Monday, 25 February 2008

Mr Scruff in the Button Factory

I survived the weekend...and what a weekend it was!

Without a doubt Mr Scruff (CLICK HERE) is the best there is at what he does. As soon as I walked into the Button Factory at 11.30pm he was on stage. After plucking up some courage I approached and he was happy to have a chat with me.

Once things got going the music was brilliant, some favourites thrown in and even a good few "brand new tunes" which Mr Scruff said could be on the way to the new album in April. Initially I thought maybe a 90mins set...then maybe 2 hours...then maybe 3 hours...but we were not leaving the Button Factory until 4am!

There seemed to be a period between 1.30am - 2.30am when people just wanted to stand in the dance-floor or attempt to cross this wall of people with pints while not fully able to walk. Kids eh? Well there seemed to be a loyal few of us that stayed moving in front of Mr Scruff for most of the night.

Once he finished up, with a tune that will never let me listen to an Irish jig the same again, he jumped down into crowd. At which stage I briefly got to say another thank you for an amazing night.

Please go and see this DJ if you hear he is nearby, even if it may not be your usual cup of tea. You will be impressed, moved and left feeling very alive. Well, I was at least!

Thank you again Mr Scruff...keep it unreal!

Also, a special thank you to Rikitiki for the photos taken on the night and joining me on the dance-floor, she knows who she is!

Friday, 22 February 2008

Before I Forget...

WSB RETURNS for 2008!!!!!

This Saturday the WSB, round 1 from Losail, Qatar kicks off the motorcycle racing season!

So after months of 2007 season highlights and reviews we get our first hit of the year and what a year it will be with some familiar faces gone (James Toseland) and some returning names to shake things up (Gregorio Lavilla) while others are determined to win at almost any cost (Max Biaggi).

In my opinion last years WSB season offered the best racing action, closely followed by BSB and then by a rather dull MotoGP season (relatively speaking). So all that is left to be said is "gentlemen, start your engines..."

Baglux, Tea, Pie & Ale

Well, the Baglux tank protector and Minea bag were waiting for me when I arrived home this afternoon. I will fit and "break in" over the weekend but not before one little event, that being the Mr Scruff concert at the Button factory (in Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland) this Saturday night.

So provided I survive this weekend in one piece the you can expect some photo's and first impressions sometime next week. Also to anyone who maybe attending on Saturday night..."Here we go"!

Keep the rubber side down

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

DCU Model United Nations

Other then my unnatural love affair with motorcycles (If only that was the worst of it...) I also have a few other things that keep me entertained. Not that studying for a Degree In International Relations is eventful enough I am also a committee member of the Dublin City University Model United Nations (DCU MUN).

So I am pleased to announce that the official DCU MUN website has gone online. You can access it by Clicking Here or if you see on the left hand side in "KD's Web" you will find a permement link.

Further to this 7 of our society will be attending Queens University in Belfast this weekend (22nd, 23rd & 24th February) to take part in an MUN simulation with similar socities from all around the globe.

"Having lost sight of our objectives, it is time to redouble our efforts" -Anon

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Shooting The Breeze

My MRA Vario Touring Screen arrived, very appropriately, on Thursday morning as a valentines day gift for the other lady in my life! So that evening in a dimly lit garage and some appropriate music I got her top off and on with the bigger, better and more adaptable screen.

And what a screen it is. The very next day I got the excuse for a nice, long, wandering ride taking in motorways, main roads and some twisty country roads. I already enjoy being behind a fairing but this adds so much more in the way of wind cheating performance. I could sit upright on Karma on the motorway and only feel the wind buffeting the top of my helmet as the wind was deflected up and over. Hardly any felt effect on my front. So this product is highly recommended.

Fitting is very easy. Carefully remove your old screen, taking note of the very thin plastic strip that is between it and your fairing. So once off unpack your brand new screen and mount using the existing screws. This is when I had my only nasty surprise. At first the holes did not mount up which led me to stop and utter some choice words. But I lightly screwed in the top right. Went to the top left and while applying some slight pressure to the front of the screen watched as all came into alignment. All was right again.

Once fitted all screws were gently tightened then you have a piece of plastic piping to run along the edge of the screen. Which you cut to length then clip in place. This is quite a nice finishing touch. I tried moving the 'Vario' portion of the screen. This was very stiff at first, but pushing in a direction more or less parallel to the screen had it going through the notches. Note that you should move both sides at the same time and always when you are stationary!

Without doubt this is a top quality piece of kit that will be of huge benefit in bad weather. I only wish I had this through January, but I am sure I will have many more occasions to praise this latest bit of kit. I have only tried it at its highest setting so I have to experiment with the other positions to fully appreciate its abilities.

