Monday, November 15, 2021

The Black Donuts And Some Tricolori

After my Border Patrol ride with it's heavily loaded, high speed cruising it was time for some new rear rubber on the Africa Twin. I had replaced the original Bridgestone AX41 with another back in April. I found the AX41 to be a good tyre on the dirt roads I ride and it also had plenty of grip for some fairly spirited road riding. The down side was that it was only good for about 6000 kilometres. Not the greatest longevity so....

Bridgestone AX41 shod back in April.

After much browsing of the many "What Tyres Are You Using" threads on the interwebs, two kept coming up as hoops worth a look at. The Motoz GPS and the Mitas E07 Dakar. Now, a mate has the Motoz GPS on his KTM 1090 and while it has lasted well and seems ok in the dirt, he dreads riding on the sealed stuff in the wet. With the tyre's continuous centre strip he says it spins up and slides at the drop of a hat. 
 The E05 that was on my BMW F800 was a fine tyre that gave me confidence on the tar, so, that pushed me to try a Mitas E07+.


A recent two day ride with Jon, the KTM mate and another workmate on his trusty DR650 saw us doing a mix of sealed road, good dirt and some sandy farm tracks with a couple of creek crossings, finally "glamping" in a pub. 

The E07 performed well but I think the front tyre is holding me back on the tar. The front feels like it is tucking when I push hard, especially when I try to stand the bike up to change direction. A close look at the front tyre showed a fair amount of wear (about 10 000km on it) so on the way home from that ride I stopped into Tyres For Bikes at Eagle Farm for a new front tyre.

I thought about trying something else but the Bridgestone had done a good job both on and off road and the life wasn't bad at 10 000km. Hence, another AX41 went on the front. Jon also put one on his KTM 1090 at the same time as his TKC 80 was pretty flogged.

Riding out of the shop the bike immediately felt smoother. The old tyre was out of balance and was shaking the front end quite a bit in hindsight.

Another thing I noticed, just as I pulled onto the motorway (which is only about 50 metres from the tyre shop) was that both my ABS and Traction control lights were illuminated! Shit!! There was no way off the motorway as it went straight up the Gateway Bridge and onto the south side of the river. About half way up the bridge the Engine light also came on! FFS, what have they done?

When I got home I inspectd the front wheel, expecting to see damage to the wheel speed sensor or it's wire but no, it looked fine. What did look wrong though was the wheel speed ring being on the other side of the fork to the wheel speed sensor!

Wheel speed ring on right fork leg.

Wheel speed sensor on left fork leg.

Wheel speed sensor wire on left fork leg.

ONE JOB! They are called Tyres For Bikes - they have one job - fitting tyres to bikes....and they had put my wheel in the bike backwards! Maybe I should have checked but really, how hard is it? They have 1 job!!

So, I reefed the wheel out and as they are located right by the airport I waited until I was going to work before dropping the wheel off to them. They didn't offer to reimburse the $33 it costs to have them fit the new tyre to the bike even though I had to take the wheel out and take it back to them for rectification. 
I'm not very happy with that level of service as there are plenty of places to buy tyres in this city. I am currently considering if I cross them permanently off my "places to shop" list.

On a happier note, I got the Twin out for a spin mid last week, despite the rain that was threatening. Number one child also came for the ride. We tracked up the back side of Beechmont from Canungra as the roadworks of recent years have turned that goat track into some nice wide, sweeping, constant radius corners....before turning back to goat track. I also figured the inland side of the mountain would be a drier alternative to the coastal side. This proved to be true as we arrived at The Flying Bean cafe in some low cloud but still quite dry.

The impending deluge had clearly scared everyone else off as this is the first time I have ever been to The Bean and not seen a motorcycle parked up out the front! I had pride of place but chose to stay out of the mud!

My daughter had some breakfast and a coffee while I was good and just had coffee. (trying to lose some Covid kilos) It did look nice though....

A local Magpie was hopeful of a few crumbs but we dissuaded him from coming any closer, me still being scarred by his crazy bretheren buzzing me during the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail End 2 End X 2 bike ride at the end of August! (link to last year's ride above)

The rain did eventually arrive, as did a couple of other hardy motorcyclists so we settled in for another coffee and a chat. In fact, we spent 3 hours chatting to two guys who rolled up on a Ninja 1000 and a BMW F850GSA. One was Italian, the other a German, both having lived in Oz for a few years. It was a very entertaining morning. Eventually though we needed to get going and we headed off into some thick fog and quite heavy rain. No problem though as Queensland is warm - being wet and warm is fine.

On another motorcycling note, I took the Tuono to Hawtt Decals where Emma (or was it Emily?) applied some cool rim decals which added a splash of colour and I think look pretty cool. I had a good time chatting all things motorcycling with her as both her and her husband are keen riders and road racers. I will definitely be using their services again. I just need more imagination to come up with some cool decals - something I'm not naturally endowed with though, unfortunately.

I think it came up well but you be the judge.

Pre rim decal

Post rim decal.

Hawtt Decals are located at the base of Mt Mee, one of the north side bike roads so of course I needed to "generate some heat in the tyres to help cure the decals"..... and being a week day it was nice and quiet on the roads....apart from the booming of a V4 Tuono that is!!

I finally got to twist the throttle pretty hard and this thing not only sounds great but handles so awesomely, being able to flick it from side to side with much less effort than the old R1! I am not sure about the Metzler tyres though- not much feedback on offer - but as they were brand new on the bike when I bought it I guess I am stuck with them for a few years.

I stopped in at the PitStop Cafe on Mt Mee road. I can't believe I hadn't been here before last week! It is very inauspicious looking from the front....

But walk in and look out the back...... !!

The views go on forever to the south east over Dayboro, to the Brisbane city skyline just 30 kilometres away as the crow flies!

This is what I love about bikes, be they motor or pedal powered. They get me out there, discovering places I have never visited and better still, talking to random strangers for hours because of a shared passion. I was pleased to be able to share that experience with my daughter last week on the Beechmont ride...and I think she gets it. 

Cheers and thanks for checkin' in.