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  • Writer's pictureIan Speight

November 2022 - The Wing has gone, long live...the Twin!

Updated: Dec 3, 2022


Yes, it is true that the Goldwing has left my ownership and been replaced with a new Africa Twin Adventure Sports, but more on that later, firstly lets see what I got up to in November.

Training.

Despite the very wet weather, it didn't deter riders coming for training and it was still a great month.

Heath had the first and last training sessions of the month on his Triumph Trophy 1200. Heath is back to biking after a couple years off and is looking to complete the Enhanced Rider Scheme. Here he is after his first session.

Next up was David on his 1250GS Adventure. It was David's 4th session and despite the wet conditions, he rode really well and successfully completed the Enhanced Rider Scheme.

Tom came along on his VFR800 Crossrunner. Tom already holds a pass with the BMF Blue Riband Rider award and is now looking to take his RoSPA test. It was another changeable day weather wise, with fog, rain, reduced visibility, standing water and lots of visor wiping, but we still managed around 120 miles.

John came for his 2nd session on his Triumph Street Triple. John already has some IAM training under his belt and wants to increase his grade for his next test.

Peter came along for his first session on his 1200GS. Peter has been riding for quite a few years but the last couple of years has seen a drop off in his mileage, so he decided to have a refresher as he intends to up his mileage again in 2023.

Here's Heath finishing off the month on a day that was much drier and milder than his first one. Two great sessions with lots covered and good progress made.

RoSPA Tutoring and training.

I managed two sessions in November with my local RoSPA group. The first session was for me to be assessed as part of the yearly assessments all Tutors have to undergo. I was out with fellow Tutors Simon and Dave. Dave took the role of the associate, whilst Simon assessed my Tutoring skills covering such things as the pre ride briefing, the lesson itself and all debriefs, and I'm pleased to say that I passed.

From L to R - me, Simon, Dave.

In the second session, it was my turn to take the role of the assessor. I was out with group Tutor Paul on his R1250GS and associate Brian on his R1200RS. Brian is nearing test standard, so it was time for him to have a 'pre test assessment'. Paul was assessing Brian and I was assessing Paul, assessing Brian....you get the idea.

Here's Paul on the left with Brian.

Customer test pass.

Glynn trained with me in 2019 and went on to pass his IAM test and then followed that by becoming an IAM Observer. Last year he came along for a refresher as he had decided to take his IAM Masters. I was contacted by Glynn in late November and he informed me that there had been some delays in him taking his Masters but he had now taken it, and not only passed it, but obtained a Distinction! What a great result. When asked if I could share his pass on my FB page, Glynn replied - "No problem Ian, it all started from your training rides"!

Great to see customers continuing their advanced riding journeys. Here's Glynn with his VFR1200DCT.

My Bikes.

Honda Goldwing - As this months titles suggests, the Goldwing has gone. I'm not going to slag it off as I know there are many, very happy Goldwing riders all around the world, However, I just couldn't get on with it. I covered around 1500 miles on it in the 6 weeks I had it, and in all honesty I didn't really enjoy any of those miles. I think I thought it would be a bit like a K1600 but maybe a little more laid back with better pillion comfort for Kim. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. The wind turbulence was the biggest issue, with both of us suffering a lot of 'buffeting' at anything above 60mph. A suggested bigger and wider screen did help a little but it wasn't the 'game changer' I hoped it would be. Most rides left me with a headache. I did look at other options for screens and wind deflectors but these all cost money and are all trial and error with no money back guarantee if they don't work. It's a real shame I couldn't get on with the bike as there was lots about it I liked. I liked the riding position, the built in sat nav and radio and the luggage space it offered. When I got it, I imagined Kim and I wafting serenely through Europe in perfect comfort and silence. I suppose with all bikes, even with a decent demo ride you can't be 100% certain it will be right for you until you're riding it on a daily basis. I've owned over 60 bikes over the last 43 years of riding and the 'wing is only one of a handful of bikes I knew fairly quickly wasn't the bike for me. The others were the Kawasaki ZXR750 I wrote about last month, (1993) a second generation Tuono 1000 in 2006, a Honda Crosstourer in 2014 and a KTM Superduke GT in 2017. Once you know a bike's not right for you, you have to decide what to do. Do you keep it and continue to ride a bike you've paid a lot of money for that you're not enjoying? Or don't ride it and just leave it in the garage for extended periods? Or decide to take a loss and swap it for something that will give you miles of pleasure. For me, I would never keep a bike I didn't like or want to ride, so in the end I decided it had to go. I contacted Andy at Miles Kingsport where I got the bike from and we looked at options. Andy suggested an Africa Twin Adventure Sports. I'd ridden a 1000 AT when they first came out but didn't really like it. I thought it was a bit 'lumpy' at low speed and the front 21 wheel gave a vague(ish) feeling to the steering and the whole bike was quite 'vibey'. Andy assured me the latest 1100s were improved in many areas compared to the early bikes and that the Adventure Sports was probably more suitable for me then the standard Africa Twin. Andy suggested a ride on their Africa Twin Adventure Sports demonstrator, and a few days later I did just that, I had a half day on it and I have to say I thought it was fab! I was very surprised how comfortable it was. There was very little wind noise and more or less zero buffeting. The mid range drive was very impressive and after a few turns of the pre load adjuster in the first few miles, I never gave the suspension another thought. Overall I was very impressed, something I didn't expect! Needless to say, a very fair deal was done and on the 26th November I said goodbye to the Goldwing and hello to the Africa Twin Adventure Sports.

