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GT6 Nick

Honda Cb500X

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A new toy joined the Herald and GT6 this week - a brand new Honda CB500X motorbike. I've always wanted a bike, but it's taken a long time before I could afford one, and was living somewhere where learners were free to fend for themselves.

 

The process of learning to ride is bringing up hilarious and embarrassing 30 year old memories of driving lessons in our Hillman Hunter. I can almost hear my parents every time I fluff a gear change, or get so distracted by my hands and feet that I mistake a Stop sign for a Give Way. Hopefully history won't repeat exactly, or the letterbox's days are numbered.

 

After paying the deposit last week, the dealership rang on Monday to say that the bike - my bike! - had arrived from Sydney and was being uncrated. Problem was, the dealer is 2 hours away. However, they had a stand at the local agricultural show this week, and that was only 100km away. A cunning plan began to take shape... I bought a train ticket and took a day off work, and they brought the bike to the show. When I got there on Thursday she was in the middle of the display, surrounded by farm and quad bikes. And she was getting her share of admirers, too. Farm lads don't only want a bike they can carry a sheep on, apparently.

 

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I'd never ridden a bike that big before, and had only briefly sampled the full power of the riding school's 125cc bikes, so I wasn't keen to ride her off the display stand. If I'd dropped her, it would have been on Facebook before we were upright again. The sales manager and I did the handover in the carpark instead. 

 

The ride home was glorious. I'd never ridden on public roads before, and had over a hundred kilometres to ride to get home, so I took a quiet, scenic loop away from the highway and then back to it further north, to get the feel of the gears, brakes and weight. As the dealer had said, it was a perfect day for a ride, and the road had gentle curves, no potholes and almost no traffic.

 

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As it turned out, the CB is easy to ride. I hadn't ridden her before buying - although that sounds harebrained, as a raw beginner, I didn't think I had the experience to tell a good bike from a bad one. If I'd struggled to handle a bike, would it have been because it was hard to ride, or I just didn't know what I was doing? So, my buying decision was based on road test reviews, and sitting on one at the dealership. It was comfortable, it had rave reviews in the press, and that was enough.

 

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After all that, I think I bought the right bike. The ride home was fun, although I was happier at 80 than the learner licence's limit of 90. We went out again today to practice riding around town, and the odometer is now at just over 160km. The motor's smooth and revvy, the gearbox is freeing up nicely, and each time I look, the scrubbed portion of the tyres is wider. She was worth the wait.

 

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Edited by GT6 Nick

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Interesting.  Nice shiny toy!  New?!  

 

My impression (admittedly formed on little evidence) is that motorcycles are fairly rare in rural in Australia. Hope Gerald is not the jealous type!!

 

Nick

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Who-hoo! Had my Bike licence for umpteen years but last rode a bike seriously in '78, did spend a couple of weeks on a friends bike in '07. It was an altogether much more pleasant experience riding in QLD than VIC.

 

One of these .....

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Enjoy yourself but look out for ANY other vehicle on the road! All my near, and not so near, misses were caused by other drivers not seeing me.

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Oh yeah, all those old defensive driving lessons are coming back, especially in town. Every car or person is a potential threat, and I can't assume people will see me even on a bright red bike with lights on. There's one right hand turn in particular that I won't attempt if there's someone behind me, as their view of me would be blocked until the last few seconds. I'm used to riding a mountain bike, but on that I can duck and weave to avoid traffic. Not so on the Honda.

 

At the moment I'm working on muscle memory - things like letting the throttle go when pulling in the clutch, letting the clutch go gently, holding the gear lever until the clutch is released to avoid false neutrals, and just being gentle with the throttle. Riding in the country's easy, but I'm well aware that my hands and feet aren't 'programmed' to work the brakes quickly if I need to stop in a hurry. At this stage it's just practice and more practice. As you can see, we're covering the kilometres pretty well.

