A motorcycle parked in front of a tent on a pleasant green campsite

Welcome To Bikes And Travels...

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

2 motorcycles with camping luggage with stunning Highland mountins in the background

Autumn is almost here followed by a winter (of discount-tents). With the spiralling cost of energy BAT's latest recommendation is to keep your full winter riding kit on at all times. In the meantime here's a lovely image to keep you going through these harsh times.

This update is brought to you under duress from the grumbling BAT readers.

What's New?

Suzuki Bandit GSF 650 SA Review Ivan shares his real world thoughts and experiences of Suzuki's later liquid cooled incarnation of the indomitable Bandit.
CB500X Fork Noise The forks on the CB500X are driving Ren MAD!! Luckily for you this is the abbreviated version with a resolution after much trauma.
Lovely Lewis And Chilled Chums Rev. Mick! finds today to be much calmer and enjoyable rather than endurable. A tour of the northern half of Lewis and some good company sees Mick swinging and snoring.
Somewhere Between Honda And I... The crank access cover on Ren's CB500X makes getting to the crank bolt to turn the engine over easy. Well, that's the theory at least. It's time to make an already really awful job even more terrible.
The Majesty And Magnificence Of Mull By keeping his expectations in check Ren finds the small island of Mull to be a delight. Apparently it's all about the journey not the destination though.
Emotional Endings And Homeward Heartache It's the end of Bogger's Brittany experience and it appears he's rather enjoyed this sojourn. Alas and alack it's back to reality though, all good things must come to an end.
Motorcycle Meditation In The Wild And Wet Rev. Mick! is having one hell of a day. The Hebridean weather is throwing it's worst at them as they make their way northbound to their raison d'etre.
Dangerous Distractions, Draughts And Dapper Drivers Not all is as perfect as one would wish for today. There's a draught or two and a lairy scary moment. All in all though things seem to be going acceptably well for The Dynamic Muppets.
Bogger's Brilliant Day Out As Bogger's trip draws to a close there's still an awful lot to do, an awful lot of fun to be had, then throw in some delightful motorcycles and Bogger's a happy chappy.
Making Your Own Control Cables As requested Ian shares his knowledge and experience on how to make up your own control cables. Maybe you can fit your own apehangers to that R1 now?
See More What's New

Latest Posts

Suzuki Bandit GSF 650 SA Review Upt'North ¹ said :-
It's got to be time for an Austrian bike porn pic. This near Leogang. Great family run hotel too.

Posted Image
31/01/2023 09:12:43 UTC
Suzuki Bandit GSF 650 SA Review Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ivan, my considered purchase at the time was for a two up tourer. I wanted to go with oem luggage too, it's just easier. Having just fitted a mix of Shad and Givi on my WeeStrom I think oem is still a better choice when it works but that wasn't an option that would work on the Strom.
Looking back I think a smaller cc bike could well have been an option but the 1000 was a good Autoroute blaster and it did plenty of it, it was probably more beneficial on steep mountain passes in Europe too.
The Strom now feels plenty lively enough although this year it was relegated to second bike by the Pan, we'll see how it copes loaded up this year.
I note you're from Austria, there's some lovely rides there although I wouldn't include the Vršič Pass in the lovely ride Category. Although is that in Slovenia? I know I was travelling towards Austria at the time.
My memory is weak.

31/01/2023 09:01:04 UTC
Suzuki Bandit GSF 650 SA Review Ive¹ said :-
Thanks for the feedback both of you!

Yeah, the whole package with me + bike and some stuff I carry (Laptop, etc) is about 250 + 68 + 5 = 323 kg. That definitely makes a difference then, I just wasn't aware how much it was.

@Upt'North: I feel the 650 was more than enough for me, so I wasn't ever really looking for something bigger. It might make a difference if you are riding a lot on the highway, which I don't. For regular roads and city commuting it was more than big enough :).
30/01/2023 16:33:12 UTC
CB500X Fork Noise Ross said :-
There's been quite a few reports on the owners forum of crash bars causing problems on 500X's, often excessive vibration. Some have reported problems with the frame twisting slightly out of alignment when the engine mounting bolts have been removed to fit the 'bars and had a struggle to get to all line up again! There's a current thread in the 'ride reports' section which discusses a broken bolt. I believe the official Honda 'bar doesn't use these mounting points, which might suggest something!?
30/01/2023 14:47:11 UTC
Test Ride Review Of The Suzuki Inazuma 250 - By Ren Withnell Ross said :-
Hi Kipperfeet, nice to hear people are still enjoying their Inazuma's, at times I still miss my old one even after 3 years and occasionally scrutinize ebay for another one going cheap and right on my doorstep!

