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Category Archives: Honda CRF250 Rally

CRF 250 Rally beats the Oban logjam

With the traffic in Oban at a standstill due to road re-surfacing where all the industrial estates – super-markets and schools collide we can’t blame the motor-homers this time. In my eyes it’s the Council Planners to blame – or to be correct – the complete lack of planning.

It’s October – most of the tourists have been and gone. The few that are left are in the main heading for the islands via the ferry port in the town centre. Traffic is at a standstill this week – and next probably as there is not a lot of action taking place on the roadworks despite the number of colourful hard hats in attendance. There have been times when stationary traffic has snaked all the way from Dunbeg – a northern outpost of the town to Soroba in the south. Disruption to local schools and businesses must be immense.

Local geography means there’s no chance of a bypass anytime soon but what happened to night time working? The roads are virtually clear from 19.00hrs through to 07.00hrs the next day.

No worries – particularly when you have a slim-line Honda CRF 250 at your disposal – perhaps we should all have one —

She slips quietly through the stationary traffic as if it wasn’t there and takes to the little-used backroads when neccessary leaving the motorists to their over-heating grid-lock —

Mind you – I did think I’d blown it when I discovered two sections of my backroad detour under water at the bottom end of Loch Nell but if the wee CRF doesn’t have enough ground clearance with her 21ins front and 18ins rear wheel then little else does. I doubt if it was much more than hub deep and no doubt the lower engine cases were needing a wash anyhow.

The 16 miles from town centre bike park to ferry usually takes about 20-25 mins and today was no exception – despite the stationary traffic in town and added mileage on my revised route so a 15.00 hrs kick-off had me at the 3.30 ferry with ease —

Even the Skipper was impressed – but not for long —

it takes a lot more than that to impress a ‘ferry dug’ πŸ™‚

 

 
 

CRF250 Rally finds a Shieling in the Glen

It was another of those rare ‘rogue’ nice days with some welcome sunshine as we head into October – a day to be out on the hills with the little Honda —

I’ve had it in mind to try a certain long trail to the east of here for some time and I wasn’t going to get a better day for it this side of Christmas.

The first few miles were steep and rough in places with an occasional river crossing to ford but once through a hidden pass that didn’t look entirely natural the trail improved and there were signs of a previous habitation in the wide valley I had ridden into.

So-o – with apologies to Stealers Wheel —

‘rusting roof sheets to the left of me’ —

‘crumbling stonework to my right’ —

‘here I am’ —

‘parked in the middle of you’ —

There’s little doubt that this remote glen supported at least two families not so long ago but there’s not a soul to be seen up here now – just a few flighty blackface sheep with a hint of the wild goat in them plus a half dozen or so hardy cattle.

In fact – apart from the low density sheep and cattle grazing the bare hills and an odd buzzard in the sky above the only other sign of life was a big red fox scuttling out of my was as I entered the woodland above the loch.

The well surfaced track I’m following was probably built when the area was tunnelled and dammed in a previous bout of hydro-electric frenzy —

Thankfully there’s little sign of traffic on it today and not a lot of water in the dam either despite this past summer being one of the wettest on record —

It wasn’t as easy finding my way out of the hills as it was getting into them but the wee Rally bike and I emerged from the hills and forests unscathed and enjoyed a good gallop home – on dry roads for a change. I had thought her over-geared in 6th when I first got her but now with 900 miles on the clock her 250 eager cc’s spin up quite readily and with 10mph to every 1000 revs she might even reach the mystical ‘ton’ one day – downhill with a following gale πŸ™‚

 

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in Honda CRF250 Rally, Isle of Luing, Motorcycling

 

Honda CRF Rally does the Five Lochs

With first service due at 700 miles the little trailie was on an early ferry yesterday morning bound for our local Honda dealer where she got a clean bill of health in the time it took me to catch up with the News and have a cappuccina with the missus in the sun at a waterfront table out front of Kronks.

Then – after a good coffee – a good chat – with good weather and a good bike under me I headed for the hills —

First a visit to Taynuilt to check something out then I crossed the A85 to follow the beautiful valley cut by the River Nant as it runs north to disperse on it’s flood plain by the banks of Loch Etive. I could have followed that river into the hills forever as it rushed over waterfalls and rocks down to the sea. It was so beautiful but all too soon the ‘B’ road swung up and over a hilltop giving me a view of Ben Cruachan for my first shot. The small lochan almost lost in scrub – heather and reeds in the mid-distance is Loch Tromlee. It didn’t look like much from the roadside but there is an island on the loch with the remains of a castle so it must have mean’t something to someone in a former lifetime.

Next port of call at the end of a mainly well-surfaced if twisty and undulating single track was Ardanaiseig Hotel —

This quiet place at the end of the road miles from anywhere and looking like it should have been in a scene from Lord of the Rings is certainly worth a visit if only to check out the 240 acres of interesting and well kept grounds planted by a former owner on the banks of Loch Awe —

I might go back one day and check it all out properly – meanwhile – twisty roads and wider vistas beckon —

This view from the approach road to the remote Ardanaiseig hotel on Loch Awe side is the only sight I’ve had of the dam in the crater of Ben Cruachan mountaintop. I do wish my poor photo showed it as I saw it with the naked eye – maybe I should get that better camera I’ve been yearning for since I started this blog all those years ago – but – it’s a poor workman who blames his tools.

