Marvellous May 2022 - A Motorrad Tour, a Rider Development Weekend and much more!
What a great month May 2022 was, here’s what I got up to.
Barrie Robson, Scottish long weekender.
The second Barrie Robson BMW Motorcycles long weekender to Scotland got underway on the 4th of May and saw 20 riders leaving the York BMW dealer. The tour was arranged through Motorrad Tours and as such I was on Tour Leader duties for the trip.
Day 1 was 270 miles and took us briefly up the A1 before we skirted across country, passing through Hexham and Kielder and over the border into Scotland, arriving at our first hotel, a few miles north of Dumfries in late afternoon. The weather was relatively kind to us with only the occasional shower and just the 1 road closure and diversion.
Day 2 was around 200 miles and saw us head north towards Loch Lomand before turning south towards Lochgilphead, up to Oban and then across to Tyndrum for our second night. Another day of mixed weather but more dry than wet and the route offered some amazing scenery and great riding.
Day 3 we headed north through the vastness of Glen Coe, on through Fort William and north to Applecross via the famous Pass of the Cattle. Again, the weather gods kept us on our toes but we stayed mostly dry. The roads north of Tyndrum are fantastic and Glen Coe never fails to wow. When we got to Applecross, the low cloud nearly put us off but we were so glad we did the pass because once over the summit, we were bathed in sunshine. Fantastic!
Day 4 we left the hotel at Nairn and headed south through Glenshee, the Cairngorms, Balmoral and Pitlochry. The roads over the ski areas are fantastic, they peak and trough like a gigantic roller coaster, you feel your full cooked breakfast going up and down in your belly over every crest!
Day 5 was the final ride home but still some great riding to be had as we headed back around Kielder and then that great road from Alston down to Barnard Castle.
5 days, 4 nights, around 1250 miles. Great routes, amazing scenery, fab hotels and great company to share it all with.
If you’re interested in coming along for next year or just fancy a tour to somewhere in the world, check out Motorrad Tours at www.motorrad-tours.com
Here’s a few photos from the trip.
Once home from Scotland I was back training, but as I tried to wheel the Versys out of the garage for the first session, I discovered a flat back tyre! I tried to plug it, but it wasn't having any of it so a quick ring round and it was off to Leeds Bike Tyres with the rear wheel in the car and then back again the next day for a new front. It was such a shame because I'd only been looking at the tyres a day before and thinking how little they'd worn in 5000 miles. Hey ho.
Tyres fitted and it was back to training. First up was Jade on her KTM 790. Jade is a relatively new rider and has recently joined her local RoSPA group and wanted a little extra help along the way. Cracking session with much time spent on the virtues of cornering.
Tom was next on his KTM 1050. Like Jade, Tom has also already started his advanced riding journey but Tom has gone with the IAM. Tom doesn't live near York, so stayed locally for his 2 sessions which he had on consecutive days.
After Tom, came Ben on another KTM! This one being the mighty 1290 Super Duke GT. Ben had 3 sessions in May, and don't be fooled by the photo, they all involved rain! If you know Ben, don't ride with him, it WILL rain, you WILL get wet, he IS a rain magnet! But Ben took it all in his stride and after completing his 3rd session, he took his BMF Blue Riband Rider Award test....read on for the result.
Dariush followed Ben on his R1250RT. Dariush passed his test in 2016 and now wants to develop his riding further. We had a slight hiccup at the start when his bike didn't want to play, but a quick visit to the excellent guys at Barrie Robson BMW and we were back on the road in no time and had a great session.
Gregg came along on his 1250 Suzuki. An experienced rider with tens of thousands of miles under his belt who wanted an honest appraisal of his riding with a view to taking an advanced qualification in the future. Lots of miles covered.
Ian was up next on his Honda CB1000R. Ian has trained with me previously when he completed the Enhanced Rider Scheme, and after this latest session he took the BMF test, read on for his result.
