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The Burgman 400 is the white van of powered two wheelers. But that doesn't mean it can't be improved so here's some uncalled for advice.

- Before you do anything else fit a Malossi CVT kit. This alone would have chopped 2 seconds off the kart track time by getting rid of that too high geared feeling of lugging out of corners.
- There's a real shortage of tuning gear but a Leo Vinci 4Road silencer helps a little bit.
- Whip the forks out and go one grade higher on the fork oil. 10W seems about right. 15W is too high.
- Run the tyres a bit over inflated to get rid of some of the lack of precision and get rid of some of the white lining. 27-39 seems to work
- Replace the mirror stalks with some threaded rod or short bolts with the tops hacksawed off.
- Take a dremel to the screen and cut a nice big NACA duct low down. Cuts some of the helmet buffeting by bleeding air behind the screen
- You can never have enough storage space and you really don't want to take pillions so strap an old Rickman topbox on the pillion seat. Attach a bit of foam to the front as a backrest.
- For the summer some liberated estate agent sign will make easy leg guards and keep the wind off your knees. For the winter a Tucano Urbano lapcover is essential.
- Triumph Tiger handguards and heated grips
- EBC HH pads work well
- Hoop tyres work fine and last well
- Ride it like you stole it because nobody else will

Here's one I made earlier

This was taking it all a bit far

They can be ridden with gusto

You get prizes for the most ridiculous thing you've bungeed on the back. A turkey. A christmas tree. A bicycle. A micro scoot when commuting. I did say it was the white van of motorcycling. It's also taken us two up to Glastonbury with rucksacks, tent, sleeping bags, wellies and a couple of gallons of cider picked up on the way. It did wallow a bit though. And amazingly it beat a GSXR1000 between Elsenham and Thaxted.

And the best bit is that it's really hard to get people to try riding one, but they always come back with a big grin. The perfect urban assault commuter.

Did I mention it's cheap to run? Tyres are 11k-9k miles and < £40 each. Tank is 12.5L and I get 110m on the motorway at 90mph, 130m in town and 150m on A roads treating the throttle like a two position switch. With current petrol prices and the gauge deep in the red that's a tenner for 11.5L. Insurance is cheap. Oil change is 2.5L every 3500 miles. The valves are screw and locknut (sadly changed to shims on the K7).

Speedo seems to be dead on accurate. It will hold 93 on the flat, 100 downhill or with a bit of slipstreaming. Top speed is limited by the rev limiter (9300rpm) and drops as the rubber belt wears. When it starts to kick in at 92mph it's time to change the belt. Typically 15k to 20k miles. The last one I had ended up with an engine that had done 75K miles dispatching and was using oil. Oil consumption is minimal until at least 35k miles when sustained flat out riding tends to burn it up. Avoid anything before the K3 as the rear wheel design is suspect, they either stick to the splines or strip the splines. Stock exhausts destroy themselves in 10k miles of London roads as something comes loose inside. The stainless Leo Vince seems to last forever. Front bearings are typical crap Suzuki with minimal seals. Same with all the Suzuki alloy on wheels and engine. A winter's salt and no cleaning destroys the finish. Just try not to look at it or cover it in waxoyl.

I have to say I love this thing because it's so silly but also so effective. It's that sweet spot between a small scooter and the mini-Gold Wing of the Burger 650. Especially for 15 miles of A10 into London and then 15 miles of London traffic. Even for things like trips by plane, you can guarantee the time it takes to get to the airport round the M25. Luggage is bungied on the back, when you park up, all the bike gear goes under the seat. If you go to a race meeting with mates, you can get two helmets under the seat, 2 on the strap hooks and one in the top box.

You still need a GSXR750 in the garage as well though.

[Copied from the PB forum. Best Comment]
Fair play to you, looks like you're having maximum fun from two wheels.

Is the top box full of frogs?

Reposted from

I've been trying to get all this straight in my head since watching the Scrutiny Comittee meeting. ISTM the following approach might be a way of thinking about it.

