Motor insurance v2.0

At the beginning of last month I wrote about changing insurers for the Ninja, and moving away from Hastings Premier because expensive, and going to Kawasaki Insurance because cheaper.

Well there’s been an interesting development.

This morning I got a letter from Kawasaki Insurance to say ‘You haven’t sent us your proof of no claims. If we don’t get that in the next 14 days we’re going to cancel your policy’ (and probably keep the full year’s premium that I’ve paid – although they didn’t actually say that bit).

So I got on the phone to Hastings Premier because even though the Covid-19 lockdown is in full effect and I can’t go out on the Ninja, I want to have continuous insurance. It keeps my pristine NCB healthy and intact.

Unfortunately my call to Hastings Premier was pointless and fruitless in equal measures.

Their IVR actually said ‘We’re not taking any calls from you because you don’t tick the right boxes’.

So the place I’m in right now is either get the NCB proof out of Hastings Premier (not possible) or forfeit my new policy with Kawasaki Insurance, probably lose my annual premium, and definitely lose the four years NCB.

So that’s nice.

Motor insurance

Although this is about motorbike insurance companies, the general gist of what I’m saying applies to car insurance companies.

Because they all operate on the same basic set of principles.

My insurance for the Ninja expires at the end of this month.

I’ve been with the same company for two years, so when I got the ‘we’re going to rollover your insurance’ email I almost didn’t check the market.

Yes, there was an increase on my annual premium, but it wasn’t an astronomical increase.

And then one of those annoying little meerkats popped in to my head, or maybe it was the fat Welsh opera singer.


I checked. And instead of £320 from my insurance company of the last two years I was given a quote of £180 from Kawasaki Insurance.

That’s some difference, I thought.

So I did the deal.

Rang Kawasaki Insurance, answered all their questions, put on an extra which increased the annual premium by just £17, and then I paid for the lot.

The next call was to my insurance company of two years.

I told them I wasn’t going to rollover; they asked why, so I told them.

Then they started to haggle with me and that’s when I started to get angry. I’ve done the deal. You lost. Get over it.

I explained I’d done the deal, paid the money.

They kept on trying to haggle with me.

Then the person I was talking to revealed she could see what I had agreed to with Kawasaki Insurance.

She said stuff like ‘Oh, you’ve put down that you work in a different industry. That would change your premium with us’, and ‘I see you have devalued your bike, that would make a difference with us too,’ and ‘I see you’ve reduced the amount of mileage you will do next year. We could get very competitive on that new information too.’

I then got really angry.

I changed my employer. I do the same job I just work in the pharmaceutical industry. In all honesty, how can that make a single bit of difference to my insurance premium?

And of course I devalued my bike. First of all if I was in an accident your loss adjuster is only going to offer me market value. And secondly the bike has depreciated in the last two years.

And the reason my mileage estimate for the next 12 months is lower is because I’m going to have less time for big trips this year.

But as I was saying these things I was getting more and more angry with the sheer brass neck of Hastings Premier as the person on the other end of the phone kept insisting they could match the quote I had agreed to from Kawasaki Insurance.

Really angry.

That Hastings Premier would even consider they could increase my premium to take my insurance over £300, and that they could even have the nerve to try to keep me as a loyal customer, when they *must have known* what I was likely to get offered if I shopped around.

Really angry.

There’s taking the mick, and there’s Hastings Premier.

A day-ish of geek

Today I upgraded the .php of every single website I host to v7.2.12.

Then I redesigned the podcast website (the old design relies on some tech that has been superseded).

If I had another few hours, I would have unpacked the studio equipment and put out a podcast. Because it’s only been three years since the last show.

I also managed to squeeze in a quick trip out on the Ninja.

That was fun too.

On thinking about being unfaithful


Does it fade?

Does it get stale?

Do we get tired of the ‘same old thing’ (even if that ‘same old thing’ is what used to take our breath away and give us butterflies in our excited little tummies)?

And when I say ‘in our excited little tummies (except I just typed ‘timmies and I have no idea what an excited little timmy might be, other than a hyperactive five-year old child)…

Where was I?

Oh yes, and when I say ‘in our excited little tummies’ I’m sortov speaking for humankind, because I’m not a ruminant.



Back to the topic of thinking of being unfaithful.

I consider myself to be a true and loyal person.

For example, my current motorbike is a Kawasaki ZX10R, and my previous motorbike was a Kawasaki ZX9R.

The motorbike before that was a Triumph Daytona 955i, and the motorbike before that was a Triumph Daytona 955i.

So I think you can see the pattern here and possibly get an insight into my brand loyalty.

I loved the Daytonas. Their 1,000cc triple engines made a delicious sound. They were fast, responsive (and never, ever sluggish or brutish), and very nimble machines.

And oh, so comfortable. So comfortable in fact that I rode one from the UK, around Spain, and home again.

But Triumph, in their not very infinite wisdom, dropped out of the 1,000cc Sportsbike market. Idiots.

