This past weekend I’ve been rather active on the shopping front. First off, I’ve indulged myself and bought myself a new motorbike. I had been thinking about getting a new one for a while now but, being my lazy self, I’ve not been bothered to do anything about it. With my good friend Shane looking at getting a bike (possibly my Bandit 600) I finally got my act together.
When I started looking I was thinking about something like a GSX-R750 (again) or an R6. Instead I’ve swung to the complete opposite end of the motorbike spectrum and have put a deposit on a BMW R1200GS. I wasn’t looking for anything that big but I took one out for a test ride and have fallen in love with it. Whilst it has got an engine twice the size of my Bandit, it is a lot more economical, most reviews seem to suggest it should manage 45mpg, so with a 33 litre tank I should be able to do 300+ miles. That’s nearly double the range of the Bandit! Now I just need to get the finance and insurance sorted out.
The other purchase was for the fish tank. For some time now we have had a Gibbiceps Plec that was far too big for the tank – about 6 inches in a 45 litre tank. So, this weekend we finally took him back to Bishes Fishes. Unfortunately, getting rid of the plec meant that we lost out main algae eater, so we decided to get another smaller plec, although I can for the life of me remember the type. As well as the new plec we also got two freshwater shrimps to help clean up the bottom of the tank. As we were return the Gibbiceps, we got one of the shrimps for free ^_^
I’ve finally finished my return route through Norway at the end of my summer holiday last year (2005). Its taken approximately 10 hours to create and I’ve included both the route I actually took and the route I would have taken if I hadn’t crashed.
I’ve also included notes about memorable parts of the trip, places I stayed over-night (or didn’t as the case may be), must see places along the way, and a few other general notes about the areas of Norway I travelled through.
All the different bit are included in seperate folders so you can turn them off and on as you like. Whilst it might take quite some time to tour the whole route, I would advise turning on the Terrain layer and run a tour of the alternative last day. I would also advise turning on the terrain and having a look at the area around Trollstigen and Geiranger. I’ve even marked a plane coming into land in Bergen that no-one else appears to have spotted.
Some of the details included in the notes needs to be checked up on, so if you spot a mistake please let me know and I’ll correct it.
Download: Norway – Hamsund to Bergen.kmz
As some of you may be aware I took a holiday in Norway last summer. A smaller sub-set of you may have heard my story of how I got stopped by a couple of eager “number plate spotters” as I left the docks in Bergen. It seems that my bike was the first bike they had seen with a Guernsey number plate and this was rather exciting for them. Being the good-natured person that I am, I stopped and waited whilst they inspected and photographed the plate and explained why they were doing it before heading on my way and thinking nothing more of it… apart from telling as a tale of my adventures in Norway.
Well, more than a year later and I just got an email from my dad. It seems that, whilst searching the internet for something to do with motorbikes in Guernsey, he stumbled upon this site. And, if you head over to the Guernsey page and scroll down to the bottom, you will find, in all its glory, the number plate that was photographed at the docks in Norway.
Isn’t the internet a great place to find all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
This is a pre-solution rant about my Bandit. After my last “accident” with the bandit, in which it had to go back to the garage to be fixed, I seem to be having some problems with the battery. It seems that if I leave the bike for more than a week when I next try to start the bike the battery is dead. I have had to re-charge the battery twice since getting my bike back. At the moment I am having to ride to work every day as I have to go to my parents at lunch to feed the chickens whilst they’re on holiday, and although I am riding eight miles a day the battery doesn’t seem to be charging very much.
In fact, the battery has absolutely minimal charge in it. The is so little charge that each time I start the bike it takes so much power from the battery that the clock gets reset. I’ve tried disconnecting the spot lights in the bellypan, and I’ve even disconnected the alarm and intercom unit in case they’ve been draining the battery whilst the bike is switched off but that doesn’t seem to have made any difference.
This weekend my good friend Phrixus is going to lend me his battery recovery/charger electrickery thingyumy wotsit which will hopefully sort out the battery. He is also going to lend me a multi-meter so that I can testthe voltage and charge usage of my bike whilst running and when switched off, which should tell me if the alternator is working correctly and if there is an electrical short or if something is draining the battery.
Watch this space to find out the results. If I get around to it I may also write a battery trouble-shooting guifr to the bandit.
Some time last year I got a free DVD with my regular motorbike magazine, BIKE. The DVD was episode one of Long Way Round, in which Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman set off from London on two BMW R1150 GS Adventure bikes on a 20, 000 mile journey to New York, via Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska and Canada.At the time I got the DVD I wasn’t too interested and I didn’t have the time to watch it.
Last night I finally, after about six months, got around to watching it. I must say that I wasn’t too excited at the prospect of watching it but that is the last DVD in my collection that I haven’t watch (apart from Bikini Drive-In – but I wasn’t in the mood for that). Half way through the DVD and I was wanting to be there, going on that journey. By the end of the DVD I was so hooked on it I also watched the extra “unseen” footage. In fact, I also just gone and bought the full box-set on Amazon.
Now all I need to do I try and not watch it until I move into my new flat (more on that soon) so that I can watch it on my lovely 50″ TV.
Last Friday I received the bellypan that I ordered from BanditMania. The bellypan that I ordered was a Roca bellypan with halogen headlights. As far as I know Roca is a french after market parts manufacturer distributed by S2 Concept and I believe BanditMania is the only UK importer.
