Highland Motors

Discussion in 'Moto Bellissima: All Other Dualsports' started by 805gregg, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. John in Leeds

    John in Leeds Been here awhile

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    It would be great to see you Marc and I will mail you shortly. Should be an interesting exchange and hopefully you can have a blat round and tell me what you think of my Outback.

    You may also be interested in my first off road experiences today, it's been a long time coming but really worth it with the guidance of a long experienced Trail Riders Fellowship rider. Pics to follow :freaky
    #81
  2. John in Leeds

    John in Leeds Been here awhile

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    Great excitement for me the opportunity of a day in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place>Yorkshire</st1:place> dales. At last Dave had put aside the paint brush and agreed Saturday. It&#8217;s been a long time coming, there always something more important getting priority. How to tell it? Start at the beginning. I&#8217;m going to paste links to the pictures &#8216;cos they&#8217;re big files and I think they are worth the extra quality.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    The bike had the off road wheels fitted with the nobblies and on the road I found the first few miles terrifying, the rear particularly was very loose with zero grip, hope it does better off road but I was not convinced and starting to be a little afraid. The 14 tooth gear sprocket and the larger rear made a fast walking pace possible giving the possibility of low speed control. The bark buster hand guards ordered from ORO in March had still not arrived, (on the high seas from China apparently), so on Dave&#8217;s advice I loosened the clamps on the clutch and brake leavers so they would hopefully rotate and not break in event of a tumble.<o:p></o:p>
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    Dave is a very experienced trail rider having an encyclopaedic knowledge of routes in the <st1:place>Yorkshire</st1:place> area. He has done some enduros and the lads who ride with him reckon he can be quick and do the difficult stuff. My last experience showed he would also give me some very challenging sections. Some 5 years ago he took his <st1:place>Africa</st1:place> twin on the first off road I had done with my 1150gs. Needless to say I turned it over on the Deadmans decent, very much to my cost.<o:p></o:p>
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    This time he was taking his Honda 250, a light speciality tail bike with near enough identical tyres to mine. Of course I was going to be seriously outgunned in both rider ability and machine off road capability. More stress but I was there to learn.<o:p></o:p>
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    Start took us along some lower dale farm roads not to difficult and he did take it easy. Fortunately the land was dry with only little rain the previous day, bright and lovely sunshine and some dust blowing up when the throttle was tweaked. After that it was onto some real off road. You can see the comparison of machine sizes




