December 17, 2003

The game's afoot

Some good news today: My foot's healing up OK and I should be back on the road after Christmas.

Nothing for it but to get as much Xmas Spirit inside me as possible, then!

December 02, 2003

Footsore and freezing...

Well, I'm still waiting for my swollen foot to get its act together. Driving the car into The Smoke every day is starting to wear really thin and I can't wait to get back onto two wheels.

In the meantime, I'm catching up on my karma having the dual joys of physiotherapy and ice packs. Still, mustn't grumble. At worst, this is just an inconvenience and everything should be back to normal in a few weeks.

Must remember to nip out and top up the battery soon, though. I have a bad feeling about the alarm draining all the charge...

November 24, 2003

Catch the wave...

There is a much safer, but less obvious, way of waving your thanks to other motorists that is used in France but not in the UK: Leg Waving.

When, for example, (as a car driver) I pull in to let a bike go past, UK bikers often raise a hand in thanks. This leaves them one hand short on the controls and, should anything happen in that short time, (a big pothole or sudden manoeuvre from another vehicle) the bikers response time is much longer as you need to get both hands back on the controls before you can do a great deal.

On the continent, bikers have come up with a great alternative. The simply straighten out the leg on the side which we UK peeps would normally wave. This means you still have full control of the bike, delaying only the ability to change gear or apply the rear brake. Much less of an issue than a hand off the bars, in my opinion.

November 22, 2003

Watching you...

Well, as I've been laid up, I have had the opportunity to be a watcher. This has meant being able to observe bikers (and their bikes) from the passenger seat of the car on a journey through both England and France of around 900 miles. Lucky me.

Some interesting differences became apparent between the types of bikes on the road in the two countries.

Although you seem to see about the same number of bikes on the road in the two countries, the UK seems to have a much more even spread of size and type than France. On a typical day in the UK, you'll see everything from mopeds and scooters through trailies and racers to cruisers and tourers. In France, the divide seems to be much more apparent between big and small bikes. You see a lot of mopeds, very few mid-size bikes and a lot of cruisers and tourers. You very rarely see the likes of a Bandit or Diversion 600 or a big trailie over there.

Even more interesting (to me, anyway) is that the larger bikes seem to be almost exclusively Harleys and Gold Wings. And for all my looking, and in spite of the active Pan European internet community in France, mine is still the only new style Pan I've seen there.

November 16, 2003

Off the road for a few days

Sprained my foot at work on Friday so I can't even get my boots on at the moment. Well, I can get one of them on, if you know what I mean.

A few quiet days with my feet up are in order, I guess.

November 13, 2003

Pan-less European

Over the last couple of months, I've taken to riding the Pan without panniers. Particularly on the way to/from work where I can get away with just the top box.

Handling is significantly improved at high speeds with any hint of a wobble above 110 mph disappearing completely. Even with the screen at full height. The downside, I guess, would be that had the lovely chap who drove into me done so when the panniers weren't fitted, the exhaust would have taken the brunt of the damage. Not a nice thought.

I still put the panniers on whenever I go away for the weekend or whiz off to the airport as I can carry what I need for the weekend, a bike cover for leaving the Pan in uncovered car parks and still have room to cargo net a suitcase on the pillion seat if necessary.

November 12, 2003

Driven into.

Had to happen eventually, I guess, given that most of my miles are spent commuting into the Smoke. And, of course, it just had to be a SMIDSY* from a Volvo driver.

I was taking the wife in to London to see an exhibition at the Science Museum and (unusually) not filtering. Said Volvo pilot spots a gap in the next lane, not noticing I'm there, and virtually pushes us into the barrier. Fortunately I had the panniers on so no damage to anything else or to us and, even better, I managed to stay upright. I reckon I'd have been straight over on a smaller bike.

Damage is all related to the pannier: Door scratched to bits and difficult to close. More worryingly, the lock holding the pannier on the bike is now also very stiff. I'll just have to see if the whole thing needs replacing...

*SMIDSY = Sorry Mate I Didn't See You

November 04, 2003

Economy of Motion - Part 2

Returning from France to the UK, I had all the time in the world so I decided to see what fuel economy I could squeeze out of the bike. Returning on the same 590 mile route riding carefully at no more than 80mph (130kph - this being the Autoroute speed limit) saw fuel consumption climb to just short of 50mpg (5.8 l/100km).

Unfortunately, riding to achieve this was incredibly dull so, with the experiment duly performed, I have gone back to my usual style.

I now usually commute about 75 miles per day of which 45 miles or so is motorway/national speed limit, 15 miles is reasonable free moving 50mph limit and 15 miles is dead slow filtering.

With my reasonable head on, I'm getting just over 40mpg (7.1 l/100km) although when I'm in hooligan mode that falls to around 32mpg (8.9 l/100km).

Conclusion? Well, I guess the Pan is as economical as you choose to make it. Bearing in mind that it's got a whacking great motor you can still get very reasonable economy from it. Or not.

November 01, 2003

Economy of motion - Part 1

I've been having a bit of, er, fun trying to take the fuel economy of the Pan to extremes.

Step 1 was to really hammer the bike on a trip between home in England and home in France.

To give you the idea, I did 590 miles in 6 hours and 35 minutes. Including three petrol stops. And circumnavigating Paris.

As others have mentioned, the bike calculates fuel consumption in miles per litre but with the magic of, um, calc.exe I have turned it into something more useful. On this trip, I made just over 26mpg (10.7 l/100km for our continental chums). This is low. Very low, indeed.

Just goes to show what you can achieve if you set your mind to it.

September 23, 2003

Service time again, corrosion, and Rider Power survey results

Service time again for me too, �215 for a 28,000 miler. Maybe not strictly by the book, but a good general service and check up at the correct interval from the local Honda dealer. As usual, everythings fine, it should see the Pan through the winter months and well into spring. I do a lot of stop start riding in traffic, so the Pan tends to eat front brake pads; they were changed at the last service 4000 miles and 8 months ago. Still, its a small price to be able to travel in comfort on two wheels !

I agree with you Nigel, 4000 miles is a short service internal in this day and age, I notice one of the other big four
have a 6000 interval, which is better but still nowhere near car standards.

Some work coming up on the Pan is to remove the pannier latches and strip them down and re-spray them. I have heard its a common problem that the latches rust, mine started to corrode when the bike was about 4 years old and I did them then, but its come back through, so another strip down is on the cards. The chrome ones that lock the panniers to the bike have also gone but I havent looked at how to get them off so they will have to stay for the moment.

The fork legs have also started to develop a few small rust spots, just beneath the bars, where the forks are hidden by the fairing. Its not in the suspension travel zone so the fork seals will be fine, it just looks a bit unsightly at the moment. A good polish up and protection with some light grease should sort it, and although its a shame that there is some corrosion coming through, the Pan

A) lives outside all year round,
B) is ridden in all weathers, all year round,
C) is past her 7th birthday
D) and apart from regular dealer services, doesnt get the care and attention it should (my fault that one !)

My previous bike was in a terrible state after a similar time span, but the Pan still comes up sparkling with a bucket of soapy water and some elbow grease, so a little corrosion on the shiny bits is the least of my worrys.

On a different note, readers of Ride magazine will know that the ST1100 has always been highly rated in the Rider Power survey. This year was no exception, coming in at no 5, another great result for the Pan. The survey is compiled by Ride from readers of the magazine who fill in a form every year, for those who havent seen it before here's the Pans results from previous years;

1999 - 9th new, 4th used
2000 - 1st
2001 - 1st
2002 - 3rd
2003 - 5th
2003 - 7th (STX1300)

Thats pretty, its excellent I reckon, especially for a bike that first appeared in December 1989 and remained relatively unchanged during its lifetime. In fairness, this years survey rated the ST by two different age groups; from 1999 onwards coming 5th, and pre 99 models posted down in 37th place.

The ST1300X, in its first year in the survey, posted a very respectible 7th, and judging on the 1100's past, expect to the 1300 to be up there with the best of them for many years to come.....

Safe Riding, and get your thermals ready for the Great British Winter!


September 19, 2003

New Toy

We went to the BMF Tail End Show last weekend and as usual the weather was perfect.

Whilst there I purchased an intercom from StarCom.

The StarCom 1 rider to passenger kit we bought has really surprised us both with the clarity of communication it provides. Even at 'excessive' speeds a normal conversation is possible. This kit is excellent.

Connect the power wire to the bike's auxiliary wire, the other power wire to an earth. Plug in the headsets, audio lead and phone lead and it's done. The unit sits nicely under the seat above 'a box' near the rear light cluster. Held in place with the strap that holds 'the box' in place. Little velcro pads that come in the kit, stop it sliding about and prevent it rubbing anything. Ten minutes and it's ready to go, ten more minutes to fit the headsets into our helmets and we were on the drive setting the volume and VOX sensitivity. Getting the headphones in the correct place was a bit of trial and error, but once the place was sorted more velcro stops them moving.

The phone lead was an extra to the standard kit and I thought it was a bit short. It was too short to reach my phone when it was in my pocket or in Katrine's, so I emailed the company and asked for a longer one. I had a replacement lead through my letter box the next morning (FOC)!

Excellent product, excellent service.

Now all I've got to get used to is talking and riding at the same time. Doing two things at once is not something I've mastered yet!

August 30, 2003

Service Time (again)

Well I've had the 8000 mile service done and a new back tyre fitted. (�280!) There was probably 500 miles left on the tyre, but as it was in the workshop I thought I'd get it done.

It seems a bit silly to have to get the bike serviced so regularly. 4000 miles is such a short distance given the type of bike it is. I really think Honda should have sorted it so the service intervals were further apart.

This time I had a 900 Hornet as a loan bike. It felt like a toy compared to the weight of my Pan. Remind me to take the option of the faired bike next time! I'd forgotten how much wind blast there is on a motorway. The other thing is water proofs are definately needed when you've no fairing. Though I didn't get the opportunity to 'play' on the Hornet much as I'd just done a night shift and I needed to sleep and it was slinging it down with rain. It was a nice fun bike to ride, but it's not the sort of bike I could use all the time. I need the luxuries that the Pan has, fairing, clock and fuel guage to name just few.

