Sunday 31 July 2016

Ballroom Blitz

On TV I saw a trailer for the forthcoming superhero movie "Suicide Squad". It featured the song "The Ballroom Blitz" by British glam rock band The Sweet. I recalled that the song was inspired by an incident in 1973 when the band played the Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock and were chased off stage by a barrage of bottles. Hence the lyric "And the man at the back said everyone attack and it turned into a ballroom blitz"

Motorcycle Scramble

Action from the Scottish Twin Shock Scrambling Club meeting at Drumclog today where motocrossers of various ages race together.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Drumtroddan Standing Stone(s)

On a run yesterday alone the coast of Ayrshire and Galloway I headed inland at Port William to see the Standing Stones of Drumtroddan. These consist of three stones that stood ten feet tall.

The stones are aligned to the midsummer rising sun (my diagram)

All references say that two of the three stones are standing but clearly there was only one when I was there. One stone was certainly leaning and seems to have fallen over. Maybe after 4,000 years it fell just before I arrived - how spooky would that be? 


I found a reference that says the stone fell over in 2011. I'd re-erect it but the powers that be seem happy to leave it.

Suzuki SV650 Review

After a couple of months and 2,500 miles here's my impressions of my new 2006 Suzuki SV650. 

First thing to say is that the engine is an absolute gem. It's a 650cc V twin, watercooled, dohc, 8 valves putting out about 70 bhp. It is smooth and sophisticated with very little vibration at any speed. It feels sporty - eager to rev but also flexible. It puts out plenty of power at low revs. You can putt-putt along at 50 mph in top gear but with some throttle it'll take off. Rev it and it gives you smooth power all the way to the 11,000 rpm red line. With 70bhp pushing a light bike along it gives pretty brisk performance. The engine has plenty of character - a V twin is something special. It is quiet but makes a great sound when thrashed - a hard, flat howl. Also the fuel injection is perfect. I've read that some FI bikes have problems with snatching at low speeds but not so on the SV.

It's not a fatty

Grunty engine, stiff frame

The chassis is also great. It's very light (165kg - 363lb dry) so easy to throw about. It handles very well both in tight corners and on high speed ones. The aluminium frame really works. The Nitron shock probably helps. The front forks are maybe a touch soft - I might fit a stiffer set of springs at some point. The brakes also work well. I'm not a fan of sliding calipers but these are powerful with lots of feel.

The stoppers work
It's quite a practical bike. Easy to ride around town and you certainly could tour on it. 

Bar risers & re-upholstered seat help comfort

Any drawbacks? - of course there is, no bike is perfect. You wouldn't want to carry a passenger - there's not a lot of room. On the standard bike the bars are too low and the seat is too hard. With bar risers and a re-upholstered seat comfort is a lot better. Not great, but good enough for my 200-300 mile runs. Remember this is naked sports bike not a tourer. Fuel consumption is low to mid 50's mpg (imp) (45 US gal/mile, 5.2 litres/100km) again ok but not great. That's about it, so a lot more pluses than minuses. 

Digital speedo/analogue tacho is easy to read - but no fuel gauge - really Suzuki?

Overall I'm very happy with the bike. Every run puts a big smile on my face. It definitely has a place in my "fleet" along with the CBF250 and the FJ1200.

Monday 25 July 2016

Loch Arkaig - There and Back

On my trip to Loch Arkaig I passed through some great Scottish scenery. 

Loch Lomond  

Rosebay Willowherb (Fireweed in the USA) with Beinn a' Chaisteil behind

Loch Tulla

The road to Glen Etive

Loch Lochy

Ros Crana is a converted barge that can be hired to tour the waterways of the Highlands

A nice loch side property

Rannoch Moor