Wednesday 30 November 2011


I wrapped up well and went for a run today to look for the floods caused by the recent heavy rain.

The car park at Callander

Near Stirling
The road was blocked south of Aberfoyle - I thought I might make it, but played safe and turned back.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Featured Bike - Yamaha GTS1000

The Yamaha GTS1000 was the replacement for the mighty FJ1200 in 1993. The bike used a detuned version of the FZR1000 sports bike engine in a radical hub centre steering frame. The bike also featured early uses of fuel injection, ABS and a catalytic converter. As I recall it was sold through selected Yamaha "Omega" dealers. The bike was not a success and sold in small numbers for only three years. The problems were less power and more weight than the FJ, a high price, and probably biker suspicion of the front end. The bike looked quite good (right side anyway) but are very rare now.  

This one was for sale at the Stafford Classic Show. 
Hub steering arm & shock on left side

Quaint period launch video.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Tool Time

Rooting about in the garage I realised that I'd made a few tools for various tasks on the FJ and CBF. 

Bead breaker for tubeless tyres

CBF oil cap remover & rear drum brake adjuster

FJ fork tool & fork seal driver

FJ valve shim tool, shock removing tool & steering head collar socket

Monday 21 November 2011

Autumn Scene

What is this time of year called? Seems it's too late for autumn and the weather's too mild for winter. I'll call it "late autumn" and this pictures sums up the season. Loch Ard (past Aberfoyle) looking gloomy but mirror calm. I've made the picture monochrome because there was almost no colour in it.

Saturday 19 November 2011

Featured Bike - Triumph Trident Prototype (1965)

Looking like a mid 60's Bonnie this was the first prototype Trident.

I snapped this bike in the London Motorcycle Museum. If you are in the capital it's worth searching this place out. And search you will have to. It is located in old farm buildings now surrounded by housing in Greenford, Middlesex.

Current Bikes - Yamaha FJ1200

In 1993 I was looking for a big sports touring bike. I wanted a bike with good performance and the ability to carry two people and their luggage across a continent if necessary. That's when I bought my first Yamaha FJ1200 and eighteen years later and I'm still riding FJs.

Even after all this time the FJ still stacks up as a sports tourer. Ok it's not that fast by modern standards, but then when was the last time you had to exceed 150 mph? Yamaha claimed 125 bhp and that meant 105-110 at the rear wheel. An R6 makes this but the FJ is all about torque. It pulls cleanly from 2,000 rpm and by 4,000 you're moving. You can rev it to the red line but its more satisfying to change up and feel the grunt pull you along. Although the bike is an effortless mile muncher on the motorway I think the bike is best on fast twisting roads. It has good handling & brakes and it's always a joy to wind the throttle open coming out of a corner and feel the big engine power away.

The bike is also comfortable with a good seat, a nice riding position and a protective fairing. Mechanically they are fairly simple and there is good access for servicing & repairs. Parts are readily available and there is lots of bits on eBay to keep them going.

FJs are very reliable and durable. With little more than routine servicing my bikes have done 60,000 and 133,000 miles. I've ridden them for over 150,000 miles and they have never failed to get me where I'm going.  

Both bikes are fairly standard. Both have Givi racks. One a carrier for a top box and the other a Wingrack to add panniers. Both have uprated fork springs and front calipers - "blue spot" monoblocks on one and awesome six potters from a YZF750 on the other. The newer bike has been fitted with chrome silencers from an XJR1300.

My FJs
Touring in the Highlands

Sunday 13 November 2011


I don't know much about speedboats or their engines but I know a serious motor when I see it. This guy obviously believes that bigger is better! Snapped on a recent holiday to Fuerteventura, Canary Islands.

Big V8 motor with huge supercharger

Thursday 10 November 2011

Say┼Źnara FJ

This afternoon I gave my newer FJ1200 a good wash & polish to prepare it for its winter hibernation. I've been riding the bike since February but with the weather turning cold and the roads salty and mucky it was time to put it away until next year. I did a fair amount of miles - 7,500 this year on the FJ and, as usual, it never missed a beat. Over the winter there are few minor items of servcing & repair I'll do but not much.  

The FJ goes beddy-byes for a few months

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Featured Bike - Motus MST

The Motus MST is a high performance sports tourer currently in development and planned to be on the market next year. The bike has a 1645cc ohv longitudinal engine and a trellis type frame. The numbers are impressive: 160bhp & 500lb dry weight. Motus are based in Birmingham, Alabama and the motor was inspired by the American muscle cars. It must be hard for a new company to take on the existing highly developed sports tourers from Honda, BMW, Kawasaki, Yamaha etc but its good to see the Americans building something other than a V twin cruiser.

I like the styling

Motus V four engine

Friday 4 November 2011

Current Bikes - Honda CBF250

Have you ever seen one of these? I hadn't before I bought it and haven't since (except in Spain where they seem popular) Two years ago I needed a commuter bike after the my MZ expired and a used CBF fitted the bill. It was more cash than I intended to spent on a commuter bike but it was in near perfect condition and it reminded me of my old CB250RS. It's made in Brazil and known in some markets as the CBX250 "Twister".

The CBF makes the perfect commuter bike. Light, nimble, easy to ride, reliable. It is also astonishingly economical. 75mpg through town and an amazing 85mpg on the open road. It's not fast - 22bhp gives 80mph top speed with 65mph cruising. In Honda fashion it's fairly well built and totally inoffensive in operation. The engine is an air-cooled single with 4 valves & twin cams. It has a balance shaft that means virtually zero vibration.

Until recently I've used the bike almost exclusively for commuting but it can handle longer runs if you're not in a hurry. I went for a camping weekend on it to Cumbria and it made a capable lightweight tourer. I now use the bike as an everyday runabout and it's fun for runs on the country back roads.

The bike has the following accessories: heated grips, engine bars, a Givi carrier and a flyscreen.

My Honda CBF250

The bike is used all year round

Touring in Cumbria

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Getting Out and About

Into November and the opportunities for a good long bike ride become rarer. But today was sunny and mild so I did one of my favourite runs down the A76 to Dumfries on my Honda CBF250. This was my commuter bike and I didn't really use it for pleasure much but it's a fun little bike to ride. A bit of a culture shock after the FJ having about a fifth of the power but it goes well and it's a lot cheaper to run. 

The tolbooth at Sanquhar

Autumn colours at Drumlanrig Castle

Dumfries. Lots of water over the weir.

Dundrennan Abbey