One of the comments replying to my previous post asked about the suspension. Well I have more on that. When I first had the Pan I didn't feel any need to change the factory preload setting at all. But now as I've got used to the bike, and got more confident in it's (and my) abilities I do change it. As it's easy to get to I've played about quite a lot now.

The settings I use (11 stone rider, female pillion of ?? stone)

Solo (unleaden) TWO notches, one turn harder than standard.

Solo (loaded) FOUR notches, two turns harder than standard.

Two up (Sunday bimble) SIX notches, three full turns harder than standard.

Two up (Holiday loaded) EIGHT notches, four full turns harder than standard.

On a really warm day I have to set the preload one notch (half a turn) harder.

I hope that this little list helps Jeremy.

August 12, 2003

Corrections - Bike Magazine Test

In the September issue of Bike Magazine there is a comparative test of the Yamaha FJR1300 ABS, BMW K1200GT, BMW R1150RT and Honda Pan European. I've spotted a couple of things that I disagree with and a couple of errors (eg. No one checked the information). This bit of correction is obviously biased as I don't know if there were any mistakes in the article relating to the other bikes.

First the errors;

The Pan comes with Bridgestone BT020 tyres, not Dunlop 220's as mentioned in the Living With It section, in other sections of the article it does say the Pan has Bridgestone tyres. No proof reading then?

Again in the Living With It section it states the service interval as 6000 miles - wrong it's only 4000 miles. Perhaps this was a figure that the author thought it should be, as I do! The 'Really Useful' section of the same magazine has the correct figure, again where's the proof reader?

Now the disagreements - facts first;

I get well over 200 miles before the reserve segment flashes. I don't think about fuel until I've traveled 200 miles since a fill up. We regularly travel over 230 miles between fill-ups and the reserve isn't flashing. I know that fuel consumption has lots of variables, but the range they have of 151 miles before the reserve light flashes is just plain wrong compared to what I regularly achieve.

The estimate of the tank range is also miles out. They thought only 187 miles. My 'normal range' is over 230 miles before reserve, adding Mr Honda's conservative 50 mile reserve range figure this gives a tank range to empty of at least 280 miles. I'd be prepared to bet I could do this distance with no need to change my riding style.

My bikes 'computer' displays an average fuel consumption of 10.1 miles per litre (yes I know it's a strange measurement unit, but you do get used to it. Just multiply by four and a half) which equates to about 45.5 miles to the gallon. Using my last fill up as an example I traveled 234 miles on 21.14 litres of unleaded (the fuel guage had two segments left lit). That's 50.3 miles per gallon. The article said a pathetic 35 mpg.

The test also mentioned the Pan jumping out of gear. I've never experienced this.

Now the personal impressions;

The tester didn't think the Pan was comfortable because the seat was too hard and the bars set too far forward. Well, I'd agree with the bar position statement they are a bit forward, but the seats not hard.

The impression of the pillion seat is also wrong Katrine strongly disagrees with the tester's opinion that it's not as comfortable as it looks. She feels it is. Over eight months of 'sitting on the back', I'd trust her judgment! Though she does confirm that leaning on a top box is hopeless, not because it's too low (we have a Givi box) but that it's too far back.

The testers also thought the Pan to be bland, to be fair they weren't over excited by any of the bikes on the test. Perhaps they were looking for something that none of the bikes have? None are intended to be sports bikes and their expectations should have reflected that. I have endless fun on my Pan. I've never felt that I'd have ridden anywhere with a bigger grin had I been on another bike. The Pan isn't bland but, is isn't a sports bike and shouldn't be measured against one.

My version of the conclusion;

The Pan is definitely NOT 'some kind of super-scooter' it's a superb bike that does exactly what I bought it to do; Carry Katrine and me all over the place quickly, comfortably and enjoyably (with all our stuff too!).

I don't know if the other bikes would do the same job so well as I've not tried them but, I doubt it, so I'll probably never find out!

August 04, 2003

France Twice

We've just come back from our second trip to France. The first time we went through the tunnel, this time we used Brittany Ferries. Both methods worked well, but I prefer the tunnel. Do you think we could start a campaign to get another one dug to get to Brittany direct?

As you'd expect the Pan performed excellently, with the addition of the new Givi Maxia top box we've more than enough luggage space. I'd read reports of the handling being upset with a fully loaded top box, well we never experienced it, despite exceeding the 'recommended maximum speed' for the fully laden top box (very briefly officer!)

It's getting closer to new rear tyre time, it's looking a bit flattened in the middle. Unless anyone can offer a better suggestion I'm going to stick with the BT020 the same as it came with. Only another 800 miles and it's second service time too oh, the expense of it all! They'll probably get done together at the end of the month.

The 4000 mile service cost about £125 (I can't remember the exact amount) and only a couple of months later the next service is looming. You'd have thought Mr Honda could have sorted a bit more mileage between services. The Pan's a touring bike, miles is what it's supposed to do.

As Mike and Craig seem to regularly ride in France it can't just be me that finds riding over there more pleasureable than in the UK. I don't think it's just that 'I'm on holiday' either. There are too many things that make French roads better. Here's my list in no particular order.

No GATSOs, never saw any speed cameras in nearly 2000 miles.

Excellent road surfaces, only found a short section of resurfacing gravel and that was on a very, very minor road.

The other drivers seem more bike aware.

Motorway speed limit is higher. Why not 80 in the UK Mr Blair?

Motorway and dual carriageway lane discipline is much better, no middle lane dawdling.

The only thing I had difficulty with was the traffic light sequence, they go straight to green from red, there's no 'on you marks' amber.

As far as the Pan goes. These two trips really confirmed that long distance touring is what it's for. Two up for nearly 1000 miles in a week and we had an excellent time. Even when it rained our enthusiasm to go for a ride didn't fade.

Oh, after trying Normandy and Brittany, we prefer Brittany it's much prettier. Normandy is a little flat.

I hope we get over there again before the summers out.

Tomorrow I've got to remove my insect collection, I could be at it for a while!

August 01, 2003

Suited and Booted

The motor on the pan still kicks out a lot of heat, even post-recall. So I decided I needed some lighter gear for the Summer so I got a new riding suit from Hein Gericke and some boots from Sidi.

I've only had the boots a few days so I won't comment on those yet.

The riding suit is a two-piece from HG's Air range. Essentially, this is a vented cloth jacket/trousers with CE armour fitted. You lose the abrasion resistance of leather but not the impact protection. Interestingly, there's no zip top join the two together but as the jacket is quite long this hasn't been a problem.

Riding through France in temperatures of 42C (sorry, don't know what that is in old money) was fairly comfy and I felt sufficiently protected.

July 31, 2003

Trip to France

Aah, France. Long, clear, empty winding roads, cheap petrol, fine weather, good food and wine, what could be better? Just got back from a trip to the west coast on the ST, covered just over 1000 miles in two weeks, maybe not much to a hardcore Pan rider, but plenty for me to enjoy. As ever, the Pan was faultless throughout, never missing a beat, sitting comfortably at 100 mph most of the way down there, plus a few runs up to Bordeaux, one of which topped 120 mph chasing in vain after my buddy on his Hayabusa. Still it was fun, if a little reckless.

I discovered that the ST1100 panniers are the perfect size for 1.5 litre drinks bottles, you can get 4 of them in the outer side of the panniers, it probably way exceeds Honda's recommended weight limit, but I had no problems. The girl at the hypermarket checkout must have wondered how we were going to get a trolley load of shopping back on our bikes, but it all fitted neatly into the ST. However, I found packing clothes, even with the pannier liners, is not as efficient as soft throwovers, which have that extra "squeezeability" factor.

The trip back was marred by torrential rain for most of the way, even the great fairing of the ST didnt keep it off and my waterproof gear started to let the water in after 3 hours riding. Only when we stopped at St Malo and I saw the state of my 'Busa riding buddy did I realise that the fairing had done its job well. I still felt quite fresh and was considerably drier and warmer than he was, plus my luggage was dry! The Busa may look nice and go like a rocket, but the ST has all the "real world" speed you need, the comfort, the protection, the luggage, not to mention the tank range, and I'd choose the ST every time.

Back to the daily commute and a weekend rideouts for now, maybe a trip to the UK later this year, and the bike is rapidly approaching its 28k mile service so I'll let you know how that goes. She's long overdue a bit of spit and polish too, so if we get a nice weekend I might get the cleaning stuff out. Then again, if we're going to get a nice weekend it'd be a shame not to go for a ride really.......

Safe riding

General Update

Well, quite a lot has happened over the last few months and I've a HUGE backlog of stuff to talk about.

In summary, I've had the Pan for just over a year and covered 16000 miles. Recently I took the bike through France to the tune of nearly 1600 miles and that's the source of much of what I have to say.

Lastly, I've caught up on all the e-mail I've had over the last few months so if you haven't had a reply to any messages, please feel free to resend them.

July 30, 2003

It's been a long road...

And I'm back again.

For a lot of reasons, I've been away for a while but nothing to do with the Pan.

Big thanks to the crew for keeping things going here. I appreciate it!

Thanks also to all those who've mailed me over the last few months. I'll be replying to you all soon (honest!), so thanks for waiting.

More tomorrow...

June 27, 2003

Why you should ride another bike from time to time

Ok so we all know how good then Pan is, but its surprising how you forget this until you ride another bike for a while. I've just spent three weeks running around on another bike (shock horror), suffice to say its an oldish two stroke race rep. Answers on a postcard please...

Anyway, I had to give it back this week,it was used to take away in the van as a holiday run-around, and I kept it for a week when I got home. Now I've been riding the Pan nearly every day for the last 5 years, so you kinda get used to it, its "normal". The stroker was tiny, noisy, rattly and has an on-off kind of power delivery, but it was good fun and a hoot down the a-roads round Cognac. We met two Brits down there, one on a Pan who had ridden from Glasgow to Cognac in a day and a half, he must have had a shock to see a Brit registered stroker that far south!

The first thing that struck me as I rolled the Pan off the centre stand is how big she is. Shes huge ! How on earth do I ride this behemoth through traffic? Firing her up, she started first time having been sat outside for three weeks, no choke required, but I didnt expect any problems - its a Honda after all!

