So the biking this started in March or April 2007, when I
decided to buy my first "Scooter". The idea was simple. Buy a Scoot,
and learn what's the deal, and slowly work my way up to a bigger
Dual-sport Bike. I bought something very similar to this, a "GoMoto
Mantis 150cc". As usual, the Salesman at the Bikeshop "Long-time
closed for obvious reasons", swore this would be perfect for my
needs. I got the Scoot, a Jacket and Pants and a helmet for the pricely sum of
11 Grand. I must have been stupid!!!
For the next 10 months, I spent another 9 Grand in total, as the brand new, out the box Gomoto, slowly but surely vibrated itself to pieces, and fell apart day by day. I replaced the Motor, Gearbox, exhaust and some bodywork in that time, and while I must admit, when it DID work, it was awesome and very fuel efficient, unfortunately the build quality left much to be desired. Turned out the tyres or wheels were buggered, but I had had enough, and sold it on Gumtree to a knowledgeable chap who claimed it was a good scoot.
During this period, I had got my Lerner's Licence, and as commuting daily from Parklands to Claremont and back. This also got me used to the weather, and splitting, and all the other obstacles that come with commuting by Bike. I also became a member of ThinkBike, which made sense at the time, but later on lost direction and the reason for their being in my opinion. Anyway, that's for another discussion.
|Almost a year later, I realised the Scoot wasn't a good
investment, and moved it along and bought The Suzuki GN250. This was my first "Real Bike", with clutch and
gears.. I clearly remember how nervous I was when I took it home
from Max's the night I bought it.. it was the longest, and most
terrifying 4 Km's I've ever had to ride.
Together we made a bracket, and mounted a Kappa Top box, which carried the required Rain suit, and although a little small for my 6,2" frame, It was my next learning curve in dealing with traffic, and gears, and lack of speed, all at the same time.
The M5 is a dodgy piece of road, as I couldn't go quicker than 90 Km's, and often had a truck or two come bombing past me, almost blowing me off the side of the Highway into the Black River. Commuting still rocked, taking me a mellow 50 minutes to get to the office, vs a good 1 1/2 hours by car.
|One day, at least 8 or 9 months later, I was off with a cold,
and Max told me about a Bike he saw in the Classifieds, and felt it
was what I needed. I got dressed, called the guy, and rode out to
see the Bike in the middle of the day. it was a BEAST of a bike. it towered
over my little GN, and I was MORE scared than I had been with the GN..
So much so that I didn't even test ride it, I just said I'd take
By the time I had left to go arrange the Transfer of Money, he had received about 10 other interested buyers, but I had managed to get there first. Bought my next next bike, another Suzuki, a 650cc V-STROM.
Sheesh, what a bike, and what a difference from my previous little "chopper/Delivery bike", this thing blew trucks AND cars away, and all of a sudden, I was seriously commuting. Managed to sell the GN on Gumtree again, and was now a "real Biker" I even inherited a nice Shark Helmet to go with the bike..
I also managed to get a Driver License Booking out in Malmesbury, and went to do my License with a good mate Jaco, one cold and wet Winter's Morning, and passed first time on the Big Strom. I was now officially legal.
The V-strom was amazing, and Dee and myself were going for out-rides and having a great time on this machine. But one early April morning on my commute to work, a chap in a delivery van decided to try and cross the West Coast Road which I was approaching going to work. The resultant front brake grab on a wet, cold, and cambered road results in a sudden blackout, which when cleared, I found myself sliding down the West Coast Road, watching the V-Strom smash into the front of the Delivery Van as I luckily slid past right through the wet intersection. End of Bike.
Insurance paid out as it wasn't my fault, and I was bike-less. Borrowed one of Max's Bajaj trainers, and finally did a deal on a Yamaha XT 660 R.