There are three factors in this whole game
1) Goals. a) revenue generation b) demand management
2) Side effects. Dissent. Congestion. Pollution. Impact on business.
3) Justifications. Cost. Security. Fairness

The problem is that when discussing this whether as individuals or formally, the three areas get mixed up. So "Car drivers pay so why shouldn't M/C" is used as a goal. Reduction in environmental impact is used as a goal.

This whole exercise is an "Experiment" regardless of the experimental status of the scheme. Westminster are breaking new ground by being the first authority ever to try and charge motorcycles for general parking. So the experiment has to be judged on it's ability to meet the goals and avoid unwanted side effects. Any discussion of the justifications is really just noise and spin.

So let's dig a bit deeper.

Revenue Generation
Westminster has an ideological and practical issue with generating revenue. They are committed to keeping down revenue from rates while maintainig services. But practically they've hemoraged money over the last year with the Iceland, CCTV debacles and so on. A potential £3-5M new revenue a year for a 3-500k investment is really hard to ignore. This is a potential new source that nobody else has yet tapped.

Demand Management
Car Parking charges and the Congestion charge were both originally designed as demand management techniques. In practice, neither has actually managed demand though it has limited it somewhat. Council's do have a problem with limited curb space that is under competition from all road users and pedestrians. They do have a problem with demand for M/C parking outstripping supply. This is at least partly their own doing by reducing spaces, temporary cancellations and preventing alleyway, private pavement parking. It's also been exacerbated by the congestion charge encouraging a movement from single person car use to single person scooter use. One possible solution is to ease the demand-supply gap by converting more yellow line and car bays to M/C bays. They've shown they can do this with their claimed 50% increase. Gut feel is that this could easily be done again and perhaps even more extreme with say 10,000 spaces rather than 4000 or 6000

Side Effects

The original papers and memos predicted dissent and recommended a robust marketing campaign to counter it. In the event, the dissent has been much bigger than expected and the marketing campaign completely ineffectual. This is a WCC own goal. They new what would happen and their failing to deal with it.

It's self evident that the number of PTWs on the street could be doubled at least before congestion became a problem. And every single use car that becomes a single use scooter eases overall congestion.

It's really not clear what the impact is of increased PTW use vs Car use or Public Transport use. In town, PTWs travel faster, journey times are shorter, fuel usage is less per mile and per hour and raw material usage is less. But despite the ratchet of EU emission controls, PTW emissions are still more lenient than cars individually. But this must be viewed from two standpoints. Carbon Cost and Pollution cost. The first is a global issue. The second is a local city issue. It would be easier to take the pollution issue more seriously if there was real evidence of an attempt to clean up badly maintained Buses, Taxis and diesel vehicles.

Impact on business
WCC has a duty to support the businesses that pay it's rates. It's getting increasing complaints that it's aggressive parking controls are impacting business in the borough (See St Johns Wood, Maida Vale, Moscow Road). And it's attempting to support some aspects of business by things like the cheap car parks for Theatre tickets scheme. The introduction of M/C parking charges is a direct atttack on a small proportion of business employees and customers. Small but just another one.

Impact on public transport
For those that can't avoid Westminster discouraging PTW use is encouraging increased use of and already over stretched public transport system.

Negative Publicity
Westminster's (Verrus') Pay By Phone system is refreshingly high tech but also seriously flawed. It's generating wide spread national bad publicity from Top Gear to BBC Watchdog to Broadsheet newspapers. It's beginning to rival private clamping firms in hatred by the public.


There are costs involved in providing PTW parking from bureaucracy to implementation to enforcement. But as we've seen from WCC's own figures these are miniscule compared with the revenue from the scheme or the overall budget. The biggest cost is a side effect of the scheme itself but this is also small once pay-by-phone for cars has been brought in.

There is an undeniable problem with theft and damage to PTWs in London. But the problem is endemic and added security is ineffective. The security devices don't work and PTW owners don't use them. So spending on security devices is wasted money. The only possible security that might work is within car parks and coincidentally this is an environment where charging for use of that security is relatively easy.

