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Offline Alzie

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Re: First long trip on z1000sx imminent. NC500??
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2017, 08:34:21 PM »
Despite the weather forecast, we went for it at the weekend, an anticlockwise lap of the NC500(ish). I took both our gear in the SX panniers, as my mate has a CB1000R with no luggage, so it was easier than him messing with a tailbag or tankbag. To be honest, for all we needed for 2 nights away, a small tail bag each would have done it, but the panniers were there, I've never used them, so thought I would give them a try. They're neat enough not to be a problem in traffic so would use them again even on a short trip like this. We'd booked accommodation ahead, as this route is getting busy with all the publicity making it popular, Friday night in Wick, Saturday in Gairloch. We left Aberdeen mid morning Friday, made it up to Wick with a coffee stop in Inverness. Not much rain, some drizzle occasionally but nothing too bad. It took me a while to get settled into riding the sx, but confidence increased by the hour. Not much to report on the first 200 or so miles, just a busy A96 to deal with, then the emptier roads beyond Inverness to Wick.
Heavy rain through the night didn't bode well for day 2, so we had a discussion over breakfast, watched the days weather forecast on telly, saw it was due to be wet but "showers" as opposed to heavy spells, and went for it. First stop was John o Groats, for the obligatory check in, then on round the top of the mainland heading west. At John o Groats we spoke to a couple of guys who had ridden up the west side on Friday, from England, and had heavy rain all the way, so we got lucky with our choice of direction for the circuit. I should say, we've both done this route before, so we didn't feel the need to do any touristy visits, we were just there for the fun of the ride. First heavy rain came not too far into the trip, and I'm no fan of wet weather biking, but it passed quickly and we were back to dry roads, and passing the first lines of caravans, camper vans, foreign plated cars and anyone else out for a Saturday drive. In no rush, we stopped when we fancied a leg stretch or a quick photo, and didn't break any speed records. The single track road sections were only a pain once or twice, when huge campervans held up everyone's progress. Heavy clouds made rain look likely all day, but only a few showers caught us, which was a huge relief.
I was dreading the SX seat numb bum that's so often mentioned, but apart from some initial aches on day one, the seat was fine for me, and I got off the bike each day with no complaints. No need for a new seat for me it seems :-). Day 2 ended very wet. After some fantastic roads and scenery, we left Ullapool in warm sunshine, heading for Gairloch, and with about 10 miles to go it went all monsoon on us!! It was only when I pulled up at our hotel in Gairloch that I remembered about the power and TC options, which might have been a good idea in those conditions, but a very restrained hand on the throttle did the job  :002:
After another night of heavy rain we again debated our plans over breakfast, and decided to skip the Applecross section on our way back to Inverness, hence NC500(ish) We've both done it before, in good weather and bad, and didn't feel the need on a day when the cloud would ruin the view, so it was back to Inverness, mostly dry and very enjoyable riding. We had planned going back to Aberdeen from Inverness via the A9, cutting off at Granton on Spey, and taking some favourite roads home, but again we decided to do that another time, and went for a fast blast back down the A96, cutting off at Huntly to take smaller roads to home.
We hit a massive traffic queue at Keith, filtering all the way to the front we found a massive load negotiating the narrow streets with police closing off side roads and utter traffic chaos. A quick right turn, some back lanes, a bit of pavement use and tight squeezes between gridlocked traffic, and we were past the blockage and proving that bikes beat everything on the road. A great weekend, despite the weather forecasts, and I'm not 100% convinced the SX is the best bike I've owned.   :001:
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 08:46:03 PM by Alzie »

Offline Alzie

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Re: First long trip on z1000sx imminent. NC500??
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2017, 08:57:56 PM »
Some trip photos

Offline ed

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Re: First long trip on z1000sx imminent. NC500??
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2017, 11:19:06 PM »
Nice pics - I'm so envious. I love the far north of Scotland. Picture of Castle Varrich at Tongue reminds me of several happy stays there. Whole of the north west highlands are idyllic for motorcycling - no point in going fast, just trundle along and enjoy the awesome beauty of the place!

