First Seriously Big trip on the Bandit.

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First Seriously Big trip on the Bandit.

Post  jstava on Tue 07 Apr 2015, 2:11 pm

Well this was good.  A proper shakedown.  Bandit as tourer.  2460km over Easter. Nymboida was the destination.  - a hookup with some motorcycling friends from all over 

Not so much a travelogue (I took no pics) as a description of the way the bike went.  4 tanks of fuel each way.  

Going up - This is a longish trip. My rear is a Michelin RP3 with 14K on it. It was just starting to show some flattening in the middle.  Front is similar - a very little bit of feathering evident on the sides.   I considered a replacement before I went, thought, I'd get this trip out of it first.  My time can blow out if I need to get one before I return. I'll just keep an eye on it.  Gave it an oil chance, looked it over topped up the Autooiler, reservoir, dropped on the Givi panniers the Ventura Rack and another bag with a few "accessories" and to give me some extra room and just went after confirming 42 psi rear and 38 front.    

Frustrated by the double points weekend - a mixed blessing.  It'll keep speeds down - minimise tyre wear.  Tamworth by sundown.  3 tanks of fuel, dream run.  It looked like rain and spat on me on the way up, but as the sun came up it became evident that I would ride out of it.  By the time I got to Dubbo, I was clear of all weather from the Southwest and I had a tailwind most of the time.  Easy riding.  I'd fitted some "highway pegs" to the Renntech engine bars for the trip to help cope with my fairly arthritic left hip.  These turned out to be a godsend, giving me three positions for my legs.  Previously, I'd had to stop halfway through a tank of fuel for a break and a walk around.  If I hadn't put these on, honestly, I would have turned around and come home at Narrandera - some 170 kays or so away.  I can now ride for a whole tank of fuel.  I wasn't going to press on.  I had 320 kays or so left and I was not keen to go looking for somewhere I'd never been in the dark or face the animal life in an unfamiliar road - I wasn't even sure whether the road would be surfaced.  Friday, I got out there and passed through Armidale, topped up with fuel and reached my destination by noon or shortly after.  I got a little bit of rain in the hills, which slowed me down and did the usual amount of faffing around finding the place, but saw a member of my group out on the road and checked in. I often travel without maps, or GPS, and to be honest I didn't even know the name of this place for sure.  It then proceeded to piss down rain for the weekend - No Ride on the Saturday, or Sunday, but we all had a great time - We get together twice a year.  One member came from Townsville.  Most are from a small number of hours away but there was a couple from Sale, some from Canberra way, a few from Toowoomba, Gold Coast and around Sydney.  There is no marque orientation here.  It's just long standing friends getting together for many drinks and BS.  

Looking at the bike - I used about a tablespoon (estimated max) of oil on the chain. The rear tyre looked fine.  The couple from Sale arrived to find a small tech screw in their front - no drama, we'll just fix.  

Coming home - Monday - pretty much wet roads (but not sky) to Tamworth, Fuel, At Coonabarabran I could see big dark storm to the west.  Stopped to get into wets and check the gear - all good.  Rode into this enormous storm which had my speed down to 75 kph for long stretches - Wind from all directions, lightening, and torrents of rain, awful visibility, with a long stretch of road construction - new seal - no gravel.  Rode out of it at Gilgandra, got fuel and the water proceeded to run out of one pannier.  I didn't want to know.  Recharged I continued South towards Dubbo.  

Because of the storm, the lengthy stop to gear up and have a feed as well as a nice brekky I treated myself to at Ebor, I was well behind my target travel time, thinking I need to get well past Dubbo (570 kays from home) before stopping. Darkness came just past Dubbo.  I was riding thorough large rains, but no "eye of storm" stuff.  Still visibility was a problem.  So was the traffic.  I didn't want to travel at the sorts of speeds the cars, 4WDs and trucks could make when the rain was heavier.  I was finding the limits of adhesion of the RP3s well and truly. This was the first time I was really in the woods with this bike and the tyres.  Aquaplaned twice, and got real good at picking the point at which this was going to be a problem.  That familiar vagueness with a slimy, indistinct road feel coming on at times when I rode onto a surface that was wetter (or smoother) then that up to that point - where it had had a hard shower just ahead of me.  I "spun up" the rear wheel twice with no dramas while overtaking, apart from "oops" and had no incidents where I was just on the slide with only faith in the rougher bitumen next to the edge to hold me on it. There is no point in describing the speed at which aquaplaning occurs or where the warning signs appear as it is wholly dependent on the amount of water present and how smooth the surface is underneath.  The teller is the vagueness. 

