Friday, 22 November 2013

A return to my Honda roots.

These wings really do make you fly

When I showed Ben this photo he found it hard to believe it was me.

'Big Boots & Long Socks'
Munster, Germany 1987

“Is that really you Dad”
“It is sweet heart”
“It looks nothing like you, maybe around the eyes but thats all”
“Trust me, thats your Dad way back in 1987”
“WHEN?” The horror is his voice was palpable. 

26 long years ago there I was bursting with pride at the purchase of my very first ‘brand new’ motorbike. A gleaming black and red vision of perfection. I’d been in the Army 3 years and there I was sat astride the fastest bike on the road. Now, before the purists’ amongst you start quoting facts and figures at me I need to point out, the Honda CBR1000F had a ‘claimed’ top speed of 182 miles per hour in the magazines of the time. Making it, for a short period of time back in 1987, the fastest production motorcycle on the road. I loved it.

A thing of beauty Honda CBR1000F
Outside 'MY' Garage

All I knew at the time was it made me the happiest man on the planet! All my mates thought I was bonkers (some things never change) but I just did not care. I was charged numerous times for chaining it to my bed when I was sent away on exercise. The QM hated me, seeing my bike as nothing more than a fire hazard, even though I always emptied the tank. After my fourth charge, I was issued a garage! Funny really as I’d applied for one over a year earlier but was refused on the grounds of not owning a car.

After that my running costs dropped substantially, due to not having my wages docked. Plus I became extremely popular with all the other bikers on camp all wanting a slot in ‘MY’ garage. At one  point there were 8 bikes crammed in, the least used at the back and the broken down and mine at the front. 

One inside pocket of my leathers was for the 1000 Deutsch Marks I always carried. The other held the clip full of ‘Speeding Tickets’ accrued very quickly, needless to say ‘on the spot fines’ where far better than accruing points. Plus I knew it was possible to out run the VW Passat police cars on the right roads, as they topped out at 120 mile an hour. They were amazing times, how I survived is a question for another day. 

I could go on forever about my first CBR1000, trips back to Chesterfield from Munster in Germany, just to have a night out with the lads. Well it was only a 1200 mile round trip plus an hour and a half hours on the ferry. No big deal! I ran the CBR1000 for just over three years with numerous trips around Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and on. Selling the bike broke my heart but it’s impossible to fit a babies pushchair to a bike, trust me I tried!

Fast forward 26 years and here I am again, the proud owner of a 20th Anniversary Edition CBR1000RR Fireblade. It’s a 2012 model but with zero miles and on a 63 plate, the reason  being I wanted the all black new model. 

So without further ado meet…………. wait for it, wait for it……… ‘Jessie’ named by the ever helpful Lefty, after the amazing runner Jesse Owen “The Black Flash” but as my Blade is ‘female’ the spelling has been amended accordingly. 

Pure Perfection 
Honda CBR1000 RR Fireblade
Courtesy of Kevin at

There are a couple of tasteful extras added at my own expense but I’ve kept them down to the bare minimum.

My beloved Pazzo Stubbies
With matching blue adjusters

Honda Racing Rear Seat Hump

Honda Racing Full Length Hugger

Plus my "Freebie" Tank Pad

Now the wandering can recommence! 

I say, bring it on.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A fond farewell to “Mr T” Yamaha Tenere XT1200Z

You know I really cannot believe it has been two and a half years since I wrote almost the same title, ‘A fond farewell to 'The Beast' Yamaha FJR 1300’ back in June 2011.

Well as you may have guessed 'Mr. T' has left ‘Raymondo’s Chop Shop’ for the last time. 

“Why?” I can hear you ask. Well, the truth is ……. the truth is Mr. T was built for a reason. That reason was to ride big miles and unfortunately I just do not feel like riding those big miles any more. 

I’ve not ridden Mr T more than a couple of miles since taking part in the IBA Germany Road Runner Motorcycle Rally at the end of September with the exception of  the RTTW 2013 in October. 

I’m happy to say I do know the new owner, or to be 100% correct, the new owners Kevin & Lyn Weller. This made the bikes departure so much more pleasurable. Knowing that Kevin & Lyn will both look after the bike and use it for what it was built for makes feel a whole lot happier.

So without further ado, here is a pictorial history on “Mr. T” from new.

'Mr. T' back in June 2011 before I started 'Farkling"

Our first big adventure

Not the end to a great ride we would have wished for!

As ever the 'Farkling' kicked in

Followed by a trip to Colditz

Ben enjoying January 2012

Notice a pattern appearing here?

Then I had the 'Monster Tank' built in the USA

Spain in March


Iron Butt UK Rally

As you can see we got around quite a bit with a total of 38,000 miles being ridden over the two and a half years a little down on the FJR1300's 40,000 miles in 18 months.

I blogged every service as they were completed with the 30,000 Mile Service being the last.

Our biggest achievement in 2012
110 Gold Post Boxes visited 
6709 Miles ridden in 19 Day's

I saw Bruce off on his 
'TeaPotOne' 70,000 mile round the World Trip
 London in October

Before I knew it it was back Derbyshire
January 2013

February 2013 was fun!

As you can see the year just flew past, visits to Derbyshire, Spain, Germany, France (but we wont mention that), Belgium. However that elusive trip around the Eastern part of Europe was to elude me as was Nordkapp. 

Still I did manage to have 
Some fun in the dirt!

Even catch a BMF Rally along the way

This really tipped me on my head

Ben, Jeannie & I have had some amazing adventures on Mr. T over the last two and a half years but when something comes to an end, first of all you have to be honest with yourself!

It's been great riding all over Europe but since Ireland I have be disillusioned with long rides. Don't get me wrong there have been times when the road as been my salvation. The place where I can 'sort my head out' but now, now is time for a change. 

Here's a daft little incident that happened to me just 3 months ago which just may help shed some light on my thought pattern.

Oggy, one of my good Manc Rider mates threw open an invite to head out from his for a bite to eat. I took Tango'd the XT660X just for the sheer hell of it.

Well, cutting to the chase, just as we're about to get ready to head off to Wales for a bite out, the heavens opened. Now I've taken to riding in Kevlar Jeans and a Furigan Leather jacket. The ride was sacked but I'm on the opposite side of Manchester to home. 

Taking the M60 ring road back I got drenched. Not damp or moist but p**s wet through. Pulling in the garage was a real relief. Jeannie came through to see what I was doing in the kitchen and commented on the mini lake I'd created in front of the sink whilst filling the kettle for a brew.

I just cracked up laughing! 'Do you know why?" "I'll tell you, its because I felt ALIVE!" It was the first time I had been wet in years. I've covered my self up against the elements so much that I'd lost sight of who I was and what I want from ridding. 

Standing there I felt 21 again, listening to my Mum ranting at me getting everything wet through and asking me "Do you really enjoy being soaked to the bone" and me nonchalantly replying "Yes I do!" as true today as it was back in the early 80's.

That ride was the final catalyst to me parting ways with the Yamaha XT1200Z know as Mr. T!

Ben with my Mum's flowers
A moment I'll never  forget.

Mr. T always put a smile on my face
Especially riding with friends

As for Tango'd the Yamaha XT660X, you guessed it, thats gone too! There's no love lost there and no lament. It was a good little project which I enjoyed and proved one thing, I should stick to my one golden rule. 

Only buy black bikes Raymondo!

Farewell Mr. T
May the sun shine on you forever