Category Archives: Gembrook

Reefton Spur

Reefton Spur

After riding backroads around Emerald and Gembrook on Friday after work Greg and I met with Kee and all decided to ride Reefton Spur early Saturday morning. Kee is going to be the camera man and STIG 2 in 1, racing his BMW 135i coupe with GoPro mounted on the bonnet ,filming us.
We decided to meet at Gembrook for a morning coffee at 8am and then head to Reefton.
Andrew SMSed at the right time last night asI had almost forgotten to send him the invite.
Everyone arrived at Gembrook around 8am but cafe was closed and we decided to go to Warburton and have coffee there.

Gembrook Cafe, Vic
Gembrook Cafe, Vic

Greg also called Wooly while at Gembrook and told him we were doing Reefton this morning. Wooly got ready within minutes and caught up with us in Warburton. Now we had 4 bikes and car: that is 2.5 BMW bikes 800GS, 1200GS and Husqvarna TR650 Strada(its probably 80% BMW) and Suzuki DR400. All of us had a knobby tyre set on the bike.
We had a cup of coffee with choice of pies and cakes . I had a carrot cake so now fully energized we headed down to Reefton.

Warburton Bakery, Vic
Warburton Bakery, Vic

I have started off a little bit slower and in first corners I was decelerating harder before entering a corner, then I got into a rhythm and started to hold throttle at a more constant position just slightly slowing down before a sharper corner and then accelerating gently out of the corner.
By the middle of the Reefton Spur probably 20 minutes from the start of the twisty road I was a lot smoother on the throttle , though in two corners went a little bit wider and touched the middle line. I didn’t want to lean further as I was worried I’m going to run out of the rubber on the front tyre.
Through those turns I used up all of the front rubber and the side chicken strips started disappearing completely and I am not a footpeg scrapper. The rear tyre still had probably another 5mm of the usable rubber you can see it by different color and texture of the rubber surface on the edge to the color of the rest of the tyre after the ride.So you can still lean a bit more on the rear tyres but i didn’t want to have the front wash out.
With other less knobby or a more rounded tyre you can probably lean further safer but these ones I better be a bit more careful.

Reefton Spur
Reefton Spur

We stopped half way through at the intersection with the Woods Point road for a bit of rest. Regrouped and took off again. Kee was now filming with camera mounted at the back of the car on the boot facing forward, filming himself and bikes through the windscreen
After that we stopped for a rest at Marysville.

Marysville, Vic
Marysville, Vic

After Marysville we rode Black Spur the road going to Healsville. Andrew went straight home. I refueled at Healsvile and we went further to Kinglake,
One stretch of road near Kinglake was really narrow and corners were even tighter.Cars could barely fit into the lane. Good thing that the speed limit was only 60 and upcoming traffic was not going too fast.I was getting a bit tired with cramps in the shoulders started to appear when we passed St.Andrews and got to Warrandyte. After that we all went home.
Overall it was a good day and lots of fun riding those twisties. It was my second time on Reefton. First time I went there last year on my back then Suzuki GS500 with “L” plates on.That would have been only 1-2 months of riding that I have done since getting the license. That time I was really stressed, every corner was making me use a lot of energy and concentration. It was taking me longer to process all the information, I was paying too much attention to whats in front of me instead of whats around the corner. Didn’t know what line to take, how to lean etc.
I am still learning now, but I think some of the things are being automatic now and I dont have to think to much about it. Its still not natural but its getting a bit more fluid now, at moderate speeds I can go from corner to corner a lot smoother then before and sometimes not even using brakes.
I was avoiding Reefton Spur over the last year as I thought it was too hard and I need more practice before next attempt. Now I think I can go there more often to practice those cornering skills.

Riding gravel roads in Gembrook

On one of the weekends we decided to meet with Greg(on Husky) and Andrew (on BMW R1200GSA) at Gembrook for coffee and go a for a ride after that.
I thought we were just gonna do the local twisties but Andrew wanted to do the gravel. I didn’t even put the adventure boots on and was not really prepared to do the off-road today and Greg was in the same boat saying he would have brought the tool-bag just in case.
Oh well we decided to still do it.
The gravel roads were moist from the rain that was going on for the last few days.Some patches were reasonably dry but the ones in the shade were really moist with few puddles of water.
All was good until we took a left turn I think towards the Power lines section in that area. It was slowly going uphill and one section on the right had all the trees chopped, some sort of logging track.
That is where I had my first slide which is not in the picture. I was trying to go around the puddles went closer to the curb side and then turn left but front washed away and I slide into the curb , it was soft and at walking speed so no issues.
I looked at the surface and it was wet slippery clay stuff not much of the gravel in the section.
Andrew had TKC80s on his 1200GS with traction control and ABS ON Greg still had knobby Pirelli Rally in the front and Mitas 09 at the back they felt some wobbles but it was not as much issue as it was for me on my new Pirelli Scorpion Trails.
They were holding fine on gravel and on drier stuff but on the wet clay they were just like skates on ice. They felt and looked like slicks after mud filled up the thread groves in the tyre.
They asked me if we should turn around and go back to the main gravel track I said I will try again and went first now.

taking a nap
taking a nap

hand brake u-turn
hand brake u-turn

Only managed to do another 100 meters before another slip.This time rear was caught in the little rut and washed out coming around towards the front so the whole bike went sideways to the road and slid from left side of the road to the right side while still being upright and then fell again into a soft stuff mostly leaves and grass so there were no issues. It happened so quickly that the guys didn’t even see how it happened. It was similar to a police stunt u-turn using the handbrake to do a 180degree u-turn.
IMG_4795.JPG

This time we decided to turn around and take another route.The other section was alright it was more gravely and bike was staying upright.
Andrew let me test ride his 1200GSA, it was my first time on 1200GS.First I could not even take it of the side stand, his seat is high and he dialed his electronic suspension to the highest mode too.So I was barely touching ground.If I am touching ground with my right foot I can’t reach the side stand.So he removed it for me and switched into the 1st gear and then I went.It was so heavy at standstill that I couldn’t move it but as it started moving it felt very light.
The gears felt lower then Versys and sound coming from the engine was interesting too. But i was surprised how clunky the gearbox was I was expecting the opposite from the German engineers. Anyway the standing on the foot pegs and riding in the saddle both were comfortable for me on 1200. The only issue would be the height and the weight of the bike. I also always liked the look of the 1200GS bikes and I got the GS bug again now.

Fallen tree
Fallen tree

Few minutes later we swapped the bikes back and got to a section where a big fallen tree blocked the road. First thought was to turn around as we are not in 4WD and not carrying chainsaws with us. Then decided to ride around the tree through the high grass, ferns and bushes. When I road the bike through that stuff it felt like it was suspended in the air while riding over the brunches grass and other soft debris.

Apart from injured pride, it was a great day out overall, lots of fresh air and emotions.