View Full Version : Cape Reinga In An Afternoon

10th October 2006, 09:10
John had kindly offered me the loan of his 1150GS for the day, so a plan was hatched…

Three of us, John (800GS) Wayne (F650GS) and me (riding John’s ‘spare’ bike – 1150GS) planned a run up to the Cape last Saturday, probably my last day of biking fun for a while with the birth of my second kid due on 24th October.

The day dawned perfect, so off we went from Kerikeri at 11.40am, timed to catch half-tide at Ahipara at about 1.20pm.

After a quick gas up in Kaitaia, we hit our first problem. The newly warranted 80GS had absolutely no ignition power! Headlights etc worked, indicators, but nothing at the starter. It looked like we weren’t even going to get as far as the beach! Until we discovered that ‘Donkey’ John (temporarily labelled due to his crass stupidity rather than any forte in the trouser dept) had left the kill switch in ‘off’.

A quick bite and a swig of water was all we squeezed in, then tentatively ventured onto the sand. Around Ahipara and through the rocks the sand had some small soft patches, although further up, it was like concrete, and it wasn’t long until the speeds settled down to a steady 95kmh.

Had a good play in the river at Te Paki, before a very dusty ride up the last leg to the Cape.

Nice run back down the highway to Awanui with Wayne bouncing the 650 off its rev limiter to keep up at times! All good fun though.

Home by 6pm to get the water blaster on the bikes and a beer!

More pics to follow........

10th October 2006, 10:03
Nice account and it brings back mixed memories! Some friends and I did the Southern Cross last year and one of the check-ins was Cape Reinga lighthouse. We left Hohoura mid-morning and rode to the Cape which was a bit of a nightmare on a fully-laden Blackbird with the state of the metalled road - sliding all over the place. We were released from the check-in at mid-day and then rode down to Ohope in the afternoon en route to East Cape. Just over 800 km for the arvo. Wish I'd had a bike like yours for the northern leg!

10th October 2006, 14:11
I forgot to mention, it was about 230km on the way up (via Ahipara) and about 210km on the way back.

10th October 2006, 21:39
Cheers for that mate ... :niceone:

I'd like to think that crass stupidity has, for some time, be a particularly strong point of mine ... after all, I've had lots of practice ... :D

As for your comments Blackbird, I don't think you would have been too happy riding the big bike on the mettalled roads, well not in it's present condition anyway. Let's just say that the tyres were at the very end of their serviceable life ;)

... anybody got $500 in loose change for a set of Tourances? ... somebody... anybody ... please ... pretty please ... :D

Seriously though, it was a cracking day out, and I'm looking forwards to Mrs Chipster letting the big guy off the leash again soon so that he can take some more photo's of me having an absolute ball ...

Ride safe guys

11th October 2006, 13:55
It was a great trip for sure. We'll have to throw in a bit more offroad next time so the poor old 650 isn't the one holding things up.

We saw a couple of Transalps about (and a KLE500 on the beach), there seems to be a few of them in Northland/Kerikeri. I wonder if they are rentals or locals?

11th October 2006, 20:51
Looks like a great day was had by all :rockon:

How was the 1150 on the sand, any major dramas?

12th October 2006, 07:46
Didn't have any dramas at all on the 1150 in the sand. The only minor point would have been the 90% worn Tourances that I was running on - a distinct lack of grip when accelerating or braking, but for coasting along at around 100km/h and more they were fine. Just rolled it off a bit at the stream crossings to avoid aquaplaning, but to be honest it would probably have been fine crossing at any speed.

The grunt of the 1150 made for good fun getting away, with the rear spraying sand roost and spinning all the way from a standing start to well over 100km/h through third gear - good fun!

It's a pity that - with me at 6' 5" - John neglected to tell me that, as a short arse, he had the seat on its lowest setting, and that it's height can be adjusted! No wonder my knees were aching when we got back, and the bars seemed so high!!!:spanking:

12th October 2006, 19:51
Interesting pics and write up. I wondered why you were given the bigger bike (while reading) then saw the pics!! (lol)

Do you really think tourances are the best tyres for that 1150?

I have been using them on my T/A but while they are pretty reliable on the sealed roads they don't impress me on the gravel etc that much.

I usually get about 12K out of the back and 14K from the front.

Currently waiting for a lost shipment of "Mitas" to turn up! :crybaby: Cheers John.

13th October 2006, 08:18
Hi Oldrider,

Well, it's just my opinion, coz it's not my bike, but I've been riding dirt and road bikes for nearly 30 years, and I found the Tourances to be, frankly, dreadful on the gravel, but fine on the sand. I think they'd pretty much be a waste of time on mud too. Mind you they're just about shot, I'd say the rear is 100% worn, and the front is on the way out too.

