Sign up here:
https://forms.gle/ts9wj2A5psbYVNzz8

Exact details as to start location and routes will be announced at a later date.

Hotel of choice in Joetsu is the Monzen no Yu. When that’s full, the Sun Plaza Joetsu.

Check for general info here:
https://tougeexpress.com/twistybutt-2/what-is-the-coast-to-coast-twistybutt/

Stickers! Jan.28, 2023

Stickers are ready!

One for each rider will be handed out to all riders on the day at the start point. Make sure you get one and stick it on the back of your helmet so other riders know another Twistybutt when they’re following one!

Second and/or third stickers are available for those donating to the Touge Express route exploration fund…help put a few, or several, litres in the tank. ☺

  • Not sure how popular multiple stickers are going to be so best let me know in advance if you’ll be needing more than one. touge.express@gmail.com

Start location… Jan.27, 2023

Eyeing a new start location right on the coast with a great view and ample space. Will announce details if it fits. For those booked close to the usual start, don’t worry, it’s not far away and a nice ride there.

Looking forward to seeing all the Twistybutts old new and otherwise on the road again in spring!

Many many moons ago on a week long tour deep in the mountains hunting twisties, our pack got to discussing the ideal bike for lapping up the vast and varied twisties of Japan. I remember having recently ridden and fallen for the HP2 supermotard. It wasn’t powerful, smooth or multifunctional and it had zero protection from the elements. But, it did have oodles of room for arms, legs and throwing yourself all over it while enjoying twisties, which incidently it didn’t need as it had the banking ground clearance and torque out of corners of a startled wharthog! It sounded great, made me grin, woop and laugh, ripped through twisties and was more fun than its tractor-like power delivery had any right to be.

Bikes like that sparked our conversation and lead to a variety of bikes being suggested. There were a few things we all agreed upon though: consistent chassis, torquey power delivery, lightish weight, agility and a relatively upright riding position making it easy to throw around. Oh, and more than 100hp wasn’t exactly necessary.

There have been a few bikes fitting the bill over the years and last year Aprilia’s Tuono 660 hit the tarmac too. It is an uprightish, sporty and compact machine with a torquey twin and the chassis from the RS660 sportsbike. It comes in two specs, Standard or Factory which translates to 95hp or 100hp+gizmos+suspension.

Being a Tuono means it’s the uprightish sibling of the RS660 sportsbike but with wide bars atop the top bridge for pushing and pulling rather than crouching and coaxing through the twisty bits. With decently comfortable seat to handlebar to footpeg ergonomics it doesn’t make you feel like a pretzel, yet is conducive to enjoying the winding and twisty bits right up until the bladder or tank calls a halt to the fun.

The tank, at 15 litres, seemed to be providing 220-260km of enthusiastically devoured twisties Thoughtfully, it has a little breather hole near the top of the filler neck which makes topping the tank right up an unrestricted affair. Well done Aprilia!

The 5 inch TFT is bright and clear and the easy to read fuel gauge made sure I got it to a gas station every time without stress. Speaking of the TFT, that’s where you interact with the rider modes and aides. It has road and track specific facias and 5 riding modes, two of which you can customize and there’s a fair bit to customize with it’s APRC electronic rider aid suite which includes adjustable traction control, wheelie control, cruise control, engine braking and throttle responsiveness.

All that means it can be dialed in to your liking or what the conditions demand. But, even without all those aids, Aprilias typically handle very well and inspire a lot of confidence so all that tech is sprinkles and tickles on top!

It’s got a balanced and predictable chassis which makes for great handling and was only let down by the rear shock at more than eight tenths. It never let go or bottomed out but it did pogo a bit when pushing it on less than stellar roads. I’ve been informed the 660 Tuono Factory has this covered. Regardless, it was fun to ride and never had me hoping for a wider corner or deeper braking zone.

