin-cylinder engine which features twin-overhead camshafts and four-valves per cylinder. Although such an engine would be ideally suited to a sports motor cycle, Yamaha instead have used it in a state of tune for a bike they classify as a tourer with enough engine power to enable it to keep up with larger capacity machines.
The oversquare power unit displaces 498cc and with a compression ratio of 9.6:1 produces 49bhp at 85oorpm, just one brake horsepower down on the company's 650cc twin.
A four-valve-per-cylinder engine is used because four small valves use space more efficiently than two larger valves, so that, in fact, more head area can be utilised which in turn makes the engine more efficient. Also the lower reciprocating mass of small valves, means higher engine speed before 'bounce' is induced, and better ignition is helped by the sparking plug being central in the head, its most efficient position. The problem with the layout is that to get the valves in an efficient semi-hemispherical head, twin overhead camshafts have to be employed or a complicated system of pushrods and rockers which would negate the effect of the extra engine speed gained from the layout. The XS uses direct-operating overhead cams which make servicing more complicated and time consuming.
The Yamaha has pistons set at 180 degrees unlike many four-strokes with their 360 degree layout with the inherent vibration difficulties. However, Yamaha had the problem of the crankshaft rocking with the alternate reciprocation, so to encounter this they use their patented 'omniphase' balance shaft.
The top speed of this 425 LB bike is 105mph, while it will accelerate over a quarter mile from standing start in 14.3secs; fuel consumption is 46mpg. In all, the XS500 is deceptive for it is more advanced than it looks and 'four-stroke twin' specification suggest.

My Second Bike

Not sure if I should be proud of my bike history ! but I guess it is what it is !!
2nd bike was a Honda Benly 185.  Twin cylinder single carb that ran on the smell of an oily rag.

Bought this off a great friend of mine Jim Dunleavy in the UK who is a perfectionist with everything mechanical so the bike was like brand new.  I later bought my XJ900 off of Jim who had got it brand new . I still have the xj900 now and 26 years down the track its still a great machine..


My 1st road bike was a Yamaha FS1E (1976).
This was a great moped in the UK you could ride these at 16.  I worked at a petrol station while still at school and saved up for a brand new Fizzie, DX ( DX stood for disc brake) very high tech back then.  430 English Pounds back in 1976......

On my sixteenth birthday I was up at 5am helmet on and off on a very cold February morning for my first legal ride on real roads !!
Did 400 miles so well run in by the time I got back home , where I found my mother a nervous wreck as she thought I would kill myself!!!
Did manage to get it up to 50mph laying on the tank on a downhill section, god that felt so fast that first day.......     Anyway great memories

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

New Blog

Decided after looking at some other great blogs that I should get my arse into gear and have a go myself at creating my own blog, so here goes !!