Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Gel Seat

The factory seat on the Bandit is a bit ordinary.  It feels nice initially to sit on, but the foam is too soft, compresses and on a trip starts to cause a deep seated (literally) ache.

The options were things like an aftermarket seat (too expensive as all sourced ex USA), getting the seat re-covered and new foam in NZ (at least $500) or a Suzuki gel seat.  Rather optimistically I priced the gel set through Suzuki NZ, and almost fell over when quoted $1000 (yes, one thousand dollars) ex Japan with a 10 week delivery time.  No sale for Suzuki there!!

The answer?  Ebay.  Ex USA, as new gel seat off a wrecked bike, $187USD.  The sellers didn't realise it was the gel seat, but fortunately I was going through the pictures and recognised it for what it was.  New they are $286 on Ebay.

Took less than 2 weeks to arrive, bolted straight on and perfect condition.  It's wider, heavier and has far more robust vinyl with a heavy basket weave on the rider's part.  It is much firmer and I don't think this seat has been used much at all.  Initial impressions are that it is much higher quality than the OEM seat.  I haven't had a chance yet for a longer ride, but it's unlikely to cause the same issues with the foam compressing.

Always worth shopping around.  I just wish Suzuki NZ didn't charge so much, as all it does is drive my shopping off shore.

UPDATE: The longest ride to date has been over 4 hours and 400 km.  Much better than stock and I don't get the pain I got in the past.  A good buy. (And it's adjustable and I have it on "high")

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Foray into Youtube

I finally had a crack at posting to Youtube.  Works well, although my video quality could be better.  I'll get a better camera and do something with a commentary.  This video should give you an idea about the time I spend working on this bike.  Given it gets used daily in all sorts of weather, it looks really good.  Paint protection film in key areas and regular coating with polymer protectant wax and general elbow grease, silicone spray and keeping things clean seems to work.  Suzuki make a good product, and it's easier to keep a waxed bike clean than leaving it for ages.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some cleaning

The rain cleared for a while, and after a ride, I thought I'd give the bike a clean.  Scrubs up quite well.  The NZ K8 touring models have the "Touring" decal on the fairing.  The K9s didn't.  The decal looks good, but is somewhat fragile.  I haven't seen these on any images of bikes from Europe, UK, Canada or the US.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A couple more


Some personal favourites needing no introduction:

Bandit side cases

I thought I'd turn the Givi V35 side bags into Suzuki ones.  The only difference is a sticker, which is amazingly hard to track down.  Here's the part number: 990D0-V35SC-LOG.



Same size and a self-adhesive fit.

I also got the red inserts for the bags, and the part number is: 990D0-V35SC-YHL

An easy fit and I also put some reflective tape behind the red lenses on the bags as it makes them light up with headlights on them

F800 abuse


Check this link.  This guy can really ride a fully set up F800.  It's a plug for Twisted Throttle, but I don't mind.  They have sold me a lot of stuff as it's cheaper to buy from dealers in the States than the locals.  It's ironic - I'd rather support local retailers, but the Suzuki markup in NZ  is obscene.  A Gel seat in the US is around $260US and less than $500NZ landed.  Through Suzuki NZ, it's $1000.  I can understand a hundred bucks here and there, but there's no reason for such a disparity.

Anyway, check this out:

Bloody weather

I don't know.  Every time I get to the weekend and think "there's a decent ride here somewhere", it's raining. Hard.  We are enjoying a major bad weather warning, rain, gales etc.  Riding home tonight, some breather had caused a several car pileup and the traffic was intense (at least I was on a bike and got through).  I am starting to go stir crazy.

Now the Bandit is out of warranty I am doing my own maintenance.  Basics anyway.  Oil and filter, chain, pivot points, air filter etc.  I'll leave valve clearances to the experts.  I guess I could do them, but with shim and bucket it's a hassle without a shim collection.  At least with the BMC filter on it I can wash that out, so most of the major cost items are do-able by me.  The oil's easy to do.

The bandit doesn't need much maintenance.  The scottoiler has meant that I haven't had to adjust the chain in over a year, and no signs of wear at nearly 15,000 km so far (not that I'd expect it).  The bike is literally get on and go, so my fiddling is confined to cleaning and adding bits to make it more user friendly.

