Category Archives: General Talk/Advice

LET US TALK OIL

The big question on a man’s (or women who are into engines)mind when doing a DIY service on the car or bike….especially if it is your first time,  is what oil to use.

Before we look into that, let’s first decipher all the “codes” and abbreviations you might see on an oil can.

API – means tested and approved by the American Petroleum Institute(API)

SAE – means the oil was tested by the Society of Automotive Engineers

JASO – stands for Japanese Engine Oil Standards Implementation Panel. JASO is usually indicated in MA, MA1 and MA2. The JASO grading is especially important for motorcycles and specifically those that use a wet clutch (clutch is immersed in oil).

Viscosity – Refers to the oil’s resistance to flow in high and low temperatures indicated on the oil can as 5W30, 10W40, 15W50, 20W50 etc.

Now to explain the viscosity. If we use a viscosity indicator of 20W50 as example, it can be explained as follow. The first part “20W” refers to the oil’s resistance to thickening when cold. The “W” stands for Winter (sure you knew that). So if you live in an area with very cold winters and relatively low annual temperatures you will most probably use “5W…” or “10W….” depending on what your owner’s manual specify or as directed by your dealership. So an oil with a lower “W” grade should in theory smear, seal and protect your vehicle’s engine better in lower temperatures.

The second part of the viscosity grade, in this case “50” (according to our example) refers to…..you’ve guessed it….the oil’s resistance to thinning when hot (engine running temperature). So if you stay in an area with extremely hot summers and high all year temperatures you wil most probably use “……40” or “….50”. Once again it is recommended that you refer to your owner’s manual or contact your local dealer for advice.

Your owner’s manual might make specific mention of Synthetic oil or Mineral oil (older engines). Important, if you’ve been using Synthetic oil (also referred to as Full Synthetic) then you cannot use a Mineral or Multigrade oil not event to top-up. If you wonder what’s the difference….you’re in luck! Cause I have a layman’s explanation:

Mineral oil – mostly a by- product of crude oil (made by nature) and used in older engines as these engines does not break down or make old(short molecules) the molecules (long strand molecules)that do the lubrication as fast as modern engines. Technically you can switch from mineral to synthetic oil in your old engine to extend service intervals (check with your dealer first).

Synthetic oil – mostly produced according to a fixed laboratory formula and process. These oils are ideal for high performance engines and used in most modern engines. The long strand molecules are more resistant and do not break down as easy as with mineral oil. Modern engines also tend to have longer service intervals. You cannot change from synthetic to mineral.

Multigrade Oil – can handle a wide range of temperatures. Multigrade oil contains a viscosity modifier that causes the oil to behave like a thin oil 20W or 15W when cold but a W50 when hot.

Oh and it is advisable to always change the oil filter when you do an oil change….with that bit of logic out of the way.

I trust that we’ve answered some of your oil questions and help you to choose the correct oil for your next service. Or at the very least we gave you the “cool” words to sound like an engine savvy guy/gal when you go to the dealer and ask what oil to use.

Note that we’re NOT making any recommendations. Please consult your owner’s manual, your authorized dealer or the manufacturers themselves before you do the oil change on your vehicle or motorcycle.

By: Pavlovski

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AFTERMARKET HALOGEN BULB UPGRADE FOR YOUR VEHICLE/MOTORCYCLE

By: Hector Jamieson

This summative article is all about halogen/normal automotive headlight bulbs. But before we get into a short discussion, let’s first have a look at the technical side of things aka the specifications. This will help you understand it all a bit better plus you’ll sound super clever when you talk lights

Understanding the specifications:

Kelvin refers to the colour of the emitting light or the colour appearance of the bulb.

  • 3000K=warm white, 3500K=white, 4000K=cool white and 6500K is basically natural daylight

Lumens (lm) refers to the light output or the total amount of light emitted by the bulb.

Watt or Wattage (W) refers to how much electricity the light bulb will use. More wattage does not equate to a brighter light. In fact this is no place more evident than in LED (light emitting diode)lights where these lights sometimes use as little as 10W or 5W to produce an even brighter light than bulbs using 55W. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and as automotive bulbs become more energy efficient we’ll see bulbs using less and less watts to emit a light.

I’m not gonna talk about Volts (V) cause we all know that’s the stuff can kicks the living daylights out of you when you touch a life wire.

PHILIPS HALOGEN BULBS

NAME TYPE Watt Volts INCREASE IN LIGHT LIFE TIME KELVIN (more K= whiter light) LUMENS
X-Treme Vision H1, H4, H7 55W 12V 130% 450hrs 3500K +/- 1500lm
Vision H1, H3, H4, H7, H11 55W 12V 30% >400hrs   +/- 1500lm
Vision Plus H1, H4, H7 55W 12V 60% 400hrs   +/- 1500lm
White Vision H1,H3,H4, H7, H8, H11 65W 12.8V 60% 450hrs 3700K +/- 1860lm
Racing Vision H4, H7 55W 12V 150%      
Eco Vision H1, H4, H7, H11 55W 12V   1500hrs   +/- 1500lm
Colour Vision H4, H7 55W 12V 60% 400hrs 3350K +/- 1500lm
Crystal vision   65W 12V 30% 400hrs 4300K +/-1140lm

OSRAM HALOGEN BULBS

Night Breaker H1, H4, H7 55W 12V 110% 300hrs    
Cool Blue Intense H1, H4, H7 55W 12V 20% 450hrs 4200K +/- 1550lm
Ultra Life H1, H4, H7 55W 12V   1200hrs   +/- 1550lm
Silver Star 2.0 H1, H4, H7 55W 12V 60% 450hrs   +/- 1550lm

A bulb producing 30%-150% more light is basically just brighter and technically it should shine further than your standard halogen bulbs. Meaning, you’ll be able to see further down the road at night. Eco or energy saving bulbs generally produce close to the same light in terms of brightness than standard bulbs but they are however designed to last longer (measured in hours [hrs]) and they tend to do exactly that.

Xenon-effect bulbs usually emit a blue-ish/white-ish light is generally considered a fashion statement (it’s a fashion I like). But these bulbs generally makes it easier for you to see at night due to the ”white” light and makes you more visible to other road users due to the light contrast. A good quality blue-ish/white-ish light can get close (okay maybe) to the same performance of a xenon or HID (high intensity diode) light although it can by no means be compared to such lights

After market halogen bulbs are a relatively cheap way to upgrade your vehicle’s standard bulbs to help you see better, further, react quicker to hazards and be more visible to other road users. The aftermarket bulbs most widely used are those produced by Philips and Osram. These bulbs are available at most automotive parts retailers as well as at most motorcycle shops.

Depending on the brand and type of bulb you buy, you can expect to fork out in the region of R350 – R550 for a set of two (park lights are often included in the packaging).

Ooh!! Before I forget, specifically with vehicles it is advisable to change both bulbs simultaneously for maximum light and safety.

Have a look at these links to help you decide which bulbs to buy:

http://www.philips.co.za/c-m-li/car-lights/headlights/latest#filters=HEADLIGHTS_SU&sliders=&support=&price=&priceBoxes=&page=&layout=12.subcategory.p-grid-icon

Philips-WhiteVision-H7-Headlight-Bulbs-12972WHVSM-At-PowerBulbs-1_750_750

https://www.osram.com/automotive/light-for/brighter-light/

OSRAM-Night-Breaker-Laser-H7-Twin-64210NBL-HCB-At-PowerBulbs

 

 

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ADVENTURE MOTORCYCLE TYRE OVERVIEW

The dual sport/purpose motorcycle (BMW GS, Triumph Tiger/Xplorer, KTM Adventure etc.)is one of the largest in Europe and Africa, no wonder  tyre manufacturers put a lot of effort in to producing a tyre for almost any type of dual sport rider and the various terrains these riders aim to conquer. Finding the perfect tyre for your specific needs is to large extend a matter of preference. You will inevitably have to compromise between a mix of longevity/mileage, grip and reliability as you attempt to find that perfect balance to the conditions you anticipate to encounter on your dual sport bike.

I trust that the following summarized overview of these 17 tyres will go a long way in helping you choose the ideal tyre for your adventure motorcycle.

Click on the links in the left column to read a short review

Tire All Weather Tarmac Gravel  Trail Grip Sand  Mud  Km’s DS Rating
Anlas Capra X 2/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 4/5 2/5 50-50
Anlas Capra R 4/5 4/5 3/5 2/5 0/5 4/5 30-70
Bridgestone Battle Wing 4/5 4/5 2/5 1/5 0/5 5/5 20-80
Bridgestone A40 5/5 3/5 1/5 0/5 0/5 5/5 10-90
Continental TKC70 4/5 5/5 4/5 4/5 2/5 4/5 40-60
The Continental Trail Attack 2 5/5 3/5 1/5 0/5 0/5 5/5 10-90
Heidenau K76 4/5 4/5 3/5 2/5 0/5 5/5 30-70
Heidenau K60 3/5 5/5 4/5 4/5 2/5 4/5 40-60
Michelin Anakee 3 5/5 3/5 1/5 0/5 0/5 5/5 10-90
Mitas E-07 3/5 5/5 4/5 4/5 2/5 3/5 40-60
Mitas E-08 4/5 4/5 3/5 2/5 0/5 5/5 30-70
Metzeler Tourance 5/5 4/5 3/5 2/5 0/5 5/5 20-80
Metzeler Tourance Next 5/5 2/5 1/5 0/5 0/5 5/5 10-90
Metzeler Karoo 3 2/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 4/5 2/5 50-50
Pirelli Scorpion Trail 5/5 3/5 2/5 1/5 0/5 4/5 10-90
Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2 5/5 2/5 1/5 0/5 0/5 4/5 10-90
Pirelli MT90 AT 4/5 5/5 4/5 4/5 2/5 3/5 40-60

Testing by: Hector & friends

By: Hector Jamieson

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Questions to ask Before you buy a Motorcycle

Questions to ask – Before you buy a motorcycle

 

Many a first-time biker is faced with which type of bike to buy when entering the world of motorcycles. Some folks sit with the same dilemma when making a lifestyle or budget change….the fact remains that before signing on the dotted line and committing to the purchase of a motorcycle there are some important questions you need to ask yourself.

Biking is not merely a hobby, it becomes a part of who you are, it gets intertwined with your genetics…part of your DNA. Okay maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but if you are as enthusiastic about biking as I am…it is a thing that runs in your veins and buying a bike is almost a matter of the heart, a decision lead by emotions. But regardless of what riding a bike means to you, the following basic questions will help you in choosing the bike best suited for you.

  • Is it your first bike? If yes, it is generally recommended to then look at bikes with an engine displacement/capacity of 650cc or smaller.
  • When do you want to ride?  Do you want to ride every day, commuting to work and back as well as doing the weekend out-rides? Obviously riding everyday means that fuel economy and comfort will play a roll.
  • Is it your only bike? If it is, you need to give serious consideration to all these questions as your motorcycle will then be a type of investment in my opinion. If it is not your only bike or only mode of transport, well then you are basically only limited to the thickness of your wallet.
  • How important is fuel economy? Most motorcycles will give you at least 15km/L or more, depending of course on how heavy your right hand is. But if saving money on travel costs is important to you, you should definitely consider bikes in the 600cc-800cc engine range as these are known for figures of in excess of 20km/L
  • Where do you want to ride with it? Here it is very simple, will you be riding on-road, off-road or do a bit of both? And your answer will basically leave you with either buying a scrambler, dual purpose bike or any of the other types of road bikes.
  • How long do you want to keep it? Is it a bike that you’ll keep for a lifetime, making it part of the family and many good memories or do you want to buy & trade over the years until you settle on that special bike that will be a gift from me to me on your retirement?
  • How often will you lift/pillion someone? This is important as not all bikes are built for 2 and some that are is not that comfortable for the pillion/passenger either. If you gonna ride two-up a lot it is recommended that you consider or at least have a look at motorcycles in the tourer, sport-tourer, grand-tourer, cruisers and dual purpose classes.
  • How much are you willing to spend on maintenance? This is largely influenced by parts availability (quality of after sales service, dealer locations, and where parts are imported from), the drive train (chain, belt or shaft driven) of the bike, the power of the bike and your riding style (eg. Regular hard acceleration, wheelies etc.) and willingness to look after it (keep it clean and service it regularly, use of original or generic parts).
  • How much are you willing to spend on the purchase of a motorcycle? This is basically self explanatory. Either how much do you have to purchase a bike, cash or if you finance the bike, what is the monthly installment you can afford. Opinions will vary but I recommend opting for a fixed interest rate if you’ll be financing your bike. And remember to calculate monthly insurance installments into your budget as well. It is strongly recommend that you don’t fixate on a specific dealership. Shop around and negotiate as you’ll find some dealers are more eager to do business than others.

 

For 2nd hand motorcycles you need to have a look at the following:

  • Maintenance record
  • Re-spray or custom paint jobs
  • Condition of the brakes, tires and drive train
  • Oil and fluid leaks
  • Dents and scratches (some may be evident of an accident)
  • Proper working of lights, electronics and locks
  • Toolkit (some bikes come standard with a basic toolkit)

I’ve learnt that answering these basic questions will help one to make a choice one won’t regret when going to one’s favorite motorcycle dealership to buy that dream bike and invest in a lifetime of joy and friendship as you become part of the motorcycle fraternity and explore the freedom.

And What did I buy?

Well, in my case I was looking for a bike with a durable and proven engine (larger than 1000cc)& mechanics, average to good fuel consumption (17-20km/L), comfortable for both me & the misses. A brand with a good dealership network and good after sales service as well as parts availability. So keeping maintenance affordability in mind, I (actually me & the wife)decided on a second hand machine, costing less than  R80 000 to purchase and which can comfortably take me & the misses anywhere we want to go, whether it be on tarmac or gravel (off-road)……a 2004 BMW R1150GS.

IMG-20150402-WA0000 DSC_0001

By: Hector Jamieson

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