January 31, 2003

A near miss.

Well, according to the news this morning, I got off lightly. Many motorists ended up sleeping in their cars on the gridlocked motorways in the South. I really wouldn't have fancied several hours stationary on the road in sub-zero temperatures.

I'm working from home today so I don't have to go out. Not that I could have used the bike. It would have definitely been a coach day.

It's snow joke...

Set off this morning and all was right with the world. The sun was, er, hidden by the somewhat heavy, low clouds. The birds may well have been singing. And the morning breeze as welcoming as the heated grips could make it.

OK, OK, so it was dull, chilly and very, very windy. But it was a good trip in despite the heavy traffic. It snowed a few times during the day without settling.

And then it came time to go home.

The heavens opened and let fall snow. And lots of it. The snow started to settle on the roadside but at least the lanes themselves stayed clear.

It wasn't too bad till I went through the Blackwall Tunnel. When I came out the other side, the weather had stepped up a few gears and it was snowing in earnest. Before I left the edge of the city, traffic was pretty much down to 30mph. Now this wasn't a problem as the screen at it's highest was keeping all the snow off my visor. Not a flake got in my way. Not one.

And then I crossed the M25.

And the snow started to settle on the carriageway. And no filtering cos it was only safe to follow the tracks of the vehicles ahead. And the speed slowed to a crawl. And even in the tracks, there were lumps of snow and ice.

Unusually, there were a lot of other bikers out in the snow. Mostly, I guess they were caught at work by the weather, like I was. I saw a few "moments" but, I'm glad to say, no accidents.

I had the odd moment myself but only under acceleration. And, believe me, I was being very gentle. It's one of the few instances where all that torque counts against you. It kind of makes you wish they'd kept the TCS from the old 1100 Pan. Doesn't matter how gentle you are when the road is a sheet of snow and ice.

(Er, for those that don't know, that the Traction Control System. Sort of like ABS but for getting power to the ground rather than for braking.)

And speaking of ABS, I'm sold. 100%. If I ever look like considering a bike without ABS, someone please remind me to read about today. Please...

OK, so it won't magic grip up out of nowhere. OK, so it's not as efficient as braking manually on the edge. But when you're fighting to keep the bike upright in a snowy hell of bumper-to-bumper crawling cages with nowhere to go but straight on cos the space between lanes is three inches deep with slush and the cross wind is doing it's very best to put you across the road, it's amazing.how much you come to rely on the ABS.

At the first sign of trouble, I could just grab a nice big handful of brake and concentrate on keeping upright. And DCBS (the much maligned Dual Combined Braking System) is a real winner in the snow.

So, basically, I made it home eventually. Huzzah!!

Oh, and the heated grips are, well, very good.

January 29, 2003

My little girl

Aw. Doesn't she look like she hates every minute? Naughty Daddy for pushing his daughter around.

(Sorry about the grainy pic. Low light levels to blame.)

January 28, 2003

Hooning homewards...

Usually, I'm a fairly reasonable guy but last night I just had to get it all out of my system. A long day banging my head against walls, back-to-back meetings, "lunch" at 5pm and wanting to get home before my little girl goes to bed. (She's in the UK for a change so I try to make the most of it.)

All was going fine till, just after I went through the Blackwall Tunnel, I heard a tremendous exhaust note up ahead. Now, this was about 18:15 so the traffic was quite heavy but not the bumper-to-bumper, stationary morass that characterises the peak rush-hour in London. I'd already been en route for about 20 minutes by this point and had covered, ooh, easily five miles.

Well, I set off with the intention of catching up the source of the noise and was soon rewarded with sight of the occasional flash of blue flame near the Sun in the Sands roundabout from a twin exhausted bike up ahead. I never quite caught him up when he dived off by the Black Prince (Yes, I navigate by pubs wherever I can) in spite of, er, "making progress" in a serious fashion, filtering and weaving through the traffic.

Then, I saw the guy he'd been following and I really put my riding head on. Reaching speeds of (CENSORED), I am delighted to say I managed to keep pace with the guy in front, coming close enough to see he was on an R1. Now, I'm not saying I can blow off a top of the line sports bike on the Pan, and he certainly pulled away when he opened up the R1 (boy, did he ever) but we both kept it below around (CENSORED) even where the road was clear. I kept pace with him (OK, OK, or her) until we parted ways at the junction of the A2 and the M2.