Pulling away, I instantly remembered why I fell in love with the Pan the first time I took it out. She is just so smooth, the engine purrs gently as you pull away with minimum revs, the gear change is clean, and the power delivery just oozes. On the morning commute, I dont think I revved her over 3000rpm, the stroker's rev counter only starts at 3000!
Sat up looking over the traffic, the view is great and the bars felt high and wide, and that seat is so comfy.

The traffic ? - well it was a bit of a shock at first but you soon remember how to do it - after all it's only been three weeks. Coming back home from work that day was the real pleasure, swinging the Pan's low slung weight into the twisty corners, power out of them smoothly and enjoying every moment of it. She just feels so solid, so dependable, so comfortable.

There was a time, not so long ago, that I had begun to wonder why I rode this bike. If that happens to you, go beg or borrow a completely different bike from a buddy and ride it for a bit. Then get back on your Pan and remember why you love it so much. For me, it took me back to that first test ride, and its great to have that feeling again.

Safe riding all, and smiles through the miles!


June 16, 2003

Long Distance Trips

Over the last few weekends we've been putting some miles on the Pan. We've been doing a lot of round trips from the house, 168 miles 'there and back'. So we did our first 'proper' long distance trip to visit The Eden Project in Cornwall. A total round trip of nearly six hundred miles. We were confident that we'd cope with a proper tour.

The thing we hadn't realised when you travel a long way on a bike is that you can't fidget as much as you do in the car, as a result you get pins and needles and stiff muscles. I hadn't considered this problem when I'd planned the stops. The first stop was a bit worrying as I wasn't sure I'd be able to hold the bike up when we came to a stop as my right leg had 'gone to sleep'! Fortunately the feeling came back quickly and there was no embarassing/expensive 'incident'. We quickly learned to move a bit when the road and traffic allowed. I still got an ache in my right wrist, a constant speed meant the same position for ages. I think fitting risers to the handle bars would help take the weight of my wrists. Neither of us suffered too badly really. The Pan is a very comfortable bike to travel on. How do sports bike riders cope with what must be much, much more pain? The seat remained comfortable through out and the fairing meant no wind blast at all. We passed someone on a naked bike who looked really uncomfortable above seventy. He didn't stay with us for long. Travelling long distances needs to be practiced, it is a bit like an athelete training for an event. This was out first bit of training.

After the boredom of the M54, M6 and M5 the A30 is an impressive and deceptivly fast road. I'm sure that it would be easy to have several incriminating photographs taken on that stretch of road without even realising (until the brown envelopes arrive). I saw several cameras, I'm sure I missed several others, beware!

Last weekend we went to Hay On Wye to visit the bookshops. This is a relatively short journey 210 miles in one day. Easy! The only real incident was my fault and something that was very scarey! After turning round a particularly sharp hairpin bend I found I was in too high a gear. The bike stalled and locked the back wheel at about ten miles an hour. Fortunately I caught it and we didn't tip off. If I'd been riding solo the torque of the engine would have been enough, but two up the gear was too high. I didn't register the bike struggling, it just stopped. The bikes coming the other way must have thought I was going mad. I've begun to notice that the throttle control is very snatchy at very low speeds, other people have noticed this too. I understand it's to do with setting the fuelling to meet emission regulations. It's beginning to get on my nerves, I think this contributed to my stalling incident. The bike is having it's 4000 mile service on Wednesday. I'll get them to check it out.

The other very odd thing is tyre pressures. As I've mentioned before getting an air line connected is difficult and since the tyres felt ok I hadn't bothered to check. Until last week. During my ride home from work the bike felt 'loose', I wasn't sure if it was me being tired or if there was something wrong. The following morning I checked the tyre pressures (cold). 42psi rear and 48psi front! How can the front tyre pressure get so high? Unless the dealer didn't set them properly when it went in for the 500 mile check (3000+ miles ago). The recommended pressure is 42psi front and rear. Any way I put the pressure right and the handling settled down again, very odd.

My new Givi Top box is ordered and should be here in time for our next 'jolly'. A long weekend over to France! (or should that be under, we're going through the Chunnel)

Try and type more often. It's hard to remember stuff!

May 20, 2003

BMF Show

We went to the BMF Show in Peterborough last Sunday and as always we had a great day.

This time was the first time we've actually gone on a bike! Either me or the 600 Bandit I had before the Pan hated wet roads so I always 'bottled out' of long journeys and we went in the car. With the early morning light showing us blue skies and fluffy white clouds we ignored the threat of rain, wrapped up warm and set off at 6:15.

The show opened at nine and the journey should only take two hours (plus breakfast stop). We have a standing bet with Katrine's sister 'last one there buys the bacon buttys'. We had to get there first, we've only beaten them once. Well, despite our best effort they got there first, but in my defence they do live nearer! Actually 'best effort' is a lie. We dawdled, stopped for petrol, stopped for coffee, went the 'long way round' and never exceeded 80mph (the A14 is littered with speed cameras!). I was ready with my excuses!

Four bacon baps, numerous coffees, info on several touring clubs, an excellent (mail order) price for a GIVI top box, research on intercoms completed, tired legs, muddy boots, two new helmets and two new waterproofs suits later we set off home. (There was obviously more to the show, but you you should go yourself, you wouldn't regret it).

Because the car and bike were parked so far apart we decided to meet up at the A1/A605 services to swap the new helmets from the car boot to our heads. When we came out it was pouring down! So, time to test the new waterproofs! Hooray, just what you need after a long day. After a comical double act of acrobatics and contortion we were both in our suits and new helmets.

Off we went into the downpour. The A605 is a slow road in good weather, the A14/A1 route to the showground is much quicker, but since it was pouring down I wasn't too bothered. The wind was a bit gusty too so the sheltered A605 was better than the exposed A1. We finally reached the A605/A14 junction and the rain was easing (a little), behind the fairing I was getting a little too warm, (Katrine can't get 'too warm' on a bike). I thought that my leather jacket/trouser combination was well draught proofed, but with the outer one piece suit and thermals I was too warm. We stopped a Cawley services for food (well Burger King). When we came out the rain had stopped and the sky was clearing a little. I made the executive decision that we'd not need the waterproofs. I didn't fancy trying to fight my way into them again and we'd be home in fourty minutes and it wasn't going to rain again anyway. WRONG!

Ten minutes later the sky was black, the lightening flashed, the hail thrashed and the rain fell in buckets. On a motorway no-one can hear you scream! It wont last long, heavy down pours don't do they? Ten minutes past and it's still coming down. Twenty minutes and it's still coming with no sign of slowing. The damp is penetrating my trousers and my gloves. My new helmet steams up the same as my old one, though the first open position is narrower, so the rain doesn't get in, well not straight in any way, it's slowed a little. We're on the elevated section of the M6 doing fourty five miles an hour (the same as everyone else). The gusty wind tried and fortunately failed to push us into the next lane several times. It's too late to stop and put on the waterproofs now just keep on going. Onto the M54 and the rain finally eased off.

Damp and a bit cold we arrive home at ten fifteen. Did this spoil our day? No not a bit. The weather may have been the worst I've ever ridden in, but the Pan made the situation much easier. There's now doubt that on any other bike (I've had) we'd have had to stop and wait it out.

Next time I say we won't need the waterproofs Katrine is going to ignore me. Probably best.

May 17, 2003

Rear wheel steering?

Early evening, clear roads. The rain had been very heavy but had now stopped, perhaps that lulled me into a false sense of security. A gently sweeping long right hander in front, no traffic ahead or behind me, give it a bit of throttle. Suddenly the engine hits the rev limiter as the rear tyre loses traction and the back of the bike tries to overtake the front. What happened next is a bit of blur but I remember the bars going violently from lock to lock in a enormous tankslapper. Suffice to say the bike thankfully didnt go down and I continued on my way, albeit with a rush of adrenaline perhaps not normally associated with the ST !
The tyres are still like new and the pressures are good, so I'm putting it down to experience and too much right hand whilst banked over in the wet. That may sound crazy but its never happened before like this. Perhaps there was diesel on the road, I dont know but it was a lesson well learnt.
I rode gingerly home to change my underwear.

On related note I've was wearing a Roof R010 helmet, which would have been even more upsetting if I had binned the ST because it is new, but comforting in that it replaces an elderly and well used Shoei. I reckon its a great lid, its is extremely quiet, the fit is great and I like the shape, although its not to everyones taste. Time will tell how it holds up.

Safe biking all, and roll on the sunshine.

May 07, 2003

Wolf in sheeps clothing

Strange heading for a Pan site but I have discovered a peculiarity on my bike that I will share with you.

After a long ride, and I hope to have more of them now that the good weather is with is, and I have parked my Pan up on my drive, I have noticed that my bike "talks" to me..........No honestly it does ! the engine is cooling I get a distinct "bleat" every minute or so that lasts for a few seconds............its quite spooky..........

May 06, 2003

All quiet.

I'm having a difficult time at the moment. Will get back to "work" here as soon as I can but, hey, there are more important things sometimes.

April 26, 2003

Bank Holiday Weekend

Well wasn't last weekend glorious, I don't know about you but I made the most it, Now after my last posting you'd be forgiven for thinking I regretted buying the Pan but
no that was just a cautionary tale!! Anyway Friday I went down to Hastings in Sussex purely because the A21 is such a good road (And the sun was out) great ride and the
new tyres and brakes where great, Sat. & Sunday bit of maintenance and quick trip to High Beech in Epping, That just left Monday, The day of the Ace Cafe Southend
Shakedown run, Weren't sure what to expect but I wasn't disappointed!! At 10.30 Monday morning approx. 1000 to 2000 bikes left the Ace Cafe in north London to
ride down to Southend in Essex (In the biggest run I've ever been on) On arriving at Southend I was amazed to find even more bikes parked up everywhere and I do mean
everywhere (police estimated 15000) As the day went on meet up with some old friends and possibly made some new one's. All in all a brilliant day out and exactly
why I bought the bike!

Safe Biking Everyone

April 15, 2003

Just a few reasons why I love this bike so much...

