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      Yamaha YZF-R1000W (2007)      

Yamaha YZF-R1 2007

 

So this is the next-generation of the R1. My first impression of this bike was the way Yamaha completely changed the way it delivers its power. The first few times I rode this bike I struggled with it, especially powering out of slow corners. With this bike you have to work the gearbox a lot more, a bit like a 600. It was also the first bike I'd owned that has a slipper clutch and I love it. This gives you outstanding braking into corners as well as getting out of them alot faster.

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Yamaha YZF-R1000N (2001)

Yamaha YZF-R1 2001

 

This was my second R1 and man what a difference, Yamaha had made quite a lot of small changes to the frame and this made it a completely different bike. This model quickly became one of my favorite bikes. Once you got to know the bike and set it up to suit your style the feedback when riding was excellent. When I changed the Dunlop tires to Michelin pilots it took the bike to a whole new level. The power of the engine was staggering all through the range, you could even be lazy with the gears and it still pulled like a Mack truck. This was a great R1 and it was so much fun to ride but you had to treat it with a lot of respect, to say I loved it would be an understatement. Well done Yamaha you got this one right.

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Yamaha YZF-R1000L (1999)

Yamaha YZF-R1 1999

 

This was my first R1 and to tell you the truth is was not one of my favorites, after the excitement of getting a new R1 wore off and I tried to get to know the bike, I found it very harsh and extremely hard to get a good set up on the front end. From day one of riding this motorcycle it always felt like you're riding over the top of the front wheel and I never had a lot of faith in the front end. The motor was brilliant but the gearbox was very chunky, especially riding around town. I always felt that the handling was too mechanical, harsh and a little inflexible, didn't seem to flow freely. This bike did have a great motor and was extremely well finished and started first time every time.

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Yamaha YZF-1000RJ (1997)

Yamaha YZF-1000 1997

 

The YZF was an update of the FZR, Yamaha changed the frame in this model to be more like the frame out of the previous FZR-750 and also went back to conventional style forks with large diameter tubes. The swinging arm was also modified from FZR-750. The motor and drive chain was basically the same as my old FZR-1000. The front brakes were the same as what was used on the first R1. I always enjoyed my two FZR's, but all the changes made to the YZF took it to the next level. The bike was much more nimble and made it steer quicker. I took this bike to a few ride days at Eastern Creek in Sydney and was very impressed. The bike was rock steady under hard braking and then would find the apex of the corner and power out the other side. The amazing thing about this bike is that it was good on the track and also in the real world, even two up. The more you got to know this bike the more it surprised you, it could do anything. In the real world this was one of the most underrated bikes.

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Yamaha FZR-1000F (1994)

Yamaha FZR-1000 1994

 

This FZR was about the same as the one that I traded in. The only real difference was the front brakes were now six spot calipers and the colour scheme was a little brighter, I actually didn't mind it. Before taking delivery of this bike I had the Pirelli MP7 tyres replaced with the Dunlop's. This bike was basically exactly the same as the previous FZR other than a few minor changes, but don't get me wrong it was still an excellent all-round bike. I don't know what it was about this bike, it must have been the colour scheme but I had two little encounters with cars. The first one was a car changing lanes and not seeing that I was already there, hence he side swiped me and damaged the fairing and also the exhaust muffler. Didn’t knock me off but it got interesting for a few seconds. The second encounter was a car that got it all sideways in the wet and just clipped me as I went by, again I didn't come off it just damaged the right side fairing. Excellent bike, but it seemed to have a target painted on it.

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Yamaha FZR-1000B (1991)

Yamaha FZR-1000 1991

 

Five years had gone past and so much had changed with what was available to buy, so a lot of time was spent in researching my next bike. I ended up purchasing the FZR. After riding a bike with a 16 inch front wheel the FZR front end was amazing. The inverted forks and a 17 inch front wheel gave extremely good feedback. This bike came fitted with Pirelli MP7 tyres which were good. I found when I fitted a set of Dunlops it made the bike a bit more free-flowing. The bike was also fitted with massive front discs which seemed to work extremely well. The engine that Yamaha had produced with this bike was able to manage all types of riding exceptionally well. The slant four-cylinder, five valves per head with the combination of the ex up made it an extremely good ride in the real world. It only had a five-speed gearbox but the torque of the motor made up for the lack of a sixth gear. The FZR was excellent on the track as well as being excellent in the real world, this bike could do everything.

