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Welcome To Bikes And Travels...

...It's about bikes...and travels...mostly on bikes!

Sharon reaching into her jacket

Sharon might be packing a pistol to shoot Ren with...

What's New?

Motorcycling Get Rich Quick Schemes Ren has a couple of hair-brained ideas to get rich quick while riding his bike. Maybe not all is as good as it seems though.
Confidence - Is It Determined By The Size Of Your Bike? Even a ninja hobbit with the skills of a sensei master cannot reach the floor on a tall motorcycle. Sharon cuts through the nonsense.
Kawasaki Z250SL Battery Access It is with great fear and trepidation that Ren bravely starts to take Sharon's bike apart. Will they find the battery and will Sharon have to murder Ren.
Kawasaki Z300 MRA Double Bubble Screen Review Looking for a little stylish protection Keith has fitted MRA's "Double Bubble" screen. Has it done what he wants it to do?
Rush Hour Traffic It's all change on the commuting front for Ren. He's struggling with the new situation but don't worry he'll get there. Perhaps.
Why Do You Ride? Sharon demands that you tell here why you ride your motorcycle! It's been a hard few months, help her out will you.
GDPR And Help! In the interest of not wanting to understand the law Ren has just removed the "Subscribe" option. He's a lazy git. In fact he's so lazy he wants your help with ideas for the website!
Riding A Motorcycle For A Living What's it like riding a motorcycle for a living? Ren tried it. It's not exactly what he'd hoped for.
Manchester Bike Show 2018 The BAT team have been trying to promote themselves at this year's Manchester Bike Show. Ren's quest for fame seems to be getting out of control though.
Why Can't I Do Long Distance? Why can't Ren ride endless miles all day long? Here he's making excuses for being a lazy git.

Latest Posts

Confidence - Is It Determined By The Size Of Your Bike? Ian Soady said :-
"it's all rather pathetic when you see them paddling them around trying to park or manouver their behemoths."

I did really fall foul of this once on the Tiger. I was in the depths of France and found a nice little hotel in the Morvan region. The receptionist directed me to the parking "just go down the lane behind the hotel" she said. I did that and found myself in 10cm deep gravel which was slithering every way as the slope got steeper and steeper and the walls started closing in. And it was a dead end.....

I couldn't get off and turn it round from the side as my feet were just sinking in the gravel. Tried the side stand and exactly the same. So I had to shuffle backwards and forwards astride the bike and do a 20-point or so turn before I could extricate myself. I have rarely been so exhausted in my life and came very near to just letting the thing fall on its side. Of course there was no-one in sight to help.

Now if it had been a 125 or even a 150 MZ.........

I think it was the same trip when I found myself on a minor road again covered with the dreaded gravillons. The French road repair crews seem to just strew these liberally all over the surface. I was tiptoeing along with the Triumph squirming and slithering when I saw in the mirror another bike approaching from behind.

It was a teenage girl on a scooter - helmet on the back of her head, pink cardigan flapping in the breeze and (though I can't swear to this), a Gauloise drooping from the corner of her mouth. And she slalomed past me as though I was standing still.
20/04/2018 15:09:27 UTC
Confidence - Is It Determined By The Size Of Your Bike? Ian Soady said :-
However, having said all that, there was definitely something quite intoxicating about the way the Tiger accelerated. But I hardly ever wanted to exploit that, rarely taking it above 6,000 rpm, and certainly never needed to.....
20/04/2018 12:42:52 UTC
Confidence - Is It Determined By The Size Of Your Bike? Bob said :-
An excellent article.
I feel the motivating factor behind many people's choice of motorcycle is some misguided sense of machismo, they (men we're talking about here) think a big bike makes them a big man - it's all rather pathetic when you see them paddling them around trying to park or manouver their behemoths.
I too like exploring back roads, my XCountry at 143KG is the lightest modern 650 single available, it offers enough performance for motorway trips whilst carrying less weight than most 250CC bikes.
In my case my lower back dictates that I ride a light bike, I'm not going to give up green-laning and that means I do need to be able to pick up my bike without assistance.
At a bike meet I'll always go and talk to the chap or chapette who rode in on a 125 or 250, I find these people have more intereseting stories to tell, concerned as they tend to be with roadcraft and places visited rather than strutting around waving their metaphorical motorcycle enhanced phaluses at each other.
20/04/2018 11:12:43 UTC
Confidence - Is It Determined By The Size Of Your Bike? Ren - The Ed said :-
I have on occasion have people say to me "Oh, the CBF125? So what you gonna get when you pass your test?" followed by "Oh, no L plates, well done! What you getting then?"

I smile and while wishing to burst out laughing I calmly as I can reply "I passed my test like 26 years ago..." This does rather confuse people.