Africa Twin Adventure Sport - So what exactly is it. Well, it's a new 2023 model in the new for 2023 tri colour scheme. Options wise, I added the Honda panniers, a top box rack, (no top box at this time while I decide which one to get) a centre stand, some very subtle wind deflectors (as recommended on the owners forums) and a Garmin sat nav mount.

At the time of typing this I've managed about 350 miles and initial findings are good. The screen and wind turbulence is totally fine, the heated grips are good. The seat seems ok even after 130 miles. The mirrors are OK, although they do blur a little at 60mph and above. and the right mirror head keeps dropping a bit and won't stay where I want it. Miles's informed and will change it whenever I'm ready. I love the dash, it has all the info I need and I'm sure it will get easier to navigate the more I use it. There's not as much engine braking as I expended but I think I can alter that and the engine is a bit 'chuggy' at very low speed. I didn't buy a top box as I have a Givi top box that I've had for a gazillion years but as it turns out, it's a different fitting so I will look to buy a top box in the new year, the 52 litre Givi Trekker seems to be favourite amongst owners as it will take 2 full face helmets. MPG wise, the computer is telling me it's currently doing between 58-70 with a range of about 300 miles when filled up. Suspension seems well damped with no crunching/jarring over/through pot holes/bad surfaces and doesn't wallow like the Versys used to do. I'll have more miles under it's belt by the end of next month so hopefully the positives will continue to grow. And here it is.

Social Ride.

Having collected the ATAS on the 26th, I was out again on the 28th for a social ride with friends Andy (vStrom) and Richard (R1200RT). Unfortunately it was a very misty and murky day but we still managed a 100 miles. We popped to Teasdales in Thirsk to have a look at the brand new Moto Guzzi V100 Mondello and then headed to Helmsley for a brew and a butty before returning home.

The new Guzzi V100 Mondello

BMW S1000R - Another fab month on the S1000R. I used it for nearly all training sessions in November, plus a couple of little run outs on the dry days when I wasn't training. It's such a great bike and one of the best bikes I've ever owned. I covered around 800 miles on it in November, which isn't bad considering I did 500 on the Goldwing too.

Previous bikes - Yamaha YZF750.

Last month I told you about the Kawasaki ZXR750 I owned. Well in October 1993, I traded that for a Yamaha YZF750. The bike came in 2 colour options - Black and grey or 'Cocktail', which was basically white and pink. I've never been a fan of dark coloured bikes so after much deliberation I opted for the pink one! The bike was a pleasure to ride after the ZXRs unforgiving suspension, It was also a bike that did very well in BSB with Niall Mackenzie and Jamie Whitham coming 1st and 2nd respectively in the championship in 1996. Unfortunately for Yamaha, just as they produced the best 750 on the market, Honda produced the Fireblade! In 1998 the YZF750 was dropped and replaced with the 1000cc R1. I did quite a few miles on the YZF including 2 trips to Scotland and 1 to the Dutch MotoGP. I bought the bike from 5 Ways in Hull and paid £6500 for it. Here's a few photos of the YZF, including this great photo of our trip to Assen, complete with me in matching pink leathers!

From L to R - Rich (GSX600), Tony (GSXR1100), me,(YZF750) Mat (ZZR600), Graham (Honda Goldwing), and Neil 350 Power valve. Chris was riding pillion to Graham but isn't in the photo because he took it! Neil was a mate of Chris's and we really hit it off and we went on to do many European trips together over the next 10 years, many of which will feature in my 'previous bikes' section in the future.

With Tonys GSXR1100 somewhere in Holland!

Can you guess which country I was in?

Scotland with Neil, now on a VFR750.

Cairngorms in Scotland.

The YZF750 was traded in for a GSXR750, but more on that next time.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed catching up with things, until next month, ride safe.

Ian S













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