James came along on his NC750. Like Ian, James has trained with me previously and completed the ERS and has now joined his local IAM group with the intention of taking his advanced test in the near future. Another great session which saw me on the X-ADV as it has the same engine as the NC.
Tudor finished off the month on his R1250GS. Tudor trained with me prior to lockdown and recently took his RoSPA test (see below). He is still a member of his local RoSPA group and like the riders above, decided to have some additional training alongside his group sessions. I hadn't intended to use the X-ADV, but the day before I'd had the Versys and S1000R professionally valeted and as the forecast wasn't great, I used the X-ADV!
Scottish Rider Development Weekend.
May saw me run the second Rider Development Weekend. Myself and fellow BMF Examiner Alf G and 6 customers headed off for 3 days of training with 4 of the 6 attendees taking their BMF Blue Riband Rider Award on the final day. The other 2 riders already hold the qualification so went along for some refresher training.
From left to right - Pete (700 Tenere), Alex (F800GT), Alf (BMF Examiner - 1250GSA), Daren (R1200GS), Gareth (F750GS), Me (Versys 1000), Steve (R1250GSA) and Paul (F800GT).
And congratulations to test candidates Daren, Pete, Paul and Gareth who successfully passed their BMF Blue Riband Rider Award with 3 Golds and a Silver.
The next Rider Development Weekend is pencilled in for 23rd, 24th and 25th September 2022. Prices and location to be confirmed in the coming weeks, but if you think you'd like to attend, drop me an email for further details. Spaces limited to a maximum of 6 riders. (3 riders per instructor).
Customer test passes.
As well as the guys on the RDW, 2 other customers passed their advanced tests in May. Ian (CB1000R), Ben (Superduke GT) both passed their BMF tests and Tudor (R1250GS) passed his RoSPA test (in Feb 2022 but only told me in May!)
RoSPA Examining and Tutoring.
Only 1 test to conduct in May and it was with Gavin on his R1200GS. Gavin rode well and passed successfully.
I also managed a rare Tutoring outing with my local RoSPA group in May. I had a break from the group last year so it's great to be involved again, albeit on a less frequent basis. I was paired up with Gary on his R1250RS. Very enjoyable few hours tweaking Garys ride as he nears test standard.
In May, I attended a BikeSafe event run by Humberside Police. There were 15 candidates and these were paired up with the 14 observers who were there. These consisted of 4 Police riders, 6 Observers from the IAM, 3 Tutors from RoSPA and myself representing RoSPA, the BMF and the DVSA Enhanced Rider Scheme. I was paired with Sean on his 600 Thundercat. Although Sean is a relatively new rider, he has already taken some advanced pointers so was able to put in a good ride and raised some good discussion points. We also managed to just about miss all the rain!
Spring cleaning with All Year Biker.
As my bikes get ridden lots and cleaned rarely, every now and again I treat them to a professional valet and rust blocker treatment.....but not by me of course! No, my go-to man for the job, is Josh from All Year Biker. I normally go to Josh but as I wanted 2 bikes doing, he agreed to come to my house and valeted the Versys and the S1000R (the X-ADV hasn't been ridden enough yet to warrant a clean!). Here's some before and after shots. As you can see, he does an amazing job.
If your pride and joy needs some professional TLC, I would highly recommend Josh. He is based in Sherburn In Elmet but does travel to homes within a reasonable distance. (All Year Biker has reps all over the country, check out their website for your nearest guy.)
Honda NT1100 demo
My X-ADV was in for service in May and the guys at Miles Kingsport very kindly loaned me their NT1100 demonstrator for a couple of hours. I posted about it on Facebook and it generated quite a few questions and comments. So, what did I think? Well it was a big surprise how good it was! The riding position reminded me of riding an ST1100 Pan European back in my bike cop days. The NT is 'only' 94 bhp but its mid range punch was awesome. I was really taken aback how quickly it went from 50 to....well, 70 obviously! The gearbox was slick, it rolled nicely through the bends and it was really comfy.