More rain this weekend means I may pull off the fairing lowers and give it all a good clean and check frame bolts and other fasteners for tightness.  Then again I could just stay in bed.

Bring on summer!  Please.  Before I polish the bike to death.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

When it's raining.. can live vicariously at the Isle of man TT with Guy Martin.  That's some serious riding!

Fitting a Stebel Nautilus

The Stebel Nautilus is a fantastic air horn for a bike. My last 2 bikes have had them fitted and I have also assisted friends with fitting them to their bikes. They make an enormously large sound for a compact unit, and certainly make car drivers pay attention.

I have had a few people query where to fit the Stebel on the GSF1250S. The attached pics show the process.  If you remove the black fairing "inner' (the piece that Suzuki love sticking the warning label on), you will see a spare bolt hole on the front left frame downtube. Going back about 6 inches is another bolt holding a small bracket on. I use both. The way I do it is to keep the fairing on, but remove the black inner. I hold the Stebel in one hand on the left hand side, and use cardboard to get the distances and angles right. I then use steel strap.

One piece, shaped a bit like an "L" goes from the rearmost small bolt that holds a small bracket for cabling, and I bolt another piece to this "L" through to the bolt hole on the front down tube for additional strength. I have used this for 2 Bandits now, and the horn is mounted vertically and is fully out of the weather. Use Nyloc nuts or loctite.

Make sure you use a relay!
The bracket and fasteners
Looking from steering stem nut down to left

Friday, September 10, 2010

Things that make me go hmmmm...

Why do people...

..tell me I must be mad riding a bike as they are dangerous?  I know they are dangerous, which is why I like them.  If I wanted to live without danger I'd never leave the house.  I have decided that, as Simon and Garfunkel so aptly put it, I am following the river of death downstream, so I am damn well going to do it in the boat of my choice.

If I'm not getting out of this life alive, I may as well enjoy the bits in the middle.


......change lanes and indicate while they are doing it?  I can see they are doing it as I brake with my arse clenching the seat.  It might be nice that they use that little indicator stalk to indicate their intention, not their action.  Still, it must be hard for some people to do this when they are talking on their cell phone and picking their nose.


.......follow you like they are a duckling after its mother?  I saw an advertisement once that had a pedestrian following another really closely and as the guy in front sped up, so did he.  It looked ridiculous, and the ad said something like: "looks silly?  So why do it in your car?"


.....look you in the eye at an intersection then pull out in front of you anyway?  In fact, this ad always does my head in:

Drool factor

I looked at a B King today.  1340cc of nastiness.  I know it wouldn't be as practical as my bike, but what a machine.  I have avoided riding one, as it would be like having a date with Latetia Casta.  It would spoil things.  I'll just revert to drooling.

So why do I ride?

Why did I start riding?  Well it all came down to the fact that the girl I was seeing had a sister who was seeing a guy with a bike.  A Honda Elsinore 250, to be precise, and I thought it was kind've cool, and the rest is history.  If you've read this site, you'll see I have had a lot of bikes, as I enjoy change.  Some of them, quite frankly, have been dogs, but you need to try these things.  (Now this is starting to sound like my previous love life).

Riding was always a pretty solo activity, even with a girl on the back you couldn't really talk or interact until you got to your destination.  I guess I always enjoyed that.  Learning martial arts was always a personal journey, and riding really complemented it.  The thing I have always enjoyed was the zen aspects of riding.  You are in the environment, the smells, the feelings, the movement, the noises, the temperature.  You are close to your own mortality.  In the moment far more than sitting behind the TV screen that is a car windscreen.

I love the way the world turns off other than the immediacy of the moment.  No worries.  No work pressures.  Nothing but the experience and the bike. I've tried the i-pod when riding, but it's not for me.

If you've never ridden, it's hard to compare, but I imagine a lot of people doing their favourite hobby experience something similar.


OK, I know this isn't bike related, but this guy's site appeals to me.  A lot.  He has a wicked sense of sarcastic humour coupled with the ability to write like someone who's planet's sky is another colour.  I wish I could do this sort of thing without getting into trouble.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bandit pics

Some of the 1250 Bandit and GSX1250FA Brochures and pics I have come across:




GSF1250 L0

GSF1250 GT (UK Model)


GSX1250 FA K10