Might be worth checking to see if you've got water getting into the instrument panel, either from using a pressure washer or heavy rain! I've heard of a few problems with this and sometimes got condensation forming on the inside of the screen on my un-faired Inazuma, usually after a wash.
30/01/2023 14:37:56 UTC
Suzuki Bandit GSF 650 SA Review Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
"you can't argue with physics" - ie "you canny change the laws of physics, captain".

Weight is a thing to be noted. Sharon's 150kg 250 and Sharon herself at 50kg makes for 200kg. Me with my 196kg bike plus 5kg of extras plus 80odd kg of me makes for 280-290kg, probably more. The mileage Sharon gets out of chains, brakes and tyres is phenomenal. Part of this is riding style, a good part of this is sheer mass and the lack of therein.

Ivan's write up is rather good innit.
30/01/2023 13:57:23 UTC
Suzuki Bandit GSF 650 SA Review Upt'North ¹ said :-
Nice write up Ivan, I always liked the Bandits but never owned one, it was on my shortlist for a 1250 when I settled on a CBF1000.
I think your wear issues were just physics, and you can't argue with physics.
30/01/2023 09:37:09 UTC
Test Ride Review Of The Suzuki Inazuma 250 - By Ren Withnell Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the Zuma Kipperfeet - it's many years since I wrote this article and the input from folks both here and in real life has been mostly positive. I'm not seeing the Inazuma on Suzuki's UK site at present (nor any other 250ish models) and this disappoints me. I guess in a world where no-one can barely afford to even heat their homes we are all so poor we have to ride 650s and 800s.
29/01/2023 20:33:48 UTC
Test Ride Review Of The Suzuki Inazuma 250 - By Ren Withnell ROD¹ said :-
Hi Kipperfeet,
I sold my GW250F four years ago, but at 5'4" I found the Inazuma very comfortable. I even managed over 700 miles in a day on it with no problems.
Enjoy the lnazuma, a great handling bike.
28/01/2023 21:43:29 UTC
Test Ride Review Of The Suzuki Inazuma 250 - By Ren Withnell Kipperfeet said :-
After riding YBR125's for the best part of 12 years (for commuting purposes), I decided it was time to get a similarly economical mount, but with a tad more oooomph and thus ability to make my "A to B" trips a little easier.
I bought the fully faired GW250F and have found it to be the perfect compromise for economical running and sufficient power for the job.
It's perfect for 30 to 60 zones and will "eventually" reach 75, maybe 80. As for fuel consumption, generally getting around 75 to 80MPG, so no complaints there.
It's a heavy old barge and weighs a tad more than my old shaft driven Honda VT500E would you believe? That said, the weight assists its stability and general steady handling.
The finish is slightly iffy, but it is a Suzuki and ultimately a commuting workhorse which, for me, means all year riding.
I've done a couple of longer (100 mile plus) trips on it, but don't suggest you make a habit of it as it has a commuting saddle, not a touring one.
It does about 8.5mph per 1000 revs on top gear and at maximum torque you get about 55mph and maximum power about 72mph.
Problems...... Has a habit to sometimes change from MPH to KPH without being set that way AND also part of the display disappearing, though still riding operating as usual..... Maybe a loose wire? Mind, it IS a Suzuki and those around long enough will know their engines are as strong as Rambo, with electrics as weak as Mr Puni-verse.

27/01/2023 14:46:30 UTC
See More Comments

Latest Repair-Chat

Go To Repair-Chat Upt'North ¹ said :-
Well, you don't have to Rod, but it is your prerogative.
I had a GT250A, probably 1978, I can see that two up the 380 would probably do things better.
The 250 was a cracking bike and very underrated. The X7 was a different kettle of fish altogether, made for folks Ren's size.
30/01/2023 18:40:40 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
Sorry Upt',I have to disagree about the GT380. I would regularly see over 110mph, and was once clocked by the police on the M23 at 103mph two up.
The biggest difference between the 250 & the 380 was riding into a headwind, or two up.
I would easily keep up with a solo 250 when I was two up on the 380.
30/01/2023 08:52:39 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
I never saw the point of the 380. Although the noise was nice.
It was just about as quick as the GT250 which was a cracker.
The middle piston was always a problem.
Good luck Glyn.

30/01/2023 00:02:39 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I've just gotten a little bit of bile in the back of my throat seeing that monstrosity!
29/01/2023 20:35:44 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
I owned a GT380 mid 1970s. I have fond memories of this bike.
When setting up the ignition timing take care, as the middle cylinder has a slightly different dial gauge setting to the outside cylinders, and these triples will melt pistons if they are not set up correctly.