I found the screen suited me best on its second highest of 5 settings, and the TFT was very clear and full of info. It wasn't all good though, the throttle and fuelling was a bit of a mixed bag. Rain mode was smoothest, but least responsive. Urban was not as smooth but more responsive and Tour was quite harsh 'on/off the throttle, but by far the most responsive and 'fun'. I didn't like the cruise control switches on the right as they were not easy to use and the cruise didn't seem to engage unless in 4th gear or above? Finally, far too many switches on the left cluster (see photos). No doubt with ownership you'd find your way around them but just the sheer volume of buttons was scary on first sight!
I like it better in black than the grey, but it's growing on me.
Three choices of engine mode, all with a different dash layout. There's also 2 'user modes' but I didn't have the time to experiment with those.
Cruise control should be on the left (IMHO)
How many buttons?!
Would I buy one? Not yet, but if the next update sees less buttons and better fuelling, then potentially, yes. (I would add that I've never read a test ride that questioned the throttle/fuelling on an NT1100, so maybe I was just unlucky with that bike?)
Versys - Looks like the cruise control/brake light issue is definitely sorted as I've not had any further issues, phew! Mileage is now around 5500 and as a result of the puncture, I have replaced both tyres and opted for the ever popular Michelin PR6s, not cheap at £340 fitted but they proved their worth on the Rider Development Weekend where we encountered quite a bit of wet weather riding. It was interesting to ride a 1250GS on the Barrie Robson tour and I could see where the BMW is superior in areas like the TFT, suspension, mid range torque, and I did wonder how I'd feel about the Versys after 1700 miles on the GS. However, once back on the Versys I forgave it its short comings and as I said last month, I think it's a slow burner. I don't love it, but it is a really good bike for the price I paid. Plus with the money I 'saved', it allowed for 2 other bikes to be in the garage, so I suppose it's a good compromise.
S1000R - The S1000R has been used more for training in May due to the type of bikes being used by the customers. It'll be due tyres soon but fortunately, I 'won' a pair of tyres for getting an article published in RiDE Magazine, so they're sitting in the garage waiting for their moment. I've also just booked it in for a service in July. The schedule is out of sync as the previous owner did very low mileage through his 5 years of ownership. The service schedule is 6000 miles or every 12 months but when I bought the bike in November 2021, it was 5.5 years old but had only covered 7750 miles. It'll undergo a 12000 service in July and this should then put it 'back on track'.
X-ADV - The X-ADV had its 600 service in May, so I can finally unleash the beast.....all 54 bhp of it! I also had a sat nav mount fitted so it's tour ready for August.....fingers crossed. I really like the X-ADV and it continues to make me smile every ride. It's comfortable, quick off the throttle, smooth auto box, great mirrors, loads of room under the seat and is returning around 75mpg! I've never worried/bothered about mpg on any bike I've ever owned and it wasn't a consideration when I bought it, but given the current price of fuel, the fact it does 50% more than my S1000 or Versys, it's difficult to ignore.
My bikes - Kawasaki GPZ1100A Uni-track.
Last month I told you about my CB900, well that was traded in, in 1983 for a Kawasaki GPZ1100A. I bought it from Hull Kawasaki Centre that was situated on George Street in Hull. Compared to the CB900's. it had fuel injection, it's half fairing offered some weather protection and the 'clip on' bars gave it a canted forward riding position. Speed wise, it was like a rocket ship! Quicker all round than any of my previous bikes. I remember seeing 140mph on the speedo on one particular outing. (on a closed private road, obviously) which was the fastest I'd ever been in my life! I also fitted a lower fairing for a 'sportier' look. The photos show it with red wheels and black wheels but I have no recollection of ever painting them? Then again, it was nearly 40 years ago!
Here's a few photos, apologies for the quality.
With the lower fairing fitted.
With my mate Gareths Katana.
With my brother Mikes CB900
The GPZ1100 was traded for a GPZ900, now deemed to have been a game changer in design and power. More on that next month.
And that my friends, rounds off May 2022. Thanks for reading and ride safe.