It was the most fun and exhilarating ride I've had in months. If anyone knows the owner of a W-Reg R1 or some noisy hooligan with flames and no baffles who were on their way out of London last night, please thank them on my behalf. I just hope they had as much fun as I did.

I still have The Grin.

January 27, 2003

Conceited sod.

I don't know... What am I like?

All that drivel and I didn't answer a single, solitary one of Brian's questions!

Yes, the Pan is worth the extra money.

If you can afford it, the ABS is amazing and I'd recommend it.

I do the London rush hour from Medway to St Pauls and back most days and the weight is not a problem. I honestly don't know how they've done it but the bike handles very similarly to my old ZZR-600. I've U-turned in fairly narrow streets at walking pace with barely a wobble.

The problem in town traffic is that the bike is so wide. But, the wing mirrors are the widest point and if they go through a gap, so does the rest of the bike. You just have to watch the rear-wheel steering inside the front on low-speed, sharp turns. Happens on all bikes but the panniers make the effect more pronounced. (Yes, that's how I've scuffed 'em every time bar one.)

How did on Earth did I end up here?

Another biker dropped me (us) a line asking for a bit of decision support in whether to choose a Pan or and FJR-1300. (Hi, Brian.) Of course my response was predictable but it was interesting to look back at the decision from a distance. So, here's most of what I sent to him by way of reply:

----- Original Message -----

From: Brian
Subject: To buy or not to buy, that is the question

Can anyone help?

I returned to biking 2 years ago and I'm currently riding a 900 Diversion. I'm going to splash out on a new bike. Thing is what do I go for?

I've been reading up on both the Yamaha FJR 1300 and the new Pan. Both seem good bikes, but is the Pan worth the extra money? If the Pan, which model? With or without ABS? Is the extra weight a problem around town?

Any suggestions?


----- My reply -----
Hi Brian,

I'm about to go on a bit. Please don't mistake enthusiastic verbosity for a misplaced belief in the infallibility of my own opinions. Oh, no. I'm absolutely convinced they're infallible! ;-)

I'm also biased. After all, I bought a Pan and I set up a web site about it. Don't expect me to be impartial.

Well, I went through this process about 8 months ago and had, largely the same set of bikes to choose amongst. My list also included the ZZR-1200 and the BMW R 1150 RT and K 1200 LT.

The Beemers were the first to go. I didn't like the styling of either of them (the RT was too trailie and the LT too, well, Californian) and neither of them goes terribly quickly...

The ZZR clung on until the test rides. I started to lose feeling in my backside after only 50 miles. Not far enough. Even my ZZR-600 held out till 100 miles or so. Guess the seat design really isn't right for me. The lack of hard luggage, short range and the somewhat "committed" riding position also weighed heavily against it.

So the choice finally boils down to the FJR1300. The FJ and the Pan weren't in the same league on the test rides. The FJR is much less, er, everything as far as I could tell. With three exceptions.

Before I get to those, the good points were that it weighed less, felt quicker and cost less. Much less on first sight but as time went on, that gap shrank. More on this later. What the FJR had more of was more "R" (as in raciness), more braking flexibility (no DCBS) and more flaws. I'm sorry, but there you go.

The seat was too thin. There wasn't quite enough leg room. There wasn't quite the same build quality. There wasn't the same confidence inspired by the package as a whole. Ah, but the price. The price was a justification all on its own.

That is, until I added up all the extras I wanted. I knew I wanted ABS and that meant the more costly Pan. On both, I'd have to spring for a top box and heated grips. The ludicrous cost of the panniers and the electric screen (not quite as good as the Pan but still not shabby) for the FJR meant the total price difference was less than a grand on new iron.

Now at that point it became a matter of personal preference. The rest, as they say they say, is history.

Now, both bikes have had things come up since and it's interesting that Yamaha released a revised model and no refit whilst Honda did a factory recall. I've met two really bitter FJR owners who went on at length about it. Honestly. Mind you, I also met the Friend Of A Friend of a Pan owner who (pre-refit) had also had a terrible time. (I really must catch up with him, now.)

