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A couple of Hornets, up through Gippy on a whim...

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Loz, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. Just a quicky -

    After watching 'On Any Sunday' last night and plonking a new set of Pilot Powers on the ol' Hornet 9, I was feeling in the mood for a bit of a tweak. So when my Nanna rang to tell me she was putting on a roast lunch in Moe, and then Daz texted asking if I was in the mood for a quick jaunt, the stars seemed to all be in alignment. It was on.

    We hooked up at the world's grubbiest Ampol on Ferntree Gully Rd and wheelied off towards the 'nongs where a very rough route plan was developing. Belgrave to Emerald to Gembrook, a nice gentle warm up before the sensational twisties up towards Launching Place - taking it very easy as the tyres scrubbed in and I got used to the Michelin profile after 9 months on harder Pirellis.

    Lots less crap on the road than the last time I went through that bit of road, although as we were going slower it was easier to pick a line through the gravel in the entry points of the hairpins down through those little creeks.

    Up to the road towards Warburton and hooking right down through Powelltown. I'm starting to feel good, put down over 100k on the new tyres now and starting to trust them. Keeping an eye on Daz in the mirrors but starting to feel fiesty in those nice open sweepers... I'm definately a sweepers guy, I love fast, flowing roads I can see through and use plenty of road, and the slowly drying tarmac and bright sunshine is giving me the giddy-up.

    We pull over in Noojee at the Parrot for a drink and a chin wag watching literally dozens of dirt bikers filling up and chomping sausage rolls across the road. Hordes of them! They take off in dribs and drabs, lucky bastards off for a fang in the bush, pulling crap wheelies (blaaat, blatttt, blaaaattt, bonk) up and down the street to the grins of the others in the cafe.

    Then it's off towards Moe, we're late for lunch. Not far out of Noojee the centre line disappears and the road gets very fiesty indeed. The mental rest of sitting down for a drink has given me fresh energy, the Powers are feeling great, almost squidgy in the corners and giving a very composed leaning experience. Sod it, I'll drop the hammer, so what if last time I was up here with Skuffy there was a log across the road... :shock:

    Tight and twisty is great fun but when we reach the sweepers I'm off like a f*cking shot, giggling and jumping around on the bike, feeling the big Hornbag powering out of corners, rushing up through the gearbox and through the levels of fines I'd be liable for, shimmying over the bumps and starting to get some real feel for the sides of the powers. Nice tyres!

    We hit Moe at about three and pull in to Nanna's place for a monstrously huge roast pork lunch with Chengaleng, who zipped up earlier in the car on a mission to steal as many of Nanna's cookbooks as she can.

    She's trying to get rid of as much of her stuff as she can before she moves into a retirement village, so we go through her ancient record collection, picking out anything we recognise as potentially listenable, wonderfully corny, or simply with a cover photo too cheesy to let past.

    Then it's off again, bellies straining as the sun starts to set and I very nearly munt a wheelie showing off for Nanna as she waves us off shaking her head.

    Before leaving Moe we swap bikes and I jump on Daz's Hornet 6 with MX bars. Odd sort of feeling, they're quite wide and further forward than the stockers on my nine. Gives you perhaps a more aggressive riding stance but I was conscious of the extra weight over the front wheel.

    The 600's engine is a ballistic little gem, revving its tits off and delivering big thrills at lower speeds than the more composed and gentlemanly feel of the 900. Through the sweepers heading back out towards Noojee, it felt absolutely mad. Skittish in the corners, those wide bars making for touchy steering and the poor 250-sized chassis clearly disgruntled at having to carry a lard-arse chock full of roast dinner at speed.

    I wanted to wick it up a bit further to dig into a bit more of the 600's wickedly quick handling, but I was a bit uncomfortable with the extremely weak back brake and the weight transfer under front brake that the porky lump between the seat and handlebars was causing. I really like settling a bike into corners with a gob of rear brake, and with nothing happening on the 6, I stared rowing back down through the 'box using engine braking.

    More than once, as I was riding the Hornet so high up in the rev range, I went to settle her intoo a corner and accidentally popped into neutral. FaaaaAAAAAAArrrrk! Still, the 600 kept its bad-ass reputation in my books, it makes 100 feel like 150 and is a mad little bastard.

    Switching back at Noojee, it's dark now and the prospect of another 100km of twisties as the wildlife starts getting jiggy with it isnt too appealing. So instead of zipping back through towards Yarra Junction, we go straight up and around the big, looping turn onto the road towards Drouin and Warragul in search of the Princes FWY.

    Looking for a spot to overtake a lagging FWD, something white flashed by right on the side of the road. WTF? A bloody GOAT? On the lucky side there, it didn't look like it would bounce in a friendly way.

    Daz luckily picked up my wrong turn near Drouin, and rounded me up to head back. Good chance to adjust my headlight too, which was giving me an excellent view of the trees above but doing bugger-all to illuminate the road ahead... And not due to wheelies for once!

    Back onto the freeway with a celebratory mono and we trade the lead on an uneventful ride back into town - except for when some bloke scorched past on a big twin pulling at least a buck eighty and disappearing through traffic into the pitch black... Whoa Nelly!

    Thanks Daz for an entertaining ride and a crack on the 'crossed-up 600, and Nanna for a f*cking sensational roast and great hugs. Oh, and the Pilot Powers get the thumbs up from me, very nice feeling tyre.

