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€4.99 | £3.99 ISSUE 170 APRIL’18 80 9 771649 482069

FEATURED BMW HP4 Honda X-ADV BMW R1200GS Yamaha MT-09 Ducati Scrambler Indian Scout Bobber

AFRICA TWIN The Honda Gets The Adventure Travel Treatment

N E W S | K I T G U I D E | C L A S S I C | L O N G T E R M B I K E S | T R AV E L BBG 170 Covers.indd 1

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BMW Motorrad

YOU ONLY REGRET THE THINGS YOU DON’T DO.

€750 DEPOSIT CONTRIBUTION ON R NINE T MODELS. Model

OTR

Customer Deposit

BMW Contribution

35 Monthly payments of

Optional final payment*

APR

R NineT Racer S

€15,490

€3,897

€750

€130

€8,321

7.9%

Joe Duffy BMW Motorrad North Road Dublin 01 864 7777

Kearys BMW Motorrad Eastgate Business Park Cork 021 500 3600

Select finance example for a R nineT Racer S 2018MY, on the road cash price €15,490 with a deposit of €4,647 including a €750 contribution from BMW Motorrad, max contract km: 18500kms, excess km charge €0.06: 1st repayment of €206 followed by 35 monthly repayments of €130 per month. Optional final repayment of €8,321. Hire Purchase price €17,744. 7.9% APR. Finance from BMW Financial Services , subject to status, over 18s, Irish residents only. Terms and conditions apply. A guarantee may be required. Select finance is a form of hire-purchase. Vehicle condition & excess mileage charges may be payable on return of vehicle. You will not own the vehicle unless & until final repayment is made. BMW Financial Services (Ireland) DAC is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Offer applies to new vehicles ordered and registered by 31 December 2018, subject to availability.

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BikeBuyersGuide

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CONTENTS P6 NEWS The editor’s letter and all you need to know this month P9

LONG TERMERS We’ve made ourselves weatherproof with an R1200GS Adventure

P10 COVER STORY The new Africa Twin gets a model upgrade P16

TONER TALKS ‘Techniques, tricks and habits’, he’s beginning to sound like a traffic cop…

P20

KIT GUIDE Tucano Urbano launch their Spring/ Summer collection for 2018

P24

PABLOS CAFÉ No more snow. Please.

P30

A VIEW FROM THE HILLS It’s never pointless

P32

READY TO RACE The HP4 Race, there’s a lot to like

P39 POWERDAYS We’re off to Bishopscourt with Terry Rymer, you should join us P40 MASTERFUL Dunlop to sponsor the masters again this season P42

TAKE FIVE Michelins new Pilot 5 breaks cover

P46

REV UP The best spin of the year is on again

P50 LETTERS There’s a prize for the best one… P54

GIRL ON A BIKE If she doesn’t get on track soon there will be trouble

P56

TRACK TIME Monteblanco beckons

P58 TRAVEL Dan went to Scotland, now he sounds like Robbie Burns

P60 CLASSIC RACING A fleet of Honda 50s get horribly abused

P62 SUPERBIKE SCHOOL What makes a riding technique successful?

P68

EVEN HIPPER The Scrambler Sled

P72 WINNING Derek McGee gets ready for the season P76

SCOOTER OR BIKE? The XAdv gets a touch up

P80

INTERVIEW Anthony Fox spreads the good news

BikeBuyersGuide 3

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MOTORCYCLE GEAR FOR TOUGH CLIMATES

Our bike wear is built around high technology. The choice of material and the manufacturing technology are key in creating fully functional garments with focus on safety and comfort. New improved materials created by space technology has facilitated the manufacture of motorcycle wear that holds its own in the tough Nordic climate. A variety of techniques used on both leather and textiles keep you cool on a hot summer's day and warm on a late autumn morning.