Probably teaching my grandmother to suck eggs again...
29/01/2023 19:34:57 UTC
nab301 said :-
Lovely !! We need a video / sound of this one when you get it running
29/01/2023 19:22:27 UTC
Glyn said :-
As arranged the Suzuki GT380 has arrived. I think this could be another tricky one as there are electrical problems with some parts arriving in boxes and bags including the points and condenser plate and the airbox. The kick start doesn't return and the clutch is suspect. The last time it ran was many years ago. If you didn't like the sound of the TS250 single then this 380cc triple will drive you mad. Having said that, I've got to get it going in order for that to happen.
Posted Image
29/01/2023 16:37:34 UTC
nab301 said :-
Quote "I wonder with the Enfields - they must have a computer. Can you get to the fault codes without proprietary software and cables?"
Ren , plenty of faults on EFI Enfields ,just search for Mil (Malfunction indicator light).
Plenty of woes on specific forums. What you want is the last of the pre unit Bullet 65's with disc front brake and 5 speed gearbox (assuming you don't want a R/H gearchange)
for a software free ride straight out of the 50's! Or you can always convert your EFI model to a Carburettor .
25/01/2023 23:15:41 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Wouldn't know Ren. As you will be aware I prefer bikes that are well run in (or worn out) so don't have to bother with any of that stuff. No idea why anybody does to be honest.
25/01/2023 14:14:56 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I still see enough 1250 GSs on the roads Ian - alongside various other "super" - adventure/sport models. I think Enfield are gradually moving a few folks away from "anything less than 120 HP is slow". The success of Yamaha's Tenere 700 has galvanised Honda and Suzuki to copy them (New Transalp for example). While these models are still in the 80 - 90 HP range it's still less than "as much as possible".

I wonder with the Enfields - they must have a computer. Can you get to the fault codes without proprietary software and cables?
25/01/2023 14:06:44 UTC

Latest Chit-Chat

Go To Chit-Chat Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I'm suspicious... I'm presuming Mrs North has a life policy that you're looking to cash in on Upt'?
30/01/2023 20:37:13 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
The grease didn't work Ed, perhaps I should have used 60% Moly Paste?
30/01/2023 15:25:53 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I'm wondering - if the shoes are sticking to the drum would it not help to grease the shoes? Just wondering...

(please don't try this)
30/01/2023 13:59:57 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
A brick under a tyre?

I've had automatic cars for the last 15 years or so and wouldn't go back to manual. The Park position engages a positive sprag so is as effective if not more so than a conventional handbrake. In fact on the odd occasions when I've used the handbrake I can't remember how the (electric) thing works.....
30/01/2023 10:07:05 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
No it's manual, nowt posh, but Eddie the Eagle could use the drive for a ski jump.
So no choice, it's either the garage in the winter or black tyre marks up the street.
I sincerely hope your dripping, smoky, dirty little thing never parks in my garage, it'd never get back out and up the drive. I might allow you to park on the road, I might not.
I suspect our rear drums are probably your rear drums, I've tried all the tricks, including different makes of shoes but nothing works. Blummin Germans.
29/01/2023 23:58:26 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
As a young mechanic I was always taught to not use the handbrake as they stick on. My car only gets used once in a blue moon and is a prime candidate for a heavy "THUNK" when setting off for the first time. Problem is it becomes a habit to leave the car in gear... which has caused Sharon a few lairy moments if I've used her car.

Good point re the electric handbrake nab301 - Mrs North may not even have a choice.

That garage needs a damn good oil stain on that clean concrete Upt'. Get kettle on lad, I'll soon having it looking just right when I park the 125 there.
29/01/2023 20:42:09 UTC
nab301 said :-
Upt , those panniers are looking good.
On the car I'm guessing its an electric handbrake where it's not possible to leave it switched off ? I have to leave my rear drum braked Seat Arosa parked with the hand brake off for the same reason , the shoes stick to the drum.
29/01/2023 19:31:05 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
You've got it all wrong. You have one garage for the bikes / workshop, another for the junk like mowers etc, and a shed for the gardener in the family. Cars are waterproof so stay outside. I can't remember the last time I used a handbrake except for MoTs.....
29/01/2023 14:17:07 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
The garlics good too.
Which reminds me, I need to get some planted ASAP.

29/01/2023 12:56:16 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Don't get Ren started. That is indeed the tidy side, where the bike normally sits it's a tip. Well not so much a tip but by the time you've parked your mowers, strimmers, generator, chainsaw, bike, bench, paint, and not forgetting Woolers best wine cellar.....well it's pretty full.
Er'Indoors motor normally sits where the bike was through the winter, mainly becauee VAG can't manufacture a handbrake that doesn't stick on if left outside for more than two hours!

29/01/2023 12:55:09 UTC
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