Monday, December 31, 2012

Just ride it!

It's been a while since I've written much, basically because I just ride the Caponord and often! I regularly hear ignorant riders saying, "A Caponord, the're unreliable aren't they?" Arr no, far from it. My Caponord just goes and goes and goes..... Like any bike, you need to do regular maintenance, but the Aprilia Caponord is easy to work on and relatively inexpensive for spares.

I did a 10,000km service the other day, which was simply an oil change, fluids, check this, check that, all up it took a casual hour and half to complete. (Including beer time).

I made one mistake, when replacing the sump plug, I didn't replace the crush washer. (Stooopid!)
I had to change the washer whilst not loosing too much oil and then top it up. The trouble is, I topped up with too much oil and nearly did more damage than good. Caponords DO NOT like too much oil. It can eventually, get into the airbox and foul the air filter.Fortunately I caught it.

A lesson learnt, always use a new crush washer because if you don't, it will cause headaches later on!!

I changed oils as well and am now using Penrite. Gear changes are slicky smooth and neutral is dead easy to find. Let's see if it goes the full 5000km distance!

On a side note, I sourced a Cagiva Mito for my missus. It needs a little loving, but nothing that won't break thr bank. I already know what fun these babies are and am looking forward to getting it running. (It's ok Caponord, you aren't forgotten.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Homeward Bound

Saturday late evening

I was dreaming of the next day’s adventures when I heard a vehicle close by. For a moment, I was nervous. It was 11.30pm and I was alone, in the middle of the bush and without any radio or phone communications.

I popped my head out to of the tent to see a trio of guys getting out of a 4x4. What on earth??

My nerves were soon calmed when I saw the fishing rods. Damn, late night poachers!!

The only thing I could do was relax and keep an eye out. As it turned out, they couldn’t care less about me. All they wanted was a load of fish and a few rums.

By 1.30am they left and I returned to my dreaming!

Sunday early morning

I had forgotten all about the change from daylight saving and woke up at dawn. 5.00am
I gulped down a couple of cups of hard black coffee and wandered down to the lakes edge.

I was standing on the shore of heaven. The lake was like glass, the air was clear and the air crisp. And the best part was it was all mine.

As I stood on the shore I could see low fog rolling into the valley. It was almost like smoke drifting in. A wind came up out of nowhere and the lake changed from serene to chaos. It then hit me that this could turn into rain, which meant I could end up being damp for the day and that was something I didn’t want.

I packed up the bike and left my private piece of tranquillity.

Before leaving, I checked the Sat Nav and discovered that there was an undiscovered trail leading to the main road. It looked good and wasn’t too long, so it was worth the risk.

The new trail was actually a lot easier than expected, however a heavy fog made the riding slow. The layer of fog was from ground level to about 500 feet in altitude, so at times as I rose above the 500 feet I would pop out into a ghostly expanse of cloud. I almost felt like an angel dancing over the clouds.

Once I reached the main road I switched the Sat Nav to home mode and progressed to Bowral. (The birth place of one of our most famous cricketers, Don Bradman.) Bowral was still asleep when I rode in at 7.00am, however I felt satisfied that I had already enjoyed the best part of the day.

The rest of the trip home was quiet and uneventful with the exception of a police car chasing a speeding driver. This gave me a good chuckle as I rode past and saw the face of the driver. Lunatic!!

It was good to be home, even if my trip was a short one.


The Caponord performed flawlessly with the exception of the tyres failing to cope with some of the trails. Since then, I have purchased some new Michelin Anakee 2 tyres, which I hope will make a difference.

I have come to appreciate the Caponord more and more, whilst respecting its limitations. The Capo is not a trail bike, it wasn’t designed to be one. It is however a true Adventure bike which allows a rider to go places that the average driver will never see.

I encourage all Caponord riders to have a go. Start with an easy trail and then progress to something more challenging. You won’t regret it for a second!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Born Free

These were the first couple of words of  a song that described the letting loose of a captive lion. Last week end, I let loose my lion.

