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Category Archives: Motorcycling

Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR’s for the Honda X-ADV750

Looks like something you would find in a field or farmyard —

but works very well on the road —

and plus the fact that Pirelli do a 15inch x 150 rear especially for the X-ADV750 —

makes fitment a no-brainer —

on my Big Scoot!

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2020 in Comrie, Honda X-ADV 750, Motorcycling, out and about

 

A Lap from the Gods on the X-ADV750

Any day is a motorcyling day but Sundays always have that extra buzz. Yesterday was no exception. I set out mid-morning and as the polis would say ‘I proceeded in a westerly direction’ – by St Fillans and the north bank of Loch Earn.

With wet roads and temperatures between three and six degrees – feeling like minus 3 – 6 – but nae mind as the watery sun was reflecting off a few of the snow capped mountains to brighten up the day..

When I reached Lochearnhead – north looked the most favourable – so off I popped up Glen Ogle where the snow-melt waters were rushing down the hillsides in foaming white torrents. One in particular dropping hundreds of feet down the hillside and through the arches of the old railway viaduct was really spectacular.

A glimpse of Ben Lawers poking into the clouds caught my eye from the top of Glen Ogle so there was nothing else for it other than to swing right at Lix-toll and head due east for Loch Tay and Aberfeldy.

First there were the tumultuous Falls of Dochert thundering under the bridge by the hotel of the same name on the outskirts of Killin. I have never seen the waters looking so dangerous and I actually had thoughts about the wisdom of crossing the bridge with the river in the state it was.

Through Killin and down the side of Loch Tay with glimpses of a snow covered Ben Lawers in the clouds above and to the left were next on the menu. This section was made more interesting when a hot-hatch appeared from somewhere behind with the driver seeming intent on taking my rear number plate home with him. No worries – the Big Scoot has an equally big twin motor from the Honda NC750 and can show a clean pair of heels when it needs to.

Kenmore was next with hardly a soul in sight and by the time I reached Aberfeldy I was ready for food. There wasn’t much choice of cafe’s so I plumped for one in the main square.

The complicated menu didn’t endear itself to me and the prices at £4.50 for a bacon roll seemed over the top – but I WAS hungry and ready to order. That was when a group of young wimmen all screeching in what seemed to be more than animated conversation at the top of their voices wedged themselves in the open doorway and didn’t look like moving. The polis who come down on motor-cyclists with noisy after-market exhausts would have had a field day with that lot with their noise meters going off the scale!

Time to beat a hasty retreat! I grabbed my heavy jaikit n crash helmet n squeezed out past the still shrieking females into the street while I still had my hearing.

With clobber on I selected ‘Home’ setting and high-tailed it out of town on the road south by the Birks of Aberfeldy. Maybe I should have put my earplugs in and shovelled something hot into my tank for the weather turned nasty after that –  but at least there was a sort of black strip of tarmac between the roadside snowbanks.

Onwards and upwards into more weather – then down through the Sma’ Glen to Gilmerton where I hung a right for Crieff. It seemed like no time at all and I was home in Comrie – roughly on the hundred mile mark – for my first cup of tea and sarnie of the day,

Okay – so there are no photos due to the battery in my phone playing up but it does take me back to the days when I actually wrote about something instead of taking the easy way out and succumbing to the senseless modern saying – ‘One photograph is worth a thousand words.’

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2020 in Comrie, Honda X-ADV 750, Motorcycling

 

A Lap of Loch Earn on the X-ADV750

It’s been a pretty full on day but I did manage to swing the leg over the Big Scoot in the late afternoon. With light fading pictures weren’t going to be that great but I did think that top of a snow-covered Ben Vorlich glistening in the setting sun would have come out better than it did.

Ben Vorlich – at over 3000ft qualifies as a Monroe and I have been to the top quite a few times in all weathers in the past – little wonder my knees are worn out. The walk in starts more or less from where the Scoot is parked and gets steeper by the time you hit the snowline but it is still regarded as one of the easier Monroes to climb.

Out of shot to the west is Stuc a Croin another Monroe and I’ve bagged them both in a day with my daughter and my elder brother along for company. In the patchy snow near the summit of Stuc a Croin is where I saw my first ptarmigan. Slightly bigger than a grouse the ptarmigan changes the colour of it’s plumage to merge with snow or vegetation as the seasons progress and must be one of the hardiest birds in the country to survive on the mountain tops in winter. I had a photograph of it somewhere but that was a long time ago and there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then.

