June 16, 2013

Bubba the Biker

A few weeks ago the German Motorcycle magazine "Motorrad" got a present: a mean looking garden gnome on a bike. They didn't quite know what to do with it. They just knew it had to go. Fast and hopefully never come back again. They then had the brilliant idea of asking their readers on facebook what they should do with it. The person with the best idea would win the precious biker gnome.

Lots of people suggested various forms of torture, including barbecuing him, dropping him from a skyscraper or taking him to a Justin Bieber concert, which in my opinion is definitely going a step too far. Some even proposed to leave it at the Motorrad offices, as a torture for them for proposing such a competition. Wickedness knew no limits.

Until I came along and proposed to do something like I had seen many years ago in a lovely film called 'Amelie':

People liked the idea and that's how I came to own a biker gnome!

I kept my promise and took Bubba on his first bike trip in Thailand. First stop: Wat Sothon, Chachoengsao

Now, who else is willing to continue his tour?!

I'm ready to ship world wide...
Please apply within ;-)

2012 Suzuki Shogun Axelo 125FI

For the past 2 months I've been researching the market for a small second hand, semi automatic (step-through), all rounder family bike. On my shortlist were 3 bikes:
Yamaha Spark 135i
Honda Wave 125FI
Suzuki Shogun Axelo 125FI

The Yamaha is the most powerful of the lot, but pretty rare in Thailand due to the relatively high cost. The Wave on the other hand is everywhere and you can find all kinds of versions and conditions. That made it boring in my eyes. I already had to concede to my wife the argument that a semi automatic would be better, than let's say a Suzuki Raider 150, which is very powerful but with manual clutch, or a Honda Sonic.
So, definitely didn't want to go with the masses. :-)

That left me with the Suzuki Shogun Axelo 125, which has been voted 'Bike of the Year' for 3 successive years (category: family bike). It's said to have very low consumption, something like 60km/litre, but I'll find out soon. Another plus is that it has a ceramic coated cylinder, which improves combustion flow and longevity. The point that made me decide for it though, was that you can find some pretty good deals. A Honda Wave in pityful condition still retains a relatively high market value, but for the same price you can get an immaculate Shogun.

Like this one!

I found a guy on the outskirts of Bangkok who has a deal with a finance company. When some helpless customer defaults on his monthly payments, the company takes away the bike and sells it on to this guy. (Here's his website)
This bike for example: a 2012 model with just over 5.000km on the clock, mint condition, no rust whatsoever, basically like new costs 28.000Baht. That includes the registration transfer and delivery to my house.
In comparison, a new 2013 Shogun will set you back at least 45k for the bike plus registration fees and insurance, maybe around 48.000Baht

A pretty good deal in my eyes.

The guy had 3 models in stock: one with kickstarter (22.900Baht) only and 2 with both kickstarter and electric starter. (26.900Baht)
After testing them a bit I chose one with the electric starter. I have to feed my laziness after all...

EDIT (7 months later): 
Generally I'm very happy with this little runner. I haven't done anything to it apart from putting on a sticker, so...it's completely stock.
It's got enough power and speed for the city and I still love the styling. The cons are the brakes. They got kind of 'woody' and unresponsive a few month ago, so I went to the Suzuki dealer to replace the brake pads. All has been going well for 5-6 weeks, but now they are woody again AND they're making a loud wailing noise too. Not happy.

Engine Type4-stroke, air-cooled, SOHC
Bore x Stroke53.5mm x 55.2mm
Piston Displacement124cm³
Compression Ratio9.6 : 1
CarburetorMIKUNI VM 18
Starter SystemElectric Starter & Kick starter
Lubrication SystemWet Sump
ClutchWet Shoe, Automatic, Centrifugal Type – Axelo R
Wet, Multi-plate Type – Axelo S
Drive SystemRK-M 428, 100 links
Front SuspensionTelescopic, Coil Spring, Oil-damped
Rear SuspensionSwingarm Type, Coil Spring, Oil-damped
Front Tyre Size70/90 – 17 M/C 38P
Rear Tyre Size80/90 – 17 M/C 44P
Ignition TypeDigital (DC-CDI)
Spark PlugDENSO: U20FS-U, NGK: C6HSA
Battery12V 10.8KC (3AH)/10HR
Battery12V 10.8KC (3AH)/10HR
Fuel Tank4.1L
Engine OilWithout Filter Change – 800ml
With Filter Change – 900ml
Overall Length1,895 mm
Overall Width715 mm
Overall Height1,075 mm
Wheelbase1,220 mm
Kerb Weight108 kg

June 8, 2013

Contact (A Yamaha SR400 Story)

Having traveled from the other side of the world, only to land in a new country, mostly alone, Brad found that his life in Sydney, Australia only really begun when he rediscovered his love of motorcycles on the back of a Yamaha SR400.

For more info on this story visit http://www.storiesofbike.com

June 5, 2013

Sam Manicom - Motorcycle Adventure Books

Got a visit from Dave a few weeks ago. Dave is a close friend of Sam Manicom, who some might remember from the interview I posted last year here on OmegaRacer. (check it out HERE)

Dave and Sam are great blokes, and not only because they bestowed me with 2! signed books: "Distant Suns" and "Tortillas to Totems". :-)

If you haven't done so already, I warmly recommend Sam's books. They are filled with adventures and the unstoppable passion for 2 wheeled travels. But what makes Sam's books really stand out, are the heart and humanity that transpire from each page. You realize you're reading something of value (regardless if it's bike related or not), because you just know it's real, you can't fake that stuff.

June 3, 2013

Motomania - Motorcycle Animation

I found these brilliant animations on Youtube. They're sponsored by Louis, a very big motorcycle parts retailer in Germany, and follows the comic strips by Holger Aue, called Motomania.
Check them out, especially the last one, which is my favourite.


That can't be. My tacho shows 100! My Kawa ist slower than I thought...
I'll try again.
Hey. Here it's 115! WTF
Oh man. This time full throttle. Let's see what she's got!!

One can never have enough power. That's why I installed this nitrous oxide bottle. It's the shit!
And with it, I will produce the most amazing acceleration of my life.
Gas: OK
Tire temperature: OK
Underpants: OK
ready to go...3....2.....1....

Now we'll see who's faster...
oh no, you pig
aha...this advantage should be enough...only the straight remains
man, where did he go?
here we are...quickly with the props...10...9...etc etc
man, here you are finally...did you stop to lube the chain or what?!?

June 2, 2013

Celebrating 35 Years of Kicking SR

Happy 35th Birthday Yamaha SR!!!

It has been already 35 years since you came to grace the roads of this world. Thanks God for that!

This year the huge SR community in Germany decided to celebrate this anniversary with a meeting. They met this weekend (1st and 2nd of May) in Vreden. Vreden is a small town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany near the Dutch border. 

Sadly I could't attend due to the 12,644km (yes, I checked) that lie between us. Who knows, maybe I'll make it for the 40th...
Thanks to the guys at 35 Jahre Yamaha SR500, who gave me the permission to use the pictures, I can treat you to some very nice SR.

Almost like being there in person...well, minus the nice beer and the cold weather.

My personal favourite! Is it weird if I say I want to have babies with it?

One of the most eccentric looking SR I have ever seen.

KEDO were there with their builds.

Hmmm...what do you think?