Mid-Life Blues; Lets Go Riding, first up Australia.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Happyidiot, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    It should be interesting Oldbeer, if I think I can do without breaking myself or the machine I'll give it a crack.
  2. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Sunday, 28/05, 148kms (Wet), Pukenui - Kaitaia - Mangamuka - Rawene - Opononi.

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    The approximate route we have taken on the BMW GSA1200, from 23rd to 30th of May (currently we are in Opononi 28/05 so the last section is a guess) We have ridden about 920kms with further 260kms to go (total bike trip of Northland will equal approx. 1180kms).

    Not a very big ride today, the rain set in at 1pm so an hour later we arrived at Opononi, booked into the only Hotel & called it a day.

    It has been a good ride, we did head out to 90 mile beach 5kms east of Waipapakauri, to see if it was possible to ride along the beach. Not good people (Oldbeer you were right). High tide was in, you may have gotten a 4WD along its edge if there was an emergency, otherwise forget about it. So back to the highway.

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    Looks like we won't be riding 20kms along 90 Mile Beach today Jenny !

    The other thing that didn't go according to plan is we messed up our directions & missed out on riding through Herekino & Broadwood. By the time we realised we were on the wrong road, we were well into the Mangamuka Gorge/Forest. Still nice scenery & twisty roads just not near the coast. In the whole scheme of things it didn't really matter as it's all new ground to us.

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    Parked up in the Mangamuka Gorge.

    We did catch a Ferry and crossed the Inlet over to Rawene, saw the RSA Hotel (that Shaggie advised is worthwhile stopping at) but we moved on for this occasion. The rain had started coming down while on the Ferry & became heavier as we rode along. It appeared to be settling in for the day. At Opononi we hesitated but kept riding a short distance to Omapere, seeing no accommodation that appealed to us along the way we doubled back to the Pub at Opononi. Which is where we are parked up now.

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    Here comes the rain, on the Ferry traveling across to Rawene.

    As the crow flies we are about 190kms to Auckland so another cruisey ride tomorrow, then drop the BMW back at Cycle Spot on Tuesday.
    Shaggie likes this.
  3. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Continued...Sunday, 28/05, 148kms (Wet), Pukenui - Kaitaia - Mangamuka - Rawene - Opononi....Photos !

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    It's a tough life, but someone has too do it. My current job is to keep the dream alive for the rest of you who are planning your next adventure !

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    Rawene, um should we stop or keep riding.....keep going it's too early to stop.

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    Have I ever mentioned that Jenny & I are usually fair weather riders, sooner or later you get caught out in the rain & you "Just Do It".

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    Some excellent Kiwi "Fush & Chups" at Opononi for our late lunch, must nearly be Beer O'clock !
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  4. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    The right call on the beach. People have come horribly unstuck there. I hope the weather is better for you tomorrow as would be a shame to spoil the last leg. Also a good idea to break what would otherwise have been a long drag back to Auckland. So tomorrow you have time to have a look at the big trees at Waipoua. They are only a 5 minute walk from the road, good chance to stretch your legs.
    Good to see you are heading down SH16, one of my favourite roads.
    Happy riding!
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  5. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Cheers Mate, Trees & SH16 it is then, Jenny & I are looking at the Map right now, so you've help to solve one domestic dispute today....:clap
  6. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Shame about the weather mate

    But you are right about it not mattering getting lost as all 'new' roads ridden are good eh.

    Might have to ping you a PM regarding the figment of your Sena to your helmet.

    Cheers

    Shane
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  7. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    Still enjoying your photos and trip, enjoy the ride. :clap
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  8. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    No probs Shaggie, this particular model of Sena was exceptionally easy to fit & has some great functions like, 2km range, FM Radio (haven't toyed with that yet) easy removal of "headset" from helmet (better for charging & security) it also has great voice clarity. It is a bit bulkier then the other ones we had but happy so far !

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    Behind the SENA label is a clamp that is held to the Helmet by tightening 2 small Allen head bolts. The chrome button on the right releases the "headset " from the helmet.

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    The model is 20S ?
  9. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi MaverickAus, glad to hear you are still keeping tabs on us. Must say we are both looking forward to getting into Melbourne in a few days time, picking up our own bikes & continuing on our Aussie Bike Tour.

    NZ has been a great eye opener (should have come sooner), we will be back for longer, in summer on bikes we have purchased over here (or maybe our expedition touring bicycles?) so much to see & do, great people as well. :-)
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  10. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Last full day on the 2011, BMW GS1200 Adventure.

    Monday, 29/05, 188kms, Opononi - Kaihu - Dargaville - Wellsford.

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    Opononi Hotel, where we Drank, Ate & Slept last night. It rained a lot during the night & had all stopped by 7.30am.

    The weather was on our side again as we departed Opononi at 9.30am, there was quite a lot of low cloud around & we only copped one small shower of rain. On the way out of Omapere we stopped at the lookout & took a few photos. Our second stop was at a Cafe in Waimamuka for a breakfast of toasties & coffee.

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    Looking back towards Omapere & Opononi.... Hokianga Inlet/Harbour (?) .