The recipe: A long weekend camping at Le Mans with your non-Pan riding mates, a 300+ mile 3 day round trip. My ingredients: One Pan European, one rider, one pillion, a pannier each for our luggage, tank bag with 4 litres of water, kettle, burner, coffee and tea making equipment, milk and biscuits (well, you've got to have some home comforts), u-lock and heavy duty cable, other bits and pieces stuffed in the fairing pockets. I could go on... two tubes of pringles, bottle of vodka, camera, sleeping bag....but you get the picture.

However, you have to stop three times while the other non-Pan's fuel up, and the pillion is another riders girlfriend. When we arrive, the Pan becomes the designated shopping vehicle cos it can carry the shopping back and had the most fuel left when we got there. Still I suppose I was lucky that I didnt have to take the two tents as well like last year...

Dont get me wrong, I'm not complaining at all. It just goes to show how good the Pan is, doing whats it is meant to do. Not a bungy net or tie down strap in sight, and all in such comfort that my pillion fell asleep on the way back at 85 mph. The backrest it seems, was a good investment.

I dont want to gloat, but I think that the others were just a little jealous. That'll teach them to buy sportsbikes...

April 13, 2003

Riding with the law

Well today was interesting I went on an observed ride with the City Of London Police, Who run an event called Bike Safe which on this occasion was run out of North
Weald Airfield near Epping in ESSEX, Basically you ride around a predetermined route with a CoL Police rider following you then when you get back to the airfield he
tells you what he feels you did wrong ( If anything!! ) He only had one complaint about my riding and that was I don�t always set myself correctly for corners! of course
I was on my best behaviour as well !!!! Other wise he might not have been so impressed, Still there you go .

On other matters, Nigel if you still can�t get an airline on your rear tyre go to your local bicycle shop and they should sell Right Angle valve Adapters thats how I got
round the prob. on my CX custom which had a 15in. back wheel.

Happy Biking All

April 09, 2003

How do you get air in your tyres?

This isn't a Pan-unique problem as it seems to affect all bikes with alloy wheels.

I was always taught to check tyre pressures at least once a week, but there's little point if I can't put more air in if I need to.

I can check my tyre pressures but I have yet to find a forecourt airline that I can get onto the valves should I need to add air. This problem is definitely more pronounced with the rear wheel of the Pan. With my Bandit I could get the air line connected if I had the wheel in just the right place, even with the panniers off I can't get it on the valve.

Have I missed something?

Service day blues.

12000 miles came and went so it's time to surrender the bike up to Honda.

As ever, those nice people at Chambers have provided a loan bike and (Hallelujah!) it's not a Deauville. No, it's a five year old CB500 and, actually, it's quite fun.

Which is just as well 'cos they called this afternoon to let me know it wasn't finished today so I can't pick the Pan up till tomorrow.

Sounds like an expensive outing, too. Tyres and pads in addition to the service.

I wonder what other surprises lie in store...

April 08, 2003

Buying On Impulse

I've had my Pan for 6 weeks now and have to admit I wasn't though enough when I went to look at it the first time(understatement) The three main things are; Front Callipers sticking on, Thus causing Fractured R/H Front Disk (Was it like it when I picked the bike up? Can't say for sure.)anyway Two new aftermarket disks, new pads and both callipers completely striped that was all sorted, Then there was the twitchy handling on having a closer look at the tyres and checking the pressures I noticed that although they both had plenty of tread left they where worn into a bad profile (The front looked like ^ shape!! ) So a bit of research online I found out lots of people didn�t like the Bridgestone BT020 that were fitted either, They had to go, So I checked with my local tyre centre and they had a pair of the OE fitment ( Bridgestone G547 Front/ G548 Rear ) in stock so on they went straight away, And what a difference She still shakes her head a little under braking but the weave going round corners is gone and no more white lining either. Other than that she�s great!
Went to my brothers in Bicester fortnight ago it�s 100 miles each way, All I need is a taller screen and it will be What 100miles!! I arrived still feeling fresh and alert (Remember be alert your country needs lerts ) So thats all for now more as it happens

Maybe the upgrade will wait....but I wasn't disappointed

Went for the test ride on Saturday - we've all read the reviews but theres nothing like trying one for yourself. I dont want to bore you all with the same stuff but heres my first impressions after just 3 hours on a rainy Saturday morning

The most noticeable thing for me was the size just melts away when you sit on it, maybe its those bare handlebars or the having the screen set on low but it just feels kinda smaller, which is very welcome. Whilst we're on the subject that electric screen is just fantastic. Enough said. On the cosmetic side, Mr Honda has moved the pass-light button, well that confused me for a few seconds there ! Ooh, and he's fitted hazard lights too, well done. Comfort wise, the adjustable saddle/seat (I never know what the proper terminology is?) is again a great improvement.

Oh yeah, and my shins don't catch the bottom of the fairing like they do on the 1100.

I know this isnt new, but as a first time experience with DCBS (which I had heard you either love or hate) the system certainly didnt bother me - the brakes stop this bike very nicely thank you.

Now I'm used to the 1100, it has its own sound, the 1300 motor sounds different, in a kind of VFR way. I would get used to it though...Does it go better than the 11? Sure, its got a newer, bigger, slicker engine, what did you expect ! But thats not what the Pan is all about to me.

Do I like it? You bet I do. The STX1300 is a brilliant update by Honda. Will I buy one? One day, yes, without a doubt I will have one, but you see, my Pan is primarily a workhorse. She lives outside, commutes through town traffic 260 days a year, and gets serviced almost as often as it gets washed...(ok it gets serviced by the book but you get the picture...)....

The 1100 may not be the showroom queen anymore, but she still feels smooth,reliable, and most importantly she can still cut the mustard where it counts...Anyway, new bikes are destined to live in garages for their first few years and be polished a lot anyway ...... arent they...?

April 07, 2003

Mirror, Mirror, on the floor...

I was driving back from the airport the other day, doing about 45, maybe 50, on the perimeter road. When, suddenly, the left side mirror cowling leans out slightly and then spangs off down the road.

I went back and picked it up, thinking "isn't it held on by something?"

Oh, yeah... There's a tether and the indicator wiring. Only, the tether has sheared and the wiring has stripped out of the back of the connector. The cowling is scuffed and scratched every which way you can imagine. :-(

I'm taking the bike for a service this week so I'll see if this is covered by the warranty. Well, I can ask...

April 06, 2003


I've changed jobs and now travel 20 miles to work instead of 2.5. An increase of 800%

My journey consists of all the types of road. A bit of motorway, Dual carriageway, A Roads, B Roads and congested towns roads.
After a fortnight of this new 'commuting' I think it's time to comment on how my ST1300 (and me) copes with the journey.

My previous journey took longer by bike than car because of the time it takes to get 'togged up'. My new journey is quicker by bike including getting changed because though the Pan is wide I can still get through the traffic quicker than in my car. In the morning as I'm quite early there's little traffic until the final two miles. I travel home between four and half-past, just before the rush hour starts properly and the journey takes the same time both ways, though there's much more traffic on the way home.

I was late leaving one evening and in the height of the rush hour I took less time getting home? I think it was because the rush our drivers allowed room for bikes where the pre-rush drivers didn't.

There's been a couple of hairy moments. A bus driver decided that bikes can move sideways when stationary, so he tried to come down the nearside to get to his bus stop two seconds earlier. It's a good job the paint on the panniers isn't any thicker! He stopped before he reached the mirrors, when I waved. He might have stopped sooner if I'd banged on his window, but I couldn't quite reach that high.
The most serious was Mr On-The-Phone. Loads of traffic, wandering about phone in one hand, scratching his head with the other. When I tried to wake him up with a 'beep' on the horn he promptly slammed his brakes on! He'd no idea what was going on around him. There should definitely be a stiffer penalty for driving whilst on the phone. It should be classed as driving without due care and attention at minimum.
There's also been the normal drivers not seeing an enormous silver bike with it's lights on in a queue of traffic situation. Fortunately in the really congested bit I'm never going more than 20 so I'm able to stop ok. I'm going to get a day-glow yellow waistcoat. It's the only way, dress like a police man. Then they may notice.

I was concerned on my first journey that the Pan may be too wide to give me any benefit in the heavier traffic. I was wrong, as my experience of the roads improves I'm finding more than enough space to filter through. Only on a couple of occasions has the width been a problem then, I just let a narrower bike go through, the gap generally widens as the cars pull in a bit. Some car drivers can be very considerate, which has surprised me as no one seems to give an inch to other cars.

On the whole travelling to and from work on the Pan is a pleasure. I always arrive at my destination less wound up (even allowing for hairy moments) because I feel I'm always making progress.

May be more people should travel to work on a bike, not just to reduce congestion, but also to reduce stress!

April 04, 2003

Time for an upgrade?

Well, went back to the dealer to settle up for the new tyres and battery, lo and behold a (nearly) new silver STX1300, ABS/DCBS model.

"Have you got a STX1300 demo bike? I ask.."yeah, its that pile of bits in the corner, it's written off, but we have just taken this silver one as a trade in, wanna take it out for the weekend?"....long pause.....glance at the price tag.....even longer pause...the sense of deja-vous is overwelming....

"err, yeah, thanks, I will"

I'll let you know what happens....

April 03, 2003

You never realise how things degrade without you noticing....

The new BT020 tyres fitted this week have brought the Pan back to life. After 14 months and around 8000 miles the old ones had done pretty well. As usual, the front had gone completely, due to the stop/start and heavy braking riding round this little rock called Home.The only slighty squared rear had a puncture plugged a few months back so it went the same way as the battery, which at nearly 7 years old was still going strong, but surely couldnt have gone on much longer...

The Pan certainly handles again, feels so much sharper, and is much easier to control at traffic filtering speeds. And I'm sure the starter motor has just that little bit more eagerness than before...but maybe thats just me.

April 01, 2003

Another milestone...

Passed 12000 miles today (service next week, ulp!). And, no, I haven't forgotten I said I'd put together some running costs...

March 27, 2003

A choice of colour?

If you want to choose what colour your Pan is, don't buy one in the USA.

In a bizarre Henry Ford kind of style, Honda US sells 'em in any colour you like as long as it's Silver.

March 26, 2003

Clothing & my love of ebay

You will soon know all my secrets�..

