I managed to have a few hours free this afternoon and took the time to fiddle with both bikes. I took the panels off the Ninja in preparation for a short ride up the road in the next few days in order to get the new stainless pipes on the bike, replacing the rusted mess that is currently hanging underneath the engine.
As I continue to finish the coolant hose upgrade on the 1098s, I filled the system up with water and ran it up to temperature a few times in order to pressurise the system and check for leaks. I used water as I wasn't in the mood to watch the Agip coolant that I've just bought running all over my driveway. All seems to be okay, so I'll be draining the system again and replacing the water with the Italian coolant. Once that's done, I'll change the levers, replace the broken screen and get the body work back on. Once all that is done, I'll be updating the Ducati page with a 'mods and sods' section, replacing what's on the page at the moment. Ooh exciting
and finally in site news, I have posted up my review of the London bike show in the 'out there, riding' section. I'll also be posting a modified version on this article on the Ducati Forum. Speaking of forums, I've been doing a little research into other places to promote my site, so hopefully my hit count, or whatever the technical term is, will rise a bit. Cross fingers
Yesterday I popped into see Artur so he could evaluate the Ninjas exhaust and see if we could make it stop sounding like a WWII fighter plane, which although may sound cool, its just far too loud and would result in having my collar felt. We got it up on the ramp and this is what we found
What we have here is what happens to a mild steel exhaust after fourteen years and several british winters. You can see the crack by the seal on the left side and it runs for about 15cm. Its no wonder is was making such a racket. Turns out there was nothing that could be done, so she's now parked up waiting for the new downpipes that I ordered from Sandy Bike Spares. £200 all in for a set of stainless pipes seems like a good investment to me, but we shall see how things work out.
In Ducati news, today I finally finished installing my Samco silicon hoses. It has taken me three trips to the garage over the last few days to change them over and I have a whole new level of disdain for the header tank. There are three different pipes that go into the header tank, each as fiddly as the next, but the clear winner was the overflow pipe, which was clearly designed by a sadist. Not only do the pipes look good, but they are practical to, helping the bike run cooler.
All I'm waiting for now is my new Zero Gravity screen, new rear light (long story) and my R&G mirror blank plates that I ordered from the London Bike show. Another afternoon in the garage and we'll be ready for the season
Today, I think will turn out to be expensive. I took advantage of some mildish weather and some all day sunshine to ride upto Oxford to meet a friend. I had toyed with the idea of taking the car as I was feeling a tad apprehensive about the journey. I used the Ninja as the Ducati is still in bits in the garage and this trip was the longest on the Ninja since a trackday at Rockingham last year. As soon as I fired the engine I could tell the bike sounded different. There was a hint of a rasp coming from the exhaust, which as the ride and the day progressed only got worse. When I stopped I had a look at the exhaust and found a 4cm crack on the pipe just before the end can. I've known for ages that the mild steel exhaust system wasn't going to last forever and there is the option that I could patch the crack, but that would really just be a temporary fix. As it stands the Ninja needs alot of work. There's the problem with second gear, the shock is going to die fairly soon and now I'm looking at replacing the downpipes. Its rapidly becoming an economically non viable prospect, but the annoying thing is that I have a lot invested in this bike, financially and emotionally. If my situation changes and I don't need the bike to get to work, then it could be the perfect excuse to turn it into a project
In what is now a fairly rare event, I'm not seeing Sarah this weekend. She's at a hen party thing, so I have decided to make good use of the time. This morning, I took the Ninja out for an hour or so, which felt great especially after last weeks lack of riding. Despite its age, its still a fantastic road bike and I doubt I would have enjoyed myself if I took the Ducati out instead. She felt good, sounded good and apart from one moment where she popped out of second gear, ran good as well. Tomorrow I plan on taking her up to Oxford where I'm meeting a good friend for coffee. I don't get to see him nearly often enough since he moved North out of London and its a great excuse to spend most of the afternoon on the bike in the process.
