The Wairau Moment


Wines for lunch

Every bike has a Wairau moment. It’s just recognizing its past is what matters
We have had Valerie the VFR for a few weeks now. Had the few final wrinkles settled in getting to know her, last few parts arrived to finish her off and now she’s truly a part of the family. All bikes have a break in period, even second hand ones.

With my ST4S Kelly noted the moment, the very moment that I clicked into ‘in tune’ with the bike.

It was near Wairau in the South Island, hence the reason I call it the Wairau Moment, she felt that very second I clicked with my new bike…. she noticed literally the very corner I suddenly dropped into far more confidently, relaxing my position a little, leaning off the bike more. At our next stop she said ‘you just got used to this bike just back there I felt it happen’.



factory pipe

out on our first weekend away still had factory pipe then, yuck

carbon sexy

The new pipe







Had a quick hop over the hill to see a mate in Martinborough yesterday, seeing as I had the time between commitments. That moment for the VFR 1200 F arrived. As I went up the hill I realised I had done every corner without brakes and in 2nd or 3rd gear smooth and correct line taken without even consciously focussing on the lines. It was then I thought to myself ‘the Wairau moment has passed for this bike’.
Riding home I had the hill run all to myself, having passed the truck holding up all the traffic just the start of the climb up the Featherston side. For the first time with the VFR I had the twisty road all to myself, no passenger, no top box just me and the bike. Wheeeee!

I have done a few suspension tweaks to tune it to my riding style, softened the front rebound 2 clicks, now know where the single rider vs 2 up ratios on the rear hydraulic pre-load sits, got the tyre pressure sorted for how I like the bike to feel and now am used to the ABS brakes as well as the bikes engine braking traits.

What a glorious short ride this was. Only 40 minutes each way (well….80 minutes both ways but one direction was significantly shorter) but so good for the soul. Valerie and I are now fully in sync having had our Wairau Moment.

2 for me

Both of em

I will never be ‘fast’ by the measures of many of my riding friends with motor sport and track day experience. Nor will I ever be the guy who’s holding up the group on the bends. But yesterday’s run home was such a smooth precise and surprisingly quick ride, I can safely say Valerie is here to stay…for a very long time.

I have owned 3 bikes at once at times. It can be a bit of a bitch getting too used to one bike and losing sync with your others.

Took the SV to work a week ago while the shop fitted the VFR’s carbon pipe… nope sorry it’s on the market so anyone wanting a nicely setup street SV in NZ holler, we’ll do a deal.

Wairau Moment achieved.


dirty girl

She’s dirty yet still sexy

A ride report, our new bike Valerie.

So our VFR. First time over the hill. Ride report and a ‘hmmmmm’ session 😉

OH – EM- GEE. !!!!! *^%$#*! I popped over the hill to see a mate and get used to the bike a bit.

Smoooooooth. Strong. Nimble. Positive. Safe. POWERFUL. More…much more. Did I mention smooth?

I am so happy Kelly decided she liked the VFR the most of all those bikes in the shop.
She liked the seat position. She liked it as it was at the test ride. Even with the hard custom seat.  She likes the big top box, its there to catch her if I get impulsive and start doing wheelies (it has happened before!)

Since the test ride (where I identified a issue with a rear shock absorber control) the shop has done a lot to her to make her right for us. They serviced the rear shock, replaced rear wheel bearings, replaced rear brake pads, serviced steering head bearings, serviced the engine and then, when they couldn’t adjust the slack on the top box lid? They got us a new replacement one. THAT’S service folks.

Today I got to know Valeries traits a bit better.
I worked the throttle a bit today, I got to know response times in different gears, the way she accelerated, stopped, how she felt in corners, how she responded in her cornering mannerisms… I did a few test stops, and a few other maneuvers to check how she handles different actions.

I played with the suspension a bit, tried a few different settings on the base hydraulic pre-load at rear and think I need to tamper off rebound a pinch on the front as well as pre-load down a notch. Hard as rear – very stiff now she’s serviced  so I softened the hydraulic pre-load a 1/4 turn….perfect.

