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Welcome To Bikes And Travels...

...It's about bikes...and travels...mostly on bikes!

Motorcyclist looking at the beauty of her surroundings

What's New?

Loading A Kawasaki Z 250 SL For Camping Camping...on a Z250SL? Are you MAD? Sharon is hoping to take the Kwakker for a short weekend away but will it allow her to take anything more than a toothbrush?
Williams Waterless Wash and Wax Review With Carnauba Sharon was gifted a bottle of "waterless wash and wax". Yeah right, that's going to be useless...isn't it?
Honda CB1000R Test Ride Review Can Ren even handle a 1000cc motorcycle? Is the CB1000R a tarmac shredding monster or a big cuddly teddy bear? Is it any good?
Clear Speed Signage Please Speed limits. Ren would like to follow them and keep within the law. If only he knew what the speed limits were!
Sat Nav And Spoil The Fun Is being lost not a good thing? Is Satellite Navigation not a good thing? Ren get's Sharon all lost on a most excellent day out.
Kawasaki Z 250 SL Luggage...All Packed Up...But... When you order a product online you hope and expect it to be delivered in good order. Sharon discovers the product might not even exist! From a reputable German company too.
So, What About The Netherlands? After 2 weeks of riding around The Netherlands on 125s what does Ren think of the country now?
Going Home-ish It's time to leave The Netherlands and return to good 'ole Blighty. There's some shocking news that might change things for the future though.
Warranty Work CB500X Ren's got a niggle on the new CB500X that needs sorting out. It's time to find out how a warranty works on a new motorcycle.
Pocket Pete's Mystery Tour Ren and Sharon finally get to meet Pocket Pete and Paula, his wife. Ren relishes the refreshing experience of not having to lead and of being "lost".

Latest Posts

Williams Waterless Wash and Wax Review With Carnauba Pocketpete said :-
'If you are short of time this product is perfect for you'

God I misread this sentence sorry hobbit dwarf persons. I thought it said

'If you are short this product is perfect for you"

Must be post holiday eyesight problems.

Sounds good stuff any idea where it can be purchased Sharon. Was thinking of half my bike in acf5p and the other half in this stuff.
Loading A Kawasaki Z 250 SL For Camping Ren - The Ed said :-
I have offered to "create" something for the Kwakker Ian but regrettably Sharon is one of those people who like "nice" things. As you have so eloquently pointed out my creations are more functional but not necessarily pretty.

Using the images of the racks as shown on Sharon's other post regarding the luggage I have a starter for 10. I need a piece of plate metal to create something that will bolt between the frame and the tailight/numberplate holder. This will extend out sideways with bracing to bolt onto the rear footrest plates. On either side I would affix a small piece of metal sheet on which her saddlebags could rest. This would be far enough apart to protect the paintwork and perhaps with a lip to keep the bags clear of the exhaust.

I know I can create such an item. What I can't be sure of is how good it would look!
Loading A Kawasaki Z 250 SL For Camping Ian Soady said :-
Can't Ren make you something out of plywood offcuts, cable ties and old bits of scaffold tube?

It used to be the case that all luggage came with "universal" fittings which managed not to fit anything unless substantially modified.

Clear Speed Signage Please Ian Soady said :-
ps no idea how the satnav knew but I assume it's built into the data. Interestingly, the little position marker continued to move through the tunnels. Unlike the Garmin I used to have which just told me the signal was lost and threw up its metaphorical hands.
Clear Speed Signage Please Ian Soady said :-
Au contraire, PAD is actually quite rare these days but you do need to keep your eyes open, and in 30-odd years of riding & driving frequently there I've never seen the behaviour you describe. The diamond shaped signs aren't tiny but are quite visible; junctions where you have priority have a quite different sign to those where you don't; and if you look, roads entering where the "major" road has priority will have a white line and a prominent STOP sign.

I actually think driving is perfectly fine in France although different to here. The main thing I notice is that motorcycles are actually treated with respect (not always deserved I must say) and assisted to overtake rather than blocked as so often happens here.

The 2 instances of PAD I struggled with were:

1. where the (busy) road north through Arreau (lovely little town which I will describe elsewhere) meets the road coming out of the town just after a blind bend. The latter is just a very minor local road whereas the former carries a lot of heavy traffic from Spain. And these have to stop to let everything out.... If you're not ready for it it can be a shock.

2. was a roundabout in St Jean Pied de Port which is a very pretty but busy place. It's very tight (for our car / caravan outfit anyway) and I ended up stranded across it while a steady stream of traffic came across my bows - till a kind Citroen driver took pity on me and waved us across.
Clear Speed Signage Please Pocketpete said :-
The French gave always given way to traffic on the right and they make that almost as complicated as the road traffic act.