 

She's a wonderful machine, and not too daunting to learn on. 471cc, made in Thailand (even the tyres), 4 valves per cylinder, DOHC, fuel injected and 100bhp /L. A few years ago, the only cars with that state of tune were Ferraris and the like! All that and she runs on 91 octane and drinks just over 3L per 100km. And being brand new, she's in a condition that we restorers struggle to return our cars to. 

 

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Brrrrrrmmmm.

Keep doing the safety checks mate.

Maybe practice one finger braking...I like to ride busier stuff with one finger covering the brake. But as I recall the M25 can get a bit busier than the outback!-)

Haven't they finally stuck a speed limit on the Stuart highway... which is one out my bucket list :-(

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They took the speed limit off parts of the Stuart again, as the number of crashes and fatalities went up. The thinking was that when people are responsible for determining a safe speed, they'll actually drive to conditions rather than just doing what the signs tell them to.

 

And yeah, next weekend I'll be practicing low speed stuff and emergency braking. The one thing I just can't get right is the riding school's advice to control takeoff speed with the rear brake, rather than just the clutch. I just keep stalling. Otherwise it's coming together well, as long as I remember to count the gears.

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Brrrrrrmmmm.

Keep doing the safety checks mate.

Maybe practice one finger braking...I like to ride busier stuff with one finger covering the brake. But as I recall the M25 can get a bit busier than the outback!-)

Haven't they finally stuck a speed limit on the Stuart highway... which is one out my bucket list :-(

 

I used to ride with my fingers on the brakes and clutch, but it was a beast of a bike, Suzuki GT500 a two-stroke twin that was deadly in the wet. Talk to me about riding on tram tracks! Best I ever did was a trip from here to Melbourne, 270Km, in the middle of the night, 1 hour 30 minutes. I was racing an Alfa for the first 170Km, I think the slipstream gave me the speed to break my previous record. When I think about it now I have difficulty convincing myself I used to do that sort of thing. The bike was only marginally modified with a 2 into 1 racing exhaust and 38 or 40 mm carburettors IIRC. Clip on bars on the forks, I used to lay flat on it, feet wrapped around the tail light (and number plate) and gun it.

 

That experience left me riding everything, including pushbikes, with a finger on the brakes.  Good advice.

 

Edit: Top speed I got out of it was, an indicated, 228Kmh down the hills into Adelaide .... almost killed myself doing that.

Edited by pomwah

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Now you have this and Craig has his Vespa ........ might have to get back on two wheels to keep up with the city slickers.

I suspect Nick will be able to get away from me pretty easily on the 500...

 

I _may_ be able to give Gerald a run for his money.

 

C.

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I've been driving Gerald so long that it's quite a revelation to drive anything quicker, and to have to think quicker. Maybe the bike is good practice for the GT6?

 

I picked up a few presents for the bike at the post office this afternoon. The first is a gear indicator - made in Hungary of all places. Honda had greater faith in my ability to count to six than I do. It's a brilliant bit of kit, and plugs into the bikes diagnostic port. Of course I had to take it out to the airport for a test run after fitting it. Twenty kms and four 'roo sightings later, and we're home again. Should stop any more second gear getaways!

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After reading a few 'motorcycle beginner mistake' articles, I tried riding with a finger on the brake, too. I liked it. It's reassuring to feel the lever rather than have to look for it, and having a finger hooked out seems to steady the throttle grip too.

 

The other things I bought were some Hepco and Becker crash bars, in case the talent runs out. The instructions are in German, so there may be some multilingual swearing in the garage tomorrow. What else... a key ring.

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Oh, and a tool to expand the GT6's ram pipes also arrived, just in case everyone thinks I'm neglecting my other charges.

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There is still another Project hidden in the shed

 

..... but it only has one whitewall!  Looks like it might be a French  machine?

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A German Victoria Vicky Super Luxus from 1961. It belonged to an uncle who passed away years time ago and I thought to rescue it is better than to srap it.

 

Martin

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A German Victoria Vicky Super Luxus from 1961. It belonged to an uncle who passed away years time ago and I thought to rescue it is better than to srap it.

