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Contents #104 “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” — Mario Andrei. But what if you’re under the control of speed limits? Turn to page 40…

4 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER


102 76

86 NEWS FOR ROAD RIDERS 10 Triumph loves us thiiis much, RIP Massimo Tamburini, who’s selling and who’s not, Lauge-Jensen’s Viking and more.

ON THE ROAD

66

76 The Great Ocean Road: We take a fresh look at an old favourite. 86 Sunshine Explorer: A local rider deviates from the regular routes. 92 Eastern Europe: Two-up on an SV650 through the former Soviet states. 102 Touratech Travel Event: A weekend with the experts on adventure.

BIKES TO RIDE 42 BMW R1200RT: We ride two-up to find out if this is the best touring twin. 50 Benelli Tre K: A raunchy and affordable so-roader. 58 Indian Chieain: Doing the miles, two-up, on the heavy tourer. 66 Honda CB500X: LAMS-legal versatility from a sweet twin. 72 The Long List: Victory, Ducati, Aprilia and the Bolt.

123 Cruis’n Comfort Sheepskins: Perfect seat enhancement.

FEATURES 40 Speed Limits: Why raising them is not dangerous folly. 108 Adventure Rider’s Guide: Camping and technology. 116 Women and Riding: Why don’t more women ride?

YARNS AND LAUGHS 6 32 35 37 39 145 146

MONTHLY MAIL 28 30 84 124 128

GEAR ON TEST 120 Shark Explore-R: All your helmets in one package. 121 Nannini Custom Goggles: Flash your sexy eyes. 122 Nolan N-Com: Seamless communications and entertainment.

Mathochism: Day-glo and do-gooders. Boorman: The joys of crashing cars. Seddo: Touring, circa 1973. Zoe: Me and the Honda CB500X. Gregor: Double demerits, double dimwits. Lane Spliing: On the eve of legality. Last Look: You’ll love this great ode to good roads.

132 138 140 144

Big Shot: The big parade. Route 66: Win a US tour! Stay With Us: Rider-friendly places. Whatz New: Gimme, gimme, gimme! Readers Rite: Two-up training, pollie bashing and gearboxes. Price Guide: Latest pricing and models updates. Subscribe Here: Win a Yamaha Bolt! Bike Supermarket: Products, services and other cool stuff. Advertiser Listing: Where’d you see that ad again? AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 5


MATHOCHISM

MANDATORY HI-VIZ CLOTHING Yes, it has come to this. Why? Because they say so

hile half of Australia shivers through winter, I’m in Cairns. Life’s prey good up here in Far North Queensland, where it’s never cold. I don’t think the locals really know what winter is. It’s not just that they name their two seasons Wet and Dry, it’s that when they feel the need for a jumper, half of Sydney is heading for Bondi. They have no idea. Lucky buggers. And as one of my southern mates pointed out while the sweat dripped off us, “Of course they don’t wear leathers and boots up here.” It’d be ridiculous. I’m not going to criticise them for geing around in shorts and sandals. To do so would be equally ridiculous. Besides, they’d just ignore me. C’mon you FNQ readers, admit it, you get a laugh out of the scornful concern we winterers have for your safety, don’t you? If I lived here I’d probably quickly fall into the habit of wearing a lot less when I ride. Aer a day here I’d packed the jacket into the panniers, at least for running around town. I must say, though, the fully vented MotoDry jacket is actually more comfy on the highway in the heat than having the sun burning the hell out of my arms. The point is, we all dress for the conditions, which are defined by the weather; by the likelihood of needing protection; by the practicalities of geing in and out of riding gear every time you get on and off the bike; by the practicality of your riding gear and the conditions it creates for you; and your own very personal responses to all of it. Each to their own. Or in Victoria, each to the whims of the jackbooted safetycrats that have seized the southern state by the neck and are slowly choking the life out of it. While warm Queenslanders ride in whatever they damn well please (as long as the helmet’s legal), all of Victoria’s learner riders will be forced by law to wear high-

W

6 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

“There’s no proof this new regulation will do anything for road safety. Instead, this entire push to save us from ourselves is based on gut feel” visibility clothing. Yes, the nanny state has finally got its foot in the door of mandating hi-viz gear for us all, starting with Victorian L-platers from October. There is lile evidence hi-viz clothing works for riders. The best they have is that Aussie Post, which now dresses its delivery riders in head-to-toe hi-viz on day-glo bikes with high-flying flags, succeeded in reducing accidents. Victoria’s parliamentary inquiry into rider safety said it was “unable to support the proposal to mandate the use of hi-visibility clothing for motorcyclists” because of conflicting findings around the world, among other things. In short, there’s no proof this new regulation will do anything for road safety. Instead, this entire push to save us from ourselves is based on gut feel. Victorian police superintendent Bob Stork, for example, is pushing for mandatory hi-viz gear for riders because “they need to be seen”. Well thank you for your concern, Bob. Now please state your credentials.

“We are not engineers and we are not experts,” he admits, “but we do believe that a high visibility would be of benefit.” Yessiree, Bob, but I believe a bit of science would be much more pertinent. I also believe the police have no right to impose their idea of “it’s for your own good” at the expense of our own personal choices. I believe that workplace safety requirements have no place in my recreational life, so if the cops have to wear day-glo, good on ’em, but that’s their work and not my hobby. Unfortunately, Australia’s mainstream politicians don’t have the same view and this time they’ve run with it. Their hi-viz crusade has caught Victoria’s learner riders. Sure as prime ministers lie, mandatory hi-viz will spread like a virus. I can see it in FNQ now. Dozens of riders criss-crossing Cairns with deeply tanned limbs, flash helmets and hi-viz vests flapping in the breeze. Yeah, that’ll fix it. ARR — MICK MATHESON


Roadrider A U S T R A L I A N

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Circulation enquiries to our Sydney head office (02) 9805 0399. Australian Road Rider #104 is published by Australian Publishing, Unit 5, 6–8 Byfield Street, North Ryde NSW 2113. Phone: (02) 9805 0399, Fax: (02) 9805 0714. Melbourne office, Suite 4, Level 1, 150 Albert Road, South Melbourne Vic 3205. Phone (03) 9694 6444 Fax: (03) 9699 7890. Printed by Webstar Sydney, distributed by Network Services, Phone: (02) 9282 8777. This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publishers. The publishers believe all the information supplied in this book to be correct at the time of printing. They are not, however, in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. Prices, addresses and phone numbers were, after investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, up to date at the time of printing, but they may change in some cases. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements which appear in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility must therefore be on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisements for publication. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. * Recommended retail price ISSN 1329-1734 Copyright © Australian Publishing Pty Ltd MMXIV ACN 003 609 103 www.universalmagazines.com.au Please pass on or recycle this magazine.

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NEWS

NEWS FOR ROADRIDERS ■ Peter Huckin: watching market trends and reacting

BY NEWS EDITOR MARK HINCHLIFFE (HINCHM@HOTMAIL.COM)

AUSTRALIA RATES

HIGH WITH TRIUMPH Brits built a new model just for our learners

Australia is so important to Triumph Motorcycles that the company updated the Street Triple 660 especially for our learner-approved motorcycles (LAMS) market. Triumph Australia flew out global export sales boss Peter Huckin for the Brisbane Moto Expo in March to reveal the bike for the first time to Australian riders. He says it was important for their company to “break into LAMS”. According to Peter, “Australia came to us because LAMS had just come out, but it took us about 18 months to two years to be able to respond. We couldn’t do it straight away because we introduced 10 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

seven new models last year and our research and development department was prey busy. However, it only took six months to develop the bike.” The 660 is not a stripped-down version of the popular 675, but a “full-blown” model. “That means it still has great handling characteristics and ABS, which makes it a great learner bike,” he says. “There are only some engine capacity and power restrictions to meet Australian and New Zealand specifications for learner bikes. There were only three things we needed to do: we shortened the stroke by 1.2mm to bring the capacity down to 660,

we gave it a different inlet camsha and a different ECU tune.” (Triumph Australia technical officer Cliff Stoval confirms the ECU will not be able to be updated.) “It was just developed for Australia and New Zealand, not for any other market. The only other time we have made a special model for a country was the Street Triple with just an ECU modification for Spain, which has similar learner restrictions,” he says. “It shows how serious we are about the Australian market, where we have about an 11 per cent share.” He also announced Triumph would produce another LAMS bike in September next year when they introduce a single-cylinder model. “We


NEWS will look at variants of the model but I can’t give you any more details.” Peter says 2013 was their most successful year, with 51,700 global sales and 3000 in Australia, but he expects 2014 to be even bigger “as we start to ramp up our presence in emerging markets in Brazil and India”. Triumph will build complete bikes for those markets, then disassemble them, pack them in boxes and ship them to those countries where they will be assembled again to avoid cripplingly high import duties. He says he can’t predict the next trend and niche in ■ The LAMS-approved 600 Street Triple has a shorter stroke than the 675cc model

motorcycling. “I would need a ■ New models such as the crystal ball to predict the next Thunderbird LT are maintaining Triumph’s growth growth area. I see growth across the range,” he says. “Sportsbike sales are down because we have to acknowledge speeding restrictions and higher insurance premiums. People are shiing away to dark customs and cafe racers and we have benefited from that with our classics range. We monitor the market trends and we will continue to actively develop our bikes and back in 2004 that we would average two release new product. We always have a new bikes a year and we have surpassed lot of projects on the go and not all go that with seven just last year,” he says. into production. We always have an eye “Even if we don’t produce a new model, open for any opportunities in markets, we always try to refresh and update such as LAMS in Australia.” Peter also unveiled the new models every three years.” Thunderbird Commander and LT at the Peter says new product has driven a Brisbane Moto Expo. “We told the dealers 150 per cent sales rise since 2004.

“It shows how serious we are about the Australian market, where we have about an 11 per cent share”

DESIGNER SIGNS OFF ■ The stunning and fast Ducati 916 was a Tamburini highlight

Motorcycle design may never be the same aer the man who designed arguably the most beautiful bikes in the world passed away at the age of 71. Italian Massimo Tamburini designed the Ducati 916 and MV Agusta F4, both of which figure highly in the most beautiful bikes yet made. They were also highlights of the New York Guggenheim Museum’s The Art of the Motorcycle exhibit of 1998-1999.

■ Massimo Tamburini: one of the true greats of motorcycle design

Massimo died in April aer a long bale with lung cancer and leaves a legacy of design that many have followed. His greatest claim to fame was perhaps the 916, which introduced the single-sided swing arm and underseat exhaust. If that wasn’t enough, he followed up with the famed F4, which many have described as the most beautiful bike ever built, with its organpipe underseat exhaust.

Massimo was born on November 28, 1943, and from an early age appreciated the motorcycles that roared through his village. He was destined to become involved in the burgeoning motorcycle industry of his San Marino region. He later became a designer for Cagiva, Ducati and MV Agusta. He also helped establish the Bimota brand. His chief design philosophy was light weight: “The ideal one would be a 750 with the power of a 1000 and the weight of a 500. You don’t need a huge amount of power on a road bike, but it’s important to have light weight as well.” That design philosophy is now commonplace in the world of motorcycles and many have followed his lead with single-sided swingarms and underseat exhausts. Bikes credited as his design, or those in which he played a major part in their design, include the Bimota Tesi 1D, KB2 and DB1; Ducati Paso 916, 748, 996, 998; Cagiva Mito; and MV Agusta F4, Brutale and F3 675. AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 11


NEWS ■ LAMS-legal CB500s are helping to keep Honda in the top spot

r New models like the R1200GS Adventure have boosted BMW’s success

r The Breakout has lifted Harley to within a few sales of being the top road bike seller

DISCOUNTS FOLLOW SALES FIGURES Flat market becomes a bit of a winner for buyers Motorcycle sales may be down 2.5 per cent in the first quarter of this year, but that’s good news for Aussie riders as motorcycle companies declare a price discount war with earlier-than-usual end-of-financial-year sales. While motorcycle sales figures are down, road bike sales are up 3.3 per cent to 11,151, representing 44 per cent of the total 25,383 bikes, scooters, ATVs and off-roaders sold in the first three months. The most dramatic drops were in off-road bikes (-9.4 per cent) and scooters (-16.3 per cent). Motorcycle companies such as Suzuki, Honda, Victory and BMW were quick to react to the figures with cash-back offers, discounts and free on-road costs. There are mixed fortunes across the companies, with most Japanese taking a sizeable hit except for Yamaha, buoyed by the new MT range. One of the biggest winners has been BMW, up 42.9 per cent to 700 and leapfrogging two places to eighth, just five bikes behind Triumph. Marketing manager Miles Davis credits new product for the sales boon, with even more new models arriving this month. They would have done beer, except for their 23.3 per cent drop in scooter sales. There is good news for the whole industry, with the learner craze continuing from last year when all states finally accepted the Learner12 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS), which opens up a wide variety of bikes to new riders. On the strength of the new Honda 500cc LAMS bikes, the company marginally jumped ahead of Harley-Davidson to top the road bike segment with 2097, up 12.3 per cent. Even though Harley sales were up only 1.1 per cent to 2069, the company had massive success with the beautiful FXSB Soail Breakout, which was the sixth best-selling bike on the market, mixing it among the LAMS and off-road bikes that usually make up the top 10. It also eclipsed the Yamaha XVS650, which was down 12.4 per cent to 227. The road bike sector was also aided by the introduction of Indian, which sold 107 bikes and could have sold many more except for supply problems, which have now been rectified. It is another success in the cruiser segment which continues to perform well. Other strong-performing segments are adventure bikes and naked bikes, particularly with the introduction of Yamaha’s MT-09 and the KTM 390 Duke LAMS bike, which was the seventh best-selling road bike. Meanwhile, the sports bike segment is down, particularly the LAMS Kawasaki Ninja 300, 31.7 per cent to 791, but it’s still the biggest seller on the showroom floor. Ducati slipped out of the top 10 brands,

even though it enjoyed an 18.6 per cent increase in sales to 466, mainly due to the 899 Panigale sports bike. So where does this leave us for the rest of the year? Expect more sales as we approach the end of the financial year, but also expect more product as manufacturers realise new product inspires new buyers. Tired models and brands are starting to dwindle as new models take some of their shine away. While it might be a tough year ahead for manufacturers, it’s all good news for riders.

TOP 10 BRANDS 1. Honda 2. Yamaha 3. Kawasaki 4. Suzuki 5. Harley-Davidson 6. KTM 7. Triumph 8. BMW 9. BRP 10. CFMoto

4716 4322 2882 2174 2069 1891 705 700 596 551

-12.6% 15.4% -10.7% -26.6% 1.1% 27.9% -2.6% 42.9% 73.8% -11%

TOP 10 ROAD BIKE COMPANIES 1. Honda 2. Harley-Davidson 3. Kawasaki 4. Yamaha 5. Suzuki 6. Triumph 7. BMW 8. KTM 9. Ducati 10. Hyosung

2097 2069 1641 1275 752 705 677 498 466 177

12.3% 1.1% -23.9% 44.6% -26.3% -2.6% 47.2% 198.2% 18.6% -35.9%


NEWS

BMW BUILDS HALF MILLION IN BERLIN BMW Motorrad has turned out half a million GS motorcycles at its factory at Spandau in Berlin. The landmark bike was appropriately the R1200GS, which is the company’s top seller. The Spandau factory began building aircra engines in 1939, then motorcycle parts for the Munich factory before all production was moved there in 1969. Since then, the company has produced more than two million motorcycles.

■ BMW’s 500,000th GS floats along the production line

BMW ERECTION

CASE GOES LIMP

BMW has lost a major marketing tool with the dismissal of a case in which a Californian man complained that his K1100RS gave him a permanent erection for almost two years. Henry Wolf claimed the BMW and his Corbin seat inspired his medical condition aer a four-hour ride in September 2010. The complaint, filed in the California Superior Court in April 2012, claims he “suffered” a permanent erection for 20 months. In more medical terms it says the “ridge-like” saddle caused a “longterm case of priapism”. Wolf sought compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, emotional distress and general damage from both companies. However, aer almost two years, Judge James J. McBride threw the case out for a lack of supporting evidence. The court accepted testimony from urologist Dr Jack McAninch that the plaintiff suffered from priapism, but rejected the testimony of neurologist Dr Jonathan Rutchik that vibrations from a 14 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

motorcycle could cause the problem. Wolf’s defence also included evidence from the bike’s former and subsequent owners. We imagine it ■ Sex machine? How arousing is a little blue K1100RS?

couldn’t have been too hard to sell! Meanwhile, you will just have to do with the emotional arousal caused by BMW’s sexy new R nineT naked bike.


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NEWS ■ We’re still waiting for the Street in Australia while other international markets get theirs

r Australia will not get the 750, only the 500

r Will Aussie Street 500s be made in India or the US?

HARLEY STREET 500 MAY COME FROM INDIA The much-anticipated Street 500 is still several months away for Australia, but Harley-Davidson marketing manager Adam Wright hasn’t given up hope of an earlier release. “Obviously the Street model has been well received in India so it does come down to production schedules for us,” he says. “At this stage we are still

on target for an early January launch. We’re also still negotiating heavily with HQ in Milwaukee to see if there is any opportunity to get the vehicle earlier.” The Street 500 and 750 have been launched in India and the US, with other countries to follow. Early reports suggest the Street 500 will have about

25kW of power and 50Nm of torque (35kW and 60Nm for the 750) and is unusually quiet for a Harley. Australia will only take the learnerapproved Street 500 as Harley believes the 750 would clash with the 883 Sportster, which is a big seller here. The Street family will be the first to be built outside the US, with a production facility in India as well as Kansas. Adam says he cannot yet confirm the production source for the Australian Street 500. “We’re still looking at the production source at this stage,” he says. “Personally for us, it would be beer if the vehicles were shipped from India as it is a lile more direct. It would work in our favour.” Adam says he doesn’t believe the country source of the bikes would affect the brand. “Not if the quality is maintained,” he says. “We have very stringent quality control measures in place nowadays. A lot of other manufacturers work out of China and Thailand these days and as long as the integrity of the brand remains and the quality is there, it shouldn’t have an effect. A lot of luxury car manufacturers have facilities in Asia.”

“The Street family will be the first to be built outside the US, with a production facility in India as well as Kansas”

TIME FLIES ON HARLEY B-ROCKET Take a Harley-Davidson FXS Soail Blackline, chop it, wrap it in brushed aluminium, add an exclusive Swiss watch and you get the B-Rocket. The bike was commissioned by watch company Bell & Ross and unveiled at a jewellery and watch show in Switzerland. It’s not the first time the company has commissioned a motorcycle to showcase its “time instruments”. In 2011 it had a Nescafé racer built with a carbon-cased watch set in the fuel tank. The joint project with British Shaw Harley custom shop kindles the spirit of 1960s land-speed-record streamliners with its aluminium covers and bombshell 16 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

fairing and rear end. But it’s not just a show piece; it actually works with the “pilot” or rider leaning across the padded fuel tank and gripping the super-low handlebars down by the forks. However, it doesn’t have a head or tail light, indicators or mirrors. The bomber-style “jet turbines” below the V-twin are actually air intakes to cool the engine and oil. Bell & Ross has released two watches — or chronographs, as they’re called — inspired by the stainless-steel and bare mechanical look of the B-Rocket. The company has not yet released pricing for the watches, but if you have to ask how much … you can’t afford them!

r The fuss is all for this watch ■ Time machine: Bell & Ross’s B-Rocket


NEWS

CAR DESIGNER DEVELOPS

VIKING CONCEPT MOTORCYCLE

■ Designing a motorcycle was a dream for Henrik Fisker

Danish makers go from Lego to this…

The company that invented Lego has conscripted a famed BMW and Aston Martin car designer to develop a Viking motorcycle concept. Danish motorcycle company Lauge Jensen unveiled the concept at the Top Marques luxury brands show in Monaco. Like all 2014 Lauge Jensen bikes, it features the Wisconsin-made S&S “1-Eleven Squarehead” engine and is the world’s first motorcycle brand to receive Euro IV clean emissions certification. Clean-cut it may be, but the Viking still has plenty of macho majuscule, thanks to former Dane Henrik Fisker, who helped design the bike. He is one of the world’s leading vehicle designers, having run the design team at BMW and Aston Martin before starting his own companies in LA, Fisker Coachbuild and Fisker Automotive, where, as CEO, he created the Karma hybrid. “It’s been a dream of mine to design and create a motorcycle for many years and this is the first time I have the freedom to go and do it,” Henrik

says. His Viking Concept motorcycle indicates the possible future direction for the bespoke Danish custom bike builder, owned by Anders Kirk Johansen, an industrialist whose family invented Lego. It features very curvaceous lines including an uninterrupted flow from the tank to the seat and through to the rear fender. The S&S “1-Eleven Squarehead” has 45-degree cylinders producing 75kW and the bike has a top speed of 210km/h (130mph). It also claims fuel economy of an amazing, almost unbelievable, 4L/100km or 70mpg. Certainly it wouldn’t achieve that travelling at 210km/h! Lauge Jensen currently produces the limited-edition Great Dane custom cruiser, which starts from €42,800 (about $63,000). The company intends to build a bike based on the Viking Concept at higher volumes and with a lower price tag than the Great Dane. The bikes are not imported into Australia, but Lauge Jensen spokesperson Luke Brackenbury says there is interest and an invitation

“There is interest and an invitation from a man who featured in the Australian top-10 Forbes list” 18 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

LAUGE-JENSEN VIKING CONCEPT MOTORCYCLE Price: €42,800 (about $63,000) Engine: Air-cooled V-twin, 45-degree, Euro IV Compression: 9:1 Transmission: 6-speed (5 and overdrive) Power: 75kW (100hp) Top speed: 210km/h+ Fuel economy: 4L/100km Dry weight: 299kg Web: http://laugejensen.dk/

from a man who featured in the Australian top-10 Forbes list. “There’s no importer at present as Lauge Jensen sells directly from Denmark,” he says. “Delivery overseas is very much a private service. Lauge Jensen offers a direct sale from its HQ with home delivery, so there’s a very personal approach and close client relationship, as with a lot of luxury brands.” Lauge Jensen was founded in Horsens, Denmark, in 2008 and was bought in 2012 by Anders.


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NEWS ■ Troy Bayliss: it’s not just Ducatis these days, though he’s obviously still keen!

TROY BAYLISS WINS MOTORCYCLE SHOW BATTLE The Australian motorcycle industry has taken a common sense approach by giving Troy Bayliss Events approval to run official motorcycle shows. The result will be well-organised events with full industry participation and loads of entertainment and displays for riders. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has been organising motorcycle shows in major capital cities for several years with some competition from private organisers. This only served to divide the loyalties of manufacturers and stretch the resources of accessories companies to aend the events. However, the professionally organised Troy Bayliss Events sprang up last year, announcing it would host events in Brisbane in March and Melbourne in November, prompting the FCAI to abandon its planned Sydney show. Members of the FCAI aended the Brisbane Moto Expo in March and were obviously happy with what they saw and have now surrendered. In an official statement, they say they have entered a

“long-term partnership” with Troy Bayliss Events for future Moto Expos. Troy Bayliss was “stoked” at the end of the Brisbane Moto Expo, despite missing out on the final of the Saturday night dirt scrambles competition. He says he was happy with the crowds, particularly on the Saturday evening when they stayed on aer the Expo had finished to watch the scrambles events. It featured a stellar line-up of 18 world and national champions including three-time World Speedway champ Jason Crump and World Supersport champion Chris Vermeulen. He says he hopes to have similar racing events at the Melbourne Moto Expo in November. Troy Bayliss Events spokesman Mark Peterson says they had learned a lot from

“It’s about value for money and being innovative. We have a few things up our sleeves yet for Melbourne. We are toying with a few ideas”

■ Lukey Luke fools around

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their first Brisbane Showgrounds event and promised the Melbourne Moto Expo would have even more surprises. The Brisbane Moto Expo featured 14 Australian debut bikes including three new Harleys, a Victory Gunner rushed out from the States one week aer release, four new BMWs, three Yamahas and many more. They were backed by a full feet of current-model bikes from more than 16 motorcycle and scooter manufacturers. Some also offered customer demo rides, while Yamaha had a come-and-try sector for children. There was also a stacked accessories hall and entertainment throughout the day, including stunt shows with Lukely Luke, Ma Mingay and Dave McKenna. A show and shine, race bike display and historic bike display rounded out a packed event schedule. “Melbourne will have a few more surprises,” Mark says. “That is what we are all about. It’s about value for money and being innovative. We have a few things up our sleeves yet for Melbourne. We are toying with a few ideas.” He didn’t rule out another racing event and says the recently refurbished Melbourne showgrounds would have more room and a more cohesive flow than the Brisbane event. He says the Melbourne showgrounds has a 10,000sqm hall, a 3000sqm secondary hall and 10,000sqm of space outdoors, plus a main arena with 4500 seats. “We are a goodquality show,” he enthuses. Mark says he was disappointed Honda and John Sample Group (Moto Guzzi and Aprilia) were not present at the Brisbane Moto Expo, but hopes to have them on board for Melbourne. “We want to be able to showcase the whole industry.”


NEWS ■ The Formula One of lawn care?

HONDA CUTS MOWER SPEED RECORD r The adventurous RAT rally is headed for the spectacular Flinders Ranges

r Triumphs will gather for a holiday in Coffs Harbour in August

TRIUMPH OWNERS HOLD TWO RAT RALLIES Triumph will hold not one, but two RAT Rallies this year. The annual RAT Rally will be held at the popular central NSW coastal destination of Coffs Harbour from August 22-24. This year it will be preceded by Triumph’s inaugural National Off-Road RAT Rally in the Flinders Ranges from August 4-8. Triumph marketing manager Mark Berger says bookings are solid for both events, with about 80 per cent usually booking at the last minute. “Who knows, we may even have some people who do 22 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

both rallies, although the Flinders event is a mammoth ride and it will be a big ask to back up just a few weeks later,” he says. The annual RAT Rally last year aracted more than 400 Triumph owners to Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains. Event organiser Darren Kersey is expecting a similar large turnout for this year’s event. “Coffs Harbour has always been a popular location among motorcyclists and we’ve hosted a few events in the area over the years,” he says. “Last year we thought we would warm into the event with a bit

Take a Honda VTR1000 Firestorm V-twin, shoehorn it into a ride-on mower and watch the grass fly! That’s what a group of British redheads did recently in Spain and they came away with a Guinness World Record. Honda UK’s British Touring Car Championship partner, Team Dynamics, built the 109hp Mean Mower, which was piloted by TopGear magazine scribe Piers Ward. They set a record of 187.6km/h. The Mean Mower’s top speed was measured through a 100m speed trap and the two-way record-seing run was overseen by official timers from the Guinness Book of Records. The basis for the machine is a Honda HF2620 lawn tractor, but with a completely new fabricated chassis, custom-made from carbon-steel, the 1000cc engine from a Honda VTR Firestorm and bespoke suspension and wheels from an ATV. The machine weighs just 140kg and can go from zero to 100km/h in four seconds. To be considered a mower for the purposes of the record books it also has to be able to mow! So the Mean Mower has cuers powered by two electric motors and will cut grass at speeds up to 24km/h. Imagine cuing your suburban lawn in one minute flat!

of karaoke. It was such a hit that we’re bringing it back again this year. Saturday is going to be all about the bikes, kicking off with a show and shine, some demo rides on our fleet of Triumphs, and a mystery ride in the aernoon to name a few of the events. But Saturday night is the big one so our Trumpy owners beer pack their best footy shorts, their oldest bluey, their favourite flanno and grow the best mullet because it’s a night of nights with Bogan Bingo.” Sunday’s activities include a short ride for a barbecue lunch send-off. Triumph owners and friends can buy tickets for $150 a head at www. triumphmotorcycles.com.au. For those fans of Triumph’s new range of adventure bikes, the National Off-Road RAT Rally will be five days of dirty fun organised for Triumph by experienced international tour company, Compass Expeditions. It starts in Broken Hill and heads out to the spectacular Flinders Ranges, finishing at Rawnsley Station. Register by clicking on their Facebook site: www.facebook.com/triumphratevents or see www.compassexpeditions.com.


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NEWS ■ The famous hands-on (or bums-on) demo that helped establish Draggin Jeans’s Kevlar protection

r This is a big deal for Draggin Jeans, says CEO Grant Mackintosh

KEVLAR NAME PROTECTED Do you really have Kevlar motorcycle gear? Just because your motorcycle jeans, jacket, gloves or helmet claim to contain Kevlar doesn’t necessarily mean it really is Kevlar. American chemical company DuPont invented the strong, lightweight synthetic fibre in 1965 and now many motorcycle products claim to contain Kevlar. However, DuPont has been issuing show-cause leers to these manufacturers to prove they are using Kevlar. So far, 180 products have been removed from the market for falsely claiming they include DuPont Kevlar. The only motorcycle jeans company in the world to pass all the stringent DuPont safety tests is Draggin Jeans of Australia. The Melbourne-based business is the first licensee to be approved to use the DuPont Kevlar Preferred Licensee logo. Sales manager Wil Cope says it means customers can be assured Draggin products contain Kevlar. “No one else has developed in the safety arena the way Draggin has,” he says. “We have developed our own lining, while most others just call up Pakistan, China or Bangladesh and ask for Kevlar, but they can’t guarantee what they are geing. Some of them just use yellow coon and some are actually flammable. Put a match to them and up they go. The customer just doesn’t 24 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

know what they are geing unless they have the DuPont logo on them.” Draggin Jeans, which started 17 years ago, has passed CE level 1 and 2 approval and was also the first motorcycle jeans manufacturer to pass strict DuPont criteria to aain any licence agreement. Now they have passed further testing to gain a “preferred licensee logo”, explains Draggin founder and CEO Grant Mackintosh. “This is a big deal for Draggin, motorcyclists and the wider motorcycling community,” he says. “We are concerned with the safety of motorcyclists and that is why we are proud to become an official licensee of DuPont Kevlar fibre for our motorcycle jeans.” Meanwhile, Wil says other manufacturers who claim to use Kevlar have or will receive leers from DuPont and will need to prove the products contain Kevlar. “A lot of them have had to remove Kevlar branding from their products,” he says. “They don’t have permission from DuPont to use that wording. Others might be using a Kevlar derivative, however they wouldn’t be using DuPont Kevlar. Others using Kevlar are using a different type so it doesn’t offer the same protection as DuPont Kevlar.” Grant says the licence with DuPont is an important part of their technical development and will “encourage us to keep improving rider safety, comfort and

r Kevlar is a carefully managed product of DuPont, which has been fighting rip-offs

r Kevlar’s chemical structure

freedom”. For example, Draggin’s Classic jeans have their protective lining in the major crash points. It features DuPont Kevlar fibre which has passed all the safety tests for CE Level 1, offering twoand-a-half times the abrasion resistance of the next best motorcycle jeans tested. Web: www.dragginjeans.net and www.dupont.com.

“Some jeans just use yellow cotton and some are actually flammable. Put a match to them and up they go”


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NEWS

TRADE BONANZA FOR RIDERS Free Trade Agreements could make bikes even more affordable

The Free Trade Agreement with Japan and, to a lesser extent, Korea, could be a bonanza for Australian motorcycle riders as prices of bikes, accessories and gear should come down. It should also lead to a motorcycle discount war as other manufacturers slash prices to stay competitive. Australia now has FTAs in place with Thailand, USA, Korea and Japan, but there is also talk of an agreement with China. Already Chinese manufacturer CFMoto has made huge inroads into our market with its bargain-priced quality bikes. Expect even cheaper prices to follow. Look at what has happened in the car industry. The biggest impact on car prices in Australia in the past few years has been the result of the FTA with Thailand. Almost all dual-cab utes and Honda cars sold in Australia are

now made in Thailand. The companies didn’t establish factories in Thailand just to service the Australian market. They were built there to take advantage of cheap labour and a well-regulated industry. However, the FTA just made them even more affordable for us. Despite some initial concern about quality, there have been no issues. Thai automotive factories are built on greenfield sites with the latest manufacturing technology, plus strict supervision and quality control. They are as good as, if not beer than, some of their parent factories. Motorcycle manufacturers have been a lile slower to take advantage of the rapidly developing South East Asian automotive industry, but even iconic British manufacturer Triumph has been making bikes in Thailand for a few years. It has allowed the company to keep its

TRANSFER BY MOTORCYCLE Hotels could soon be offering airport transfers via motorcycle, with one Phuket resort already offering the service. For 12,000 baht (about $400), the Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi Resort & Spa will have a HarleyDavidson Dyna Wide Glide waiting for you at the airport. The guided ride to the resort weaves through fishing villages, limestone rock formations, national parks and temples. But the highlight is a five-star organic picnic at a quiet beach. Food is supplied by a chef following the rider with produce from the resort’s organic farm. Riders can also continue to explore the winding roads and spectacular scenery in the Sam Roi Yot National Park near the resort.

