Recent exploits, contact:
Kawasaki VN900, Honda VT750 Shadow, Yamaha XV535 Virago
On this page you will find details of my recent motorcycling exploits from cruisers to adventure bikes. I will also tell you about my favourite accessories and give you access to some interesting videos.
They do say that once you have ridden bikes, you will never shake it off. Of course I am still riding now.
I started riding again in 2006. Liking the look of the cruiser scene I bought an 02 Yamaha Virago to get back into riding. I kept this bike for over a year then fancied something bigger. The old question reared it's ugly head again. What shall I buy? Shall I go for Harley, BMW or Triumph. This was the sort of question I was asking myself. Eventually I made what I still consider to be a good choice progression wise and bought a Honda Shadow.
My Honda Shadow
This was a stage 1 tuned 05 VT750 C5. It had open Vance and Hines pipes, a Kuryakin hypercharger and loads of Highway Hawk bits.
Here's some video taken from my trusty Honda Shadow:
After 4 years the Shadow was replaced with a 2011 Kawasaki VN900 Vulcan Classic Special Edition to which I fitted the obligatory Vance and Hines pipes, Mustang seat, bar risers, lighting bar, K and N air filter and a Cobra F2000I powerpro fuel management unit (sent by a friend in the States). This one item transformed the bike. Along with the pipes and fast flow air filter it gave almost sports bike acceleration and it would run smoothly down below 30mph in top which it would never do before the mods. And as for that 'gattling gun' sound...... It had to be heard to be believed.
LATEST NEWS: (2016)
So after running my Kawasaki VN900 for six years, I fancied a change of genre so I invested in -
a Triumph Tiger 800 XRX triple. Wow! What a culture shock! Basically an adventure bike with a Speed Triple - ish engine, this bike is very quick, handles like a dream, is bristling with tech and looks good too. For me, it's amazing to have brakes that work and to be able to run into roundabouts at speed on the outside lane knowing that you can get through and away before almost any car gets near you is fantastic. And to have a bike on which you can filter to the front in most situations is a revelation. Took a fair bit to get used to the massive (for me) power difference and performance of this bike. It has 3 riding modes and I have initially had to keep it in 'rain' mode just to be able to keep the thing within legal requirements. I have added some spotlamps to help me to be seen seeing as how the exhaust (Arrow sport can) is sooooooo quiet by comparison with the VN gattling gun Vance and Hines pipes. I've also had to install an aftermarket screen as the standard one is basically crap for wind protection. I can now sit on the motorway with the cruise control set to 80mph revving at 6 with another 4 and a half thou to go. And the screaming sound from that unburstable triple above 6 thou has to to be experienced to be believed! The only problem is that the Missis is not too happy on the back compared to the luxury and comfort of the VN. I am working on that though! I do have some ideas for some maybe longer runs with a possibility of some touring in mind. We shall see. Also, I do still miss that V twin engine.......... Hmmmmmmmmm
Frame typeSteel trellis
SuspensionFront: Upside down forks
Rear: Aluminium swingarm & mono-shock
BrakesFront: twin 308 mm floating discs, Nissin 2-piston sliding calipers, Rear: single 255 mm disc, Nissin single piston sliding caliper (Switchable ABS model available)
TyresFront 800: 100/90ZR19
Front 800 XC: 90/90ZR21
Rear both: 150/70 ZR17
Wheelbase800: 1,555 mm (61.2 in)
800 XC: 1,568 mm (61.7 in)
DimensionsL: 2,215 mm (87.2 in)
W: 800: 795 mm (31.3 in)
800 XC: 865 mm (34.1 in)
H: 800: 1,350 mm (53 in)
800 XC: 1,390 mm (55 in)
Seat height800: 810–830 mm (32–33 in)
My Tiger is equipped with front and rear video cameras which record every ride for both insurance purposes and for making 'action videos'. A couple of my videos:
A run down the 'Strines' road in Yorkshire on my 2016 Tiger 800. Triumph triple engine sounds through front and rear camera setup.
I have a Tom Tom 410 bike satnav which is invaluable to me. One feature of it which I like is the ability to 'record your route' from which function you can save a GPX file of your ride. This can be used in software to make a video with real time displays such as speed, direction, g forces etc. Or you can load it into the likes of www.gpxeditor.com to record your route onto a map. Here is a short video showcasing Dashware software and some of what you can do with it. This was taken aboard my Triumph Tiger 800 XRX from a Vsys C6 front and rear camera setup. It is from my 2016 NW200 return run down to the Larne ferry on the bottom end of the lovely A36.
Mods to my Triumph
The madstad screen by MRA.
Not pretty but very, very effective
One of the first mods I did to the xrx was to swop the standard screen for a Madstad. This is a bit of a shame as I always liked the looks of the standard item. However, I was not happy with the wind protection so it had to go. The Madstad is pretty expensive at approx £250 but for me the transformation is fantastic. I can now ride at Motorway speeds (and the rest)without any buffeting or helmet movement whatsoever. This came as a revelation after riding cruisers which have massive screens but offer virtually no wind protection at all. I was used to everything being out of focus at anything over 60mph!
Lust racing lowering links:
This is a fantastic mod for anyone who is height challenged like me.
Very easy to fit, good looking and functional.
Get the bike on centre stand. Place a piece of wood under the rear wheel. Undo and remove both suspension link bolts. Position up the new links, slide the bolts back in. Torque up the bolts, drop the fork yolk an inch. Job done.
Most adventure bikes are tall. Seat height of 850mm+ is quite normal. It is not a nice feeling not to be able to get your feet down at standstill. I have a 29" inside leg and struggled even with the Tiger 800 seat in low position at 810mm. I have now fitted the 30mm (1.2") links and can now virtually flat foot the bike. Handling is not compromised as I still don't ground out. I did find that the bike stood a bit too upright on the sidestand so I acquired a second hand sidestand on ebay for £30 and had it chopped back 1"and welded for a tenner. Problem sorted.
It is a fact that you always hanker after your first bike. After some searching, I found the exact model of bike which I learned on and passed my test on back in the day. It now takes pride of place at home where I will cosset it and look after it. It has been nicely restored and almost 100% original. It runs nicely and the first ride on it took me straight back to 1970, not a bad feeling. I won't be running it too much, just summer days to show it off a bit but I will definitely be wheeling it out on a regular basis just to look at it. Sad or what?
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When something fell off inside the original silencer, I decided that I would replace it with a high level system. This was partly because a proper replacement is difficult to find and partly because I'd always fancied this system 'back in the day'.
Some parts were ordered from China which arrived in less than a week, a new flange was sourced and the pipe was cobbled together. The joint has been hidden by a decorative metal plate .
Experiences of a 70's biker