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Ride Report - Three Ferries 19/07/20
Sunday 19th with an overcast start to the day, two groups of DAM’ers set out on the popular “Three Ferries” ride out. Gary piloted those starting from Exeter Services and Martin’s group (which I was lucky to join) started from Totnes Steamer Quay. During the briefing from Martin a local chap out for a walk took a keen interest in the group and after exchanging introductions, Bill admitted to being an ex-rider of a Honda Gullwing leaving himself open to the joke of “how do you ride a sofa?”. Still even with the gentle ribbing Bill wished us well as the group set off towards Stoke Gabriel, then it was through the back lanes and on to the Kingswear side of the Dartmouth Ferry.
Even though Gary’s group had set off later than us, we ended up queued behind them on the side of the ferry and a chance for a quick selfie opportunity. There’s something fun about a small ferry crossing on a bike. The approach on a wet concrete incline (possible slippery) to board the ferry then getting off the bike for a quick chunter with others as the ferry inches it way before disembarking to the other shoreline. Nobody came a cropper and to celebrate the fact Gary did a quick lap of honour around Dartmouth. Which did confuse several of us but after riding along the coastal road at Slapton Ley and a quick pitstop at the carpark it all got sorted out with us giving Gary’s group a good ten minute head start to get to GT Motorcycles.
As it was approaching midday, over coffee at GT motorbikes a decision was made to shorten the ride. Instead of the planned route we’d go over the Tamar ferry, along the A374 twisties down to Looe and then comeback along Dartmoor. The sun was now shinning on the righteous and after the ride along the A374, down through Hessenford and into Looe a well-earned pasty was in order. A word of warning Looe is busy and Millpool carpark does not have any dedicated bike spaces, you must park up as best as you can!
After an hour’s lunch break it was time to head back towards Devon. Martin followed the estuary inwards along the A387 then through Sandplace, Duloe, St. Keyne up to Liskeard onto Tavistock and then across Dartmoor. The sheep and ponies where well and truly out in force on that day, but none bothered as we dropped down into the Dartmoor Lodge for a final tea-break, catch up and chance to say our good-byes. We might not have managed to do the three ferries as planned but an enjoyable day none the less, thanks Martin!
Slow riding, possibly you are thinking this has been covered by the CBT and why should I bother now? Well there is proper skill and technique involved (check out some of the youtube slow riding demonstrations by the Police) and sometimes we have either forgotten or didn’t know it in the first place. Confident filtering through traffic, making an effortless U turn or approaching a red light and not stopping before it turns green all require slow speed control.
After the COVID19 lockdown DAM’s first practical group training event enabled nineteen associates to run through the theory of slow riding and a battery of exercises: slow walking speed straight line, figure-8 manoeuvres, cone weave, U turn and even picking up a “dropped” bike (thanks Dave for lending your CRF) The two hour session provided an opportunity for the associates to refresh, build confidence and work on these techniques.
As the session was oversubscribed and proved popular with those participating there will be another one held very soon.
Anyone for Dennis?
Whilst the effects of storm Dennis were still being felt, I had booked a test ride on the new BMW F900XR, and although an attempt was made by Ocean BMW to delay the ride I opted to proceed. On arrival the bike was parked under the canopy and cut a rather dashing figure not unlike its elder brother the S1000XR. This version is powered by an 895cc parallel twin producing 105bhp and although only the base model, it is equipped with a TFT screen capable of displaying an amazing amount of information, including use for navigation and connection via Bluetooth for phone and media.
After a brief halt to proceedings caused by a heavy shower, the ride got under way. The seat is definitely on the hard side, not uncomfortable for the journey today but may prove more of an issue on longer days. The screen sparks into life as the key is turned and gives plenty of useful information without being cluttered. The speed displayed to top left and the revs sweep across from the middle to the 9k redline.
Once on the move the twin cylinder motor gives a lovely burble, it has been engineered to give the feeling of a v-twin and pulls from as low as 2k with great smoothness. The gearbox is slick and as the bike is not fitted with gear assist so application of the clutch using the light lever is required. The upright seating position gives a commanding view over traffic and when required a quick flick of the right wrist spins the twin into action and overtakes are brisk. The bars are wide enough to keep steering inputs easy and light but narrow enough to make filtering and absolute ease. The engine braking from the twin is amazing allowing the rider to control their riding using only the throttle.
The weather was not completely dry throughout the ride, but the top faring did manage to keep a fair proportion of the moisture away from the rider. The smaller screen fitted to this model was also surprisingly effective. It can be manually adjusted on the move by moving a small lever to the right-hand side, not necessarily ideal for left-handed riders like me.
The bike is so easy to ride smoothly at restrictive speed limits, but when conditions allow the engine has more than enough poke to charge into the scenery at an incredible rate of knots with great composure. I came to believe the F must stand for fun as this machine cannot help but put a big grin on your face.
The F900XR is a very capable everyday bike, which when fitted with luggage, for which mounting points are fitted, is fully capable of crossing continents, for a solo rider. Whilst there is a pillion seat it does not seem ideal for any sort of long-distance jaunt. The dashboard is also very angular and whilst the TFT screen covers most tasks required, the fitting of extra power sockets may prove awkward.