26 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

prices down and stay competitive. And now Harley-Davidson is making its new Street family in India. It has not yet been confirmed if Australia will get the Street 500 from India or Kansas, but build quality should be identical. The most important thing is that prices will be cheap. With the added discounting impetus of FTAs with Korea, Japan and possibly China, it could lead to more companies seeking out cheaper manufacturing facilities in South East Asia to maintain their competitive edge. There has already been talk of BMW manufacturing outside of Berlin and Ducati must surely be tempted to make a similar move, especially since it is trying to make inroads into the Indian market. The future looks bright — and cheap — for Aussie riders!

BIKE THIEVES STUNG If you’ve had your motorcycle stolen, you’ve probably dreamed of catching the offender and inflicting all sorts of tortures for taking your pride and joy. Well, that’s exactly what happened in Bolivia when Amazonian villagers caught two teenagers who stole three motorcycles from their village. The villagers tied the two to a tree swarming with venomous ants — Pseudomyrmex triplarinus for the entomologists out there — for nearly three days until relatives paid $3700 in compensation. One of the thieves spent several days in intensive care while the other required dialysis for kidney failure. The ants’ venom has antiinflammatory properties and is used as a traditional cure for arthritis. We haven’t reached that stage of vigilantism in Australia yet and thankfully motorcycle theft is slowly decreasing. Your precious motorcycle was a little safer last year, with bike theft down 532 or -6 per cent to 8208. It’s still way too high and more than double the rate of car thefts as a proportion of owners, but at least we allow the police to deal with the thieves.


Roadrider A U S T R A L I A N

T H E

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R E A L

R I D E


THE THINGS YOU SEE

BIG SHOT

ANY OLDER ROAD THAT FOLLOWS A RIVER IS BOUND TO BE A BEAUTY. CUT INTO THE CONTOURS ABOVE THE WATERLINE, THEY WEAVE IN AND OUT OF THE GULLIES IN A RANDOM SERIES OF CORNERS THAT YOU WISH WOULD GO ON FOREVER. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST: THE RUN ALONG THE UPPER REACHES OF THE MURRAY RIVER, EAST OF WODONGA. PHOTO: MICK MATHESON

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 29


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On your itinerary, you will journey the real America, meeting the fair-dinkum folk that call the heartland of this amazing country home, eating in true American diners and staying in historic hotels and motels along the way. Beginning in one of the US’s premier cities, Chicago, you will venture across eight states (Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California), encountering numerous cultures and tackling all sorts of geography, from the magnificence of the Great Lakes, to the Corn Belt of Illinois, the rolling hills of the Ozarks, the mesmerizing Llano Estacado and the Painted Desert. You’ll be crossing the High Plains, climbing through Alpine regions, the Grand Canyon and dropping into the blistering Mojave Desert, before we reach the Land of Milk and Honey and topping it all off in the light-spangled Las Vegas. You will also visit iconic Route 66 sights such as the Wagon Wheel and Wigwam Motels (Pixars inspiration in the animated movie Cars), the 1929 Chain of Rocks Bridge, St Louis Gateway Arch, Devil’s Elbow Bridge, Gary’s Gay Parita gas station, 4 Women on the Route, 9-foot highway, the Blue Whale of Catoosa, 1933 Texaco Station, Big Texas Steak Ranch, Santa Fe, Cadillac Ranch, Jack Rabbit Trading Post, Apache Death Cave, Twin Arrows … and much, much more!

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THE ROOF OF AFRICA — LESOTHO Charley discovers an incredible mountain kingdom that has to go on your bucket list

CHARLEY BOORMAN n my TV show Extreme Frontiers South Africa, I aempted to ride my BMW GS Adventure up the Sani Pass in Lesotho. I failed. But it’s not about failure is it? That was what we said to KTM when they pulled out of Long Way Round in 2004 (yes, 10 years ago!). It’s about trying. Having a go and enjoying the experience. It was 2012 when we were filming in South Africa. It was one of my Extreme Frontiers shows, where we’d focus directly on a specific country instead of just skimming the surface of it as we rode across a continent. It was an aempt to get under the skin of a location. One of the highlights for me was a very special place, a former protectorate of the British Empire and now one of only a few monarchies le in Africa, Lesotho. It’s oen referred to as the Kingdom in the

I

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Mountains but the more extreme enduro types out there may know it as the Roof of Africa, famous for one of the most extreme motorcycle enduros in the world. I was aempting to ride up the Sani Pass, which was basically covered in ice. Our researchers said it couldn’t be done — hence the reason why I tried. Lesotho is an incredible place. It’s so different from South Africa, yet it’s in the middle of it. They have a king but he’s more of a head of state, as they have a democratically elected government. It’s an extreme place where you feel very isolated, surrounded by a vast and challenging landscape: craggy tracks heading to who knows where and some unforgiving deep canyons with the odd car or truck lying at the boom, their last resting place aer that big mistake. The people are poor but at the same time seem far happier than the average Joe on the streets in Europe. You’ll see many of the herdsmen on horseback looking prey cool and they’re really skilled riders. They reminded me of the guys on horses in Mongolia — totally at home on the beast and absolutely in control. We’re usually greeted with smiles and curiosity, kids generally looking for sweets or even money, and adults

wondering what the hell we’re doing coming to this place on these weird giant motorbikes, wearing strange clothes.

LESOTHO: THE KINGDOM IN THE MOUNTAINS Climate: Can snow in the highlands throughout the year. Cold, dry winters; hot summers. Peak rainfall is December to February. Elevation: The altitude varies from about 1550m in the lowlands to around 3000m in the mountains. Population: Just over 2 million. Government: Member of the Commonwealth, democracy with monarch. Size: Landlocked by South Africa. About 30,000km². Currency: The currency is the Loti, but the South African Rand is welcome. Language: Sotho and English. Religion: Mainly Christian. Visa requirements: Prey easygoing here, but as usual will depend on where you’re from so check on www.visahq.com.


BOORMAN ■ Possibly the most laid-back border crossing in the world

Don’t let this description come across as bleak — it’s not meant to be. If I was more poetic I’d like it to sound wondrous and magical, as that’s what I feel when I’m there. It’s totally doable on a motorbike and the choice of graded routes gives you all you’d ever want from such a classic adventure ride.

■ It’s a long way down. Charley’s GPS showed 3112m at one point

THE RIDE… I now lead a trip that starts in Johannesburg and heads to the Lesotho border on the first day of riding. As usual, we’re all on Beemers. The 650, 800 and the GS 1200 all have Mitas knobbly tyres, our tyre of choice for all our African trips. The bikes are without panniers as we have two support vehicles to carry luggage, spares and our paramedic, as well as a few passengers who don’t ride. This enables you to ride the bikes the way they were meant to be — not overloaded with tents, tools and kitchen sinks. Yes, I know it’s a luxury. We’ve discovered some awesome gravel tracks and tarmac workarounds, meaning they’re open to anyone who’s a competent bike rider; you don’t need to be an enduro or Dakar star to do this adventure. Entering Lesotho, we head up to the Katse Dam and the temperature drops as the character of the Lesotho kingdom surrounds you. We stay in a simple lodge that night with a big open fire — it’s bloody freezing. The high mountain areas can get snowfall right through the year and temperatures can drop to as low as -20°C. As we continue the next day, lammergeiers soar across the skies over the mountains. No, I’d never heard of them either. They’re massive vultures with wingspans of around three metres, which specialise in picking up bones and dropping them from a great height, smashing them into manageable chunks. We get to the so-called highest pub in Africa before starting our descent of Sami Pass. The tay lile Lesotho immigration

“The Lesotho section is a real highlight; calling it a ride of your life wouldn’t be an understatement” office is also there, but to be honest it’s just a desolate area — it looks like you could be on Mars. We follow the tradition and write our names on the walls and ceiling of the pub and have some hot grub and coffee before heading down into the abyss — the twisty, lumpy, gravel and rock track down to the South African border. Again there are steep drops to the le of the track — nice for some precarious photos — but it’s so steep that even stopping for a photo is a challenge. A gentle but steady pressure on that front brake keeps things in hand; there’s a lot of gravity pushing that 250-kilo GS downwards. Moving weight towards the rear helps. Then Billy flies past me accelerating! Here we go… boys will be boys. The next switch back has a drop that you’d need a parachute for and we’re both puing the bikes sideways to scrub off speed and hoping we end up pointing in the right direction. It’s a bit hairy, but we get around, only to be confronted with rocks like footballs along the next straight. But we’re all good. It’s a fantastic ride and we regroup at the border back into South Africa, where tales of whoa and near misses are rife.

■ It’s grand to see these mountain horsemen ride

I think that for many in the group, the Lesotho section is a real highlight — calling it a ride of your life wouldn’t be an understatement. But remember, the final destination for this trip is Cape Town, along the famous Garden Route with all sorts of action ahead, including diving with sharks, whale watching and abseiling from the top of Table Mountain. We’ve all made friends, some for life, and we’ve seen another part of the world that fills you with wonder and makes you humble. Keep the rubber side down… ARR

r You’ll get an idea of the conditions Charley faced in the YouTube video at http://youtu.be/p-nTHkSsrz4

■ This may be why Billy was so quick heading down the pass

GENERAL LINKS The Roof of Africa Enduro — www.roofofafrica.org.ls Extreme Frontiers South Africa — www.extremefrontiers.co.uk Tracks 4 Africa maps — www.tracks4africa.co.za Johannesburg, Lesotho to Cape Town trip — www.motoaventures.com

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 33


SEDDO

HOW’S THE SERENITY? Seddo rediscovers a sense of presence travelling at the speed of 1973 GEOFF SEDDON ife moves fast as we age, so all the beer to slow down and savour what’s le. I put the theory to the test on a recent trip with my mate Tiger, who not coincidentally rides a 1973 Triumph of the same model name. Tig is a car buddy and certified hipster whose tastes range from early Holden customs to hardcore rockabilly. The Triumph is his first motorbike, purchased six years ago for five grand. Itಬs hardly flash but made for cruising the cool streets of inner-city Sydney. In regular use, he says itಬs more reliable than any of his cars despite leaking oil like the Exxon Valdez. But this weekend was different. Tigerಬs longest trip to date had been 100km to Wollongong. Our first day would see us travel 550km on a mixture of highways and back roads. The plan was then to get drunk with some other motorcycling mates before going our separate ways the next day; me back to where Iಬd come from and Tiger continuing on to his new life in Melbourne. The first trick to owning an old Pommy bike is to not buy one not going. The second is to ride it every week. So we knew Tigerಬs Tiger would go the distance. Of more concern was the pace. I remember my Commandos as being more powerful than a single-carb 750 Triumph and good for around 60mph all day. Tig reckoned his was good for 110km/h, but the aermarket speedo was

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wildly inaccurate and the real number lay somewhere between 90 and 100. I was glad I wasnಬt on my Ducati. The test Fat Bob was as oen in fih as sixth but otherwise perfectly content to act as wingman. Without the wind blast, I was as comfortable as dry socks. We spent the next 300km being overtaken by B-doubles and horse floats, much of it in light rain. The old vintage bike and the

“Tooling along in top, bouncing off the divots, enveloped in the glorious mechanical soundtrack of a Triumph at work” custom Harley were given a wide berth and it was a relaxed, stress-free run. We were in no hurry, allowing plenty of time to stop and chat and eat along the way. I donಬt think there was a single time when the Trumpy didnಬt aract aention from others. How old is it? How long have you owned it? Harleyಬs $26,000 style statement was invisible in its company. We le the Hume at Gundagai for Tumut, Tumbarumba and further points south. It was wet and bumpy so we dropped the pace to between 80 and 90km/h on sections where Iಬve seen 160 in the past. Tigerಬs dunger was in its element. This is motorcycling as it was in the 60s

and 70s before things got fast. Tooling along in top, bouncing off the divots, enveloped in the glorious mechanical soundtrack of a Triumph at work. The sun came out and the sense of presence was overwhelming, to li a phrase from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. With speed eliminated, the focus switched from the road to everything else. We glided through magnificent green valleys under a big sky, subdued by the grandeur of it all but with our senses charged. The tarmac whizzed by five inches below our feet. Despite taking a couple of hours longer, I arrived at our digs in beer shape than normal and ready to party. Iಬm usually shagged aer a long ride, but not this time. No aches, no ringing ears. It was a big day for Tiger and his 40-yearold bike, and neither missed a beat. No prizes for guessing who had the coolest bike in the car park. The spell was broken next morning when Tiger headed south, on his lonesome, at his own pace. I returned north with some other faster buddies. Despite most of us riding cruisers and tourers, it was on from the first corner and I found myself going quicker than I wanted. We paused for breakfast, then for fuel, the speed picking up at each stop. Not long aer, I pulled the pin and backed off to 1973. The pack disappeared within a couple of corners and I was once again cruising an empty road at a lazy 90 klicks. Howಬs the serenity? ARR AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 35


zoe

MOTORCYCLE DIARIES ZOE NAYLOR

hhhh. You know those mornings? You wake up to start the day and everything seems to be awry. Your alarm doesn’t go off, the toast gets burnt, the baby won’t sele, kids can’t find their school socks, hubby can’t find his shirt, the coffee goes cold, and you feel like you’re being flung around in the rotor ride at the Royal Easter Show. Stop! Take a breath, big sigh, right! What to do? When everything seems at a tipping point, I have always found relief in jumping on my bike and taking a quick ride — even if it’s just to head up to the local shops to grab a carton of milk, taking all of 10 minutes. In fact, now my partner oen kindly shoves the helmet in my hands and sends me on my merry way just to help me regroup. Bless! Having recently returned the Ducati, I was worried how I was going to manage without a motorcycle. Thankfully, my new mode of transport was not far away. On receiving the news I was going to be given a new bike to trial, I suddenly found myself with an extra spring in my step en route to hanging up the fourth load of washing for the day. God forbid! Jonathan Agius from Honda Motorcycles in Sydney arrived like a knight in shining armour. As soon as I saw his red van bumping down the road, I felt like the Easter Bunny was arriving for a sneaky visit during Lent. Out of the van he rolled this lovely, black motorcycle. I was told it was called a Honda CB500X and my first impression was great. I had always loved the lines of Ducati motorcycles and wasn’t really sure other brands would match their taste in design, but the Honda CB500X was certainly a good start. I was also informed these bikes retail for around $8000. I was floored and instantly felt compelled to take it for a turn.

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Escaping the rotor ride on the new Honda CB500X The first thing that struck me was the riding position. It’s a lot more upright than the Ducati, but I actually didn’t mind that at all. It kind of felt like taking an easy armchair for a cruise down the open road. It didn’t, however, have the solid feeling of being supported by a Ducati engine. This one felt a lile tinny to me. I wanted to understand why that is and was told its parallel-twin engine design is a contributing factor. The Ducati, on the other hand, has a V-twin engine design that is totally different. I wish I could say this made sense to me, but sadly the technical jargon just went over my head. In my desperate aempt to understand a lile more, I contacted Honda directly. For the ultimate mechanical beginner (like me) we had to start at the beginning. I learned that the X aer the 500 in the name denotes it being a cross tourer — Road/Off Road (I

didn’t get a chance to try that out on the CB500X). An R aer the CCs generally denotes a sports bike, for example CBR500R. An F aer the CCs stands for so — so riding position, that is, slightly upright, such as the CBR600F. (Apologies to those for whom this information is second nature.) The CBR abbreviation on a Honda motorcycle relates to the bike having an in-line four cylinder. Whhaaat? Okay, on second thoughts I think I’ll just dedicate my next column to the technical appreciation of motorbikes. What I can tell you about this experience, however, is when you’re looking at bikes for this price, you can’t have it all. The CB500X has certainly found its place in the market, having recently been touted as the “bargain motorcycle of our age”. Whether as an entry-level bike or as an easy runabout, this bike is definitely worth a test drive. Thank you, Honda! ARR

r Honda’s Jonathan Agius delivers the CB500X

“When everything seems at a tipping point, I have always found relief in jumping on my bike and taking a quick ride” AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 37


GREGOR

FEAR AND SLOTHING GREG REYNOLDS

broke one of my golden rules the other day and went riding on a double points long weekend. Usually I avoid them like the plague for obvious reasons, but I was only cruising so I thought it would be fine. The things I witnessed on the road amazed, frustrated and disappointed me on so many levels. I live in the mountains around Sydney so when the city empties out on the long weekend, quite a bit of traffic heads this way. A good percentage of the city drivers are out of their element and either lack the skills or can’t adapt to the mountain roads. They either reach the limit of their ability or lose confidence and slow right down. Others lose concentration or use the phone, and do erratic or unexpected things. There was plenty of that going on when I hit the road, but it happens to a lesser degree on other weekends, so I was prepared for it. What I wasn’t prepared for was the effect of what must have been a very convincing anti-speeding ad campaign. The fear in my fellow motorists was obvious. Some of them may have been just incapable or inexperienced drivers, but virtually everyone else seemed so terrified of the double points that they created a hazard by driving ridiculously slowly. This resulted in congestion and long, slow lines of traffic, even on the open road. I saw several near accidents as people got frustrated and tried some sketchy overtaking manoeuvres. They then had to bully their way back into the line, oen creating havoc behind them. Never before have I seen so many drivers on the road that I would call erratically conservative. You could almost smell their fear as they puddled along 10-15km/h below the speed limit, constantly checking their mirrors and

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Double demerits mean double the dimwits over-reacting to every situation. One such character nearly brought me undone when he braked dramatically upon seeing the heavy vehicle average speed camera on the highway near Bathurst. First, he wasn’t in a truck, and second, we hadn’t been over 100km/h for the last 50km. That didn’t stop him panic braking and nearly wearing the Victory up his tailpipe! Another time I was in a line doing just over 50km/h in a 60 zone. As one of the cars saw a speed camera he braked suddenly. This set off a chain reaction as

“You could almost smell their fear as they puddled along 10-15km/h below the speed limit, constantly checking their mirrors and over-reacting to every situation” everyone braked to avoid the car in front. There was no impact, but I was about 15 vehicles back and I had to slow to a stop as the concertina effect reached me. The conservatism and ineptitude didn’t stop there and I saw several vehicles slow to 40km/h in school zones despite the long weekend. Perhaps the most comical examples were the open-road overtaking lanes. Invariably the le lane would speed up to 100km/h, then those in the overtaking lane would sit there like drones doing the same speed. On one 5km-long two-lane section, I sat in the right lane waiting to pass, but in 5km only one car got past. Talk about mass paranoia!

Now don’t get me wrong. I know from personal experience the value of having a licence and the misery that can result when it is taken away due to double demerits. I also understand the value of having everyone drive safely and obey the speed limit during peak traffic periods. What I don’t understand is people’s over-reaction, especially speedwise, to the double points threat. Anyone would think they were giving points back for travelling 10-20km/h below the limit. The roads all run at their most efficient when the traffic travels at around the speed limit. The double points threat is meant to slow down the speeders, not to slow traffic flow and exacerbate the situation. Driving super-slow might sound ultra-safe, but from what I saw it created more problems than it solved. As far as speed goes, most vehicles’ speedos read around five per cent optimistic. That means that in a 100km/h zone, at an indicated 100km/h, you have 5km/h up your sleeve before you even reach the speed limit. There is also usually a good five per cent latitude from the cops and speed cameras so indicating the speed limit is actually quite conservative. Those fearful souls who sit on an indicated 85 or 90km/h have about 20km/h of wriggle room before the law would look twice at them. Perhaps I am reacting to my ride taking 40 per cent longer than normal and turning into one of the most draining 400km rides I have done. Maybe I am just disappointed in my fellow motorists for giving in to “the fear” and driving as though Big Brother was looking over their shoulder every moment. Either way, I will be staying off the road and out of the conservative craziness of the next double points period. RR AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 39


INCREASE SPEED LIMITS ARR reader Matthew Toby explains why lowering speed limits won’t reduce road accidents read with interest the article about speed limits, but came to slightly different conclusions to Peter Donnelly in his leer. Bill McKinnon’s article raised some valid points and I do not agree with quite a few of the issues raised in criticism of his article. I question the notion that there is naivety involved in raising some speed limits. It seems like everywhere you go lately, the limit has been lowered, presumably because someone in authority believes this will lower the road toll. It seems simple — crashes occur therefore we must slow vehicles down by lowering the speed limit. There are several problems with this approach, the first being that very few crashes are ever caused by speed alone (six to eight per cent in a government study from the UK).

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Many factors such as driver fatigue, road alignment, gravel on bends etc contribute to crashes and these cannot be eliminated by merely changing the numerals on roadside signage. Additionally, where is the evidence that lowering the limit actually works? Perversely, there is evidence that the opposite can occur. Case 1: Northern Territory introduces a speed limit on previously unrestricted highways. Result? Road toll increases in the first two years and has now been reversed following a review. Case 2: A freeway in Italy which has a 100km/h limit is raised to 120km/h. Result? Carnage on a massive scale? No, the road toll drops! While these two cases are anecdotal evidence only, they highlight the

fallacy that it is necessarily the case that the higher the limit, the more likely you are to perish. The truth is far more complex and we deserve a thorough analysis of the questions involved by those we elect to lead us. I take particular umbrage at the assertion that if you raise a limit, people will immediately drive faster than they are capable of and therefore raise the road toll. Humans and most other animals (possibly not lemmings) have a self-preservation instinct. If you sense danger, you alter your behaviour to reduce the perceived risk. In the case of driving/riding, if you sense that your speed is too high for the road and the conditions, you slow down. Another weakness in the argument is the assertion that the road toll has been


PHOTO: ONEINCHPUNCH/SHUTTERSTOCK

opinion

falling since the ‘70s solely due to road safety campaigns. Where is the research that substantiates this? The road toll has fallen due to multiple factors, the main ones being road and vehicle improvements, not arbitrary limits placed on signs. Genuine research tells us that freeways are inherently safer than two-lane highways, despite the higher speeds. Vehicle technology, too, has changed massively during this time period, with brakes that work, tyres that grip and a multitude of secondary safety improvements like airbags, ABS, crumple zones and side intrusion bars that help those who do crash. If road safety campaigns were the silver bullet, Victoria would surely be the state with the fastest falling road toll. Aer all, they have all manner of draconian initiatives in place, including speed cameras hidden in fake rocks, up trees and in roadside bins, with a

tolerance that will result in a fine for 1 or 2km/h over the magical limit. Are they leading the way? No, again. Peter would have us all being “protected” by our nanny-state big brother by legislating for the lowest common denominator. He is right in saying some people are not capable of deciding how to drive appropriately for the conditions, but this remains true no maer what the speed limit as the conditions dictate what speed is safe at any particular time. Travelling at the speed limit is not a guarantee you will be safe — it never has been; it was supposed to be the maximum safe speed in good conditions during daylight hours. Reducing speed limits just because some less-capable individual crashes does not guarantee a safety improvement for everyone else who uses that road. A prime case in point is a local road which now has a 50km/h limit despite being a major connecting road between suburbs. This road saw a major crash where the poor judgement of a red P plater meant two people tragically lost their lives. His vehicle was travelling at more than double the 60km/h limit. The fact that this person crashed was in no way due to the existing 60km/h limit being too high for the road. It was solely due to the thoughtless actions of one person. The Old Pacific Highway between Brooklyn and Somersby, NSW, now has a 60km/h limit and is labelled as a “scenic road”. This road is one I have been safely riding, driving and cycling on for almost 40 years and it used to have an 80km/h limit, despite being in poorer condition and with higher traffic volumes than today. Motorcyclists who overestimate their ability regularly crash on this road and you could be forgiven for thinking this offers some justification for those who blame high speed for the problem. Are these bikes crashing at the limit of 60? Were they previously crashing at 80? The answer in both cases is no. The sign says 60 but they crash at way more than that. Having a reduced limit doesn’t slow these people down, it just makes criminals of the rest of us who ride the road at a safe and reasonable speed. Ultimately, the person behind the wheel (or bars) is the one who decides

how fast is appropriate for any given situation. The fact that some of us are beer at this than others will always be the case, no maer what speed limit is chosen. People tend to drive at a speed they think is appropriate for the road. If you have a wide, smooth road with good visibility and a low limit is in place, the perception is that it is safe to go faster and that the limit is too low. The argument that everyone will drive at the posted limit because the sign says they can is also a rather tenuous one. If some vandals changed all the signs on the length of the Pacific Highway overnight to read 200, would everyone who drove that road die the next day? I note that Peter is a paramedic and sees first-hand what happens when people get things wrong on the road. I can only imagine how difficult a job this is and I am not surprised that he leans towards the opinions he has expressed. However, it is his job to assist the patients, not assess what caused the crash in the first place. He claims that the push for a higher limit is from a minority — this is also unsubstantiated. Even if it is true, the reason wouldn’t be too hard to identify aer the population has been fed the simplistic “Speed Kills” from governments and the media for decades now. I am amazed that we never hear about the results of improved roads in discussions about the road toll. One case is the bypass south of Coffs Harbour that removed a notorious section of the Pacific Highway through Bonville. Every holiday period we used to hear of deaths on that section of road, which was a shocker. There are now divided, realigned dual lanes and I suspect fantastic reductions in deaths and injuries, but we hear nothing. Fixing roads like this does work, but governments seem strangely silent about promoting the benefits of the expense. They seem to prefer to tell us that we will all perish if we exceed that number on the sign. Our major highways have been designed for higher speeds. The vehicles we now have are designed for higher speeds. Other countries allow higher speeds and do not have a problem as a result. If we were to give it a try, the outcome might not be what you expect. ARR

“A reduced limit doesn’t slow these people down, it just makes criminals of the rest of us” AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 41


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BMW R1200RT

A HIGHER

LEVEL ►

BMW’s all-new twin-cylinder tourer lifts the bar again

STORY: MICK MATHESON PHOTOS: JEFF CROW/BMW hat sort of husband doesn’t look aer his wife’s comfort? What kind of bloke fails to think of his woman’s needs while he’s all set? What type of slacker kits himself out in the best riding gear around yet won’t sort out a basic set of nylon waterproofs for this favourite pillion? What manner of selfish bastard would chuck his missus on the back of a bike in the rain without wet weather gear? Me. And the only thing that saved me was the extraordinarily effective fairing on BMW’s new R1200RT. Rain set in over drought-stricken Victoria as Anne and I lobbed into Melbourne. We were late, there was no time to shop and Anne spent the whole morning on the back on the RT wearing jeans and her Motodry summer jacket, which at least was equipped with a waterproof liner. When we eventually came to a bike shop, she got off dry. I got off lightly. BMW has been renowned for its excellent fairings since the 1970s. In the 1990s I thought my K100RT was a lesson in perfection, but BMW’s fairings kept geing beer and this R1200RT is proof that they haven’t yet found a ceiling for aerodynamic

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development. Not just aerodynamic development either, because this model takes twin-cylinder touring to a higher level than we’ve ever gone before. The latest motorcycle to run with BMW’s water-cooled boxer engine, the RT is quicker, smoother and, well, beer everywhere than its air-cooled predecessor. If you ran out now and traded in your older R1200RT for this one, you’d ride away sure that you’d moved up in the world. It’s not just the extra performance of the completely revised motor, nor the improved aerodynamics, but the features, the sophistication and the beer bang for your buck. The fairing was the first thing about the RT that made a significant impact on me, but I quickly discovered myriad reasons beneath the bike’s skin that explain why it’s now beer at everything. The RT has smooth and mellow manners rooted deep inside the engine, which is, for want of a beer word, the crankiest of all the new boxers. Or rather, it has the heaviest cranksha of the range. As such, it carries more inertia, translating to a motor that’s certainly not cranky… The GS Adventure’s cranksha was beefed up to be 900g heavier than the plain GS’s, and now the RT comes along with a cranksha/alternator combo weighing a hey 1500g more than ►

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■ Distractions: if the scenery doesn’t get you, the sound system will entertain you instead

the GS’s. That extra flywheel effect takes the edge off throle changes and gives the engine a more loping, relaxed feel. Along with slightly taller final gearing and the nice balance of the boxer twin, you get an ideal touring engine, which proves itself by offering 100Nm of gruntiness from a pooeenth over 2000rpm, peaking at 125Nm at 6500rpm and dropping off to a still-worthy 108Nm or so at redline. The power curve is a nearly ideal straight line from below 2000rpm till it flaens near its maximum of 92kW at 7750rpm. I found it incredibly easy to ride smoothly while two-up in the rain, thanks to those characteristics. It helped that I’d also selected the Rain riding mode from the three that are standard in the RT. The other modes are Road and Dynamic, each stepping up the speed of throle response and degree of interruption from the traction control system. They’ll also set the suspension calibration to suit, but you can then alter this in a few seconds. The engine pulls well from below 3000rpm in the higher gears, and is fast and fun from 3500rpm up with exciting 44 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

acceleration and response. In spite of the taller gearing it still feels slightly busy at around 110km/h, but I think that’s just the horizontally opposed engine at work and, in the end, I reckon this is the smoothest boxer BMW has ever built.

“Quickshift Pro seems an odd choice for a tourer, eh? After a while, you really appreciate it” Vibes do increase with revs, but I never felt the need to rev it hard because the midrange is fabulous. Top-gear response is great down to about 80km/h, so you can leave the bike in sixth and cruise. Not that shiing is a chore. You get a standard quickshier with the RT — the up-spec Pro version which handles upand down-changes. Seems an odd choice for a tourer, eh? Aer a while, you really appreciate it. Forget the clutch and throle, just boot the gearlever and let the shier

do its job. I guarantee that in the right circumstances it’ll make your pillion think you’re even smoother than you really are. It takes a while to work out when to use it and when to do the work yourself for best results, but soon you’ll be enjoying the speed and ease of the gear changes. Work the throle and tap the shier on a winding road, especially in Dynamic mode, and the thrills are there. The RT gets up and goes. There’s ample performance to get this 274kg beast running hard. The handling fits the bill too. The RT is prey light on its feet. It gives the impression of holding its weight quite centralised for a big tourer. With the generous turning circle, I had no hassles doing feet-up U-turns on narrow roads, two-up. The chassis, which is similar to the GS’s, is quite rigid. The suspension is a semi-active system, dramatically reducing the conflict between comfort and performance that’s inherent to standard systems because the damping is constantly, super-quickly adjusting to changes in the road surface. The RT handles best when you set the damping to Hard via the electronic suspension adjustment (ESA) system, when the bike becomes a taut and


BMW R1200RT sporty machine, but you’d mostly leave it in Normal mode for touring duties. The So mode is noticeably more plush, a good thing if you’re riding slowly and want the comfort, but it takes away from the 1200’s good handling in corners. The steering is light and intuitive so the RT can be nimble and quick to turn. The Telelever’s design doesn’t let the brakes fight your steering inputs if you try to do both at once and the bike’s steering geometry isn’t so conservative that it’s slow. Most of my riding was on wet roads with Anne on the back and not once did the RT cause me any grief on roads like the Reeon Spur. I could confidently put it on the line I wanted and know it’d hold it. The overall stability of the chassis then adds more confidence at the other end of the scale. Strong brakes with lots of feel increase it further, as does the safety

of a well-calibrated ABS system, which doesn’t alter its seings for the different riding modes. My test bike had Metzeler Roadtec tyres and I couldn’t have expected beer from them. When they did reach their limits of traction in the wet, the ABS would flicker once or twice before grip returned, or the ASC traction control would very subtly take control of the drive and put everything right. In Rain mode, when the ASC is at its most sensitive, it happened so early I barely twigged that there was anything amiss. The RT doesn’t give the impression of being a big bike when it’s between your legs and you have the screen down. The tank is narrow and there’s nothing bulky in front of your eyes. I got on well with the riding position, which felt just right for my 183cm as long as I had the standard seat on its high seing. From there, the very smooth wind ►

“The RT gets up and goes. The handling fits the bill, too. The RT is prey light on its feet”

r The R1200RT comes in three sober colours

BEEMER WITH THE LOT We normally detail the options you’re virtually obliged to buy when you get your new BMW, all for a few grand more than the base price. However, the RT comes complete with every option bar the higher or lower seats. The base price includes all sorts of stuff, making the R1200RT a seriously well-equipped tourer. Just to be sure I haven’t missed anything in the main part of this test, here’s the list: • Panniers • Cruise control • ASC and Riding Mode Pro • Dynamic ESA • Gear Shift Assistant Pro quickshifter • Hill start control • Audio system with Bluetooth • Daytime running light • LED headlights • Mounts and wiring for GPS • Heated seats • Heated grips • Central locking • Tyre Pressure Monitoring • Alarm • Two 12V outlets The low seat option gives you adjustability between 760mm and 780mm, while the high option alters from 830mm to 850mm. There is, of course, a massive catalogue of BMW accessories you can add to your RT.

r Anne stayed dry on the back wearing jeans in these conditions. Impressive!