Enough of the doom and gloom on the banks of Loch Awe – this one from a hilltop brings more light to the subject —

Not the one I thought it was – let’s go for another —

That’s better – the bright skies have moved east but at least the wee Honda brightens up this click down Loch Awe.

Thanks to Lachlan and his post-service power-wash she is really sparkling in this next photo taken on the hill road to Kilmelford with a not-so-gloomy Loch Avich nestling in it’s deep bowl amongst the Argyl hills behind —

One shot and one loch left – a sea loch this time – Loch Melford —

With my home on the Isle of Luing on the horizon it’s not too far as the wild goose flies but without the aid of wings the wee Honda and I have several miles of road and a ferry crossing twixt here and there and something tells me I’m cooking dinner tonight.

With first service completed and 800 miles on the clock a quick burst on my ‘private test track’ showed 80mph on the speedo and had her tracking the straights and twisties true as a die on her Bridgestone knobblies – not bad for a five grand 250cc single that runs sweet as a sweet thing come rough or smooth – long may she reign πŸ™‚

 

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in Honda CRF250 Rally, Motorcycling

 

Yellow for CRF 250 Rally

Was heading out of Oban yesterday when I spotted that despite the odd blue bit in the skies above – the electronic traffic warning sign on the roadside approaching Dunbeg giving it Large with ‘YELLOW WARNING – HEAVY RAIN DUE TODAY!’Β It made a change from the usual rubbish Β – ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ – Deer Crossing Road’ – ‘Check Your Tyre Pressures’ – ‘Did You MacClean Your Teeth Today’ – ‘Don’t Pick Your Nose and Flick’ and many more useless sound bites —

So-o – it was up through the lights onto Connel Bridge – I can remember when we shared it with trains in the pre-Beeching era. Probably makes me too old to work a computer and there could be something in that as I have to click the Scroll key every time I want a capital B or N – no doubt today’s infant would know what I’m doing wrong on my old HP laptop —

No worries – being an ancient has its blessings at times – especially lunch times and I’m on my way to a Benderloch cafe cum restaurant where they do pensioner sized portions for not-a-lot of dosh —

I can only think they have n’t paid their dues to the Man above Β —

for all the rain tagged in the YELLOW WARNING appears to have fallen on the lonely CRF in their carpark while I enjoyed my mini chicken chips and salad in the dry πŸ™‚

 
 

Honda CRF250 Rally to Aird Luing

Aird Luing – the high point on the southern end of the Isle of Luing – at a mere 65 metres it’s not particularly high but with sea in most directions the views are spectacular and the trail up and over is a class act.

Quite different from my Saturday ride on her down to the Green Welly at Tyndrum when I caned the lil beauty over the hundred miles or so there and back on the ‘big’ roads.

Having ‘obtained’ permission for this ride I didn’t want to blot my copybook by stampeding the famous Luing cattle that appeared to have laid claim to some of the track although many of the ‘flighty’ sheep scarpered no matter how quietly the jewel-like CRF 250 whispered past.

I guess it’s brightly coloured flanks were like something from outer space to a wooly-back on the bottom end of Luing.

And all too soon we were there —

having looked over to the dangerous Passage of the Grey Dogs twixt Scarba and Lunga and the wild Atlantic Ocean beyond on the way.

No danger on Luing – except from the Red mother cows –

but the wee Honda has a fine turn of speed when needed –

and took me down to Aird Luing and back without fuss or drama πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 
 

While the Cat’s Away – the Mouse Will Play

and for once I don’t mean our Seamus – although he doesn’t always come home at night now either.

No it’s the new missus that’s gone south on a bit of biznez leaving my idle hands to get up to no good.

This time I was up at first sparrow fart – whipped the covers off the Honda 250 Rally —

slipped a rucksack on my back and rode over to South Cuan to catch the early (7.30 am) ferry to neighbouring Seil island and a quick blast had me over the Atlantic Bridge to the mainland and in Oban for 8 o’clock.

What’s the rush? The street’s are empty —

Seems nobody get’s up at this time – even the main newsagent where I’ve come for my weekly comic to keep up with motorcycle racing reults and gossip doesn’t open till 8.30.

Aha – I see a hint of movement behind Kronk’s coffee shop window – perhaps a stiff Americano-to-go will put my world to rights.

It must have been a twin-shot belter for I was soon along the front – cup in hand – checking out our new Council backed marina which is currently being constructed in the bay —

no – not that bay – nor this one —

but this one round the corner —

where the guys are setting the running posts —

which will allow the floating walkways to rise and fall with the tides — times like this I wish I was still working —

but all I need is the feel of grips in my hands and I quickly get over it —

Yes that ford was deeper than I expected on an Old Drover’s Road down in Wales about twenty years ago – it filled my boots —

when it drowned the spark plug on my tough old XT600 right in the middle of the crossing πŸ™‚

 

Two Wheels to the Trig Point

I suggested to my ‘lad’ last time he was home that it would be nice to try a run up to the Trig Point that marks the highest point on the island. Him on his 300cc Scorpa Trials bike and mesel on the new CRF 250 Rally.