The brakes match the package too. Decent initial bite, nice modulation and very stable when calling on all its stopping traction. I’d call them confidence inspiring, not ultra sharp and they probably aren’t up to endurance racing but for all day fun in the mountainous twisties, they never had me guessing or doubting and showed no signs of fade. Satisfyingly, they weren’t over cautious either. I had to really mash the brake lever to get ABS to intrude at which stage the rear was getting very light.

The Commuter mode is a doodle in town and Dynamic is what you want to dial up when the rubber rounding starts. You’ll want to do that as it rounds rubber well. The pace bike for a couple days was the V4 Factory Tuono and the 660 was like a jackrussel terrier to the alsatian V4 Factory. It was nipping at the big dog’s heals whenever the road tightened up.

That torquey parallel twin is lacking capacity compared to its middleweight adversaries but it has punch when you’re in the right gear and grab a handful of throttle clawing out of a corner. It delivers a predictable wave of power and makes the right sounds too. There seems to be something going on with the intake at around 7000rpm as the note from the airbox changes, getting more aggressive and egging you on! The top end doesn’t escalate to a gear shifting crescendo though and is better short shifted back into the 6-7000rpm zone if engine theater is your thing.

A quickshifter is optional for the Tuono 660 but this one didn’t have a one, or a blipper like so many new lightweight bikes do these days, so the riding became a lot more deliberate and more engaging for it. Setting up for the corners by rolling off the throttle while fettling the brake lever and letting the bike settle then blipping the throttle, baap-p-p, for the clutchless downshifts to the right gear for the corner and tipping it in so intuitively. Then, looking through the corner, finding your exit line and winding on that smooth throttle to each blip for the upshift. It has such a sweet gearbox and shifter action, along with a fruity growl-n-pop-pop when you blip the throttle that it complements a great dance of the throttle-hand and shifter-foot. The kind of rewarding engagement that helps you find your rhythm for turn after turn of rubber rounding.

Aprilia has done real well with the stock exhaust too. Not muted or muffled but bassy and pop-pop-poppy. With a short pipe poking out on the chain side and an even shorter one on the other side, the underbelly catalyser box is compact and a great example of how to make a stock exhaust disappear into the design and sound great for the rider. Does it sound as good away from the bike? Maybe not, but that’s of no consequence to the one twisting the throttle and grinning from ear to ear, right?

It almost makes an aftermarket pipe redundant when it sounds and looks this good and should the bike end up on its side, dents and scratches to a protruding exhaust won’t be adding to the heartache.

There are plenty of other things that look and feel great on this package too. The fit, paintwork and finish are quality and just where they should be. There are lots of simple design solutions like the headlights and rearsets. Speaking of headlights, they are LED and symmetrically stylish and work more than adequately in the dark too. It hasn’t always been this way with its predecessors.

Although there’s a little storage under the rider’s seat, removing the rear seat and finding no storage, I mean zero, was confounding. Once the distraction wore off, I looked at the seat itself in my hand and had to laugh. It makes a great reminder to your riding mates to have a well prepped bike as they won’t want to be perched atop that narrow lightly padded table tennis paddle of a seat for the pillion of shame ride home. When attached in its rightful place, as a seat, it does look good though, like the rest of the bike.

The rider’s seat, looking similarly purposeful, is in fact well shaped with plenty of room and although initially firm, didn’t hinder all day riding. The mirrors can see around you, stay where you put them and don’t turn those following you into hazy jelly monets. And when you see something behind you demanding rapid deceleration, the hand controls are just where they should be and have decent feel all the way through to the radial brembo calipers and out to the Pirelli Rosso Corsa II rubbery sticky bits. The concert of those components is a big part of how this bike inspires confidence.

Highwaying to the twisty bits can often be a labour on a naked or sporty bike with all of their ergonomic and aerodynamic compromises..

The Tuono is light, missing the lower half of its fairing and puts some weight on the wrists. But I’d recommend the optional taller screen like this one had as it punches a surprisingly good hole in highway speed air and that half naked front fairing keeps a fair bit of wind blast off. The slight lean forward to the bars pitches you into the air reducing wrist load while bringing clean air around the helmet and less body buffeting.