You will find a few photos on HERE of how the finished job looks, I got the 'smoked' version of the screen which, in my opinion, really looks the part. My all-rounder is becoming more versatile with each accessory. Now I await the arrival of my Baglux Tank Protector and Tank Bag.

Keep the rubber side down.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Dressing Up Karma

I finally decided on a screen for Karma (my Kawasaki ER-6F). This being the MRA Vario Touring screen. Initially I was going to order locally but some reviews put me off so placed my order through BikeHPS. This was quick and painless via their website. They also warned it may take 3 weeks to deliver but today I received an email saying I should have the screen by Tuesday. So expect a few photos and comments on the screen in the near future.

Why did I decide on it? Well initially I was happy to order the Kawasaki screen which is a few centimetres higher then standard. But after trying to order from several dealers I gave up on this. My local Kawasaki dealer could provide it, but more on that later. I was also hesitant to get it because of the belief that 'what sticks out, breaks off', but a number of reviews have put any fears to rest. While the ability to alter the screens wind deflecting properties depending on my preferred riding style and weather conditions convinced me to pay the extra, especially since I cover an average of 400KMs each weeks.

Also I have placed an order with Baglux UK for a tank protector and their Minea bag to go with the protector. I decided on that particular bag since I wanted something useful but would not be in my way while I was riding. So small and compact but still expandable to 21 Litres. Again, this was a simple phone call and those on the other end were extremely helpful. What is not obvious and was my only concern was if the bag was waterproof. While the bag is not it does include a rain cover. Again, photo's and comments once it arrives.

Now the important bit. Cost! My local dealer quoted me the following:
€200 For the Kawasaki Spoiler Screen (£53.45 in Kawasaki Catalogue)
€180 For Baglux Tank Protector
€180 For Baglux Bag

€560 Grand Total

BUT ordered from the UK delivered to my door:
£108 For MRA Vario Screen
£169 For BOTH the Baglux Tank Protector and Minea Bag

£277 or €371 Grand Total (All costs included)

Saving me €189

The numbers speak for themselves. I should have all the items by the end of the month, so expect more details then.

Keep the rubber side down

Friday, 1 February 2008

Gear Update - Halvarssons

Well I have travelled a few hundred KM's in my new Halvarssons Korax Jacket & Cobra Pants and thought I would give a brief update. For the purposes of of this I will be comparing against my previous few months and 3000+ KM's in my Olympia Motosports gear.

First, the Korax Jacket. I got it in Black/Offwhite, as I was told the Black/Offwhite/Red was no longer available, from Megabikes in Dublin, Ireland (my local Halvarssons dealer). The jacket is of very high quality and the fit is very snug. Not tight, but for a textile it does not feel bulky or cumbersome. All the features are very practical. Handy zips and I have yet to suffer a leak of any kind, also bear in mind that this has been the wettest Irish January in 20 years! My only complaint with the jacket is with it's thermal properties. The 'Outlast' liner does not meet behind the zipper like most thermal layers, so while riding you can really feel the cold getting through. In fact I have resorted to wearing my Olympia thermal lining underneath with the Outlast. This was disappointing as Halvarssons slogan is 'If it works in Scandinavia', maybe the wind blows differently there?

The Cobra Pants are also of the same high quality as the Korax Jacket. Their fit is also very similar, no bulkiness whatsoever. I have not noticed the cold so much in these except in the area where the ventilation zip is located, you do feel a bit there. Also, the pockets do not have waterproof zips, they are open all the time and in the rain can let water drip down inside the pant. This seems to be a major oversight. Maybe it is due to the design but I have not experienced this problem before. As an 'all-weather' rider I also spend all day in the gear so it can annoy. Other then that, the pants do everything as expected. They come in a selection of leg lengths so I got a perfect size for me requiring no adjustment. The braces are a very useful feature. Also the way they slip over the boot and fasten is quick and effective.

Taken as a suit it is very nice. As noted the fit is impressive, feeling more like a heavy jacket and a good pair of pants then a bulky textile suit. The armour is of CE specification and I had the optional 'Back Converter' (CE, EN 1621-2) which is very substantial without being noticeable. I forget it is there until I sit down or take of the jacket. Most of the zips have tabs on them to allow you to open with gloved hands, though getting in and finding your change is another matter. They also zip together with a full length zip which adds to the overall safety and comfort of the package.

As noted though, the weather protection is the suits only failings. The cold in the jacket and the rain with the pants. Other then that I would happily recommend this. If the fit of this suit and the weather protection of my Olympia suit could be combined then we may have found a near perfect suit. But right now we are just not there yet. So this suit is recommended but with some reservations if you are a all-year, all-weather rider. Those who can pick when to ride or use other transport would find little to fault.

Keep the rubber side down