For me, I think the choice of a Pan was the right one for me. Now I know there's a lot of self-justification involved. After all, no one likes to think they've blown a large chunk of cash on a mistake. And I, for one, have definitely made mistakes in the past. I know it's only seven months on from purchasing but I'm very comfortable with the Pan and, thus far, no real regrets.

Reading back over this, I can't see how this'll help you but, hey, you asked!

Best of luck with your choice.

Ride safe,


January 26, 2003


This is by way of an apology to Mike and Nigel.
I pulled into the services at Stanstead yesterday - and met a nice bloke on a ST1300. We had a fairly long chat about Pans - but mainly his new one - faults and all.
As he drove off - I thought - I didn't tell him about the site, get his name or any other information about him. Twit or what?
I just hope it wasn't one of you two - then I will feel stupid!!!!!!

January 25, 2003

Someone else's experiences...

I was talking to the landlord of a pub the other day, as you do.

We'd exchanged pleasantries. I asked him how he broke his arm (falling off his bike) and he asked me what sort of bike I had.

Turns out that a mate of his also has a new Pan European and has had all sorts of problems. He's had the sump cracked when coming down off a tall pavement onto the road. The electrics had shorted out completely due to a loose connection. A heat shield had cracked and as a result the component it, er, shielded (the knock sensor) had died a death. I'm sure there were more.

So what I'm wondering is whether I have a good one (Apart from that slight clutch slip. All the damage from falling off is down to me.) or whether his mate has a bad one?

A Plague?

Is it just me, or does it happen to everyone on a large bike? Whenever I'm travelling at the speed limit the vehicle behind feels compelled to overtake and then slow down and sit 20 yards ahead at the same speed. Why do they bother? I never noticed this behavior of caged drivers before I got the Pan. Though it's often boy racers, this urge to 'overtake the big bike in front' seems to overcome all sorts of people, white van man, Mr Average, and sometimes even lorry drivers.
On Friday on a scenic route return from work this plague affected the drivers of four vehicles in a five mile stretch of fairly heavy dual carriageway traffic and more worryingly two more in a 30mph zone. Is there a tablet they can take before they set out?

When I ordered my bike, Mike (the salesman) said that all the recall work was now sorted at the factory and mine would be from the new batch with all the things corrected. He listed the 'squirm' as being one of the problems Honda had addressed. It was caused, allegedly, by the engine mounting bolts not being torqued down evenly. Mine's not done it, though as I haven't got a top box (yet) it may occur.

January 23, 2003

Post Factory Recall - The Analysis

Well, I've left the Deauville Doldrums behind me and, as you may already have guessed, this has made my life measurably better. The only thing I miss about the thing is that it's thinner and, so, filtering was easier on it.

The Recall Work
Well, the sump's been replaced and very shiny it is too. The heat is definitely being directed away from my legs a bit. Um, can't tell about anything else specifically.

The Service
That's another 180 quid gone on an 8000 mile service. I haven't had the actual bill yet to pore over but I know it was three and a half hours of labour. More on this when I have the detail.

The Warranty Work
Just the one bit. The clutch has been fixed. Initial indications are that the clutch slip is definitely gone and that it now "snicks" into first gear rather than dropping. All that remains to be seen is whether the stiction problem is gone (it was intermittent) and whether the slip comes back.

Other Work
Heated grips. At last, heated grips, I tell you!! Oh, and an auxiliary 12v power socket (car/airline style) in the right-hand fairing pocket

And the Conclusion?
Well, it feels a zillion times better than the Doh-Vile, obviously. Actually it feels a lot better than it did before. Almost like large portions of the engine and transmission had been stripped down and reassembled by hand. Which is pretty much what has been done. Handling feels much sharper too but that could just be after the Doh-Vile.

Also, they've removed something without me asking them to. The slight, um, squirm at about 90 when riding solo with the top box on and the screen all the way up... Well, it's gone. I don't know whether this is a result of all the other stuff or just because in reassembling the bike they put the seat on the highest setting. I only noticed cos I was a even more comfy and because I can't see the effing indicator lights on the console again! Never mind, I'll leave it there and live without 'em.

