Sunday, January 26, 2014

Back to Tokyo, MotoGP and Honda Collection Hall

With the bike back together, we decided the best way for me to make it to the MotoGP north of Tokyo, on time, was to ride the ferry from Tokushima to Tokyo. So I rode from Matsuyama to Tokushima in the rain and got a hotel. In the morning I went to the ferry. It cost me about $150 and took about 20 hours. But riding expressway would have been more expensive. Every time I ride a ferry, I think the bike will fall over. This wasn't an exception. Especially since the majority of the time we were on the water, we were in a Typhoon. Truth be told, I would rather be dry in a rocking boat then riding 600 km in the driving rain.

Don't do those things. 
 The boat arrived in Tokyo just after light on Friday and I headed north. It was raining all morning so I wasn't really feeling camping at the MotoGP in the rain. Especially if it was going to be canceled from the Typhoon. So I stayed in a hotel in Tsukuda where I had stayed before. I thought it would also be a good opportunity to catch up with my friend Ale again.

On Saturday morning it was raining hard so I stayed another day inside. As it turns out, the MotoGP didn't run the normal practices so I wasn't missing much. They ran a few laps in the afternoon in the wet but that was it.

On Sunday morning I woke up early and got on the road. By 9:00 I was at Motegi and parking the moto among what seemed like 10,000 other bikes. At first I was worried about my bags and helmet but then I looked around and saw that almost EVERYONE else was leaving their helmets on the handlebars like me. This country really is breading bad habits for me. I had a friend of a friend who works for Honda HRC so he had pit passes for me. The problem was, I didn't have a phone so there was no way to figure out the meeting place. I never found him for the pit pass, but we would end up meeting in Tokyo a few time to discuss Honda motorcycles, travel and racing.

No problem leaving stuff on the bike in Japan

I caught the end of the Moto2 practice and all 3 races. The Moto 3 was interesting because these bikes are running a tuned 250cc 4stroke KTM single pumping out 50 hp. These things are loud as hell. And since they are all running basically the same bikes, its all about the rider instead of the bike. It was very fun to watch. Also, since these bike don't have much for electronics (traction control), they got squirly in the corners often. There were a few interesting downs that you don't see with the MotoGP bikes. There are some sweet pictures here of the assembly line for the KTM Moto3 bikes.

The Moto2 was my favorite to watch. These bikes are all running a 600cc Honda 4 cylinder. They also don't have much for electronics. I believe there is a limit of 600 pounds that can be spent on the engine management. Pol Espargaro was great fun to watch. He was backing it into almost every corner and getting everything he could out of that bike.

MotoGP had a few interesting moments but it was not as exciting as the Moto2. I liked hearing all the different motor configurations but the racing action was not as good.

I had a great time walking through all the bikes on the way back to my moto. Just as I suspected, everything I left at my bike was sill there.

The motoGP winner.

Next generations of racers starting early in Japan.

Cool super single racer.

Same motor as the Yamaha Banshee.

V4 2stroke 500cc. Hold on to your butts!

Even the KTM draws a crowd.
 If you ever find yourself at Motegi, you must go into the Honda Collection Hall. It was impressive. So many cool old honda bikes. The race bikes are the best though. Honda used to try new and innovative things in racing and it showed in the bikes... but for a while it seems like they have been skating by. Now it looks like HRC has brought people from the MotoGP side into the Dakar development. Is anyone else excited for the 2014 Dakar? I know I am. KTM, Honda and even Yamaha have a shot this year. Back to the old bikes. You see just about everything imaginable here. And its awesome.


This is only a 50. But my first bike looked almost identical. The honda CT70.

This is the NR750. It has oval pistons and is known to sell at auction for +$100k.

The original side by side?

I like this car. 

This is my art.

One of the first twin overhead cam motorcycle engines back in the 50's. 

A sweet  little 125cc 2 cylinder.

One of my favorite Hondas. The RC166. 6 cylinder, 250 cc. 

How would you like to balance those carbs? 
An endurance race bike. The idea was to be able to change the front tire faster if it was single sided.

Looks a lot like a Harley XR750

A 2 stroke  Dakar bike. I bet this would be fun to ride. 

My other favorite Honda. The NXR750. This bike won the 1989 Paris Dakar rally. It weighs a total of 128 kg... that is lighter then my 690.

They say this bike was later developed into the Africa Twin. I wonder where they added the extra 75 kilos to make it weigh the same as an ATwin?

Looks like a great ADV bike to me. 

I have mad respect for this bike. Many Baja championships to Honda.

Who recognizes this bike?

Hmm. Not sure if I would like this. 

Notice the kickstart? This was an experimental automatic motocross bike that won in Japan in the early 90s.

Beautiful old enduro.

The evolution of Asimo

Asimo is short.

And finally, a sweet little NSR50 to end the day.