For the unknowing ebay is an internet auction site. Thanks to my brother, Mark, (there, I have given you a mention) I have spent in excess of �6,000 on this site in the last 8 months. I have also made a bit of cash along the way.

For those who have not used ebay � DON�T � you will be hooked.

As I bought my bike through ebay it was only natural that when I needed some new biking gear that I should use the thrill of the auction. Bearing in mind that clothing is a matter of taste and each to their own.
Pre-Pan I had a pair of leather trousers (shrunk? over time), black leather jacket, an excellent black Frank Thomas �Aqua� jacket (with armour that weighs an absolute ton), black FT leather gloves and a pair of matching FM helmets for my wife and I so we look the part. I also had a pair of black Doc Martens with steel toe �tectors which performed well for 6 years but had to go in the bin with the leather trousers.

From ebay I have now bought a full set of �Weise� armoured and waterproof clothing for �52, a new pair of leather trousers for �40, belstaff leather gloves for �12, and a NEW flip front lid for �72. Two pairs of boots: new �Harley D� with steel toes for �45 and a �26 pair of worn-in racing boots, again with steel toes (with a �free� pair of leather gloves) � So fully decked out for less than 200 quid!!.

All in black so on top of that I always wear my HV vest and with full lights nobody should say �I never saw you�

AND, because of the excellent luggage on the Pan, all including 2 helmets will fit in the machines boxes�..Who said biking was an expensive game?

March 24, 2003


Hands up those who took advantage of the beautiful weather and went for a ride at the weekend ! Is it me or do car drivers disengage brain on a Sunday?

I clocked 200 miles riding my Pan and am really getting to know her now.

Few things of note:

1) I am starting to notice the weight in slow moving traffic and am aware that the bike is not slim enough to go in-between our 4 wheeled friends at traffic lights. Bit of a shame but there you go. On a plus side cars DO move out the way when they see you coming (apologies to the Fiesta I came up behind on the Derby ring-road yesterday. I know I was doing �ton twenty� but you didn�t need to swerve quite so much)
2) I do get noticeable wind noise over the front screen above 50mph. Not buffeting � in fact my arms feel totally in tact � but at times my neck stretches several inches. I have had no problem with side winds � perhaps weight does have its advantages. I would be interested to hear from anybody who has upgraded from the standard to the tall screen and how much of a difference it has made. Is there not an �extension� I can add to the top? It may well have been my old helmet � I will tell when I try my new lid out next weekend.
3) The tyres (Goodyears � I checked) appear capable of riding all roads and even the dreaded white lines. No problems to report there though, unlike my colleagues, it is too early to comment on wear.
4) And finally the brakes. In my early biking days I was a 99% rear braking � never using the front brakes as I had fond memories of tugging on the front brake on a push bike and projecting myself head first over a car bonnet. I am now wise to the laws of physics and momentum and use rear brakes below 20mph and front at other times/speeds. Much more faith in the Pans front discs now and I think I know her limits.

Even starting to take corners at speed now�.

I really like this bike������

March 22, 2003

A Professional Point Of View

Last week I had an interesting conversation with a local riding instructor;

I was drawn to his ST1300 as it wasn't wearing it's panniers, it looked really skinny. After introducing myself, we started discussing the merits of the 1300 over the 1100. He'd had four 1100's and this was his first 1300.

He didn't like the colour (blue) because it never looked the same, the other colours were worse apparently. He didn't like the dash as it was difficult to see in bright (Spanish) sunshine. The indicator repeaters are invisible. He'd got overheated by the poor ventilation, pre-modification. His friend had cracked the sump on his bike while they were on holiday. This was fixed with Araldite to get the bike home. And finally, the bike looked odd without the panniers (the 1100 had some kind of flap which apparently made it look better).

He did like the extra power. He said that it cornered better.

Perhaps familiarity breeds contempt, when you ride or drive something day-in day-out I suppose the niggles seem worse.

Me, I'm lucky, I ride for fun!

March 21, 2003

A couple of questions

Can somebody please explain to me what Honda were thinking of when:-

a). They put a thumping great knob at the front of the bike to adjust the headlights with. It was as if they could not think of anything else to put there. I would suggest a volt meter or something else that might be used daily rather than once in a blue moon.
and b) There are two, shall I call them for ease of discription, glove boxes on the panniers - one on either side- the right one being lockable with a rigid lid and the left being unlockable with a flimsy lid. What do Pan owners use the left hand one for? The lid is easily "nickable". It is not safe to open whilst moving so if you keep a rag or whatever in there you need to stop to remove it in which case why is it not rigid and lockable like the other? What do you keep in yours?

Summer's coming....summer's coming......summer's coming.......

Biking into London after the Congestion Charge.

As described here you now pay to enter London during the normal working week. This was done with a view to reducing the amount of traffic in and around the capital. Transport for London (TfL) report a reduction of just over 15% in traffic levels.

Well, I've noticed little or no reduction in traffic at all around the City. This isn't necessarily a Bad Thing, though, as the monies levied are apparently to be ploughed back into the public transport network around London. So, if there's not a great drop in traffic, they must be making a fortune...

According to their own figues, the system is taking �2.5 million a week though I've no idea what the running/capital costs are.

Related link: Official TfL Congestion Charge site

March 20, 2003


Well fellas' - have made a decision. I'm having both the Pan and Goldwing - although I have to sell the other bikes. My kwak Z1 will pay for most of it - even without an exhaust together with the little 600 Divvy. So there we are, two big tourers. Good decision - or not?

March 18, 2003

None Stop

This weekend we've done loads of travelling on the Pan. With the summer like weather it would have been a shame not to!

As a kind of land mark we've managed two point-to-point journeys none stop! There's no doubt it was only nicotine cravings that stopped us. The bike's so comfortable we could easily have gone twice as far before we stopped. I've concluded that Motor Cycling is good for my health - It reduces my smoking!

Saturday night was cold on the M5/M6/M54 route home though, we had to stop to thaw out! 1 degree motorcyling needs electric clothing really.

When we went to my Mum's she didn't even notice it was a different bike! (My Pan is silver, my Bandit was red), but she still didn't spot the difference! Just what I wanted! No earache! I had been expecting a bit of fuss when I introduced her to my expensive toy, but it was fine.

I'd remembered to bring my Mum's sewing machine back. Sewing machine's make interesting luggage, heavy and bulky. The little rack coped better than I'd thought, though the tags for hooking bungy's to are too rounded, so my cargo net just slid off them. I had to do a bit of messing about to get it secure, but it didn't move despite my best efforts to shake it loose on the sixty five mile journey.

If this weekend is anything to go by then, Roll on summer!

March 17, 2003


I've done just over 11000 miles (that's nearly 18000 kilometres) and the tyres are starting to look a bit worn. The rear was replaced at just over 5k following a puncture, so tyre life would seem to be around 12k front and 7k rear.

At least, it is the way that I ride.

That's using the UK standard fitting of BT 020 tyres, by the way.

March 14, 2003

Very tempted!

Well Guys I reckon its time to come clean. I picked up a Goldwing for a weeks free trial and went for my first four hour ride. I have to say I'm impressed.
Nigel did say "have you ever seen a Goldwing go round a roundabout"?
I have to tell you that it goes round one like it was made for roundabouts - very smooth as long as you accelerate - and fast.Slow speed will take some getting used to - but it goes like the wind and in total comfort.
If I have any doubts then it is not like riding the Pan - or any other motorcycle - which is a little worrying because my riding skills will depreciate to the point of being so laid back as to make me fall over!!!
Anyway - one week of trials - then i'll let you know.


We had a question about how to lock up a Pan when there's nowhere to chain it to as the method he used for his current bike wouldn't work with a Pan because of the fairing and other body work. (Sorry the response has been slow Lee)

Here's what I do; Disc lock through front disc the rear disc is a bit awkward to get to), a big chain through front wheel and another big chain though the rear wheel. As with any security measures if the thief is determined there's nothing much you can do, but this method is as good as I get. This method works 'cos there's plenty of space to put chains on a Pan when you're riding it. There is a 'U' Lock space under the seat, Mr Honda should have supplied one. Locks are supplied by some scooter manufacturers, why not for a �10k motor bike?

I suppose that you could just use one chain through the front and rear wheels - passing it through the centre stand to stop that folding up but, I would always suggest more than one chain as it takes the 'git' more time to deal with individual chains. As with all locking up outside, try and vary where you put your bike. Routines are easy for thieves to identify and prepare for. Using a waterproof cover is also a good security measure as it camouflages your bike. Obviously it's a big bike but the thief won't be sure what bike it is until he's spent time looking under it. Shiny things attract thieves!

I'm not too happy discussing my domestic security where the world can read it. I'm not going to tell the b*st*rds what tools to bring!

According to reports from insurance companies and the police, bigger bikes don't tend to be stolen by opportunists. The theft is usually planned in advance; find out the security measures and bring the tools and lift it into a van. Alarms are ignored by 99% of people so they are ignored by 'professional' thieves too.

The ST1300 has the HISS immobiliser system which uses a transponder in the ignition key to confirm the correct key is being used. (Break or bend a key, say goodbye to �50+ !). I don't know if this system would deter the 'professional' thief but, it seems to be respected by insurance companies. The ST1300 also comes with Smart Water as standard. This system uses a special paint that is applied to various 'bits' of the bike so that it can be identified if found. Of course the part has to be found first.

I hope this depressing article helps.

March 13, 2003

Instrumentation and controls

Well, the move from ST1100 to STX1300 has resulted in a very different cockpit. Honda have generally done a good job although (as ever) not everyone is a fan.

Moving from left to right:

That dial? That raises/lowers the headlight. Meaning that, for example, when you have a pillion it's no longer obligatory to blind oncoming traffic. Gee, we're just so polite...

The cluster of four buttons controls the display and the trip computer. From here you can adjust the display brightness, the way that fuel utilisation is displayed, toggle between (and reset) trip meters and set the clock.

Next come the rev counter and speedo and above those are one of the weak points. The turning light indicators. Unfortunately, if you're tall you need to look carefully as this may be the last time you see them.