Wonder if anyone's come up with a mod for the cockpit which addresses this problem?
I've put the screen back down. The wind noise was improved but, it was just too high for me. I don't like looking through the screen. I find it distracting seeing reflections of the bike in my field of view. There was a noticeable increase in engine noise and I noticed a whine too. Perhaps I didn't give it a fair trial, it is quite windy at the moment and the 'sail' effect of the more vertical screen bothered me too. More adjustment would have been a good idea Mr Honda then I would have been able to see over the screen and I may have liked it better. There's plenty of space to add a couple of extra 'L' slots in the bracket without weakening it.
Katrine didn't get to find out if she found it better on the back. Maybe I'll try it again when we're both on the bike, it only takes five minutes to change.

I've had a play with the rear shock pre-load too. I'm only ten and half stone and I thought that the rear was perhaps a bit too hard when there's only me holding it down. I put that back too couldn't tell any difference! The standard position is perfect when we're both on the bike. Though I expect it may need to be a little firmer when the panniers are full too. Seems strange to make the pre-load adjustment so easy when the bike's near perfect in the standard position. On the bandit I had to adjust it to 2 of 7 for just me and 7 for the both of us and it was awkward to do with the short 'C' spanner. I should eat more cakes then the suspension would need adjusting?

On my way home today using the scenic route! (I only live two miles from work) I was overtaken by another silver Pan 'same as mine'. Watching someone else ride the same bike helps with the learning process. His was the same '52 plate as mine but it was obvious he'd had for a while longer, or he'd had more experience of 'bigger' bikes. From the way he'd caught up so easily and passed to comfortably it was clear that the Pan is better than I am at the moment. He wasn't rushing or showing off, I'm sure of that, as I caught up at the next island. He was just using the bike better.

I need to get out there with other Pan riders to watch and learn.

January 22, 2003

Nearly convinced!

Took my pan in this morning for new rear tyre, brake pads and service. Steve said did I want to borrow a bike to go home with. Good idea - and he wheels out an ST1300. I have to agree - it is a nice bike - BUT:-
Isn't it light - bad winds today here - and I got thrown all over the place.
Side stand frightened me silly - the bike goes down so far - never thought it would end.
Instrument panel is crap!!!!!!
Do all 1300's whine?
However, after about a hundred miles (I didn't go home) it begins to grow on you. Handling is very good and so is the response. I also like the look of the bike. Panniers fit better but are fiddly to open and close. All in all a positive and great looking bike.
It was nice to get mine back though!


Went out this morning to go to Watford. Raining - as usual. Now I'm pretty careful checking the bike before I drive off - like those rubber thingys on the wheels and those hard pad things that stop you. However - first real corner I come to and I'm sliding (I know it's wet), back end just goes. Keep it upright, but stop to have a look, make sure the tyre is not flat etc. Next corner - the same thing. Really put off now. Decide to have a fag and think. Look across to the pan and the rear wheel - and guess what? Its a car tyre I've got!!!! Nice flat running surface and razors to corner on. On the phone to my bike shop - new tyre tomorrow. But this is the killer. Steve tells me on the phone that the bridgestone 020 dual compound tyres are great till they wear down, then there is no dual compound - just very soft rubber that wears very very quickly. This has happened in less than 250 miles. BEWARE.

216 Miles To Go (and counting...)

The screen on my bike had been set at the lowest position by the dealer. I've noticed that the world goes very, very quiet if I duck down as I travel along (usually to check the indicator repeater lights on the dash!). Last Saturday on the way back from Wales we had a period of sideways rain. The water didn't penetrate anywhere! Dry after that storm and at 70mph (ish)! Excellent. The weather protection for both of us on the Pan continues to impress me, even with the screen low. Excellent.
Even without sideways wind and rain riding with the screen in the lower position causes me some wind noise and Katrine said that she has felt some buffeting. Nowhere near as much as on the naked Bandit, but enough at times to be annoying.

Fiddling about on Sunday (as you do) after cleaning the bike. I decided to see how easy it is to adjust the screen.

First remove the plastic bracket covers, two self tapping screws each. Not difficult but, as the screws go into plastic I wonder how many adjustments I'll manage before the plastic holes become too big. Having removed the screws there are four little bolts that are behind the screen. It's at this point that I discover I have wide and flexible adjustment possibilities. There are two positions available about two and a half inches apart. Loosening the little bolts is quite tricky as the space is limited for the 10mm spanner that comes in the bike's tool kit. Once slack the bracket comes out of one L shaped slot and locates into the other. Carefully tighten the little bolts and refit the plastic covers and the screen is up. All in all about five minutes. I haven't tried adjusting the screen on the move. I would suspect it may take a little longer with gloves on!