    Next stop was at the Giant Kauri Tree in the Waipoua Forest (great call "Oldbeer" both Jenny & I were very impressed). Apparently it is 2000 years old & the largest of all the Kauri Trees remaining in the forest. Prior too European settlement there was apparently trees with twice the girth of this one. A guide we came across told us there is an older Kauri in the forest at 4000yo but it isn't at big as this one & you have to hike in to see it. At the tree we also came across the Kiwi Couple who we shared the restaurant with back in Opononi. Barry & Nancy are both from Tauranga & were checking out the Northland as well.

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    Giant Kauri Tree in Waipoa Forest, interesting stats..Trunk Height 17.7m, Total Height 51.5m, Girth 13.8m, Trunk Volume 244.5 m3, approx. 2000yo....impressive !

    The ride through the Waipoa Forest was very memorable, the twisty road was wet, greasy & in places covered in green moss. So I rode with exceptional care (read slowly). Once out of the forest the conditions improved but care still was required as the bitumen surface is quite uneven in numerous places.

    Just after 1.30pm we stopped at the Bakery in Te Hana & had pies for lunch. We are only about 90kms away via SH1 from Auckland, Jenny has told me she has had enough for one day & I don't think I'm far behind. After checking out Wellsford on the iPad we decide on the Sun Valley Motel, the owner is happy to see us & upgrades us to a more expensive self contained room for the price of a studio.

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    One of the rules in our relationship is if one of us has had enough of a situation it's ok to put your hand up & call for a change. It was a little early to park up but Jenny said "Will I've had enough of riding for one day". Cool, Wellsford is only 7kms away, we will stop there !

    Tomorrow we continue along the SH16 down towards Helensville then onto Auckland where we will hand back the bike at around 12 noon.
    Shaggie and just jeff like this.
  11. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Was thinking of you two today as the weather down here was perfect...sounds like Waipoua was a bit damp.

    I'll be going up SH16 in the morning, I've got an appointment at Maungatoroto (one of the massive towns you rode through just before you rejoined SH1), so our paths may cross! Ill be passing Wellsford about 0930.
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  12. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    M
    Oldbeer we plan on departing Wellsford just after 10am, if you feel like a coffee stop by at the Sun Valley Motel, our room is obvious, the GSA is out the front.It would be great to catch up with you before we fly back to Oz. If time is against you then have a safe journey my friend. :-)
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  13. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Great, was hoping we would be able to catch up. Easy to spot that bike!
    Lots of good coffee in Wellsford, I'll see you some time around 9.30.
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  14. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    BMW, 2011, GS1200 Adventure vs 2013, Yamaha, XT1200Z Super Tenere.
    (Not really for the Epic Ride Report forum but I'll sneak it in as it's been part of our Bike Tour experience).

    I thought some of you out there in Adv Ride Report Land may be interested in my brief comparison & thoughts after riding the two, Heavy Weight, Kick Ass, Adventure Tourers, that I've now experienced over the past 57 days, since we started our Aus/NZ Tour.

    This isn't about stats or specs, it's just about my gut feeling & seat of your pants impression. Keep in mind the GSA now has 88000kms on it & my own Super Ten (S10). 20000kms, also most of the time during our ride the GSA has had a pillion rider, only a handful of times/kilometres have I ridden it solo over the last week, 1100kms.

    BMW GS1200 Adventure.

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    Negatives: For me they are, the seat is slightly too high & it feels heavier then my S10, sometimes when you are on the wrong slope & the bike is on its side stand it is super difficult to get it upright (even with only 10L of fuel in the mega tank). My thoughts are having those huge boxer heads jutting out the side don't help the cause. Also heaving it up onto it's centre stand is considerably more difficult. Fuel consumption seemed about 0.5L per 100kms higher then the S10.

    My biggest complaint is the ergonomics of the Indicator buttons, but I think BMW have fixed that on the newer model GS's.

    Positives: The side stand is more forgiving on steeper cambers (just be prepared to get the bike upright again). The brakes are excellent, love the sound & characteristics of the motor. Comfortable to ride with or without a pillion rider. Felt well balanced. All the electronic gizmos are cool, including the heated grips . Changing gears was easy, though sometimes hard to go from Neutral to First when it was cold. Fantastic Windshield. Aggressive no nonsense look !


    Yamaha, XT1200Z Super Tenere.

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    The Super Tenere is fairly new in this pic.

    Negatives: when you stop it feels heavy (but not quite as much as the GSA). The standard OEM windshield is definitely crap, lots of wind buffeting, no electronic gizmos (except ABS, Traction Control & Unified Braking). Have to manually adjust the front/rear suspension dampeners. Smaller fuel capacity then GSA, but will still do 450kms on a tank.

    Positives: for general riding it handles extremely well, slightly better then the GSA, (could be tyre related), seat height feels lower. The engine feels more powerful, brakes are very good, I love the unified braking arrangement. Pillion rider is comfortable. Seating is very comfortable overall but very similar to the GSA. Slightly better fuel economy.

