Wednesday 26 February 2014

Featured Bike - WK Bikes 650i & 650TR

Looking at the motorcycle section of the Gumtree website (UK classified ads) I noticed a dealer advert for a new bike called a WK 650i. This is a water cooled 650cc dohc parallel twin roadster and looks similar to a Kawasaki ER6n. In fact it’s a close copy of the ER6. This is a bike by the CF Moto company of China and re-branded for the UK for some reason. WK (White Knuckle, apparently) sell a range of scooters and 125cc bikes (popular in the UK due to licensing laws) but the 650 is the first big Chinese bike on the market.

There is also a touring model, the 650TR, that has a full fairing and panniers and looks like a mini Honda ST1300. 

It seems inevitable that Chinese products will take over the world, but are we ready to buy Chinese motorcycles? The 650i is £4,200, an ER6n £5,400 so it's cheaper but not by that much. Would you find the extra for a Kawa? or buy a used bike? Long term durability & reliability and the performance of the dealers will probably decide it.

There are a lot of dealers (8 in Scotland alone) so you can see one if you want. here

A positive review of the 650TR by the estimable Alan Cathcart

WK 650i

WK 650TR

Monday 24 February 2014

Winter Olympics - The Scottish Connection

With the Winter Olympics concluding in Sochi this last weekend I realised that I had taken a couple of photographs in the past weeks that have a (slight) connection.

Firstly the CBF in Girvan. The island in the distance is Ailsa Craig. It is a volcanic plug located 10 miles offshore. It is made of a rare type of granite that is used for making curling stones. Most stones in the world, including those used in Sochi, were quarried from the island and made by Kays of Mauchline. 

The island is for sale! here

Still  on the sport of curling. This is the Lake of Menteith near Aberfoyle on a gloomy day at the end of last month. If the lake freezes over a curling match or Bonspiel is held. As you can see the mild winter means the lake is devoid of ice. The last Bonspiel was in 1979 though there was one planned in the cold winter of 2010 but abandoned for safety reasons. The Bonspiel may have become a victim of climate change.

Friday 21 February 2014

Featured Bike - Lotus CT-01

Built by the German company Kodewa using a KTM 1200 V twin engine. It seems to be a design concept rather than a road bike lacking such mundane details like lights, indicators or a side stand. It was designed by Daniel Simon who worked on the Bugatti Veyron. He is obviously proud of it because his name is on the paddock stand as well as the bike! 

It's an odd mixture of retro and futuristic with a central nacelle and twin shocks. It looks long and low with raked out forks that don't seem to suggest sports bike handling.     

Sunday 9 February 2014

FJ Silencer Swap

About three years ago the silencer box on my FJ was shot. I sourced one from an XJR1300 that I knew would fit. It came with a pair of XJR silencers and I fitted these as well. For the coming season, and for no particular reason, I changed the silencers back to a pair of MIVV silencers I bought years ago. These are a close match to the original Yamaha items.

XJR silencers

Yamaha FJ, MIVV, Yamaha XJR 

MIVV silencers

Thursday 6 February 2014

Past Bikes - 1980 Honda CB250RS

What a great little bike! The RS was a roadster using the XL250 4 valve single engine. At the time in the UK 250cc was the limit for learner riders who had not passed a test. The RS was a popular choice for learners because it was light, nimble and quite fast. I bought the bike in 1982 for my girlfriend. When we later set up home together it carried the pair of us to work for many years in all weathers. The RS was very similar to the CBF250 I ride today.

1982 with learner "L" plates
1990 with white paint job