U P DAT E 2 ‘THE ZX-10R GAVE MILES OF SMILES ON MCN RIDEOUT’
to manhandle. The biggest culture shock for anyone riding off road for the first time is learning to live with a bike that, even after a 45-minute flurry of brushes and microfibre cloths is not, in the normal sense of the word, clean; it’s just not dirty.
There’s also the realisation that the ownership of a dirt bike entails watching its cosmetic condition deteriorate week in, week out in front of your eyes. I have fallen off, let’s see now, at least 15 times. Each crash has taken its toll, be it in the form of tiny scratches to the plastics or, my worst so far, a rock chip in the frame paintwork.
Beyond fuel, premixed with synthetic 2T oil at a clean and lean 80:1, I’ve had zero running costs so far. Even the blocks on the Michelin Enduro Competition tyres KTM fitted to my bike have barely worn.
Meanwhile, I have booked myself onto an off-road tour in France in the autumn. My dirt skills need to improve before then, but it’s great to have something to aim for. I’ve been taking it easy on my ZX-10R for its first miles and the upside of the tentative riding is the fuel economy. I’ve squeezed up to 49mpg out of it − not exactly racy, but good for the wallet. That’s around 130-140 miles before the reserve light comes on.
The bike has also just had its 600mile service, which included a recall to replace some minor steering damper bolts.
It hasn’t been superbike weather since I collected the bike and almost every time I’ve hit the road it’s been raining or damp. But the standard Bridgestone RS10 tyres offer decent grip, despite having only a few token slots for tread. In the rare times it’s been dry they’ve hung on admirably, but in all this time, I still haven’t leaned it right over yet. Just call me Mr Chicken strip.
My first big trip of the year was to Butlin’s in Skegness for the last-ever MCNLIVE! The curtains were drawn after 22 years, but it went out with a bang with live music, stunt shows and a rideout to Cadwell, including a few laps of the circuit. Having the likes of John Mcguinness, Chris Walker and John Reynolds joining in the fun was the icing on the cake and there were smiles all round.
The next big MCN event is the MCN Festival in Peterborough on May 1415 with Colin Edwards headlining the Transatlantic short-track trophy.
When it comes to modifications, I’ve got a Skidmarx screen on order for the Kawasaki to cut down on windblast, and the first pieces of the jigsaw to ‘de-euro 4’ it are also incoming. An Akrapovic de-cat link pipe (£239) and end can (£749) are on the way from Performance Parts (www.performanceparts-ltd.com), together with a self-learning Rapid Bike fuel injection control module (£414).
With the weather improving, I’ve booked a trackday for Rockingham, which takes place before I’ll have chance to fit the new exhaust, but I’ll have it on in time for a day at Oulton Park with MSVT trackdays, and it will be interesting to see what difference the changes make.