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QUICKSPECS

■ The big tourer is quite frisky on a winding road — lots of fun

blast would hit me hard but consistently in the chest when the screen was down, but a touch of the buon would bring the screen up to full height to create a very pleasant and protected cockpit for me. Impressively, Anne liked it too; on many bikes the position that’s good for the rider is hard on the pillion, but not this time. Leg room, handlebar height, screen effect and so on will vary greatly depending upon your stature and the seat height you use, so I can’t make too many valid comments. I can tell you the seat is hard, a common complaint about BMW’s perches, but the fact that you can also adjust its angle may add some relief over long days.

Anne liked the pillion seat, had heaps of leg room and was even happier when we tried a top box and its integral backrest. The grab handles are excellent and the fact that she, like me, had a heated seat with two levels of warmth was the cream on the cake. A couple could cover big distances on the R1200RT and marital bliss would never be threatened. As the rider you get heated grips, something made nicer thanks to the fairing’s protection for your hands. Another neat trick is the adjustability in the dash, which can be tilted to look you in the eye. What will they think of next? The screen tucked in with the speedo and tacho meters is an elegant TFT colour display that’s very well laid out, bringing

Model: BMW R1200RT Price: $29,990 (plus on-road charges) Colours: Quartz Blue metallic with Dark Slate metallic ma; Callisto Grey metallic ma with Dark Slate metallic ma; Ebony metallic with Monolith metallic ma Warranty: 2 years, unlimited distance, Roadside Assist Servicing intervals: 10,000km Engine: Liquid-cooled 180° twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder. Ride-bywire. Variable mapping and TC Bore x stroke: 101 x 73mm Displacement: 1170cc Compression: 12.5:1 Power: 92kW @ 7750rpm Torque: 125Nm @ 6500rpm Transmission: 6-speed, wet multi-plate clutch, sha final drive. Quickshier Frame: Tubular steel bridge Suspension: Front, Telelever with single shock, 120mm travel. Rear, Paralever with single shock, 136mm travel. ESA Dimensions: Seat height 805/825mm, weight 274kg (wet), load capacity 221kg, fuel capacity 25L, wheelbase 1485mm, rake 26.4º, trail 116mm Tyres: Front, 120/70ZR17. Rear, 180/55ZR17. TPMS Brakes: Front, 305mm twin discs with 4-piston calipers. Rear, 276mm single disc. ABS, hill-start Fuel consumption: 5.3L/100km Theoretical range: 470km Verdict: Two-up, twin-cylinder touring at its absolute best

“It goes plenty fast enough thanks to the raunchiness of the water-cooled powerplant, with the bonus of the lovely note”

■ Great handling gives you confidence in the RT in any conditions

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BMW R1200RT

r The rack is big and useful and the back seat expands your luggage space when solo

r Rider and passenger get heated seats

“It is the crankiest of all the new boxers. Or rather, it has the heaviest cranksha of the range” r Fans to help keep the partially water-cooled engine running well are hidden in the bodywork

r There’s no mistaking the boxer engine, which retains plenty of charm

r Dash is excellent. The bike is ready for a GPS but the unit costs extra

r Everything here has a purpose and it’s logically laid out so easy to use

additional class to the BMW. The full-spec onboard computer tells you a huge amount of info, with your pre-selected preferences shown all the time and the rest waiting for you to scroll through to them. There’s everything from the usual trip meters through fuel consumption and range to things like tyre pressures, oil level and how far you’ve got till your next service. Fuel range, by the way, is terrific. On this rather wet test I averaged 5.3L/100km and the extra litre in the 2014 model’s tank brings capacity up to 25L. That’d take me 471km, but I saw a best of 4.8L/100km which would crack the 500km mark. The dashboard also shows you what’s going on with the sound system, which can be connected to an iPod, MP3 player or USB stick if you don’t want to listen to the radio. There’s a special pocket in the fairing for the device. Radio reception was average and the system’s volume adequate for the rider, but your pillion will be disappointed. Better to use Bluetooth-connected headsets, methinks. The Multi-Controller, a wheel on the left handlebar, looks after a lot of the stereo’s functions, while four buttons (instead of eight, as before) cover the other remaining functions. It’s a cinch to use. I didn’t get a chance to test the RT’s LED headlights, but I did see its

automatic sensor switching from the daytime running light to low beam when darkness approached. The RT has standard cruise control, which works smoothly and stays within a small range either side of the speed you set it, and the fact the screen remembers where you had it ►

HILL START CONTROL The new hill-start control (HSC) is a system which, when you give the brakes an extra squeeze after stopping, locks the rear brake to hold the bike in position. You can release your grip on the brakes and the BMW won’t roll backwards down a hill, but once you release the clutch to pull away, the brake comes off and away you go. A few times I inadvertently activated it and then stalled when trying to get going because I didn’t rev the bike hard enough to get past the initial resistance of the brake. However, I think you’d get used to little quirks like this in time. Even for someone tall, confident and strong enough to think I’d never need HSC, I can think of times I’d use it. For some other riders, caught in a tight pinch on a hill, HSC would certainly be a good thing.

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BMW R1200RT ■ This is certainly a bike you can do long rides on

set aer it returns to the low position when you turn off the RT; when you restart, it comes up again. You can hear the exhaust humming away beneath you on the highway, and more so when you’re riding harder so that purposeful boxer drone always adds music to the ride. With the screen up, the wind noise is subdued to the point where ear plugs aren’t necessarily required, though I’d still use them. The central locking system for the panniers, storage compartment, audio compartment and accessory topbox is one of those brilliantly simple things that you wouldn’t think about if it wasn’t offered, but you won’t want to live without it once you have it. The luggage system offers lots of space in the panniers and a good-sized rack, which, if you’re travelling solo, becomes a vast space once you extend your gear onto the pillion seat. If I were doing plenty of two-up touring, I’d add the top

r LED headlights are part of the Aussie RT package

box, giving you another 49L of space (or 28 if you opt for the smaller one). With that, the R1200RT becomes the complete two-up tourer. Anne’s comfort on the back was as good as you’ll get on

“A couple could cover big distances on the R1200RT and marital bliss would never be threatened” a motorcycle without moving to the fullon luxo-barges, bikes that don’t come up to scratch with the dynamic integrity or fun of the R1200RT. Only the K1600 series is really in the same league, which is fine if you can afford their added features and six-cylinder silkiness. The sixes were

r These four buttons complement handlebar controls for the audio system

actually a long way ahead of the older R1200RT but now the gap has closed. Personally, being a bloke who likes the vibes and feel of a twin, I’d have no hesitation in going for the R-Series tourer. Aer all, it goes plenty fast enough thanks to the raunchiness of the water-cooled powerplant, with the bonus of the lovely note and added smoothness that hasn’t evicted the character of the boxer twin. The chassis manages to have the same blend of sportiness and civility, making this a bike that’ll satisfy your urge for speed as well as your desire to show your pillion a good time. It has a full complement of features and electronic modes and the whole shebang works exceptionally well. Besides, if it can turn my complete neglect of Anne’s comfort on a wet and cold day into a ride she enjoyed with a smile on her face and a warm, dry bum, it must be a great bike. I think I owe BMW’s aerodynamic engineers a beer. ARR

r Panniers have generous space thanks to a low exhaust that doesn’t cut into one of them

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POWER Benelli’s mid-priced adventure bike is just so much damned fun you want to forgive the quirks

STORY: JUSTIN LAW PHOTOS: STUART GRANT gainst the latest bigbore adventure bikes, it’s immediately obvious the Benelli Tre K 1130 is a different beast. Instead of going down the path of electronically controlled engine performance and traction, the famous Italian brand has stuck with the racebred equipment that has earned the brand a reputation as a wonderful tarmac experience.

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We’re talking Marzocchi 50mm upsidedown forks and fully adjustable Sachs shock suspending the bike over 17in alloy wheels clamped by four-pot Brembos on the ends of braided lines. Hardly the stuff of Outback trekkers, but more an effort to get something into the fast-growing market segment dominated by cheap and easy bikes such as Suzuki’s V-Strom and Kawasaki’s KLR650. At the other end of that market, the rest of the Italians have taken on the Germans in the electrickery stakes

(Ducati Multistrada, Aprilia Caponord and to a lesser degree the Moto Guzzi Stelvio) with price tags to match. Benelli has instead used the cost effectiveness of its new Chinese partnership to offer some European exotica somewhere in the middle of the price list. It can be assumed that avoiding the latest in advanced traction control, electronic suspension adjustment and engine mapping was an effort to keep costs down, but has that penalised the bike in this market?


BENELLI TRE K

PLAY

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“The Tre K’s bitumen credentials were firmly established, with the handling package making the whole experience just such damned fun”

■ You feel like you’re sitting up on the Benelli, rather than in behind its bodywork

Aer the usual run down from Sydney to the Far South Coast and a dirt hill climb to test its off-road pretensions, I would say not. There is no question this bike is designed to spend more of its life on bitumen, but on the dirt it behaved beyond my expectations, so with that in mind I would say it hits its design brief of casual off-roader. Consider, also, the equipment on the bike, which goes a long way to justify the cost over the other bikes devoid of gadgetry below it on the price list — you get all that for less than 20 grand. But most of all you get something a lile out of the norm, a statement in individuality, and that’s what will aract buyers. Another araction would be the brand’s successful aempt at making an ungainly adventure bike, with its long forks and high handlebars, look half decent. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a beautiful bike, but the trellis frame and swingarm with its concentric chain adjuster give the Tre K a good starting point. The sharp and aggressive nose styling is accentuated by the swept-back threeposition adjustable screen, while the 52 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

plastic shrouding around the flat-top tank also works to guide air into the 53mm throle bodies. The seat has been beautifully stitched and is nicely sculpted, with the solid handrails at the back also providing handy tie-down points if you don’t have the optional topbox. Take off the spacious Givi panniers and the rear end is neat and minimal thanks to the copper-coloured three-into-one exhaust exiting from a single muffler under the seat (not sure about the, er,

flaccid appendage poking out the end). That muffler treatment is a sportsbike thing and there are other clues that this bike is in the “mostly road” segment. The screen won’t do much against the elements, while the indicators are integrated into the mirrors where they’re vulnerable to minor spills (part and parcel of adventure riding). The bash plate is more for appearance and the tyres aren’t designed to provide traction on a muddy road. Nothing wrong with all that as the Tre K is not something a serious adventurer would genuinely consider. The Amazonas, with its 19in front wheel and fully adjustable forks, is a beer option, but only just. Instead, this is more a daytrip option, shooting off to a country bed and breakfast where there might be an unsealed road to negotiate. It wouldn’t want to be too far away either as that aractive seat, which is fine for travelling medium distances, is narrow and lacks the comfort of some of its competitors. Similarly, the pillion perch won’t aract those who are looking to circle the globe on the back of a bike. I picked up the Tre K in Sydney where my immediate impression was that I was riding a streetfighter or nakedbike. Other adventure bikes give you the sensation

■ Seventeen-inch wheels brand this as a tarmac bike but it’s very good on gravel roads


BENELLI TRE K ■ As all-roaders go, the Benelli looks sleek and sporty

r Givi panniers are spacious and their boxy shape is easy to pack

r Single muffler is hidden up high, minimising the size of the tail end

r Unusually, the engine temperature gauge takes second place only to the tacho

r Benelli’s triple is a raunchy thing and a big part of the appeal

r Eccentric chain adjuster and coppery swingarm add more sportiness to the look

“If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best — and the Benelli’s best starts when you fire up that glorious triple of siing “in” them, peeking over the top of the high screen with hands high, while it’s more a feeling of siing “on” the Benelli. You still get an upright seating position, but there’s no denying the street bike feel. The seat height is tall at 850mm, as you’d expect from an adventure bike. The dash is rudimentary, with an analogue tacho and temp gauge, and the digital speedo nestled in with them. Without the owners’ manual, finding and reseing the trip meter was an exercise in frustration. Once the bike is running it’s operated with the starter buon, which you press repeatedly or hold in for varying lengths of time to access and reset the lap timer, trip meter and clock. And while on frustrations, it’s tricky to select neutral on the otherwise excellent gearbox (I had to use my hand a couple of times) and the headlight adjustment requires tools that weren’t included on the bike to remove parts of the cowling to access the two bolt heads. Thankfully it’s not something you’d do regularly. Well, as Marilyn Monroe famously said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best,” and the Benelli’s best starts when you fire up and rev that glorious triple. It sounds gruff and aggressive — more like an extended twin rather than a reduced four (which it actually is) — adding an aermarket muffler to the wishlist.

Aer negotiating stop-start city traffic, it was soon apparent that this is no commuter scooter. It’s cranky and surges below 3000rpm and you can feel it wanting to get out onto the open road where it can really get into its stride. I was also keen to get out of the traffic on what was a warm day for I soon paid the price for the aractive underseat exhaust. It directs the hot gasses perilously close to your nether regions so that in slow traffic the heat coming up through the

■ The whole handling package inspires confidence and the Tre K loves corners

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 53


BENELLI TRE K ■ Strength and feel are typical of the standards you expect from Brembo

■ There’s enough space for you to stand to get better control on dirt roads

■ Small, adjustable screen and fairing offer minimal protection but sharpen the styling

“That muffler treatment is a sportsbike thing and there are other clues that this bike is in the ‘mostly road’ segment” saddle and around the top of your thighs makes you wish for cooler climes. Opening up that gem of an 1131cc triple on less-trafficked roads not only reduced that uncomfortable heat, but confirmed that this is an absolute hoot of a bike in its chosen environment. The power comes on nicely from 3000rpm, surging through its 112Nm torque peak at 5000rpm and continuing to build to its 94kW maximum at 9000rpm. That punchy midrange kicks you out of corners with the kind of urge that brings on that sense of euphoria 54 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

exclusive to the motorcycling experience and makes you wonder if traction control might not be a good thing. This is Italian performance as those who have been lucky to experience it will understand. It’s what gives these boutique brands the character that builds a loyal following and generates a lot of forgiveness for the trade-offs that go with them. Fuel economy is one of them. Gentle work with the throle returns around 6.0L/100km while opening up the buerflies on those 53mm throle bodies will have it sucking

down another two litres over the same distance. A 22L tank on other bikes would give you 450km, but on the Tre K a careful 350km is probably closer to the mark. For some that’d be small price to pay for the sheer pleasure of the ride experience enhanced by the quality of the suspension components. There’s a stretch of road between Bermagui and Tathra with a mix of open country sweepers and tight forested mountain corners. There the Tre K’s bitumen credentials were firmly established, with the handling ►


BENELLI TRE K ■ For all its off-road aspirations, the Tre K is more content on a sealed road

QUICKSPECS Model: Benelli Tre K Price: $18,490 (plus on-road charges) Colours: White, Metallic Grey Warranty: Two years, unlimited km. Two years roadside assist Servicing intervals: 10,000km Engine: Inline 3 cylinders, liquid cooled, 4 valves per cylinder, DOHC, balancer sha Bore x stroke: 88 x 62mm Displacement: 1131cc Compression: 11.6:1 Power: 92kW @ 9000rpm Torque: 112Nm @ 5000rpm Transmission: 6-speed, wet clutch Frame: Steel trellis, alloy subframe Dimensions: Seat height 850mm, weight 205kg (dry), fuel capacity 22L, wheelbase 1515mm Suspension: Marzocchi 50mm forks, Sachs shock adjustable rebound and preload Brakes: Front, twin 320mm floating discs, Brembo four-pot calipers. Rear, 240mm disc, Brembo singlepot caliper Tyres: Front, 120/70-ZR17. Rear, 180/55-ZR17 Fuel consumption: 6.9L/100km (average) Theoretical range: 350km Verdict: Glorious engine in a roadbased adventurer

“Benelli offers some European exotica somewhere in the middle of the price list” package inspiring plenty of confidence and making the whole experience just such damned fun. The Brembo brakes are strong and provide lots of feel and aer flicking through a busy section of twisty road, I opined that the Tre K was merely a naked streetfighter with panniers. I haven’t ridden the brand’s TNT with the same motor so I erroneously assumed it was the same bike. It’s not, but the only real difference (besides styling) is the Tre K’s wheelbase is 72mm longer (1515mm) thanks to the extended forks. In fact, that makes it longer than BMW’s R1200GS (1507mm), but doesn’t penalise the bike’s superb handling on the road and adds to the stability off it. To test this, I tackled the 17km of dirt over Doctor George Mountain near 56 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

Bega. This is a well-trafficked road and is kept in good nick, with only a few rough sections and a lot of tight corners. I truly expected a white-knuckle experience trying to keep the front from washing out, but as I progressed, the confidence to push harder grew and I found myself at a good clip with controllable slides out of corners. The suspension has been tuned in such a way that the initial part of the compression stroke is plush enough to cop the bumps without causing the bike to skier about over corrugations. However, once you’ve used up that bit of the stroke, it does firm up so it won’t thank you for big whacks in potholes or washouts. I’d also be careful with those alloy wheels in those situations, but again, this bike

is more for occasional well-made gravel rather than exploring fire trails. At $18,490 (plus on-road costs), the Tre K is an affordable alternative to the other Italians and Europeans in the adventure bike market that are all in the post $20k bracket. Sure, it lacks traction control, sophisticated engine mapping and even ABS, but with the Marzocchi, Sachs and Brembo combination, you get prey good kit for the money. You also get prey decent off-road handling thanks to the suspension tune, and then there’s that magnificent triple-cylinder engine rorting out the neddies. For all its foibles and wonderful abilities, perhaps the point of owning a bike such as a Benelli became obvious while I was fuelling up at the Caltex in Eden on the way to Melbourne. A bloke pumping petrol into his car gazed appreciatively over the bike before giving me a nod and saying, “Ferrari on two wheels.” Hard to argue with that. ARR


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summer

Style, comfort and power — the Indian Chieftain is a fantastic touring option

STORY: JUSTIN LAW PHOTOS: TIM MUNRO hatever the design brief for the Indian Chieain, I doubt it was close to my first six hours on it riding away from the Sydney dealership and down to the NSW Far South Coast. It was 5pm on a Friday when I rode out onto Parramaa Road aer waiting what seemed like several minutes for a gap in the unusually heavy peakhour traffic. It was starting to rain. The M4 was at a crawl so I carefully lane-split, wanting desperately to kick off the mirror of the car driven by the douchebag who kept moving across to stop me geing past at one stage. The headlight had not been focused (it requires an Allen key and screwdriver) and low-beam was annoying the hell out of oncomers, while high-beam was completely useless. When I hit Clyde

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58 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

Mountain at 9.30pm, it was still raining and that made for interesting front-end experiences on the steep, slippery descent. Had I busted a few triples (that’s flatbrimmed cap speak for doing triple jumps) on the local motocross track I might have rounded out the list of inadvisable things to do on a full-dress cruiser. By the time I got home at 11pm, my boots squelched, my hips creaked, but I had a whole new appreciation for this 385kg lump of American style that is making its mark on the Aussie bike market. I was immediately impressed when I saw the Indian Chieain in the flesh for the first time. This is a magnificent motorcycle in style and heritage, and, on looks alone, a fine alternative to the ubiquitous Harley-Davidson and derivatives thereof. I love the distinctive valanced guards that capture the original styling, the profusion of chrome and that tassled leather finish, the luminous Indian ►


INDIAN CHIEFTAIN

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 59


■ The plush suspension doesn’t sacrifice handling too much. It’ll handle this kind of stuff no problem

■ At the Air Raid Tavern in Moruya. The cafe next to it is worth a visit if you enjoy a good coffee

60 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

head on the front guard. The Indian decal on the tank and stamp on the big aluminium (I thought it was steel — it sure as hell looks like it) cradle frame headstock are other nice touches, while the LED indicator strips on the front fairing give it a modern touch. Okay, there are some things just for show (it ain’t no side-valve engine), but the Chieain will strike a chord with lovers of classic styling and apparently they are legion. It turned the heads of people of all genres everywhere I went so if you don’t like aracting aention to yourself, this isn’t the bike for you. However, for those of us with centre of aention disorder, appearance is perhaps the main reason for owning this bike. Sometimes I wish I was four inches shorter. If I were, Levis would have not showcased my ankles when I was an embarrassed youth and US cruisers would not feel too small for me. At 192cm, the Indian’s ’bars feel a lile close and my legs are not as stretched out as they could be thanks to footboards higher than its peers. I have the same issue with Harleys and I’d be looking at aermarket seat options for this bike’s 660mm-high offering, but it’s all good news for those


INDIAN CHIEFTAIN to lock and unlock the panniers, with a bike-mounted switch on the tank. I remember when a clock was a bit of a luxury on a bike, but the Chieain will bamboozle technophobes with the array of functions accessed by stretching your fingers around the instrument clusters on each ’bar. The one feature I liked the most was the pocket under the right upper fairing where a USB connection allowed me to access the music on my iPhone, which I could hear well at 120km/h, thanks to the broad screen and decent speakers. The pocket is fairly unrefined and the phone or MP3 player moves around in there, but it’s a great way to hear your tunes. The volume is also speed-sensitive so it’ll quiet down in slow traffic, and there’s also Bluetooth for phone calls. With all the cluer on the ’bars, the buons for simple functions like operating the high-beam or cruise control don’t fall intuitively to thumb, so at night you can get caught out ► who don’t have trouble standing erect in double-decker trains. There’s no taller or longer reach option for the seat in the genuine parts catalogue, but there is one that brings the rider an inch closer to the ’bars. You can also get it heated and in distressed tan leather, which looks great, while there are tan options for the pillion seat and so panniers. Aer 10 days and about 2500km including the long haul down to Melbourne and back, I’d become used to the seat’s dimension limitations but I still felt another couple inches of leg room would have made a difference. The tradeoff was that the high footboards provided excellent corner clearance and it took a determined effort to reach the limit. The seat itself is wide, nicely sculpted and comfortable, while the pillion perch is a generous pad and the passenger I had for a two-and-a-half-hour trip said she thought it was fine. For longer tours, a sissy bar would be a solid option, or even beer would be the Deluxe Passenger Backrest Luggage Rack to boost cargo options. Siing in the rider’s seat, you’re confronted with a nicely curved console that features a blend of old-school gauges and modern technology. There’s a fob rather than a key ignition and a press of the power buon on the tank gets you to accessory mode before a single press of the traditionally mounted starter buon gets you going. The fob also has buons

■ There’s plenty of ground clearance under the bike

“The skip-load of torque peaks at 2600rpm so you can chug away at low revs when you’re cruising the boulevard” AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 61


INDIAN CHIEFTAIN ■ The pillion perch is fine for those shorter trips, but a trawl through the accessories catalogue will reveal some good alternatives

r Cruise control is among the right-bar functions. The handgrips are big and comfortable too

r High-mounted footboards and that ol’ truck-like brake pedal that requires a knee-lift to actuate

failing to dip your lights. Finding and reseing the trip meter took some time without the owner’s manual. Some buons do things you don’t expect, like the finger switch on the back of the le ’bar that switches modes on the display rather than flashing the high beam. These are small niggles that you’d probably get used to aer a short time. The ECU is apparently a sensitive soul and using the throle while holding the brake, as you’d do on a hill-start, trips a sensor warning and the engine light will stay on until it’s reset. I was told to avoid this combination of controls and did so diligently until the habits of years of riding got the beer of me. It didn’t affect the bike’s performance but it’s baffling why such an otherwise sophisticated bike should have what is essentially a design fault. Those niggles soon evaporate when you start up that air-cooled ThunderStroke 111ci twin (that’s just over 900cc per cylinder), which brought me

back to the other major factor of why you would consider forking out $36,000 for this bike. Even ADR-muffled, the tone is sonorous and powerful and the slip-ons in the catalogue will sorely tempt you to fork out just that lile bit more to increase the volume. Twist the ride-by-wire throle and that big twin’s 139Nm hauls you and 380kg of bike away with a good shove, and the acceleration while revving it out through the gears is a rush. Indian is coy about its power figure, probably because cruisers don’t make many kilowas, but I sure didn’t care about that when I was winging back up the Clyde at a solid pace. More importantly, the skip-load of torque peaks at 2600rpm so you can chug away at low revs when you’re cruising the boulevard looking (and sounding, if you have the slip-on mufflers) cooler than penguin poo. You might want to familiarise yourself with the low-speed handling before you do that. The halffairing mounted on the forks adds to

“I remember when a clock was a bit of a luxury on a bike, but the Chieftain will bamboozle technophobes” 62 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

r A blend of old-school style and modern technology. Note the ignition button below the dash

r One of the biggest on the market, the 111ci twin makes glorious power

r Power outlet in the pannier, which is quickrelease (after you disconnect the cables)


INDIAN CHIEFTAIN

■ Touring doesn’t get much better or more stylish than this

“This is a fine alternative to the ubiquitous Harley-Davidson and derivatives thereof” the unsprung weight of those chunky aluminium wheels shod in Dunlop American Elite tyres, which means it requires some effort to manoeuvre around the car park, even with a relatively kicked-in 25-degree rake. Stepping up the pace out in rolling hills lis that heavy feeling without the weave at higher speeds that you can get from this style of bike. Pushed harder and it takes

a goodly lean to scrape the footboards, which is another fillip for the Chieain that works prey hard at being bike-like rather than a low-slung show pony. The 46mm forks are relatively slim for a bigger dresser and are set up more for comfort than handling, and while the rear single shock is firmer, it’s not so hard as to make riding rough roads uncomfortable. In fact, compared to

r The valanced guards shroud four-pot brakes that work fine in this application

r That old side-valve styling captures the look of those fabulous engines of the 1940s

others in this class, it’s quite plush with its 114mm of travel and takes the jarring out of big bumps. The trade-off is the loose handling you’d expect on such a bike and most Chieain customers won’t give a toss about such things. Instead, they’ll enjoy the feeling of being coddled behind that huge electronically adjustable screen, with the music blaring, the hard panniers chock ►

r The distinctive Indian head on the front guard. I love that stuff

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 63


INDIAN CHIEFTAIN

r Beautifully swept styling through the rear end. Aftermarket slip-ons would bring out more of the engine’s character than these ADR-approved mufflers

r Nicely sculpted and finished, the seat is comfortable for the long haul. Taller riders may want an alternative though

r Keep the fob in your pocket while you ride. This is a keyless bike, except if you want to lock the steering

r Plenty to play with on the left ’bar with all the various functions, including the audio, accessible with your thumb

r Neat pocket to store your phone or music player. The USB connection charges and plays music through the bike’s stereo

64 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

full with a weekend’s worth of gear (or a week, if you don’t mind wearing the same thing for a couple of days), heading out on a B road to beautness. I know I did. I’ve alluded to the luggage capacity a couple of times because the hard, quickrelease panniers, that also have a power outlet in one, aren’t as capacious as serious tourers might like. The accessories catalogue provides a couple of solutions with the aforementioned back rack and also pannier lid racks for strapping on more stuff and I’d be budgeting for that. When the weather turns foul, as it did for that fateful Friday, the screen does a fabulous job of keeping your upper body and hands dry, while good wet-weather pants and waterproof boots are advisable thanks to the lack of lower protection. The bike handles the conditions okay, but the weight through the 16in front does mean taking it easy as you can feel it move around. The hairpins and other tight corners on the Kings Highway descending the range to Batemans Bay are no fun at all when that starts to happen. Would you ride your Indian in such conditions? I’d say they’d be avoided by most owners who’d instead be looking for that day cruise to a popular spot or a fairweather weekend away with a significant other on the back. And if there is no other when you leave, there might well be by the time you return, such is the aesthetic appeal of this motorcycle. I was quite disappointed when it came time to give the Chieain back. In the 10 days I shared with it, I thoroughly enjoyed the power and the appeal, the corner clearance and torque that made it fun in the tight stuff, the fine finish and heritage, and the electronic extras such as cruise control that improved the long-haul experience. Sure, there are some things that could be a lile beer, but when the first bars of Joe Walsh’s Rocky Mountain Way blasted out through the stereo on one trip, I could think of no place I would rather have been. ARR

“It’s all good news for those who don’t have trouble standing erect in doubledecker trains”

■ Surprising amount of cornering clearance for a big tourer. It takes a concerted effort to touch down the footboards

QUICKSPECS Model: Indian Chieain Price: $35,995 ride away Colours: Thunder Black, Indian Motorcycle Red, Springfield Blue Warranty: 2 years, unlimited km. Two years roadside assist Servicing intervals: 8000km/12 months Engine: ThunderStroke 111 aircooled V-twin Bore x stroke: 101 x 113mm Displacement: 1811cc Compression: 9.5:1 Power: N/A Torque: 139Nm @ 2600rpm Transmission: six-speed, wet clutch Frame: Aluminium cradle Dimensions: Seat height 660mm, weight 385kg (wet), fuel capacity 20.8L, wheelbase 1668mm, rake 25º, trail 150mm Suspension: 46mm telescopic fork, 119mm travel, single shock, 114mm travel Brakes: Front, twin 300mm floating discs, 4-piston calipers. Rear, 300mm floating disc, 2-piston caliper Tyres: Dunlop Elite 3. Front, 130/90B16 73H. Rear, 180/60R16 80H Fuel consumption: 5.6L/100km Theoretical range: 370km Verdict: Function and form in this classic tourer


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66 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER


X HONDA CB500X

HITS THE SPOT Has Honda hit the sweet spot of all-round practicality, price and performance with the CB500X?

TEST MATT SHIELDS PHOTOS TIM MUNRO he perfect road bike is an ideal that means many different things to many people. But drop the emotion and look for a bike that is a perfect road bike — the bike that can do it all: daily commute, backroad scratching, touring — and you’ll soon find that the choices are limited. The machines that are don’t come into conversation when we are talking about the one bike we’d own

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because it’s a choice made from the seat of the pants rather than the brain. The bikes that tend to tick all the boxes and do all the jobs you could possibly need to do on the road have longer-travel suspension, plenty of engine performance, great handling and comfort. They are machines that are practical and make sense, but they don’t oen excite. And by due process, these bikes tend to have fallen out of the ‘adventure’ genre: road-focused, comfortable, economical, practical workhorses. ►

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 67


ENGINE

■ The 500X is well balanced and feels light and nimble

■ There are nice, free-flowing lines to the X’s looks

“While the specification is basic, advanced design principles have been applied in getting the handling dynamic so good” 68 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

The CB500 engine is a double overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder, parallel-twin. With a 180-degree crank phase, the bore and stroke dimensions are just off square at 67mm x 66.8mm. It’s no coincidence that it looks like a CBR-RR engine from the side. Not only do the engine covers mimic those of the sportsbikes, the bore is identical to a CBR600RR and the proportions between crank, gearbox and countershaft are almost identical to the inline fours. This allows for a compact engine with an optimal concentration of weight for better handling characteristics. Roller rocker arms and shim valve adjustment are used in the top-end, all driven by chain. The engine has a counter-balancer slung between and to the rear of the cylinders to balance the engine’s vibes, while spinning freely to ensure a quick throttle response. Fuelling is by Honda’s own PGM-FI fuel injection system and the 471cc twin puts out 35kW and 43Nm.