Open

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phone: 4784 200

motorcycle sales and service

3-4 Wexford St Dublin 2 • Web: www.megabikes.ie • Email:ciaran@megabikes.ie

Opening Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed & Friday :8.30am to 6pm Late Night Thursday : 8.30am to 8pm Saturday : 9am to 5pm

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NEWS

EDITOR’S LETTER

Well that was an interesting four weeks. We had a great time visiting Cork for the Monster Motorcycle Show in late February but not such a great time a week later when Storm Emma hit us. Never did we anticipate that amount of snow and it certainly rendered motorcycles useless unless you were running spikes! Anyway it was short lived and thankfully none of our two wheeled colleagues were hurt on the roads and that is the main thing. The news is during this cold spell pretty much every racing discipline is now back underway. Right now we are in the office loading up the vans for the first round of the Mondello Masters Championship, which is now set to incorporate a new motorcycle show. It was a late addition to our calendar but in an effort to show our support for local racing and hang out with you guys we will be there! Before I sign off I’d like to bring your attention to our Bike Buyers Guide website. We have been appointed agents for the new PlayStation 4 and XBOX ONE TT Isle Of Man Ride On The Edge game. If you click into the Shop Now section you will see the game and believe me, its well worth a play! See you all in four short weeks.

Up In The Air

The good people in Air Ambulance NI have been ‘in the air’ since last July. The need for such a service which was lobbied for by Doc John for many years is now a reality. This emergency medical system meets best patient response standards and outcomes for patients. It provides a world class helicopter emergency service for the people of Northern Ireland and the team provide outstanding critical care where and when it’s needed most. They now are launching Club AANI, a membership club that gives supporters access to exclusive online discounts, a range of air ambulance goodies, discounts on our merchandise and more. You can let everyone know you’re helping to power Air Ambulance NI by signing up! For more information, drop us an email at info@airambulanceni.org.

The Best That You Can Be

One of our loyal readers, David from Cork, has asked us to organise a trip to Newry to partake in the PSNIs Bikesafe program. If you’re interested in a) having your brilliance as a motorcyclist confirmed, or b) getting a few pointers to direct you to how you could be even better, then drop Paul an email at paul@bikebuyersguide.ie and we’ll book a day out of Dublin with the lads when the weather is just that little bit more bearable.

The Niken Is On The Way A new concept in larger capacity motorcycles and launched to the world at the EICMA motorcycle show in late 2017, the all-new Yamaha Niken is about to open up a whole new dimension in riding control. With its revolutionary Leaning Multi Wheel (LMW) platform, the new bike introduces a totally new concept to the world of motorcycling, and takes corner carving confidence to another level. The new machine claims to have many rider benefits coming from the unique new LMW technology, and now Yamaha have announced that they will be offering the general public the chance to ride the Niken when it’s released in the Irish market as part of their demonstrator fleet.

Clean Yourself Up

Brian from MVD has been on to remind us that winter is now over and those of us who ‘ploughed the lonely furrow’ over the last few monthsw can get our machines restored to the summer time setting, i.e. devoid of crud! Brian is still based in Walkinstown where he’ll return your machine to showroom condition. Give him a call on 086 839 1085 and he’ll ‘wash all yer ould sins’ away…

Justin Justin Delaney Editor justin@bikebuyersguide.i

SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook “f ” Logo

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facebook.com/bikebuyersguide twitter.com/bikebuyersguide

6

Its Gonna Be A Classic! The VJMC show takes place again this year on Sunday the 6th of May. The show takes place in the National Show Centre which is in Swords, Co. Dublin. Doors open from 10.30am until 4.30pm. Entry is €8 for an adult and accompanied children under 16 go free when accompanied by a parent or guardian. If you would like to exhibit at the show contact Jason on 086 323 8203.

BikeBuyersGuide

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NEWS

Win With Harley-Davidson There are two types of Harley riders in the world: those who know how bad a Harley is and those who’ve actually ridden one! If you’re one of the knockers then we have some seriously good news for you. The ‘Motor Company’ has decided to encourage you and your like to join MoCo owners and fans in a very clever way. Take a trip to Waterford or Dublin HD to book a test ride as part of their ‘Freedom Days’ test ride events and you’ll be in with a chance to win a trip to the brand’s huge 115th anniversary event in Prague, July time. The prize includes the use of one of their bikes for seven days, the full Platinum rally pack for two, three nights event accommodation for two, and a little over two grand in spending money. That’s some deal (for two). Call Waterford H-D on 051 844 200, or Dublin H-D on 014 642 211 to start your Harley experience. Let us know how the trip goes…

Motoblanco

Cash On Demand

If you’re quick, really quick, you might just get a cancellation spot on the next Motocraft trip which takes the crew and their guests to Moteblanco near Seville in sunny southern Spain. We were there last month with Michelin to test ride the new Pilot 5 and we loved the place. You can see what’s involved on www.motocraft.ie or call Paul Creevey on 0868 222 859. Tuition, tyre changing and suspension setup are all included in the price.