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    I was finding the need to get a better control of the throttle as there was so much power, the more control of the bike I developed the better this was and the launch over holes and ditches was very welcome. The first ford was one to take particular care. The technique was to keep feet down for a dab as the stream bed was full of big slippery rocks, they were difficult to see and I still had not developed the control to do feet up. Dave also kept his feet down saying this crossing was one that he had been unseated into a number of times. Fortunately the level was quite low and through a combination of power to the back wheel and good luck I was over (trust Dave to offer an early baptism). I find that the natural position for riding the Outback is seated, it is not well suited to standing on the pegs but it is no worse for that.<o:p></o:p>
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    One problem with the bike has been finding neutral when stationary, neutral easily found with the engine stopped, so that I did at all the gate openings as the engine starts easily warm or hot. The gearbox was faultless with not one missed changed, excellent!<o:p></o:p>
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    Climbing rocky or greasy slopes seemed to be no bother, the tyres gripped well and were starting to give confidence. The suspension felt compliant making the ride comfortable and taking the steps and rocks totally in its stride, making even this rider look good.<o:p></o:p>
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    Another ford but this one was easy. Sorry for the bullshine pic.<o:p></o:p>
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    A few miles of proper moor top road were very difficult for me where the surface was tennis and billiard ball sized rocks. Dave just blasted away leaving me with the advice, &#8216;give it the berries, the bike will cope&#8217;, well probably the bike would but I was still not confident enough, as soon as the load comes back on the front wheel control becomes more difficult, and you have to slow down for bends, (the Highland goes bloody fast). Although I was making good progress I just could not relax and let it go.<o:p></o:p>
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    On the top where the surface was better Dave asked for a dabble on the Outback. 2 pieces of video to come soon with Dave&#8217;s own pics, big files. I have never heard it from off the saddle before, the <st1:place>Highland</st1:place> bellow, awesome.<o:p></o:p>
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    Video to come, please be patient, they are big files and I am going to have to reduce them.<o:p></o:p>
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    Next some road work on tar the tyres starting to give some confidence but not being an off roader the &#8216;looseness&#8217; is taking a bit of getting used to.<o:p></o:p>
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    Next on to a most interesting piece of off road, called the &#8216;Scalectix&#8217; or &#8216;slot&#8217;. The start of which was across a couple of fields over sheep cropped grass. We could see a paraglider and some hang gliders getting tremendous lift of an outcrop of rocks to one side of the track. Wonderful views.<o:p></o:p>
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    The slot was a single narrow sheep track deeply sunk across the moor. Some big steps, rocks and short steep climbs. Unfortunately off road pics are like the &#8216;ones that got away&#8217;, you can&#8217;t stop easily to take photos of the really difficult stuff as you loose you rhythm and fall off more. Fortunately I did not fall of, well sort of, I was off the bike but to Dave&#8217;s amusement the bike stayed up in the &#8216;slot&#8217;. He called it a &#8216;tactical dismount&#8217;, &#8216;that bike will not go down&#8217;.<o:p></o:p>
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    We stopped for a feed in Coverdale, I was getting hungry and tired and really fancied a long drink. <st1:place>Yorkshire</st1:place> puddings, minced beef and gravy together with a couple of pints of shandy to make up for all the lost sweat, sat outside in the beer garden, Top!<o:p></o:p>
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    The next section over Deadmans, my last nemesis, &#8216;let&#8217;s see how you deal with this&#8217; says Dave, &#8216;we&#8217;ll rate your progress at Middlesmoor&#8217;. The start of the track was a horror for me, all loose round stones with sharp rocky outcrops down the middle.<o:p></o:p>
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    I tried and better tried to thwap it up the hill but just could not loosen up enough to make fast progress comfortable. Gained the top at good speed but I need to do better. Then on to the downgrade. <o:p></o:p>
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    Five years ago the 1150GS would just not provide any engine braking in first gear, and although I was able to just keep the front brake on and off lock (I had been practicing pushing a locked front wheel) the back wheel locked, speed would not reduce with the enormous weight and I came off on the steep bend going down, bummer. Now you know the reason for the <st1:City><st1:place>Highland</st1:place></st1:City>.<o:p></o:p>
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    The downhill was negotiated without incident, loads of engine braking and light weight took away all, well most of the fear, no problem.<o:p></o:p>
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    Across the dam at Scar House, and on to the Middlesmoor trail. Five years ago I had got the GS stuck on a rock and could go no further, I had done enough damage. Though I was fitter and stronger then I could do no more and turned round back to the road.<o:p></o:p>
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    This time Dave led up the rocky track, angular not round rocks with open spaces of clean rock, the Highland loved it, the suspension took the rocks with ease and composure, the easy power making full use of the grip, damn Dave was actually getting in the way, for this road the Highland was far faster, the bike not the rider. As Dave says the bikes are always better than we are.<o:p></o:p>
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    Then the road home the tyres working far better along Gouthwaite side (fabulous road) but I&#8217;m still not used to the loose feeling of an off road bike on off road tyres. I&#8217;m learning but more practice required.<o:p></o:p>
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    Many thanks to you Dave if you ever get to see this, I definitely owe you a few beers <o:p></o:p>
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    More to come<o:p></o:p>
    #82
  3. John in Leeds

    John in Leeds Been here awhile

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    #83
  4. Cupid Stunt

    Cupid Stunt Been here awhile

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    Fantastic stuff John, great pics, glad to see you getting it dirty at last, Dave certainly knows how to ride eh ?
    Biggest stopper for heavy bikes is wet mud and bogs, one of the advantages is how heavy bikes track nicely and don't get deflected much

    "give it the beans" is OK but misinterpreted means you can't continuously accelerate as at some point you have to slow
    Rather the better advice is to keep a constant speed by applying continuos throttle, much like you do through a bend on the tarmac, just enough to maintain a slightly light front end but not increasing speed
    #84
  5. Schtum

    Schtum Free Genie

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    I don't suppose you're bringing the bike up to Edinburgh that weekend are you? I'm also one of those folks who would like to see one in the metal.