The CB500X is categorised as an adventure machine by Honda. But unlike true adventure bikes — machines capable of traversing our wide, brown land with ease like BMW’s R1200GS or KTM’s Adventure — the CB500X falls more into line with Suzuki’s V-Strom and Ducati’s Multistrada. It’s a bike that suits the hardpack beer than the soer stuff. But it looks ready for the Australian Safari. In terms of capacity and capability, the 500X lines up against the BMW G650GS single, Suzuki 650 V-Strom V-twin and Kawasaki Versys 650L parallel-twin. More capable riders will explore more terrain on these machines than most of them will ever see, but primarily they are true “all roaders” rather than adventure bikes. The CB500 family is a new incarnation of the legendary moniker of Honda’s sportsbikes and tourers of decades past. The new range, based around a common engine and chassis platform, includes the CB500R sportsbike and CB500F nakedbike. The CB500s are middleweights in every respect: easy power, easy handling and light weight. The X takes a lot of its design elements from the 1200 Crosstourer, though looking less like an awkward motorcycle and more of a road-focused adventure machine. The X


HONDA CB500X is built for the entry-level rider. Of course the engine’s output and capacity are the main factors in this, but the practical ergonomics, compliant chassis and easy power delivery make it the full package. The parallel-twin engine is very economical on the road. Fuel consumption ranged from mid- to highthrees on the open road, mid- to highfours when you work the throle hard, and averaged an excellent 4.2L/100km. In keeping with the performance constraints of the LAM scheme, the DOHC twin-cylinder fuel-injected engine produces 35kW. Parallel-twins are known for their flexible, user-friendly power characteristics and the CB’s engine is no different. The 180-degree crank, coupled with a counter-balancer, gives a smooth power delivery, low vibrations and plenty of punch down low. Both power and torque reach their peak at the higher end of the rev range, which makes for an engine that is very forgiving and easy to manage. No peaks or troughs, just a constant build-up of forces as you screw the twist grip around. At freeway cruising speed, the tacho sits at 5000rpm and the ride is velvety smooth. The engine and pipe are super quiet too. There is some good response to about 130km/h, but aer that it takes a while for the speed to increase with any urgency. The engine shares a host of design features with the CBR600RR and Fireblade in the aim of geing the engine’s weight as low as possible. The design as compact as possible and performance as high as possible. It’s also able to run 91RON fuel, which is a good thing as you can’t get 95 everywhere all the time. Aer the first service, the intervals are set at 12,000km with the bigger services coming at 24,000km and every 24,000km aer that. In the scheme of twin-cylinder

servicing, those are big service intervals and likely to be at a very good price as the entire work list isn’t extensive and you have the fact that Hondas rarely throw up any surprises. The chassis specification is basic. The frame is a welded one-piece unit with 35mm tubing used throughout its construction. There’s a 41mm telescopic fork at the front and a Pro-Link set-up matched to a nine-step preload-adjustable rear shock. The wheelbase is longer than the R and F courtesy of longer, 140mm suspension travel and the rake is set at 26.5 degrees with 108mm of trail.

While the specification is basic, advanced design principles have been applied in geing the handling dynamic so good, including making the swingarm very long, pivoting right at the engine cases in front of the rider’s furthermost point. The damping rates front and rear give great control over a broad range of road conditions. The suspension actuation is supple at high speed, and fast and firm at lower speed to ensure a good balance of control over a range of situations. It’s a very well-balanced package for this machine and suits the engine characteristics and intended usage down to a tee. ►

“At freeway cruising speed, the tacho sits at 5000rpm and the ride is velvety smooth”

PLATFORM BUILD The CB500X is one of three machines that use a common frame and engine platform to create three distinctly different styles of motorcycle. In addition to the X, there is a sports CB500R and a naked CB500F. Both the naked and sports 500 are identical in their engine and chassis with a shorter wheelbase and smaller fuel tank than the X model. The only other obvious differences are the ergonomics that are tailored to each model’s style.

■ More than R and F models, the economical CB500X is a long-distance ride

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 69


HONDA CB500X ACCESSORIES Honda has a good range of genuine accessories available for the CB500X. They include luggage options, weather and crash protection, locks, heated grips, cover and more. Check out the Honda website — or the minisite devoted to the CB500 range: honda500.com.au — for more information.

■ The fairing is tall enough to have a good effect, complementing the upright riding position

“The CB500s are middleweights in every respect: easy power, easy handling and light weight” The 17in cast-aluminium wheels signify that the X is destined more for the hard-top than the back-country trails. The 3.5in front and 4.5in rear combination makes for a very quicksteering machine on the tarmac that doesn’t have the front-end confidence you get with bigger-wheeled fronts, offroad, on other adventure machines. The CB500X weighs in at a wet 195kg. That’s still a lot of motorcycle for most people, especially entry-level riders. But a low centre of gravity and narrow

r The screen sends wind up to about chin height to take the blast off your body

70 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

standover on the 810mm-high seat, the weight of the X feels a lot less than what it measures up as. There’s enough ground clearance to cover most obstacles that less-serious off-road riding will throw at you, and at 170mm clearance that’s more than enough to make your way up and over anything on the road. Cornering clearance runs out quicker, and the bike kisses the tarmac before the tyres run out of contact area. The brakes, by Nissin, are a two-spot caliper on a 320mm disc up front and

240mm disc with single-piston caliper at the rear with ABS fied. They are a good package, nothing spectacular but there’s nothing more you could want out of their performance. The standard fitment tyres — Pirelli Scorpion Trail — are excellent in every condition. Dry roads, wet roads, cornering, hard-pack and so dirt. It’s a perfect dual-sport tyre that makes lile compromise in tarmac performance for off-road ability. The taller seating position, longertravel suspension and slightly longer wheelbase of the X make it a much more aractive prospect for riding on the road — particularly Australian roads as poorly maintained and surfaced as many of them are. The riding position is relaxed, feet almost forward, and all the controls are light in operation. The riding position is very comfortable and the fairing breaks the wind well, throwing it under your chin and around to your knees. All in all, the X is very basic in a lot of respects: there’s no span-adjustable levers, no brand-name components aside

r The 500cc parallel-twin is a little gem that’s perfectly r The lack of a hinged petrol cap seems a bit of adequate on tour an oversight


HONDA CB500X

r Very basic brake specification doesn’t reflect their performance and there’s ABS to back them

r There’s not a lot of storage under the seat

from the Nissin brakes, and the finish isn’t to a glorious standard. Lile things like the fuel cap not being hinged and no underseat storage are noticeable omissions on a motorcycle. That said, they don’t detract from the overall performance of this motorcycle in its intended realm. The CB500X is what it is. It has a job to do and does it well at a bloody good price. A premiumpriced motorcycle affords you the kind of stuff you want when you spend a bit more money on a bike. The X still has pleasantries like a massive pillion grab rail with good tie-down points and a multifunction dash that you wouldn’t have seen on a luxury tourer five years ago. But that’s it. That being said, the retail price of $7999 is bang on, if not beer than where it should be for this machine. It is a very competitive price point for what you get. The CB500X is at a capacity disadvantage to its nearest competition, but pricewise comes in at $2000 to $3300 less. And in that, the price difference can’t be justified purely on the performance gains of the other machines as there simply isn’t enough of a difference. The quality of finish — more shiny paint, more gloss on metalwork and castings — would perhaps be a more acceptable reason for it. But in a day and age where value for money is everything, the CB500X makes a great case for being an economical, inexpensive machine that does everything well. ARR

QUICKSPECS Model: Honda CB500X Price: $7999 (plus on-road charges) Colours: Pearl Himalayas White, Ma Gunpowder Black Metallic, Candy Ruby Red Warranty: 24 months, unlimited km Servicing intervals: 1000km, 12,000km and every 12,000km aer that Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC parallel-twin, 4 valves per cylinder Bore x stroke: 67 x 66.8mm Displacement: 471cc Compression: 10.7:1 Power: 35kW @ 8500rpm Torque: 43Nm @ 7000rpm Transmission: 6-speed gearbox, cableactuated clutch and chain final drive Frame: Steel, diamond-type Dimensions: Seat height 810mm, weight 195kg (wet, claimed), fuel capacity 17L, wheelbase 1421mm, rake 26.5º, trail 108mm Suspension: 41mm telescopic fork, 9-step preload adjustable monoshock Brakes: Front, 320mm wave disc with Nissin twin-piston caliper. Rear, 240mm wave disc with Nissin singlepiston caliper Tyres: Pirelli Scorpion Trail Front, 120/70ZR17 (58W). Rear, 160/60ZR17 (69W) Fuel consumption: 4.2L/100km Theoretical range: 422km Verdict: Down to earth, great value, practical

r The all-LCD multi-function dash is pretty cool — one of the few flash bits on the CB

r Big pillion grab handles double as luggage tiepoints and score full marks

r Note how narrow the front of the seat is, reducing the effective seat height

■ It’s not a big bike and even its 810mm seat height doesn’t seem as high as it reads

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 71


■ 10,000km in all conditions and still purring along

r The Granturismo’s luggage system is enhanced by the inner bags, available as an accessory

THE LONG LIST We’ve clocked up 10,000km on the Ducati, we’re getting settled on the Victory, and we’re loving the Aprilia’s grunt DUCATI MULTISTRADA GRANTURISMO The Ducati ticked over 10,000km on the way to Sydney, where it’s currently siing while I’m away for a few weeks. It has only taken four months to rack up the kays, but this enforced lay-up will slow things down a lile. I’d somehow got it in my head that the service was due now, but Ducati Australia gently reminded me there’s still another 2000km to go. Even then it’s only a minor 72 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

service. The majority of bikes I’ve owned did only 4000km or 5000km between services, so the Multistrada is a real blessing in comparison. The owner’s manual says you should take your Multistrada to a dealer to adjust the chain, but if I paid heed to that I’d be chalking up 600km every time the thing got slack. If you were to wait till the 12,000km services came around, it’d be slapping around like a 1920s dancer on speed. It’s not that it needs much

aention — I’ve only had to adjust it four times — but the longer you leave a chain loose the worse it gets. Anyway, to make a short story longer than it could be, I can tell you the owner’s manual is being overly motherly. There’s a lile gauge that slips onto the swingarm and tells you exactly how far to adjust the chain tension. With a couple of Allen keys, the toolkit’s C-spanner and a few minutes of spare time, the task is simple. It’s difficult to get wrong unless you have no mechanical nous. Which some people don’t, hence the manual’s defensiveness. I’ve had Ducati’s inner bags for the panniers and top box since day one. They’re great. Apart from the convenience of being able to take my things in and out of hotel rooms without removing panniers, the bags make packing much simpler. Being shaped specifically to fit each pannier (remember that the exhaustside box is smaller than the le-side one), I know that once they’re full they’ll fit perfectly into their respective receptacle. The pannier liners are divided into two parts with zippered mesh to separate them. You can ignore the mesh and think of each bag as a single unit if you prefer. There are also pockets for smaller items. The top box bag is my favourite, though. It doubles as a briefcase, complete with laptop slot and shoulder strap. If you commute, you’d put all your office gear in it, remove the Multistrada’s panniers and carve through the peak-hour traffic. The subtly branded bag looks classy enough for the corporate world, too. All three liners are of good Ducati quality. We’ve replaced the original Pirellis with another set just the same because they’re perfect for the Ducati. I was happy with geing over 8000km from the rear tyre, and though there was still life in the front, it wasn’t enough to make me want to keep it. I love the fresh steering of a new pair of tyres. — MICK MATHESON


LONG-TERM TESTS ■ With 2000km under the wheels, we’re only just getting started on the Victory

VICTORY CROSS COUNTRY TOUR I have covered more than 2000km on the Victory Cross Country Tour now and I am the first to admit that it took me a while to get used to it. It didn’t help that for the first two weeks I had to commute to the city daily and that is definitely not the big Victory’s go. It really feels its size and weight in tight traffic and obviously lane spliing is almost out of the equation due to its width. Once I hit the open road, however, the whole plot started to come together. Prior to that, I had struggled a bit for front-end feel through the pull-back bars. Once the Victory stretches its legs though, the front-end feels a lot more positive and surprisingly light to steer. In fact, the bike belies its weight in the corners and, due to its surprisingly good clearance, it can really hustle if you keep it smooth. Out in the open, the laidback riding position and the low-revving, torquey engine soon seduce you into relaxing into cruise mode. There is punchy power available to deal with any road situation and the super-tall sixth gear means you are only doing 2500rpm at the speed limit. Use of the gearbox is only essential in the mountains and tighter

corners. The pillion accommodation looks positively luxurious but it might be a bit hard to test as I am short of a partner. Perhaps there is some adventurous lady out there who would like to volunteer for the job!

“I already have the iPod plugged into the jack and am happily listening to music as I roll down the road with the cruise control set” I was wondering early on if I could successfully slow down and get into the character of the Victory, but the Cross Country Tour has made it easy. I have never been one for electronic gadgets on motorcycles but I already have the iPod plugged into the jack and am happily listening to music as I roll down the road with the cruise control set. The cruise control has already saved me once, which is a definite bonus. One thing I have noticed is that the small rubber moulding knobs on the

Dunlop Elite 3 tyres still haven’t worn off. The knobs in the centre of the tyres took over 1000km to go but the last 2cm of tyre still has knobs all over it, despite repeated use. I know the tyres must have stiff sidewalls due to the Victory’s weight, but it looks like the compound is prey hard too, so I am expecting good tyre life. The running-in period went smoothly and the guys at Victory Motorcycles really looked aer me at the 1000km service. At short notice they serviced the Cross Country Tour while I waited. It only took about an hour and a half before I was on my way. It’s basically only an oil and filter change and a complete check over. They adjusted the drive belt a fraction but that was the only adjustment required. The first 2000km have been over roads I know well, within 300km of home. In a couple of days I will be filling the panniers and heading off to put some real distance under the wheels. A few days spent fulfilling its intended purpose will be a good test of the Victory’s touring ability, and of my newfound relaxed aitude on the road. I’ll let you know how it goes next issue. Seeya out there. — GREGOR AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 73


LONG-TERM TESTS ■ It goes as hard as its sporting looks imply

■ The traction control is a useful addition

APRILIA SRV850 Aprilia makes no small claim about its SRV850 by pegging it as an “ultra-highperformance scooter that is the meeting point between scooter and motorcycle worlds”. The claim is substantiated by the SRV’s big 850cc V-twin engine — the biggest and most powerful in any scooter to date — wrapped up in a superbike-inspired maxi-scooter chassis. It certainly looks like a fusion of superbike and maxi-scoot, but how this worked in the real world was what we sought to find out this month. Weighing in at just over 270kg with fuel on board, the SRV is no lightweight. The seat height is a high-ish 780mm and feels higher thanks to the wide standover — I was tip-toeing, something I don’t do on many bikes. On the road, you can feel the weight when you are trying to throw the scooter quickly from side to side. Its steering is slower than some of the other maxi scooters, but the suspension control is superb. Probably because of the chain rear drive combined with alloy swingarm, the rear suspension system is up there with the best I have sampled on a maxiscooter. There is preload and rebound adjustment on the rear shock, and I haven’t needed to make any changes in the last couple of months. The front-end is firm in its stroke and chews through bumps very well. It’s well planted when cornering hard and the 74 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

Pirelli Diablo scooter tyres are excellent in absolutely every condition. With the biggest cornering angles I was happy to ride the SRV at, there wasn’t a concern about ground clearance and there was plenty of tyre le. The engine’s power could catch you out in tricky conditions, but the traction control system keeps everything in line. On the SRV, the traction control system is needed with the grunt on tap. In Sport mode, there is less intervention and the ride becomes a bit more exciting. Standard mode can have the traction control operating when you least expect it — like accelerating hard from a set of lights!

The brakes, though looking like there’s almost too much, are excellent and you can bury the SRV hard into a corner as you would a sportsbike, and the ABS will ensure you don’t get things wrong. The span-adjustable levers give a real quality feel to the Brembo system. The lack of room to move in the seat and on the footboards is perhaps the biggest annoyance, though in this respect it makes the SRV that bit more like an uncompromising sportsbike. At the end of the day the SRV is a maxi-scooter, no maer how powerful it is. There are lighter maxi-scooters with less power that are just as exciting to ride and just as good to handle. But you can’t get away from the sheer grunt the SRV has. And that’s what sets it apart. — MATT SHIELDS

“The engine’s power could catch you out in tricky conditions, but the traction control system keeps everything in line”


PROJECT BOLT

DOING THE BOLT ■ The Bolt: a blank canvas on which we can practise our art … or colouring in, perhaps

YAMAHA BOLT These past few weeks we’ve been highly distracted by the Bolts geing around the internet as we work out the details of our project. There are some very creative and cray customs out there now, from professionally built beauties from workshops like Doc’s Chops in the US all the way down to the mildly modified ones owned by Yamaha customers. We’ve been looking for inspiration for our own Bolt. Last issue I told you about the basic plan: to create a Bolt with a split personality, one that’s a cool aroundtown ride during the week and a neat traveller when the weekend comes. We’ve now made a wish list of some of the specific things we want to do for both sides of our Bolt’s character. The concept for the weekend warrior calls for saddlebags — so ones, either leather or canvas, and not overly large ones at that. Personally, I’m good with a pair of old WWII-style army packs, but general consensus is leaning towards Yamaha’s own bags. They’re a perfect fit and just the right style … or they will be once we’ve finished with them. We’re likely to stay with Yamaha for the sissy bar, something I had dismissed early on until someone pointed out how cool Peter Fonda’s chopper looked with his bedroll strapped upright on its sissy

bar. Oh yes, I know, no-one these days rides around with a bedroll so they can doss down wherever they are by the end of the day, but hell, if we’re customising a Bolt we can dream a lile, can’t we? If you win our bike, I’m sure you’ll find something else you’ll want to tie on. And to tie it on, we’ll throw in some

ROK Straps. They’re the best motorcycle straps we know of. If it looks weird without it we’ll leave the pillion seat on, but I’m hoping it’ll work as a solo-seat bike even with the rack in place. We’ll see. We’ll probably leave the rider’s footpegs where they are and give the Bolt some low, wide handlebars for an old-fashioned riding position rather than high or narrow bars as is the current trend. Certainly not clip-ons. Ventura’s Mid West bars may do the trick, but we’ll confirm that before commiing. We’ve got a set of longer shocks lined up too, which will improve the ride no end if the rates are right. We’ll tell you about them next issue. For that low prowling look, it’ll be a simple task to swap back to the stock lower shocks. For the mid-week street-riding, the first step will be minimising the few things that Yamaha hasn’t. This means bullet indicators, smaller mirrors in black, tidying up the tail end a lile etc. Like the pillion seat, the rear pegs can come off and live in the box in the garage until required. There’ll be more to reveal over the next few issues, including what we’ll do with the paintwork. Meanwhile, don’t forget you can win this bike. See page 138 for the details — and get in it to win it! — MICK MATHESON

“No-one these days rides around with a bedroll so they can doss down wherever they are” ■ Inspiration — but are sissy bars actually cool?

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 75


POSTCARDS FROM

HEAVEN Wish you were here! Love, the Great Ocean Road

â– Some of the Twelve Apostles, which have lost a few of their companions on the everchanging southern coastline 76 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER


GREAT OCEAN ROAD STORY & PHOTOS: STEVIE JORDAN orgive me, I’m British. Because of this I had a few misconstrued preconceptions of Australia long before I first arrived on Aussie soil. One of those, rather embarrassingly, had been that the country only boasted ruler-straight roads designed to cut through the bush. I recently admied this ignorance to ARR editor Mick Matheson, who, between fits of laughter, told me the Great Ocean Road in Victoria would help me realise just how deluded I had been. As if I didn’t need reminding already. “It may be world famous but you can still expect the unexpected,” Matho advised as we discussed my 800km route, which would take me along

F

the B100, as it’s formally known, from Melbourne to Port Fairy and back. I was expecting postcard-perfect scenery, diced up by a glorious road just begging to be ridden on a motorcycle. “Hordes of tourists who’ll fix their eyes on everything but the road, locals who know the route so well they’ll drive as if they’ve just robbed the Bank of Melbourne, and a host of scay coach drivers who can be more erratic than a cat in a sack,” Matho corrected. It’s a good thing Matho is a writer and not a travel agent because he clearly wasn’t doing the best job of selling what is supposedly one of the world’s ultimate rides. However, I began to understand his wise but foreboding warnings in Torquay, the eastern start of the road,

where the first ominous-looking road signs appear to remind tourists that we drive on the le in Australia. By Anglesea, just 20km to the west, I’d seen countless other cautions, with each sign positioned periodically and precariously along the grass verges: “Slippery When Wet”, “Rough Surface”, “Loose Chippings”, “Concealed Entrance”, “Stock Crossing”, “Wildlife Crossing”, “People Crossing”. The list went on and on. Mick had apparently sent me to a stretch of bitumen that looked set to give Bolivia’s notorious North Yungus Road — the Death Road — a run for its money.* I’d cut onto the B100 via Geelong, following a short hop along the M1 from Melbourne, which helped me acquaint myself with the 2014

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 77


■ Stylish and loaded with presence, the Fat Bob is in stark contrast to these surrounds

HARLEY-DAVIDSON FXDF FAT BOB

■ Not much blocks the view from the riding position

“There is a distinct natural beauty to the landscape around the next stretch of the road to Port Campbell” Harley-Davidson FXDF Fat Bob I’d been armed with. Usually an urban street brawler, the Fat Bob would prove itself more than capable for a mid-distance cruise along the coils of tarmac to come, but before that I had to get past the plethora of caveats which, rather improbably, suggested the M1 looked set be the most enjoyable part of the trip. But get over this metaphoric speed bump I did, because however many giant reflective lollypops Vic Roads cements in the ground, there is absolutely no disguising that the clue is in the name; it’s called the Great Ocean Road for a very good reason. 78 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

Bend aer bend, this perfectly traced grey squiggle stretches from Torquay (home of the world-famous surf hotspot, Bells Beach) to its midway point at the Otway Ranges. The route to this point is split by the shore-side towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay, each lying in the shadows of koala-filled gum trees. Both towns offer the opportunity to take a quick rest break with a number of amenities and fuel options before the B100 twists slightly north-west towards the Great Otway National Park. Ironically, it is away from the coast that the road comes into its own, with challenging apexes that cut through the forest here for 25km.

Grunt-fuelled styling with decent finishing, the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob definitely ticks all the right boxes in the tough boy looks department with those distinctive double headlights and funky LED tail end. The matte black paint job and understated graphics also get a thumbs up, as does its low-slung stance and fat-ass tyres. Under the tank sits the type of engine we’ve come to expect out of Milwaukee, with more grunt than a gorilla on heat. Acceleration comes by the pint only. However, the Fat Bob is also a remarkably comfortable bike and held its own over the three-day cruise along the Great Ocean Road, though my pillion companion would sooner drink a schooner of petrol than agree with me on this statement. The Fat Bob may be a good choice for a solo circuit of one of the world’s great roads or even quick romantic two-up blast somewhere not too far away, but this is not a bike for touring with a passenger. Riding the Fat Bob home along the Great Ocean Road, it was easy to understand why the bike tops the charts as H-D’s bestselling model here in Australia. The newest version, released in 2014, has received a blacked-out, “Dark Custom” styling makeover which glistened in stark contrast to the natural beauty of this part of the country, but I’m sure you’ll make up your own mind about this from the pictures. The good stuff: Power, power and more power, solid brakes, cool styling, the comfortable fat-bottomed seat and a riding position which lets you watch the front shocks working away. The not-so-good stuff: Tiny mirrors, a slightly awkward kickstand and that pillion seat. According to the dubious ARR crystal ball, we’ll have a full test of the latest Fat Bob in issue 107.

Make no mistake, the perceivably short distance (105km from Torquay to the park) can take a couple of hours depending on traffic, which can be arduous if slowmoving vehicles are out in force, but what a ride it is. This is a mouth-watering stretch of bitumen intent on offering those who challenge its apexes a sparring match of epic proportions.


GREAT OCEAN ROAD With the Fat Bob tipping in keenly, I was “in the zone” that only another rider can relate to. The Harley’s Twin Cam 103 block was providing a sweet “thud-thud” soundtrack while the exhaust note was being boomed by a mix of surrounding trees and limestone cliff edges. Despite the questionable but typical Victorian temperature, there was plenty of grip in the rubber too — the combination of which, as all riders know, is pure magic. Torque is premium on this road unless you have a particular affinity for multiple, short-spaced gear changes so the Fat Bob was in its element, thanks to the grunt of acceleration on tap at the slightest twist of the throle. Unfortunately, this wasn’t so enjoyable for my pillion as the Fat Bob, which has a rear seat which is harder than Arnie in Predator, is not a two-up machine for any trip longer than the length of a standard driveway. If you do have someone on the back, chances are they’ll be begging you to stop long before the fuel warning light comes on as consumption is good. With every bend and turn, each varying in angle and camber as we sliced through the hillside, the Fat Bob was soon edging from the rainforest back towards the coast. A short diversion leads to Cape Otway, the second-most southerly point of mainland Australia and the eastern end of the infamous Shipwreck Coast. The area is also home to the country’s oldest surviving lighthouse, which dates back to 1848. Further west of the Otways is the town of Glenaire, where the road returns inland and begins to climb Lavers Hill. Be warned, fog coming in from ocean thermals can linger in the area, providing evidence enough as to why more than 200 ships were sunk along Shipwreck Coast in less than a century. The fog can bring another element of challenge to the B100’s twists.

“Helicopter rides to provide birds-eye views of what is possibly one of the most beautiful parts of all Australia, as if the road to this point hasn’t offered enough adrenalin”

■ Lots of isolated bays and beaches to explore on the way

Another detour leads to Johanna, where more world-class surf breaks can be found, but the Fat Bob is more suited to riding the road rather than the waves so it’s onward towards Princetown and the Port Campbell National Park. With dramatic cliffs that fall 70m to the ocean below, the landscape here offers a diverse change of scene and is also home to the Great Ocean Road’s pin-up girl. Also known as the Twelve Apostles (of which actually only seven stacks survive today, though this number can vary depending on your look-out point), these rock formations are a must for any itinerary. If that’s not enough, there’s also the Gibson Steps, cut into the limestone, which lead to feral Gibson Beach. A number of operators run helicopter rides to provide birds-eye views of what is possibly one of the most beautiful parts of all Australia, as if the road to this point hasn’t offered enough adrenalin.

There is a distinct natural beauty to the landscape around the next stretch of the road, which leads to the weatherbashed town of Port Campbell itself. With the temperature warming, however, it was time for a quick dip in the bay here — the area’s only swimmer-friendly beach — before heading further west towards the Great Ocean Road’s other tourist highlights. Sights including the Arch, London Bridge, the Groo, and Bay of Islands mean it’s slow-going for this section of the route because you’ll be stopping to marvel every few kilometres. If you’re strapped for time and decide against baling through the tourists at each of the stop-off points, a short walk from the car park at Peterborough leads to some spectacular vantage spots. It’s worth pulling-up regardless, because not far from here is the official end of the Great Ocean Road before it joins the Princes Highway, some 10km outside Warrnambool. ► AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 79


GREAT OCEAN ROAD ■ Loch Ard Gorge is another spectacular spot to stop and soak up the view

Steeped in its whaling-station history, Warrnambool is a hub for the region, which booms during term time as students at Deakin University flock in. The areas around the town offer nice touring options but (thanks to the Macphersons, our locally based friends who acted as the perfect hosts and tour guides), the town itself proved its charm and is well worth the few hours it takes to explore. There are also more than enough pubs to make your choice of drinking hole harder than it should be if you plan on staying the night. Easily accessible from Warrnambool is the fishing township of Port Fairy, the most westerly point of the Shipwreck Coast. This is one of the last vestiges of civilisation along this passage in the state but from here, your route can continue to trace the coast towards ►

r Just in case your natural instinct for self-preservation fails to kick in

80 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

r If you find yourself admiring the view in the mirrors, turning around and doing it all again is a great alternative to the boring A1

r A good spot to reset the trip meter


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GREAT OCEAN ROAD ■ London Bridge. The spar from the mainland collapsed only a couple of decades ago

“I was expecting postcard-perfect scenery, diced up by a glorious road just begging to be ridden on a motorcycle” Mount Gambier and eventually Adelaide, which is about 600km away. Alternatively, just over 100km directly north of Port Fairy, is the Grampians National Park — another Eden for motorcycle riders. If time is of the essence, the A1 can be picked up to lead, via the fastest route possible, back to Melbourne in three to four hours. I’d heard from a number of people that taking the A1 aer the Great Ocean Road is a bit like going on a rebound date with the dull girl your mate just dropped aer Miranda Kerr tells you it’s over. Being almost as big a fan of Miranda Kerr as I 82 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

now am of the Great Ocean Road, for me it was back the way I came — with every inch of road being just as stunning the second time round. In fact, once you know what’s coming, the sheer beauty of the landscape — and indeed the road that cuts through it — becomes even more telling. Seling into the homeward-bound rhythm and enjoying the bitumen for all it was worth, I found my constant smile was developing into a full-on, uncontrollable laugh. The Great Ocean Road had well and truly stuck two fingers up at my naivety and preconceived beliefs that this great country had less-than-great roads.

Arriving back home, it was time to check in with Matho, who asked what I’d thought of it all… “Ah, you know,” I replied, “just hordes of tourists who fixed their eyes on everything but the road, locals that knew the route so well they drove as if they had just robbed the Bank of Melbourne, and a host of scay coach drivers that were more erratic than a cat in a sack.” Somehow I reckon Matho knew I was trying to pull his leg but I’m sure I heard him say something about “bloody Brits” as he walked off. ARR


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Some country pubs choose to blend contemporary style with period features, while others still cling to their history and heritage, an aspect many visitors love and respect. But whether you prefer old-world charm or chic modern, a stylish suite or a cosy room with simple furnishings, our eclectic mix of rooms to stay offer something to suit all tastes, plus each one exhibits a high standard of cleanliness and maintenance.

FACILITIES:

FACILITIES:

HILLTOP HOTEL OMEO 107 Day Avenue Omeo VIC 3898 P: (03) 5159 1303 F: (03) 5159 1304 E: thehilltophotel@gmail.com

Situated at the top of the hill in picturesque Omeo Victoria, The Hilltop Hotel open 7 days, is under new management also new chefs with a mouth-watering menu. Accommodation basic but clean! Keeping prices low so you can make the most of your stay. Entertainment available for group bookings give us a call today.

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• Free wifi • Meals 7 days dinner and lunch • Bike lock up available • Beer Garden • Self-serve continental breakfast • Handmade pizzas Tue/Fri nights • Pool comp every Tuesday night • Accommodation/ meal packages for 2 or more nights stay • Cooked breakfast available on request

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26 E Fitzroy Street, Walcha P: (02) 6777 1117 E: royalcaf@bigpond.net.au www.walcharoyalcafe.com.au

A great dining experience with function room, licensed bar and excellent accommodation. With a relaxed & friendly environment we are the perfect spot for a quick bite or to celebrate a night out with a group. Come and see why Royal Cafe is the place that’s got it all ...

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Dine in or takeaway Healthy & tasty menu Function room Licensed bar Excellent accommodation • Queen to single rooms to semi self contained cottage • Lock up sheds & drying room available

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Come stay with us FACILITIES:

FACILITIES: Hang loose, hit the juice at the Snow Goose. Situated in the town centre, close to Mt Selwyn

Snow Goose Hotel Motel

(for snow skiing) and

Cnr Baker & Denison Streets Adaminaby NSW 2629 P: (02) 6454 2202 F: (02) 6454 2608 E: thesnowgoosehotel @bigpond.com

bushwalking. Enjoy a

beautiful Eucumbene for boating, fishing, barbeques and meal in the country

• • • • •

Restaurant Bar Bottle shop Motel/Hotel rooms Backpacker accommodation • Lock up area for bikes • Games/ recreation room

style dining room and family bistro with weekend entertainment.