Overall this bike surpasses expectation and most of its minor niggles can be sorted with a few aftermarket parts. For a bike that can bought for the right side of £10,000, it is worthy of consideration.
Thanks to Ocean BMW for providing the bike.
Slow Riding 15th July 2020
Bike Test - The New Triumph Tiger 900
Those that know me will be aware that I love my Tiger 800. So when she was in for a service the opportunity arose to try out the new Tiger 900. Let’s see what the difference is and what has Triumph done, to better the great all rounder in the 800.
If you research the new 900 there is lots of information of how they have changed the crank timing and firing order to improve the bike. So how does if differ. A first casual look around the bike I must say it looks very similar. Perhaps a little taller and a bigger tank but other than that, not much change to the 800 concept. I am not surprised at this as the 800 is such a competent bike.
So let’s throw a leg over and crank it up. First thing you notice is the larger TFT screen with its multiple setting for appearance (as per the 800). Press the starter and the difference in engine is very evident.
Triumph claim that it sounds and performs much more like a twin. So let’s find out.
Pull out of Bridge and wow what a difference. The 900 has a lot more low down grunt. Yes a bimble through Alphington and it’s all very pleasant in 2nd or 3rd gear. It is easily controllable to ensure the speed limits are adhered to, with little effort. Out on the open road then this thing really does perform. It will pull from 30 MPH in 5th and pull hard it does. You can also tootle along in 6th with little drama. And yet with a flick of the right wrist it’s off with a lovely exhaust note which is so different to the 800. Dare I say it’s more like riding the Africa Twin, but better? On over run it has a very nice burble from the exhaust and its does have more engine braking than the 800. More importantly the “whine” is gone. The 800 and my Trophy before it produced a running whine which made the bike sound like a turbine. This is now long gone.
The gearbox (like the 800) is a dream. No clunk into 1st and a nice click click as you slip up and down the gears. So there I was behind a truck not really hunting for an overtake but the opportunity presented itself. No need the change down just give it a small twist and we were off and the overtake completed.
I do find my 800 a little buzzy on the motorway. So much so I changed the front sprocket, which has reduced the revs at 70 by 500. No problem with the 900. At 70 MPH its is rotating at 4100 rpm and sounds lovely. The handling is great a quick run up through the Teign Valley Confirmed this. Stopping is also good with Brembo units on the front and a good rear brake with plenty of feel.
I did notice that the screen was smaller than the 800. However this did not seem to make any difference. There was no buffeting from the screen and whilst I kept it in the tallest setting if produced a comfortable on what was a warm sunny day.
So to sum up how did I find it? I one word - great. Triumph have done a great job on improving the 800. I loved every aspect of this bike. Light, agile and yet would tour all day. I did not look a fuel consumption specifically but do not see it much different to the 800.
I have done a direct comparison to this new beast with my current 800. However if you are looking to move to and adventure type of bike then you must try this. The new 900 would hold its head up with all the competition. Would I buy one? Yes I think I have found my next bike when I am ready for a change
My thanks go to the Team at Bridge Motorcycles for making the bike available to me. Model tested - Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro.
ADVANCED RIDING TOPICS
IPSGA – Information, Position, Speed, Gear, Acceleration. The fundamental to Advanced Riding, this acronym will become your go to!
Offsiding – when is proceeding on the ‘wrong side’ of the road safe, and when is it unwise to do so?
Counter/Positive Steering – we all do it; understand why.
Most Dangerous Instincts – learn to override dangerous instincts, and let the bike do what it is best at.
Full Control – learn the precise riding technique and practical physics that will benefit all two-wheelers.
It is the middle of August as I write this, lock down has relaxed and the sweltering heat has changed to rain filled days. You might feel that the summer riding season was over before it even began with plans changing or cancelled at the last moment due to circumstances beyond your control. It is easy to become despondent, but I do believe there is welcome news on the horizon.
The National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA https://www.rmif.co.uk/en/nmda) is reporting that despite dealers being closed motorcycle sales increased by 14.8% in June compared to last year. With the Government discouraging the use of public transport, commuters are looking for a valid method of transport and importantly a sense of freedom after lockdown.
With the new website now is a good time to show a motorcycle isn’t just about commuting. Reach out to those new or returning to motorcycling and help them to become a safer rider, on the best roads and to enjoy a bike because they are fun.
Competition time: Can identify whose shoulder I’m stood next to? At the next ride-out tell me and if your guess is correct, I will get you a coffee. T&Cs apply – that’s tea or coffee.
The aim of the club is to get all of our members to an Advanced Riding standard. To do that, we will train you to pass the Advanced Riding tests with an IAM examiner.
We are delighted to congratulate below those members who have passed their tests, or who we feel need recognition for their achievements.
The 2020 roll call:
You have made the first step, and now the fun begins to become an Advanced Rider!
Great to welcome our newest club members:
It’s great to have you on board and we look forward to riding with you!
Recent Group Rides and Other Events
Group Ride 27th September 2020
Associates Ride 26th September 2020
Chief Observer Adrian Veale pilots a ride for Associates only
Start and finish at B & Q car park
09:30 for a 10:00 start.
See PDF File for details