Trevor from Moto4U in Rathfarnham has been on to let us know that the well established motorcycle shop is now offering finance through Flexi Fi. Funding is available for purchases of motorcycles, scooter and kit purchases from as little as €1,000. Give him, or any of his team, a call on 014055 220.

New_cover170.pdf

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€4.99 | £3.99 ISSUE 170 APRIL’18 80 9 771649 482069

FEATURED BMW HP4 Honda X-ADV BMW R1200GS Yamaha MT-09 Ducati Scrambler Indian Scout Bobber

AFRICA TWIN The Honda Gets The Adventure Travel Treatment

N E W S | K I T G U I D E | C L A S S I C | L O N G T E R M B I K E S | T R AV E L

Tel: Email:

Bike Buyers Guide Unit 22, Kilcarbery Business Park, New Nangor Road, Grange Castle, Dublin 22 01 4577 424 info@bikebuyersguide.ie www.bikebuyersguide.ie ISSN 1649-4822

Petition To Have Biking Routes Introduced To GoogleMaps  A petition launched calling for motorcycle and scooter routes to be added to Google Maps in a response to the needs of 1.25 million British bikers [1] has already gained the support of over 1,000 signatures in just one week. The platform has a facility for travel by car, train, bicycle and even plane but with no time estimates for motorcycle journeys, leading motorcycle insurance broker,  Carole Nash, believes that bikers have been left overlooked by  Google. With studies revealing motorcycle travel within major European cities can be up to two-thirds quicker  than the same route by car  [2], the Carole Nash petition suggests that journey time estimates should be changed for those travelling by powered two-wheelers. Rebecca Donohue, Head of Marketing at Carole Nash, said: “Google Maps is a useful tool for so many travellers, but it is baffling that motorcycle routes are not included within the service. With so many modes of transport already available, it seems like the logical next step for biking to be introduced too.” A study from Transport and Mobility Leuven revealed that if just 10% of cars on the road were replaced by bikes, this would reduce congestion for all road users by 40%  [3]. By improving the tools available to bikers, Carole Nash believe that this will benefit road users as a whole. Rebecca Donohue adds: “We aim to provide motorcyclists with the best possible service and we think that campaigning

CREDITS

for a tool that would help British bikers is another great way to do this. It isn’t just bikers who would benefit though – research has clearly shown how assisting bikers is to the advantage of cars, lorries and buses too.” Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) CEO Tony Campbell says: “Government records show the number of people getting onto motorcycles and scooters has increased by 74% since 1996, so MCIA fully supports the call for Google Maps to introduce powered two-wheeler journey times. “Car journey times just aren’t accurate for riders of powered two-wheelers as they cut through rush hour congestion in the time you would expect to move in free-flowing traffic. This has been confirmed through a series of City Challenges in many European cities, including several in the UK.” Google has started initial trials of motorcycle routes in India, but there is currently no indication of whether the tool will be introduced to the UK or when British bikers might expect to benefit from the full implementation of motorcycle routes within  Google’s mapping feature. The petition also has the backing of British Superbike star Leon Haslam and record-breaking World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea. To view and sign the petition, visit: https://www.carolenash. com/insidebikes/news/carole-nash-launchespetition-motorbike-routes-added-googlemaps/

Publisher

JKLM Media Ltd.

