Bye bye Blade… Tenakoe Triumph !!!

Triumph 675 DaytonaLike most bike riders I’m pretty much always keeping an eye on the trade mags and websites monitoring new bike releases and prices. Its not that bikers are loaded with dosh and can change bikes on a whim every few months, in fact I’d say every 2-4 years is pretty common, and its not like there’s anything wrong as such with the bike you have, its just something about being a bike junkie. You’re always hungry for a new twist on the old addiction.

This is mostly how I ended up looking seriously at a bike over these last few weeks.

Kym is used to me day-dreaming and flicking endlessly through mags but this time she could see I was a little more serious than usual. We went through the accounting-dance to negotiate just how much moolah I was authorised to spend and I promptly hit the streets.

After testing 8 bikes over the last few weeks and finally settling on two I fancied I visited the two stores in question at lunchtime yesterday to get the best trade deal and ended up riding out of Hamilton Motorcycles on a near-new Triumph Daytona 675. (here’s a wee video of the bike if your interested)

Got insurance sorted out this morning and went out for a lunchtime strop out of town, round a few back-roads near Hamilton Airport and back in through Peacocks rd. It was raining of course, we’ve hardly seen a dry day in the last couple of months, but the bike handled beautifully in the wet. The torque is gorgeous, it loves to rev, brakes are great, engine braking surprisingly good, the engine note is fantastic, I could (and will) listen to all day.

Its fair to say… I’m stoked !!!

EDIT: – took the long way home from work tonight, still raining, also dark, but had some more fun and picked up on some more details. I know its very shallow and cosmetic but am totally loving the tone of the Triple, especially in the low-to-mid-range area, the sound is to die for, has a slightly edgyier-than-twin but less coarse than 4-cyl sort of tone to it. A real nice grumble, not quite as distinctive at the top-end but pleasing none the less.

Handling wise am loving the way it tips in to corners. Not too urgently so it catches you out, just very easy to initiate the roll and very stable and linear as it tips in. The clutch is REAL nice too, requires very little input but still obvious as far as required input goes. Gearbox is a wee bit clunky though, could be the new-ness of the machine I spose. Oh yeah, and on the new-ness front, it still smells new when it warms up. About as close to a new bike as I’ll probably get so I intend to savour it :-)

Rossi Strikes Back

Last night I went round to a bike riding mate’s place and watched a GP race that totally restored my interest and faith in the vitality and health of the Grand Prix bike racing scene, much to my relief.

The season has been shaping up wickedly, the wins have been shared across a number of front runners, and now that we’re half way through its still a close thing between the top three bikes (Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa)

So its not like we’ve got anything to complain about, the races have been entertaining, lots of thrills and spills, but it’s started to look suspiciously like team Ducati and their top rider Australian Casey Stoner might be getting their act together to the point where they would dominate the rest of the season just the way they did last year.

I’ve got nothing against Ducati winning, Honda and Yamaha have had their fair share of dominance, but noone wants to see a total walk-away season win, and Stoner being 20secs out the front just doesnt make for entertaining watching.

And to be honest I just can’t warm to Stoner, he doesnt have that crazy, cavalier, accessible persona other riders have, and he definately doesnt posses the charisma of the likes of Valentino Rossi.

Which brings me back to last nights race.

Stoner had qualified well and seemed a shoe-in to win if he got out in front early. Rossi was having none of that, he totally put it out there fully commiting to getting in front of the Ducati and staying there. He and Stoner duked it out for the first 10 laps, some awesome passing manouvers, we were roaring with vicariously adrenalised delight in Paul’s lounge as one crazy pass followed another.

Rossi the more aggressive passing and more defensive once he got in front, Stoner decided he’d sit in and watch from behind and bide his time, ran wide a few laps from the end and dumped the bike in the gravel, but remounted and amazingly still took 2nd place on the podium.

Rossi and Stoner were just in a different league out front, not to take anything away from the awesome performances from the likes of Vermuelen, Dovizioso and Spies, but the leading pair may as well have been in their own race. It was the greatest battle of this season, or last, and its been on my mind all day as a totally awesome racing hilight. Here’s hoping we get more of it.

Inter-species Skyping

Glamour Puss Last weekend Kym decided enough was enough and she would have to procure her own Laptop seeing as she wasn’t having much luck getting keyboard time on our communal desktop. So off to town we went with credit-card in hand, in to Smiths Dicks to browse the dozens of laptops on offer, eventually striking up a conversation with an informative-but-too-not-pushy salesman who ended up flogging us an entry level ASUS (or ANUS as Kym calls it) machine.

Back home with the box, Kym unpacked it carefully, I kept a safe distance as I was on no uncertain terms banned from any contact with said device. The machine was fired up, and I watched with trepidation as Vista appeared on the screen and began to engrain itself on the silicon and liquid crystal. Some casual input from me over Kym’s shoulder eventually got HER laptop onto our home network and out onto the Internet.

The Lappy was mostly provisioned with the tools Kym is going to need out of the box, and the only thing I dared suggest I might install was a copy of Skype. This was agreed to with a look of suspicion, but I was not to install anything else, and not until the new owner had taken some time to play with the new toy.

So it was a couple of days later I thought I’d take advantage of her Ladyships absence to install Skype. Plugged in my USB stick, copied the installer over, setup a profile for her, and made a test call to the automated Skype service. I wanted to check out the built-in web camera and although I could make a call to the upstairs desktop but there’d be no one on the other end and only other living creature in the house was the Cat so how would that work……. unless…. I called the Cat…

Yes that was it, tilt the laptop screen down so the web cam was aimed at the cat on the sofa, place a call to my account logged in on the desktop upstairs, run upstairs and answer it and see if the cat appears. Which of course he did. So much for the visual image but how about some actual communication???

Our cat Kola is anti-social at the best of times but he does respond to a mouse-like squeak sound that I make by drawing air in between pursed lips, so I let rip with this squeeky sound over the Skype connection. He immediately sat bolt up-right on the sofa with a startled look on his face, glanced nervously around the room, looked suspiciously at the laptop, then settled back down on the sofa.

I figured its gotta be worth repeating the “squeak” just to make sure it wasn’t a one-off. Sure enough Kola responded instantly, but this time looked straight at the laptop, he knew it was coming from the machine, and he didn’t like it. By this stage I’m laughing to myself in the office upstairs, delighted that I had achieved a crude form of inter-species Skype communication. Now all I have to do is train him to place a call.