Don’t go thinking its little 660 twin isn’t speedy enough or struggles to keep up with traffic on the highway either, its got plenty of legs for almost double the speed limit and winds on power well for overtakes. Add its cruise control and it does not bad for such a lightweight.

So, it seduces you to ride with its sound, trundles around the city nicely, gets to the twisties without struggle, puts a big smile on your dial in the twisties, is pleasing on the eye at pitstops and complements the rider. Sounds like a winner.

But is it one of those rare bikes that fit the endless twisties and bountiful but testing riding of Japan we started searching for all those years ago?

Its consistent chassis rewards with cornering and braking confidence. The torquey power delivery makes you grin when jackrusseling through tight bends or traffic lights go green. It’s athletically light, flickable, agile in a pinch and has a tiny turning circle all of which are complemented by its upright riding position making it easy to throw around. Oh, and it has just a smidgen less than a 100hp.

But is it THAT bike? Take one for a test ride and see for yourself how much fun it is!

Aprilia Japan provided this XX edition Tuono 660 for a few days around the Tuono 20th Anniversary event with an agreement to tell fellow riders all about it and have it there on the day, clean and ready to be adored by fans at the Hakone Glass Museum. I’ll save you the suspense there, it made it and was suitably stroked, fiddled with, clambered all over and adored by riders and passers-by alike.

Thank you for letting me get to know this fun bike Aprilia Japan!

Rolled out of the big smoke on the Shin-Tomei and was met at the exit by a scorchingly bright rising sun. The latest extension to Hadano is super smooth.
Great morning for flying. 😉
The misty mountains are in full summer greens.
Ikawa was a cool 21-23° and perfect for twisty riding.
Zarusoba and tempura lunch set while it drizzled outside at Umegashima’s road station.
Wondered why the light by the front door was on when there’s a tree growing out of the roof. 😂
And the rotting Suzy in the yard…
I see you out there Fuji.
Great to be out in the Minami Alps on a cool summer’s day. Good stuff Shizuoka!

Shirakawago is a timeless glimpse at a bygone era and a place everyone visiting Japan should make an effort to get to. And it does need effort as it’s not the closest place to the main touristy draw cards. From its nearest big city Nagoya, it’s about a 3hr tour bus ride or 4hr by train and bus on public transport.

So, how about riding? It’s about 150km directly north from Nagoya and ought to take two to two and a half hours. However, I rode from Yokohama and the shortest route is around 360km and from Matsumoto to Takayama has some great twisties and fantastic views. But, winter snow and ice makes the short route dicy if it’s open. So, it was a safe 450km+ mostly expressway jaunt.

Making it to that last long tunnel was like Shirakawago was rolling out a big warm welcome mat for all the effort.

Got to get back and stay longer next time… Next time… How many attempts and years will that take? 😂

And there it is start to finish.

11 hours & @950km

As things stand, we are on for the 10th Coast to Coast. YES!

When:

Sunrise – 4:50am

April 30, 2022

Added caution and some changes due to the lingering plague do need to be taken into consideration in a few key areas.

1. Meeting

2. Routes

3. Overnighting

4. The Ride

5. Final Words

MEETING

Our typical event involves the gathering of a large number of riders, many shaking of hands, some brotherly hugs, close proximity talking, drinking and eating. There are varying opinions and levels of caution amongst the Twistybutts on how best to conduct oneself at present and that is cool but we can all agree that we are there for the ride so let’s focus on that.

* Respect each other’s choice to distance and wear a mask whenever gathered. *

For those preferring to completely avoid mass gathering and the potential for ‘an accident’ or those who refuse to wear a mask, let’s talk routes.

ROUTES

The typical Coast to Coast route will be available for those wanting to run that route. The start will still be somewhere on the Sagami Bay coast. It is always great to see everyone each year and the steeds gathered for the ride out. A highlight on the riding calendar!