I did have one salesman notice my CB500X, where upon entry to the shop he enquired "The X is a good bike for someone who's just passed their test - but I'm guessing you're looking to step up now?" Again this was another chance for me to smugly inform him I have a little experience on two wheels.

Part of Sharon's experience and reading the other comments is this mentality that we all must absolutely crave the largest and most powerful motorcycle ever! If you don't then you are either a big scaredy cat, just getting to grips with biking or some kind of hippy weirdo. I think we're all driven by different motives, hopes, experiences and ultimately that which is physically possible.

I've been watching Henry Cole's "The Motorbike Show". I'm not necessarily a big fan of Henry - he's alright and I like his stuff. Whatever my feelings I appreciate that his shows aren't *just* about speed and power and expensive stuff. It doesn't matter if it's an old 50 or a new 1200, he'll ride it and enjoy it.

And that's it. Be it a 2.3 litre Triumph of a cheap Chinese scoot if it makes you smile just ride it.
19/04/2018 21:10:19 UTC
GDPR And Help! Ren - The Ed said :-
I've gone all shy now.

Cheers Graeme. I follow quite a few facebook site about motorcycle adventures and camping atc, including motorcycle camping. Oddly although I write and hope people read my missives I'm not much of a reader of other people's stuff.

In some ways that might be a good thing because it means I may have my own style, on the other side I could be missing some tricks. I've never been much of a reader. Sharon on the other hand reads EVERYTHING! She works in a library...
19/04/2018 20:55:21 UTC
GDPR And Help! Graeme said :-
Lol, the kitchen sink comment was meant as a compliment :) Your adventures are "real" - thats why I like them. Funnily enough, I do google "motorcycle camping stories" and there's a Facebook group called Motorbike Camping. None of this however can match the quality of your site.
19/04/2018 19:27:10 UTC
Confidence - Is It Determined By The Size Of Your Bike? Christopher said :-
Interesting article and comments: It's all about confidence, and the seat height and weight of the machine is key: There are those riders who feel (rightly or wrongly!) that so long as one foot can be put down on stopping, then that is fine.
I don't subscribe to that personally: I prefer a machine where i can get both feet down,more especially if contemplating taking a pillion/luggage, and there are the 'off camber' junctions, or chippings/gravel under foot to consider.
My CBF125 is fine in respect to the low weight/seat height issue, and riding on mostly 'C' class/unclassified roads in rural area's its a delight: I do have a 'maxi' scooter too, this has a 790mm seat height...which does not appear too daunting (initially!), though with the actual width of the seat taken into account, is a stretch to get both feet down,just about 'tip toes' in fact, hence this is being sold, and a Suzuki Bergman 400 sought instead! This model having a seat height of around 730mm,(and the earlier models i believe around 700mm), quite a difference, and far better confidence wise.
18/04/2018 19:42:06 UTC
Confidence - Is It Determined By The Size Of Your Bike? CrazyFrog said :-
Absolutely right Ian and Ren.

My recently departed F650 BMW was the heaviest bike I have ever owned. I guestimate that it was getting on for 210Kg when fitted with it's luggage and even without I think it was probably over 200Kg.

As you say, you have to be aware of that weight all the time. In particular the BMW was very top heavy (there's a reason why the later ones have the tank under the seat!) and had an unnerving tendency to 'flop' into low speed turns. I ride bikes for fun, and I found that having to be aware of the weight, having to think beforehand of the road camber when parking at the side of the road, etc. etc. etc detracted from that enjoyment.

My little 150 MZ which weighs about the same as a push bike is a hoot to ride and you can take liberties that would be completely impossible on a bigger bike.

What finally decided me on selling the BMW was the realisation that it had very little performance advantage over my 500 Rotax MZ, largely due to the excess weight I suspect, and because the MZ is 50Kg lighter and has much sweeter handling, I much prefer riding it. Oh and it does 70mpg on a run as opposed to the BMW's 55mpg. Still, that's progress for you...
18/04/2018 15:22:13 UTC
Confidence - Is It Determined By The Size Of Your Bike? Ian Soady said :-
It's not just short female riders who may struggle with excess weight and height. It happens to all of us as we get older and our muscles start to become more feeble. I spent many years chucking Norton Commandos and the like around as if they were pushbikes and riding my Enfield Bullet in trials (and by the time you've picked one of those out of the mud 10 times it has lost any pretensions of being a lightweight).

At the age of 55 I bought a Triumph Tiger 955i - one of the tallest bikes around, and it kept its substantial weight high. At first it was fine, although like you I did need to think about where I was going to put my feet when I stopped. However, as the years progressed I realised that I wasn't looking forward as much to getting out on it as I had been. Not the actual riding - once on the move it was fine. But it was the shuffling in and out of the garage, parking, traffic - any time when its bulk was starting to overpower me. Although this was probably as much psychological as physical it still dulled the edge.