Editorial Director

Justin Delaney

Associate Editor

Paul Browne

Photographer

Ralph McKeon

Finance Director

Liam Daly

Creative Director

Keith Wealleans

Design & Production

Clear Designs

Graphic Designer

Colin Brennan

Graphic Designer

Craig Kearney

Sales Manager

James Harlow

Operations Manager

Brian Neville

Established

2004

No part of Bike Buyers Guide, including photographs may be reproduced in any publication without prior written consent of the publisher. The publisher will institute proceedings in respect of any infringement of copyright. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. No liability is accepted for errors or omissions within an advertisement or any omission of an advertisement, nor any failure in the distribution of any edition of the magazine. Bike Buyers Guide retains the copyright on all photographs that appear in the magazine. These photographs may be used as library photographs in the future by Bike Buyers Guide. By taking an advert in this magazine you are agreeing to its potential use elsewhere. Bike Buyers Guide is the property of and is published by JKLM Media Ltd. Bike Buyers Guide keeps personal data regarding its subscribers and advertisers for the purpose of direct marketing within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1988 and may disclose that personal data to third parties involved in the provision of financial and other services so as to facilitate such direct marketing.  All of the foregoing is subject to the provisions of the 1988 Act and in particular section 2(7) thereof which confers on a person in respect of whom the personal data is held the right to request in writing that the use of the personal data should cease to be used for the purpose of direct marketing.  Such requests in writing should be addressed to Bike Buyers Guide, Unit 22, Kilcarbery Business Park, New Nangor Road, Grange Castle, Dublin 22. All new prices contained in Bike Buyers Guide are recommended retail prices (ex. works and associated charges) and are correct at time of going to press.

BikeBuyersGuide 7

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LONG TERMER

LONG TERMER BMW R1200GS ADVENTURE

The GS bit of the R1200GS name stands for the German term Gelände/ Straße. In English this broadly means ‘all roads’. In Irish, however, the initials remain true with the words ‘Gach Sráide’ meaning exactly the same thing. In any language they testify to the bikes ability to ride on any type of surface. This in turn implys some sort of weather resistance!

Over the last few weeks the weather has been somewhat disappointing. As we go to print we hear about Paddys day parades being cancelled because of the snow and the country has ground to a halt for several days of what should have been the start of spring. It was so bad it even managed to ground the GS for a few days!

Even at a standstill this is an impressive piece of machinery. The Adventure Model, which we’ve been on for the last six weeks or so, has all the toys. A full luggage carrying system on the back of the machine makes it ready to load and take on the world. The seat height is adjustable as is the preload and rebound on the suspension. The latter is controlled by a server, which is operated from the handlebars. The trick, apparently, is to lift the preload as high as it’ll go, set the thing to the softest setting and dial the fuelling to enduro. Then the bad weather and poorly surfaced roads had better look out!

One of the more remarkable features of this bike is the huge petrol tank. From empty it cost us a stunning €46 to fill the thing and with 33 litres of fuel on board that’s enough to get from the arctic wasteland of Finglas all the way to sunny Inishowen and back again! As Billy Connolly once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing”. The GS isn’t just for all streets it’s also for all weathers (almost).

Ireland’s Hard Chrome Plating Specialists

There is a huge selection of GS Adventure motorcycles available in Duffys, call Bruce on 018647750 to book a test ride.

Have your worn or pitted fork stanchions hard chrome plated and ground to original size… Better than New!

Unit 4, Ashbourne Industrial Estate, Ashbourne, Co. Meath, A84 KD98 • Phone: 01 835 0550 • egmanlyltd@eircom.net • www.hardchromeplating.ie

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BikeBuyersGuide

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V


WHEREVER LIFE TAKES YOU MJPB logo

MJPB logo

ADVENTURE SPORTS

from

€14,500

*

from

€15,900

from

€9,100

from

€7,500

Visit your Honda dealer for your Honda Adventure Motorcycle now! Call 01-4381900 or click on the dealer locator at www.HondaIreland.ie *17YM CRF1000L priced from €14,500, 18YM priced from €14,900

Honda Distributors M50 Business Park, Ballymount, Dublin 12, Ireland. T: 01-4381900 | E: info@HondaIreland.ie www.HondaIreland.ie

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HONDA AFRICA TWIN

The main engine-related “ change is the adoption of ride-by-wire throttle control

ADVENTURE 10

BikeBuyersGuide

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HONDA AFRICA TWIN

ADVENTURE SPORTS The Africa Twin Range Expands

T

here’s a sense of frustration as I reach a crossroads where the sandy dirt track I’ve been riding meets a tarmac road. The track continues invitingly on the other side, through more spectacular Spanish scenery… but if I don’t turn the Africa Twin Adventure Sports round and head back right now, I’ll miss my slot at the end of the queue for launch photos. This isn’t part of the official route; just a few extra solo kilometres grabbed amid the downtime of a modern media event. But already the Adventure Sports has impressed enough to make me wish I could cross that tarmac and keep going for a few more hours of off-road adventure, to see how well this new derivative of Honda’s Africa Twin lives up to its name. Such a ride, or ideally an even longer one, would be just what the Adventure Sports has been created for. The new-generation Africa Twin has been a hit since its introduction two years ago. It updated one of Honda’s most iconic models in suitably distinctive fashion, belatedly gave the firm a serious adventureclass contender, and has sold over 50,000 units worldwide, roughly half of them in Europe. But while Honda’s bold decision to attack the dominant litre-plus beasts with a lighter, less powerful 998cc parallel twin has been vindicated, the reborn Africa Twin has struggled in a few areas. In particular, its wind protection, fuel range, suspension travel and ground clearance have limited its suitability for long-distance travel, especially when the going gets tough.