Arguing that some other section of road users have to pay and therefore all road users have to pay is spurious, specious and has no end. Continue down that line and you have to argue that cycles, pedicabs, electric vehicles, even pedestrians and people who chew gum or smoke cigarrettes, should have to pay. And delivery vehicles (dispatch riders); Why should they be allowed to load and unload for free when they are part of commercial enterprises. Each case *has* to be argued on it's merits.

So really we get back to the start. There is only Revenue Generation as a means of Demand Management weighed up against Side Effects. Eveything else is incidental and just adds confusion.

Their position is that Demand Management is a necessary evil and that the Increased Revenue benefits Westminster as a whole more than the Side Effects hurt it.

Our position is that there is no need for Demand Management of PTWs and PTW parking. And that Westminster has no right to tax yet another section of their customers for no benefit of that section[1]. And that the harm from the Side Effects far outweighs the benefits.

[1]Particularly when that section has so little representation as non-residents

Ham and High article about St Johns Wood and Maida Vale

"The high numbers of parking wardens and the introduction of pay-by-phone parking are also being blamed for killing off high street shopping. They installed a new parking system and when they first introduced it there were teething problems which customers got angry about. They sent down too many traffic wardens and now we've got the CCTV on top of that. So all these things are against us."

Parking fees as demand management has a certain amount of sense in some circumstances. For instance, short term parking filled with long term commuting vehicles can be a real problem. As can the increase in congestion where private transport is too competitive against public transport. But the problem is that councils are now addicted to the income from fees and PCNs generated by over use of parking restrictions. However, even Westminster recognises this and has introduced schemes such as cheap parking in the west end tied to theatre tickets to try and support just one sector of their business rate payers.

What we're asking for is not just a concession or continuation of a traditionally free service, but active encouragement of a transport solution that gets people off public transport without increasing congestion; That encourages people to come into Westminster and spend money on shops, entertainment and services; That supports business rate payers by supporting their employees. There is no need to use demand management to reduce demand because that demand doesn't cause a problem. Westminster could make parking free and double the size of all their M/C bays and it still wouldn't cause any congestion or road curb space problems.

Another thought. WCC crows about the increase in spaces available. Nobody is saying anything about the reduction in spaces available over the years leading up to 2007. For instance Northumberland Ave used to have a large M/C bay down the whole of the centre of the road. This disappeared a couple of years ago with no replacement in the surrounding area. Is it just my imagination or is there much less space available in WCC compared with 10 or 20 years ago?

The Westminster Lib Dems are more or less on side as well.
It seems Westminster are selling more car resident permits than there are car resident spaces.

Which makes me wonder. How does the number of M/C permits sold compare with the number of spaces available? Especially when allowing for wholesale closures like Soho Sq.

Westminster M/C Parking Demo - Mar 31

One week to go till the big demo. Tuesday 31 March

Ace Cafe 3pm leave 4.15pm and ride to
Trafalgar Square 5pm leave 6.15pm and ride to
Victoria St Westminster offices 7pm till we get bored

If you can't get to one of the venues and ride outs, then come along to the next one.

Bring all your friends. Even if they don't ride bikes.

Here's Westminster's public report on the experimental Motorcycle Parking charge scheme for the Policy and Scrutiny meeting on Mar 31st.

Original Word Doc



This needs some detailed analysis.

Mar 31 Demo
Ace Cafe 3pm for 4:15pm leave
Trafalgar Square 5pm for 6:15pm leave
Victoria St WCC offices 7pm till late

ps. It appears that WCC may have removed the above doc and the page it was on is now empty (Committee & Cabinet - Papers & Decisions Committee and Cabinet Documents
Built Environment/31 March 2009). There's a copy here (for the moment).

Tonight (Friday 20 Mar) at about 5:30pm GMT we will be taking search down for 10 minutes or so. The rest of the site will be unaffected.

Overnight our upstream Internet link is undergoing maintenance between 3am and 5am GMT Sat 21 Mar. This should not affect Ecademy but there may be short periods of outage during this time. [from: JB Ecademy]

So if you see one on your motorcycle in London, don't panic.