If I remember its all down to little markers on the side of the road and some tiny diamond shapes signs. Which of course the frogs ignore and then when they see a foreign car suddenly decide they rules apply and they are going to pull right across the road. Oh the joys of St Catherine de fierbois where is missed a taxis by 2 inches.

The French have a lot to answer for.
Clear Speed Signage Please Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Ian and I'm glad you're home safe as it seems you were having much more fun than can be healthy.

The French system of having the town name as the start of the 50kph zone is great - to a degree. Here in North-West England amongst the mill-towns and cloth caps all the towns are gradually merging into one massive conurbation (sadly). Perhaps this is what makes the currently vague speed signage system so very difficult to keep up with.

The shortest route between my place and Sharon's abode is 27 miles. In those 27 miles we pass by some fields and green stuff but there's few distinct lines where you can say "Town X stops here". Unless you've lived in the North West it may be hard to appreciate just how populous it is around here. By 'eck it's grim oop norf.

Let me think. From mine to Sharon's...30, 20, 30, 60, 40, 30, 40, 70, 30, 40, 30, 60, 40, 30. And those are the speed changes I can remember.

Priorité à droit! Oh my word yes Sharon and I had a few lairy moments in The Netherlands with that as it may or may not apply there depending on the road, the markings, which way the wind is blowing and if the driver has eaten granola for breakfast. It's a long outdated practice that needs outlawing to solve the problem.

How did sat-nav know you were in a tunnel? Does the sat-nav voice scream "HELP! I'm lost - I must be in a tunnel someone save me!"?
Muc-Off Bike Cleaner Review Sharon said :-
Here you go Steven a possible solution for that chain lube removal as well as as great overall cleaner and polish.
www.bikesandtravels.com/biker.aspx?ride=924 ...
Clear Speed Signage Please Ian Soady said :-
I agree that the whole thing is a mess. Your example of the French sign is good - another good thing about the French (will they never end?) is that the entrance to a town sign means 50 kph unless otherwise stated; the end of the town (name plate with a diagonal red line through it) means national limits unless there is a lower limit sign in place.

But don't ask me about priorité à droit which we nearly came foul of a couple of times in the last trip.....

Satnav (not again he says) can also be helpful. I was very impressed by how quickly the device picked up the applicable speed limits. It also cleverly knew when we were in a tunnel. Its routefinding in Spain however was somewhat perverse.......
Kawasaki Z 250 SL Luggage...All Packed Up...But... Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Mark! I've had a look at the rack and it's a good start I hope.

My concern is that Sharon loves her saddle bags. The Hepco & Becker plates would work for throwovers by keeping the bags safely away from the back wheel and from scratching the angular plastics. The Kijima rack offers only the rear rack and nothing to help with saddle bags.

However it could be a starting point to bolt/weld/bodge some side plates on to accommodate the bags.

Do let us know what it's like when you get it. Is it strong, is it easy to fit, does it look the part and so on. Big thanks.
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Tony said :-
I have some experience with fuel injection systems and the diagnostic equipment used since I used to work for Aprilia Moto UK Ltd in Dunragit. Until the Italians decided to pull the plug on that operation and relocate to your neck of the woods in Stockport.

I'm surprised by the cleanliness of the engine internals of the Keeway, that's what I would have expected from your CBF. Although both seem to be proving their reliability. My dream garage would consist of a bike for every mood. Derbi Terra Adventure, KTM Duke and either a CB or YBR125 probably. Ask me next week and it'll be something different though, Haha.

Anyway, enjoy your camping weekend!
I look forward to reading about it next week.

Aprilia SR50 Di-tech Diagnostic Tool.
Ren - The Ed said :-
HA! Yeah imagine that, logging in to your motorcycle's account and having a word with it. I agree that motorcycles are becoming rather "no user serviceable parts inside". But...perhaps...maybe it's a generation thing. The tech savvy youth with a laptop and lead will probably be able to alter the mapping of their bike far easier than you and I messing around with teeny little needle jets and guessing whether or not we need to go richer.

I've said in a previous blog post that in fact the injector and throttle body on my CBF are considerable LESS complicated than a carburettor. Cheap to replace second hand too, I got a full body for £15 off Ebay.

Oh Tony you'll make me cry! Asking what I'll replace the CBF125 with when the time comes is like asking a dog owner what dog they'll get after Fido pops his clogs. I-I-I can't even bear to think about it.