That’s especially true when the Honda is compared with the beefed-up variants such as BMW’s GS Adventures, KTM’s Adventure Rs and Ducati’s Multistrada Enduro that broaden their respective families. So Honda has joined in by introducing the Adventure Sports as a similar dirt- and distance-friendly derivative. The new model is based on an Africa Twin that is itself updated for 2018. There’s no change to the eight-valve parallel twin engine, with its Unicam sohc cylinder head and 270-degree crankshaft layout. But the balancer mechanism is 300g lighter, intake trumpets are longer (for improved midrange output) and the exhaust system is new. The mods don’t alter the maximum output of 94bhp at 7500rpm, or the peak torque figure of 99N.m that arrives 1500rpm earlier. Main engine-related change is the adoption of ride-by-wire throttle control, which allows four riding modes: Tour, softer Urban, offroad Gravel and a programmable User. Changing modes, by pressing a button on the left bar, adjusts power output, engine braking (through three settings) and traction control. The latter, which can also be tweaked directly via a lever on the left bar, now works more subtly, by cutting fuel as well as ignition. Other changes to the standard Twin include wider footrests, plus reshaped pillion footrest hangers that are better tucked-in when the rider is standing. Electronic updates introduce self-cancelling indicators and a redesigned instrument panel that sits flatter, to enhance visibility when riding standing up. A lithiumion battery saves 2.3kg; stainless steel spokes

RE SPORTS WORDS Roland Browne

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HONDA AFRICA TWIN

should better resist their predecessors’ tendency to corrode. The Adventure Sports adds a slightly bigger fairing and taller screen, crashbars around the fairing, and a substantial aluminium bash-plate below the sump. Its 5.4-litre larger fuel tank brings capacity to 24.2 litres without losing the slimness that contributes to the Twin being one of Honda’s most attractive bikes, especially in the traditional, 1980s Africa Twin blue-white-red that is the Adventure Sports’ only colour, of the four base-model options. Main chassis change is longer Showa suspension, which gives an extra 20mm of travel at each end (at 224mm front, 240mm rear) and, like the standard model’s, is multi-adjustable but with no semi-active option. For easier riding when standing up, the handlebar is moved up by 32.5mm and rearwards by 5mm. The adjustable seat is flatter, and taller by 50mm, at 900 or 920mm. That inevitably makes the Adventure Sports more difficult to climb aboard (two lower accessory seats are available), even if you’re tall. But its basic slimness, and the relatively light kerb weight of 243kg (the optional Dual Clutch Transmission adds 10kg to that), meant it felt manoeuvrable and rider-friendly as we headed out from the launch base in the hills north of Malaga in southern Spain.

effortlessly smooth at 130km/h, heading on towards a top speed of about 200km/h. It’s brisk rather than truly quick, and won’t absorb the extra weight of a pillion and luggage like more powerful bikes, but it’s fast enough to be fun and provides an ideal excuse to keep the throttle wound open. Such is the engine’s gentle nature that you’d rarely require anything other than the full-fat Tour mode on the road, though Urban’s Level 2 throttle response is only slightly less urgent. There’s a bigger difference to Gravel, whose softer Level 3 response is for loose surfaces only. The levels of engine braking and traction control are also fixed for the three named riding modes. I found this slightly irritating, because engine braking is curiously light in the Tour and Urban modes’ Level 2 setting, so I had to select the customisable User, which allowed me to choose Level 1 for what felt like a normal amount of assistance when closing the throttle. Similarly, Nanny Honda has decreed that traction control for all three fixed modes is the highly intrusive Level Six. This can then be reduced by flicking your left index finger a few times, but why not let the rider fine-tune all the modes, as Ducati for example does?

Immediately I was reminded that the Africa Twin’s flexible, characterful and modestly powerful parallel-twin engine is central to its appeal. The adoption of ride-by-wire hasn’t marred the sweet throttle response, and the new exhaust manages to sound improbably throaty, contributing to an enjoyably involving character.