I had one asshole tailgate me for 30-40 km and he just didn't get my messages - overtake dude, wave, flash an indicator.  He just stuck there 4 metres off my rear, until eventually getting tired of making me very apprehensive.  It was not an option to just run away from him, then pull over in the heavy rain, and while I slowed to 70 kph with a golden opportunity for him to overtake, twice, I didn't want to stop lest they be intent on some serious mischief.  I was feeling very vulnerable.

The trucks were good.  Professional drivers all, we got along just fine.  Heading towards West Wyalong, I started to think "why get wet twice" If I still feel OK there, its one more tank of fuel - so long as I think I can get back by midnight, I'll be OK, maybe I won't pull up and stop for the night.  I still felt sharp there, and headed down the Newell once more.  From there on, in that last tank of fuel, I saw only a dozen cars going either way. - a similar number (but a few more) trucks. and on the 110kph signposted roads was once again making pretty good time except where the roads were wetter.  It is somewhat disconcerting to take a dip into a trucked out slot filled with water.  I'm amazed at how well the RP3 on the front cuts through it - it's the back that wriggles around.  A new tyre would probably be better, but I still have grooves as far as they go, and no "wear bars" to the surface. Pulled in at home at 11:30 PM.  

Thats 1230 kays over 16 hours.  I wasn't exactly knackered when I got in, but slept like a stump and feel pretty good today.  I'm not stiff.  Obviously, I was relaxed enough about this thing. No cramping at all on the day.  It was the first lengthy wet ride on this bike and equal with any in terms of horrendous conditions from Coonabarabran to Gilgandra.  If I wasn't comfy riding in the wet on the Bandit before, I certainly am now. I needed a ride such as this to fully acquaint myself with the characteristics of the bike and the tyres in particular in the wet. At 64, I realise that I am not as sharp as I was decades ago, but the issues in these conditions rely more on recognising what is going on, then not doing anything dumb to fix it, than lightening fast reactions.  Having said that, I hold my own in the reaction time games among 20 somethings when we play them during the winter.  My last large(ish) road bike was Honda 750 decades ago.  I got back to large road bike riding with some trepidation.  This was a milestone for me.  I'm well pleased with how this has gone.  I am in awed at the improvement in motorcycles generally, and in tyre technology specifically.   

What I have learned:
A new respect for the smooth characteristics of the engine.  It is very easy to live with.   
Huge respect for Michelin Road Pilot Tyres - They are so much better than anything I rode on, on past bikes.  
The benefits of a bike set up for touring - alternatives to foot position, heated grips, auto Oiler, slightly higher screen
That when it comes right down to it, the expression "waterproof" is still only applicable to boat hulls.  Helmets still leak in heavy rain, the water will eventually get right through everything in big, sustained horrid conditions no matter what you have or do, where there is enough of it and the duration is long enough - your best insurance is still merino wool undergarments (which I have).  
It takes a surprising little amount of oil in a Pro-Oiler to keep a chain well lubricated. All up, I didn't use 3 tablespoons of oil. Nobody can claim rear wheel contamination as an issue at that rate  
That there will be nobody else around here to give this thing a good clean, unless of course,  one of you wants to volunteer.  

That's it.  Easter.

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Re: First Seriously Big trip on the Bandit.

Post  paul on Tue 07 Apr 2015, 4:33 pm

Good report , sounds like a fun weekend . Very Happy

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Re: First Seriously Big trip on the Bandit.

Post  Ewok1958 on Tue 07 Apr 2015, 7:07 pm

Sounds like a great catch up with some mates. Glad you didn't have to stop for new rubber (that's what I thought was coming when I was at the start of the write-up). Cheers.
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Re: First Seriously Big trip on the Bandit.

Post  #Tag on Tue 07 Apr 2015, 9:00 pm

"That when it comes right down to it, the expression "waterproof" is still only applicable to boat hulls"

Hehe, amen.
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Re: First Seriously Big trip on the Bandit.

Post  jstava on Thu 09 Apr 2015, 6:25 pm

The tyre looked OK when I left, doesn't look much different on return.  Double points means it definitely didn't see fast and the rain made sure the surface it was on was well lubricated and cool.  It would be hard to pick any additional wear in the trip.

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