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Honda VF-1000F (1986)

Honda VF-1000 1986

 

This bike was purchased because the price was right. Honda had discounted the bike due to problems with the cam shafts caused by poor lubrication. Honda had also extended the warranty out to three years with unlimited kilometres. This bike did over 80,000 km before I had to redo the cam shafts. The VF had a water-cooled, twin overhead cam, Multi-valve V4 engine which had heaps of torque down low. This bike also had a 16 inch front wheel which made it steer quicker, but the trade-off was at the loss of feel. I found the best way to ride this bike was to break hard into corners to get as much weight over the front as possible. On rougher roads it gave the bike real attitude as it would buck its head. At this time tyre manufacturers were starting to come out with some pretty good tyres, on a trip to Tasmania the bike was fitted with a set of Pirelli silver dot tyres. This was probably the first set of tyres I'd used with real grip. Enjoyed this bike, but not a fan of the 16 inch front wheel.

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Honda XR-500RC (1983)

Honda XR-500 1984

 

This bike was purchased because the company I worked for at the time sent me to Alice Springs in Northern Territory, Australia. This was only supposed to be for 12 weeks so I didn't take the Z1000-J with me. I ended up living in Alice Springs for 12 months and was then sent to Darwin in Northern Territory, Australia for another 12 months, so 12 weeks turned into two years. The only way to see Central Australia is with a dirt bike and the XR500 was an excellent choice. This bike was in its element out here, you could take it anywhere and it would just eat it up. About three months after arriving in Alice Springs I had my Z1000-J shipped from Melbourne this gave me the best of both worlds. The XR had a lot of torque and took some time to get used too, but if you took the time to learn to ride this bike properly it was a lot of fun, on two wheels as well as one. This bike had an excellent engine, good brakes and suspension that handled most conditions.

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Kawasaki Z-1000J (1982)

Kawasaki Z-1000J 1982

 

When I sold the Z1R I had a brief stint without a bike, I needed to buy a car. This only lasted about six months until I could save to buy the Kawasaki Z1000-J, it was so good to be back on a bike. Not doing that again. The Z1000-J was probably the first bike that I owned that the word 'handling' actually meant something. The frame had a lot more bracing around the steering head as well as a cross member just in front of the motor and this seemed to make the bike able to handle the power of the motor a lot better. Good brakes, good motor and a better frame made this a good all-round road bike. Two of the years that I owned this bike I lived in the Northern Territory, Australia. We did a lot of long hard riding on the wide open roads in central Australia and this bike handled it with ease. The original colour of this motorcycle was blue but after a blowout in the front tyre and coming off at about 100 Kph, the bike was repaired and the colour was changed to black.

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Yamaha YF-125F (1980)

Yamaha YF-125 1980

 

Buying this bike was probably the smartest thing I ever did, even though I grew up on a farm and had been riding farm bikes for years this was a whole new league. This bike showed you how to ride loose, sideways and all different types of ways. On the downside it also threw me over the handlebars, off the back and high sided me many times. This motorcycle threw me off in every conceivable way you can think off, but it was so much fun. This bike certainly helped improve my skills on the road bikes and helped me become a more competent rider in all conditions. Back in the 80s the choice of street tyres was not what it is today. Riding on the road you had a lot more moments especially in the wet than what you do today. Great tyres like the old Dunlop K81was all we had. This was a fun bike that helped me become a better rider, so I’d say that is a win-win scenario.

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Kawasaki Z1R-1000 (1979)

Kawasaki Z1R-1000 1979

 

The Kawasaki Z1R in its day was probably one of the hottest looking bikes around. The quality of finish and the whole style of this bike started to take the sports bike in a new direction. Back in the late 70s most riders fitted aftermarket Bikini fairings to their street bikes and if you've ever seen the Australian movie, Stone you would understand why. This bike back in its day had good brakes and an extremely good motor, but the frame and the suspension could not handle the power of it's motor. You might be riding along at high speeds on a straight stretch of road and hit a bump which would cause the bike to go into severe speed wobbles and with your heart in your mouth it was quite a handful to get it back under control. The ZIR in this picture was the second that I owned, as the first one got written off after eight weeks, by a car going through a stop sign.

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Honda CB-550F (1978)
Honda CB-550F 1978  

My first registered road bike. It was 1978 I was finally old enough to get my learner's permit and buy a new road bike and this is what I got. Back in 1978 there was no law restricting you to what size bike you could buy, but as I was a country boy and grew up on a farm I had been riding motorcycles for years. Once the excitement of finally getting my license and being able to ride on the road on a road bike had worn off, the only thing that you could say about this bike is that it had 2 wheels a motor and a seat! The brakes only just worked in the dry, but if it rained you would have had better success of stopping by putting your feet on the ground. I had a couple of small off's with this bike, but it was only on wet and muddy country roads. Ok it was my first bike, but only just!!!

 
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