    Conclusion:
    I really liked the 2011 GSA and would be happy to own one, with less kay's on it. Would love to get my hands on a new 2017 model & see just how good it really is with the water cooled boxer etc.

    Excluding the stupid indicator setup the only issues that would make me consider the Yamaha S10 over the GSA are the cost of purchasing a new GSA vs the S10, the higher seat, though I'm sure I could get use too it. Apart from that it's a terrific bike.

    During dinner tonight I had discussions with Jenny, neither of these bikes are ideal for carrying a pillion on an extended tour. Sure once the pillion has clambered on it's reasonably comfortable but because of the height your SG is higher and slow speed stability badly effected, the added weight also contributes to lack of off road/gravel road ability. We have experienced a couple of slow speed close calls (offs) on both these bikes, it's just a matter of time....

    Riding them solo on tour makes more sense (less weight by 70 a 90kgs) but from what I've seen, because they are so robust & powerful people tend to carry more gear (most of it unnecessary, this includes yours truly, Happyidiot). So our current conclusion is two lighter weight, smaller engine capacity bikes with appropriate seat height too suit the rider or if you want to ride two up then one of the Big Touring Cruiser with a low seat height & stay away from dirt ??

    ***I haven't considered maintenance costs or reliability as a factor in my brief review between both bikes, but I can say I haven't had one single issue with the Super Tenere since I purchased it new in 2014, I regularly service it & that's all. I also forgot to mention both bikes have Shaft Drive a huge plus for the bikes, FYI, I'm 178cm tall in socks & 91kg in jocks, hope my personal opinion of these bikes help someone decide***
  15. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    So our current conclusion is two lighter weight, smaller engine capacity bikes with appropriate seat height too suit the rider

    I agree, you need a couple of used 650 Vstroms :).
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  16. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Look forward too it Oldbeer ! Will
  17. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    29/05 Tuesday, Wellsford to Auckland (North Shore) via SH16. 112kms

    The highlight to our morning was catching up with fellow Advrider "Oldbeer" who was passing through Wellsford. We left the two bikes at the Motel, then the 3 of us walked to a nearby Cafe. Oldbeer shouted us both a coffee.....thanks Mate. We swapped a few stories & tried to figure out the solution too World Peace. Once again, thanks for making the effort Oldbeer, it was great too meet you !

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    Fellow Advrider "Oldbeer" stops by too say hello & shout us Happyidiots a coffee, great Bloke !

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    We stop & check out the view from the Lookout on SH16, not far out of Wellsford.

    Oldbeer & the Happyidiots then went our separate ways, Jenny & I headed south via SH16. Briefly stopping in Helensville & programming the GPS to get us over to BMW Cycle Spot. It was a pretty casual ride & before we knew it, the time was 12.30pm & we had arrived at North Shore. After a chat with Fergus, handing the keys back, unloading the GSA we sorted out an Uber to take us over to Simon (Jenny's cousin) & Kelleigh's place about 20 minutes away.

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    Stopped outside the Helensville Library, sorting out our route to North Shore, Auckland.

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    1 week & 1200kms later we are back to where we started BMW Cyclespot, thanks Ferg.

    Our New Zealand tour is pretty much over, early tomorrow we fly back to the "West Island" or "The Mainland" as us Aussie's like to call it. It has been excellent & we are both keen to come back to NZ during the summer months. Everyone has been extremely helpful. A HUGE THANK YOU to all the Family, Friends & other Kiwi's who helped us out.

    Being here during the Off Season has had it's bonuses, no need too fight the other Tourist Hoards for accommodation, parking space & sightseeing viewing areas. In general we were lucky with the weather & only were affected by rain or cold on less then a handful of occasions.

    The next part of the plan is tomorrow we arrive into Melbourne at 12noon, pick up our Bikes & head back to Sale, 220kms away. We will be staying at my mate, Alan's place then continue making our way up the East Coast of Oz. It will be winter so we may have to move our butts & get up to the Queensland warmth ASAP. You may not hear from me for a few days....back soon.
    Shaggie and just jeff like this.
  18. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    Great RR
    Lol @ Queensland warmth, May 2014 1st night of my trip to Alice Springs for the Ulysses AGM in Miles Qld it was cold, got out to our bikes next morning to be greeted by frost on the seats.
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  19. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    NOooo we don't want frost, already had that MaverickAus... like all good travelers we'll just deal with it until we reach FNQ or wherever we get too. :happayWill possibly keep riding near the coast, we have no definant plans and about 60 odd days until we need to be at the Travel Home Base (THB) in WA. Still haven't decided what to do with our bikes !
    It's been about 15 years since we were last in the Alice, bet you had a great ride !!!


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    Minus -2.5C near Hamilton about 10 days ago...this made us nervous !

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    Glad we didn't have to sleep in the Postie Van that night.
  20. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    8000 km in 2 weeks, Qantas Museum and Stockman Hall of Fame in Longreach, Alice Springs, Ayres Rock, Woomera, Underground motel in Coober Pedy, Mt Panorama just some of the highlights. It was awesome and got to do it with my best mate.

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