 

Martin

 

Good thing too, looks like there's some 1930s Art Deco lines in its design bit like some old Zundapps.

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Today she had her 1000km post-delivery service. After a nice 170km morning ride into Tamworth, the service centre did the work in an hour while I wandered the showroom and came away with riding boots and winter gloves. 

 

Instead of retracing our route on the way home, I took a scenic detour, which was supposed to include a climb up and through through Killarney Gap, to the north of Narrabri. However, the road turned out to be closed by floodwaters, so the long way home became even longer. 

 

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We still had to cross a floodway - safe but nerve-wracking on a bike!

 

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The last section was south along a 99km-long straight highway as the sun set over my right shoulder, and a full moon rose over my left. Then it turned into a freaky, never-ending sequence of solid and dashed white lines in the blue headlight, never quite being able to see the road surface, riding through clouds of bugs and trying to keep from being squashed by overtaking road trains (I'm not supposed to go over 90), all while watching out for kangaroos.

 

Total for the day was 574km, which is quite a drive even in the Herald, let alone a bike. Tomorrow, I think I'll work on the GT6. Enough bikes for now.

Edited by GT6 Nick

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Yeah, I got a job at Narrabri Mine, so sold the house and moved south. And to be honest, I prefer living in a small town to a big city. There's less traffic and more scenery, and Narrabri has everything I need except an Indian restaurant. Put it this way. It's Saturday morning, and in Brisbane I'd be listening to the sound of jets, neighbours and the background roar of traffic. Here all I can hear is birdsong.

 

Time to crank up the Herald, then  :lol:

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Narrabri was always one of our stops between Brisbane and Warrnambool. Instead of skirting the town we'd head in,fill up with victuals and then head out to eat on the road somewhere, Edgeroi going north and the first decent rest stop going south.

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Can't say I wasn't warned - this whole riding lark is addictive. Since the sun started rising early enough, I've been riding to work on fine days. The ride is on country roads with little traffic and wide open spaces, so once out of town in the mornings, it's just a straight and empty road, and whatever tune is stuck in my head. The Honda uses about 3L per 100km, which is a good excuse  :rolleyes:   The daily 60km round trip means the bike and I have now done over 4000km since August. The gear changing, braking and cornering are coming together nicely, so I've booked my riding test for next month. Time to ditch the L plate.

 

Since I bought the bike, I've added front protection bars, rear rack, gear indicator, and a glass pack muffler that makes the bike roar, pop and crackle, me giggle and 'roos flee. The next and probably last addition will be cruise control, to ease wrist pain on long trips.

 

(I should add that the GT6 is still getting plenty of attention. The parts necessary to repair the tow-truck drop have finally arrived from Canley Classics after four months, and I've been fabricating an airbox. But... spend time in the garage or go for a ride... it's hard...)

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Huh? Did I miss something?

 

Well, maybe. It's painful and I didn't advertise it... When I moved south, the GT6 came in the furniture truck along with my furniture, because it wasn't quite finished. Much safer than riding 700km on a car trailer. Furniture trucks don't have long ramps for loading cars, so the GT6 was loaded and unloaded with a tilt tray-style tow truck. Unfortunately the idiot at the QLD end didn't strap it down for the brief ride, and it slid off the wet deck of the tilt tray. Yep.

 

So when it arrived in NSW, it came with a slightly bent chassis, mangled centre valence and smashed over-riders and number plate. I could have had it repaired back in July, but decided that (a) I'd better get the wheel alignment set up after the chassis was straightened to make sure the body shop got it right, and (B) after being dropped on its nose from three feet, the original front uprights might be past their best. The obvious answer was a Canley trunnionless suspension kit, which took four months for the new batch to be made and despatched.

 

The new uprights are getting painted and fitted this weekend. Unless it's good biking weather  :rolleyes:

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I think I would have described that somewhat more floridly than "painful". I hope you made them pay, big time, waking up to a horse's head in your bed wouldn't cover it.

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