    I've noticed you making a couple of references to Pokenhood. I don't know if he's still got his Highland. He did try to sell it for quite some time last year without a lot of success....

    http://www.bikersoracle.com/central/forum/showthread.php?t=1346

    http://www.visordown.com/forums/showthread.php?t=243336

    http://www.visordown.com/forums/showthread.php?t=254866

    There's also this one up for sale at the moment which, judging by the mileage, isn't Pokenhood's old bike....

    http://www.visordown.com/forums/showthread.php?t=320253
    #85
  6. John in Leeds

    John in Leeds Been here awhile

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    it seems to me the faster you are able to go the more the rear can be loaded, that is where the advantage comes. My more timid technique is as you say just keeping a reasonable speed. You then have a balance between the stabiity on the road and the ability to slow down in time for any obstructions that appear.

    You also say the heavier bikes are a problem in the soft stuff - so that looks like it will be next port of call, let's hope it performs well there too


    Thanks for your advice.
    #86
  7. John in Leeds

    John in Leeds Been here awhile

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    Poke's bike is long gone - February I think.

    Unfortunately the Edinburgh trip will be with the tribe so no bikes.
    #87
  8. marcjs

    marcjs Chi-Town Outback

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    If anyone following this thread is interested, I have posted my (unused) 2004 Highland 950 Allroad up for sale in the 'flea market' section. (follow this link)

    Although I have a European party interested, I would prefer to sell it in North America after all the hassle I went through to title and register it!!!
    #88
  9. marcjs

    marcjs Chi-Town Outback

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    I have added my Motard to my 'Flea Market' listing. I am selling either-or. If interested follow the link in my previous listing.

    John, I am looking forward to hooking up with you after I arrive in the UK next week. My torn ligament in my knee is healing-up fairly quickly and I am very tempted to take one of the bikes for a ride...but I'd better wait:(: .
    #89
  10. John in Leeds

    John in Leeds Been here awhile

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    Just take a peep at this new Highland DirtTrack

    http://www.highland.se/pages.asp?pageID=25&childPage=11

    Check out the weight at 129kgs and looks like they have solved the bottom end power delivery problem. They are using the twin inlet system. Could be easy to map for loads more power too.

    :clap
    #90
  11. nsx

    nsx Been here awhile

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    My 950 Motard has a power delivery problem everywhere, not just the bottom end. Does yours have the stock airbox and filter?

    #91
  12. RedRocket

    RedRocket Yeah! I want Cheesy Poofs

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    Are your bikes sold ?
    #92
  13. nsx

    nsx Been here awhile

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    Marcjs sold me his Motard, and he was only selling one. I rode it back to Oak Ridge from Chicago, not exceeding 4k because it had less than 100 miles when I left. It had the "bottom end power delivery problem" that John in Leeds has commented on his having. It seems, at least on mine, the problem extends into the midrange.

    Marcjs has been talking to people at Highland and also the British importer, and is getting new programs for the computers. He was also advised to get rid of the airbox and the cats (not by Highland.) I completely removed the air filter, a K&N, by the way, and the bike ran much better. It's now sitting waiting for the new map. Despite the problems, I love riding the bike but am starting to wonder if I'll be able to get it to run right.

    From your question I guess you are interested in buying one. Mine isn't exactly for sale, but I would talk. You can pm me.
    #93
  14. John in Leeds

    John in Leeds Been here awhile

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    Hi NSX, I thought this thread had died so I have just been riding and enjoying my Outback and not keeping up to date.

    I can't believe that you have to remove air filter and cats for decent performance with the standard map. Unfortunately we don't have access to cheap analysis systems although Marcel may have something. FWIW I don't think I will ever get rid of the roughness under 3000 rpm until the twin inlet or the modified inlet development is complete. I await that eagerly but don't expect any real progress till next year. I do know someone however who has ridden the development twin inlet model and was told it runs from idle like a sewing machine even with a development map (great for cruising).

    As my bike pulls like a train from 3000 and under load smooths out less than that I find it is only a problem with posing round town and viewing the scenery. As soon as I can get going all is great with stonking power through to 8000. I have to sit on the tank to prevent wheelies when on a mission and find the top speed is much, much faster than I have the balls for on a high off roader. Right round the clock and still pulling hard, until I get seriously humiliated by a similar bike this will do fine.

    Further the performance on bumpy back roads is a revalation with astonishing levels of stability and as set up gives a comfy 'old mans' ride with the wheels keeping far better contact with the ground than other bikes that ride with me.