With my partner going away for the weekend, it was a good opportunity to pack up the Caponord and try the Aprilia in some slightly different terrain. The plan was to ride to a place called Kangaroo Valley, turn left and find a campsite in the Australian bush.

 Preparation - Friday night
The night before the ride, I chose to pack up the Caponord, ensuring I was ready for a early morning departure. Into the panniers went food, water, a change of clothes and camping gear. Once I was satisfied that I had everything, I checked again and again. Only 15 kilograms of gear was not a bad effort.
I could hardly sleep that night and for two very opposite reasons. Firstly, I was excited, nervous and had drunk way too much coffee.  But mostly it was the dinner I had eaten. Unknown to me I had consumed some Pate' that was a little past it's best date. It certainly didn't feel very good. (Read, I was really really sick)

The Beginning Saturday Morning
The grin on my face the next morning when I fired up the Caponord was huge. The illness from the night before had gone and it was time to hit the road!
Travelling out of Sydney was fairly uneventful; the traffic was light and easy. Around 45 kilometres from home, I came to a turn-off that led to a town called Helensburgh. However the reason I turned off was beyond that sleepy town.

I was heading a local hangout of like-minded bikers. Stanwell Tops is a car park that looks out over a gorgeous beach landscape. Sure enough when I arrived, around thirty five bikes were parked. As per usual, riders from every walk of life were hanging around, talking shit and gawking at each other’s bikes.

Oddly, a biker friend called me on my mobile phone just as I shut the Caponord down and so I gave him a running commentary of what bike was what. Harley’s, Ducati’s, Yamahas, MV Augusta’s in fact most manufacturers were represented. It was all good until a bus load of Japanese tourists came along and scared everyone away; me included!

From Stanwell Tops, I rode the coast road through the various seaside villages to a place called Gerroa. A quick nature stop and then time to head inland.

Saturday, Early Afternoon
The road to Kangaroo Valley is completely insane. There is no other way to describe it. Sharp “U” turns that are almost at 40 degree inclines, blind corners and cars driving in the middle of the road. I was certainly glad to get to Kangaroo Valley about 45 minutes later. I stopped for a relaxing coffee.

After asking for some clarification on my destination, I headed off toward Yarrunga Lake. Around halfway along the road, I noticed my fuel gauge and it was about half full. Oops! A major oversite if I wanted to do any serious bush riding. After thinking about the remainder of the trip, I decided to return to Kangaroo Valley and get some fuel for the bike and some spare fuel, just in case.
I paid way too much for a 5 litre container of fuel, but felt more secure knowing I had a backup if anything went wrong.

At around 2.00pm, I arrived at Tallowa Dam on Yarrunga Lake. The area is a designated State Forest which contains a lot of trials, scrub and animal life.
I checked out the dam, but this was not what I was really there for, I wanted to hit some of the fire trails and check out the off-road capabilities of the Caponord.

Saturday late afternoon
The trails were pretty easy at first, but then got harder, a LOT harder. Some trails were loose shale which meant I had to keep my wits about me, but then other trails were sandy and these took even more concentration. I travelled about 20 kiomoetres in parts of heaven.

Along the way, I met some over 50’s on dedicated off-road bikes. We stopped, had a chat and they asked me if I was lost! I said "no" and asked if I could tag along. The guys seemed amused at first, but said “why not, if you can keep up”. I kept up, for around 15 kilometres. It wasn’t until I realised my tyres weren’t up to the task that I called it a day. The other riders gave me a bit of a friendly cheer as I rode off in the other direction.

On returning to the Dam area it was time to set up my tent and get some well-earned food down. A couple of local goannas kept me company and the some stunning wallabies joined in. At first I felt a bit nervous with the goannas considering their size, (well over a metre long) but they seemed to be at ease with people so I let them scrounge some food and they then left me alone.
The start of the night was fairly uneventful and I did enjoy taking photos of the area, the vast array of stars and some shots of Mars.

A Friendly Local?? Well sort of. This is a very pregnant female goanna

A shy but adorable Wallaby.

This type of scenery was everywhere. Looking across Lake Yarrunga from my base camp.

Next blog, the late night antics, and the trip home……..