Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How quickly things change!

I finally made up my mind to buy a Classic Royal Enfield Bullet. I had intended to keep the Lifan and to see how often I would use it as part of a two bike team. Then one day last week I decided that I would offer it for sale on Gumtree, the free ad site. It just seemed a more sensible thing to do. Within ten minutes of posting, I had three calls. A lad from Portsmouth wanted to strip down his bike this winter, knew all about Lifan, and wanted it as his winter runaround in the City. He picked it up later in the day.

I'll have fond memories of the Lifan. It got me back into motorcycling. Gave me 2600K of trouble free fun riding. For any learner who wants a cheap and reliable bike to start out with - it's a great buy. In fact for anyone, for whatever reason, it's a delightful experience to own a brand new bike at an affordable price - a price that's no more than the first day's depreciation on most cars!

Thanks little Lifan. You are missed already.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Late summer

Looks like the week ahead will be another short summer. More outings! Now approaching 2500K I still go out for a run each day when the weather's OK. Only been caught in the rain three times so far. I took great care and each time didn't really get too wet. The bike's still running well. I'm pushing it a little faster now when I can. 55 to 60mph is achievable when I open up the throttle a bit more on flat roads - it's near max but on the roads I'm on it's not for long stretches. I'm very undecided about when I might want another bike and what to go for. The more I get used to the Lifan, the more I like it for the journeys I do. No doubt more power would encourage me to go further afield - but just how far, and just how often?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bike storage

One of the things I like about a 125 is ease of parking in a tight space. I keep my Lifan behind one of my cars in a double garage - the one I use least. I can easily push it into it's space - it would be much for difficult for this old boy to manoeuvre a 600cc plus bike into the same spot.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Past 2000K

Now that the bike's fully run in, it easily cruises at 50mph plus a bit more although I wouldn't want to spend too long above 50. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

First 1000 miles

Just passed the first thousand miles in just under three months. Delightful, trouble free riding. Cruises easlly between 45 to 50 mph which is all I need for most of my journeys in and around the New Forest with its 40 mph speed limits. Now I must get into a routine of lubing the chain, putting the battery on a trickle charge and checking tyre pressures. Something I rarely do on my cars.

Monday, July 25, 2011

50 plus

Did a few miles on a dual carriageway today. Purred away at 50 - 55mph No problems. Perhaps I can push it just a bit harder. There again, I spend most of my time on 40 limit Forest roads. But it's good to know what the bike can do in comfort.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'd strongly recommend every returning rider to get some refresher training even if they have a full motorcycle licence. My control of the bike has improved massively over the past week or two as I applied the lessons from my training session. And the bike is running really well now that it's run in. 50 mph plus is now quite easy although I tend to stay in the mid 40s. Just as well since most Forest roads are 40 limit!

Monday, July 4, 2011

First Service

First service at 1050K. Turned out I had a faulty battery. Since I have been kick starting it wasn't really an issue for me. All's otherwise well so far. After nearly two months my riding has improved a lot but I still need to work on my control at very slow speeds in traffic and cornering. There's no way I'll consider moving on to a bigger bike until I can really contol this one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I did a one day training session today. It was really useful. First I practiced slow movement of the bike and relearnt the correct use of clutch, throttle and brakes to control speed and turns at junctions and bends. Then went out for a ride around Bournemouth in radio contact with my trainer. Then practiced a few things I had trouble with during the ride. And spent a lot of time chatting about all things to do with motorcycling. Picked up a lot of useful tips. All on a one to one basis. The day cost £135. It was worth every penny.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

About Chinese bikes

Reading things like this on the internet is disconcerting:

"The Chinese copies are made on a budget. Although they look just as good when new and parked in a showroom, from my experience they are made from cheaper, low quality, metal, paint, zinc plating, chrome, plastic, etc. IMO, avoid"

"The Chinese clones are very good. Expect to scrap them when they get to about 18 months old though! I spoke to a guy at the MOT place and he said every Chinese bike that came for it's first MOT (3 years old) was a failure and the cost to put it back on the road made it a write off. Every single one!"