Now appearing on motorcycles all over London.

We're going to try to stream the London event tonight. The URL is here

Video streaming by Ustream

[from: JB Ecademy]

A document has come into my possession that expresses Danny "Chalky" Chalkley's worst fears of what the "Rogue Motorcycle Protesters" intend to do to Westminster Council's offices on March 31st.

So I swapped the ZX6R B1 for a very low mileage, 11 month old GSXR750K8. The ZX6 was wonderfully manic but sprung way too hard. The GSXR is more like a BMW M3. Except an M3 wouldn't need modifying!

Rode it stock a couple of times and noted all the irritations that weren't right. Like the levers being mounted much too high. Now I've spent the money and spent the garage time and it's mine instead of somebody else's. Here's the list,

- Skidmarx double bubble screen
- LSL Match raised clip ons - swapped from the Kawa.
- Footrests on lowest position
- Adjust the gear lever
- Scottoiler
- R&G Tail Tidy with extra bungee hooks
- Adjust the headlight beam. It was way too high.
As usual, doing a neat installation of the clip ons and Scottoiler was a mission and seemed to take way longer than it should have done.

I did manage to fit in a couple of hours riding this morning. My god, it's good. It's both faster steering and more stable than the Kawa. The suspension let's you feel the road without jarring over every cats eye. It doesn't float the way a recent Blade I rode did, but it doesn't leap about the way the Kawa did. And it's much less unwieldy at very low speeds. Oh, and It's proper quick. How did they do all that?

Planned but for later:-
- Black Stomp Grips
- One tooth smaller front sprocket - Speedo healer so it's then accurate again
- Laser stubby twin exhausts
- R&G case protectors
- Pazzo levers
- Renntec Pillion Grab Rail
- Louder Horn
- Heated Grips

And just maybe Fat Bar kit. For the moment the raised clipons and lowered footrests is probably enough of an old git's kit. The back, shoulders and wrists really weren't a problem this morning.

Oh and the wacky touring detail. Wire in a USB 5V socket for charging all the stuff. Using a 12v to 5v convertor from here.

Oh noes! I've been named in an email from Westminster Council's legal department to the No To Bike Parking Fees campaign. Here's a snippet.

Secondly you have published on the website a post (from "jbond") concerning defaced signage, and
the fact that a number of parking bays have had signs defaced with a black spray can. The posting
comments that your campaign cannot condone destruction or damage to Westminster council
property and deplores this potentially criminal behaviour. However it also suggests that the individual
responsible ought to consider ways of obliterating the sign more effectively.
Deliberately damaging
property is indeed criminal behaviour and the person responsible risks serious consequences.

My highlight. So apparently talking about the widespread damage to the signs detailing how to pay the tax and asking how this affects you if you happen to park in a bay with defaced signs is now enough to get you mentioned in dispatches. Although jokingly talking about how to obliterate the signs more effectively (with smiley) probably didn't help.

This then got turned into "Calling for the vandalising and removal of motorcycle parking signs that provide vital information for 
motorcyclists wishing to park in Westminster." in the press release.

The side effect of this and other issues is a fairly bizarre press release from Westminster followed by a detailed rebuttal from the campaign.

As somebody pointed out. "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

More disturbing is that the campaign felt that the escalation of this legal back and forth left them with no option than to close down the forum.

So make sure you make it to the demo on Mar 31st.

DEMO: Saturday, 28th February 2009, 10am Meet Golden Square.

The next demonstration ride will start from Golden Square (off Regent Street), meet 10am leave 10:30am for ride to Ace Cafe for 11:30am stop for lunch leave Ace at 12:30pm then on to Alexandra Palace for Motorcycle Show arrive 1:15pm, to garner yet more support for our upcoming MEGA demo (31st March 2009, 5pm Trafalgar Square, details to be published soon), the idea here is to cause major disruption to Central London, Oxford St, Regent St etc…

We had an outage for about an hour this afternoon. This was caused by a small software problem on a critical server.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused. [from: JB Ecademy]


Here's a shell of a PHP program for accessing the Skype API.

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