In the higher position the screen is more vertical and doesn't quite look as good as the more streamlined lower position. If there's no significant improvement then it'll go back down again. It will certainly go down for the summer, it just looks better. I can cope with a bit of wind noise, if not I can always buy some ear plugs.

I had to make a detour to the dealer on Saturday to fix a minor problem. The offside mirror's rubber insert had come adrift from the fairing. No big problem it was fixed in 90 seconds. I was going to do it myself but going to The Honda Centre Shrewsbury is an extra five miles towards The End Of Running In. Plus, I couldn't quite see how it fitted on!

Only 216 miles to go to the first service! Well past half way!

P.S. I nearly bought a Deauville! Only nearly, there wasn't any increase in engine from my Bandit so it was quickly eliminated. It seems that this was a lucky escape.

January 21, 2003

More Deauville misery.

Neutral. Where is it exactly? Between 1st and 2nd gear, you say? Well you could have fooled me... Perhaps it's afraid of me and it's hiding?

And fuel taps. What's that all about? Just how dangerous is it to have your engine conk out whilst filtering through the London rush hour? Hmm?

January 20, 2003

Speedboat, anyone?

Bear with me. This post is a bit of an epic. The speedboat reference will become clear at the end. Promise...

It's raining. Again.

OK, so it's England and it isn't either of the days of Summer, so what do I expect? Well, normally I don't let the weather bother me. You know, water off a ducks' back and all that. But I'm still on the loaner Deauville. Weather protection? Well, it doesn't rain directly onto your groin but just about everything else gets wet.

Don't get me wrong, I have a decent set of waterproofs for just this sort of occasion but unless it's really raining, I don't generally need them on the Pan. On this Deauville thingy, you have to haul them on at the first sign of rain or you're going to be soaked through in short order.

I'm not sure how much of my objection to this is driven by the fact that I really, really don't like the Deauville. Not at all. Uh, uh.

Things like the brakes... The front's generally OK though it's not really powerful enough to stop quickly from speed but the back one is hopeless.

The mirrors... In which I get a lovely view of both the kerb and my elbows.

The motor... Which really does define characterless and uninvolving.

Cornering... Straight lines are great but don't (just don't) corner at speed.

There's other things that aren't really faults in the bike, they're just not what I'm used to. For example, panniers so small and oddly shaped you can't fit a laptop into them. The seat not being adjustable so my knees brush up against the fairing. Having to wear ear-plugs for every trip cos I've seen bigger "screens" on digital watches. You get the idea. All the reasons I bought a Pan.

And, to be fair, it does two things better than the Pan (FX: Gasp!)

1. It's a lot easier to put on the centre stand.
2. It's a lot thinner so filtering through traffic is substantially easier.

Well, I can reclaim the Pan from the dealer tomorrow with, they tell me, the service, recall and warranty work all completed. I can hardly wait.

On a related subject, here's a Pan story I've been saving up. For a rainy day. (Sorry)

You don't often see a manufacturer telling you about the stability of a bike in water, do you? Well, thanks to Herts County Council, there's been a field test. And I can report that the Pan does fairly well in up to 18 inches of the stuff.

On the 2nd of January, I was hooning round some back roads on my way to a Live Roleplaying event (don't even ask) near Potters Bar. I came round a corner at about 50 to see a clearly marked flooded road. 40 yards away. With the sign half covered by, er, well, water.

I managed to scrub a bit of speed off but still hit the water at around 30 mph. Two seconds later, I'm doing 10 mph. Still in a straight line. Still upright.

This was scary. Very scary, actually, and I stopped the bike to see what damage had been done. And there wasn't any, thank goodness. I, on the other hand, was drenched.

My boots were full of water. My helmet was full of water which had splashed upwards under the chinguard then run down my neck and into my jacket.

And I couldn't help but feel I'd got off lightly...

January 19, 2003


Thought it was about time I mentioned the niggles and moans I have with the new Pan. There aren't many and they aren't serious but, as I spend a couple of hours a day on the bike, they're omnipresent.