However, things are a little different this time round for many and it would be great to see that lead to some alternate routes with various start and end locations befitting everyone’s circumstances. So feel free to do your own thing. Especially if:

  • you don’t want to join a large gathering.
  • you want to start closer to home, finish somewhere other than Joetsu or run an alternate route.
  • you are too far away but still want to do a Coast to Coast.

We can use SNS to share our various rides and unique sites and challenges. Be great to see all the photos and read the tales from the road.

Here are some possibilities…

Plenty of twisties and touges needing dusting off all over Japan! Grab your local wingmen and make it happen.

OVERNIGHTING

Focusing on the riding and with a number of Twistybutts offering various preferences for hotels, camping and day trips, there is no official Twistybutt Hotel this year. Sad yes. End of the world, no.

The Ride

The origin of the C2C was in taking on an epic riding challenge aboard road ready steeds and enjoying the camaraderie of like minded riders through changeable weather over winding passes and all the while bettering yourself as a rider without running out of fuel! That hasn’t changed.

Let’s all get out for a Coast to Coast Twistyfest, round a lot of rubber, sharpen our riding skills and get to know our bikes better.

Looking forward to seeing the adventures via SNS.

FINAL WORD

All riders need consider their responsibilities to society and the potential spreading of unnecessary suffering. This goes for the various non-riders you’ll meet on your adventure as much as your fellow riders.

Be respectful and don’t be offended if you aren’t greeted as warmly as you greet others or expect. It’s not your backyard. Enjoy your ride, help make others similarly so and avoid anything that erodes that.

Finally, make your salutations to the riding gods for fine skies and to keep the roads and borders open!

WHAT IS THE COAST TO COAST TWISTYBUTT?

With the lifting of the corona virus state of emergency and local prefectural no-travel requests, it was time for the steed and I to chase the horizon once more.

The waxing glow on the horizon hinted at a great day of riding ahead.
Bright but Fuji’s peak isn’t glowing yet. Sunrise is still behind us.
Headed up into Hakone to give the centre of the tyres a break.
Sunrise!
eMpTy10 drinking…again.
Fuji was everywhere for the first few hours.
What kind of frozen trickery is this? I’d dressed for the predicted 25°+ Max temp. Needless to say I was feeling chilled.
Pitstopped for breakfast at Misaka Touge. Tranquil until…
The Alfa club roared out of the tunnel. Some nice cars there though.
Eased 51km out of the reserve after being left parched by two closed gas stands closed before finding one open in Karuizawa. Last time I got 50km from reserve, I had to push it the final 300m. 😂
Always a tyre torturer and grin widener.

This was the road that inspired the second wind and got me to thinking that a Coast to Coast Twistybutt had to be done. From here on there were mostly epic roads, views and the autumn colours would be even better. Besides, the 502 was ahead and I’d read a few months before that it’d be open for the start of October. If you get to the 502, it’s all downhill to the coast, right? Onward!

292 was in fine form.
Manza is getting some colour.
Top of the world and back down to 13°C again.
Great to be back! It’s been too long since running this epic road.
The sun was falling and…
… the navi was saying a sunset arrival on the beach was slipping away. But the views deserved some photos.
Then it slipped away. Quite literally, I tried to get a pic of the sun but the road was only going downhill and by the time I stopped, it was but a glow on the distant peaks.
Pulled up at this odd boarded up joint for a look down over the coastline. Great location and views.
How far away is that coast down there in Joetsu?
30 odd minutes later, C2C580 Twistybutt done!
There it is. Out n back. Coast to Coast to Coast with a C2C Twistybutt one way.

The expressway run home was a cold monotonous cruise control enabled decompress. It was the easiest and most economical leg of the ride though and traffic was surprisingly light.