GLOUCESTER ACCOMMODATION A short walk to the main Street Cafés, Restaurants, shops, Parks, Pubs & Clubs. Enjoy a scenic drive to visit 11 Church Street, GLOUCESTER the Barrington Tops NSW 2422 National Park. Go kayaking, fishing, P: 0427 588 205 E: coppershill1@bigpond.com horse riding or sample some fresh www.coppershill.com local produce.

COPPERS HILL

FACILITIES: Head along to the Great Southern Inn, Eden, known as “that nice pub on the coast”. Drop in and enjoy some drinks at the bar, have a bite to eat and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. Stop in for a light lunch or delicious 158 Imlay Street, dinner overlooking Eden NSW 2551 Twofold Bay. Eden’s staff buys the freshest E: greatsouth@bigpond.com ingredients from their P: (02) 6496 1515 www.greatsoutherninn.com.au best local suppliers.

Great Southern Inn

• Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner • Seats up to 150 guests for your function • Daily specials • Accommodation available • We are in the ‘Good Pub Food Guide’ for 2013

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3 Ensuite Rooms Air-conditioned Private Entrance Queen-sized bed Quiet Location Fridge, TV Tea, Coffee $110 Double/night $90 Single/night 1 minute walk to main Street

FACILITIES: The Mallacoota Hotel Motel is conveniently situated in Mallacoota’s main street close to shopping, playgrounds, tourist information and easy access to all that Mallacoota and Croajingolong National

51-55 Maurice Avenue, Mallacoota VIC 3892 (PO Box 43) P: (03) 5158 0455 F: (02) 5158 0453 E: inncoota@bigpond.net.au www.mallacootahotel.com.au

Park have to offer.

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THE EXPLORER Turn a familiar route into an exploratory ride by turning off at unlikely corners STORY & PHOTOS: MARK HINCHLIFFE t takes me a long time to get bored with a good motorcycle road. But I’m heading up to the Sunshine Coast on holidays and I’m feeling in the mood for something new and exciting. I’ve been up this way on many occasions, but it’s usually at the end of a day’s ride and I don’t spend much time just exploring or venturing down some road on the off chance it might lead somewhere or nowhere. I’m a happy chappy with a bright orange Street Glide in my possession. I’m taking the long way up while my family bales the coast highway packed with holidaying families and their dogs in SUVs, nudging each other at 5km/h in scorching

I

86 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

heat. My much cooler route takes me over Mt Mee and the Blackall Ranges, all roads I’ve done on many occasions. Once over the Blackall Ranges I run the Street Glide down the beach side and hit the Steve Irwin Way, where the temperature climbs rapidly past 30°C. Behind the fairing there is very lile cooling air and I’m starting to get uncomfortably hot in the slow-moving holiday traffic. I turn off the well-worn route for a bit more velocity, cool air and to start exploring the valleys of the hinterland. Here, the villages have grown up around small-plot pineapple and cane farms and the network of intertwining roads were carved by the pioneers with their

tractors, so they tend to follow the terrain up and over the many low-lying hills. I’ve spent a bit of time poring over these roads on paper maps and Google Maps, but it doesn’t give you any indication of what they are really like. It just looks like the varicose veins on an old person’s leg. So I’ve decided to eschew the maps and just follow my nose and the sun, heading north and eventually east to our coastal hideaway at Castaways Beach near Noosa. I’m in no hurry and that’s a good idea for anyone searching for new routes. There is no point being on a deadline to get somewhere. You may have to backtrack, you may get hopelessly lost, you may go round in circles. ►


SUNSHINE COAST

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 87


■ Some of the roads on the Sunshine Coasts are almost too popular on the weekends, but you can see why!

■ A bike pulls into Rick’s Garage and Diner, a favourite hangout

Given plenty of time, you can experiment and try that “no through road”, “gravel road”, or “local traffic only” road as sometimes those signs lie. I’ve been down these roads on many occasions and sometimes found a way out the other side. Usually it’s via a bit of gravel or a track, so it usually pays to have an adventure bike for these adventurous pursuits. Today I’m a lile restricted on the Street Glide. I’m certainly not intimidated by rough roads and tight turns, and I’ve taken big cruisers like this long ways down dirt roads. However, 88 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

I’ve drawn the line in the dirt and won’t do any gravel roads because it’s hot and the bike is shiny and new and doesn’t deserve any gravel rash. Along the way, I’ve diverted through Palmwoods heading toward Montville, passing Rick’s Garage and Diner. It’s always great to drop in for a coffee and chat with Rick, who has built it up into a great biker haunt with its motoring memorabilia. But not today. I’m on a bit of a mission to ride the PalmwoodsMontville Road, which has been closed down for three years thanks to landslides caused by the 2011 floods.

It’s a tight and twisty torture test for any big low-slung cruiser, but the new Street Glide is up to the task. The footboards touch down, but a lile less oen than I expect. There are hairpins here, but they have a constant radius so you can put the floorboard on the ground at the entry to the corner and run it all the way around without any dramas. Harley has sharpened up the steering geometry so it turns into corners a lile quicker and feels quite nimble through these switchbacks. It’s one of the besthandling cruiser-tourers on the market and only a fool would forgo a road like


SUNSHINE COAST this for fear of too many tight corners. In fact, I’m having so much fun I U-turn at the top and come back down. I reward myself at the boom with a milkshake at Rick’s before continuing on through a nest of roads, flicking le and right, geing lost, winding up and down ranges and eventually spilling out onto familiar territory. For this sort of riding, you really only need the sun and an idea of which direction you are heading, plus maybe a couple of place names in your head to follow directional signs. It also requires the right aitude. Geing lost shouldn’t be considered a negative, but a positive. With the right aitude, you will venture down that dodgy dead-end road. It might only go a short distance and be a thorough disappointment, but it could also go for a reasonable distance and be quite enjoyable. Take your chances, spin the wheel, try your luck. I’m also looking for topographic indicators such as hills and rivers. I see a hill in the distance and head for it. That’s where the roads start to twist and turn. There are quite a few around this area and I’m happily riding from one to the next when all of a sudden there is the biggest cow I’ve ever seen. It’s the Big Cow, which used to be a tourist araction. The structure was built in 1976 and stands 12m high above the ■ Mark opted to avoid the gravel on the Harley but riding these back roads is often rewarding

■ Having a bit of fun in the Blackall Ranges

“I’m in no hurry and that’s a good idea for anyone searching for new routes” surrounding cale farms, spooking cale and riders alike. I realise I’m not far from MotoGP winner Chris Vermeulen’s cale farm and I reset my bearings to ride through his home town of Yandina and head across the river towards the flat cane fields that extend towards the golden beaches. Here, I follow the slow and meandering rivers as the roads usually meander in sympathy, cross over interesting bridges or, if you are really ■ Cooling off in the shade along the PalmwoodsMontville road

lucky, they cross via a ferry. No such luck here, but still a real joy. At one stage I find myself revelling in the serenity a bit like the Kerrigans in The Castle. On these quiet cane farm back roads there is very lile traffic and with the stock Harley exhaust I’m almost gliding along. In fact, the exhaust is so quiet I oen find myself in too low a gear. On the bright side, I can hear the sound system beer so I search through my iPhone music library for an appropriate track. I’m feeling like a lile JJ Cale in this neck of the woods and it’s a fiing tribute to the recently departed musician when I tune into the steady Cajun shuffle of “Lou-Easy-Ann”. Off in a mental haze of swamp music, I soon become lost and have to U-turn when the road runs into one of the many national parks in the area and becomes gravel. These may be a haven for adventure bikes, but beware as they can be plagued by people wearing khaki Mountain Design hiking gear and driving Toyota Camrys, slowly. Very slowly. I’m easily distracted and find myself venturing down dead-ends simply because I see a “winding road” sign. They usually turn out to be worth it, just like those signs that warn of “motorcycle danger”. I’ve also been looking at the signs and taking many a dead-end romp just because the name sounds interesting. Listed over the page are some of the words on the signs in this region that had me salivating — sometimes with good reason and sometimes a bit of a letdown. ► AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 89


SUNSHINE COAST ■ Winging their way past the extraordinary views of the Glasshouse Mountains

Old, Historic, Heritage: They indicate an original road before bulldozers and surveyors with theodolites carved a straight line through the hills. They usually follow the natural contours in a very entertaining fashion. Way, Drive, Track: I avoid anything called a motorway or freeway while words like these indicate much more fun. However, even some highways (Omeo Highway, for example) can be motorcycle roads. Anything called a street should probably be avoided at all costs. Scenic, Vista, View: There are lots of these on the Sunshine Coast because there are plenty of elevated vistas of the beautiful beaches. However, some don’t really deserve the name and obviously have been put there by unscrupulous land developers to dupe buyers into purchasing a block which has far less than panoramic views. Hill, Mountain, Ridge, Range: I’ve backtracked over Kiel Mountain Road near Nambour on many occasions.

r Rick’s Garage includes a display of new and old plates from all over Australia

90 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

“For this sort of riding, you really only need the sun and an idea of which direction you are heading”

Roads with any of these hilly terms are a prey safe bet. Valley, Gorge, Canyon: Same deal, but none here that I can see. Creek, River, Dam: Dio. The road up to Wappa Dam near Yandina is a prime example. With all this experimenting and exploring, I’ve found myself well past my destination and, not wanting to concern my family by being too late, I set my bearings toward the Pacific Ocean and thread my way through the back roads from Eumundi. I know an easy and quick way there, but I’m still willing to experiment on back roads I’ve never ridden. The results of all my exploring are that I arrive at the holiday shack with a big smile on my face, even though I have no idea where I have been half the time and could probably never find my way back over all those roads again. Maybe I should have packed a GPS and breadcrumbed my route so I can share it with friends some other time. ARR

r Rick looks pretty relaxed behind the counter of his famous diner

STREET GLIDE Harley made numerous changes to the 2014 Street Glide. Some of the results are very hi-tech, but two that stand out for me are quite low-tech: the handsome slimline high-flow air filter so you don’t have to ride like you’ve got rickets, and the new pannier handles that can be accessed without getting off the bike. The extra grunt of the new 103 Twin Cam is also a highlight, especially on a fun piece of road. It has a higher and earlier cam profile that makes the throttle snappier and more responsive. Not that you have to work the throttle much. Just click through the gears and let the lumpy torque drive you up the steepest slopes. Despite the extra oomph from the Twin Cam, it seems to run a little leaner than before, with fuel economy bang on the claimed figures of 5.6L/100km. Harley spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel with this bike and introduced an air vent in the iconic “batwing” fairing to reduce the negative air pressure behind the screen and subsequently reduce buffeting and increase airflow. However, the low windscreen buffeted my goggles and helmet so I bolted on my trusty Wunderlich windscreen extension and, hey presto, no buffeting.


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■ Lozenets, Bulgaria, on the Black Sea

BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN Rob Harden and partner venture into the heart of the former Soviet Union on a Suzuki 650 V-Strom

e headed north from Turkey to the Bulgarian border. I was excited about this leg of our three-month European trip because we knew almost nothing about where we were going, deep behind the former Iron Curtain. It was intense for all sorts of reasons, not least that we would cross four borders in eight days and I had heard horror stories about what could go wrong. Based on our experience so far, I was expecting problems again with our bike insurance when we tried to get into Bulgaria, but it was nothing of the kind;

W

92 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

the border check was straightforward. We had to visit the passport control point, the vehicle check and the baggage check and then four boom gate check points to get out of Turkey and into Bulgaria. The border was an absolute classic, a real caricature of what you would expect an old communist border to look like: austere, decaying concrete, rusting metal and peeling paint. The road on the Bulgarian side kept us working dodging potholes, avoiding sand dris, braking, choosing lines, more braking, everything except avoiding traffic, because there was none. There was nothing else either. No farms or

villages, just forest, which was totally different to anything in Turkey. The forest went all the way to the coast so that by the time we emerged, we were only about 10km from our overnight stop in Lozenets, a beach resort on the Black Sea that was super-cheap. We were there at the height of the holiday season and stayed in a suite in a four-star hotel for just 35 euros a night. Dinner for two in town including drinks was just 14 Euros. We headed to Varna and much of our ride was along the Black Sea coast through huge tracts of native forest. There wasn’t much agriculture


EASTERN EUROPE ■ The orthodox churches in Kiev are amazingly ornate

■ Militaria outside the Chernobyl Museum in Kiev

“We needed to travel just 2.6km through Moldova to get to Ukraine and were refused entry”

■ The statue of Lenin that was torn down during the recent anti-Russia protests

or industry to be seen, just a lot of tourism. Not far out of Lozenets we went through a small city which had the worst-quality high-rise residential I have seen anywhere, typical of the old Iron Curtain countries. The buildings were in a dreadful state of decay but apparently still fully occupied. From Varna, we rode towards Romania and found out what they do in Bulgaria. They grow corn, wheat and sunflowers, heaps of them. We rode for about 200km and it was all we could see as far as the horizon in every direction. Except when we stumbled across a petrified forest, “Bulgaria’s greatest natural wonder”. It’s snazzy when you just find this sort of stuff. We crossed the border into Romania without any complications. Going from one EU country to another makes it easier and this was by far the busiest border we had experienced. There was a huge amount of road freight moving between countries. We arrived in Bucharest, where rows of apartment blocks lining the road were in the same state of decay as those in Bulgaria. The walls on buildings eight to 10 storeys high looked like they could collapse. Closer to the centre of the city there were large numbers of apartment blocks undergoing renovation, so hopefully that will extend to the outskirts of town. ► AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 93


■ Skyline in Varna

■ The cobbled streets of Bucharest, where the food and accommodation are cheap

94 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

We stayed in a charming lile boutique hotel just off the centre of town. It only had eight rooms and cost 40 euros for a lo apartment. Bucharest has some fantastic architecture and in the height of summer on a Tuesday night the restaurants were packed. With 1.7m people, Romania’s capital Bucharest is the country’s largest city and home of the People’s Palace. It was named during the communist years, which means you can guarantee that whatever went on there had nothing to do with the best interests of the people of Romania. It’s in the Guinness Book of Records as the second-largest building in the world (the Pentagon is the largest). There isn’t a bump in the landscape through the eastern part of Romania. The agriculture was identical to Bulgaria — corn, wheat and sunflowers as far as the horizon. Small towns appear every 10km


EASTERN EUROPE ■ Independence Square, scene of recent demonstrations in Kiev

■ It’s not what you’re thinking — it’s a petrified tree

■ This hotel in western Ukraine was as good as it looks and cheap

■ The People’s Palace in Bucharest is the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon

or so, where residents try to make some pocket money selling garden produce. There were a lot more horse-drawn carts on the road, a sure sign we were geing deeper into rural Romania as we headed north-east towards our rendezvous with the Moldova-Ukraine borders. We arrived in Galati in time to walk down to the Danube at dusk for dinner, which is the done thing there. In winter it would be below freezing and the days would be short, so the people make the most of the summer months to get out and about. Galati is only 15km from the Moldova border that we hoped to cross

the next day on the way into Ukraine. I expected these to be the most complicated border crossings of our whole trip. Despite holding valid visas for Ukraine, based on what I had read there was no guarantee we would get our bike in. It proved difficult, but not in the way we expected. Crossing Moldova is a short cut to Ukraine from this part of Romania and opens up the route to Odessa, our next overnight stop. We needed to travel just 2.6km through Moldova to get to Ukraine and were refused entry. All my research said we could get transit visas for Moldova at the border.

When we got there, the border guard said the only way we could transit Moldova would be to apply for a visa through the consulate back in Bucharest. That’s a two-day round trip for us and would ruin our schedule. I debated the maer with him and he wouldn’t budge. I walked him down the path to the door marked “bribe” without saying as much and he still wouldn’t budge. Our plans were now in turmoil. We had a paid hotel reservation for the night in Odessa and there was no way we could get there on time without transiting Moldova. It was already midday and ► AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 95


EASTERN EUROPE

■ Lunch in the forest in Ukraine

“We stayed in a charming little boutique hotel just off the centre of town. It cost 40 euros for a loft apartment” time was running out. The only practical alternative was to ride 400km north around Moldova and enter Ukraine directly via Romania’s northern border. I found another hotel in Chernivtsi, about 30km inside Ukraine. It was 1pm by the time we finally got going and we had about 430km to our new hotel and still had to cross the border into Ukraine. The route looked fairly direct but it went through every small village and a few major cities along the way. The result is we struggled to average 50km/h.

We made only two very short stops to top up with petrol and a quick bite and drink. I didn’t even stop to take photos. We arrived at the Ukraine border at 7.30pm (six-and-a-half hours to do just 400km) to be met by a huge line of traffic. But we rode straight past about 70 cars and had no trouble having our visas checked by the Ukraine border guards. At almost exactly 9pm we crossed into Ukraine. No insurance hassles or anything. We rode the last 30km to our hotel in twilight. We had been warned that

■ Typical rundown and fully occupied apartment building inside the old Iron Curtain

96 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

Ukraine roads were the worst in Europe. The roads into Chernivtsi were all cobbled and potholed and it was hard to do more than 30km/h. The hotel insisted that I move our bike into the courtyard where they could lock it up. Apparently security in Ukraine is an issue and my EU bike insurance didn’t apply. Our ride to Kiev the next day was our longest so far. Believe me, anything over 400km in a day is a very long way over there. We’d been on some bad roads in the previous 12 months (we had ridden ► ■ More Russian military reminders


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EASTERN EUROPE ■ Remnants of the Soviet Union’s propaganda in sculpture

■ A main road in Ukraine

■ The Danube River at sunset in Galati, Romania

■ The streets of Chernivtsi

“The road on the Bulgarian side kept us working, dodging potholes, everything except avoiding traffic, because there was none” through India) and Ukraine was right up there with the worst. We only managed 140km in the first three hours. This was before all the current problems in Ukraine and one of things I really wanted to see was evidence of nearly 50 years of Soviet domination. We saw displays of the military might of the former USSR, images of the agricultural proletariat living the communist economic miracle and statues of Lenin smiting the counter-revolutionary Trotskyites. About 130km out of Kiev there is a modern toll-free motorway which goes to within 10km of the centre of the city and it was welcome relief from the shocking roads. Our accommodation was just off the main drag and couldn’t have been easier to get to. In the end it took us nine-and-a-half 98 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

hours to cover 550km and we arrived in Kiev at about 7.30pm prey tired. For the ridiculously low sum of A$107 per night we rented a three-room apartment complete with kitchen, washing machine and parking for the bike. Our apartment was right across the road from the statue of Lenin that was destroyed during the recent riots and we were just up the road from Independence Square, where most of the demonstrations took place. Chernobyl is only about 100km from Kiev as the crow flies. I would love to have visited the ghost town but we went to the Chernobyl Museum instead. We also visited a few of the ornate orthodox churches and generally had a look around.

Neither the roads nor the drivers in Kiev were as bad as I had been led to expect. Actually, I would say the drivers are among the beer ones in Europe. We saw no other bikes or scooters so I guess we had some novelty value. The traffic density is low by European standards. I expected the 600km ride from Kiev to Lviv, near the Polish border, to be the longest of the trip and to average less than 50km/h on bad roads, but aer one turn just near our apartment, we were on a motorway all the way to Lviv and averaged our best speed of the trip. Going through one town, we were passing a line of parked semis when another truck drew alongside. He sideswiped me at about 70km/h and le some new red stripes on my le-hand ►


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EASTERN EUROPE ■ Mother Russia providing food and little boys, apparently

■ The border between Turkey and Bulgaria was like a Cold War caricature

r The truck that sideswiped us at 70km/h

r Red marks on the V-Strom’s Xplora panniers from our close encounter with the truck

“He side-swiped me at about 70km/h and left some new red stripes on my left-hand pannier and knuckle guard” pannier and knuckle guard. Close. He pulled into a yard further up the road. My partner speaks Ukrainian and I gather she gave him both barrels. To be fair, he was very apologetic and it turns out he had just finished a round trip to Kiev and had only had two hours sleep. We arrived in Lviv mid-aernoon. It’s a charming city of nearly a million people about 75km from the Polish border in western Ukraine. The city has World Heritage listing due to the quality of its architecture and it has a lovely feel to it. Our hotel was an old-world stunner just off the centre of the old city overlooking a park across the road. We woke to another lovely morning, our last in Ukraine. The Polish border was only 75km away and the road was good. Why are border crossings so stressful? There seem to be no end of tricks that border guards can play with you to make your trip exciting. 100 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

At the Polish border it went like this: “Can I see your international driver’s licence please?” “I don’t have one of those.” “You are from Owstrarlia, you must have an international driver’s licence to ride in Poland.” “I have an ordinary driver’s licence. You can’t get an international driver’s licence unless you have one of those.” “I can’t let you in unless you have an international driver’s licence.” “I don’t need one to ride in the EU. Poland is part of the EU. I don’t need one to ride in Poland.” “I’ll ask my boss. You wait.” Sometime later: “My boss says it’s OK. You can enter.” That exchange took about 90 minutes. And so we le Ukraine and re-entered the EU via Poland, having ridden more than 3000km behind the old Iron Curtain. We’d been challenged like never before and we’d do it all again tomorrow. ARR

r The Russians love to remind Ukraine who has the biggest guns

CHANGING TIMES At the time of publishing, it wasn’t a good time to visit Ukraine, with pro-Russian militia giving the local police a punch on the nose. The advice for travellers was to reconsider the need to travel in the country, while Crimea, Donetsk Province and Odessa city are no-go areas altogether. Meanwhile, Turkey has announced that from April 2014 Australian tourists will no longer be able to get visas at the border and must arrange them in advance at a Turkish embassy. Since we returned, Moldova has changed its visa requirements and Australians no longer require a visa to visit Moldova for up to 90 days.


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TOURATECH TRAVEL EVENT 2014

The second Touratech Travel Event was another feast of Snowy Mountains off-road action STORY & PHOTOS: JAMES MALONEY / JPM PHOTOGRAPHICS wesome, count me in,” was my first and only thought when I heard that this year’s Touratech Travel Event was going to be held in the beautiful alpine town of Bright, Victoria, once again. Last year more than 40 adventure riders gathered for two days of off-road fun as part of the German brand’s commitment to their customers.

“A

Touratech has franchises in 40 countries and they all run an annual travel event to give experienced riders and newcomers the chance to put their bike through its paces in a fairly safe environment. This year’s event kicked off on Friday aernoon with quite a few familiar faces from last year plus many firsttimers at the meet and greet. A steady stream of bikes filled the parking area at the front of the Bright Motor Inn, our base for the next few days.

Aer a buffet dinner, Mick from Compass Expeditions gave a presentation about some of the trips they have available around the globe and ideas on how to be prepared when travelling overseas. Aer breakfast and a short chat from Touratech Australia’s Robin Box about how the day would proceed on Saturday morning, we headed out to private property for some rider training. Miles Davis from BMW ran through rider exercises such as slow-speed ►

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r BMW’s Miles Davis talks a potential customer through the ins and outs of a GS Adventure demo bike

r Bikes lined up outside the Bright Chalet

r Bikes wait patiently for their riders to learn how to better handle them

manoeuvring to sharpen our skills and get a feel for the bike’s traction. We then headed up to the lookout at Mount Porepunkah. This was a slow 30km ascent up dirt tracks to the summit with amazing views of the area that made you appreciate just how beautiful this part of the county is. The return ride was great, taking a slightly different route which took us back to the main road just the other side of the small township of Porepunkah, and not without mishap. One rider suffered a badly broken leg aer coming unstuck down the mountain in a reminder of just how dangerous adventure riding can be. Aer a break we headed on a short road ride up Mount Buffalo, made interesting by the number of cyclists on the hill competing in a local event. Unfortunately the historic Mt Buffalo Chalet at the top has been closed since 104 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

2007 due to the cost of a restoration, although the Victorian government will foot the bill of a complete rebuild sometime in the future.

“Hard, compact clay is great to ride on when dry but quickly turns into a highcountry skid pan” While most of the riders went back to the hotel, a few of us decided to head over to the Dingo Dell Cafe for a coffee and a bit of a scout around. While the coffee here is awesome, the ride back down the mountain in pouring rain was terrible. Aer almost having a head on with one of the cyclists’ support vehicles

r Facial beauty treatment, Sertão style

who decided to take a hairpin corner on my side of the road, I was more than happy to arrive back at the hotel to dry out and have a beer or two. That night’s presentation was another useful talk, this time by Nick from Maschine on how to get the most out of your motorcycle GPS. This included information on route planning, transferring maps to your GPS unit and reading the route while on the bike. Sunday is the big day and I had been looking forward to it for some time. Last year we took a smooth, high-speed dirt road from Mt Hotham out to Dargo, then a long winding stretch of wellgraded track through the mountains to Omeo, then a 100km road ride back over Hotham and down into Bright. Unfortunately, the weather in the high country is unpredictable. One minute it can be warm and sunny, but within a


TOURATECH TRAVEL EVENT 2014

“This was a slow 30km ascent up dirt tracks to the summit with amazing views of the area”

r The Snowy roads are worth any excuse just to go for a ride on them

maer of minutes the black clouds roll in, the temperature drops and the heavens open up. Dusty dry tracks instantly turn into slippery, muddy nightmares. Hard, compact clay is great to ride on when dry but quickly turns into a highcountry skid pan with virtually no traction and nowhere to hide. Over the previous 10 days rain had hit the entire area prey hard, turning this great route into something entirely different. A new challenge, a new set of rules and an old friend. Mud. Lots of mud. We set out from Bright at 7.30am, allowing plenty of time to complete the 300km route by early aernoon. Aer a foggy run over Mt Hotham, the group met up at Omeo for a coffee and a few photos. We then headed back out of town and onto the dirt section for a smooth run down to Dargo for lunch. ►

r No GS is happy until it’s covered in mud

r “Don’t forget, people, sidestands are on the left side of the bike”

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■ Views like this are reason enough

alone to go adventure riding

r “Hands up who thinks I’d fall off if I rode sideways on one footpeg…”

The first part of the track was great — some damp spots here and there but nothing out of the ordinary. Aer a few more kilometres, things started to change. Occasional mud puddles became more frequent and the size of them increased. Before too long the entire part of this section was trashed. Long stretches of mud covered the entire surface. The pace slowed considerably as I started to struggle to gain any sort of traction. Even with good off-road knobbies on the GS, the front end slipped all over the place while the rear tyre was struggling to push the bike forward. I knew this was going to take some time. Line selection and technique in these conditions can be the difference between staying upright or wallowing in the mud. Standing up on the pegs to keep the centre of gravity low helps immensely and smooth throle inputs help to keep the power down, as momentum is your friend. Rolling off the throle puts more weight on the front tyre, which can slip out without any indication at all. 106 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

r Now that’s what I’m talking about! Mud and mist, two great ingredients for adventure riding

Heading into the muddiest section I had seen so far, I commied to a line but soon realised that it was probably the worst line to take. A clear line appeared to the right, but the ruts between us made changing line out of the question. I slowed down to a steady pace, trying to make the best of a bad situation. Now siing down, feet out to try to paddle my way through, I thought I had everything under control. I thought wrong. The front tyre hit a deep rut filled with water. The ’bars went to the right, the back tyre decided it would prefer to be at the front and down I went. I hit the kill switch and slid out from under the bike. I’d landed on my elbow but the landing was so, so aer a few moments I was able to gain my composure and check the bike and was back in the saddle for round two. I was about 10 kilos heavier with the mud and the pain in my shoulder prevented me from standing up on the pegs, which made riding in these conditions harder. Then I was confronted with the biggest challenge so far.

A long stretch of track lay ahead — uphill, wet, muddy and incredibly slippery. The track was so chopped up it looked like the starting line of a motocross track and there was no way to pick any sort of line. First gear, feet out doing all of about 5km/h — more power only meant more wheelspin as the bike continually followed the camber of the road. I was eventually at full le lock as the rear came around, to the point where I was now almost sideways across the road. At this point I was so exhausted I put down the sidestand to take a break. Looking down the hill, I saw mate Steve on his GS and the backup vehicle behind him. They’d been watching me head up the hill, waiting for me to fall again. Aer we pushed my bike to the top of the hill, we put Steve’s bike on the trailer and drove it up. This was the safer option at this stage, given the condition of the track. The risk of falling off and doing damage to either bike or rider was high. My shoulder problem was also making it tough so we put my bike on the trailer


TOURATECH TRAVEL EVENT 2014

and because there was room for only one, Steve rode the rest of the 25km down into Dargo. Thanks mate, I needed it. As luck would have it, another 10km later saw the track conditions improve for the beer. Continuous mud changed back to occasional puddles and slippery sections. We arrived at Dargo about 10 minutes aer the bikes and I got the bike off the trailer to finish the rest of the route on two wheels. The magic pills started to take the edge off as we rode for another 30km of tar out of Dargo before hiing the dirt again for the rest of the run along High Plains Road, back up towards the main road. Some sections of this road were very average, with a smooth gravel straightended in a wet, clay-based corner waiting to catch out the unwary rider. But aer an hour or so we finally made it back to the main road for the run back down the mountain to Harrietville and then into Bright. I was relieved to finally see asphalt again and my shoulder was quite stiff so a

smooth road was appreciated. Back at the hotel I learned another rider had peeled the front tyre off his KTM aer only a few turns on the asphalt back at the top of the mountain. Luckily there was only minor damage to both the bike and the rider. Aer a hot shower, we hit the buffet for dinner and a few beers before the final presentation by Sherri Jo Wilkins. This remarkable woman spent three years riding around the world, mostly by herself. The trip, titled Because I Can World Tour, was impressive: Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, back to Australia. Aer a great night’s sleep it was time to start packing for the trip back home. Just like last year’s event, many of the riders weren’t very eager to head home. The memories of the past few days were too great to let go and I think everyone

wanted to get back on the bike and head off into the mountains again. This is the sign of a great experience. Once again the guys at Touratech managed to improve on something that really needed no improvement. The location, the organisation, the crew and the riding experience were all world class. Everyone I spoke to was very impressed with how the event unfolded and most were already looking forward to next year. I know I am. ARR

WHEN SHERRI MET ROBIN Sherri Jo’s relationship with Touratech started when a friend mentioned that her bike would need a larger fuel tank for her world trip, and suggested that she contact Robin Box from Touratech. Aer several conversations, Robin helped her prepare for the trip, seing up her bike with a large-capacity tank and other necessary protection. They became good friends and Sherri says the support given to her by people like Robin helped make this trip possible. Her off-road riding experience was virtually nonexistent before the trip, while Robin had a wealth of experience with seing up bikes for hard terrain. It was the reputation of Robin’s safari tanks that earned him the Touratech franchise. Based in Carboor, Victoria, the business sends parts from its massive range all over the country for all types of riders. Check out www.touratech.com.au.

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TECHNOLOGY AND CAMPING

In this third instalment of our comprehensive guide to adventure riding, we look at the essentials and luxuries to make your ride comfortable

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ADVENTURE RIDING PART 3: CAMPING & TECH

STORY MARK HINCHLIFFE omewhere between Bedouri and Boulia on the Queensland-Northern territory border, miles from anywhere, the Simpson Desert dunes reach out like fingers to the Diamantina Development Road. We pull off the road and roll our heavily packed goanywhere adventure bikes to a stop at the foot of the closest dune. In this remote and desolate environment we were alone, far from the comforts of home. Not another soul in sight.

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“Right now I’m dying for a lae,” I say. So my mate pulls out his portable cappuccino machine. “No point roughing it when you’re roughing it,” he says. In the first two parts of this series on adventure riding accessories we looked at seing up your bike and luggage options. In this third series we look at some of the gizmos you might want to take with you for that touch of luxury, and some camping gear so you can experience a lile home away from home. It’s called roughing it in style.

Once again, we invited our team of experts from various adventure motorcycle accessories companies to offer their sage words of advice for our lonely two-wheel travellers.