The next panel, from top to bottom comprises of the fuel gauge, fuel consumption meter, trip meter and odometer, air temperature and clock. The two areas of complaint with this panel have been visibility in strong light (not a problem in my experience) and the bizarre units of measure for fuel consumption. Miles per litre anyone? The Air Temp gauge is only any use when you're under way as when stationary, it is rendered useless by the heat of the engine affecting the sensor. Not a big problem but, hey, you should be told.

Not shown in the picture is the engine temperature readout. Don't ask me why but I can assure you it's on my bike, honest! I don't know whether this is any good as it never goes beyond half way, even in stop/start traffic on hot summer days. Still, maybe when I go through France, it'll budge beyond there. Then again, maybe not...

Lastly, the light on the right have the Neutral indicator, Fuel Injection, Oil, High Beam and ABS warning lights. The Beam indicator is very good, indeed. The ABS light remains on from the moment you start the motor to just after you get under way.

Lastly, that Pan European log on the far right? It's backlit. Unlike the panel of buttons on the left. Duh! What were they thinking!!!

All in all, I find the cockpit gives me all the information I need and in such a way that I don't end up searching about for it. I've no idea whether it warns you about stuff in a good way as I haven't had a major failure yet.

March 12, 2003

Links Page

The links page has been updated with, er, a lot of links.

Well, what did you expect? Chickens?!

Its time to confess

Are you sitting down?

I thought it was about time I told you where I got my bike from.....

No, it wasn't my mates and he gave me a good deal......

No it wasn't from either a local or distant garage who gave me options of extra's and credit etc......

No it wasn't from a reputable Honda dealer with the comfort of full support at a price...

I bought my bike on the internet.......on an auction site.....on EBAY to be exact.........I went on one picture, a 40 word description, and after 7 days of bidding became the proud owner of a bike I had never seen or even ridden for the total sum of THREE GRAND !!!!!

Wreckless?....... Maybe........Paid less than market value?......I think so........Am I happy?.....TOO BLOODY RIGHT !!!

March 11, 2003


After a few rained off attempts Waggy finally had a ride on my bike (as a pillion, I would never let anyone else actually drive).

I've finally done it! I have found someone who is heavy enough to make it necessary to adjust the rear suspension! And it did make a difference this time. We didn't go far as he'd forgotten his big coat and the wind has been very gusty today. Only a few miles down the dual carriageway, but it was far enough for him to be very impressed.

His first comment as we left the car park was "It sounds like a car". My response was to reassure him it didn't perform like one!

As we left the industrial estate I think I heard him yell "You're right it's not a car!". Because of the terrible side winds and the fact that he's only a learner passenger I accelerated very gently and only achieved normal cruising speed for a couple of miles each way. When we got back he had the following to say.

"It didn't feel like we were going that fast!"

"The fairing really protects both the driver and the passenger from any wind blast."

"It's a really comfy seat."

"The wind didn't seem to upset it too much." - There was more weight on the bike than usual!

"She would never let me have one."

When my other work mates questioned him later his main comment was;


JOKE - No offence intended

An engineer, of the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Corporation, died and went to heaven.
At the gates, St. Peter told him, "Since you've been such a good man and your motorcycles have changed the world, your reward is, you
can hang out with anyone you want in Heaven".
The Engineer thought about it for a minute and then said, "I want to hang out with God."
St. Peter took him to the Throne Room, and introduced him to God.
The Harley engineer asked God, "Hey, aren't you the inventor of woman?"
God said, "Yes, thats right."
"Well," said the engineer, "Professional to professional, you have some major design flaws in your invention.
1. There's too much inconsistency in the front-end protrusion.
2. It chatters constantly at high speeds.
3. Most of the rear ends are too soft and wobble too much.
4. The intake is placed way to close to the exhaust.
5. Finally, the maintenance costs are outrageous."
"Hmmmm, you may have some good points there," replied God, "hold on" and God went to his Celestial super computer, typed in a few words and
waited for the results.
The computer printed out a slip of paper and after reading it God said "Well, it appears that both our inventions have the same problems, but according to these numbers, men are still riding my invention more than yours."

March 10, 2003

The Top Box

I've been accused of having some sort of unnatural relationship with the luggage on the Pan. Truth is, I'm just trying to go over each significant feature in turn. Doing this bit-by-bit means that new buyers should be able to get (albeit biased) information on whatever their key areas of interest are.

So, on to the rest of the luggage...

The top box is an optional extra. Bearing in mind some of what I have to say below, you may want to consider whether to fit it very carefully indeed.

To fit the box, a plate is fitted to the luggage rack, extending its length but not obtrusively. It's a shame that this is in black plastic as it doesn't really match the rest of the bike that well. The box uses its own, separate key unlike the panniers and (again, unlike the panniers) is very easy to remove and re-attach. The hasp to open/close the box is simple, effective and easy to use as well. There is a built in carrying handle making the box easier to carry about when full though it's a much more awkward shape than the panniers.

Inside, it's huge. Even more deceptively vast than the panniers. You'll be amazed just how much junk can be crammed in. I can (and do) put a small suitcase straight into it when travelling about, leaving room for odds and sods around it.

There are elasticated straps to limit the movement of loose items and a rigid carpet to flatten off the bottom. This covers two small gaps just large enough to hide, for example, a cargo net and some luggage straps.

Then the bad bit... The new Pan has a reputation for weaving at high speed. My experiments have shown that this is a combination of riding solo, screen at full height, top box fitted and travelling in excess of 110mph. Change any one of these (you have to completely lower the screen and adding a pillion is still untested) and the bike remains stable till at least 130mph. In the vicinity of legal speeds, there is no problem but, hey, you have been warned.

Me? I wouldn't be without it when I need it but most of the time the top box lives in the garage.

March 09, 2003

Oh-oh .......problem

Early morning � donned my gear � wheeled her out the garage and down the drive � climbed on board and pressed the starter button � nothing � not a sausage. A press on the horn confirmed my thoughts as it let out a pathetic whimper � I had a flat battery.
The neighbour�s curtains were still drawn. They were still asleep. Nobody saw me as I wheeled the bike back up to the garage to perform surgery with the side panel to get at the battery. She started first time as I connected her up to my car.

Surely the ride the previous day didn�t drain it even though I had headlights on full (as usual). I smelt a problem but couldn�t be bothered to look deeper � I needed a fix and off I rode into the morning air.

I hit the B roads and country lanes this time and soon found that whatever tyres I had on my bike gripped the road well � no problems there. The torque is quite incredible and I think I learnt today why the Pan is such a popular tourer. From 40mph in 4th I wound her back and was touching 100 plus without a groan � this is what this bike does best (where�s the cruise control?)
Taking the country bends (I was going to say �dropping her into the bends� but I am not that confident yet) was the same story and she coped admirably with all I threw at her. The brakes did give me a few scary moments as I battled to stop/slow down the beast in time but I guess I will get use to them. I do forget sometimes just how fast I am going.
Before I knew it I was back home (after doing just one more ride round the block) and in time to make the wife her breakfast.

By noon I was itching for another go and did a second ride and another 40 miles round the Derbyshire countryside. The petrol gauge has visibly moved and that reminded me to set the trip meter when I fill up to check the 200+ miles I can apparently get from a tank full.

I saw a lot more bikers this time, all out for a play on their toys, and I tried, successfully I think, to look like I had been riding my Pan for ages. She was growing on me and I squeezed my thighs on the tank in appreciation (read into that what you will !!)

Until the next time � battery permitting

March 08, 2003

Oh....Sod it !!

My new "biking" boots were delivered this morning (more about clothing later).

The sky was overcast and the forecast was heavy rain but the roads were dry.........."Sod it" I thought and donned my gear and decided on my maiden voyage.
I manouvered her backwards down my 20 foot drive without problem, started her up, into first and away.....

This was never going to be a long trip. I had already decided that. Along the A52 to the M1 and then back again. A round trip of 18 miles.

First thing, as I have mentioned before, were the mirrors. As I settled down in the seat to find my best position, the mirrors stood out as being nothing short of brilliant. I am a police trained advanced driver (though not a former policeman-more later))and I know it is just as important to know what is going on behind as in front, and the Pans mirrors gave me a perfect view of what was creeping up behind me.....Not that much did !!

The sound of the engine was..I don't know..disappointing ?. It purred sure enough but more like a large sewing machine. Is this really an 1100 engine? Perhaps the particular exhaust on my bike toned it down. I did feel the vibration at 4-5 thousand revs that I had read about on various reviews but it was not uncomfortable, infact it reminded me the baby was still alive....All in all surprisingly quiet.

Through the country road, 3 roundabouts and a set of lights and onto the dual carriageway.

WOW !! Bit of wind noise coming over the short-version screen I thought....until I looked down at my speedo....110mph and I didn't even notice. That must have taken me a few seconds, very little effort, and the Pan wanted more. No wonder the cars were pulling over as I approached them with my headlights on. This bike CAN move and just to make me feel better I pulled hard on the brakes and came down to 60mph without a flinch.

I was impressed and repeated the exercise after turning at the A52/M1 roundabout.

Back home as the first drops of rain fell and my wife knew from the grin on my face that I was happy with my Green Goddess.

Roll on a dry Sunday tomorrow.

March 07, 2003

Still dreamin'

I am back from 5 days at Centre Parcs in Sherwood Forest and boy did I miss my "goddess". We had some fine dry weather and I was rubbing my hands in anticipation at my maiden trip on Saturday, however, having seen the downpour that is forecast I will have to postpone until Sunday now.

I may sound like a wuss but the roads have to be dry for our first "date" together and what you will all get is an honest, thorough review of the things that matter to an average guy with a more than average bike. Insurance is sorted so COME ON BABY !!

Welcome to Brian. I am no longer the new kid on the block but there must be somebody else out there like me who can't afford a new Pan and has to make do with an old boy (girl). Talk to me somebody !!!!!

March 06, 2003

Let's go... Off-Road!!!

I went to a LARP event (don't ask) a few weeks ago that was held at a Scout Camp.

I arrived well after sunset in sub-zero temperatures.

Apart from spending too long finding the place (as there were no signs) I had no trouble with getting down the mile or so of road to the camp itself. OK, the road was very icy but gentle throttle control and the ABS made this into a non-issue.