    This was my first 'real' ride in about 6 months, felt like I was getting some mojo back and I hope I get to spend plenty more time getting to know the edges of those juicy Michelins!

    Over n out,
  2. Heh heh sorry, wasn't such a quicky after all... :grin:
  3. Yeah, I can't wait for a slowie, mate :LOL:

    What a great day, I'd love to have been there, and not just to make up a third Hornet.

    (Then again, perhaps not; I don't need my 'old guy' riding style to be seen by to many.)

    More please, Loz, I've said before I love your writing.....
  4. mmmm, mm. love those sweepers :wink: sounds like a fab day out. now that i've got wheels again, i'll look forward to joining you for a hornet ride some time.... if you're happy to shoot ahead on the 9 and wait for me at some pre-appointed corner :wink:
  5. Great story loz, I could almost smell the roast! Off topic question, do you think its too big a jump to go from a 250 to the 900?
  6. Yer on, Carri! I'm not super quick anyway - but everyone should ride at their own pace, enough to have fun without feeling in danger. Whoever's up front just gets more of a break, or else they can turn back around and do some loops of the good bits. No harm done there!

    Petertadhg (damn, are you Welsh or something? That name really throws me!) - the Hornet 900 is a very friendly big bike. It's very composed and forgiving, but will grow with you when you want to start getting cheeky. I upgraded to it from a bike with the same motor as yours - and I can't think of any good reason to move on from it as yet, even after riding dozens of other brilliant bikes.

    Many other bikes beat the Hornet in one way or another but I'd find it difficult to find something else that suits me better all-round. Take one for a test ride - you'll be reasonably familiar with the riding position after a VTR, although it'll feel a lot more barrel-chested. The extra weight actually feels nice in the corners, keeps things under control and stops the bike from bounching around on the bumps.

    You'll love the power, there's loads all the way through the rev range, and the chassis and brakes, while not up to superbike standard, all give you a pretty solid feeling, especially afer a 250.

    Give it a test ride, see what you reckon... :)
  7. Thanks for the reply Loz, when i finish my restrictions i will definitly give one a burl. No Im not Welsh, Peter is my name and Tadhg is my dog. :)
  8. And how would one pronounce that???
  9. Tiger without the r. He was named after Tadhg Kennelly an Irishman who plays for the Sydney Swans.
  10. Great day out, Loz!
    Your Nanna sure makes an awesome roast! :grin:
    We should organise a Melbourne Hornet rideout one day, soon!

    The Hornet 9 is much smoother through the bends.
    Due to the extra torque, you really only need to keep it in 3rd gear!
    The 600 you really need to ride it above 7000 rpm.
    There's only 10 odd HP between them, but feel totally different!
    Mmmmmm fuel injection!
    Daz. :wink:
  11. Just got back from Alice Springs, so didn't get to see this post. I would have offered you all coffee after your roast Loz!

    When are you guys going to do a gig down here? The Stockyards at Rawson absolutely rock with some local talent and they love a good show. (Also the dirt bike and road bike tracks are all on our back doorstep :grin: )
  12. Good report, was it you guys filling up at the Horizen servo on brandy creek road in warragul yesterday arvo??
  13. Hey Cruisingal - sorry we missed you, it was a very last-minute sort of a jaunt.

    If you've got a contact for us at the venue, we're looking to set up a mini gippy tour in the next few months, we've got some family and friends down there who've made the trip to the city several times and we want to thank them by coming up that way for a yodel.

    We're trying to work out how we can get a good crowd though - and the right sort of crowd! If you've got any ideas drop me a PM.
  14. <Still giggling about Billy the Goat!>
  15. Loz, which road did you take to Moe?? Did you turn right b4 Icy creek or some other path?? Miss this turn off and you're on a tight twisty grin inducing arse puckering road to Mt Baw Baw... and seriosly behind schedule!

    I love the run to Willow grove - cuts through some fine example of rain forest with ferned gullies... the road is unsign posted though - nary a hairpin or speed advisory to be seen.... Then it opens up and the view of the latrobe valley is spectactular...

    I've got some pix I'll post up shortly of a solo scouting ride I took a while back...

    Still grinning...

    ps Love those pilot powers!

    pps interest level is high on that gippy tour :)

  16. Yeah Rob I'm a big fan of the Baw Baw road - that and the Mt. Donna Buang road give me everything I need from a set of twisties but without the mental traffic of the Spurs.

    The road through to Willow Grove is great fun, hardly a car to be seen and because there's no centre line and good visibility through a lot of those twisties, you're free to use the whole road and pop the pace up a touch. Then again, the rainforest cover means that the road's rarely completely dry, and there's some moss about as well which you don't want to be apexing on.

    The Powers are great, they add to the composed and stable feel of the 900 through corners. I can only imagine what they'd be like on a proper sportsbike with great suspension, no wonder those feckers go so quick!

    I'll talk to the Suade lads tonight about the gippy thing, maybe we'll see if we can work a couple of dates far enough apart to make for a good biking weekend as well, now that would be sweet!
  17. You would definitely get the right crowd at the Stockyards. We'll be there next weekend, so I can have a yack with them if you like...Will also take up my Suade CD for them to listen to. (great, friendly guys up there). If you prefer, you can get in touch hotel@rawsonstockyard.com.au. I'll do a bit of research and see what I can come up with for you re other venues.
  18. Have a yack with them, we're not ready to start talking dates yet but if they're interested we'll get in touch in the next month or so and see what we can tee up.
  19. Not a problem Loz. Will let you know how I get on.