On a blustery day I was disappointed that the Adventure Sports doesn’t answer one common Africa Twin criticism by providing adjustment for its screen, which is 80mm higher than the standard screen but shorter than the Touring accessory. Being very tall, I like the Touring screen but find the standard one far too short. I didn’t mind the Sport’s halfway house too much but it generated turbulence that would have been annoying on a longer trip.

The Honda pulled cleanly from as low as 2000rpm in the lower gears, picked up the pace through the midrange, and rumbled along feeling

Project leader Kenji Morita said they’d considered an adjustable screen before sticking with simplicity and light weight (and presumably lower

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HONDA AFRICA TWIN

The new fuel tank is good for over 500km

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HONDA AFRICA TWIN

cost). But when rival adventure bikes offer effective, one-handed adjustability, Honda’s inflexibility is surely a drawback. Same for the continued lack of cruise control, which can only be due to cost. On the other hand I was very glad of the standard-fitment heated grips, although even the highest setting didn’t seem particularly hot. Other features followed a similar pattern of useful but not quite sorted. There’s a power socket on the dash, but no USB socket or compartment for phone or coins. And there’s a storage compartment on the right of the seat, apparently inspired by a similar one on the original Africa Twin, but instead of being lockable it is secured by two Allen bolts, so is neither convenient nor secure. For me the repositioned instrument console was clear, if slightly cluttered, but some shorter riders found its shallow angle reflecting the sky. At least the new fuel tank is capacious, its 24.2 litre capacity being good for over 500km at 4.6 l/100km, if you believe Honda, or a still very respectable 400km at my launch average of 5.7 l/100km. Another useful addition is the rear carrier, which extends either side of and at the same height as the pillion seat, forming a broad base on which to strap even a large bag.

Africa Twin off-road I tipped off in a rut, then holed an engine cover on a sharp rock.

If even this better-equipped Africa Twin still has a few rough edges, they’re easier to accept when the basic engine and chassis package works so well – both on- and off-road. On tarmac the Honda’s highspeed stability was excellent, and the narrow front wheel allowed reasonably light steering despite its 21in width.

It was difficult to think of an adventure bike that would have been more enjoyable or notably quicker on that occasionally bumpy dirt-track. Or, when I reached the crossroads, one that would have made me so tempted to keep going, ideally until the big tank ran almost dry. The Adventure Sports doesn’t eliminate all the Africa Twin’s limitations, but it does add range, ruggedness and useful features to what was already a very classy and capable all-rounder.

The long-travel suspension didn’t have a particularly adverse effect on roadgoing handling either. Sure, there was a bit more diving when I braked hard with the unchanged blend of 310mm wavy discs and four-pot Nissin radial calipers, especially if I squeezed hard enough to activate the new hazard system that flashes both rear indicators under heavy deceleration. But the new, multi-adjustable forks’ extra damping, especially on compression, helped keep the bike respectably stable even when the road got twisty and the standard-fitment Bridgestone Adventure A41s were working hard. Those narrow wheels helped the Adventure Sports steer very controllably off-road too, especially the next day when we swapped to knobblier Conti TKC80 rubber. These gave reassuring grip even on the damp and sandy dirt track, where the Gravel mode’s reduced power would have been fine but I preferred it in combination with the User mode’s option of additional engine braking. Here the Africa Twin’s low-rev grunt, sweet fuelling and reasonably light weight were welcome, along with its well-balanced feel and the quality of its suspension, which soaked up bumps with notably more composure than the standard Twin’s springs. I didn’t totally trust the traction control, a simple wheel-speed system, but it offered some assistance in its less intrusive settings. The ABS, which as before can be disabled for the rear wheel but not the front, was impressive even on gravel. The Twin’s ergonomic changes were welcome. The taller bars meant that I didn’t have to reach down too far when standing on the pegs, whose extra width gave better leverage and a more natural stance. I was also glad of the crash-bars and bash-plate, given that last time I rode an

14

Honda’s latest Dual Clutch Transmission system impressed, too. The conventional model’s six-speed box worked fine, and can be fitted with an optional quick-shifter. On dirt roads I appreciated the way the DCT system let me ignore my big, inflexible left motocross boot and ride the bike like an automatic, occasionally brushing a button with my left thumb, on approaching a bend, to change down. Pressing the G button on the dash gives more direct drive, but I didn’t find DCT delay a problem even without it. The system occasionally shifted up slightly early, even when in the most aggressive Sport mode. (As before, DCT can also be used in Manual, changing up and down with index finger and thumb respectively.) A conventional clutch’s assistance with slow-speed control is sometimes useful, especially in more technical or slippery ground. But unless I was planning to ride in such conditions frequently, I’d be very tempted to pay the extra for a system that can make off-road riding remarkably effortless.