GIZMOS If you’re going deep into the unknown and especially if you are travelling alone, you shouldn’t leave home without some sort of distress radio beacon or EPIRB (Emergency PositionIndicating Radio Beacon). If worst comes to worst, you can activate a ►

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r The Exped down mattress has an integrated pump and rolls up to fit in your hand

“The maps on your smart phone are fine for country romps, but a serious GPS is vital for Outback travel” distress signal and your location will be picked up by the emergency services. Aer that essential piece of kit, it’s also fun to share your trip via a satellite tracker which can send a map of your trip over the internet for your family and friends to follow, updating every 10 minutes, subject to satellite signal. With Spot Connect you can also turn your mobile phone into a satellite phone, which means you can even update your Facebook when you’re in the middle of nowhere. And how important is that? Of course, a GPS is mandatory. The maps on your smart phone are fine for most country romps, but when you start to get further into the bush and the outback, a serious GPS with topographic maps and detailed tracks is vital. But this is just the start of the electronic gizmos adventurers carry.

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There’s also a mobile phone, Bluetooth, CB, satellite phone, laptop, tablet, camera and more. Lance Turnley of Adventure Moto says all this electrical gear needs a good charger. He suggests puing the power in your tank bag or luggage with a Powerlet Universal luggage electrics charger. It will charge just about all your electronic devices and the connector goes in through a waterproof outlet. It splits into a couple of power leads so you can charge a couple of things at the same time, depending on the output of your bike. The new Triumph adventure bikes have more powerful alternators, but you may have to invest in an aermarket high-output alternator for some of the smaller capacity bikes. Ron Durkin Motorcycle Adventure Products says there are other similar products, such as the Optimate that

r Stay off the ground with a Hennessy hammock that can also double as a tent

r q This folding and roll-up Helinox chair will have log sitters casting an envious eye


ADVENTURE RIDING PART 3: CAMPING & TECH

r The Antigravity micro jumpstart kit fits in your back pocket and is powerful enough to spark up a big V8 engine

connects to your baery and switches off at 12.4V so it doesn’t flaen your baery. It comes with leads, USB and a Y splier to power two devices, or charge your baery while powering another device. Robin Box of Touratech says an inverter can take your 12V up to 240V so you can easily charge your electronics without having back-up chargers, thus saving weight. See, it’s all about saving weight when you’re adventure riding. Geoffrey Bonfield of Carlisle Tyres and Accessories says all those electronics can still flaen a baery if you forget to switch

them off or they don’t have a failsafe switch. That’s why he says the “ultimate adventure accessory” is an Antigravity AGXP1 Micro Jump Start and Charger that will even jumpstart a V8 truck! He says the tiny unit will “fit in your back pocket”. It will also charge all your electronics. “It offers safety and security in this world where we rely so heavily on our electronic devices and vehicles,” he says. Luckily, in our wide, brown land we carry an instant power pack almost everywhere we go — the sun! If you’ve been to Windorah on your way to ►

“Now you can carry a solarpower generator on your bike or on your back”

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r Avoid that famous Blazing Saddles scene with these food packs

Birdsville you will have seen the massive solar power generator that runs the town. Now you can carry that on your bike or on your back. Or at least a small version. Andy White of Andy Strapz says the Power Monkey Extreme has a solar panel that is so light (200g) you could strap it to your back, or your Camelback or backpack. “You can hang it off your back and it’s insignificant so you can carry it all day and charge up just about anything that runs off a cigaree lighter charger or USB,” he says. “You can also put it on your tank bag or on top of your panniers. The great thing is you can get two or more and charge everything without draining your bike’s baery.” The kit comes with a

r Don’t carry a bunch of dusty bottles of Grange. Decant them into this PlatyPreserve bladder to cut down weight

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whole bunch of leads and connectors for just about any device, plus a zip-up bag to conveniently keep it all together. If we’re talking real luxury, how about a Braven BRV-X IPX5 Bluetooth speaker? It will connect to your Bluetooth player and keep you and your mates entertained around the campfire. It’s housed in highimpact plastic covered in rubber so it will repel water and survive the bumps of an adventure ride. It’s about the size of a loaf of bread and it weighs just 680g, so you should be able to fit in most motorcycle luggage. It has a built-in 5200mAh Li-pol baery to not only power your music for 12 hours, but also charge other portable devices via a 5V USB output port.

r Manage numerous electronic devices with a kit such as this Optimate that will preserve your battery and increase the number of items you can charge

r A quick cuppa in no time with this Jetboil system

Not every gadget is electronic. There are some great lile gadgets you can get such as a tool that will hold your tyre off the bead while you work your way around the rim when fixing a flat. Ingenious and practical. While we’re talking flats, a lightweight tyre compressor is worth packing. Greg Jansen of Rocky Creek Designs has a very compact and high-output MotoPressor pocket pump that will inflate a completely flat tyre to 30psi in two minutes. He also has a Dynaplug for plugging tyres that is a foolproof all-in-one kit. Robin says he’s not much of a gizmo person apart from cameras, GPS and intercom systems, but he swears by the IB Bike Lis emergency li, which is a compact device that raises the front or rear wheel for minor maintenance and repairs. On the non-practical side, Andy White of Andy Strapz says an adventure trip needs a touch of luxury and he suggests the PlatyPreserve wine carrier. We can’t argue with that. The so bladder saves you the weight and fragility of carrying a bole of wine and you don’t have to worry about corking it up if you don’t drink the whole lot in one evening of bench racing. Just decant a bole of vino into the PlatyPreserve bladder (not yours), then expel all the air from the line, squeezing until there is no air le, then tighten it up. Andy says it will last for ages — that is if you have the willpower.


ADVENTURE RIDING PART 3: CAMPING & TECH

r There are tons of different swags and few get fancier than the BlackWolf Bushranger that’s almost a tent

r A Therm-a-Rest mattress is a reasonably compact alternative to finding a soft bit of ground to kip on

r Take a sleeping bag that’s appropriate for the weather conditions, such as this alpine and trekking bag from Touratech

r Lightweight and fast to erect, this Hubba Hubba tent is a good alternative to a swag

“If you’re going to the desert or the high country, it has to work and it has to be waterproof” Andy’s advice: “Take two and it will save you about 1500g of bole weight.” Yeah, that’s right, it’s all about saving weight. Ron is a bit more practical and suggests a Camelback hydration pack for water or electrolyte-charged fluids. Robin agrees that hydration is important. “Not guzzling heaps but sipping all the time. Once you get thirsty it’s too late.” He also says trail mix is a must-have as the glucose in sultanas and the salt in cashews is an electrolyte recipe. “Also, cashews won’t go rancid, it’s tasty and you won’t feel hungry.”

CAMPING GEAR There are two schools of thought here. On the one hand the experts say you should not try to save money on cheap camping gear and bedding. A cold, wet, miserable and uncomfortable night leaves you tired for the next day’s ride, which is not only dangerous, but spoils the fun, says Andy. However, Ron says that if you don’t go camping oen, it is a waste to buy expensive gear as it rots in the cupboard, especially if you haven’t been diligent about drying it out before you pack it away. Andy says his “headliner” in camping gear is the Exped sleeping mat, which is filled with down and has an integrated pump. “They’re extremely comfortable and extremely warm. They set the standards for sleeping on the ground.”

Robin says for occasional trips where you are not counting every ounce of weight, the foam-filled Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite is a good compromise between packed size and weight. However, if you are worried about spiders and snakes and want to get your bum off the ground, try the Hennessy Hammock for something completely different. This is a combination of a hammock and tent which sits off the ground, suspended between two trees. “It’s quite a flash device,” Andy says. “The Hennessy is different from most hammocks because it has a trapezoid shape and you sleep across it, not along it. You end up with an interesting set-up as you can use it as a tent if you have to, or hang it up and keep it off the ground. You can also sit in it as well as it acts like a chair.” The whole thing weighs a bit over a kilo. Robin says their popular Hubba Hubba tent is now available in an HP version that is 100g lighter and has an inner tent, made from ultra-lightweight synthetic fibre that protects against snow, sand and wind. For those who love to swag it, but want some luxury, outdoors specialists BlackWolf has introduced the Bushranger luxury swag which is a combination tent and swag. Sizes range from the 220x130x90cm single through to the 280x185x145cm double swag, all of which are made of completely ► AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 113


ADVENTURE RIDING PART 3: CAMPING & TECH

“On the one hand the experts say that you should not try to save money on cheap camping gear and bedding” waterproof 350gsm rip-stop poly/coon canvas blend. It has doors at the front and side and opens right up for breeze. Yet even their biggest swag is only 10kg. Of course, you will need a decent sleeping bag. In fact, get two. One for summer and one for winter. Our experts mentioned a range of sleeping bags, but really we have never found one that works for both summer and winter — not without an extra liner. It’s best to have two and take the appropriate one for the season. However, Robin says the ultimate sleeping bag is one that is individually made to suit each customer. “Each One Planet sleeping bag is custom-made for individual customers, so your new bag is just three or four days old when it arrives,” he says. “This means that the fill hasn’t spent months in damaging compression during freight and storage, so it will give beer thermal qualities right from the start. There are nine different bag styles, with a range of weights of either goose or duck down fill so the options are huge.” He swears the bag also doubles for winter and summer use because the unique V-shaped baffles hold the fill in place for warmth in winter, yet you can shake the down away from the top of the body on hot nights. Mark Chaplain of MC Performance says no camping trip is comfortable 114 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

without a lightweight pillow. “I have an Oztrail Resort pillow. Worth its weight in gold,” he says. Robin says riders should think hiking when riding. “That’s because it’s lightweight gear, durable and it works. If you’re going to the desert or the high country, it has to be the best, it has to work and it has to be waterproof.” If you are really roughing it, you will be cooking your own food or at least making cups of tea or coffee when you are a long way from a cafe. That means you need a light and compact cooker. Andy suggests the Jet Boil, which is cupshaped and about the size of a 1.5L bole. Aach it to a self-sealing gas container and you can boil water in a minute or cook a meal of baked beans, noodles or some packet dinners. “We’ve trialled a lot of different stoves and this is by far and away the quickest and most convenient system,” he says. “The only real down side is you have to have gas boles. You can also get a coffee plunger aachment and make your own plunger coffee.” Mark says there can be more on the menu than the ubiquitous baked beans. He recommends Happy Camper Gourmet pre-cooked meals in a sealed pack. “They’re new on the market. Just add water and they’re quite nice. About $10 for a meal, but they have some great flavours like lamb with rosemary sauce.

It’s a full hearty meal with vegies. They store for up to 18 months in the cupboard. Some are even gluten-free.” Ron always takes an umbrella and a chair. He says so many rallies he has been to end up being washed out and you sit around for ages wondering what to do. So an unbreakable umbrella and a folding chair from Helinox are vital. “Every person who sees me with that chair says they want one,” he says. “It just folds and rolls up.” It weighs only 836g which is less than a litre of water. Ron also has the matching fold-up table! See, we don’t have to be uncivilised when adventure riding. Mark has a few other items he includes on his camping list: A reliable head torch plus a small cheap metal torch as a backup, a small inexpensive camping knife and fork set, a small billy, a Leatherman that has all the mod cons, and a second pair of riding gloves vacuum-sealed so you have a dry pair of gloves all the time. Every ride and every rider has different requirements, so consider your needs first, then add a few luxuries so it isn’t one endless torture test. “Always remember that it’s beer to have it than regret leaving it at home,” says Mark. ARR

WEB Adventure Moto: www.adventuremoto.com.au Andy Strapz: www.andystrapz.com Carlisle Tyres and Accessories: www.ctaaustralia.com.au MC Performance: www. mcperformance.com.au Motorcycle Adventure Products: www.motorcycleadventure.com.au Rocky Creek Designs: www.rockycreekdesigns.com.au


Expedition Panniers

Waterproof Adventure boot from Forma

Waterproof Cape Horn boot from Forma

Andy Strapz approved gear is specially selected and tested for quality and motorcycle friendliness.

P.O. Box 612, Sunbury 3429

If it wears the Andy Strapz brand, it’s made to the highest standards here in Australia.

www.andystrapz.com


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WOMEN ON MOTORCYCLES

WHERE ARE

THE WOMEN? Less than 10 per cent of Australia’s registered motorcyclists are women. We ask why so few

STORY: MARK HINCHLIFFE s many as one in five registered Australian riders is a woman, but less than 10 per cent actually ride. It’s an absurd anomaly, especially when Harley research shows women who ride feel more confident, happy and sexy. Yet there seems to be a plethora of reasons why more women don’t ride. Women’s International Motorcycle Association (WIMA) Australian president Moira Stewart thinks it’s because they are forced to quit by husbands, peer pressure and the general community. Women riders rally organiser Debb Dagger believes it has something to do with the public’s “Sons of Anarchy” image that all women riders are baered wives with criminal husbands. WIMA secretary Julie Holmes says it’s because not enough bikes are suitable for women.

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Other women riders I spoke to seem to have a host of other reasons for not geing out, but most revolve around the aitudes of male riders toward women. Harley Sportster rider Sharon Hughes, 60, says she has been riding since she was 50, despite a chauvinistic trend among male riders. “They says stuff like ‘You ride at the back’, or ‘You’ll need to ride slower’,” she says. “I’ve been to the US and there are a lot more women riders there because the men here are different.” There certainly is good reason for women to ride, according to the Harley-Davidson-commissioned study conducted by American market research company Kelton Global. Their online survey of 1013 adult female riders and 1016 adult female non-riders found American women riders are more confident and used words such as extremely satisfied, free and independent. That’s why 12.5 per

cent of American riders are women, while in Australia, Harley estimates it’s below 10 per cent. No one really knows the exact figure. We tried several sources to ascertain what proportion of riders are women and only came up with guesstimates. Moira says VicRoads shows as many as 20 per cent of registered riders are women, but she says that is not represented on the roads. “There might be a lot of women who got their registration just to say they did it, but they stop riding aer their first scare, or get pressured into quiing by their family and friends. There is a lot of social pressure on women not to ride because the general population thinks it’s unsafe. However, they represent only two per cent of crashes and fatalities. What people don’t realise is that women are safer on bikes because they don’t have that testosterone factor.” ►

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r Sharon says women riders are treated differently in the US

“I’ve been to the US and there are a lot more women riders there because the men here are different” Motorcycle trainer Mark McVeigh of MotoDNA agrees. He runs women-only courses and says women are great learners and safer riders because they listen and don’t let their egos get in the way. Women-only training courses came up as a strong solution for geing more women out of the kitchen and onto the roads. But Julie says the courses are few and far between and only available in capital cities, making it difficult for women in regional centres to access. “Even when I went for my licence in 1997, I felt very intimidated by some of the other male riders, although my trainers were very, very good,” she says. “I hope I haven’t made fellow women riders out to be ‘wimps’ but I have found only a handful that fit into a mainly men-only hobby. It is geing beer as more and more bike-associated

companies and businesses cater for women riders, and now that there are even women riders in the top level of the sport. I still believe that women-only training sessions, even Q-ride sessions, could help.” KTM 990 Adventure rider Anja agrees that more women would ride if there were more women’s riding groups and women-only training courses. “You don’t have to keep up with their testosterone,” she says. “Young women can ride with older ladies and feel supported and not have to ride too fast to keep up. When you ride with men you always feel under pressure to ride fast.” Sportster rider Kerrie says children also slow down women riders. “It’s risky and you don’t want to leave your kids behind,” she says. Angie Davis is still on her bike P plates and says graduating to an open licence

r Anja (left) says women rider groups and training would take out the testosterone factor, while Kerrie (right) says having kids is a big factor

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is on her to-do list. “But chasing around aer five kids I get a bit busy,” she says. Her friend, Madeleine Ellis, rides a 250cc scooter and is happy with her restricted licence, but says she notices more young women riding big bikes. “Until recently it was just a man’s world,” she says. “Now I’m seeing younger girls out riding Speed Triples and things.” Then there’s the purely physical hurdle of seat height and bike weight. Julie says many women aren’t as tall or strong as men and need a lower, lighter bike. “There aren’t a lot of bikes that are suitable and I’m not a cruiser fan,” says the Ducati Monster 1100 Evo rider. Sharon points out that more American women ride probably because they are taller and stronger. It could be all those Big Macs they eat. Women can also be thwarted by a perceived threat to their personal safety when riding alone, fearing a breakdown. Anja suggests basic mechanics courses just for women so they don’t fear being stranded at the side of some lonely road. It’s a tactic Harley has been employing successfully for a few years, with its women-only Garage Parties where female riders are taught basic mechanical skills. Julie agrees it’s a great idea and says “maybe more bike businesses could try that”. Specific rallies and social groups for women could be another solution for those who feel intimidated riding with men. Debb started an annual 2Wheelbabes Babe Raid rally for women in 2010, which has grown into an international event with two rallies planned for 2014. “We only expected to get 60 women to aend (the first rally) but we got 120. That was with lile advertising and mostly word of mouth,” she says. “Since then, the event has grown every year to the point that it

r From left: Madeleine Ellis, Cheryl Kremastos, Marina Huddleston and Angie Davis


WOMEN ON MOTORCYCLES SEXIER, HAPPIER, MORE CONFIDENT

r Julie says bike size is a limiting factor

is now known not only nationally, but internationally.” Babe Raids will be held this year at Ballina on September 5-8 and Warrnambool on November 14-16. Moira says the WIMA annual general meeting was held straight aer the World Superbikes at Phillip Island and this year Australia will host the world WIMA Rally on the island straight aer the MotoGP. She says it will aract thousands of women from more than 20 countries. “I’m about to embark on a membership drive for WIMA this year,” she says. “The advantages of belonging to an international organisation are that you can travel almost everywhere and meet up with fellow members. I went to the WIMA rally in Switzerland last year and am going to Poland this year.” While Moira enjoys the companionship of other women riders, she confesses that the major araction of riding is the feeling of being on your own. “You’re on your own on a bike and that’s automatic freedom,” she says. “No one is nagging in your ear. You do what you want to do and don’t need anyone else if you have a bike. It’s a bit daring — it’s considered daring for blokes but more daring for women.” So go on, ladies, ride. We dare you. ARR

WEB WIMA: wima.org.au MotoDNA: motodna.com.au Babe Raid: 2wheelbabes.com

Women who ride motorcycles are sexier, feel happier and are more confident than women who don’t ride. Those are the results from a Harley-Davidsoncommissioned study, conducted by American market research company Kelton Global, which interviewed 1013 adult female riders and 1016 adult female non-riders via email. While the online survey was conducted in America, it has implications in most countries. Here are the major findings: • More than twice as many women who ride always feel happy (37 per cent compared with 16 per cent of non-riders); • Nearly four times as many always feel sexy (27 per cent vs 7 per cent); • Nearly twice as many always feel confident (35 per cent vs 18 per cent); • More than half (53 per cent) of women who ride cite their motorcycle as a key source of happiness; • Three-quarters (74 per cent) believe their lives have improved since they started riding; • Almost two in three women who ride (60 per cent) have good communication

with their partner compared with 38 per cent of non-riders; and • Half of women riders (51 per cent) have good physical intimacy experiences, compared with 35 per cent. Women riders who responded to the online survey used words such as confident, extremely satisfied, free and independent. Harley-Davidson’s director of women’s outreach marketing, Claudia Garber, is a mother of two who started riding six years ago. “It’s about freedom,” she says. “When you’re doing things you want to do, for yourself, and you feel confident, it goes into every aspect of your life, including how you feel about yourself. You feel more comfortable in your skin.” Women account for more than 12 per cent of American riders, up from 10.5 per cent in 2009, largely as a result of Harley’s campaign to target women with events such as Garage Parties, where women are shown how to get a licence and look aer their bike. The proportion of women riders in Australia is well under 10 per cent. Maybe more women should throw a leg over and feel beer about themselves.

r Moira is building interest with the Women’s International Motorcycle Association

“No one is nagging in your ear. You do what you want to do and don’t need anyone else if you have a bike” AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 119


product reviews

TESTING,TESTING Our best and brightest testers have been using their heads this month, testing a helmet, an intercom and a pair of goggles. Meanwhile, the boss has been sitting on his arse … testing seat covers SHARK EXPLORE-R A LID FOR EVERY RIDE The Shark Explore-R motorcycle helmet is so versatile you can use it for adventure riding, street fighting, touring, cruising, track days or riding in the pouring rain. The French-made helmet features a lightweight carbon aramid fibre and multiaxial fibreglass shell, removable peak, drop-down sunglass visor, removable clear visor, clip-on tinted goggles and a curtain to keep your neck and the underside of the helmet dry in the rain. Now you only need one helmet for all conditions and riding styles — and all for $600. Imagine you go out for a short ride on your big adventure bike. You put on the helmet without any trimmings and flick down the sunglass visor for that jetpilot look, or you aach the goggles for a streetfighter look. Either way, you’re having so much fun you decide to hit the highway and expand your horizons. You pull over to quickly click the clear visor into position to reduce wind noise and now it’s a quiet touring helmet, but still with plenty of venting in the three-position chin intake and two adjustable vents on top. Then the temperature suddenly drops and the skies open up. You pull over and unzip the curtain, which tucks into your 120 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

jacket and stops rain weing your neck or the boom of the helmet liner. Then it stops raining and you decide to hit some dirt roads because the rain will have dampened the dust. You pull over and zip the curtain away, quickly pull off the clear visor, flick up the sunglass visor and click the goggles into position. Now you’re Charley Boorman on Long Way Round. You’re having so much fun that by the time you hit the highway again it’s

“Now you only need one helmet for all conditions and riding styles — and all for $600” geing dark, so you unscrew the bolt on top with your fingers and quickly clip out the peak and remove the click-in goggles. Then you click the clear visor back in place and leave the sunglass visor up. That should take less than about 15 seconds. At 1.3kg, the Kevlar/carbon-fibre helmet is light and, with a plush

interior, it’s comfortable for all-day — and into the night — riding. Its aerodynamic design also ensures you don’t get fatigue from buffeting. The inner antibacterial padding has a lining that wicks away sweat and the whole interior can be removed easily for cleaning. Just put it in the helmet bag provided and throw it in your washing machine. The pads have pre-cut speaker housings in the back so you can quickly slot in a Bluetooth speaker kit without having to hack away at the padding. Shark also makes its own Sharktooth kit for an even neater fit. The tinted goggles have thick foam and plenty of filtered ventilation so they shouldn’t fog up or allow in any dust. If you prefer other goggles, you can replace the stockers with just about any brand, either with similar quick-release straps or the conventional stretch band. I like the supplied goggles because they fill the helmet opening and include a nose protector, which means you won’t get painful pinpricks of rain or get a sunburnt or dirty nose. You can’t use the drop-down sunglass visor with the goggles, but they are tinted anyway. Like most Shark helmets, there is a pop-up latch to prop open the anti-


r You’d think it was just a normal helmet, wouldn’t you?

r Another Explore-R variation, or you could use the full visor

scratch visor a fraction to prevent misting, although it has a very effective anti-mist visor. If you prefer an aermarket anti-fog insert, it is Pinlock-ready. Ventilation is very good in your face with a single vent in the front. However, I couldn’t detect much ventilation from the two vents on the top. The visor can be clicked in and out of position in a second; it’s the easiest and quickest system for removing visors on any helmet. You won’t need a tinted replacement visor because of the dropdown sunglass visor, which works off a convenient latch on the right side. However, the sunglass tint is a lile light

NANNINI CUSTOM GOGGLES SEXY EYES There is sexy motorcycle gear and there isn’t; it’s the difference between looking cool and looking like an overgrown kid at ski school. The Italian manufacturers tend to get it right, which is not very surprising considering the credence of a “Made in Italy” stamp. Ask the Italians themselves, though, and they’ll explain it all rather simply: however well-made or durable or good value the alternative is, the Italian option always has a greater “cool factor”. It’s because the Italians have absolutely perfected the art of how to make a rider look and — more importantly — feel stylish. Legendary goggle manufacturer Nannini has, without doubt, got “sexy” right. Oozing with style and sophistication, Nannini has the added

r Adventure riders, here’s your Shark

r The Shark in Streetfighter mode

and if you wear glasses as well, you will have to push them right up your nose or the sunglass visor will rub on them. When the clear visor is removed, the side-locking mechanism remains so it doesn’t look ugly. Shark helmets all have a special channel down the inside of the helmet, which makes wearing prescription glasses or sunglasses more comfortable and easier to slot in. The chin strap uses an adjustable ratchet system, which is quick to lock and unlock and is quite secure. I have taken to wearing this helmet on just about every bike I review. OK, it isn’t an open-faced or flip-up helmet, but

even on a cruiser I wear it without the peak and with the clear visor either on or off. That not only looks the part, but provides plenty of ventilation. Or for that menacing, tough Darth Vader look, I wear it just with the tinted goggles. The Shark Explore-R comes with a five-year warranty, which is basically the lifetime of any helmet. — MARK HINCHLIFFE

benefit of being the original, genuine article of what other goggles cheaply emulate. Based out of Modena (just like that other somewhat stylish brand, Ferrari), Nannini holds an iconic status as the motorcycle goggle of choice for riders the world over and it’s not hard to see why. Aesthetics are all about style, but the Custom model we tried demonstrated how Nannini has also got the ergonomics right. Take the hand-sewn, lush leather wadding which surrounds the ventilated chrome frames for starters. While other lesser goggles use synthetic materials or a lower-grade leather, the suppleness of the Nanninis ensures a remarkably comfortable fit, with pressure on the nose and forehead virtually non-existent once the strap is adjusted correctly. Incidentally, the strap itself is worth a mention thanks to the clever but oh-sosimple non-slip strip which firmly fixes goggles and helmet together. A more durable hide is used for all the outward-facing leather to offer wind and water resistance, but the best bit is undoubtedly Nannini’s patented quickrelease nose bridge, which allows you to change between the clear and smoked scratch-proof polycarbonate anti-fog lens options, even while wearing gloves. The

nose bridge also hides a distortion-proof plastic plate for added protection. The Nannini marketing brochure is full of words such as passion, crasmanship and quality — and rightfully so. Testing these goggles over a thousand or more clicks, it’s apparent these values are the main emphasis and that the brand has thought about design as well as style. These aren’t just a cool fashion accessory; they work — really well, in fact. Verdict: sexy with substance and not at all ski school-like. — STEVIE JORDAN

DETAILS Price: $599.95 Info: www.ficeda.com.au, 02 9757 0061

DETAILS Price: $199 Info: www.flexvision.com.au, 02 9690 2111

“Legendary goggle manufacturer Nannini has, without doubt, got ‘sexy’ right” AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 121


product reviews ■ The components of the basic kit

■ The main control module slots into the purpose-built port in Nolan’s helmets

■ The three variants offer increasing levels of communication and entertainment abilities

NOLAN N-COM SEAMLESS COMS If you didn’t know already, Nolan was the first helmet manufacturer to feature a fully integrated communication system in its helmet. While there are many retrofitable options on the market, Nolan’s N-Com system is designed specifically for Nolan, by Nolan, meaning the fit and finish is seamlessly incorporated into the helmet’s design. There are a few different kit configurations in the N-Com system range. The Basic kit is a microphone and speakers for the helmet that will allow you to plug in a cable and play multimedia devices. The Intercom kit (Basic kit plus Intercom control unit) allows you to connect to a pillion by cable. The Bluetooth kit allows wireless connection of devices and other N-Com units, including bike-to-bike. The headphones and speakers fit perfectly into the recesses in the helmet, which in this case was N-85. You don’t notice the intercom gear while you are in the helmet or sliding it on or off your head. The N-Com system, in its various configurations, has many different functions: bike-to-bike communication with up to three other units; pillion to rider intercom; phone connection; and 122 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

MP3 connection. By using the available functions of your phone or Bluetooth devices, there are a number of other options you can access, like phone conferences, radio player and GPS. If you’re using a cable, it plugs into a port at the base of the helmet, from which you can plug into your pillion’s similarly equipped helmet or into your device (phone, MP3 player, GPS, radio etc). With Bluetooth, the switch is in a recess on the le side of the helmet below the visor hinge. When the Bluetooth isn’t fied, the plate houses a card that controls stereo and mono sounds in the helmet’s speakers when you use it with a cabled device. The Bluetooth switch has buons big enough to use with gloves on and, despite geing wet, has been flawless in operation. The headphones are good quality, with a great level of sound — not the level of top-notch headphones, but very good regardless. Music plays well through them and phone calls are crystal clear. The noise level won’t damp out all road and engine noises when you have music playing, but that’s what you want I reckon — you don’t want to be totally removed from everything that is going on around you. I had the same success with the microphone. Without a pillion, I used

phone calls to measure how well it worked. The chin guard helps to minimise wind noise a fair deal, but it works well without it. Retailing for $369, the Bluetooth kit is bang on price and quality for a system like this. The Intercom kit retails for $239, but for me the real value is to be had in the Basic kit, which costs $85 for the N85 system. My phone does everything I need — music, radio, phone calls, GPS — and I don’t have a problem plugging it in when I jump on the bike. — MATT SHIELDS

DETAILS Prices: Basic kit $85; Intercom kit $269; Bluetooth kit $369 Info: www.ronangel.com.au, 03 9464 3366

“Music plays well through the headphones and phone calls are crystal clear”


product reviews

■ The tailored seat covers fit perfectly and stay put without wrinkling or bunching

CRUIS’N COMFORT SEAT COVERS WOOLLY BUMS The obvious reason to add a sheepskin cover to your bike’s seat is to make the perch plusher and keep your bum happier for longer. Since fiing a pair of Cruis’n Comfort tailored covers to the Multistrada, however, I’ve been reminded of many other advantages a generous layer of woolly soness offers. Wool is a brilliant insulator and as winter set in, it has kept me that much warmer on cold mornings. Back when the sun was beating down on hot summer days, it kept the heat out of the seats when the bike was parked in the sun so they weren’t hot to sit on. And as I’ve found with other vehicles, once you put a cover over a seat, you can sit on it for tens of thousands of kilometres, sweating and squirming and bumping, and the original cover shows absolutely no signs of wear and tear, helping with re-sale value. The best thing, though, is the comfort. The covers are deliciously plush and thick, full of deep, so wool that you’d happily use as an underlay on your bed. Or perhaps as a pillow when you roll out the swag at a rally. They make a hard seat soer and not only warm you on a cold day, but reduce sweating on a hot one. They’ve transformed the Ducati’s seat.