I'm teasing. Being a Honda man it will either be another CBF125 simply because I know the bike inside out or perhaps the CB125F. I always keep the Chinese bikes under consideration though because I've been impressed with Sharon's Keeway and parts for some marques are incredibly cheap. It's an open door and one that I'll pass through when the present CBF shuffles of this mortal coil.
www.bikesandtravels.com/biker.aspx?ride=750 ...
Tony said :-
Well, thank you for your thoughts on that. I was worried when they introduced ECU's and the fact that there was less and less that the home mechanic could do themselves. But fuel injection systems have certainly helped with mpg figure's.

I imagine you could log in to your user account and run a diagnostic procedure without even leaving the your shed..... In theory!

Any ideas on what you'll be replacing your cbf with when the time comes?
Ren - The Ed said :-
I've had a read of the AI think on Kwak's website. I - er - well - I guess it might be interesting. I suppose the idea is akin to some modern cars, particularly with automatic gear boxes, "learn" the driver's style and shift accordingly. My dad had a problem with his VW auto not shifting down when he floored it. At the dealer the mechanic asked "Do you normally drive it slowly?" and my dad said "Yes."

It seems because pop drives like an old dude the gearbox computer was short shifting. On those rare occasions he needed more speed the computer still assumed he wanted to go all gentle like and didn't drop a cog. The mechanic's solution? Take it down the dual carriageway once a month and give it the beans! It worked apparently.

Hopefully Kwak will improve on this. Using the cloud the processing power is MUCH increased so somehow, some way, the system will try to learn your riding style but allow for those times you want to thrash as well as the times you're happy to dawdle.

I guess I can see where they're coming from but! But there's SO much more I wish they were doing before we get to the self mapping motorcycle. Fuel economy, light weight, reliability and safety features for starters.

With the impending arrival of the self driving vehicles I wonder if the "mood bike" will be a mute idea. Who knows.
Tony said :-
I don't think anybody who comes across this website is going to accuse you of being reckless or not bothered. As far as relying on sat-nav data becoming out of date those products are still evolving and I fear you won't be able to before long buy a vehicle without one already installed in it. That opens up a whole load of possibilities. A subject you've already commented on about Technology, freewill and choices. Kawasaki Heavy Industries are now looking at AI on your bike. The bike that grows with you.
Check out their website Kawasaki.co.uk under News. It's coming. Before long you won't have to worry about what the speed limit is because your vehicle will sort that out for you.
Ren - The Ed said :-
No need to apologise Tony! My only desire is that the speed limit for each and every road should be as clear as possible. My concern is that it makes me sound like some reckless motorist that can't be bothered to look for the signs. Having spoken to some other people about this it seems I'm not alone though. Business executives who travel a lot say it's easy to miss signs an these days they rely on their sat-nav to keep them informed. My worry there is that the sat-nav data becomes out of date.
Tony said :-
Hi Ren, I feel I owe you an apology. There's no conspiracy really. My first comment I believe was on topic, however my second was a case of a poor attempt at humour.
It sounded so much better in my head, which is where it should have stayed.
Sorry Bud.

Incidentally the speed limits for HGV's was updated in Apr 2015. In England and Wales on a single carriageway they were increased from 40 to 50mph with dual carriageways increased to 60mph. Scotland still remains at 40 and 50mph respectively.
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Henrik. I can only imagine that the starter clutch has just broken - if that is the problem. I've used car oil in my bike engines for years and certainly never has a starter problem.

IF...if the engine is a K157FMI - as stamped just below the barrel on the crankcase - I have a link to a diagram here and the parts are readily available.
www.chinesemotorcyclepartsonline.co.uk/diagram_128.php ...
Ian Soady said :-
I'll let you have some thoughts re the Pyrenees after we return, Ren. We're currently on an excellent Municipal campsite in Arreau in the midst of the passes. My Rough Guide tells me that it has a microclimate which means it never rains here. Someone seems not to have told the weather fairies this.

Sometimes I have to confess I'm quite pleased not to be on the bike.........
Henrik said :-
Pyrenees COULD be interesting, Spain as well,.. Enduroish for shure

Got some work done actually, third XRX brought home on trailer, and started to break it in pieces, this one for spares, the two other already on plates

The set of new wheels imidiately getting used and is worth the 300 pounds alone, I will permanently have a set with off-road, and a set with road-tires so that I can just switch wheels in 10 minutes on my "forrest-bike".

The Engine actually can run, and has only done 12.000 km, problem is the electric starter, it turns around, but has lost connection to the engine somehow, the seller thought that some sprockets was broken, but not as far as I can see, so I guess its the starter-clutch longer inside the engine.

Dont't know what the problem could usualy be when a starter-clutch is not establishing the connection ? could it be that he had used engine-oil from a car ? or any other typical fails ?

Rest of the bike, except the muffler, is mostly intact, even the indicators, shields, all plastic, new akku, partly tires, and front-disc without wear

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