Questions I had to ask her?
How low could I go and expect a smooth come back in say 2nd, 3rd even 4th? Answered
How well dd she roll up to 100 from 50 in 5th gear? Answered
Could I sit on 100 kmh in 6th without low straining the motor? Answered
Hows the ABS feel? Answered
Does she do tightening corners, and whats it feel like to pull her in hard? Answered
Overtaking – (LOL!!!! is that what its called?) Answered

Finish the bike
I cant wait for my carbon pipe to arrive…. it will sound yum! Adds a hp or 2 they claim and will make her loud enough to hear coming.
And, the replacement top box.
I am also considering painting the front side panels of the fairing mat black….

Finish the luggage kit
I am comparing OEM Honda Panniers with other after market options.
Throw over/under saddle bags, sport type expandable (benefit can keep one side thinner by not expanding for getting on/off)
Givi v35’s –  which match my top box as part of a set(coincidence) and which hold more luggage by about 12 liters all up. They’re also cheaper. Downside is that mount frames they come with place them in a spot Kelly will dislike for climbing on. Much where the ST4’s were (and she HATED them fitted.)
OEM ones hang lower, sit further back on mounts that are already built into the bike. No brainer for me, though more expensive the better option for my pillion. Whats 12 liters less with a 65 liter top box. OEM wins IMO but at 1200$ landed…. might lose yet.

Final thought
So Valerie is a real sweety. Strong, fast, comfortable, did I say fast????

We will be out on her tomorrow, doing some miles.
Maybe we’ll see you out there somewhere.

StoneY and Kelly

You meet the NICEST people on Honda’s


I have for years and years bagged my friends with Honda’s. No real reason.  Just an urban myth here in New Zealand born of the web forum Kiwibiker.
Well….we have one now.

Bought a VFR1200F 2010 model – 75k’s on the clock and a big top box.

Lovely to ride, custom seat, fast, smooth (shaft drive) and handles like a dream. Always said I would never have an ABS fitted bike either… oops standard factory option on this one (and boy those brakes are GOOD!)

So Kelly has named her Valerie Felicity Rhonda…the Honda.
VFR. Must be my 8th or 9th bike from TSS Red Baron.

Off for the weekend on a ride to get familiar with our new girl


Will make  a post next week about our adventures with Valerie
Stay shiny side up out there.


A wild ride

The last few months have been testing for me.

My girls been a rock, man I wouldn’t know where I would be without her.

Got the itch to change direction, paid for a training course, bet my future on a roll of the dice…and 3 weeks in went ‘bah not me’

Bad..bad StoneY

Anyway, got the word today on a new job in IT. As long as I pass the Justice Dept check, and my referee’s stand up, I have a permanent job offer. Big step for me, been contracting for years.

The thing with contracting, self management (taxes, GST etc) sucks arse big time and I fucked mine up bad. Realized a few months back, need that salaried role. So when I thought of changing gigs to become a Real Estate guy, I answered an add for ‘real estate apprentices’… met with the advertiser and they paid a 60k salary WHILE YOU STUDIED for the license!!!! 2 years at that rate, no commission, while you learned the trade and qualified. Sign me up I said, threw in my tools in IT and walked away to my ‘new career’

Goalposts moved…… ‘ oh…we don’t do that program anymore, now we want you to qualify, do the course, and then we will start you at point ‘x’ of the old ‘plan A’ now we have ‘plan B’.

Call me a cynic but I hate moving goal posts…

Decided IT ain’t that bad, spent 10 years building my reputation and skillset…. going back but only for a permanent role. And it was hard finding one, ended up heading back down the ladder a few rungs (but its a good thing) to where I excel, not just ‘keep up’.

Today I got the formal offer. Pending my passing the ‘not an axe killer’ MOJ check and my referee’s lying convincingly for me (beer bribes work, WORD!) I am again gainfully employed and for once…not the contractor. Not the guy who just got to know everyone. The suckiest part of contracting… just get to know your crew, the mission, the tools on offer…and you move again. New guy all over, every few months. It sucks. I had come to truly hate it.

Anyway this is a shout out to my babe, my girl, my gorgeous Fiance who stood by me through this indecision, lack of income, lack of motorcycle (another story as I sold the 1400) and a drought of income creating activity from her man…. she put up with it, made sure I knew she was in my corner and I love her for it.

I so needed to re-boot…recharge…get back in focus. I realized its years since I had a holiday and subconsciously I sort of think I took one by osmosis…(smashed Witcher 3 and all DLC at least!)

Anyway back on the horse next week. Maybe a black SV650 pony…we will see. Depends on how the test ride goes….