Still on the subject of wildlife I keep bumping into wild goats on the south side of the River Earn and Loch Earn. I had never heard of them being there and can only imagine they are part of an Estate herd that have been allowed to run feral. There is a big Billy Goat with enormous horns and the sight of him makes me wish I still carried a decent camera. M-mmm — just a thought — I have a birthday coming up this month – who knows – I might be lucky.

 

A Ride in the Sunshine on the X-ADV750

Still building confidence with the Honda X-ADV750 – what is the clutch lever on a normal bike actually operates the rear brake on this odd fella.

After a lifetime of doing it one way – my head – limbs n digits have to reaquaint themselves with something different. Doing a ‘U’ turn from a standing start from where she is parked in the pic with the wheels sliding on assorted gravel proved tricky but do-able.

Knockhill Race Circuit was my destination as I haven’t been there for years. I was very impressed with the changes they have made around there since my last visit and a pair of Honda race cars doing laps added a soundtrack on an otherwise quiet day.

With the mountains behind Crieff white with snow and the road surface barely above freezing despite the brilliant sunshine – the Big Scoot and I were in Touring mode as we picked our way over the hills and through the valleys.

Tractors have come on a pace since I last drove one. I started on a petrol start – then switch to cheaper paraffin once she had warmed up – Fordson tractor towing a single or double furrow plow at the age of sixteen. This fella has a reversible five furrow job behind his 4 wheel drive beauty.

I reckon this must be Kinkell Bridge – north of Auchterarder —

I once did a series on old bridges down in Wales – couldn’t get enough of them and there were never two the same. This time it appears to be deserted churches that catch my eye. The ruins of this one are spread far and wide with this being the only section with a roof —

Looks like Burke & Hare have been busy around here —

They have made room for a few more bodies though —

I think I would rather have a solid stone roof over my head than draughty ornate windows in my tomb —

A great day out on the X-ADV and all being well —

the first of many.

 

 

 
 

First ride of the Year for X-ADV750

First ride this year for the Big Scoot and I’m pleased to say everything went well. The weather threw everything it could at us – rain – hail n sleet plus the usual shit n snotters that come with flooded roads. Yep she just lapped everything up and if she’d had a full tank of juice I’m pretty sure we would still be out there yet.

No worries – she has earned her ‘Streetfighter’ badge this morning and I’m looking forward to Wednesday when we have been promised some better weather.- yes the old bones prefer a bit of sunshine instead of this crap that we are getting at the mo’.

 
 

CRF 250 Rally Still Rolling

The robust Rally seems non-the-worse for it’s tumble during a snow storm on top of Glen Ogle a couple of weeks back – pity we can’t say the same for it’s rider.

No worries – so long as I don’t have to raise my arms above my aching shoulders I can still make something of the odd bit of sunshine with the Rally —

The X-ADV750 is also back on the road complete with the new sidestand which arrived by post this morning and was fitted in a jiff —

Lying under the bike between snow showers out on the patio behind the house – lining the new leg up and bolting it tight proved to be easier than I expected. The tiny spigot that locates in a hole in the leg pivot boss to operate the engine cut-out switch isn’t the easiest thing in the world to match up – but where there’s a will there’s a way.

The original sidestand became banana shaped a little too easy for my liking so that’s something I will need to keep an eye on in the future. Hopefully we will get a few decent days soon and perhaps have the opportunity to ‘gel’ with the big Scoot for it has been a bit of a hit and miss of a relationship since it first arrived back in September 2019.

 

 

 

Winter Woes

With Loch Earn just down the road it’s tempting to ride out there now and again —

If only I had stopped at Loch Earn —

But sunshine on the tops drew me onwards and upwards to where the weather can change in minutes —

Once committed the Rally and I weren’t for turning —

Then we ran into a whiteout. Blinded by driving snow the inevitable happened and the bike and I came down with a clatter! I was so sure I had broken a bone or two.

Thankfully I had the Rally upright on my second attempt and somehow scrambled aboard the tall beast – adrenaline beats pain – at least for a minute or two.

The weather had beaten us over the slower ride home but at least the Rally and I made it there under our own steam – the real pain came the following day!

Ten days later and I still can’t raise my right arm above shoulder height – hence what was mean’t to be a ‘rueful grin’ in the pic looks more like a pain-filled grimace! At least Loki doesn’t mind.

