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Is Beast, Is Good!

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by WGM, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. I collected the Beemer’s replacement yesterday and thought I better take it for a quick cruise to find out how it runs. It is a long story but this is how it went…..

    10am Saturday 16th February, the old owner dropped of the gleaming red Honda ST1300. He wasn’t happy! He felt forced to sell it due to his financial situation and would only sell it to me on the condition that if I ever want to sell it that I call him first. He works part time at Honda so they had “tricked†up the bike a bit with a whiz bang mapping, added electric screen on this model that should have only had a manual and also added a radio.

    After he left I took it for a spin to a friends place in Ringwood (from Glen Waverley) where we had arranged a yummy brunch. It was about 28 degrees by this stage and the new leathers (old ones got a little trashed in the Beemer accident) were damn hot but safe! Around 3pm it was time to go home so I headed off and came home via Mt Dandenong. Yeegods this thing hums along! Absolute bucket loads of power when taking off. The ST comes with three different seat settings so buggered around a bit and set it to the top height. Being 6’3†this seems to suit me best. After this little test ride, I knew why the guy didn’t want to sell it and I also thought it needed something more significant to test it out.

    To beat the heat I decided to head off early on Sunday morning, somewhere down the South Gippsland Highway. 8 am I headed off with a full tank ready to check it out. I must say though, I was a little concerned. I had read on NetRider that operation UnRider was on. You know, Cops looking for UnRegistered, UnLicensed, UnRoadworthy and UnControllable bikes and their riders. With the new Beast’s tendency to go very fast, the last thing I wanted was to sacrifice my points and cash to the “Tenez Le Droit†team. But nothing ventured, nothing gained so off I went.

    Originally I thought I was heading to Leongatha. After heading down the South Eastern and feeling how comfy and easy the new Beast is I extended it to Venus Bay as I know they have a funky little café there. The final map of the ride is here. A simple back and forth on the same route. http://tinyurl.com/22trvw

    First things first, a few thoughts on the new beast.

    The indicators are weird. I got used to the Beemers indicators, one on each side of the handle bars within easy reach of each thumb. The Beemer would even turn them off if you forgot! The Honda are the typical one button, left, right or push to cancel operated by the left thumb. I had to get used to moving my hand a little to use the controls.
    On board computer is cool! It tells me average consumption, delayed instant consumption, which I don’t get. I like to know exactly what I am doing right now in terms of fuel consumption. For some reason, Honda delays the readout by a second or three. So it is not quite accurate for the instant, but cool to see. I particularly like being able to set the computer to l/100km or km/l. I am a l/100 km kind of person so it makes sense to me, but others may be different. By the way, over the whole trip of 305km, I got 5.8 l/100km.
    I know the temperature. The dash not only tells fuel consumption (and km to empty tank when you get to less than 5l left), it also has the time, 2 trip computers and the ambient temperature. So I knew it was 18 degrees at the start of the ride and 31 degrees at the end!

    The only problem with the trip computer is that I wear polarized sunglasses and they make it hard to read it. Time to get some non-polarized glasses for the bike as when I look through the helmet visor and the screen on the bike, everything has a rainbow on it!!

    That brings up the screen. I though the one on the Beemer was good. The new Beast’s screen craps all over it! Mainly because it is bigger but also because it’s travel distance is greater. So even being a tall bugger, I can raise the screen enough so that I have only minor wind buffeting and noise. Sweet!! And at this stage, I am so grateful that the previous owner (let’s call him John – because that is his name!) had the electric screen functionality put on the bike. It was particularly good on such a hot day. When I was heating up a bit I could just drop the screen and use the wind chill factor to cool down a little.

    A couple of things that the Beemer had over the ST are that the Top Box on the Beemer does not need to be locked while riding (and I still have a top box and matching side panniers to fit a BMW K1100LT SE in excellent condition. $990 the lot – all run off the one key. Key comes free with the panniers! PM if you are interested). On the ST, if it is not locked the mechanism comes open and the lid moves around. Good thing about the ST top box is that it fits 2 full face helmets.

    The Beemers radio was also better in some ways. The volume control was within easy reach of the left thumb and you could hear it well while riding at 110km/h. The ST’s system is an add on and the volume buttons are a little tricky. You actually need to take your hand off the handle bar to operate the radio. But the controller does give far more control over the system than the Beemer. Now most of you are probably thinking, what kind of knob needs a radio on a bike!! Good point. But I reckon I will use it more when I put an intercom system on down the track as you can input the radio into it.

    The final edge is that the Beemer had ABS. The Honda doesn’t although it does have interlinked brakes which work really well.

    On the whole I am incredibly happy with the new beast. It fits my body better. I used to bash my knee on the fairing as the moulding didn’t take into account someone with legs my size. This is not the case on the Honda so it's much more comfortable. The power is simply stunning. Several times I was cruising along at 110km/h only to “discover†that I still had to get into top (5th) gear. It seemed like it was idling and still thumping along.

    “But what about the ride,†I hear you ask.

