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.