This was nice, much lighter than the Strom, and easier to handle, but it was a Thumper, and I really missed the V Twin of the Strom. Over time though I got used the XT's quirkiness, and the weird surging that came with this bike. The Top Box and the Foot pegs came off the trashed Strom and onto this bike, and another year went by.
|And so, into 2011, and I decided I wanted a "new" bike. it was
a decision between a BMW or another Yamaha. We did some comparisons
and I did hours of R&D, and finally found this, a 2010 Demo 660 Z
from Heynemann Yamaha out in Swellendam, (Who I had bought the
previous XT from). Again, did the entire deal via email, not having
test rode it at all. Down-priced the XT and advertised it on Wild
Dogs, the Off-road Forum I'd become a member of, and sold the bike to
a lucky chap in a matter of days.
2 Weeks later, and I went up with Dee to Swellendam one day and rode my "new" bike back home. What an amazing Bike, and although the same power-plant and gearbox etc as the XT 660 R, a TOTALLY different bike to ride, much more comfortable and sure to control. So I've stuck with the Yamaha Family, and have established a good relationship with Heynemann Yamaha, and more recently, Helderberg Yamaha in Somerset West, whom I use for keeping the bike in tip top condition.
Here's the Juggernaut. I decided I needed to move the Tenere' on as I wanted something that both Dee and myself would enjoy as a more comfortable tourer. A guy on the Wilddogs Forum wanted a Tenere', and had a 1200 GSA with a few thousand Km's on, so we did a straight swap deal.. 660 Tenere for a 1200 GS Adventure.
Did a round trip of 650 km's early in march to Riversdale, and in a Wimpy in a Garage, we did the transaction. The "Juggernaut" was the latest acquisition. All of a sudden, in a space of a few days, I have gone from owning a Yamaha, to owning two BMW's.. The Juggernaut, and Herman, the Cafe' Racer...
Eventually sold the Cafe Racer to help fund a car for Kieron, my kid who matriculated in 2012, so that went well, but I do miss the Cafe', and might still get something like that again. Then, after a few months, I got another urge, to go back to a Scooter.. But this time, a Maxi-Scoot.. I liked the automatic part for commuting, and after a bit of looking around, I was VERY lucky to have found someone wanting to sell one. I had decided on a Suzuki Burgman AN 400, as this seemed to cater for all my requirements. The 650 was too big (width) wise, and this was capable of doing 120 with ease, and could take 2 people. A few days later, it was home.
Advertised the Juggernaut as he was just standing in the garage gathering dust, and a nice chap bought it for a very good price I think.
Here's the story of
"Herman", my first Cafe Racer. This project I started together with Max
in 2011/2012. It was a build at his house, and the idea was we bought
the bike and went half on everything. About 3 months into the build, Max
had already bought another two, and I bought him out of this Bike, and
continued to build him at Max's place, and eventually got him finished
and back home.
It was a stunning little bike and looked awesome. My kid then was about to Matriculate, and so I sold this bike to help fund him a car. In hind-sight, this was a terrible mistake, but that's what life is all about, making mistakes and learning.
So now have this little mellow cruiser. Get's to 27
Km's a litre, which works out at 340 Km's on 12 liters.. I already
did some personal modifications. I've replaced the stock Roller to
Malossi Stock CVT Rollers, which changed the pull-off and power pick up
amazingly well. I can crank this from a robot and it gets going really
quickly. Also decided the standard windscreen was useless, and bought
the Awesome Givi Touring Screen from Suzuki South. That story also
amazes me. I emailed 5 local shops in Cape Town, and Suzuki South and 2
others were the only people who responded. Again, that's for another
After the Screen, I also purchased the Givi Heavy Duty Box Mount from Max, and got Suzuki South to ship me down a Give Mounting Bracket for the Burgman. Great, strong and robust mounting system for the Top Box base Plate, and now, I believe I have over 100 Litre's of available space, between the 62 litres under the seat, and the additional large Top Box, which also serves as a Backrest for when Dee's on the back.
Finally, I wanted a more comfortable back rest. The Burgman comes with a strange, "bum" rest, that's all I can call it. So got my contractor to weld up some nice steel bars which would then fit in the stock mounting system through he seat, and I fabricated a Backrest. Now it's like riding to work on my Couch. Final mods were to replace all the Bulbs with either Blue Halogen's or LED's, and I shaped a piece of orange Perspex for the Bright Light, to aid traffic commuting.. Awesome piece of kit to get to work and back on.