Fitting the belly pan was a simple affair. I required the replacement of several engine mount bolts in order to hold the bellypan brackets. The hardest part was wiring the halogen lamps. The instructions were to wire them up to the full-beam circuit on the bike but I decided that it would look more distinctive if they were on permanently. So I wired the lamps up to the parking light, which is on permanently. routing the wires up past the exhausts and the engine was rather interesting but it is now all in place and firmly zip-tied so it doesn’t touch any hot parts.
Now that its all fitted I must say that it does look rather good. I would recommend every bandit owner gets one of these bellypans but that would make mine less unique. I know of one other person on the island that has one of these bellypans (which is where I got the idea) but as far as I know he doesn’t normally take his bandit out.
Hopefully if it is sunny one lunch time I will be able to get the bandit out to take some photos of it. If Phrixus felt like taking some night-time pictures of it (to better show off the halogen lamps) I would complain!
This weekend I finally got around getting some new brake discs, as I’ve had bent discs since my accident in Norway, and fitting my jack-up kit on my Suzuki Bandit 600. Thanks to Dave and his tool kit everything went (mostly) smoothly.
The replacement of the brake discs process went something like this:
- Put bike on centre stand
- Put sand bag on pillion seat (to raise front wheel off the ground)
- Put a car jack under the bottom of the header pipes (sand bag wasn’t heavy enough)
- Remove front calipers
- Remove front wheel
- Remove old discs
- Fit new discs
- Remove old brake pads
- Grease & fit new brake pads
- Refit wheel
- Refit calipers
- Remove car jack
Apart from it being a bit awkward trying to get the front wheel and spacers to line-up with the forks when putting the wheel back together everything went as smootly as you could imagine. An hour from start to finish (I had plenty of time and didn’t want to rush things) and once again I had front brakes that actually work.
The jack-up kit was a bit more interesting. Whilst it is theoretically more simple that replacing the brake discs it took just as long. The process should have been something along the lines of:
- Undo & remove lower rear height adjuster bolt
- Undo & remove upper rear height adjuster bolt
- Replace rear height adjusters with new ones
- Re-fit upper rear height adjuster bolt
- Re-fit lower rear height adjuster bolt
Well, thats the theory. In practice things went a little differently. The lower bolts came out without too much trouble but the upper bolt was more difficult. Part of the problem was that I have got a rear-hugger fitted on the bike and, as I couldn’t be bothered with removing it, this meant that access to the upper bolt was greatly reduced. After much effort and a slightly rounded nut the top bolt finally came free.
Fitting the new adjuster bars would have been plain sailing only the holes for the bolts were slightly on the small side so the bolts couldn’teasily be pushed through by hand. Not to worry, enter Dave and his big hammer! The result is that the bolts are re-fitted and the back end of my bike is now sitting about 3cm higher than it was on Saturday.
The new parts for my Bandit finally arrived today (I was expecting them last Friday) so I can now finally begin the process of re-building the bike. I was going to take some pictures of the parts but I left my camera at work when I went home for lunch so I’ll have to post pictures later.
The parts that have arrived are:
- Front wheel (inc. bearings)
- Front wheel spindle and spacer
- Front forks (left & right side)
- Front brake discs (left & right)
- Front brake lines
- Michellin Pilot Sport front tyre
- Michellin Pilot Sport rear tyre
The plan of action from here is as follows:
- Get tyre fitted on front wheel
- Charge bike battery (it went flat whist in storage)
- Remove old forks, wheel & brake lines
- Remove brake calipers from old forks
- Thoroughly clean new parts
- Rebuild front end with new parts
- Take bike to have new rear tyre fitted.
After all that is completed I should hopefully have a fully restored Bandit 600 so that I will then be able to take my Gixxer into retirement in order to be able to strip it down and rebuild it over the winter.
Must of what your teachers say at school (up to and including 6th Form) is a load of drivel designed to get students through their exams. However, occasionally they will give out little gems of wisdom that may one day become very very useful. Whilst I was at the grammar school I had the opportunity to take wine appreciation (I think it may have had something to do with General Studies) but I remember that it was taken by our I.T. teacher who used to take about almost anything but the subject at hand. One day he was talking to us about drink-driving (and how very bad it is) and he told us about one time that he had driven home after a heavy night in the pub and couldn’t figure out how to turn on his headlights. The solution?…. he used his indicators! Needless to say he was stopped by the police… not for drink-driving but for driving without his headlights on – this was quite a few years ago, and in Guernsey!!!
So what has this got to do with my GSX-R750? Well, last night I left Shanes house following a BBQ only to find that my dipped headlights weren’t working, full beam was very intermittent and when I used my front brake the brake light didn’t come on. After a bit of poking around we (Shane & I) decided that it may be the corroded relays that were the problem. Luckily my parking lights were still working so I decided to risk it and ride home anyway. Before setting off I wiggled the relay wires and managed to get the full-beam on and just hoped it would last until I got to the main road – Shane lives down some very windy, very narrow, very dark lanes.
Unfortunately the full beam didn’t last a hundred meters before it failed again. What could I do? Luckily I remembered my teachers words of wisdom and managed to get through the lanes with the aid of my indicators for light… which wasn’t very easy as the hedges and walls kept on disappearing only to re-appear much closer than I thought they should be!!!