    I love heading to South Gippsland for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they have some really great wide sweeping bends with beautiful views, not much traffic and fairly good road surfaces. Secondly, I was born down that way so I know most of the roads fairly well and feel at ease in the area. Today was a simply stunning day for a ride.

    It was nice and crisp first up - as I said, 19 degrees on the dashboard computer. God I am a geek for even noticing that let alone getting excited about it! Through road works central, which is the South Eastern Freeway, out past Cranbourne; sneak through the big round about near Koo-Wee-Rup and on to the South Gippsland Highway. By the way, I don’t know about you but I much prefer to ride through a two lane round about on the inside (right) lane. I find it much easier to keep a safe line and I am less fearful of a car changing lanes on me. Once I was on the South Gippy, the ride was relaxed pleasure all the way.

    As I was riding I was thinking about Rider Fixation. For those of you who don’t know, that’s where you see something you don’t want to hit (like a pothole, debris, car, side of road etc) and you watch it. As you watch it or fixate on it, you are drawn to it and inevitably ride where you don’t want to. As I was riding I was noticing the traffic come towards me and how I try to see through it. In particular, looking through the traffic and along the road where I want the bike to go. It was interesting that I though of this now as I had a little rider fixation incident later in the trip!

    The road was fabulous. They have done a lot of work by passing Bena and Loch so there are some new stretches of road there and plenty of overtaking lanes for when the traffic is slow ahead. At one stage, Farmer Joe was about to drive out of the paddock and on to the road but he realized he wouldn’t make it. I had started to slow down but he actually backed up which made it easy for me. I seem to have become extra attentive to side traffic since the accident that wiped out the Beemer.

    The ride was fairly uneventful as I was casually cruising through Korumburra to Leongatha. Being very wary of the speed as it was the UnRider weekend but ended up not seeing one police officer! Gotta be happy with that. After Leongatha, I got to the Koonwarra turn off. If you are ever down this way, you must check out the Koonwarra General Store. (It is at point B on the map) It has yummy meals, some great local wines and beers (from the Grand Ridge Road Brewery) and plenty of take home conserves, chutney and the like.

    From here to Venus Bay it is all back roads. Time to test the new Beast out a little. I gave it a nudge and got it up to 160km/h with no effort at all. I let it gently slow down again as I am very attached to my license and don’t want to risk it too much. Once I got back to 110 I had my fixation incident. I was toodling along minding my own business when a yuppie riding a Harley came around the corner. I say yuppie because he didn’t have a beard and a badged jacket. I could be wrong though! At first I got a fright because I wasn’t expecting anything and then I noticed I was still staring at him and drifting across the lane towards his lane. I had to tear my focus off him and onto my side of the road. It was amazing how difficult it was. I must say it got the heart racing.

    I arrived in Venus Bay having done 151km/h in just over 1 hr 45 min. They have a great café there so I settled down to a coffee and the Sunday paper after stretching out my legs and arse a bit. Called the house mates and got orders from them to stop in at the Koonwarra store and get some Chilli Onion Marmalade. Had to confirm that - yes, it was Chilli Onion Marmalade. So after 30 min rest, stretch, drink and walk back on the beast.

    I stopped and got the goodies as requested and then just took it nice and easy on the way home again. There are some beautiful sights to be seen while riding. As I was coming down the back roads, I saw a bird of prey just casually circling over the paddocks. Just seeing the different landscapes, riding in the full sun, under the filtered light of the trees and through out some of the undulating ranges really feeds the soul. I must say riding through archways of gum trees really is a treat. It is a strong memory from my upbringing and all my troubles seem to drift away when I return there.

    It was good to see other riders out there too. Some sports bikes, a couple of Goldwings and even spotted a Silverwing – Honda’s big scooter. As is my way I nodded to everyone like a toy noddy dog on the dashboard of a car. I got plenty of nods back and even a few waves. The sense of camaraderie while riding is precious to me and I do value it.

    But it wasn’t only the bird of prey circling over the paddocks! When I was coming in to Tooradin, a couple of skydivers were gracefully circling and gliding through the air also. As I was coming up to the aerodrome, one of them landed just ahead of me. And punters say riding motorbikes is dangerous!! Personally I am not planning on jumping out of any plane soon!

    From Cranbourne on it was bloody hot on the bike (the readout said 31) and the air was hazy smelling of smoke. Traffic was a lot thicker too and was looking forward to getting home for a cool refreshing beverage.

    So for me, it really was the UnRider weekend. The bike was Unreal, giving me Unimaginable joy going through some Unbelievable country side. I am now looking forward to doing some more rides and putting in some longer runs. I may even join Davo for lunch on one of his Far Rides.

    Thanks for reading this as I think I may have waffled a tad!

    Keep on riding


  2. its a great place south gippy, having grown up there and going to school at korumburra i know the roads and there are some great ones!

    enjoy the beast :twisted:
  3. Great post, any piccies?
  4. Thanks for the feedback.

    Sorry - No pics! There were plenty of spots but I didn't take the camera. My phone camera is shite!

    I'll give it a snap snap wink wink next time!!

  5. Nice part of the world, used to love taking to these roads in my ol' V8 Torana in the '80s. Must get the bike out and give them a blast. :cool: