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Mal's Bike Diaries

Rid’n with the Ramsay’s

I travel light, well I think I do……. The Adventure Bike Australia DRZ400 is not a big machine (neither am I) so I try to keep it simple. In the days of Gold Coast Suzuki we ran free overnight adventure rides every month. We stayed in pubs (my preferred method) you don’t have to carry a lot, just a change of clothes, toiletries and the compulsory wet weather gear, tubes & tools. I like to tackle what single track I can find with a bit of pace and rhythm and a simple bag on your carrier still has my bike handling well like a motorbike should. But I’m learning and over the last couple of years have done a few of these camping rides, and there are two main reasons why I do them, Dave and Karen Ramsay. I know from running rides what it takes to make it work and team work is Read More...

Adventure Rider Magazine Northern Congregation September 2017

Very cool and very very dry conditions were the order of the day for last weekend’s Northern Adventure Congregation hosted by our friends of the above magazine and the extremely good folk of Green Valley Farm. An excellent turnout of around 250 riders was well up on last year’s more soggy affair. Riders that booked in early had a choice of heated cabins while the rest camp out in the cool conditions throughout the park like grounds. Yours truly also have been tent bound for the last couple years and while it’s difficult trying to erect tents, quick shades, setup and display our product we now have one of the one bedroom cabins with our name permanently etched into it ! Most riders turn out on the Friday afternoon, some solo, some in pairs or small numbers but a lot travel to the event through an organised bunch of friends Facebook clubs or Read More...

Grapevine Magazine – A Most Epic Adventure

We were so grateful to have received a shoutout from Mike Cooney in the latest edition of Grapevine Magazine. Mike has recently written an article about his “epic adventure” exploring the top of New Zealand’s South Island. A bit over a year ago, me and my mate Roger were discussing what adventure we should go on to celebrate his recent half-century. Both of us had owned and ridden plenty of dirt-bikes over the years, but we hadn’t yet tried our hand at the latest motorcycle phenomenon … adventure riding. ‘Adventure riding’ is a relatively new expression, but one the industry has quickly capitalised on. It’s now one of the fastest growing segments in the ‘bikey’ world, with thousands of new products added every year, designed especially for those with an adventurous soul. From adventure bikes to adventure undies, riders can now finally have an adventure on a motorcycle … It didn’t take Read More...

Grateful Eight Yarras Adventure Ride.

I guess if I’m going to give the Adventure Bike Australia Suzuki DRZ400’s new Steg Pegz a good test this is the place to do it ! Yep we were heading to one of Australia’s best enduro and adventure bike playgrounds. And I’m blessed to have one of my good friends just buy a 1000 acre property bang smack right in the middle of it all at Yarras west of Wauchope and near to the area well known as Gingers Creek.   This is why prior to his unfortunate passing Tony Kirby of Sidetrack Magazine fame moved to this area of NSW. Easily accessible with a vast range of hard, easy and anything in between tracks and trails that you can spend days if not weeks exploring. I’m sure this is why we ride adventure bikes. This particular group I ride with are fast, older ex enduro racers that enjoy more single track Read More...

Mal McConnell and his Suzuki Freewind in March 2017 Adventure Rider Magazine

In 1996 Suzuki released the DR650SE to enthusiastic Australian punters. The bike is still around today and it’s more popular than ever. That same year, Suzuki released a milder, more road-oriented dualsporter called the XF650 Freewind. The XF650 went the way of the wind, but there’s at least one very nice example still around. Mal McConnell’s been part of the Australian motorcycle industry for a very long time. He’s raced road and off-road motorcycles – and won – he was a pioneer competing on quads, he’s owned bike dealerships and he’s managed race teams. He’s still a keen competitor. But after all those decades nurturing a passion for motorcycles and fierce competition, Mal and his wife Karen have settled down a little. They’re still in the thick of things with their on-line store Adventure Bike Australia, and while we were ordering a few parts Mal jolted us back to the mid-1990s when Read More...

Wattle Flat Weekender

It was a no brainer we needed to jump on board and we needed to do it now! We’ve been with the Northern Rivers Adventure crew before and this one being organised by Dave and Karen Ramsay had “book me now” written all over it. Dave’s run this particular ride before, sure I know a lot of the country but there’ll be stuff I don’t know which ended up being the case, there’s some great places to ride, Far Northern NSW is one of them! We got away early in fact as early as Friday LOL, one of my team is not an early riser plus the lure of a night out staying in a country coastal pub is all part of the adventure. Turns out Evans Head pub on a Friday night is the place to be so we just joined on in and boogied along with the DJ and Read More...

Northern Adventure Congregation with Adventure Bike Australia

While this year’s Adventure Congregation was similar in so many ways to last year’s first ever Congregation is was also different in so many others. Last year people came from everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Adventure Rider Magazine decided due to the success of the first one they would split them into the Northern Congregation and a Southern Congregation, fair enough but it’s only natural that numbers will now also be split, we did notice compared to last year a lot less big groups travelling together like the KLR guys from last year. The second thing to consider (as if we haven’t been watching the news) is the weather, so yes it rained !! My wife and I drove down as per last year on the Friday morning to set up and despite being cool, well cool for Gold Coasters! We were blessed with good weather on the Friday and the Saturday. Of course Read More...

Kawasaki KDX200 For Sale

Kawasaki KDX200D 1986 model for sale ! Bargain $2400 Gem of a find and was only originally used as a road trail bike. Hard to believe in it’s 30th year these are still the original pliable and flexible plastics, original seat etc Has had a little light spray of silver around the edge of the frame but other wise all paint, stickers etc are fresh from 86 !! Comes with all the equipment and parts as when purchased including the original unmarked undented exhaust. Good money was allocated to suspension which was completely overhauled and serviced by known suspension center. New steering head bearings, new Renthal bars, heavy duty tubes, new tyres and finally a new DG competition expansion chamber. Starts first kick every time even after sitting, ridden four times in the last four years, including the Pan Pac Masters Games. Photos taken over the last few years show the bike with and without the DG Read More...

Sundown National Park Adventure Bike Ride

  I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long, but I finally got to do the  Sundown National Park Adventure Bike Ride with three of my good friends over the Queensland Labour Day long weekend and what a good ride it is! We didn’t want to be in there too late so we turned the wick up and high tailed it through all the back roads of Beaudesert, White Swamp, Killarney, the rabbit fence and through to Stanthorpe. From here a quick squirt down the highway to Ballandean, a top up of refreshments and onto the entrance of the park. It’s here you must fill out the appropriate camping and entry fees, we were warned it could be busy being a long weekend but we rode in on the Sunday and out on the Monday and didn’t find many more than a couple dozen 4wds throughout the park. Now this is not Read More...

Hanging With The Northern Rivers Adventure Rider Group

I’m head’n to Grafton to meet up with Northern Rivers Adventure Riders who’s with me? The plan was simple five of us would head off on our own adventure loop on the Saturday morning stay at a Grafton pub where we would meet with the NRAR on the Sunday morning for their monthly ride. No crack of dawn start, this was a laid back as it gets with back road touring and even a sit down cafe lunch woo hoo ! Tighter trails after lunch, some log hoping and river crossings bought us back to reality that this is still meant to be adventure riding. Can’t get too soft, maybe give it another ten or fifteen years when I’m pushing seventy I might move into the easy back roads only and the latte scene ! Another laid back late morning start Sunday saw excellent numbers show for what was going to be a good Read More...

ProCycle Downunder

There’s more than a little bit of Aussie flavour in the current Procycle US desk calendar, I’m sure you can pick them.   To view Calendar  click here My own photos cover four of the months May, August, September and November. My good friends at PC are already reminding me to submit my works for the 2016 edition. Do you have an all time classic shot , send it to me ! Read More...

Bellbrook Cabins

Just what the doctor ordered, four nights staying at Bellbrook cabins just 50 klms west of Kempsey. This was to be our meet place and base for the next few days, eight would make Fridays ride, 9 on Saturday and back to eight on Sunday. Our hosts had marked out some cracker loops heading off in a different direction each day, The boys efforts in organizing the ride and Marks leadership was second to none. I’d describe this one as an enduro adventure ride, lots of good tough trails and this group are no slouches either, they set a cracking pace !! The third day was the fastest and narliest, I got caught out on a kilometer steep uphill and a downhill then decided to throw myself off the bike at speed when a nasty rut caught me out, luckily sporting no more than a football size bruise on my upper leg, Read More...