Monday, February 24, 2020

Bit of a Duster-ing

The last post was in December 2017 - it is now February 2020! Strewth - time really does fly!

Anyway, 2018 was good. Settled in to retirement, stopped (nearly) pining for my old Honda NC750, and got to grips with life in the slow lane.

2019, and things got a little hectic. Son moved out, we covered ridiculous miles looking for a new home, them we moved out, and ran away to Devon.

So that was the short version. Continuing with a motoring theme, we found that the roads down here are not really suited to an SRi Astra. Wide, and low profile tyres, combined with low and slightly sporty suspension do not work well with potholes, mud, slurry, unidentifiable lumps, sheep, and random spring water.

The above, together with the prospect of new tyres, a service, and a new cam belt, made us look for something more appropriate.

High on my list was a Defender SWB, Range Rover, or Ford F150. Not surprisingly, Julie thought something a little more in the 'value' bracket was in order. We decided on a Dacia Duster.

Don't laugh. We have a '17' Plate, 2x4 version, which is returning 55mpg, and copes with every thing the south west peninsular can throw at it - including stupid old gits who drive in to it in car parks.

Although it lacks off-road ability, being 2x4 and not something I plan on needing, it has 'proper' size tyres, softer suspension with longer travel, better ground clearance, and being a little narrower in the beam, means it is most suited to life in the lanes.

So if you want something practical, comfortable, economical, and priced right, you can't do much better than a Duster - Renault technology, Romanian pricing.

I still miss riding the bike :(

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Formula E, for Ernie*

Formula E (for Ernie); I thought I'd better watch it before I said anything - I should at least speak from experience.
A Unigate milk float from way back
(Wikipedia GNU Free Documentation Licence)

Now, I haven't watched F1 (Formula 1) for a couple of years, because it is boring. It is a two-horse event where all the excitement revolves around which is the quickest team to change a set of wheels. Formula E has just started its fourth season, and I have never seen it, so wondered if it would be better. I sat and watched the second round, Hong Kong, day two.

Apart from the obvious - no engine noise, just whining - there was a total lack of charisma, character, or excitement. The presenters are lacklustre, the drivers (when interviewed), too. It probably is wonderful if you are a computer / electronics geek. For petrol-heads it's about as exciting as racing milk-floats.

The actual race was interesting ... inasmuch as there was a modicum of overtaking (lacking in F1), lightened by the comedic events during the compulsory pit stop. There is more excitement with Scalextric.

Obviously, the way forward for the motor industry is electric cars, and Formula E must be a great arena for research and development, but once we have the world travelling by E-cars (and, heaven forbid, driverless, or should I say, autonomous - although looking at some Audis and BMWs around me in traffic I'm not so sure it won't be an improvement), we will need to build a few nuclear power plants to cope with the extra demand.

Will I watch Formula E again? No. And unless F1 changes, I won't return to that, either. I'll stick with proper racing, with real racers, DTM, WEC, BTCC, MotoGP, Superbikes.

(* for those not old enough to remember Benny Hill, 'Ernie' drove the fastest milk cart in the west)

Monday, October 23, 2017

End of an era

A year ago I posted how pleased I was with my second NC750X - at 5,000 miles, well it's all change again!

Due to a change in my working arrangements, the requirement to commute has disappeared - so has my reason to ride a motorcycle. Since the end of July I have covered only 100 miles on the bike. With no likelihood of that increasing I decided to sell.

She had amassed 11600 miles in the 16 months I was using her, but to leave her in the garage, unused and unloved was a shame.

So now I am a bike free zone. Thanks to Crescent Motorcycles for their help and good service.

I'll be clocking up some miles in the car though. Tomorrow I head for Cumbria for the second time in a month - that's 300 miles each way. I'm sure I will encounter some interesting events along the way.
 and now ...   

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Half a year on ...

My NC750x 2014-2016
My NC750x 2016 onwards
It's been a busy nine months in all respects, and especially in the transport department.

In my last post I told you about the article in Twist&Go magazine. In that I sang the praises of the NC750x as a great commuter and workhorse.

In March she was due for the annual service, and the two year warranty was about to expire. The nice man at the Honda dealership (Crescent Motorcycles) gave her the once over, to see if anything needed fixing under warranty, before it expired. All was in order, but, of course the showroom is filled with sparkly new machines ...

As the old one was approaching 16,000 miles i made tentative enquiries about PXing for the new model, or maybe up to an Africa Twin, or down to a CB500x.

I talked myself out of the Africa Twin because, although a great bike, it would be the equivalent of taking kids to school in a Range Rover - nobody in their right mind would do that ... would they?

So I took the CB500x for a test ride. And what a great commuter that is, but I found that I had to work it too had for the 50 mile round trip that is my daily commute. So the NC750x was still in play.

The 2016 version is similar, with a few styling changes, but notably the dummy tank storage has increased by a litre, and the front and rear suspension have been upgraded, with Showa forks on the front and a pre-load adjustable mono-shock on the rear. This makes the handling noticeably crisper.

Economy is still brilliant - seems to be slightly better than the 14/15 model, and the new instrument pod is clear and concise. I've retained the standard screen, as it is larger that the previous one. It isn't as big as the replacement, but I am comfortable with it. May be if I was taller ...

Needless to say I was easily convinced of the wisdom of buying the new model, and favourable terms were offered by the dealer. So at the end of March I took delivery - and over 5000 miles later I'm still smiling.

Might be some video on line soon, if I can find some interesting roads or events to show you.

Ride safe.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Twist & Go Magazine

It's been so long!

Well, there hasn't been an awful lot of excitement lately. My job has moved to Winchester, so every day I get to do a 45 mile round trip to work and back. On a good day that can mean 45 miles of filtering along the M27 and M3. Great.

The NC750X has now clocked up13,000 miles and she's looking good. So good that I wrote a review for Twist & Go magazine - The January issue should be in the shops now - look for us on page 60.

Other than that, BMW drivers continue to prove that stereotyping works. Of all the prat drivers I encounter those in BMWs still score highest. Audi and Mercedes are starting to climb the charts, but they still have some way to go.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The daily commute

Well, not every day. Some days I go to other destinations around Hampshire, but this day I managed some particularly fine filtering.

Traffic was pretty much solid from J9 to J5 on the M27, and slow again on the approach to J3. I left the motorway at J2 and took the Totton by-pass in to the office.

I've edited the 45 minute trip to around eight minutes for my latest video.

Nip over to YouTube and take a look.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A bit windy!

Ride out this morning with the rejuvenated RoSPA Hampshire RoADAR group; a 100 mile round trip to Goodwood for coffee.

We met at Wickham Square and the weather seemed to be getting brighter after a wet start, although it was pretty gusty. Andy led the group and Lillian was back marker. Six of us, three BMWs, Two Hondas and a Suzuki, headed towards Southwick but were soon being trailed through country lanes with a whole variety of surfaces, bends, gradients and gravel.

As we went across the South Downs the wind increased, and the rain returned in patchy showers. After slightly more than an hour we got to Goodwood for a break, coffee and a chat.

The weather was no better for the return trip which took us past Cowdrey Park through Midhurst, and on along the A272. Some of the wind on the exposed sections made the going difficult, keeping your line through the bends was certainly a challenge.

We finished at junction of the A272 and A32 at the famous Loomies cafe. Thanks for an interesting run chaps. More at the end of April - hopefully with good weather.

Now what happened in the MotoGP opening round in Qatar ... ?