So after 8 years or so I embarked on a programme of downsizing. I'm now on the Guzzi V50 which has a theoretical kerb weight of 160 Kg or so and a seat height of around 750mm. And that weight is carried low so the bike doesn't tend to topple (apart of course from the inadequacies of the typically Italian side stand).

The V50 will do me fine for the immediate future but I've no doubt that some time will see me moving down the size and weight scale yet further and I may yet end up with a Chinese 125 although that may be a step too far!
18/04/2018 15:06:47 UTC
CBF 125 Alternator-Stator Problem Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Ben. Welcome to the world of the dark arts.

If you look on any forum regarding this subject there are as many opinions as there are people. Some say "too much load" others "old engine oil" others "failing battery" others "excessive heat" others "crap build quality" others "general wear and tear" others "failing regulator/rectifier" and so on and so on.

So no, I don't know why your coils burned but I do know mine have burned out twice so far, once at around 30,000 and again at around 59,000. If you manage to find the everlasting coil please be kind enough to share them with us!
18/04/2018 07:43:05 UTC
See all older posts

Latest Chit-Chat

Go To Chit-Chat Ren - The Ed said :-
Initially I thought that ALL LED lights were blinding. As time has progressed it seems while they are rather piercing if the original design is correct and the vehicle has not been messed with then LED headlamps are OK. However I think *either* the original design is wrong or the lights are incorrectly adjusted and many of the LEDs are phenomenally blinding.

I'm all for the new LED lights one bicycles because they are incredibly effective - I dare say some are brighter than many car lights. While the law forbids cycle lights from being set such as to dazzle other road users this is seldom the case.
09/04/2018 09:34:21 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Why would a GETS driver need to indicate Ren. The road is his private preserve, us untouchables should be grateful he allows us to use it never mind expect him to signal his intentions. After all he is kind enough to let us know he is there by shining 10 mega watts of lights 6 feet off our arses and into out mirrors so we get blinded when we check them, as well as drowning or own pitiful headlights out with his and rendering the road in front of us a black hole made from our own shadow.
06/04/2018 16:11:25 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I will on occasion use hand signals to reinforce my intentions. Perhaps if I've turned left then I'm turning left again, rather than allowing anyone to think I've not cancelled my indicators I'll stick my left hand out.

Of course riding Japanese motorcycles my indicators typically do work.

I often wonder if the Germanic Executive Transportation Systems (GETS) are as equally reliable. They often seem to be dysfunctional. Perhaps it's me not seeing them?
05/04/2018 18:13:30 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Hand Signals.
That would confuse them. I personally find most people south of the border have no idea what the function of the indicator stalk is. To take it to extremes they say in Singapore you can recognise an expat by the fact they use their indicators. The locals don't because if they do the sod behind them might block them. Which is not actually a joke as that is exactly what happens.
05/04/2018 16:38:58 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
.... I had intended to change the fusebox as it has those horrible MZ type ceramic jobs in it but other things intervened.

So why didn't the indicators work? Their fuse was making poor contact with the daft little copper tas.......
05/04/2018 14:16:40 UTC
Ian Soady said :-

Sun shining, Guzzi all together - what else to do but go for a short ride in the Warwickshire countryside. Perishing cold but very enjoyable. The only problem was the indicators deciding to pack up a couple of miles from home so I had to confuse other road users with hand signals......
05/04/2018 10:26:42 UTC
Neil Robinson said :-
Hello,yes it does very much so,the engine is centralised and low down,Yamaha have tried to level it out by putting the 14l fuel tank and battery up the front,doesn’t work in my opinion,the engine is quite heavy I should imagine,the scooter weighs 215kg,so it isn’t light,and we haven’t got the best roads in the world,I go to Melton Mowbray quite a lot,and the b6047 is busy with bikes on nice days,I get buzzed all the time.

Size compare
02/04/2018 09:27:42 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Clean it? What does "clean it" mean?

I'd never considered that a scoot might have a light front end but when I think about the layout, particularly the position of the motor, it makes sense. Do you find it makes much difference to the handling?
02/04/2018 09:11:01 UTC
Neil Robinson said :-
Hello ren,not too bad thanks,it does have its flaws like many other bikes,I find it very light at the front end,it’s quite quick and torquey,I’ve done just 5450 since new,I clean it more than ride it.lol

02/04/2018 09:08:43 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
COR! X-Max 400, that should be a lot of fun. How you getting along with it Neil?
02/04/2018 08:58:48 UTC

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