Reading stuff like this prompts two reactions. The first is to get another bike as quickly as possible. The second is to resolve to keep the bike for three years and be able to report it got through the MOT. I do have a very large shed I could keep it when I get another bike which I may well do in the next few months.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


The Lifan easily reaches 45-50 mph. I wouldn't even want to push it much faster. As someone who has driven cars for nearly 50 years, averaging a speeding offence about every four years - the last thing I need is a powerful motorcycle!

Stll taking things easily. It's now run smoothly for 750 kilometres.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011


My first 380 miles have been done at 124mpg! I get 33mpg from my Lexus and 44mpg from a Honda Jazz. On sunny days, it's no contest.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My first petrol consumption figures.

I covered 185 miles using 7.05 litres. That works out at 119 mpg.

A lot better than my 32.6 mpg Lexus!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Over 50

First time over 50mph today. Not sure I'd want to go much faster on the little Lifan!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

High winds

It was windy in the Forest today. The bike didn't feel very stable with fairly strong side winds. I wonder if a heavier bike copes better? Day by day, I'm rapidly improving my control over the bike. Gear shifting problems now well behind me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

No choke

Started easily today. A couple of kick starts to save the battery was all it needed. A really good ride today. Everything is slipping into place. Gear shifting is getting easier. It's very lively in first and second and I'm trying to keep things smooth and easy as the engine is being run in. Sway to New Milton then on to Lymington. Popped in to AJ Bartlett to say thanks for yesterday's help. Then back to Sway.


I flooded the engine yesterday and a local mechanic popped out to sort me out from A J Bartlett. He told me that it was really only necessary to use the choke in really cold weather. During the summer in the UK the bike should start easily without any use of choke. I'm going to try this because I had been using maximum choke and that may have been the cause of my early starting problems.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Forest ponies

One thing I have quickly discovered. Ponies prefer cars! I noticed much more reaction from ponies as I approached on my Lifan today. Close to home I nearly had a problem as horses jumped into the road as I approached. Years of experience living in an area where animals are free to roam has made me very cautious. That saved me from a nasty fall today.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday - a first longish journey

It's surprising how quickly I've got used to riding again after all these years. A bit tentative at first. I'm getting the hang of gear shifting and starting to gain confidence in handling the bike. Negotiated some quite difficult traffic conditions. All's going well - so far.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lifan Mirage J 2011

Here's the bike. On Sunday, I'll be having some refresher training. Studied the manual, ordered some training books and videos and just taken a ride round my village. Gear shifting a bit tricky!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chinese motorcycles

Chinese motorcycles have a terrible reputation on internet forums. But most posts go back several years. In Lymington, near my home in Sway, AJ Bartlett have been supplying and maintaining motorcycles since the 1950s. It has a small workshop and a few second hand bikes for sale. They also sell a small range of Lifan motor cycles and scooters. Jimmy, the owner, has been supplying Lifan 125 cc bikes for the past 3/4 years. He has had very few problems and says they are getting better and better. After thinking hard about getting a new 125cc Honda at about £3300, I decided to take the plunge and buy a Lifan Mirage J 125cc. Price new £1250. Less than the first years depreciation on a small new car.

So I will be able to comment on my experience with one Chinese motorcycle very soon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Getting started

Taking up motorcycling after nearly 50 years since Lambretta days is quite a challenge. I decided to visit A J Bartlett in Lymington. Jimmy, who now runs the place, lent me a KYMCO People 50cc moped to try out. I quickly concluded that I wanted a little more punch and decided to start with a new cheap Chinese Lifan 125cc Mirage J. I take delivery tomorrow.

Meanwhile, armed with magazines and books, I'm going to mug up on the history of motorcycles. This new blog will be the story of another Fido retirement hobby!


A nice little automatic, so easy. But too much noise at 40 mph. I don't want to rush around but I prefer now to have a small motorcycle rather than a moped/scooter. 125cc will be enough to feel comfortable in the 30 - 50 mph range which is all I'm really after for now.