Wheel alignment

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Out of lockdown!

NZ has moved to level 2 and although there are still many restrictions, going for a ride isn't one of them any more!  The 11000 km service for my Duke 790 was originally scheduled for 2 days after lockdown started so that didn't happen.  Now, on the first day of level 2, I could get it done.  The dealer is a round trip of 350 km away so it was a good opportunity to bring my riding up to scratch again.

Awoke to wet roads and gusty winds which wasn't exactly ideal after a layoff but a good opportunity to take it super-easy.  The first 50 km of the journey is comprised of tight twisties along the coast and I felt surprisingly out of sorts.  The KTM 790 isn't nicknamed "The Scalpel" for nothing and my reactions seemed to lag behind its rapid response to steering inputs and throttle control.  I thought about this later and reckon that my situational awareness wasn't as sharp as it should be and as a consequence, my inputs to the bike were a bit slow and clumsy.  A quick stop in Thames to top up the tank actually paid dividends.  In the past when I haven't been riding particularly well, a short break to do a mental reset has paid dividends. I think that the gas stop was one of those occasions as the rest of the journey was a delight.  Drying roads helped too!

  Front of house at Boyds - now Yamaha agents too

Parked the bike outside service reception and for Covid-19 contact tracing purposes, all visitors were required sign in by log book or QR Code.  Strict 2 metre distancing was in play with sanitiser everywhere you looked. Really impressed that they were on their game, albeit low key.

790 waiting to be whisked away, along with an 1190 Adventure R

The team at Boyds know that it takes me a tad over 2 hours to get to their place from home so they started work on the bike within a few minutes of me arriving whilst I wandered around their showroom, keeping an appropriate distance of course.  Even had to do another contact trace in their separate parts, accessories and clothing department when I picked up another can of chain wax.  Thought I'd take the opportunity to share a few photos I took whilst wandering about.....

The  photo below is the dealer's beautifully restored Yamaha TT 500 .  A real classic manufactured from 1976 to 1981 and good ones fetch serious bucks.  I'd happily have one in the shed.

 Elegantly simple and bloody gorgeous!

Boyds picked up the Yamaha franchise late last year.  I was just wandering about looking at the various models and happened to notice the plumbing on the MT-09.  Thought it looked quite arty!

Sexy pipework

This is the first time I'd seen the adventure version of my 790 in the flesh.  Undoubtely a really competent machine but with all the plastic, it looked too bulky and unwieldy for my taste.  I'd sooner have the smaller 390. 

The 790 Adventure

Now the bike below is a beast of a machine - the 1290 SuperDuke.  Doesn't really need 2 wheels on the move as pointing at the sky on the back one in any gear is its normal modus operandi.  A seriously frightening machine.  If the 790 Duke is the Scalpel, this must be the Sledgehammer! Love it.

A real beast of a bike

I guess everyone on the planet must know how popular Royal Enfields have become through the world with both singles and twins being really popular in NZ.  The 650 below offers good performance at a very modest price.  Can't go wrong really.

Uncomplicated, attractive and well-priced

The last bike that attracted my attention was tucked away in the area which used to be for customers to chill and enjoy a coffee.  It's a Sur Ron electric bike powered by a 6 kw electric motor.  I reckon it would be huge fun in the gnarly back country.  In fact, anywhere near us, come to think if it.....

The Sur Ron electric motorcycle

Coming back to the KTM, the 11000 km service cost NZ$314 (US$189, AU$293, GBP 154).  Not only did it include all the items listed in the handbook for that distance, it also had a computer software update and new frame bolts replaced under warranty!  I have no idea what the latter replacement was all about as under the circumstances,  it wasn't possible to chat with the technician at any length.

And finally, yet more expenditure coming up.  My front Bridgestone T31 tyre is toast at 8500 km which is a lot less than sport touring tyres on other bikes I've owned.  I have some theories about this but will do a proper review of the T31 in due course.  Wear on the right hand side of the tyre is particularly noticeable as can be seen in the photo below.  There's a reasonable amount of life left in the rear T31 and could just replace the front but being ever inquisitive, there are a couple of other brands I'd like to experiment with so need to replace both hoops.  More on this in due course.

A well-knackered Bridgestone T31 front tyre (big flats on the outer faces)


  1. Welcome back on the road. NZ has done an incredible job keeping their people safe. Kudos to Jacinda and all the Kiwis.
    Love the TT, my brother had one of them and sold it back in the days in order to finance his studies. Sad.

    1. Hi Sonja!
      Thank you, it's lovely to have some mobility again. With Jennie coming back from Europe before border closure, our lockdown has been 2 weeks longer than most! I agree with you about the TT. There's something about the simplicity that makes it really appealing. All the best to you and Roland!

  2. You definitely need a Yamaha - although it would mean less visits to Boyds ;)

    I wonder what else they did on the service? Mine haven't seen a shop for years...but I did get the truck done the other day (need it to maintain the 10 year warranty). The truck was just under $500 but then there $140 just for the 8.5L oil - just over twice what the Connie takes. Apparently the pollen filter was changed though - did they do the one on the KTM?

    1. Hahaha - for me, a visit to Boyds is an excuse for a decent ride :-). Your truck service is about the same as a major service for my RAV4, which I only have done every 2 or 3 years. No pollen filter on the KTM - too fast to ingest any!

      Another new set of tyres on the KTM next week. Back to Road 5's and hope that all the punctures I got on the Suzuki were sheer bad luck.

  3. It is great to be back on road isn't it! The servicing cost seems quite reasonable. Although I do really enjoy having a bike that is out of warranty so that I can do all the minor services myself.
    I hope that you have no dramas with the Road 5's this time Geoff. As you know, I'm a huge fan of them.

    1. Hi Jules,
      Yep, I normally do oil and filter changes after warranty expiry plus routine maintenance. The software update and frame bolt changes were something of a surprise.

      Yep, booked in on Tuesday for Road 5's. Agonised over 5's vs Road Attack 3's. Always rated the performance of the 5's and convinced myself that the run of punctures was sheer bad luck!

  4. Hi Geoff

    I managed to get out to Lake Rotoiti yesterday. Ruddy great it was too. Interesting about the T31s though. The Bandit I rode yesterday has Shinko 'Verge' tyres fitted. They seem to be fine though I can't comment on their wet weather capabilities.

    1. Hi Lee,
      That's a beautiful area to be touring in - we really are spoiled. Most modern tyres have adequate dry grip. The big variation is what they're like in the wet and cold and that's what drives my selection 😁

  5. Always liked those air cooled Yamahas. They look so small now though don't they?

    1. Hi Ian, they do look small! There's still a place for small(ish) motorcycles that you can maintain yourself without myriads of special service tools and being hooked up to a diagnostic computer!