With the 955i getting long in the tooth, and falling behind in the world of biketech, my only choice was between dropping down to a 675cc Daytona or switching brands.

Although not really underpowered, the 675cc Daytona isn’t the same high-performance workhorse that its 1,000cc cousins were. The switch to another brand was the only real option.

I loved the ZX9R so much I put 18,000 miles on it in 18 months; that’s a lot of miles for a motorbike.

And when she too started showing signs of ageing, the upgrade to the shiny and brand new ZX10R was another easy decision.

I love(d) the ZX10R.

Part hoodlum, part thug, part perfect dinner-party host, packed with all of the latest computing, and a wonderfully responsive bike. She knows/knew what I want to do (and reacts to that impulse) before I even know what I want to do!

I’ve had her from brand-spanking new, I’ve looked after her meticulously and in the coming Spring she will be exactly three years old.

I wouldn’t change her for the world.

So why is it, in these quiet weeks (when the weather is so bad that getting out on any kind of a motorbike is next to impossible) that I’ve been considering unfaithful thoughts?

Why have I been looking at the 2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 and thinking about trying one out?

2019 Yamaha YZF-R1

Update: I took the ZX10R out for a little run around the village this afternoon. I think I’m keeping her

Biker down

Yesterday evening, taking a leisurely trip home on the ZX10R, I was involved in an accident.

While travelling around a smaller roundabout in the village, a lad who was dribbling a football, kicked the ball across the road in front of me.

An awesomely stupid thing to do, I’m sure we can all agree.

However the ball struck the opposite kerb on the inside of the roundabout, and bounced back into the immediate path of the ZX10R.

The front wheel impacted the ball, the bike went down and I hit the road very hard.

I estimate the cost of bringing the ZX10R back to its spotless showroom condition to be not less than £1,000.

And I’m damaged.

My helmet is only fit for the bin.

My leathers are scuffed up.

This occurred in the shadow of the lad’s house. He went to fetch his father.

His father was most defensive of his son’s stupidity, and asked if I’d never kicked a football.

I said I had, but I’d never kicked a football into the path of oncoming traffic.

As a result of this lad’s ridiculous logic (that it is acceptable to kick a football across the road in front of traffic), I now have no means of transport.

And I hurt.

And I have to lose the maximum amount of no-claims it is possible to have.

But even with all of these things, this is the level of parental responsibility that this lad’s father feels is acceptable:

Don’t apologise for the actions of your offspring

Don’t offer any degree of financial assistance

Attempt to justify the actions of your offspring

Offer no assistance at the scene of the crash.

I’m tempted to try one of those lawyers who advertise no win no fee services.

A foreign country explored

Yesterday, taking advantage of the heat, it being a Saturday, having a spotlessly clean motorbike, and having nothing else to do, I went abroad.

A453, A42, M42, M5, M50.

Yes, I went to Wales.

I left the house at 6am, and arrived in Abergavenny at 9am.

The Blorenge (rhymes with orange)

The Blorenge (rhymes with orange)

I had a hot chocolate and very healthy bacon sandwich, whilst sitting outside the Get Together in St John’s Square.

Putting picnic benches outside there is a great idea; gives the area a very cosmopolitan feel, and enabled me to sit where I could keep an eye on the ZX10R.

Needless to say the local bureaucrats don’t like that idea and are working hard to stop someone from having a success.

Kind of shoots down the ’embrace café culture’ policy of a former Prime Minister.

The fun police strike

The fun police strike


Nicely refreshed I went up the Blorenge (rhymes with orange), and just chilled out. Walked about a bit. Lay down in the long grass and read a bit.

May have accidentally dozed a bit.

Keeper's Pond

Keeper’s Pond

After that break I went down through Blaenavon and up the mountain opposite, Coedcae, to Forgeside, where I went to junior school.

I left it in better condition!

I left it in better condition!

Then I dropped back into Blaenavon, and took the Garn Road through Garn-yr-ew, Brynmawr, into Merthyr Tydfil, through Nant-ddu, and down off the mountain into Brecon, below.

I walked around Brecon a bit, but didn’t hang around because the town was heavingly full of people and far too hot to be in close proximity of many strangers.

I bailed out of Brecon, turned left at Llangorse and headed, generally, north-north east.

I stopped at a country pub about halfway between Hereford and Worcester for some much-needed refreshment.



And then back home.

When I had started the trip I was considering staying out overnight.

Frankly I should have.

The round-trip came in at 427 miles. And that was a bit too much. The heat of the day didn’t help either.

I would definitely do that run again.

And I would extend the road-miles, maybe aim for the west coast of Wales.

And I would stay out overnight. I wasn’t as sharp, towards the end of the day as I should have been, despite frequent stops.

But it was a great run out, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

What did you get up to?

Nice out

The ZX10R has had her recall work.