I started installing my Samco hoses as well today, which was interesting. I had to take off all the front body work, including the right ram air duct, which then gives unrestricted access to the rad cap. Whilst that was off, I took the opportunity to inspect the air filter, which was fine but then proved to be an absolute shit to get back in place. Eventually, and by that I mean about an hour later, I managed to coerce the blasted thing back into place. Ha take than inanimate object. Man 1, air filter 0.
I managed to replace about half of the hoses, but got to the point where I needed to take the tank off, but the light was fading (I've got terrible lighting in my garage), it was getting cold and I didn't want to make a massive mistake and regret it. I had planned on changing my levers to, but there's no hurry. The road conditions aren't perfect and my next track day isn't until April.
After work today I headed off to the MCN Motorbike show at the Excel where I forked out £20 to get in. A tenner would have been a more suitable ticket price in my opinion, but I'll write up a more detailed report for the site either tonight or tomorrow. Although about 1/3 the size of the NEC show I did manage to speak with and get advice from some writers and journalists who I have respected for several years. If you guys are reading this, I cant't thank you enough for your time today. I rerally mean that. Your comments and advice echoed several of my feelings regarding my writing. Although I know its hard, I'll keep going and see where this ride takes me
Today was a fairly interesting day. I had a meeting at Kawasaki headquarters in Buckinghamshire and found their base to be on small, tidy industrial estate just off the M40. Whilst waiting for the meeting to start, I was sat on a bright candy green sofa looking the 2012 BSB title trophy displayed proudly in a case in reception. To my right was a pristine Z1. I didn't know which to look at first.
The meeting seemed to go really well, which was great and I really wouldn't mind walking into that building every day of the working week. but now I just have to wait and see what happens.
Today was full of new toys, so therefore it was a good day. A few days ago I found a retailer that was selling cheap Blu Ray copies of MotoGP season reviews, so i ordered the 2010 and 2011 seasons which arrived this morning at work. My Samco coolant hoses also arrived today, which came with the stainless steel retaining clips. I had literally just walked in the house after parking the bike, when the door bell rang. Good timing me thinks. The box is bigger than I thought.
Finally I replaced the very worn Michelin Power Pure 2CT front tyre of the Ninja with a brand spanking new Pilot Road 3. I immediately noticed the difference as this new tyre is clearly slower to steer but this could just be down to how worn the previous front was. I had replaced the rear last summer for another 2CT, so there is plenty of life left, but now I have slightly mismatched tyres. It should be okay as they are both from the same manufacturer. I'll take it easy and get comfy with any possible changes in handling.
Site news now and I've finished typing up my Bucket List page, but knowing me, I'll be adding to this page as more events take my fancy. I've also been making a concerted effort to re-watch my motorbike DVDs in order to give them a fair review. Yesterday I added the review for 'Fastest' and earlier this week I finished the write up for 'The Doctor, The Tornado and the Kentucky Kid'.
Finally for today, the guys down at Metropolis were so pleased with the article I wrote on them for the Ducati Forum page, that they have asked if they could use if for their own website. All very exciting stuff.
My Kevin Schwantz T shirt arrived at work yesterday and I'm very pleased with it. Yes I know its quite a sad thing to get excited about, but these kind of biking T shirts with just the rider's numbers are the kind I really like. Yes I know this one has the flag bit on as well, but its still really nice. The material is good and so is the printing. This was sold on Amazon by Motolegends and I would have ordered it through their own website, but for exactly the same product in the same size they wanted to add at additional £4.95 onto the list price of £17.99, so I went through Amazon where the postage was free. In terms of sizing, the shirt is an XXL, but the shirt is more like a standard XL, so it fits me really well. Bad news is its getting cold again, which is frankly just rubbish
My name is Matt Brown and I'm a UK journalist formerly based in London, but now calling the South of England home. I've been riding bikes since 2007, but got hooked straight away. Nothing gives me the feeling of freedom, even when stuck in a city. In 2010 I became a RoSPA gold rider, but when it comes down to it, I'm Just a normal man, riding his bikes as often as he can.