Monthly Archives: March 2019

Suzuki SV650S

The day I picked up my new Suzuki SV650S it was raining. Of course it was raining. And heavily. Not the best conditions in which to ride the 12 miles back home. ‘Exhilarating’ doesn’t cover it.

Within a mile of the dealership I’d had to ride through a flooded road that had water deep enough to slow cars down. I wasn’t sure what my strategy should be so I slowed down a little and went through it at about 20mph. The drenching I got was shocking. It felt like I’d just waded through a river.

I’ve ridden loads of times in the wet on my old bike, but I’d never experienced an oncoming car hit a deep puddle and chuck a load of water straight at my visor. The impact of the water was ‘exhilarating’ and the lack of vision was panic inducing! The water soon dispersed and I was able to see again pretty quickly. By this point I was laughing merrily, I can tell you.

But I did get home in one piece.

The things I noticed about my new bike on my journey home were:

  • The bike is much bigger than my old one (Ninja 250). The tank is massive!
  • The turning circle is larger, making low speed manoeuvres harder.
  • The bike is a little heavier, making it feel more stable.
  • The unfamiliarity with the bike was the biggest handicap for me riding it back home. This fact, coupled with the horrendous wet conditions made me very cautious when turning and cornering. In a straight line it was a dream!
  • All that power! My word. Who would have thought 69 bhp could make a man smile so much?
  • Its PipeWerx exhaust is loud! My partner heard me coming down the road when she was sat on the sofa inside reading!

Even though I’m dying to spend more time on the bike, I’m in that winter limbo land where it’s dark when I go to work and dark when I return so it’s not exactly fun to use the bike as a commuter. Give it a bout a week and that will change though.

Kawasaki Ninja 250

Having had a 15 year break from biking, I decided to start riding again late last year. It was July, I was on holiday in Zakynthos and I detected a wistful look on my face every time I spotted a biker making his way down the street.

My internal dialogue went something like this.

“Wow, it’d be great to start biking again.”
“Yeah, but you might crash and get a head injury.”
“I’ll be extra careful.”
“Not every accident is your fault.”
“I’ll be extra, super careful and hyper vigilant about other road users.”
“The weather in the UK is notoriously bad, so if you don’t ride in poor weather there’ll only be a few riding days left in the year.”
“What was the point of passing my motorcycle test if I’m not going to make use of the license to ride?”
“Can’t you find some other equally exciting but less dangerous hobby to do?”

With the arguments in my head keeping me in a perpetual state of conflict, I would peruse ebay in the holiday hotel room and get an idea of bikes, sizes and styles that were available and get a rough idea of the price of the bikes I was interested in.

I eventually won the internal debate and when I returned to Blighty I resolved to get a bike! The point that won the argument was basically “I want to”.

Surprisingly, there was no opposition from my partner. It could be that she wants me dead.

There was no messing about. I decided on a small CC bike, found one at a reasonable price and bought it at first viewing. A 2016 Kawasaki Ninja 250 with only 847 miles on the clock. Given that I’d not even sat on a bike for 15 years, my fear levels were quite high. What if I’d forgotten how to do it? Not knowing how to ride the newly purchased machine from the dealer would be… awkward. And maiming myself on the very first ride would be embarrassing to say the least. To prepare myself as much as I could, in my head I would run through the steps involved in setting off on a bike, as that was the closest substitute for physical practice I could get. Turn the engine on (where was the ignition switch these days?), both hands on the bars, right hand holding in the brake, right foot on the back brake, left foot on the floor, left hand pulls the clutch in etc.

The journey home from the dealer was reassuring and easier than I had imagined. My partner kindly drove me up to the dealer, and after giving her instructions to avoid motorways at all costs (the new bike was only a 250, after all), I followed her back home. What a brilliant journey! It all came back. I hadn’t anticipated feeling so confident. The thing I had forgotten, though, was just how much my wrist would ache from all the clutch action. The journey home took a little over an hour and my left wrist was a mess by the end of it.

The Ninja 250 is perfect for a returning biker. It’s fast enough to get me killed if I’m not careful, but the lack of power makes it less likely.

What I Like About My Kawasaki Ninja 250

  • It’s fast. Not supersport fast, but it will out accelerate most cars.
  • It’s light.
  • It’s nimble.
  • The price was reasonable – £2,600
  • The KRT colour scheme is really nice. This is subjective, of course.

However, the lack of power is starting to niggle. The bike was always going to be a stepping stone to something bigger, and now I want a little bit more. So, I’m looking for a new bike. I don’t want to go down the 600CC supersport route like a lot of people do, though at one point in my life that is definitely what I would have done. Instead, I’m looking at bikes of around 650CC. There are a few on my list:

  • Suzuki SV650S
  • Kawasaki ER6N
  • Yamaha MT07
  • Triumph Street Triple
  • Kawasaki Z650

There are examples of all of these bikes that are at dealers in my vicinity and within my budget, so these are exciting times! I’ll discuss the merits of each bike in a separate post, as this one is supposed to be about the Ninja 250!

Ads Are Disabled On One Or More Of Your Sites

The full text of this Message Of Doom is Ads are disabled on one or more of your sites – no ads are serving on one or more of your sites because of policy violations. Please investigate the reasons for this in the Policy Centre.

The Policy Centre provides a top level summary of how many of your websites are affected at the top, and then a list of the sites themselves. Click on a site to get details of the misdemeanour. I use the word “details” loosely, as, in my case, the “detail” was pretty vague and unhelpful. What on earth is “Valuable inventory: Templated page” supposed to mean??

My confusion was exacerbated when, after attempting to fix my site, I requested a review and within ten minutes I received an email saying they were unable to enable ad serving as my site was still in violation. This prompted a series of panic driven knee jerk tweaks and review requests in quick succession, each resulting in the same frustrating email telling me my site was still in violation and ads wouldn’t be enabled.

Despondent, I scrutinised the text in the Policy Centre one more time and found this snippet: “The review for this site was submitted on 24 Feb 2019 and is currently pending.” So, if the review is still pending, why the f did I receive an email saying my site is still in violation?! They couldn’t know this if the review was still pending… Duh.
G pays ridiculously scant attention to the user experience, as per usual.

The description of the violation did actually change during the course of my panic tweaks, and at one point it said something along the lines of “Ads are pushing content below the fold on mobile devices”. This was pretty easy to both understand and fix. On phones and smaller resolution devices, the initial display of a web page on my site would be of the first ad block on the page, with the content appearing below it. I couldn’t quibble with this complaint and added some CSS rules to not display any ads at all on mobile devices. I don’t get much mobile traffic on the problem site, so the difference this change makes will be negligible.

The changing description of the site violation made me think that a review had been made though. So I’m getting contradictory feedback. On the one hand I received almost immediate email responses to my review request, but on the other, Policy Centre tells me I have a review pending. Is it the case that “Ads push content below the fold” can be detected automatically and doesn’t require a manual review. Hmmm, maybe.

It is now five days since my last review request and I’m still waiting. I think I read somewhere that I may have to wait 10 days for a review, but we’ll see.