The 2018 Africa Twin The launch also included the chance of a brief off-road ride on the updated standard Africa Twin, albeit one wearing the road-biased tyres that both models come with, rather than the knobblier rubber we’d used for the Adventure Sports. Watching the first rider slide off on the muddy first bend of the photo session route confirmed the value of the Sports’ crash-bars, even if the only damage was to the clutch lever. Despite its lack of grip, the standard Twin had a slight advantage in weighing 11kg less when fully fuelled, and having a 50mm lower seat, so smaller riders in particular are likely to find it more manageable. For shorter journeys on the road it arguably has the edge, especially if you prefer the lower standard screen. But for most riders the Adventure Sports’ improved range and crash protection will be welcome, and the heated grips and power socket useful accessories. Given that the price difference in most markets is under ten per cent, in either DCT or normal six-speed transmission, that is likely to make the more comprehensively equipped model seem good value unless its extra height would be a major drawback.

BikeBuyersGuide

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HONDA AFRICA TWIN

Kenji Morita, Africa Twin Adventure Sports Project Leader “We had high expectations for the Africa Twin, but so far it has exceeded them in both sales and the strength of customers’ response. We hadn’t planned to develop a second model, but the public reaction to the Adventure Sports concept bike that we showed at EICMA in 2015, at the same time as we launched the production Africa Twin, was so positive that it prompted us to develop it for production. “The Adventure Sports’ most important features are its bigger fuel tank and riding position, which were chosen by the development team. But the bike also includes details that result from feedback from customers and journalists, for example the visibility of the instruments, the width of the footrests and the strength of the footrest hangers, which are now steel instead of aluminium. “We have found that many Africa Twin riders, in all markets, do take their bike off-road, sometimes locally rather than an epic journey but they still ride off-road as much as they can. Their most requested feature was simply the ability to ride further, so that was our driving force. We did consider an adjustable screen but we wanted the bike to be as tough, light and problem-free as possible, so we decided to stick to the single position. “It’s the same with the riding modes and suspension. We thought it was simpler to keep most riding modes preset, and have just one that is rider-adjustable. And although the market is heading in the direction of semi-active suspension, now also for adventure bikes, conventional suspension has advantages of simplicity and light weight.

VITALS Engine type

“This concept is very important with the Africa Twin. Some adventure bikes are bigger and more powerful but it has been in the nature of the Africa Twin to be in a slightly different area of the market, so we don’t have any thoughts of making a bigger, more high-performance version. We prefer to concentrate on what we have and maybe develop the two models that we have in future, rather than go to a larger capacity.”

Valve arrangement Displacement Bore x stroke Carburation injection Clutch

Transmission

Maximum power Maximum torque Front suspension

Rear suspension

Front brake

Rear brake Front tyre

Rear tyre

Rake/trail Wheelbase Seat height Fuel capacity Kerb weight

Liquid-cooled parallel twin SOHC, 8 valves 998cc 92 x 75.1mm Electronic fuelWet multiplate, optional Dual Clutch Transmission 6-speed, optional DCT, chain final drive 94bhp @ 7500rpm 99N.m @ 6000rpm 45mm Showa usd forks, 224mm travel, adjustments for preload, compression and rebound damping Pro-Link single shock, 240mm travel, adjustments for preload, compression and rebound damping Four-piston Nissin radial calipers, 310mm wavy discs Single-piston caliper, 256mm disc 90/90 x 21in Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A41 150/70 x 18in Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A41 27.5°/113mm 1580mm 900/920mm 24.2 litres 243kg (253kg DCT)

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TONER TALKS

THE SPYING GAME

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ost of us have done it. Sometimes it is conducted in covert secrecy, our intent camouflaged, or sometimes we lose all inhibitions and forego any potential embarrassment on being effectively caught, such is our captivation on what we are witnessing.