The indicator lights on the console. That's the worst one. I'm quite tall (6' 2") and the most comfy position for the seat is at it's highest/furthest back. Trouble is that with it there, I can't see the winky lights on the dash. Drop the seat to the middle and I can just make them out and on the lowest setting, they're completely visible but my knees brush against the fairing. So, I have the seat in the middle position. It's not actually uncomfy but I know that there is a better riding position for me. (Now I notice that Nigel says the same thing, too. Time for a note to Honda, I think)

The Passing Light. On the standard model (no electric screen, no remote pre-load adjust, no ABS, no hazard lights) the passing light is where you'd expect and it's easy to use. On mine (with all the bits) it's been moved a bit and it's now almost impossible to use when you need it most. i.e. at short notice when some tosser in a cage hasn't seen you. OK, so you I've trained myself to use the horn instead and you can now do a "hazard light thank you" very easily but it's annoying all the same.

January 18, 2003


I should say a big welcome to David and Nigel. Two more Pan owners who've joined me in posting their own experiences.

OK, OK, so I'm a bit late, what with them both having posted and all. But, hell, it's the though that counts.

And I did think about it.

Anyone else care to join the fray?

The first 130 miles.

On the 4th of January 2003 I collected my Christmas present (apparently it's for the next ten Christmas's too). I was the proud owner of a brand new Silver ST1300. I got the standard one 'cos it's a bit cheaper. I didn't think I'd need ABS or a fancy electric screen. I'd just px'ed a 600 Bandit with just a little headlamp screen, a full fairing was going to be different enough.

I bought the Pan based on reviews in the motorcycling press. Mainly the one in Bike Magazine. I never had a test ride, just a sit-on in the shop. After realising just how heavy the Pan is I was a little concerned that I was going to struggle to get out of the workshop. It's a different kettle of fish when you're moving your own gleaming new bike! Fortunately Mike (at the Shrewsbury Honda Centre) aimed it for me, ready for take off.

Within 100 yards I was absolutely convinced I'd bought the best bike in the world!

It's not as difficult to push around as I'd thought. The weight is much lower than the Bandit which helps a lot. Now I've got used to reaching round the fairing it's quite easy to maneuver into it's parking space. Once on the move the weight disappears. Really it does. I'd read that phrase and thought 'yeah, right.', after all it was written by motorcycling journalists that 'play on bikes all the time'. It's true though.

I've got to behave now. Don't exceed 4000 rpm until it's had it's first service. I'm trying honest! 4000 rpm is eighty miles an hour in fifth. It's a challenge to hold the 'beast' back though, so obviously I occasionally go a 'bit' over when I'm accelerating or overtaking. I'm sure I was told 500 miles to the first service, maybe 101 miles will do?

Since the idea of this site is to pass on experiences and observations my first 'observation' was the indicator repeater on the dash. It's invisible! I'm not tall or short, about 5'10" and I've got the seat set at the lowest position and I have to duck to see the green lights flash. The fairing curves round over the top of them, not a good idea Mr Honda. I've managed to leave the indicators on a couple of times. Now I'm more aware, I regularly duck.

As I mentioned my Pan is a non-ABS version, as with both 'sorts' it has got linked brakes. As a 'Born again biker' I started riding on the road in 1979 when bikes were, well, bikes, but the brakes weren't as good as today's, so I use both brakes. I know loads of people who wouldn't notice if their back brake was removed as they never use it. I suppose that's why Honda decided to link the brakes together. Last Saturday I locked the back wheel, not in a dramatic-sideways-speedway kind of way, more of a skidding-noise, oh, that's me, sort of thing. In fact Katrine thought the noise was a nearby car. It didn't unsettle the Pan at all, but I've learned that the linked brakes do intrude - sometimes. Perhaps I should have had the ABS?

The road could have been icy I suppose, it was definitely damp, and the air temperature (as indicated by the multi-function display) was only 2 degrees c. I used to hate riding when it's that cold. If it hadn't been such a new and excellent bike we would have gone in the car.

I was a fair weather biker, now with the Pan it doesn't matter. Bring it on, Michael Fish, give it your worst!

January 17, 2003

Search engine success!

