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The bike relaxing while I open a gate

The bike relaxing while I open a gate

I’ve spent most of today playing with the new motorcycles. After a quick oil change the large of the two was fired up and I gave it a good blat around the fields. It’s not really designed for riding sitting down, as the pegs are so far backwards so you really have to stand. The gearing is very low and rather annoyingly the farm is rather flat so it’s not really in it’s element at the moment. I need to take it to somewhere really muddy and preferably, vertical and then it will come alive. It was interesting to think about how different it was to the F 800 GS I rode a few weeks ago. The 800 GS is a serious off road bike but this motorbike is something else, it’s just so specialised.

Some parts of the bike are still a bit of a mystery to me, I can remember being told the sequence of things you had to do to start it but the reasons behind them were slightly lost to me. Thankfully the lovely chaps at the Classic Bike Forum were able to work out what was going on.

The clutch is fairly easy to spot, but what are the other two things?

The clutch is fairly easy to spot, but what are the other two things?

As you may notice this end of the handbar has slightly more levers on it than normal. The one on the top of the handles is the advance/retard for the ignition, it changes the rate at which the engine ticks over. The one below is a bit more mysterious. If you squeeze it when the engine is running the bike stops (which is handy because the bike doesn’t have any other off switches) and it is also used when kick starting. After I explained what happened to the chaps on the forum they said it might be a valve lifter, so I took some photos to investigate

There is where the cable goes, so valve lifter it is then.

There is where the cable goes, so valve lifter it is then.

And so you can see on the right where the cable connects to the top of the engine. Another mystery solved. I also got my Dad’s old helmets when the bikes were delivered. One of which is lovely old school lid, perfect for riding retro bikes around.

It just needs some goggles.

It just needs some goggles.

I dug it out this morning to wear while riding the bike around the farm but when I picked it up I noticed it still had my dad’s white hairs on the inside. It was as if he had only taken it off five minutes ago and so I decided I think I’ll leave it for now, I’ll buy a new helmet for me and leave that one for him.

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If you are going to ride a motorcycle off road you are going to need some serious boots. Even though you will probably be travelling at lower speeds than you would on a road the chance of twisting your ankle or doing some other unpleasant thing to your foot is much higher. Even an fairly innocent action like putting your boot down for a just moment to steady yourself at low speeds can end up in a nasty injury.

It was because of this I invested in some very serious boots before my first adventure ride. I was told by the instructors that I had to wear motocross boots because of the high level of ankle protection they provide, normal road boots just wouldn’t cut it. Water proofing wasn’t an issue as they said that nothing will help when you end up walking through a river so just take lots of spare socks.

When I explained what I needed the boots for the chaps in my local Hein Gericke store suggested some TRG Cross boots. I’d not worn a motocross boot before so I was a bit taken back by the lack of flexibility in them, I could hardly move my ankles at all which made me a bit concerned about if I’d be able to change gear while wearing them.
The boots before the course

The boots before I went riding in them.

The plus side of having your ankles are so cosseted is that they are incredibly well protected, which is perfect for adventure riding. I was told that if I wore the boots around the house for a day before I went out riding it would be equivalent to the movements of thousands of miles or riding and they would become a bit more supple.  So by the time I got to wear them on a motorbike they felt far more natural. They still were a bit like something Robocop would wear but at least they were nice and snug.

Gear changing proved a bit interesting at first, but once I got a feel for the shape of the boots it was fine. The chunky soles mean you can use the edge of them to move the gear lever up which helps if you are still struggling with the lack of ankle movement. I gave the boots a really hard time, they were walked through rivers, stamped in bogs, jammed under bikes and even used for a bit of running and they were brilliant.

The boots after a few days hard riding

The boots after a few days hard riding

Even though they aren’t listed as waterproof you will be fine in a light shower or if you have to put your foot down quickly in a puddle and if they do get wet they dry out pretty fast. They even have a nice leather bit on the inside so you don’t scratch your bike.

After a weekend in them my normal road going boots felt about as armoured as an old sock and so I suspect in the future I’ll be wearing these TRG boots for more than just adventure riding.

The boots were £129.99 and you can order them here.

If you liked this review you can read about my review of the Hein Gerick Tuareg jacket and trousers (pants if you prefer) or read about my first adventure ride here

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