Leaving two days later was another story entirely...

During the time we were at the event, the birds sang, the blossom began to appear on the tress and the sun shone brightly down upon us all. Which was nice.

Except that the frozen ground thawed out and turned into an inch deep layer of thin mud. For the first (and so far, only) time I bemoaned the fact that the TCS (Traction Control System) from the 1100 hadn't made it onto the 1300. Just turning the bike round was a bit of an epic undertaking as neither I nor it had any grip. I ended up having to ride the bike slowly (oh, so,slowly) down the side of the building we'd stayed in and into the field beyond so I could turn it. Turning circle: In excess of 40 feet. The trouble was that the back wheel would just spin, no matter how gently I slipped the clutch and the the back end would try to slide out, canting the bike over. I couldn't donut a turn 'cos the front wheel was equally without grip.

Having got turned about, I then had to ride about a mile down what had been a dirt track and was now just a muddy sheet. This would have been OK but for the potholes which led to several very-near get-offs. After almost an hour, I cleared the end onto the public highway emotionally drained and with quite sore ankles. This was the first time I'd really had to come to grips with how heavy the Pan really is.

Trail riders: Buy something else. But then you already knew that, didn't you?

March 05, 2003

Hello and Welcome

I wasn't aware we were coming apart but, thanks for joining us Brian.

Happy belated birthday and happy new bike!


Did I mention that Brian was joining us?


Ah, well...


I few weeks ago I asked if anyone could give me some advice on whether to buy an FJR or a Pan as a replacement for my 900 Diversion.

I'd like to say thanks to Mike, David and Nigel for your helpful information. I had a test ride on both bikes and went for a Pan - no need to go into the reasons why the Pan came out top! The deals done and I picked up my new bright red ABS Pan on Saturday 1 March (it was my 50th birthday present to myself!) I'II let you know how I get on.

I've been following the website messages with interest. Obviously Pan owners are a funny (peculiar) lot. Nigel rides his Pan to work although its only 2.5 miles. David has a close relationship with animals (I understand the police have interviewed the sheep in question and all charges have been dropped). Mike has a fixation with stuffing panniers. And now there's Richard whose trying to sex his bike. I really don't know what to make of it all!!

Thanks again for your help. If you see a Pan crawling around the Dartford area, don't worry its only me running the new bike it.

Take care.


Pan vs. Gold Wing

Actually, I'm not all that dogmatic about this question.

Ultimately, any bike is simply a tool which performs a number of jobs. Each bike is better at some stuff than at others.

The Pan, whilst versatile, suffers from the lack of a speciality to some degree. You can do huge distances on it but it's not as much of a sofa as the GL or the big Beemers. You can stomp about on it but it's certainly no sports missile. You can have a lot of fun but, let's face it, the Pan is not going off-road. (Yes, I've tried it but that's another story.) And, yes, you can use it in heavy traffic but it's hardly the slimmest of machines.

Ultimately, what drew me towards the Pan was that I needed a bike that could do almost anything (except off-road) and do so safely, comfortably and with confidence. My days of pushing performance envelopes are well behind me. If Davids needs have changed meaning that the long-distance main-road work is now much more important then he's wise to reconsider. Equally, I'd urge him to make sure he considers what the Gold Wing is less able to do.

Mind you, if he does change, I can see I might have to help him to set up a new site...

PS Glad you're back with us Nigel.

March 03, 2003

Just Daft!

Think of what you'll miss, corners, leaning, bends, grins, leaning, corners, B roads, corners, grins.

Have you watched a Goldwing go round a traffic island? - Imagine a motorbike and sidecar without the sidecar then you're close.

Think of the benefits, CD, radio, tv, armchairs, kichen sink - You may as well stay in the house!

I had a motorbike and sidecar for a while, may as well have had a car. All the disadvantages of a bike and a car rolled into one. - I bought a car.

Honda Goldwing - Two Wheeled Car!

Imho, Don't Do It

Turncoat? Traitor? or just daft?

This is going to stir up a PANacea of PANtastic proportions.
I am travelling about a 1000 miles a week on average on my Pan. I have decided that maybe the time has come for me to have just a little more comfort. I'll say the next bit quietly.................
Today I was offered a GL1500 SE Goldwing Aspencade with 1900 miles on the clock for �9000. I had to take it out - didn't I?
What a machine!
I have deferred purchase until I come back from Malta - but I am very tempted.
I realise that purchasing this would bar me from contributing to this site and incur howls of derision from the rest of you.
My Pan has been fantastic for the work I do - so come on - talk me out of it or tell me to buy it and never set foot on your site again.

Limo Bikes

What a wonderful day Sunday was! Off to Wales for a 'bimble' through the hills. Sun shining blue skies, with just fluffy white clouds timed perfectly to take out the glare on tricky bends. Took the mileage up to 888. What we didn't understand was, was why all the bikes we saw were going the other way. Were they on their way back as we were setting off? Mmm, probably :-) The best ride yet. They just keep getting better.

Today I collected my daughter from work. It was only her second time as a pillion passenger. She had a short go (2 miles) on the Bandit just after I got it. This time she had to be really brave and travel about 15 miles! She followed my instructions perfectly (as she did before) and sat still. What I didn't realise until we got back was that she was actually frozen, both with the cold and a little with fear. Oops! This highlighted two important things.
The first and perhaps most important is 'proper gear'. She borrowed Katrine's helmet, gloves and 'big coat', but not Katrine's boots and trousers. She's too big for them. Consequently her legs were 'quite chilled'. The other is of course just how quick the Pan is. I thought I'd ridden quite gently, but it was still too quick. She closed her eyes on the motorway, apparently this made her less scared. Caroline thought the Pan was much more comfortable than the Bandit, though I'm not certain she'll want another go in the near future. This kind of thing makes you appreciate a good pillion passenger. Sure, Katrine gets cold, but a cup of tea soon sorts that. She's never mentioned being scared while on the Pan. This means I can get on with enjoying myself, since the Pan doesn't care if it's carrying one or two.

More grins per mile than any other bike!

Normal Service Resumed

Ok I can relax again, I've got another job sorted. The factory where I worked closed last Friday consequently I've had to concentrate on getting a job over the last few weeks. Under the circumstances it was hard to be positive about anything, but now that's sorted. Onward and upward!

Welcome Richard! Another voice off into the wind.

I hadn't really thought about sex. well, not while riding my bike. Mine's still an 'it'. 'IT' hasn't got a name either. I'll set Katrine on a mission to come up with a name, and maybe decide if 'IT' is a boy or a girl.

March 02, 2003


I have decided upon a sex for my bike - "it" now becomes "she" and as she is green I will call her the "Green Goddess"

(Now how tacky is that?!?!?!?!)

Yet more Cosmetics

I will soon know every inch of this bike and I haven't even taken the panels and fairing off yet !
Pleased (again - how happy can one man be?) to say that I got my bike onto the centre stand at the first attempt. Am I convincing myself too early that the weight will not be a problem? I therefore had the opportunity of sitting on it and going "vroom,vroom" (tempted to start her up but thought it would annoy the neighbours)
Aren't the mirrors incredible? They sort of wrap themselves around you. Best I have seen on any bike.
Interesting to see the parts of the bike that are showing cosmetic (I like that word) wear:- The general condition of the paintwork is very good with only a few minor surface scratches. The current "protection pads" on the tank appear to have helped over the years. There is no obvious sign of rusting anywhere - though there is discolouration of various nuts around the wheels. The most obvious sign of age on the bag are the side catches that hold the panniers to the bike. These are or were chromed pieces of metal 2 inches square and the chrome has badly deteriorated.
So after 12 years of wear, all I can find wrong is a bit of chroming. Get my point - this machine was built to last

My bike had a non-Honda stainless steel exhaust fitted last year which does not retract from the overal look of the machine and will give me one less thing to worry about. According to my research the Honda non-stainless version comes in at 100 quid dearer which doesn't make sense to me

The Pan has what they call a fairing protector on either side positioned some 18 inches from the ground. These bricks of plastic (basically) are there to,yes, protect the fairing if it is dropped on its side at which time the bike should come to rest pivoting on the protector and the wing mirror on whichever particular side therby restricting/preventing damage to the whole fairing. In extreme circumstances the mirror will collapse and break away - ingenious idea - if it works !?
Well I think it does because when I noticed scuffing to the protector on the right side of my bike I thought "'s been dropped" and sure enough I discovered repaired damage to the wing mirror on that sign where the two mentioned parts of the bike had obviously taken the brunt of the bikes weight in a previous life. Reassuring don't you think as there is not a scrath on the side fairing.
Anyway, I have rambled on again. Five days break in Centre Parcs ahead of me and my first ever ride and (wait for it) full honest and critical review of The Pan European comes next weekend....I can't wait

March 01, 2003

Cosmetics (Part 2)

OK, so mine is not a new bike unlike my other new found friends on this site. I have the MOTs to prove it has done just 8,000 miles in the last 5 years and at 59k it is only just run in. I will, perhaps, encounter problems that new Pan owners might not and so it will be interesting to exchange issues/thoughts.
Don�t buy a house until you have seen it twice ! � well I don�t think I can fall into that category after buying my Pan without etc etc (see before)
When I checked my garage this morning the bike looked better than before. I had better tell you that the reason I am putting off riding it is I am waiting for my insurance to kick in so all I can do at present is check out the cosmetics again and �play with the buttons�

I have extra�s that I wasn�t expecting. The side panniers have the removable bags (thankyou). The bike was fitted with a Datatool alarm 18 months ago (thankyou) and the bike is Datatagged (thankyou very much)
Furthermore, the top box that I spoke of yesterday is, once I had removed the hideous stickers on, a 45 litre Givi which is what I would have chosen anyway � so that is now staying. Unfortunately the back rest has been removed so I will have to look for a replacement.
All in all I think I have a better deal than I first thought and I just hope the mechanics don�t let me down. I have a �180 receipt for an oil & filter change with carb balance 500 miles ago so I get the feeling this bike has been looked after in the past and could probably tell me a few stories.