Fiing them to the Multistrada’s two seats was very easy. Instructions come with the covers and if you follow them you won’t go wrong. Basically, the first step is to clip the elastic strap around the seat, then you pull the elastic drawstrings to tighten the edges around the seat bases. The drawstrings run through webbing sewn around the sheepskins, pulling it all in nice and tight. For me, they went straight into position with no need to tweak anything. Once there, they were firmly in place and weren’t going to budge without me making them move. Four thousand comfortable kays later they still haven’t shied. The one difficulty I had lasted only a short time. The bulkiness of the covers made the pillion seat hard to click back into place on the bike, but aer a few days of being locked down, the relevant sections of the covers had compressed and now I can take off and replace the pillion pad without any trouble. One thing I must get is the waterproof cover, which sells for $35. Cruis’n Comfort says it’s compact and easily stored away. A few times I’ve had to sit on a wet seat because I le the bike out overnight in the dew or rain. The woolly covers come in pairs for bikes with a two-piece seat set-up, and of course you get a one-piece cover for

■ The thick, plush, high-quality wool feels sensational

single-piece seats. The fit, finish and sheer quality of the wool are as good as you’ll get, making the value look even beer. The Cruis’n Comfort covers have lied the Multistrada’s long-distance credentials higher than ever and I cannot imagine going without them now. They’ve got covers for a huge range of bikes and if yours isn’t one of them, there’s every chance they’ll make you some to suit. Check out the Cruis’n Comfort website for the list. — MICK MATHESON

DETAILS Prices: $185-$190 in most cases, plus postage Info: www.cruisncomfort.com, 03 5243 6237

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 123


Whatz new PANNIER FRAMEZ FOR DL 1000 V-STROM

MUSTANG SADDLEBAG LIDS Hard panniers cop it from careless boot heels and strapped-on luggage, and polishing out the marks is a chore, which is why Mustang saddlebag lids make good sense. The lids are made in the USA from high-quality, expandable vinyl and fit snuggly on pannier lids without wrinkles, unsightly straps or Velcro tabs. They come for a variety of models and

now for Harley-Davidson FL riders with Mustang’s King TourPak lid cover, which fits 1993-13 and 2014 FL Touring models (except chopped TourPaks). Matching Mustang saddlebag lid covers for 199313 and 2014 FL Touring models with OE H-D hard bags are $99 a pair, or $119 with chrome or black pearl-centred studs. Price: From US$99 Visit: www.mustangseats.com/Category/ Lid-Covers

PERUMOTORS TOUR CALENDAR South America has a bunch of fantastic motorcycle adventure opportunities and PeruMotors will take you to the choicest spots. There’s a calendar of tours, with the new 2015 dates added to the remaining 2014 adventures, rated from easy, with 10 per cent or less of easy gravel roads through to more than 30 per cent gravel and dirt tracks for those who want more of a challenge. The tours range from 13 days to 55 and include destinations such as La Paz, Arequipa and the Atacama Desert spanning Chile, Peru and Bolivia. You travel through the Andes on KLR 650s or Honda NX4s plus you can pay extra to upgrade to BMW or Yamaha motorcycles. Price: From US$3825 Visit: www.perumotors.com 124 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

Melbourne’s Andy Strapz says he’s been lucky enough to get his hands on one of the first DL 1000 V-Strom demo bikes from his friendly local dealer for which he can design his popular Pannier Framez system. “As usual my frames are designed to be light and unobtrusive, keeping the whole Expedition Pannier system as narrow as possible,” he says. “I always aim to get the frames to look as if they are OEM equipment by following styling and body lines of the bike.” They can be fitted in around 15 minutes with two Hex keys and a 13mm spanner, and can be stashed in the shed when not in use “if that’s the way the owner wants to roll”. The powder-coated satin black frames are hand-made from mild steel tube to allow maximum resistance to vibration and ease of straightening after a tumble. You get stainless-steel nuts and bolts to fit them. Price: $370 (a set plus postage) Visit: www.andystrapz.com


NEW AND INTERESTING STUFF VIGILANTE THERMOTECH BASE LAYER No need to look like the Michelin Man if you want to beat the cold, thanks to the Vigilante Thermotech base layer. Popular with cyclists and adventurers, this stretchy full-length underwear is a good choice if you’re an all-weather rider. The Thermotech base layer is made from 95 per cent polyester and five per cent elastane, making it comfortable and durable. It has a breathable “soft-touch” suede back to provide next-to-skin comfort and trap in warmth. The anti-microbial material also wicks away moisture and is quickdrying so it retains the heat. Price: Top and pants $49.95 each Visit: www.vigilante.com.au

RUKKA ARMAXIS Rukka from Finland makes high-quality clobber and this Armaxis touring jacket is up there in the company’s top-line range, with its waterproof zipper and multi-purpose inner. Apparently you can make zippers waterproof and this jacket incorporates that technology to do away with the Velcro flap solution that’s a feature on most other jackets. It also has a removable elastic soft shell inner jacket with a Gore Windstopper membrane and four pockets that you can

wear as a sport and casual jacket. So you basically get two jackets in one. The outer jacket has a soft neoprene collar and a removable storm collar, adjusters on the sleeves, six pockets, and is equipped with CE-certified Rukka D3O Air protectors on the elbows, shoulders and in the back. It also has a long connective zipper so it can be combined with any pair of Rukka trousers. Price: $1515 Visit: www.rukka.com.au AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 125


H-D BEGINNINGS LEATHER JACKET Harley-Davidson’s corporate marketing department might have let the work experience kid have a go when it came to naming this jacket. Beginnings is not our idea of cool. A bit of a shame because this leather jacket with triple vent system is cool in both senses of the word. First it looks good, as you would expect, but even cooler is that it has a special MP3 player pocket inside with tabs to keep your headphone cable in place. The zips on the front either take care of venting or stop things falling out of your pockets and there are press-stud tabs to adjust for fitment. Harley says it’s also got an “action back” and pre-curved sleeves, which apparently means it’s comfortable when you’re “in the position”. It also has pockets for body armour that you buy separately. Price: $590 Visit: www.harley-davidsonmotorclothes.com.au

POLISPORT TOUQUET UNIVERSAL HANDGUARD Named after one of the toughest enduro races in the world, Touquet is a handguard designed to offer strong and reliable hand protection. The kit includes a mounting system that fits most handlebars, while the handguards themselves come in a range of manufacturer colours including blue, yellow, green, orange, red, white and black. They’re light, offer good protection with an aluminium bar spine and have vents for airflow, so these are good for those who want to take on some serious off-road riding. Price: $129 Visit: www.linkint.com.au/Polisport 126 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

HONDA HERITAGE COLLECTION Lovers of Honda heritage will get a kick out of this range of goodies available through Honda MPE in Australia. Celebrating the brand’s years of popularity, the range includes 100 per cent cotton T-shirts, distressed-style heavy-weight poly-cotton hoodies

with super-soft brushed cotton lining, and even hoodies with high-density embroidery. But best of all they feature old-school logos to make them super-cool for the appreciators of one of the world’s most popular motorcycle brands. Price: $49.95 (T-shirt), $124.99 (Team Hoodie) Visit: merchandise.hondampe.com.au

VENTURA PACKS FOR SUPERDUKE You may love your KTM 1290 Super Duke R so much that you just won’t want to stop once you hit the open road. Best to take a spare pair of undies then and unless you don’t mind wearing a backpack, this rack and bag system from Ventura is a solid solution. In fact, there are four different options, with a Suzuka 35L Touring Kit, Rally-Euro 44-56L Touring Kit, Bora 31L Touring Kit and Mistral 47L Touring Kit, all with mounting hardware and pack. You can also get grab handles and smaller sports racks to suit 10L sports packs as well. Price: From $389 Visit: www.kenma.com.au


NEW AND INTERESTING STUFF CV PERFORMANCE HARLEY CARB KIT CV Performance, the mob that’s been offering aftermarket Harley-Davidson CV carburetion for more than 25 years, has a new Premium Harley CV Carb Tuners Kit to help make your Harley run to its fullest potential. CV says that if your bike has a lot of miles, has been sitting for a while or is sluggish, has trouble idling or issues with backfires, this kit will help. The Premium Tuners Kit is available for all Constant

Velocity (CV) carburettors used on 1989-2006 Harley Big Twin, Twin Cam and Sportster models. That top-of-the-line Premium Tuners Kit is US$99.95 while CV Performance also offers a variety of other tuning and recalibration kits starting at US$24.95. Each Premium kit includes a number of parts and components that have been CNC machined from aerospace-quality billet materials and, most importantly, detailed instructions. Price: US$99.95 Visit: www.cvperformance.com

IXON DUNE HP JACKET Rug up for winter with one of these Dune HP textile jackets from Ixon, designed to provide warmth and protection in all weather conditions. It has a removable winter lining and additional insert that are both waterproof and breathable. The adjustable flaps on the front also provide added air flow while the fixed grids on the back and sleeves help with ventilation to keep you cool in the warmer conditions. The jacket is also fully CE certified and has CE homologated back, elbow and shoulder protectors. Onroad visibility is also enhanced with the reflective stripe across the back of the jacket. Made with Noxiguard fabric with double-coated high-density weave material, the jacket has numerous pockets on the front, rear and internal lining for those personal belongings you can’t leave home without. Available in black and with sizes ranging from small to 4XL. Price: $399.95 Visit: www.ficeda.com.au

KARCHER PRESSURE WASHER Karcher has released the K5.690 PS40 pressure washer and power scrubber to get your ride clean, especially after you’ve been off-road. The K5.690 PS40 features a pump that spits out water at an impressive 2000psi, as well as a PS40 power scrubber brush with three integrated high-pressure

nozzles to remove stubborn dirt. Along with the power scrubber, the K5.690 PS40 comes complete with a Vario-Power Spray Lance (the nozzle bit) and if you want to spend a bit more, there are accessories so you can use it for other things around the house. Price: $679 Visit: www.karcher.com.au AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 127


LETTERS LE ETT T ER ERS

READERS RITE on’t forget to write! We mean it. We love to hear from you and everyone else does too; these pages are among the most popular in the magazine. Preferably, keep leers under 300 words so we can fit more in, though we will allow the odd exception without taking to it with the editorial knife. Yes, we will chop ’em when we have to. Do include your real name and some contact details, just in case we need to clarify something. Please write to roadrider@ universalmagazines.com.au or send mail to Road Rider, Unit 5, 6–8 Byfield Street, North Ryde NSW 2113 — Matho

D

■ Neville completed a rider training course two-up on his Voyager and highly recommends it

HAVE A HART I recently aended an Advanced Honda Australia Roadcra Training (HART) course at St Ives in Sydney. I took my pillion as this is mostly the type of riding I do. I can’t recommend it highly enough. We did a lot of braking exercises, pulling up in corners, emergency braking and technique riding. You have a few goes at each exercise; I had a go on my own first to get the technique down and then my pillion would jump on the back and we would do them again. They also follow you around doing laps and give you advice on your technique and, in our case, how my pillion was siing on the bike, leaning with me into corners and body posture. It was amazing travelling with a pillion at 70km/h and able to practise emergency stops. I have a new Kawa 1700 Voyager which is a large bike so it was great to be able to get the feel of it and find out what it can do. For anyone wanting to upgrade their skills, help their pillion feel more comfortable and receive some great feedback and 1228 | AUS 12 128 A AUSTRALIAN TRALIA TRA LIA AN R ROAD OAD AD RI R RIDER DE DER 128 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

tips, this is a great and very affordable day. We won’t mention that Dave the instructor dropped his bike in a slow turn on the course … happens to the best of us. Neville Wollongong, NSW

AUTOMATIC CHOICE I’m appreciating the broad range of two-wheel motorised vehicles on the road as a man who started riding on a 50cc Honda scooter and got the riding bug. Yes, I admit that I am a total bike slut. I will ride just about anything on two wheels that I can manage and have fun on. We also have to face the fact that many new riders come from the Scooter School of Riding. In time they will, like me, want to go larger and try different types of bikes. While on my soapbox, what’s wrong with having an auto gearbox on a bike? Honda has been coming out with the NC700D Integra and the CXT700D, both with auto gearbox — not a CVT, but a genuine auto. I know for some of you this


LETTERS ■ We weren’t trying to bang any political drums in Nigel’s story about Queensland

may be a shock, but there are now automatic cars on the road. So because you no longer drive a manual car does that make you less of a driver? Come on fellow riders, move on from the preconceived ideas on scooters and the new wave of bikes coming out with autos. Remember, the more bikes and scooters on the road, the more voters we have to keep the politicians including us in transport and road funding plans. David Cauchi Kilburn, SA

PLACES TO DOSS

OFFENSIVE REMARK Congratulations to Mick Matheson and your super-talented team on producing the most down-to-earth, honest and interesting magazine out there. I am always looking for the latest edition at the newsagents. Credit must go to those who are able to edit out the usual bias towards bikes that have far more horsepower and performance than is healthy for the vast majority of us out here. As you obviously understand, our survival is dependent upon being able to control the beast. Rapt as I am in your publication, I was a bit hurt by the untidy and derogatory slur upon Queenslanders and their choice of politicians by Nigel Collin in issue 102. He inferred that the Queensland people had elected politicians who were mostly “raving-loony rednecks”. This was an offensive remark that perhaps should have been questioned by yourself or your staff. I’m sorry to have found the need to be critical of a headline of one of your articles. All I ask is that you keep doing what you do well, have opinions but stay non-political and keep away from religion. Reg Wilkinson Apollo Bay, Vic Nigel didn’t write that bit, it was added in the sub-editing process. I read it as a dig at the many vocal critics of Queensland politics, and considered it to be a subtle reminder to people that the controversy of Queensland politics should not cloud anyone’s opinions of Queensland and Queenslanders. Aer all, Nigel’s story was a very positive one. — Matho

The magazine has improved out of sight since your editorship (is that a word? [Yes, it is — Matho]). It was geing old and stale but is now rejuvenated and still the best motorcycle magazine by a country mile, so keep up the good work. I think the title says it all — Australian Road Rider — so does it really maer what your choice is, be it sports tourer, adventure tourer, maxi-scooter, three-wheel scooter, CanAm Spyder, cruiser or anything in between that you may choose to road ride, be it a day, a week, a month or years? We are all out there doing what we love and then being able to read about our experiences each month in Australian Road Rider. Would it be possible to publish a quarterly or half-yearly list (including contacts and indicative prices) of motorcyclistfriendly accommodation? We all know of the great service accorded us by the Stockman Hotel in Texas, Qld, the Crown Hotel in Graon, the Royal Hotel in Tenterfield and the Drake Hotel in NSW, but surely there must be many more than that. A lot of us really appreciate old-style hotel accommodation for value so maybe the focus would be on this. And in closing, Bill McKinnon’s column in the May 2014 issue rang a bell or two. I was lucky enough to live in Darwin from 1970 to 2000 and the run from Adelaide River to Katherine (and many others) was well known, particularly in the dry season, when all the roadside vegetation was burnt out so the skippies were easily spoed. It’s a bit different in the wet when the spear-grass was 2m high on the edge of the road (much caution and reduced speed required). Anyway, I purchased the first ZZR1100 in Darwin in 1990 (went to buy a new helmet and finished up trading in two bikes on the Zed). Had a similar experience to Bill, travelling with two fellow Ulyssians to the Toy Run in Katherine. Filled up at Adelaide River and then sat between 200-250km/h until the fuel warning lights came on about 30km out of Katherine. Had to slow to about 60km/h but made it with about a litre in the tank. We generally cruised at around 160-180km/h and none of us ever had a problem as we rode to the conditions. In 1992 a mate and I rode to Phillip Island for the Superbikes and averaged around 220km/h, with bursts up to 280 (on the speedo) from Alice to Erldunda (fuel) and then on to Kulgera (mind you, the 110km/h SA state limit was a shock). So I am alive to say that speed doesn’t kill. Excessive speed for the conditions may, and every time, idiots will. Dick Adey Email Have a look at our Come Stay With Us pages, Dick. They’re in every issue. We’ve expanded this from one to two pages and hope to keep it strong. And if you visit any of the places that advertise in there, please tell them you found them in ARR. That’ll help us keep the program going. — Matho AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 129


■ Standing on the pegs doesn’t actually lower the centre of gravity, but it does increase control and stability

MASS DEBATE This is my first leer to any magazine. I am puing myself up as the kid who said the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. In Boorman’s article about wider footpegs (page 35), the second paragraph says, “Standing up on the pegs is a tried and tested method of successfully riding off road.” I agree with that statement and am not disputing the advantages of moving your body to beer control the motorbike. It is the next statement that causes me great difficulty: “You’re lowering your centre of gravity.” If you stand on the pegs, the largest part of your weight is lied some distance above its original position. How can that lower the centre of gravity? I am aware that this idea has been put forward by people giving riding advice to those considering adventure riding. The people espousing this theory say because you are standing on the footpegs, your body weight is transferred to the footpegs and therefore lower. So far, no weight has been added or removed, but the heaviest part of the body has been lied further from the ground. Isn’t the position of weight, not the aachment point, the major factor influencing centre of gravity? If not, why would manufacturers put so much effort into keeping mass central and low? Could you explain to me the physics involved if raising weight further from the ground lowers the centre of gravity. Garry Evans Ocean View, Qld Garry and I exchanged a couple of emails aer he asked these questions and I put my two bob’s worth in. However, we figured we defer to the experts and ask someone who really knows. BMW’s rider training team provided the following answer for us. — Matho Garry is correct — the point about standing actually lowering the C of G is oen said, but is not necessarily correct. Even so, we look at this as a bit of a technicality as the benefits of standing when riding off-road in many situations are proven and we don’t hear many riders dispute it. The way we would describe the benefits of standing are: • Standing allows the rider to weight the pegs more effectively and gives the rider a leverage benefit on the footpegs. This can assist with side-to-side peg pressure for changes of direction. It also assists with forward-to-back movement, which really 130 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

allows the rider to be efficient on the bike for those long days in the saddle. • Standing allows a rider to shi body weight quickly and effectively when trying to maintain balance in rough or unstable terrain. • It allows the rider to absorb impacts more effectively by complementing the bike’s suspension for improved stability. • It gives the rider beer visibility, making it safer over crests and easier to choose the right lines in technical terrain. Siing makes a lot of sense when the surfaces are smooth and predictable. It’s really a maer of reading the situation so that you are in the right position to react instantly when required. Happy trails. BMW Off-Road Training team

MAP OF TASSIE? Really enjoying the mag and I will definitely be renewing my current subscription when it is due. I find this read represents my current style of riding and touring and love the “on the road” stories. Aer riding a sports tourer for the past five years, I now ride a Triumph Tiger 800. This adventure bike has reinstalled a love of riding in me and I have already clocked up 11,000km in less than six months. In March I completed a tour of Tassie with Malcolm Campbell’s Wally’s Wonderful World. We had a group of 23 bikes touring around and all involved had a fantastic time. It was great to read Ian Royall’s six-day Tassie tour article in the April 2014 edition. Your article on the Oxley Highway (June 2014 Edition) was also an excellent read and some mates and I just completed this ride, along with the Waterfall Way. My only criticism is that you need to provide a map for these road stories. Mark Hinchliffe’s Chasing the Sun story in the May 2014 edition was a good read, but I must be prey slow as it took me a while to work out where the hell Gundy is because I lost Mark & Deano at Yelarbon. Keep up the good work. Lance Drury Penrith NSW Maps are coming, Lance. — Matho


IKON SHOCKS & S FORK SPRINGS

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Available from your local bike shop. Find what fits your bike at: barkbusters.net BBZ HANDGUARD

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www.roadrider.com.au


PRICE GUIDE

ROAD BIKE & SCOOTER PRICE GUIDE N Can I afford it? Is there something better for the money?

ew bike prices can go up and down like the stock market, so in every issue we’ll bring you the sticker prices. To be completely up to date with things like factory discounts and incentives, check the Road Rider website (www.roadrider.com.au) where we will bring you all the special deals, bonus offers and cashback promotions we can find. We have included the importers’ websites, which is the place to go if you’re looking for more information. You’ll see that we haven’t listed every bike on the market (yet) but we aim to get there with

all of them. Sometimes even we struggle to find the details of the smaller, newer importers. Meanwhile, enjoy this most meaningful of Australian bike listings, covering the bikes you’re interested in. The prices are the most up-to-date ones available from the distributors. They may change, of course, subject to specials coming and going. We’ve also made it abundantly clear which prices are ride-away and which don’t include on-road costs; the difference to your final payout can be significant, so don’t compare apples with oranges.

BRAND & MODEL

BN600RS LAMS ....................... Another new LAMS model.....$9990+orc BN600GT .................................. Available soon..........................$TBA TNT 899 ..................................... Mid-sized entertainer...............$16,990+orc TNT 1130 ................................... Naked dynamite.......................$19,990+orc TNT 1130R ................................. More explosive ........................$22,690+orc Tre-K 1130.................................. Out of the ordinary ..................$18,490+orc Adv Touring TRE-K Amazonas ..................... Be an individual .......................$19,690+orc

WE SAY

APRILIA

PRICE www.aprilia.com.au

Road Shiver Sport 750 ABS.............. Oh so good ...............................$13,990+orc Dorsoduro 750 ABS ................. With ABS ...................................$11,990+orc Tuono V4R APRC ...................... Upright sportsbike ...................$21,990+orc RSV4 R APRC............................ High tech, high spec ................$23,490+orc RSV4 R Factory APRC ABS ..... Racing black ..............................$29,990+orc Dorsoduro 1200 ATC/ABS ...... Insane in the brain ...................$16,990+orc Adv Touring Caponord 1200 ATC/ABS ........ Truly great all-rounder ............$23,390+orc Scooters SR50R Carb SBK ...................... Biaggi replica............................$3990+orc SR MT 50 2T ............................. Entry point ................................$2450+orc SR MT 125 4T ........................... Cheap commuting ...................$3290+orc Scarabeo 200 ie........................ Crisp performer........................$4990+orc Scarabeo 300 ie........................ Unmistakable ...........................$6490+orc SR Max 300 .............................. Do it all ......................................$6490+orc SR Max 300 .............................. New 2014 Model ......................$7290+orc SRV 850 ATC ABS .................... Large with the lot .....................$14,990+orc

BENELLI

www.urbanmotoimports.com.au

Road BN302 ........................................ Expected sometime this year.$TBA BN600i....................................... Base-model mid-sized four.....$8990+orc BN600S LAMS ......................... New LAMS model ...................$8990+orc BN600R ..................................... New sporty naked bike ...........$9990+orc ■ Benelli’s BN600 has arrived in dealerships with new styling — notably the sexier swingarm

132 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

BIMOTA

www.urbanmotoimports.com.au

Road BB3 ............................................ 1000cc BMW, Italian flair ........$TBA DB8 Bi Posto ............................. Sleek and powerful..................$47,990+orc DB8 SP ...................................... The sweetest candy .................$47,990+orc DB8 Oro Nero ........................... Expensive excitement .............$84,990+orc Tesi 3D Evo ............................... Exotica erotica ..........................$50,890+orc Tesi 3D Naked........................... The full skeleton on show.......$55,990+orc DB9 ............................................ Muscle streetfighter ................$44,990+orc DB9S.......................................... Sharper on the street ..............$46,990+orc DB10 .......................................... Sharp style ................................$37,290+orc DB11........................................... Testastretta 11 at last ...............$56,990+orc

BMW

www.bmwmotorrad.com.au

Road F 800 R....................................... Naked Bavarian — mmm! ......$13,100+orc S 1000 R .................................... Available April 2014 .................$18,990+orc S 1000 RR.................................. Still the one to beat .................$22,400+orc HP4 ............................................ Hyper RR ...................................$27,990+orc HP4 Competition...................... For serious sports riders .........$32,450+orc R nineT ...................................... Simplicity with maximum style $20,950+orc R 1200 R .................................... Ever reliable ..............................$20,800+orc R 1200 RT Water Cooled ......... Have your cake and eat it .......$29,990+orc K 1300 R .................................... Evil Wulf ....................................$21,990+orc K 1300 S .................................... Autobahn eater ........................$23,990+orc K 1300 S ................................... 30 year anniversary edition ....$27,490+orc K 1600 GT ................................. Power touring...........................$34,990+orc K 1600 GT Sport ....................... Luxury but lighter, sportier .....$35,490+orc K 1600 GTL ............................... Euro luxury touring .................$36,990+orc K 1600 GTL Exclusive.............. VIP ..............................................$42,500+orc Adv Touring G 650 GS ................................... You’ll be surprised ...................$9990+orc G 650 GS Sertao....................... Rough it or not .........................$10,990+orc F 700 GS.................................... Not really a 700 ........................$12,890+orc F 700 GS ................................... Low suspension model ...........$13,140+orc F 800 GS.................................... Great adv tourer.......................$16,690+orc F800 GS..................................... Low suspension model ...........$16,940+orc F 800 GSA ................................. Go further..................................$18,550+orc F 800 GT .................................... Dynamically designed.............$16,300+orc R 1200 GS Water Cooled......... All-road master ........................$21,700+orc R 1200 GSA Water Cooled ...... All-new and awesome ............$24,300+orc Scooter C 600 Sport ............................... Sporty maxi ..............................$13,990+orc C 650 GT.................................... Let’s tour! ..................................$14,890+orc


PRICE GUIDE

BUILD YOUR BEEMER BMW Australia has launched a “price configurator” on its website. It gives riders a step-by-step way of determining the ride-away cost of their motorcycle. Potential buyers can pick out the model, colour and factory-fitted options or options package and a ride-away price will then be determined specific to the state and territory you are buying in. Unfortunately, a few accessories such as GS panniers are not available on the configurator. Check out their website for more information: www.bmwmotorrad.com.au. — AHM

BOLLINI

www.motorsportimporters.com.au

Road Speed 200 ................................. Economy ticket ........................$2290+orc Cruiser Retro 200................................... New release mid-year .............$TBA

CAN-AM (BRP)

www.brp.com

Road Spyder RS SM5........................ The “Spyder” experience .......$19,990+orc Spyder RSS SE5 ...................... Supersports auto .....................$23,990+orc Spyder ST SE5 ......................... The sports-touring Spyder .....$25,490+orc Spyder ST LTD SE5.................. The ST with more ....................$28,990+orc Spyder RT SM6 ........................ New 1330cc triple engine .......$31,490+orc Spyder RTS SE6 ....................... RT plus semi-auto and more ..$39,990+orc Spyder RT Limited SE6.. ......... The full touring triple...............$41,990+orc

CF MOTO

Streetfighter 848 ...................... Precision fighter .......................$18,990+orc Panigale 899 ............................. Smaller, sweeter superbike ....$19,990+orc Hypermotard ............................ Shiny and new .........................$16,990+orc Hypermotard SP ...................... Brand new ................................$20,490+orc Hyperstrada .............................. Manners & madness ...............$17,990+orc Monster 1200 ........................... The new generation is coming $19,990+orc Monster 1200 S ........................ With better bits.........................$23,990+orc Panigale 1199 ABS.................... 2014 model available mid-year $26,990+orc Panigale S ABS......................... Electronic Öhlins! ....................$33,990+orc Panigale Tri Colour ................... Make you melt .........................$39,990+orc Panigale R ABS......................... Race passion ............................$42,990+orc Cruiser Diavel Dark................................ Heart of darkness .....................$23,990+orc Diavel Carbon Red ................... Deal with the devil ...................$29,490+orc Diavel Stripes ........................... With stripy paint.......................$26,990+orc Diavel Strada ............................ Ducati Performance .................$26,990+orc Adv Touring Multistrada 1200 ABS.............. 4 in 1 with ABS .........................$22,990+orc Multistrada 1200 S Touring ..... See the world ...........................$28,490+orc Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Pk ... Flashy paint job ........................$31,990+orc Multistrada 1200 Granturismo ............................. Tour perfection .........................$30,490+orc

ERIK BUELL RACING

www.urbanmotoimports.com.au

Road 1190RS Carbon ......................... 175hp, 176kg of joy..................$56,990+orc 1190RX ....................................... Sporting masterpiece ..............$26,490+orc 1190SX ....................................... Superbike basis........................$TBA 1190AX....................................... The adventurous one ..............$TBA

HARLEY-DAVIDSON

www.harley-davidson.com

All H-D prices are ride-away. Cruiser XL883L SuperLow ................... For the shorties ........................$14,750ra XL883N Iron 883 ..................... Iron tough .................................$14,995ra XL1200C Custom ..................... Customary show off ................$18,750ra XL1200CA Custom A ............... Show off A ................................$19,250ra XL1200CB Custom B ............... Show off B ................................$18,750ra XL1200X Forty-Eight................ Retro cool..................................$18,995ra XL1200V Seventy-Two ............ Vintage muscle.........................$18,495ra XL1200T Super Low ................ Cool little tourer .......................$19,250ra VRSCDX Night Rod Special.... Drag bike ...................................$26,995ra VRSCF Muscle .......................... Muscle me ................................$26,750ra FXDB Street Bob ...................... Versatile.....................................$22,495ra FXDBB Street Bob Special...... Street smarts ............................$23,495ra

www.cfmoto.com.au

Road VNight ....................................... Great learner ............................$2690+orc Jetmax 250 ............................... Freeway capable scooter ........$4190+orc Leader........................................ Not fussy ...................................$2190+orc 650NK ........................................ May ruffle some feathers .......$6290+orc 650TK......................................... Bargain touring ........................$7749+orc Cruiser V5 ............................................... Where’s the engine? ................$4190+orc

CONFEDERATE

www.urbanmotoimports.com.au

Cruiser X132 Hellcat.............................. Badass .......................................$79,990+orc X132 Hellcat Combat............... American war machine ...........$94,990+orc X135 Wraith .............................. Available early 2014 .................$TBA

DAELIM

www.daelim.com.au

Road VJF250....................................... Adequate style .........................$3990+orc Cruiser Daystar 250 EFI ........................ Fat, feet-forward cruiser ..........$4920+orc Scooter Bbone ........................................ Its clothes are off......................$3490+orc Besbi .......................................... Small and cute .........................$2190+orc S1 ............................................... Nice style...................................$2990+orc

DUCATI

www.ducati.com.au

Road Monster 659 ABS ..................... Monster the LAM .....................$12,990+orc Monster 696 ABS .................... Easy to handle ..........................$13,990+orc Monster 796 ABS ..................... Full sized, adequate power .....$15,990+orc

EBR ROLLS OUT New motorcycle manufacturer EBR has announced pricing for the 1190RX as well as a bunch of new dealerships around Australia. The EBR 1190RX is being rolled out nationwide with a price tag of $27,990, which includes 12-month registration, two-year warranty and two-year roadside assist. Brilliant. EBR is hoping to double its dealer network by the end of the year but for now new dealerships include Central Coast Motorcycles in NSW, Northstar Motorcycles in Queensland, Garage Motorcycles in South Australia and Causeway Motorcycles in Western Australia. Tasmania and Northern Territory dealers are to be announced. A full list of service centres will also be announced soon. — AHM

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 133


PRICE GUIDE FXDL Low Rider ....................... Not laying low ..........................$23,250ra FXDC Super Glide Custom ..... A bike with attitude..................$23,495ra FXDWG Wide Glide ................. Let your hair hang down ........$24,995ra FXDF Fat Bob............................ Lay off the burgers, Bob! ........$25,495ra FLD Dyna Switchback .............. Dress up, dress down..............$26,250ra FLS Softail Slim........................ Slim, yet PH fat! .......................$26,250ra FXST Softail Standard............. The original ride .......................$27,250ra FLSTFB Fat Boy Lo................... Low bruiser...............................$28,750ra FLSTF Fat Boy .......................... Big bruiser ................................$28,995ra FLSTN Softail Deluxe .............. Classy dude ..............................$28,995ra FLSTNSE CVO Deluxe ............. 110ci, LEDs plus ........................$44,995ra FXSB Breakout ......................... Urban street styling .................$28,995ra FXSBSE CVO Softail ................ 110ci and more .........................$43,995ra FLSTC Heritage S’tail Classic . Visually beautiful .....................$29,995ra FLHRC Road King Classic ....... Be the king ................................$32,495ra FLHRSE CVO Road King ......... King bling, 110ci .......................$47,995ra FLHX Street Glide .................... Bad boy .....................................$33,995ra FLHTCU Ultra Classic El. Glide.......Comfy .................................$37,250ra FLHTK Electra Glide Ultra Ltd Works burger ............................$38,250ra FLHTCKSE CVO Ultra Ltd........ 110ci mega-tourer ....................$50,995ra

HONDA

www.honda.com.au

Road CB125E ...................................... Cheap commuter .....................$2099+orc CBR125R ................................... The teacher ...............................$4049+orc CBR250R ................................... Fresh and fun ...........................$5510+orc CBR250R ABS........................... With ABS! .................................$6010+orc CBR300...................................... Coming rival for the Ninja 300 $TBA CB400 ....................................... Bulletproof ................................$10,099+orc CB400A ABS ............................. Foolproof...................................$11,199+orc CBR500R ................................... Sporty little twin .......................$7499+orc CBR500R ABS........................... ABS option ...............................$7799+orc CB500F ABS.............................. Sweet as....................................$7799+orc CB650F ABS.............................. New naked four........................$9999+orc CBR600RR................................. Versatile supersport.................$14,390+orc CBR650F ABS ........................... Mid-ranger with torque...........$10,599+orc NC700SA ABS (2013)............... Mr Practical ...............................$8550+orc NC750SA ABS .......................... A little boosted for 2014 ..........$8799+orc CTX700A ................................... A fairing for the open road ....$7399+orc CTX700DA ................................ Dual Clutch Transmission ........$10,899+orc VFR800 ...................................... Tried and true package ............$14,599+orc CBR1000RR............................... Ride what Casey rides.............$16,899+orc CBR1000RR Repsol.................. MotoGP replica ........................$16,890+orc CBR1000RR ABS ...................... Blade with braking backup .....$17,899+orc VFR1200F ABS ......................... For the tech heads ...................$16,999+orc GL1800B F6B ............................ Stripped Wing...........................$25,199+orc GL1800 Goldwing Luxury....... The ultimate luxury tourer......$35,799+orc Cruiser VT400 ........................................ Classic-styled LAM ..................$9399+orc CTX700N ABS .......................... A bike for everything ...............$9099+orc VT750S ...................................... Streetwise appeal ....................$8099+orc VT750C Shadow ...................... Classic appeal...........................$11,749+orc CTX1300.................................... V4 cruiser with unique style ...$18,499+orc VT1300CX Fury ........................ Chopped dragster ....................$15,599+orc GL1800C F6C ............................ New, coming soon! .................$TBA