I’m grateful to the good folk of Leicester Kawasaki for turning round the gearbox rebuild, and annual service, in four hours.

She does feel a little different now.

The gearbox, always a wet dream, is still as easy to navigate, but there’s something else.

The gearing is heavier (in either direction)  but it isn’t clumsy.

And the relationship between gearbox, clutch, and throttle is closer; more coordinated.

The gearing ‘heaviness’ adds even greater positivity to the travels through the box.

And there’s more ‘bite’ on engagement.

I don’t believe the ZX10R’s top-end performance has been altered, but the journey to that eye-watering top-end has been significantly enhanced.

It’s just such a shame a product recall needed to be issued to achieve these things.

Also, thank you to Leicester Kawasaki for the full detailing and valet.

Two wheels on my wagon

That’s an odd word.


Or is it ‘waggon’?

Maybe it’s either.

Or neither

Or both


Despite a significant hiatus in the blogging, rumours (as Twain M said) of my demise have been greatly exaggerated (as you can see by the very way these words are forming on your phone, tablet, laptop, PC, external monitor, or Smart TV).

(get a move on, it’s time you set the scene. Ed)

I am in bed at the shockingly early time of 8.30pm.

It is Saturday.

The Eurovision is on t’telly.

The Beast (as I have affectionately named the ZX10R) has still not had her her gearbox rebuild.

But she’s been called in, and will be done a week today.

Yay! Booyah! And \o/ and other down with the kids expressions of joy.

I’ll be glad to get her done, especially as I am commuting to work on her.

The change from being an employed to a self-employed person meant, in my case, the company car went back.

My very recently received tax statement told me that I paid over £5k/year extra tax, just for the pleasure of having that car.

That’s £12,500 extra tax I handed over to HMRC, while I was in that job

If I’d realised the magnitude of that cash penalty I believe I’d have decided to leave that job much sooner!


Spring is upon us and commuting on The Beast is smile-making fun.

And soon (too soon) it’ll be Summer, and the commuting will be similar, fun wise.

But Autumn is lurking in the unsuspecting future, and that calls for an alternative form of transport.

I’m quite taken with the Mercedes-Benz E class, 220i.

Good quality used models are as cheap as chips, and there are many in the used car market.

But we will see where my head is at when it comes to purchase time.

In the meantime I’ll keep commuting on The Beast (though I do need to find a way to tame her assertive behaviour, especially when filtering in heavy traffic).

Right, it’s taken half an hour to tap this out on my phone.

I’m off to watch Eurovision through the medium of The Twitter until I fall asleep. In about 18 minutes.

Total Recall

When we got back from Vietnam a small mountain of mail was neatly stacked (by the cat-sitter), awaiting attention.

In my pile was an automatic insurance renewal form (yeah, you can go whistle for that, baby, I’m off to!), and there was a High Priority letter from Kawasaki.

Unfortunately the letter was notification of a ‘potential’ safety problem (or a product recall notice, to put it another way) with the ZX10-R.

The fix, it seems, is for me to take the bike to my Kawasaki dealer, as soon as possible, so they can carry out the required work, in about 2-1/2 hours, and free of charge.

The letter, helpfully, lists the work that needs to be done:

  • replace 2nd gear output
  • replace 3rd gear output
  • replace 4th gear output, and
  • replace 2nd gear input

Now I’m no C21st motorbike mechanic, but to my eyes, this looks like a significant gearbox replacement/rebuild.

Yes? No? Yes?

Anyway, I rang my local Kawasaki dealer, spoke to the service department, gave them the bike registration number and the VIN/frame number.

The service department said they would now have to contact Kawasaki to get the work authorised, and they’d be in touch with me as soon as it was, and as soon as the parts had arrived.

I like my local Kawasaki dealer. They’re a friendly bunch who know their onions (to mix a metaphor).

And I appreciate the way that Kawasaki have dealt with this product recall.

But, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, there’s something missing here.

It’s all a bit academic really; because of the rubbish weather we’ve had for the last four months, the Ninja has hardly had any time out of the garage.

But there’s just something not quite right with this situation…

Race ya!

Everyone likes a race.

Motorbikeists are no exception.

Superbikeist motorbikeists are doubly no exception.

There are a few superbikes (and superbike owners) continually jockeying for prime bragging spot.

The Suzuki 1000 GSX-R. The BMW S1000RR. The Ducati 1199 Panigale. And the Kawasaki ZX10R.

These are the top five vying for prime bragging rights.

So if you lined up, five un-racetuned, street-legal, ordinary, everyday bikes – one of each of the above makes and models – and put professional riders on them…

Well, that would be the ultimate race, wouldn’t it?

But then you have to ask yourself where do you stop the race?




What about 300kph?

That’s 186mph.

That would really be a race, wouldn’t it?

First to 300kph?

And the winner would surely have the ultimate bragging rights?

Well, someone’s staged just such a race…

And the winner is…

Well, I’m not going to spoil it for you.