I already feel I want to give the bike a name !! Is it male or female? I will go and have a think���


A big hello to Richard - although I didn't realise we were allowing youngsters of 43 on the site. Getting to be quite the little community on here and I'm pleased for Mike who set this up.
I came back from Pontypridd last night - told you the weather would change. It was like riding blind down the M4 - absolutely no vision from the rain and spray - but the Pan never falters, does it. I think Richard is in for a big shock once he gets out there. The Pan is the ultimate bike - it does everything and he is right - the perfect woman on two wheels. She's fast, lovely curves, responds well to the gentle touch but loves a bit of rough occasionally and wants to look after you. What more could you want?
I've got Saturday to clean the bike and prepare it for another trip to Nottingham on Sunday. I'll be back Monday night - then fly out to Malta for a weeks break. Bless her! She'll be all alone in the garage for a week, sulking!
Safe riding.

February 28, 2003

Cosmetics���.apart from the top box

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Motorbikes are no exception. The Ducati is a nice looking machine but I compare it to a long legged, large chested female with perfect looks. We all dream of them but never have them because a) they don't exist b) we wouldn't know what to do with one if we found one, and c) if we did have one we wouldn't give it what it deserved. The Ducati is meant for the race track and it would be difficult on a public road, despite its looks, to treat it the way it deserves.
The Pan is different because it is a practical bike�.read on��
My bike was delivered to my door by the seller today. It is a '91 model with 59k on the clock and green in colour. The seller dismounted the bike and I stood and looked at it. (bearing in mind I hadn't seen one for 18 months and this, as I have said on my previous posting was a �blind� purchase)
I was quite�very quite�..the seller became nervous�
�Do you like the colour? he asked.
�Er�..yes�it's fine� I said determined to give a masculine reply. I wanted to say �It's beautiful� and IT WAS.
The colour was beautiful. The bike looked beautiful. The shape. The styling. The panniers. The fairing. The �dash� � all were beautiful. This was my perfect woman on 2 wheels. It looked stunning. I was gobsmacked.
How had this beauty evaded me all my life? I wanted to throw out the sofa and park it in my living room. Shame that the previous owner had put an old top box on the rear rack��..that will have to go.
I felt like a pubescent boy reading �Mayfair� for the first time and I was very, very happy.
The big moment had arrived where I had to try the Pan out for size and I climbed on board and kicked up the side stand. Something felt strange. I am 5'8" and both feet were nearly flat on the ground�..HOORAY!!.....and the weight�..where did it go?....RELIEF !!
I started the bike up and rode it 10 foot into my garage and put it to bed.
This has the makings of one of the most exciting periods of my life�..

February 27, 2003

I have a tale to tell...

I am 43 years young, 5'8'' and 15 stone (trying desperately to lose weight but resigned that the middle age spread is hear to stay). I passed my motorbike test some 25 years ago and to be honest know very little about the mechanics of either bikes or cars. My first bike was a Yam RD250LC which I bought because I liked the look of it. The bike caused a big stir amongst my friends at the time who were all running round on the old "Fuzz Peds". I did not understand what all the fuss was about until I needed to get across a X roads pre the 30ft juggernaut approaching from my right.I wound the throttle back, let the clutch out and then found myself looking at the sky whilst covering the junction and a further 10 yards up the road as I performed my first, last and only "wheelie". It must have looked spectacular but I absolutely crapped myself, pulled over to the side of the road, and spent the following 15 minutes vomiting and re-living the moment a thousand times. I sold the bike 4 weeks later after deciding that life was too short to end early on a "2 wheel deathtrap".
The years went by and in my early 30s I found myself short of cash with no car and buying a bike was the only financial option. This was some old Kwak 500 something and yes the buzz was soon back. I went from bike to car and back again over the next 10 years and (touch wood) never crashed my Suzzi 750, Guzzi California or BMW 100 (though I did drop the Guzzi one Sunday whilst in Matlock Bath in front of hundreds of other bikers when the side stand decided to slip back up at the last moment. I found unknown strength and lifted the monster up in a record 0.6 secs).
I prided myself at the time in being an all-weather 365 day biker and know all about getting sodden and frozen.
So, the Suzzi was nicked (lifted into the back of a van despite alarm, immobiliser, padlock and chain) the Guzzi was swapped for an old Rover car (I think I cried the day after and have regretted the swap ever since) and the Beemer gave up the ghost 18 months ago ( a few weeks after I tried to trade it in at the local BMW bike dealer and they laughed at me for not scrapping it !!Yes BMW Bikers are snobs).
I first saw the Pan E five or six years ago and have wanted one ever since and a few weeks ago after getting the all clear from the wife I started doing my homework and read every review/website/magazine I could find which all confirmed my thoughts that the Pan appears to be the best bike in the world (well I think so anyway). However, I could not find one for sale within a 50 mile radius of my home in the Midlands. I am hoping it will do everything I want it to do and more, that is weekend riding, riding to and from work sometimes and the odd short tour with the good lady on the back. I say "hoping" because I have not got my dream bike yet and, slap me round the head if you want, I have never even sat on one let alone test ridden the Pan. My heart tells me one thing and my head stays schtum.
Suicidal as it may sound I have now even paid for a Pan that I haven't even seen and hope to take delivery of it tomorrow (Friday). I won't say where I am getting it from or how much I have paid for it just yet in case this totally wreckless purchase backfires on me. (Come on - I am a bloke for Gods sake).
This Pan European site has been an absolute inspiration to me and will be happy to share my experiences with everyone over the forthcoming weeks/months. I am very nervous about the bikes size/weight but having read various stories I believe my 5'8'' frame will just about cope (remember the tale of the Guzzi - and that was no light machine!!).
My new toy will have full luggage and heated grips and a round thing at either end so it fills my requirements in the short term. I have just got my old leathers out the attic and given them a clean (I didn't know leather shrinks!?!?!?
To be continued.............

More grist to the mill...

As you may have noticed, we have another conributor to welcome. Richard Tucker has joined the fray...

February 26, 2003

The Panniers

Panniers are a standard fitting on the Pan and they're not bad at all.

They'll each swallow a helmet (my head is rather big, no comments please), gloves and waterproofs with ease although adding a jacket or boots becomes a bit of an exercise in efficient packing. They use the ignition key for the lock which is quick to use and (most importantly) is easy to get to. Note: That's each. When riding solo, the panniers alone can hold all my riding gear.

Removing the panniers is very easy. They are removed by using a simple lever release, again locked with the ignition key. Re-attaching them can be a little fiddly but never takes more than a minute or so.

When off the bike, he integrated carrying handles make it easy to tote the panniers about like a small suitcase. The unusual shape of the inside face means they can be awkward to carry unless you face this outwards. Then, you have to be sure that your trousers (or whatever) aren't going to scuff the visible side of the panniers.

Other stuff?? Well, they don't like being over-filled by bulky (as opposed to heavy) stuff and the lid seems to deform a little too easily, preventing it from closing properly under such pressure. They're watertight courtesy of a rubber seal which runs all the way round. Again, if you're packing them pretty solidly, you have to be careful not to interfere with the seal as this can prevent them from closing properly.

All in all, they're proving to be most useful. And have been much enhanced by the optional pannier bags I bought. These seem to be fairly rugged and, although they don't fill every last bit of the pannier, you can be sure that if your stuff fits in the bag, you can put the bag straight into the pannier.

February 25, 2003

Ten thousand miles...

And climbing. Finally passed the 10k mark. Over the next few weeks, I'll try to work out what running the Pan has actually cost to run.

Watch this space...

February 23, 2003


Eight. Eight. The burning Eight!
Between Sunday and Monday lies a day so Dark it will Devastate...

So, care to guess which film I've just been watching?

February 20, 2003

Congestion Charge

(Note for our overseas visitors: London has introduced a charging scheme which means you pay �5 (That's around �7.50 or $8) per day to drive into the city centre. There are exemptions and one of these is cover all two wheelers, even those with sidecars, so I don't pay. But not trikes, which do have to stump up the cash. Go figure.)

It's difficult to say whether there's been much impact yet. The roads are quite quiet. But, it's also half-term for the local schools so I have no idea whether there's been any measurable effect on traffic.

What I can say is that there's definitely been an increase in motorbikes on the road recently. That might just be the approaching Spring bringing the return of the fair-weather bikers but I don't think so. There's been a particularly noticeable increase in the number of what I can only call Commuter Scooters.

You know the kind of thing I mean. Ranging from BMWs curious C1 and Honda's overblown Silver Wing down through the Yamahas, Benellis (when did they come back?), Piaggios and Vespas, right down to the perennially popular C70s, C50s and their clones. The twist-and-go easy access route for the non-hardcore biker to get onto two wheels.

The main effect I've noticed from this is that there seem to be more small bikes broken down at the roadside and that the filtering queues have become longer. Many of the pilots of these smaller bikes lack the top end, the confidence or the will to make good progress. Don't know if it'll pass in time but I suspect not.

February 19, 2003

I love it!

Being self employed has its advantages. Yesterday was sunny and more than a little chilly - but it was nice to just go for a ride without having to be somewhere. A nice run across country to High Wycombe, down through Marlow, touch Surrey and back up through Rickmansworth. Naturally, had to stop at every bike shop I saw and for once didn't buy anything - but this is nice - always got offered a coffee by the salesman. A lovely run of about 75 miles.
Next week I am mainly in Pontypridd!!!! Bet the weather changes.

February 18, 2003


Minus four when I set out this morning, riding very gingerly till I hit the main roads.

Turned the heated grips up to 3 (out of 4) for the first time and got to work feeling toasty, especially as it had warmed up to a near-tropical minus one by that point.

Saw a lot of cold, miserable looking bikers today though, one of whom was doing as I used to before the Pan: Warming his hands on the cylinder head...

February 16, 2003

The Electric Screen

I was disappointed at first. I had visions of it being some sort of Force Field so when it turned out to be just an electrically adjustable screen, I was gutted.

OK, so: Wossit like?

Well, it's very good. When it's all the way up, you're almost completely shielded from the weather, meaning you only need waterproofs on longer trips when it's really hoofing it down. And when you start filtering, you can drop it down for better visibility. And when it's raining, the screen creates a slight downdraft on the visor which blows the raindrops downwards, off the field of view. It's fab.

If only the passing light was as easy to get to/control as the screen.