Managed to get a GREAT deal on a 2015 Burgman 650, an so, "Burgie" got sold in May 2017. Go well scoot, you were arguably, the best bike of them all.
selling the GSA, I decided I really wanted another retro Cafe' Racer
type Bike. I quite enjoyed the BMW I had built with Max, but as it had
been sold, I didn't know if I wanted to restore another bike, or just
buy something. One day on Gumtree, I saw this guy. Ok, he didn't look
like this, he had a standard tail on, some ridiculous leather
saddlebags, and a ghastly windscreen. It really looked like a Harley,
and I FRIKKIN HATE HARLEYS!!!! But this guy was a Triumph, a Bonneville,
with a wicked paint Job.. So I contacted them, and arranged a visit with
Dee. The Bike is a 2006 model, and only has 6 500 km's on the clock, so
the owner was hardly using it. However, in 7 years, the bike had bad
chrome corrosion and was generally in a very neglected state. I
initially made a really low offer, which they naturally ignored, but I
really liked the bike and the way it rode, so, I raised the offer a bit,
they came down a bit, and I bought it.
So, this is how he looks now, July 2013. I call him "Billy" but not sure about that, based in Billy Idol, and the "rockers" movement from the 60's.. I've removed all the "Harley-look-alike-crap", and removed the rear mudguard. Fitted a cleaner rear mudguard and tail light, moved the Number plate to the side as I did on the BMW Cafe, and most recently, I cut up the old Suzuki Burgman Windscreen to help aid the wind deflection. This is a true naked bike, and I'm very used to screens and protection, so, decided to fabricate my own out of left overs in the garage. For now, it's perfect.
Also fitted a screw-in oil temp gauge and removed the Air Injectors. And lastly, bought the same sent of bar end mirrors on eBay as I had on the BMW Cafe and mounted them. Lowered the Bar quite a bit, and there he is. This Paint job is a replica of the Original "Paul Smith" Limited edition Bonneville, which has been replicated locally by a professional custom spray painter, and as this is the only one in SA that looks like this, I kinda like it, as does Dee.
December 2013, and the Speedster project arrived, so the Bonneville has been sold to a new English home. Many safe miles "Billy".
Roll on to September 2016. By this stage,
I had already bought and rebuilt the Replica Porsche 356 Speedster, and
bought and rebuilt Winston the Kombi. Sold the Speedster to help fund
the Bus, and a year later, end of 2015, he was finished and Dee and
myself was camping. I wanted to get another Cafe Racer, and tried really
hard to buy my own R100 back from the new owner in JHB, but after 3
months of one-way conversation, I gave up.
Enter Max again, with this "other" concept, also a BMW, but this time, it's known as a "brick". the K-Series range of BMW's featured a 4 and 3 Cylinder motor on it's side in the frame. Very square and in comparison to the R series, certainly the ugly duckling of them both. However, the 3cylinder is a triple, and needless to say, it makes a wonderful noise.
So, I searched, and searched, and discovered this was also a very scarce bike, and when they did come up for sale, they got bought up as fast as they were advertised. So chatted to good old Max, who had this one and was about to do his second conversion. (He'd just finished one). So I bent his rubber arm and bought it from him.
May 2017. I felt the time was right, and
basically I could FINALLY afford it, so bought this, a 2015 650 Burgman
Executive. I went and had a good look at the Yamaha TMAX 530, and wasn't
impressed. Build quality is down, bike riding position is terrible, so I
spent a few days hunting the Interwebs, and bought this from primrose
Suzuki in Germiston. Had it couriered to Cape Town, and then added the
tall Kappa Touring Windscreen and the top box base plate to use my Givi
AWESOME scooter, has electric windscreen adjustment, electric folding mirrors, heated grips, heated seats, twin cylinder, a REALLY nice piece of kit, and although this one is 2 years old, it only had 1 400 km's on the clock. So, almost new in my books.