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Thread: Icebreaker 3: The next ride

  1. #1
    N00b Mustang's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Suzuki GSF 1250 Bandit
    Region
    Gauteng
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    18

    Default Icebreaker 3: The next ride

    Bandit all polished and oiled, ready to start the suspension experiments. Meet at the normal place. This time a Yamaha XJR 1300 joins the fray so I have a little Oriental company among the BMWs.

    Set off on the freeway. Itís never comfortable to be the last in the group. Youíre certain to get a red light separating you from the gang. This being a gentlemenís club I am aware they will wait. Problem is I keep chasing the bikes in the distance ahead, and every time, it turns out to be the wrong group.

    Eventually we regroup and head out to the dams. Iíll get the chance to ride a very fast road I havenít ridden in years.

    There are fast sweepers on the run from Lanseria to Broederstroom. Pity about the traffic. Itís an inviting road, albeit a narrow and bumpy one, and itís impossible to resist a burst of speed whenever the chance arises. Problem is, youíve got to have two pairs of eyes; one for the technicalities and another just for the traffic. I get a blaze of frantic headlight flashing from an oncoming driver who thinks I canít see him. Irritatingly, every time I want to overtake there seems to be a car in just the wrong place.

    The suspension. Howís it doing? Could be all in the mind, but the back seems smoother. The front still feels choppy, however. It also seems to resist a bit. In the distant past I once overfilled a bikeís forks and the thing wouldnít turn. Over-stiff forks must be resistant to turning. Note to self: try backing off the preload, the only adjustment the simple Bandit fork allows, half a turn and see if it makes a difference.

    Now aboard a BMW K1200 S I once borrowed, I recall using the gearbox a lot and letting the free-revving engine ease me through bends. Add BMWís long wheelbase and youíve got a stable handler, aided by pushbutton electronics. On the BMW you use a button on the left handlebar to select the ride you want.

    The Banditís basic geometry would be similar but for the Banditís shorter wheelbase. Plus, on the Bandit Iíve got the interesting job of dialling in the suspension manually, really by trial and error, as opposed to BMWís pushbutton electronics. On the Bandit suspension adjustment is a matter of adjust it manually, try it out, rinse and repeat.

    Re wheelbase (the distance between the axles), long wheelbase adds stability but requires deeper lean for a given amount of turn; shorter wheelbase makes the bike more responsive to leaning, at the cost of stability. Simple as that.

    And re geometry, slanting forks are good for stability, bad for turning; upright forks are the opposite. Expect Superbike forks to be set at around a twitchy 24 degrees, tourers, a more conservative 25-plus. The Bandit counts as a tourer. A 1 000 or 600 ending with an ďRĒ (GSX-R; ZX-R, etc) is a Superbike.

    Back to the engine. The Banditís engine is different from others. Your bikeís engine is almost certainly oversquare, meaning wide-bore-short-stroke, for low piston speeds and easy revving. This even applies to big Twins. Thatís why modern bike engines rev easily. To corner, use power; gear down and rev through the bend. The Bandit, unusually, is undersquare; stroke is greater than bore. To corner a Bandit, use torque, not power. Open it without changing gears. Takes a bit of mental effort to change the gearing-down habit.

    And now we're on Lanseria-Broederstroom. Left at the Broederstroom T junction, and a bumpy, undulating road leads to the dam wall or, if you prefer, a turn off to, if I'm not wrong, Skeerpoort. The preferred moniker is the tracking station road. As the name suggests, thereís a satellite tracking station on this road. The road itself is long, generally reasonably smooth and allows very, very fast riding for several kilometres, probably about 20. I do recall it has a bridge with a nasty step that produced an unpleasant bang from the undercarriage when I last rode it. Iím trying to go fast and still watch for this bridge. It eventually comes into view. Patting myself on the back I brake quite hard. Turns out I was overcautious. Either the step wasnít as bad as I remember it or theyíve smoothed it out. Once over the bridge I whip the Bandit open as fast as I dare. We wonít mention numbers but, erm, things do get quite brisk at times. Eventually the tracking station roadís end comes into view and forms a T junction. A right turn leads to some interesting curves going down a pass heading towards Skeerpoort. A left turn at Bekker Schools and some insanely fast kilometres to Magaliesburg. Now you slow down. This bit is dangerous.

    Dťjŗ vu: Half a dozen men around the table at the Wimpy, making conversation about Ė surprise surprise Ė bikes, politics, business. Then I set off early for a solitaire ride home as I am watching the clock today.

    Go on, ask: did the Bandit stay in one piece this time?

    ErmÖ almost.

    You wonít believe what came off.

    The #&*<@!! number plate, of all things.

    I wrap it up and put it in my jacket, rehearsing the speech:
    (Me): Honest, Officer, I know youíve heard it all before but as true as nuts I was riding along and it just fell off.
    (Him): Yes, yes, tell it to the judge (or slip me a crispy banknote and ride safely).

    So whatís next?

    Ease the preload on the forks, and another episode of that oh-so-pleasant homework: the trial that eliminates the error.

    I smell a long trip coming up (slurp).

  2. #2
    I called AMZ a guuurl and survived! kamza's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Tsakane, South Africa
    Bike
    Hysoung GT650R (sold) Project K6 Suzuki SV1000 (Sold) Jonway 250 cruiser, Suzuki SV650
    Region
    Gauteng
    Posts
    249

    Default

    The satellite road is quite a nice road to open things up, last time we were on the road we stopped for a photo op and one of our guys was on a zx10 and two guys on hayabusas were giving chase, that was like front row seats to WSBK.
    great piece of road and that right turn from the T- junction some sweet curves, skip the wimpy next time and turn in the restaurant just after the right turn at the junction they have some nice burgers. i ride a SV650 and yeah the way you take curves is really quite different from the inlines cause when they are busy breaking i'm opening up throttle to get that nice torque out of the curves.
    you want a trip take a short one to Clarens and enjoy the views and nice windy roads just don't go in winter cause it gets too cold or longer trips to Majuba/ Volkrust, or go further into Vryheid towards Melmoth or go up to Limpopo to the kloofs, man now i feel like planning a long trip for summer, thinking Clarens in August....
    IMG-20171105-WA021.jpg
    2 Timothy 1: 7For God has not given us the spirit of fear..

  3. #3
    N00b Mustang's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Bike
    Suzuki GSF 1250 Bandit
    Region
    Gauteng
    Posts
    18

    Default

    If your bike is a gold-ish colour, I saw you!

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