    As you have bought the motard, you are likely to have the shorter stiffer suspension and need power at the top end together with sharper braking. Top speed should be easier to handle with greater stability on smooth tarmac particularly under extreme braking and acceleration. I think on road the motor will feel a little breathless against sports bikes at the top of the rev range but just remember the Highland was designed as a very fast off road capability bike, it's quality being amazing torque and light weight. I haven't seen anything else like it.

    Best of luck with the motard and I hope you have just half the fun that I am having. If you need more info feel free to pm me

    John
    #94
  15. John in Leeds

    John in Leeds Been here awhile

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    I thought I might share some of the off road stuff from a few Fridays ago on the Highland.

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    Arranged to go out in the Yorkshire Dales with 2 friends Dave (right) long time trail rider and dales trails encyclopaedia, and Stuart from Lincolnshire great rider and father of a junior national trials champion.

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    Both equipped with proper trail bikes weighing round 125kilos.

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    We took off up Nidderdale and immediately got onto the moors
    Rough tracks no problem but this was a little challenging lower down.

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    Taking these trails so overgrown that I could not see where the wheels were tracking with many surprise of deep rut, hole, large stone or tree root. I suppose that is a good way to learn a skill.

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    Many river and stream crossings as we made our way up Wensleydale

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    On the moor top Stuart got well out of hand coming out of a bog but recovered well.

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    I had one or two 'tactical dismounts', fortunately gentle over on the side stuff though a back injury sustained some three months ago made picking the Highland up harder than usual. Electric foot starts straight away from a lay down.

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    Rounding a corner on a rough track I found Dave apparently sleeping in the middle of the road alongside his bike. He was obviously checking out his bones after a fall and we managed to right him and his bike. A painful and strangely shaped thumb was rapidly straightened -
    "that's better", and the footrest and gear leaver similarly attended. Tough Hombre is Dave. And we carried on, Stuart having swapped his Suzuki for the Highland to vanish off into the distance. When we caught him up Dave complained of sore ribs but it didn?t stop him.

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    Riding Stewart's DR 350 (now 400) light and easy to ride on these trails. No look of fear on my face now.

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    Met up with some lads on Kiddstones who had just met John McGuiness (130mph lap record holder IOM TT) riding on the trails, by I?m moving in exalted company.

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    Stopped at West Burton for a bit of 'scran' and a breather.

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    Dave in recovery mode - he didn't go home early but I did.

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    Great day out. :thumb
    #95
  16. Transalp Jas

    Transalp Jas Been here awhile

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    That's some beautiful countryside you've got at your disposal.
    #96
  17. Oof

    Oof Twin lover

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    Thanks again for the posts and the pic's John they are very much appreciated, and what an adventurous and beautifull landscape to ride in. What did the other guys that drove the Highland think of it? It looks to me that you had no trouble following the lightweights.:D

    Martijn
    #97
  18. marcjs

    marcjs Chi-Town Outback

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    John,

    That looked like one fun ride! :clap

    ...And you held your own with some pretty experienced trials riders:eek1 .

    Great stuff - keep it coming. We've got plenty of white stuff on the ground in Chicago, and I'm still working with Highland to improve the fueling for mine and NSX's bike.

    Enjoy the (hopefully) mild Bristish winter!
    #98
  19. John in Leeds

    John in Leeds Been here awhile

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    Big, fast, comfy and too heavy.

    :nod

    Keeping up was another issue, I still am steady on the rounded tennis ball sized stuff. They just walked away. Can't afford to do myself more damage at the moment. Obviously where there was more stability and on the road a very different issue. :D
    #99
  20. John in Leeds

    John in Leeds Been here awhile

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    Don't read too much into it Marcel. Dave and Stuart were fairly kind and the lighter bikes are easier to ride on the technical stuff. It is good to know that the Highland can do a good job but there is always a trade off. Some 3 inches in saddle height, 40kgs extra weight plus an extra 10litres of fuel and a larger turning circle (not enough steering lock) put you back a bit. Still seems easier than the other big bruisers though.

    With regard to the fueling, Tim has ridden the new set up and says it totally cures the problem. Whether Highland will make this available next year we will have to see. If they do I will be an early customer. :1drink

    No snow here (wish there was) far better than this crap point of freezing rain and drizzle.