Last week, I went about submitting the site to a few search engines.

One of these was MSN and I have noticed that, globally, we have had quite a few hits from searches done at MSN. Many of the other engines won't have us registered yet but it bodes well for us when they do.

Interestingly, if you do a search for the word "paneuropean" at MSN UK, what should come up as the No. 1 result? Yes, it's this very site!

Have a look here if you like.

Windy old day, eh?

Crosswinds... Gotta love 'em.

Ordinarily, I don't really notice them 'cos the Pan's quite, er, solidly built. But the good ship Request For Echo is in for its 8000 mile service as well as a clutch replacement and factory recall work.

The bastards have given me a Deauville again and it's even worse than I remembered it being. Add to that the crosswinds almost moving me from lane to lane and you can understand that I'm not having the best ever biking day imaginable.

Picture then, if you can, my joy at being told that they won't finish with my bike "for a few days, sir" but that it's "OK 'cos you've got one of our loaners."

So, there you have it. Until at least Monday and more likely Tuesday, I'm a Deauville pilot. Being objective, I should be grateful that the bike has been made available to me at no charge and, in a way, I am. But I do have one thing I feel I must say on the subject:


January 16, 2003

Jacket woes II

Dropped into Hein Gericke and they made good on their promise to exchange my jacket for a new one.

Top Job...

Classic Pan!

Archives II

Apparently, I didn't break anything. There was "a problem with one of the Blog*Spot Plus servers" but it's all OK now. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Oh! I feel good!

Nice day today - sun shining and no work - so a little trip on the Pan. My son phones just before I go out - he has a new bike - fancy a ride?
I'm up for that - meet up with him to see a gleaming Yamaha 600. His eyes all lit up - this is THE bike to put me to shame!!!!!
New bike - new leathers - the whole business - but we're not racing!!!!!! until - bet I can get to Peterborough before you get the pan started he says - and he's off.
At the first roundabout we come to he slows down - I don't - and sweep into a graceful curve - leaving a much loved but bewildered son looking at my disappearing rear end. Didn't see him after that until he pulls into the cafe at Peterborough, me with my tea in my hand. All he says is 'bloody hell' .
Days don't get better than this!

January 15, 2003


I seem to have broken the Archives, so I've extended the number of posts on this page for the time being. I'll try to fix this ASAP.

What the hell?

So, I'm riding home and slowing down toward some traffic lights when I feel something strange going on with the back end of the bike. It gets worse as I come to a halt and I nearly fall over (again).

What do I see when I look round?

There's a car with its offside wing pushing against the nearside pannier of my bike. No wonder it felt odd! The driver was just chatting away to his passenger and, when he looked up to see me glaring at him I could tell he thought I was at fault.

Some days, it's all I can do not to kill someone. Hopefully before one of them kills me...

January 14, 2003

Jacket woes

The jacket I bought from Hein Gericke is showing signs of untimely wear and tear. I bought it in July and some of the stitching has come loose. In odd places too. Rather than disintegrate around my expanding waist or chest, it's gone at the end of both arms and at the collar. Some of the detail stitching has frayed as well.

So, I went in to see the local branch armed with a steely resolve and a till receipt.

And they said "We're very sorry to hear that. We will, of course, replace it."

Looks like their after-sales service is still top-notch, then. Hopefully, the replacement jacket won't suffer the same fault though my wife has the same jacket (in a smaller size, naturally) and that's showing no similar problems.

January 13, 2003

My Classic Pan?

Can't be doing with all this new stuff. Please spend twelve grand, and get your bike recalled! Only said that to wind Mike up!
Anyway, my secondhand 1999 Pan is a joy. I've had loads of different bikes over the years - three in the last two - but i'm getting older and wiser and 142mph just about does me now.
I am impressed though - I've got three screens for it - winter, spring and summer [ poetic, ain't I?]. I use the bike all the time to travel round the country in my work. Last Tuesday was cold - very - and I set of for Lancaster - about 280 miles from my place, and to be honest, the only parts of me to get cold were my feet. Stopped for hot chocolate a few times - got the usual looks of sympathy as I undressed in the restaurant - then had a coachload of oldies come over to look at the bike. Naturally, they had all rode BSA bantams back in 1947 or whenever. Anyway, a steady 80mph up the M1 and M6, even passed two Police cars who had no intention of getting cold, and I was there in less than five hours.
Bike is left out to freeze for four days - first time start - 5 hours back - roads freezing - no problems. Heated grips are a godsend, and so is the big screen.
What a bike!