Bugger me if he didn’t just slip away and do it by hisel and came back with photographs to prove it.

I reckon he was getting his own back for the times I went off over the hills competing in long distance trials – leaving him to play and practise wheelies in the paddock on his Yamaha TY80. Here he is in the pic on the left giving the front wheel a little air up on a farm on Rannoch Moor about forty years ago.

He must have thought a ride up to the Trig Point was out of my league and that I would probably hurt myself in the process. We will see about that.

Most of the way up there was quite easy —

It was just on the last little bit —

that I had to take the bull by the horns —

 

and go for it —

But I got there —

without even raising a sweat —

Wouldn’t be surprised if he takes my bike keys with him to keep me out of trouble next time he goes back to the rig πŸ™‚

What a day to be up there though —

and the way down was just as much fun —

and home without so much as a scratch πŸ™‚

 

Honda 250 Rally on Wishing Tree Lane

A quiet Monday after what has gone before – time to take the covers off the CRF and go for a spin.

There’s a hill way over there I would love to cross —

But first there’s a spot of TLC to attend to – the final drive chain for instance – she looks to be on the dry side. I’m using Putoline Chain Lube on this bike – a first for me. I’m quite impressed with the flow from the aerosol and the job it does.

But – the CRF hasn’t got a centre stand and up till now it’s been a bit of a wrestling match to get the rear wheel off the deck – spin it and spray chain oil with my third hand – which I haven’t got. It’s probably why I needed a wife but they are seldom around when you need them —

No worries – a couple of wood blocks and my scissor jack did the lifting job just fine and set the 250 Honda up in the air quite safely.

Even the hill crossing turned out to be a piece of cake on the 250 Rally —

Some of the steeper parts on the far side had been torn up by tractors or four wheel drive vehicles but they were of little consequence to the CRF which just sailed up them —

I didn’t even bother switching off the ABS on the rear wheel for the long – loose surfaced downhill section with it’s occasional steep bits leading into tighter turns and cruised on down —

The wee bike is proving to be as sure-footed as a mountain goat —

The downside being that tea break arrived far too early —

and the reminder clipped to my binos was hardly necessary as I never raised a sweat on the whole ride – sorry about the picture quality —

just could n’t get ’em right today —

which is a shame —

 

as the views were out of this world πŸ™‚

 

Yamaha Tenere XT660Z

My Tall Ten has seen a fair bit of competition for her place in the stable come and go since I bought her new in Feb ’09 and up until now she has remained my ‘go to’ bike when a choice had to be made Β —

No doubt her nose has been put out of joint with the arrival of the ‘bright young thing’ in the shape of the Honda CRF 250RAL – after all the Tall Ten has shared many an Adventure with me – some good – some bad.

Late winter snow on the ride home from Braemar —

It wasn’t too bad although the road over the Lecht was blocked and Landrovers were the favourite form of transport —

Cruising on the German autobahns on my way to the Balkans was restricted to 108mph til I pulled into a service station and got busy with my Swiss Army knife.

A spot of ‘fine tuning’ saw me cut through the 90 degree bend on the airbox intake allowing me to do the following couple of hundred miles at 113mph. Seemed important at the time – makes me shake my head now πŸ™‚

Long 4-500 mile days across Europe in the unforgiving saddle eventually put me in hospital — enduring 14 days torrential rain on an autumn tour of the Outer Hebrides was the last straw and the subsequent botched operation on my ass put an end to my long-distance motorcycle touring.

Daytrips became the norm with lots of time for posing —

Although somewhere along the line the Ten and I did visit the Isle of Tiree and played on the white sands —

It was the greatest feeling on earth to be setting out for an early ferry with the panniers full and very little set agenda – it appealed to the gypsy in me —

I’m supposed to be selling that big blue bike to make room for the CRF but somehow I can’t see it happening —

Horses for courses —

It will take at least two bikes to replace the Tall Tenere πŸ™‚

 

Never a Driech Day with the CRF 250RL

Driech – if there was ever a word to describe a wet June day on the west of Scotland it is that fine old Scottish word ‘driech’. Best analogy I can make for those down south is to imagine Theresa May’s face when she had the recent election results relayed to her – bet it was even worse than Nicola Sturgeon’s..

Best thing Theresa could have done was to take a few days off – summon up a CRF 250RL from somewhere and head for the wilds.

For if ever there was a bike to brighten up your day it’s the honest little CRF.

Prior to taking delivery I had my doubts if I could live with her gaudy colours but in actual fact I don’t see them from the seat. On the trail I am too busy praying I stay on the thing and picking my route while on the road I am happy that even the most myopic of drivers will see the bike.

 

Although I’m not so sure about her from head-on – it will probably send small children screaming for their mammy —

 

If all else fails I can always use the advice I received from my Nigerian driver back in the day —

‘Give him hooter Master! πŸ™‚