Having said all of that, on the road they're great. Did some fast road work coming back down from the cape, and the bike was lovely to ride quickly, with the Tourances working as well as most other road tyres, especially when they got hot and sticky. John's even done a track day on this 1150 at Pukekohe (in my past life when I was there with him on my ZX9R Kwak) and I have seen him grinding footpegs(!) so we know the Tourances can work.

John (the lovely owner who lends expensive bikes to me!) is currently looking to replace the rear with another Tourance, but at $350 (!) they're not cheap, and I'm sure he'd consider alternatives if you've got any suggestions?

13th October 2006, 11:42
Oldrider … just to chuck in my $0.02

Obviously with any “adventure” or “dual sport tyre” it’s going to be a compromise … tar-seal, gravel, sand, mud, ... wet, dry.

For me the compromise was easy at the time that I put the Tourances on, because in the UK, the furthest “off-road” the bike got was Tesco’s carpark :D and the received wisdom is that the Tourances are THE tyre for road going 1150 GS’s

However, Northland is a completely different kettle of fish.

That said, I’ll probably go for the same again, as soon as I can afford them, because I like the way that the tyres work on the tar seal, and I don’t have too much of a problem with them for the speeds and distances I ride on the metalled roads.

Like I said, it’s all down to compromise, and I’m in the extremely fortunate situation to have the 1150 for the easy cruisy stuff, and the 80 (which is going to get a set of TKC 80’s in the not too distant future) for the more … adventurous stuff, but obviously when I say adventurous stuff, you understand that the term is relative ;)

I think if I had the “cojones” to take the 1150 further away from the tar seal, I might be inclined to go for the TKC’s on that as well. After all, young CBob was keeping a very respectable pace across all the ground conditions on the TKC shod F650.

… and if you really want to give yourself a headache thinking about tyres, have a search on ADVrider …

13th October 2006, 19:17
Thank you Zebedee, I am currently waiting for some "lost shipment, now found" Mitas EO7 tyres to try out on my bike for my needs.
I am frankly getting too old and feeble to attempt "off road" riding on my T/A, so I try to maximise my opportunities by only riding on formed tracks (bulldozed farm tracks) with modest creek crossings, gravel roads, or tar sealed highways.
The Tourances have managed all of this work so far except moist green grass and have only just managed the mud that they have seen.
I think they hold on like glue on the tar seal though, more than I can manage anyway!
I canned off on the wet green grass in a farm paddock. Ouch, for me and the bike!
I guess 30/70% off on road tyres are most suitable for me, if a little overkill on the 30% off road but erring on the side of caution I spose.
Some of the guy's I respect have been getting good results out of the Mitas tyres and they are well priced so I am going to wait for our delayed shipment and give them a try.
Thanks again, enjoyed your trip story above and pics. Cheers John.

14th October 2006, 07:51
Cheers for the info Chipster. Yep gotta watch that seat height, it makes a hell of a difference. :2thumbsup

The topic of tyres of tyres is an interesting one, but much too subjective to draw any conclusions. But for me the Tourances are the bees knees (but I'm road rider and an absolute novice of it)

Lord Derosso
14th October 2006, 09:19
[QUOTE=Blackbird;781514]Nice account and it brings back mixed memories! Some friends and I did the Southern Cross last year and one of the check-ins was Cape Reinga lighthouse. We left Hohoura mid-morning and rode to the Cape which was a bit of a nightmare on a fully-laden Blackbird with the state of the metalled road - sliding all over the place. QUOTE]

I was chatting about the road several months ago and someone told us it was fully sealed to the cape now???? It use to be loose gravel from the end of the SH1 sign at Awanui approx late 1960's.

I lived at Pukenui as a teenager for five years in the 70's so know the Far north very well and the memories of long line fishing off 90 mile beach on wonderfully hot deep blue sky days...... And here I am stuck in Wellington. At least it could be worse. I might be in Auckland instead. I had a nightmare ride up to the Cape about 8 years ago so I will give it a miss if its still unsealed on my planned tour next March. Cheers.

16th October 2006, 08:32
Hi LD, it's sealed most of the way now, only the last 15kms or so is gravel. You should be fine on your tour. I took my CBR up there a few months ago with no worries, but at a slower pace than on the Dakar.

Totally worth the trip though if you catch the Cape on a good day (it's even better on a bad day with the Tasman and Pacific meeting pretty impressively)