 
 

Honda ADV750 Comes Home

With Zero degrees registering on the dash and visibility down to not-a-lot due to a stubborn Scotch Mist up here in the hills the Yeti with trailer was the weapon of choice and I hi-ho’d into Glasgow to pick our ADV750 from the supplying main dealer where it has been for it’s first service. The Service didn’t take long but our decision to fit Helen’s 45/46 litre Givi topbox to the scoot put the Givi people on the spot as it seems they didn’t have the neccessary ironmongery to allow the job to procceed.

No worries – a neat fitment eventually turned up and we are pleased to confirm our joint concerns that the slim rear of the ADV might be overwhelmed by the biggish box have come to nought. No pics as yet of the box fitted but I’m sure the sun will shine sometime soon. In the meantime here’s one of the front end sporting a beat-up pair of Acerbis handguards which graced the bars of my XT600E on many a mad exploit over hill and dale from Shropshire to the Cardigan Bay coast back in the Noughty Nineties —

 

And – I’m afraid you will have to watch this spot for a photo of the ADV with box on the back. With the high pillion footpegs it was always going to be a lottery whether H stayed on board when I gave the 750 the berries but hopefully there’s no chance of her disappearing over the back now we have the Givi topbox bolted in there tight.

Having the bikes by the back door gives me that eager feeling again that Spring is just around the corner.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2020 in Comrie, Honda X-ADV 750

 

Toberonochy sur Mer

Toberonochy sur Mer – taking liberties with the name I know but we are still in the European Union at least till the end of the month so let’s givit a shout.

There are two villages on the Isle of Luing – Cullipool on the west coast which – like ourselves here at Bardrishaig – is exposed to all the ‘weather’ you could imagine and Toberonochy on the east which provides a sheltered anchorage.

I had planned to make the most of a sunny afternoon and take a few photos of picturesque Toberonochy which – along with a few other useful things – houses our small cinema in it’s village hall – but – as the bold Rabbie was fond of saying – ‘the best laid plans of mice and men gan aft aglae’ – or sum such like.

On this occasion it was the battery in my phone that gave up the ghost after two pics! We may just have had the last sunny day of the year but with a lump of the Isle of Shuna in the background at least the ADV750 got into shot.

 

Ducati’s in my Life

The first Ducati in my life wasn’t exactly mine – it belonged to my brother Jim who surprised us all by bringing one of these lil beauties home in 1959.

A 200cc Ducati – this one is the Elite but the one Jim had was more akin to the Scrambler.

To be honest my mates and I weren’t exactly impressed. Being steeped as we were in heavyweight British ‘exotica’ such as BSA Rocket Goldstars – Velocettes and Triumph Bonnevilles the tiny Ducati just didn’t cut the mustard in our gang back then.

I had to wait until the late eighties before I had my own Duke – the GT860 bevel drive camshaft model. I wasn’t particularly impressed with it either due to a noisy top-end and soon sold it on. Just in time because I understand it rattled itself to near death in the new owner’s hands pretty soon after he got it home to Arbroath.

Here she is on the roadside by Loch Lubnaig – part of a collection of roads I considered to be my own private race track.

After that ‘near miss’ I managed to steer clear of Ducatis until 1995 when I rashly bought one of these.

Mine was the last of the Corse 888 family and was the full Monty race version! Bored out to the maximum at 926cc – she came with about six sets of bodywork – two race motors and a shed full of lightweight wheels. In fact it was the full package as raced by the late David Jeffries in MCN British Superbikes in 1994.

Things didn’t entirely go to plan after I bought her but such is racing. No worries – I did get one race out of her and that was the Daytona 200 with a young up-and-coming Neil Hodgson aboard. Neil managed a 5th in the Twins race and a creditable 12th in the Daytona 200 itself which was won by Carl Fogarty’s arch-enemy – Scott Russel who managed to kick Neil into the kitty-litter. Youtube is still showing the ’95 Daytona 200 and of course Neil can be seen struggling to get my Duke back on track at the first corner after coming down off the scary 50 degree concrete banking .

I managed to come out of that little flirtation with a beautiful Ducati unscathed too as IRTA – the MotoGP organisers of the day paid all my expenses and I was doubly fortunate that Scania Trucks paid me top dollar when they bought my 888 for one of their sponsored riders. Didn’t do Neil any harm either as he went on to earn a full Works ride with Ducati and actually won the World Superbike Championship a few years later.

As they say in all the best storybooks – ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’.

A-ahhh – almost forgot – there was another Ducati in my life – the white 848\

Here I am trying it for size at the old Grobnik GP circuit near Rijeka – Croatia around 2008 – but that’s another story all of it’s own.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, out and about