Offline Alzie

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Re: First long trip on z1000sx imminent. NC500??
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2017, 11:01:39 AM »
*Originally Posted by ed [+]
Nice pics - I'm so envious. I love the far north of Scotland. Picture of Castle Varrich at Tongue reminds me of several happy stays there. Whole of the north west highlands are idyllic for motorcycling - no point in going fast, just trundle along and enjoy the awesome beauty of the place!
Agreed, it is a beautiful part of the country, which my hastily snapped pictures don't do justice. Hopefully we'll be back again soon  :002:

Offline Bigbird

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Re: First long trip on z1000sx imminent. NC500??
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2017, 12:18:35 PM »
Hi,
I'm from Aberdeen and did the NC500 the weekend from picking it up the bike, we did it over two days starting from Inverness on the Friday, took a left at Skiach Services, the Struie Road to Bonar Bridge and made our way back to Dornoch and then up to John O'Groats, and along the top and back down to Ullapool and stayed in a hotel for the night. Next morning headed to Applecross then hame back to Aberdeen. Weather was a hit or miss and very windy on the Saturday, roads were empty, maybe due to the high winds and rain but it was a great weekend and looking forward to doing it again backwards.

Offline Alzie

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Re: First long trip on z1000sx imminent. NC500??
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2017, 05:24:54 PM »
Bigbird, we didn't get any wind, which was great, so when it rained, it came straight down  :002: Planning next trip north asap.....

Offline markm3006

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Re: First long trip on z1000sx imminent. NC500??
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2017, 06:54:35 PM »
There seems to be a few SX owners on here from Aberdeen / Aberdeenshire   :062:

We did the NC 500 back in May over 2 days with not a spot of rain, cold in the mornings but soon warmed up when the sun came out,  didn't half go through the rear tyre tho   :001:  :001:


« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 07:01:42 PM by markm3006 »

Offline Alzie

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Re: First long trip on z1000sx imminent. NC500??
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2017, 08:31:36 PM »
*Originally Posted by markm3006 [+]
There seems to be a few SX owners on here from Aberdeen / Aberdeenshire   :062:

We did the NC 500 back in May over 2 days with not a spot of rain, cold in the mornings but soon warmed up when the sun came out,  didn't half go through the rear tyre tho   :001:  :001:
I've done that section a few times, never in sunny clear conditions like your photo though! I needed a new tyre after the weekend too, was probably a bit iffy before I went, and was definitely done by the time I got back...

Offline hogi

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Re: First long trip on z1000sx imminent. NC500??
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2017, 01:04:39 PM »
I'm away this Saturday for a week, going anti clockwise with a couple of nights on Skye.

Have done it several times (from before the NC500 title existed) and loved it everytime in rain and shine. Which we are likely to get next week!!

East coast doesn't compare to the west but pretty enough if considered on its own merits. Nice to compare the difference between the two.

This is the first time on the Sx and am hoping the Tony Archer seat does the job. :001:
Fazer 600, Triumph Sprint 885, Fazer 1000, z1000sx

Offline Brickit

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Re: First long trip on z1000sx imminent. NC500??
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2017, 01:43:50 AM »
Just back from Scotland where I took part in the Scottish Motor Cycle Rally - Highland Challenge. 520 miles in 24 hours, quite a bit of it on the NC500.
Loch Carron, Achnasheen, Ullapool, Lairg, Bettyhill, Castletown, Brora, Evanton, Fort Augustus, Claunie, Fort William, Oban in any order, finishing near Crainlarrich. Collect receipts from shops in all places to prove you were there. Did the whole lot in just over 13 hours, so had time for a quick sleep. The SX was faultless, (but the air hawk seat essential), roads fantastic, weather kind, no tickets through the post yet, so all is well.
 
Best roads definitely on the West, but the best stretch for me was the A833 for about 6 miles North from Drumnadrochit, going towards Inverness. Good surface, sweeping open bends, dips and hollows, hills and flats.  I should have turned round and done it again and then back, but needed to press on. Shame.  :006:

 


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