BEAUTER COMMUTER Honda has released a new 2015-spec PCX150 scooter. The model features a bunch of new designs including a more powerful engine, bigger 8L fuel tank and Idle Stop Technology, which cuts the engine at traffic lights and restarts it automatically by twisting the hand grip. More under-seat storage and 12V AC adaptor, just to name a few, put this on the radar as a great commuter. Available for only $4199+orc, the new PCX is in dealers now. — AHM Adv Touring CB500X ABS ............................. Adventure sports .....................$7999+orc VFR1200X Crosstourer ABS ... Smooth and comfy all-roader $17,499+orc Scooter Today 50 .................................... Do it, Today! ..............................$1849+orc Dio 110 ....................................... New kid in town .......................$2549+orc PCX125 ...................................... Honest commuter ....................$3990+orc PCX150 ...................................... Stylish and practical ................$4,099+orc NSS300 Forza ........................... Sporty and flexible ..................$6999+orc NC700D Integra........................ Motorcycle or scooter? ...........$11,199+orc

HYOSUNG

INDIAN MOTORCYCLE

134 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

www.indianmotorcycle.com.au

Road Chief .......................................... Leading the tribe back!............$28,995ra Chief Vintage ............................ Signature heritage aesthetic ..$31,495ra Chieftain .................................... First Indian tourer/bagger .......$35,995ra

KAWASAKI

■ Honda’s VTX1300CX Fury is now available with a graphite black paint job. You can pick it up at dealerships for around $15,599+orc

www.hyosung.com.au

Road GT250 ........................................ Great beginner .........................$4490+orc GT250R...................................... Get serious at day 1 .................$4990+orc GT650 ........................................ Naked value and style .............$6390+orc GT650R...................................... Easy, sporty, affordable ...........$6890+orc Cruiser GV250 Aquila............................ Little cutie..................................$4990+orc GV650 Aquila............................ Responsive rider ......................$7690+orc GV650C Aquila Classic ............ LAMS value ..............................$7690+orc

www.kawasaki.com.au

Road Ninja 300 ................................... Even better again!....................$6199+orc Ninja 300 ABS .......................... A LAM with ABS ......................$6699+orc Ninja 300 SE ............................. Tastes like lime .........................$6399+orc Ninja 300 SE ABS..................... Lime LAM with ABS ................$6899+orc ER-6n/nL ABS ........................... Quirky ........................................$9999+orc Ninja 650/L ABS ....................... Mid-sized gem ..........................$10,499+orc Ninja ZX-6R (599) ..................... Striking ......................................$14,999+orc Ninja ZX-6R .............................. The 650cc supersport ..............$15,499+orc Ninja ZX-6R ABS ...................... With ABS ...................................$16,499+orc Z800 ABS .................................. Sharper......................................$12,999+orc W800 ......................................... Nostalgic, relaxed cruising .....$11,999+orc W800SE..................................... Special Edition .........................$12,499+orc Z1000 ABS ................................ Let it seduce you ......................$16,499+orc Z1000 ABS SE........................... Special edition..........................$16,799+orc Z1000 Sugomi .......................... 2014 model ...............................$16,799+orc Ninja 1000 ABS ....................... A sword with soul ....................$16,999+orc Ninja 1000 ABS ........................ 2014 Model ...............................$16,999+orc Ninja ZX-10R ............................ Back with a vengeance............$18,999+orc


PRICE GUIDE Ninja ZX-10R ABS .................... Safety factor .............................$19,999+orc 1400GTR ABS ........................... Transcontinental ......................$24,999+orc Ninja ZX-14R ABS SE .............. Special edition..........................$20,299+orc Ninja ZX-14R ABS SE Öhlins .. Öhlins, white, gold, scorching $21,999+orc Cruiser Vulcan 900 Custom SE ............ Thin-tyre tripping .....................$12,699+orc Vulcan 900 Classic ................... Classically glamorous .............$12,499+orc Vulcan 1700 Classic ABS......... Great blank canvas ..................$19,999+orc Vulcan 1700 Nomad ABS........ Add a bit of bling .....................$22,999+orc Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ABS ...... Go to the dark side ..................$24,499+orc Vulcan 1700 Voyager ABS....... Plush ride ..................................$25,999+orc Adv Touring KLR650 ...................................... Bargain with a capital B ..........$7999+orc Versys 650 ABS ........................ Appealing all-rounder .............$9,999+orc Versys 650L ABS ...................... LAMS model ............................$9,999+orc Versys 1000 .................................Bitumen burner.......................... $15,999+orc

KTM

www.ktm.com.au

Road 390 Duke ................................... Ninja beater? ............................$6995+orc 390 RC ....................................... All new available soon ............$TBA 690 Duke ................................... Sharp and bright ......................$11,495+orc 690 Duke R ................................ The sportier motard.................$13,495+orc 1190 RC8 R ................................ The orange flash ......................$25,495+orc 1290 Super Duke R .................. Ballsy streetfighter...................$23,495+orc Adv Touring 690 Enduro R ............................ Extreme riders only .................$14,395+orc 1190 Adventure......................... High-tech adventurer...............$19,995+orc 1190 Adventure......................... With EDS ...................................$22,995+orc 1190 Adventure R ..................... Add more adventure ...............$22,995+orc

KYMCO

www.kymco.com.au

Road CK 125 ....................................... No nonsense ............................$2095+orc Cruiser Venox 250 ................................. Value and looks ........................$5295+orc Scooter Like 125 ..................................... Fall in love .................................$2995+orc Super 8 125............................... Cool jigger ................................$2595+orc Espresso 150 ............................ I’ll take a double shot ..............$2799+orc Like 200 ..................................... Classic performer.....................$3395+orc Downtown 300i ABS ............... All-rounder with ABS ..............$7495+orc

LARO

www.laro.com.au

Road V Retro 250 ............................... DT250 clone ..............................$2990+orc Cruiser Cruiser 250................................ Learner’s ride............................$3999+orc

MEGELLI

www.megelli.com

Road 250S ........................................... Nice looker................................$4250+orc 250R ........................................... Italian styling ............................$4850+orc 250SE......................................... Sportsbike handling ................$5650+orc ■ Moto Guzzi has announced new colours for the V7 Stone and V7 Special. Both models now also feature a new flywheel in an oil bath, which replaces the previous dry alternator set-up. The Stone is available in matte black and red for $13,990+orc with the Special in black/orange and silver/black for $14,790+orc

MOTO GUZZI

www.motoguzzi.com.au

Road V7 Stone.................................... Minimalist retro........................$13,990+orc V7 Special ................................. Faithful to the original V7 ........$12,990+orc V7 Special ................................. 2014 model ...............................$14,790+orc V7 Racer SE .............................. Limited edition marvel ............$16,490+orc 1200 Sport 4V SE ..................... Grunter ......................................$19,990+orc Griso 1200 8V ........................... Grand slam ...............................$21,990+orc Cruiser California 1400 Custom........... Kalifornia attitude ....................$23,490+orc California 1400 Touring............ All a Cali should be ..................$26,490+orc Adv Touring Stelvio 1200 8V NTX ABS ....... Big brute....................................$19,990+orc Stelvio 1200 8V NTX ABS ....... 2014 model ...............................$23,390+orc

MV AGUSTA

www.mvagustaimports.com.au

All MV Agusta prices are ride-away. Road F3 675 ........................................ Sweet.........................................$18,490ra F3 800 ........................................ Track performance ...................$20,490ra F3 800 Ago ................................ Available July ...........................$32,990ra Brutale 675 EAS ....................... Bit of oomph at a good price .$15,990ra Brutale 800 EAS ....................... More power ..............................$17,490ra Brutale 800 Dragster ............... Nanananana Batman! .............$TBA Rivale 800 ................................. Available early 2014 .................$20,990ra Brutale 1090 .............................. More charm ..............................$19,990ra Brutale R 1090 .......................... Raw, yet refined .......................$20,490ra Brutale RR 1090 ........................ Unleash the brute within ........$23,990ra Brutale 1090 Corsa................... Top jock .....................................$28,990ra F4 1000 ...................................... Beauty and the beast within...$24,490ra F4 1000 RR ................................ Exotic weapon ..........................$34,990ra

PAGSTA

www.pagsta.com.au

We were unable to contact Pagsta to update details this issue. Road XP250 ........................................ Cheap learner ...........................$3990+orc Cruisa 250 Series Two.............. Nice appeal ...............................$3990+orc Scooter Pagsta Eagle 150 ...................... Commuter.................................$2795+orc

PGO

www.motorsportimporters.com.au

Scooter Ligero 50 ........................................................................................$1990+orc Ligero 150 ................................. Good, small package ...............$3290+orc X-Hot ......................................... It’s a hottie .................................$3990+orc Gmax ......................................... Go to the max...........................$4700+orc

PIAGGIO

www.piaggio.com.au

Scooter Typhoon 125 ............................. Blow you away.........................$2990+orc Fly 150ie .................................... Buzz around the city ................$3090+orc Liberty 150ie ............................. Big wheel freedom ..................$3690+orc Beverly 350 ............................... Higher performance ................$7990+orc Yourban 300 ............................. Replacing the MP3 300 ...........$9990+orc X10 500 ..................................... Big features...............................$11,990+orc

ROYAL ENFIELD

www.royalenfieldaustralia.com

Road B5 Bullet 500 ............................ Fire your guns ..........................$6995+orc G5 Deluxe ................................. She’s deluxe..............................$7445+orc C5 Classic/Military ................... Individual style .........................$7995+orc C5 Chrome ................................ Lots of eye candy .....................$8495+orc

SUZUKI

www.suzukimotorcycles.com.au

Road Inazuma 250 ............................. Let your inner zoomer out ......$4990+orc TU250XL3 ................................. Retro learner .............................$5990ra DR-Z400SM .............................. Everyday motard .....................$8990+orc GS500F...................................... Nice and simple .......................$6490+orc SFV650/LAMS .......................... Commuting and fun duties ....$10,490+orc GSX650F/LAMS ....................... Silky smooth ............................$10,490+orc GSX-R600 ................................. Angry bee .................................$14,990+orc GSR750 ..................................... Cracker of a motorcycle ..........$12,490+orc GSX-R750 ................................. The legend continues..............$15,990+orc GSX-R1000 ............................... Even lighter and faster ............$18,490+orc GSF1250S Bandit ABS ............ Long-distance ease..................$12,990+orc GSX1250FA .............................. A little bit of everything...........$14,990+orc GSX1300R Hayabusa .............. Soar like an eagle ....................$19,290+orc

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 135


PRICE GUIDE Cruiser VL250 Intruder.......................... Bang that drum ........................$6690+orc VL800 C50 ................................. Traditional ................................$10,990+orc VL800 C50T............................... All-new class ............................$12,990+orc VZ800 M50................................ Neat bobber..............................$10,990+orc VL1500 C90T............................. Bad boy .....................................$17,490+orc VLR1800 C109R ........................ Classic looks .............................$18,690+orc VLR1800T C109RT.................... Now as a tourer .......................$18,990+orc VZR1800 M109R....................... Beaut and brutal ......................$18,990+orc VZR1800 M109R....................... Black edition .............................$19,490+orc VZR1800Z M109RZ ................. Monster energy........................$19,490+orc VZR1800Z14.............................. Special edition..........................$19,490+orc Adv Touring DL650 V-Strom/LAMS ............. Deservedly a big seller ............$11,290+orc DL1000 V-Strom ....................... Powerfully competent .............$15,490+orc Scooter AN400A Burgman ABS ........... A stylish maxi ...........................$10,090+orc AN650A Burgman ABS ........... Overhauled ...............................$13,590+orc

SYM

www.scoota.com.au

Scooter Classic 150 ................................ Noble ride .................................$2799+orc VS 150 ....................................... Branch away .............................$3199+orc Symphony 150 ......................... Sporty big wheeler ..................$2999+orc HD Evo 200 ............................... Whacko! ....................................$4599+orc Firenze 300................................ Full of features..........................$5999+orc MaxSym 400i ........................... Ride-away price........................$7999ra

TGB

www.tgbscooters.com.au

Scooter Bellavita 125 ............................. Very chic ....................................$3990+orc X-Race 150 ................................ You’ll need knee sliders ..........$2590+orc Bullet 150 .................................. Small-calibre projectile ...........$3390+orc Xmotion 300 ............................. Smooth mover .........................$4990+orc Bellavita 300i ............................ Very chic, and bigger ...............$5490+orc

TORINO

www.torinomotorcycles.com.au

Torino ride-away prices are mostly Sydney-based and may vary elsewhere. Cruiser Veloce 250 ................................. American styled .......................$4695ra La Bora ...................................... Bargain custom ........................$6995ra Scooter Galetta Retro............................. Plenty of features .....................$2195ra Aero Sport ................................ Cut the wind .............................$2195ra Famosa ..................................... City chic .....................................$2695ra Messina Classic........................ New retro (Vespa) beauty .......$3495ra

TRIUMPH

www.triumphmotorcycles.com.au

Road Street Triple ABS ...................... Streets ahead ...........................$12,990+orc Street Triple R ABS ................... Even further ahead ..................$13,990+orc Daytona 675 ABS ..................... Supersport gem .......................$14,990+orc Daytona 675R ABS................... Track day heaven .....................$16,990+orc Bonneville ................................. Tradition reborn .......................$11,990+orc ■ The new learner-approved Street Triple 660 ABS is coming to dealerships at $12,490+orc

Bonneville ................................. Two tone ...................................$12,490+orc Bonneville T100 Black .............. Livin’ in the ’70s .......................$12,490+orc Bonneville T100 A2................... Nostalgia rules .........................$13,990+orc Bonneville T100 SE .................. Special Edition .........................$14,990+orc Scrambler ................................. Dirt track racer ..........................$13,990+orc Thruxton ................................... To the café! ...............................$13,990+orc Street Triple 660 LAMS ............ Learner-legal thrills ..................$12,490+orc Speed Triple 675 ABS............... It’s a gem ...................................$16,990+orc Speed Triple R 675 ABS ........... Sex on wheels .........................$20,990+orc Sprint GT................................... All world capabilities ...............$15,990ra Trophy SE.................................. Superb tourer ...........................$27,490+orc Cruiser America .................................... Easy urban rider.......................$13,090ra Speed Master ........................... All round goodness .................$13,090+orc Thunderbird ABS ..................... Aptly named flyer ....................$19,490+orc Thunderbird Storm ABS ......... Thunderous ..............................$20,990+orc Thunderbird ABS TT ................ Brand New ................................$19,990+orc Thunderbird ABS HAZE .......... Shiny and new ........................$21,990+orc Thunderbird Commander ...... 2014’s tough new T-bird ...........$22,490+orc Thunderbird LT......................... T-bird goes touring ..................$23,490+orc Rocket III Roadster ABS...What’s not to love about 2300cc? ...$21,490+orc Rocket III Touring ABS.............. Reasonably easy to ride..........$23,990+orc Adv Touring Tiger 800 ABS .......................... ABS option ...............................$13,890+orc Tiger 800XC ABS ..................... Bash it hardcore .......................$15,990+orc Tiger 800XC SE ........................ Special Edition .........................$16,990+orc Tiger Sport ABS ....................... More growl for the road .........$15,990+orc Tiger Explorer 1200 ................. True adventure-tourer .............$20,490+orc Tiger Explorer Wire Wheels .... The tougher version ................$20,990+orc

URAL

www.imz-ural.com.au

Road T ................................................. Cult status outfit .......................$18,500+orc Adv Touring Tourist........................................ WWII replica .............................$20,400+orc Bondi Tourist ............................. Beach to bush tourer ...............$20,400+orc Ranger ....................................... Even tougher ............................$21,600+orc Bondi Ranger............................ New 2014 model ......................$21,600+orc

VESPA

www.vespa.com.au

Scooter LX50FL ...................................... Inner city convenience ............$3990+orc LX125 3-Valve ........................... For the designer in you ...........$5290+orc LX150 3-Valve ........................... With a bit more oomph...........$5990+orc GTS250ie................................... Style in a great package ..........$7390+orc GTS300 Super .......................... Vroom vroom ...........................$8390+orc GTS300 Super Sport ............... Sportier style ............................$8690+orc GTV300ie .................................. Powerful Italian ........................$8990+orc PX150 ........................................ The purist’s ride........................$6290+orc Vespa 946 .................................. History in the making ..............$11,990+orc

VICTORY

www.victorymotorcycles.com.au

All Victory prices are ride-away. Cruiser Vegas 8 Ball .............................. Sink the 8-ball...........................$19,995ra High-Ball ................................... Ol’ skool cool ............................$19,495ra Hammer 8 Ball ......................... Hammer that 8-ball..................$20,995ra Judge......................................... A younger Victory ....................$20,995ra Gunner ...................................... Very cool bobber......................$19,995ra Hammer S................................. Hammer it! ...............................$22,995ra Hammer LE............................... New limited edition .................$23,495ra Jackpot ...................................... Showroom custom..................$23,995ra Boardwalk Black ....................... Cool classic in black .................$22,495ra Boardwalk Two Tone ................ Cool classic in black and red ..$22,995ra Cross Roads Classic ................ Chromed-up cool .....................$24,995ra Cross Country ......................... Comfortable touring ................$26,495ra Cross Country Tour .................. Ultra-comfortable touring.......$28,495ra Ness Cross Country ................. It’s got attitude ..........................$29,995ra Vision Tour................................. Space age looks .......................$30,495ra

VIPER

www.urbanmotoimports.com.au

Cruiser Black Diamond ......................... 2500cc of raw grunt.................$54,990+orc Diamondback ........................... Cruising superpower...............$54,990+orc

YAMAHA

www.yamaha-motor.com.au

Road YZF-R15 ..................................... Sporty and user friendly .........$3999ra YZF-R15 V2.0 ............................. New version 2.0 .......................$4299+orc 136 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER


PRICE GUIDE

YAMAHA SPARKS UP FJR1300 Yamaha has added electronic suspension adjustment to its sports tour-de-force FJR1300. It is now called the FJR1300E and costs $26,999, up $2000. What a difference a year makes. When the updated FJR1300 was released in March 2013, Yamaha Motor Australia decided not to import the FJR1300E, which also adds upside-down forks, saying it would be too expensive. But with many touring bikes now having a host of electronic aids to make touring that much easier, safer and more comfortable, Yamaha has decided to follow suit. The electronic suspension adjustment system works on both the front and rear suspension to provide the optimum set-up, no matter what the situation. It features a handlebarmounted switch to selector “One-Up”, “One-Up with Luggage”, “Two-Up” or “Two-Up with Luggage”. There are also damping choices of “Soft”, “Standard” or “Hard” for each setting. Settings can also be managed manually, allowing the rider to match precise set-up requirements. The two major improvements in the E model are on top of other upgrades, which make the sports tourer more powerful, economical, comfortable, convenient and safer with ABS and traction control. It also features cruise control, fly-by-wire throttle and two engine maps. It’s a big-torquing grey nomad now with a healthy dose of modern technology. While keeping the same lithe chassis, Yamaha has uprated the 1298cc inline four-cylinder engine for even more power and torque, added lashings of electronic wizardry such as two power maps, cruise control, fly-by-wire throttle, and improved rider and passenger safety, comfort and convenience. — MH

YZF-R15 V2.0SP ........................ Special Edition .........................$4399+orc SR400 ........................................ The classic single is back!.......$8999+orc XJ6NL........................................ New 2014 model ......................$9799ra XJ6NL SP .................................. White Edition ............................$9999ra FZ6R........................................... Full fairing, LAM model ..........$9999ra FZ6R SP ..................................... Special Edition .........................$10,499+orc YZF-R6 ....................................... WSS champ ..............................$15,999+orc MT-03 ......................................... Torquey LAMS single ..............$9,999+orc FZ8N .......................................... Hot all-rounder .........................$12,990+orc FZ8S........................................... Enjoy the road and corners ....$13,990+orc MT-09 ......................................... Three-cylinder thriller ..............$10,999+orc TDM900..................................... Mixed-up marvel......................$13,599+orc FZ1N .......................................... Ready for anything ..................$15,699+orc FZ1S........................................... With protection ........................$16,499+orc YZF-R1 ....................................... Gimme traction ........................$19,999+orc XJR1300 .................................... Refined cool..............................$13,999+orc FJR1300A Touring Edition ....... Police-spec tourer ....................$23,999+orc FJR1300A .................................. Sophisticated, sporty tourer ...$24,999+orc FJR1300E ................................... Electronic suspension .............$TBA

Cruiser XV250 Virago ............................ Great small package ................$6499+orc XVS650 Custom ....................... Popular custom ........................$10,499+orc XVS650A Classic...................... And as a classic ........................$10,990+orc XVS950A ................................... Mighty mid-ranger ..................$13,999+orc XVS950CU Bolt ........................ A younger, hipper cruiser .......$11,999+orc XVS950CUSP Bolt ................... R-Spec with better shocks ......$12,499+orc XVS1300A................................. The pick of the bunch ..............$15,999+orc XVS1300AT Tourer ................... With more features..................$18,299+orc XVS1300 Stryker...................... Mean looking chopper ............$TBA XV1900A Roadliner ................. Art Deco piece ..........................$21,499+orc XV1900AT Star Tourer ............. Art with flair ..............................$24,099+orc VMAX ........................................ Big, angry animal.....................$31,299+orc Adv Touring XT250R ...................................... New fuel-injected model.........$6299+orc XT660R ...................................... Seamlessly good .....................$11,499+orc XT660Z Ténéré .......................... Freedom machine ....................$13,999ra XT1200Z Super Ténéré ............ Leisurely rider...........................$19,990ra XT1200ZOE Super Ténéré ....... Outback edition ........................$21,890+orc Scooter XC125 Vity ................................. Your new friend........................$2699+orc YW125 ....................................... BW’s ...........................................$3399+orc YP400 Majesty ......................... Fit for royalty ............................$9499+orc TMAX 500 ................................. Scooterbike...............................$12,999+orc TMAX 530 ................................. Tougher, sportier, now ABS....$13,499+orc

YAMAHA SUPER TÉNÉRÉ GOES ELECTRIC Yamaha Super Ténéré now comes in two models, one with extra trimmings such as electronic suspension adjustment, grip warmers, rear carrier, centre stand, suede-look seat cover and hand protectors, all for an extra $2000. The electronic adjustable suspension has four preload settings and three damping settings, plus another seven customisable levels, all at the flick of a switch to match all types of load and terrain. The move towards electronics brings the big Yamaha closer to the BMW R1200GS specs, although it’s still almost 20kg heavier. Meanwhile, the standard model has trimmed down by 5kg despite getting more equipment such as cruise control and remaining at $19,990. Yamaha has announced a number of upgrades to the engine for 2014, including bigger intake and exhaust ports, revised camshaft and piston rings and new exhaust system. Yamaha says power is up just 2hp but it is smoother and the “T” (Tour) and “S” (Sport) engine maps are “more refined”. Transmission is also smoother with a rubber shock absorber in the clutch, while the shaft drive has an improved damper design in the engine housing. There is now a gear position indicator in the LCD instruments. After complaints about the windscreen, the new models get a four-position adjustable screen, although it’s not clear if this can be done on the run like the new GS. Other updates include new aluminium tapered handlebars for less vibration, cruise control standard, LED indicators, new tail design, low-profile stitchless seat, muffler protector and a forged aluminium sidestand. — MH

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 137


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ROAD LAWS

GOING WITH THE FLOW We talk you through NSW’s new lane-splitting laws MARK HINCHLIFFE otorcyclists are about to get a green light to filter through traffic on New South Wales roads. But what does that mean for them and others sharing the road? And what are the rules for motorcycles weaving through traffic across the rest of Australia? In an Australian first, from July 1, 2014, motorcyclists in NSW will be able to legally lane filter through stopped and congested traffic. This will bring NSW closer to Asian and European cities, where motorcycles and scooters are treated as vital elements of a balanced road transport system. The NSW changes will likely prompt significant revision of the Australian Road Rules relating to driving in marked lanes or lines of traffic. Currently, no other Australian jurisdiction permits lane filtering by motorcyclists. But there are already calls for change in Victoria. Lane filtering is an effective method for dealing with some aspects of traffic congestion. It refers to a scooter rider or motorcyclist moving in the same direction between the lanes of stopped or slow-moving vehicles. It has been a common, albeit illegal, practice for decades by riders of motorcycles and bicycles. It is also regularly employed by police

M

motorcyclists and motorcycle paramedics as an effective technique for moving quickly in congested traffic conditions. There are scant reports of riders being involved in a crash, or even being booked. This is as might be expected, because lane filtering is a low-speed manoeuvre. A trial in Sydney’s central business district last year showed many benefits from permiing lane filtering, and very few negatives. The set of conditions to be imposed by NSW authorities for lane filtering only “when it is safe to do so” reflects a commonsense approach. These include: • not filtering between lanes in school zones; • only doing so at speeds less than 30km/h; • only full-licensed riders (not L- or P-plater riders) will be permied; • and not do it along the kerbside or guer. Add to that some more common sense, which experienced motorcycle riders know they need to do, including: • taking responsibility for their own safety (because a crash doesn’t hurt any less when it’s not the rider’s fault); • scanning, anticipating, responding to actively avoid situations that can lead to a near-miss or a crash; • always wearing protective clothing just in case someone makes a mistake. The new law is supported by most riders who already split the lanes to

“A trial last year showed many benefits from permitting lane filtering, and very few negatives”

filter to the front of intersections, or to pass stopped or slow-moving vehicles. Experienced motorcycle commuters know that most car drivers make space for them when they see riders coming forward between the lanes. But different forms of road transportation (such as driving cars, trucks, motorcycling, cycling) do require different cognitive skills for safe and efficient mobility. For those drivers who are not in the habit of monitoring the traffic around them and who may not be fully situationally aware, there will be a need for public education to ensure they know what to expect. Despite the fact that lane filtering will shortly be legal in NSW and other states and territories may follow suit, there will be probably be a few car drivers who will still open their door as the motorcycle approaches them in traffic, or aempt to drag-race motorbikes from traffic lights. Why? Probably just poor anger management skills and a misplaced sense of territoriality and road ownership. Luckily, experienced motorcyclists can use the benefits of their machines to easily manoeuvre away from such aggressive drivers. The new rules should mean drivers and riders experience smoother traffic flows on NSW roads. Over time, we would predict that many more driver-only commuters in cars will see motorcyclists and scooters filter past them while stuck in slow-moving traffic and realise that they too could reduce their travel time and costs by switching over to a modern scooter or motorcycle. ARR AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER | 145


LAST LOOK On a whim we went searching the internet for motorcycle poetry the other day and, quite unexpectedly, turned up the freshly published thesis titled Poets Don’t Ride Motorcycles, wrien by Andrew G Tully while studying for an MA in English at the University of Nebraska. A good read it was too. Many of the poems are about motorcycles and riding, in spite of the title of the thesis. “I am addicted to riding motorcycles and have been since the second day of my road class,” Andrew says. “Not the first day. I hated riding the first day.” He describes the “revelation” of riding, “the feel of the air pressing against my body, the touch and response of the bike, and the knowledge that the only thing standing between you and the ground is your own abilities, including how well you understand the limits of your bike”.

We have some cool bikes coming up next issue, not least of which is… • BMW’s super-sexy R nineT, which is at once a huge departure from BMW’s norm and at the same time a perfect rendition of what the brand is about • Triumph’s super-comfy bagger, the Thunderbird LT. Its seat alone is worth celebrating, but that’s certainly not all • Harley’s super-luxury Ultra Glide tourer, the pinnacle of Project Rushmore’s success • KTM’s 390 Duke, one of the wildest entry-level bikes on the market. There will be three tyre write-ups in issue 105: long-distance reviews of Pirellis and Bridgestones plus the lowdown on Michelin’s latest road rubber. Plus you’ll be inspired by more great destinations and adventures, find out about all sorts of new and interesting two-wheeling stuff, and be entertained by the merry mob that makes ARR the best thing since being on your bike. See you next month!

146 | AUSTRALIAN ROAD RIDER

GOOD ROADS Every good road is a failure. Every excellent hill-climb and gorgeous corner is a testament to the Earth beating man. Humans like things to be straightforward and clean-cut. Our cities are grids, laid out to the four directions. These are roads that have caged in the natural in order to express human nature. But outside the city limits, the land could not be broken and so it was paved over. The tarmac like lace barely covering the curves of the ground, the erotic rises and sensuous falls. Thrill seekers search for these roads and these roads they learn like a lover’s body. Tenderly, slowly, memorizing each birthmark of the pavement and asking it to not break their hearts. — ANDREW TULLY

COMING UP

ISSUE 105 OF ARR GOES ON SALE ON JULY 16TH


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TY RE YE O AR F T ! H

N° 1 for Mileage “I am highly impressed with the new technology, feel and wear of this tyre. It is a game changer in the sports touring market” Stuart Woodbury , Australian Motorcyclist Magazine

“Riding comfort, precise cornering, secure stopping, high mileage – Pirelli’s Angel GT looks set to blaze a trail the others can only hope to follow” Rod Chapman - Motorcycle Trader Magazine

“I have tested sports tyres, touring tyres and dual compound tyres in the past but I have never come across tyres with the all-round abilities and life expectancy of the Pirelli Angel GT’s. To demonstrate that on such a heavy, powerful bike is super impressive. I think Pirelli is on a winner”... Greg Reynolds - Australian Road rider Magazine

AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY, HE KEPT RIDING. G. Introducing the new Pirelli Angel GT tyre. Perfect for never-ending trips or just a short weekend ride, it’s engineered to give you confidence and enhanced durability, even on wet roads. More than sport touring: this is 100% Italian Gran Turismo. N° 1 for Mileage According to an independent test of Motorrad Test Center comparing Pirelli Angel GT with Michelin Pilot Road 3, Dunlop Spor tmax Roadsmar t II, Bridgestone Battlax BT 023, Continental RoadAttack 2 and Metzeler Roadtec Z8 I nterac t M/O on 120/70 ZR17 and 180/55 ZR17 set. The test took place in Spain, Marbella in November and December 2012, using six Suzuki Bandit 1250 ABS . L140235

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Normal acceptance criteria applies. *PRICE GUARANTEE CONDITIONS: We guarantee to beat our competitors price on motorcycle insurance policies excluding our Platinum Cover. The guarantee also applies to existing QBE motorcycle insurance polices that are on renewal. Price guarantee is based on our standard price compared to competitors for policies with a comparable list of insured events. Offer valid for the first 12 months of insurance, after this premium will be charged at the competitive QBE standard rate. We only guarantee to beat the price of APRA authorised insurers who hold an ASFL issued by ASIC. Guarantee does not apply to any free offers of insurance. Insurance is issued by QBE (Australia) Limited ABN 78 003 191 035. To decide if a policy is right for you please carefully read the Product Disclosure Statement which is available at www.qbe.com.au or by phoning us on 1800 24 34 64.

Issue#104 - July 2014  

We’ve been all over the place this month: into the High Country for the Touratech weekend, to the Roof of Africa with Charley Boorman, explo...

Issue#104 - July 2014  

We’ve been all over the place this month: into the High Country for the Touratech weekend, to the Roof of Africa with Charley Boorman, explo...

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