This twisted fossil thoroughly enjoyed the stretch of legs and right wrist. And the MT10sp is proving a great steed for such stretches. Just wish it wouldn’t drink so much. 😉

TAP the pics below for bigger images.

Steamy summer fog lingered in the valleys.
Was still too early for the primitive people to be up and about, apparently.
Leaving home and trundling through the lowlands saw a steady temp of 27-29°c. I’d dressed for that and the heat of the day ahead. Climbing into the mountains, it kept getting cooler and the run upto 411’s peak from the east saw a good stretch of 15-17°. Thankfully, the soft breeze wafting up out of Uenohara on the west side was warmer and it quickly jumped back up to a comfortably cool 20°c.
Good morning Fuji San.
Running the Fruits Line out of Uenohara around to Fuefuki, the sweet smell of peaches was on the morning air and it was hard to resist a peach stop.
Yum!
Nice atmosphere, plenty of social distance and the peaches weren’t bad either. ‘Four to go please!’
Heading west to Minami Alps, thought I’d take a run at Yamabushi Touge. Websites were showing it intermittently open but it was a Sunday… On the way, stopped by Kenshinnotaki. Great waterfall, cool and refreshing mist falling from way above and plenty of colourful butterflies flitting about.
Yamabushi Touge? Not today!
That’s where the road used to be.
Looks like a full headland rebuild was in progress. Thought I could sneak around on that dirt road so gave it a go. It deadended at some chains.
Man’s armada lined up to do battle with the wayward whims of the river gods. The towering mountains made the gathering look positively punny. 😂
Now that’s a road.
Climbing again and the midday sun weaving its way through the summer green overhead cast dappled light making rock n debris spotting a challenge. MaTe got through unscathed. 👍
And not a cicada to be heard… Just a stream cutting its way down the valley.
But that light sure was as deceptive as it was captivating in some places. See how things can disappear in it?
While most of us avoid flying off the sides of mountain roads…
Although it got a bit hot here n there, top of 35°c, all in all a good rubber rounding day.
And it was great seeing Fuji San through a clear sky again.

460km done and home by 3:30pm for a nap. 😂

Bad choice of music 😂

Now that’s a Sunday sun-up view! Today wasn’t like that. In fact, it was overcast, steaming and threatening rain. So, it was time for something different. Let’s get cool. 😎

Straddling the Shizuoka Yamanashi border, Abe Touge is rarely open on the Shizuoka side but does climb to around 1500 metres so thought it a cool place to round some rubber up to. At 5am by the coast, it was already 28°C and some altitude would be welcomed. So, over Hakone Touge we went and then hop skipped and jumped over to the Shin Tomei Expressway.
Saw this little Honda with a monster top box when I stopped to rehydrate after exiting at Shin Shimizu and enjoying the twisties up the 52 to Tomikawa.
Turning west off the beaten path with towering peaks getting closer, the local welcoming party was out……. to terrify!
From small to large, it seemed all the waterfalls were flowing.
And the scars of rivers gorging on rain were very fresh.
Climbing and getting cooler. This was a comfortable hillock to admire the view, until the ants mounted their assault. 🏃
Look at that landslide! If the land slides in the mountains and no one is there to see it,…
And with the climb came the low cloud loving carpets of moss.
Almost there. Too bad it was thick with cloud or Fuji would have been a great sight from here.
Made it! But the warning sign showed major damage on the Shizuoka side.
Shizuoka lockout. Oh well, at least it was a dryish and a refreshing 20°. Back down we go.
How must it have looked in full flow, tearing at the banks?
That looks menacing.
So, that’s what the impeller of a hydroelectric turbine looks like!
Still more landslides…
An old but well kept school.
The blue sky unfurled for Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan – the world’s oldest continuous hotel. Magic riding out to it too.
It had been a good run and with a traffic free climb up the Motosuko Road to the base of Mt Fuji, the MT10 found some other steeds to hang with before the run back through Hakone and home.

All done, 485km and some well rounded rubber. Until next Sunday….