Factory recall

Oh, yeah�

Honda have recalled the Pan. I got a letter about it in early December. Apparently, there are some sticky-out bits (lugs) on the sump and they�ve been catching on kerbs and speed bumps and the like. This has led to a few people getting a cracked sump.


The parts for upgrading mine are on order (since mid-December) though I don�t mind waiting for a couple of reasons:

First, it means that (presumably) those who have problems are being sorted first.

Second, they might fit the kit (a whole day affair) at the same time they fir the heated grips, which are still on order.

And thirdly, they�re going to change some other bits and bobs. Most importantly for me, the airflow over the legs will be modified to make it a bit less hot in the summer. Hallelujah!

Oh, they�re doing some other stuff with heat shields and they�re throwing in some anti-scuff pads, too but we�ll just have to see how it all turns out, eh?

Slippy clutch

Did mention the clutch slips? No?

Ah, well, it started a couple or three weeks ago. When I open it up in fifth at 5000 rpm (100mph or so), the clutch slips. If I do the same in 4th (80mph) it blips a little and then catches again.

Honda, bless them, have just taken my word for it and have authorised a warranty repair sight unseen. Perhaps it'll happen at the fabled Factory Recall upgrade.

I can hardly wait...

January 09, 2003

Less snow, more ice.

Well, most of the snow had cleared away from the roads (apart the last 100 yards to our house, naturally) this morning but I still came on the coach.


Well, the sheets of black ice were the main reason. I've never seen so much of the stuff. Guess we had a very heavy dew last night round our way and things weren't much better in the Smoke.

Hopefully, all should be better by Sunday or Monday. By which time it'll probably be back to raining. As usual.

Ah, well...

January 08, 2003


Well, I can confirm that this works. And I am ever so glad to be able to report on it.

There have been a few occasions when some astonishingly poor car/van driving has meant I needed to grab a BIG handful of brake. Well, that and one or two times I�ve been �making progress� a little too eagerly.

So, what�s it like?

Well, it�s a bit like braking on gravel in terms of the feedback through the lever/pedal. And it�s a very cultured but forceful slowing down in terms of what happens.

Oh, and the linked braking? Well, the fighter pilots and Fireblade owners might not like it but for those of us in the real world, it�s fantastic. It�s never intrusive but the effects are, well, reassuringly positive.

Look and feel...

Well, I've tweaked things a little and added (FX: Fanfare) a picture!

If you want more pix, let me know and I'll gather some together. I was also thinking that a Links page wouldn't be a bad idea. Any comments? Just mail me here.

Snow, snow, glorious snow!

As you may have gathered, it is still snowing. So, I have foregone my usual trip in on the bike for one on the coach.

Four hours. Actually, four hours and ten minutes. To do a journey that usually takes 55 minutes. Ah, well...

Saw some real die-hards (or is that nutters?) out in the "weather" on the way although the two lorries that had done the Turning Over Tango on the way in (hence the long journey time) convinced me that I had chosen wisely.

More later, probably.

Snowed in.

Well, it snowed yesterday. There�s a tradition in the UK that when the first flake of snow falls, the whole country grinds to a halt. And so it came to pass that I didn�t venture out yesterday but decided to work from home instead.

Have to see what the weather�s doing before I decide to ride in or get the coach.

January 07, 2003

Ooh look!

Here it jolly well is:

Back on track

OK, so I'm a bad lad. I�ve let a few other things get in the way of boring the world with my self-consumed rantings. Oh, how could I???

Well, things that have changed: I sold the car, got promoted, moved to France, started commuting internationally and discovered a cure for the common cold. Well ,OK, not the last one.

I now live near Bergerac in the Dordogne but still work in the centre of London. This means I spend four days in the UK (with the bike) and three in France (with my wife and child).

I�ve done almost 8000 miles on the Pan (second service due) and when I get to 10000 I�ll work out how much it is costing me per mile.

Back tomorrow�

Lazy git...

It's official. I'm crap.

More news as we get it. Pictures at 10...