Snow Biking





Hard to tell from the pics but there were a number of snow blizzards today as I rode around The Quantock Hills following a group of Bridgwater and Taunton College Public Services students as they navigated a bike route in the open and through the woods

Ice Biking





Out on The Quantock Hills with Public Services students from Bridgwater and Taunton College today. They were being assessed at planning and leading their own ride. It was cold but dry as all the puddles were frozen and although little bit of snow in the air, sadly it didn't settle. Given the baltic conditions, all did well and we hurried back  to eat lunch in the (relative) warmth of the minibus.

Dirt Bike Maintenance









My plan for the weekend was some Laederal Resus Manikin maintenance but .......

A few weeks ago I picked up this KTM 250 and am in the process of turning it into a reliable trail bike for some summer fun. Yesterday was spent stripping the bike, draining the oil, removing the spark plug and trying to find the source of a leaky petrol overflow pipe from the carb (or at least, taking the carb out and leaving it in a bowl whilst wondering what to do). A quick trip into town got me most of what I needed ie spark plug, engine oil, 2 stroke oil and some new bolts but sadly no air filter that will fit  available locally so that is on mail order.

After a morning ride (on my Explorer) with Somerset Advanced Motorcyclists, the rest of today was spent rebuilding. New spark plug, new oil added and a fully stripped and cleaned carb meaning the float is now moving freely to stop the fuel overfilling the bowl.  Being a 2 stroke, I only ran it with the exhaust pointing outside into the yard but seems to now run well enough.

New tyres and air filter to arrive this week and then some (fully legal) off road fun for me on trips  and events with the Trail Riders Fellowship

Tech Advice afloat





Another day of Tech Advice today for Cannington Activity Centre with some staff training on the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. We looked at the use of the canal from the Docks to The Boat and Anchor including a number of access and egress options. We even managed a bit of improvised sailing (proof you should always carry a group shelter) on the way back

NNAS Bronze Day 1





Today was another Quantock Day delivering the first day of a NNAS Bronze award for Bridgwater and Taunton College students on behalf of Wet and High Adventures Ltd. After a bit of contour work on college grounds, we were  out and about looking at basic navigation techniques. A fair bit colder than the last few days but still dry and therefore a good day out

Low Ropes Sign Offs





A great day in the sun this afternoon at Cannington Activity Centre assessing a couple of staff as Low Ropes instructors. Certainly one of the nicer days to be sitting on a grass bank watching people work

Both staff passed so now even more students can use the excellent facilities that are available.

Blue Sky on The Quantock Hills





Out on The Quantock Hills with my Level 3 Outdoor Education students from Bridgwater and Taunton College. What a nice day, a little chilly in the wind but warm in the lee. This was an assessed session with one student running the day and leading the route.

Quick Blast down the Upper Dart






Great day out with Olly playing on the upper section of The River Dart. I was all for Mountain Biking as water seemed a little low, but I was soon persuaded and to be fair, at 0.44 on the scale it was perfectly doable.

First time on the Upper Dart in my Dagger Axiom and first time on it this season. Fortunately Olly could remember the order of the rapids which helped with running it mostly from the boat and apart from running Lucky Tor rapid backwards (which as was another first for me) I stayed upright all day. Sadly I think my drysuit is now leaking more than is acceptable so off to Rubberman with that next week.

Biking on The Quantock Hills





Out with my first year Level 3 Outdoor Education students from Bridgwater and Taunton College today up on The Quantock Hills looking at Mountain Bike skills as we have moved from Water Based to Land Based activities.

Less muddy than my last trip up there but still a few deep puddles lying about to play in.

Motorcycle Maintainence



Completely dismantled and rebuilt the back half of a bike at my Bridgwater and Taunton College evening class. There was even not a single bolt or washer left over afterwards,

Out and About on The Quantock Hills





Out doing some Navigation and leadership assessments with Level3 Outdoor Educations students on The Quantock Hills. Cold, a little snowy and wet underfoot at times, we still managed 16km and didn't get lost.

New Tiger 1200 XRt Test Ride





A warm and sunny afternoon in Somerset so what better to do than pay a trip to my friends at Total Triumph to have a quick spin on the new Triumph Tiger 1200.

Jumping off my current Tiger Explorer XCa (Khaki Green that I have customised with Tiger Stripes) and straight onto a New Tiger 1200 XRt (White) I was able to compare my "old" 2017 with the new "2018"

Here are my thoughts

The Name: Explorer has now gone and it is just called the Tiger 1200. I liked the name Explorer as it sums up what I do with the bike however, a name is just a name. I understand the desire to strengthen the Tiger name however, it would be nice if Triumph would do a special version with a bigger tank, off road tyres, full crash bars and a few other "expedition" extras and call it an Explorer

The 1200 Tank Decal: Can't see it when riding and clearly I thought the tank was bland on mine as I added tiger stripes, but can't help thinking it is just following BMW's lead. Anyway, if you are going to put the bikes engine size on the tank why not put 1215?

Keyless Ignition: I do see lots of issues here with starting the bike, riding off, stopping at cafe, can't start, realise key is at home etc. I am still not sure on how secure it is, time will tell. I would really like this to be an option rather than an as standard

The Display: Nice, clear, no issues in bright sun, easy to read but all of the same applies to my current display so can't see any particular benefit here other than keeping up with BMW.

The Ride: Something felt different, a little more "flickable" maybe? But bear in mind I have large crash bars on mine so it may have been the difference in high up weight. The arrow can sounded nice but can't say I noticed the extra 2 bhp. The quick shifter worked well but again not sure it was really needed.

Rider Position: Here I really noticed the bars being a little closer to the rider and this definitely made it far less of a stretch for me (5' 6") to the bars. So much so, I have ordered a set of the new 2018 bars to be fitted to my current bike when it goes in for is 10k service next month.

LED Lights: No comment as day time ride only

The Weight: "Up to 11kg lighter" are the claims, well yes it would be as the new model comes with either no or much smaller engine bars and no pannier racks. There is clearly some massive weight saving here along with the much lighter Arrow exhaust. I reckon this accounts for about 8 to 9 kg of the weight saving.

The Verdict: A very nice bike and the only thing I really don't like is the keyless ignition. It is certainly not a different enough bike for me to consider upgrading at this time (having only had mine 11 months) as the differences are not significant enough but it certainly is a great bike.
 Maybe in a few years time when all the problems are resolved and these things are proved to be secure, I may change my mind but right now it is a no no.

Should you buy one? Honestly I would be tempted to grab one of the deals on existing 2017 models that are available for well below list price but when these stocks run out, then yes, it is a great bike.