ANY QUESTION ANSWERED
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Q What’s the best all-rounder I can buy for £1500? The last bike I owned was a Kawasaki GPZ600R, many moons ago, but now I’ve checked out from the South East and moved to the Languedoc in South West France, I want a bike to take advantage of God’s own biking roads and the 300 days of sunshine this area is supposed to get. I’m looking for a bike with a neutral riding position, decent pillion provision and maybe the option to cope with the many inviting stony tracks through the vineyards. I have a maximum budget of £1500. Jimmy Cooper, Cessenon-sur-orb, France
Answered by A Chris Dabbs, MCN There are a few bikes to consider for that sort of money. It’s at the top of your budget, but an early BMW F650 is a possibility. With loads of torque the BMW’S smooth delivery makes for easy riding and it’s tried and tested, providing effortless welly. Though it hasn’t got off-road potential, an early Yamaha 600 Fazer will remind you of your GPZ.
But the bike we’d go for is Yamaha’s TDM850. The TDM was a sort of Multistrada 12 years before Ducati thought of it. As a serious ‘street trailie all-rounder’ it’s pretty effective, too. A decent, good-value, different, and largely overlooked motorcycle with an effective, good looking fairing and ample pillion provision, it’ll be perfect. Q I need a waterproof rucksack for commuting I need a rucksack for my daily commute. I often carry a laptop and other electrical bits so it needs to be totally waterproof. What’s your go-to bag? Trevor Cooke, Eastleigh
A Answered by Keith Roissetter, Infinity Motorcycles The bag of choice for me, and a lot of my colleagues, is the Kriega R30 which is well-lined and has a secure roll-top to keep the elements at bay. We’ve had good feedback from customers about the relatively basic Oxford Aqua B25, while the Spada Waterproof Dry rucksack’s abilities are clear from its name. Dainese offer a lined roll-top rucksack called the D Elements Backpack which looks good.
Oxford and Kriega also offer waterproof liners for extra peace of mind. A three-pack of the (very colourful) Oxford liners (five, seven and 12 litres) will set you back £24.99, while the Kriega ones come in small, medium and large at £23, £29 and £35 respectively. Q Should I stick with my Honda’s BT57 tyres? My new Honda CBF1000 has come fitted with Bridgestone BT57S. I have not come across this tyre before and find them a lot harder than my previous Michelin Pilot Road 3s. I can’t find them in the Bridgestone catalogue either. What do you know of them and how can I expect them to perform? Bert Hunt, email
A Answered by Bryn Phillips, Cambrian Tyres Although the BT57 is a design that dates back to the 1990s it is still being manufactured as an original equipment tyre for bikes like the CBF1000F. However, Bridgestone have taken the decision to not bring these CBF1000F tyres into the UK because they already have suitable replacement tyres in their range, such as the BT-023 and T30 Evo, which are both much newer designs with better overall performance.
Having said that, the performance of the BT57 is perfectly acceptable and there’s no reason to change them just for the sake of it. But when they wear out every tyre manufacturer will have several choices, depending on what you’re looking for in the way of performance and cost.
Q How can I make my gear lever great again? The ‘action’ of the gear lever on my 40,000-mile 2002 Honda Hornet 600 has got progressively longer and it is now over 5cm from top to bottom in neutral. The gear lever mechanism is in good condition, tight on the shaft with no play or slip. Brian Campbell, email
A Answered by Scott Bullett, Doble Motorcycles There is a spring in the gear selector mechanism that can get worn, or work itself off. It’s behind the clutch basket and pulls the selector fork that works on the drum to pull it around. It’s pretty straightforward to remove the clutch cover and clutch basket to be able to inspect it and replace any worn parts.
Don’t underestimate the power and flexibility of Yamaha’s TDM850
Worn selector fork spring could be extending gear lever travel