As a group, us motorcyclists very often take the techniques, tricks and habits we see others perform and include it in our repertoire. For most it will be the improvement of our basic motorcycle control, as the action seen is digested by us and regurgitated as and when we need it. My inauguration into motorcycling was flavoured hugely by my more experienced friends, my soaking in their well of knowledge a constant, as was the numerous occasions when drowning was a definite possibility. Everything from how they approached their motorcycle to how they straddled it, took it off its stand, leaned it up vertical, started it, put it in gear and moved off, were not techniques taught- they had to be sourced via osmosis – asking would be an admission, a step too far. It may sound simple to us who have the mileage, but all of these actions require pre-planning, sequential activation and a good understanding that actions taken will result in subsequent reaction from our bike – simple really!! We are naturally fixated with fellow motorcyclists in the gear they wear, the motorcycle they use, the words they say and their physical management of their motorcycle. This results in our eyes following a rider to their bike, noting if you’re like me - how they park it and then the procedure they use to go mobile. The physical relationship riders have with their motorcycles can be often fraught with bouts where gravity wins, the motorcycles bulk winning the battle and going horizontal – cue embarrassment for the rider, some damaged bodywork and the ingredients for long-time slagging from any mates witnessing the fall from grace. The definition of a good pilot is one who has the same amount of landings as take-offs, these two actions requiring motorcyclists to apply a certain level of touch and grace so as to avoid being related to a Gooney Bird. Graceful and balletic once airborne, this feathered friend renders getting off the deck and returning there to as a form of Russian roulette – disaster avoidance every time. With a technique of taking off with raised revs, clutch fed in as if it is red hot, two feet dragging, to braking with two fingers, blipping the throttle on downshifting, mixed with scant use of the rear brake, it is no wonder that riders are not in a happy place at departures and arrivals zones.

compromise is all against the rider, most of them oblivious to their mortality. Put these factors in among other riders and it’s not a happy place. There is nothing worse than riding in a group where one rider is renegade, transferring the focus of everyone to them and not the journey ahead. Aside from the group having no legal entitlement to act in unison, it now possesses the very real potential to bring riders into physical conflict with each other. Corners and bends provide challenges on every journey, our little island possessing every type of twist imaginable. Motorcyclists enjoy them for the most part and while we all have favourites, methinks we all know one or two that rattle us a tad. Only a motorcyclist will know the planning, physical demand and concentration required for guiding their motorcycle through a series of bends. It is not easy – it is not natural – it varies with every bends and change of road surface – it varies with every motorcycle – it varies with your mood. Knowing how to set up your motorcycle and then acknowledging its talents with your own are key factors in preventing you going agricultural. Arriving into a bend on the wrong entry line, invariably too quick, in too high a gear, is never good. And yet many riders effectively play the lottery through the curves, the recipe for reading and riding through the twisties alien to them. Here again should a rider within a group have issues; the group is likely to be involved in a collective religious experience. Being passed by another rider as you enter a bend maybe acceptable in Mondello, but it can be a tad dodgy across the Comeraghs. Getting our motorcycle, our protective gear and our route intentions lined up for the year ahead should not be without including our own level of road fitness. Recognising that we have an issue with some aspect of our basic machine control, the protocols for group riding, or what Roadcraft outlines as the Principles of Cornering and their Safety Factors, are easy fixes. I cannot encourage full licence riders enough to source the cure for these common ills. Thankfully we now have many good instructors across our nation, who have the medicine at hand that will ensure a full recovery. What may be a head-wreck for you is an easy fix for them. Watching enviously as others make simple the difficult should be consigned to your mirrors. At this early stage of our on-road year – pick up the phone and sort it once and for all!! ArriveSafe,

Once on the move the choice of good positioning is often lost to some riders. Whether it is travelling too close to the vehicle in front, or too far left or right, or stopping millimetres from their rear, here again the

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Tony.

WORDS Tony Toner

22/03/2018 16:18


Y a m a h a M T- 0 7 Dark Attraction

The MT-07 is one of Yamaha's most successful motorcycles of all time, with almost 80,000 new units purchased in just 4 years. With its characterful and torquey crossplane engine, compact chassis, low weight and agile handling, the Yamaha MT-07 is one of the few motorcycles that appeals to all kinds of riders. Male and female owners of all ages and with varying levels of experience have come to love and appreciate the multi-faceted character of this best-selling Hyper Naked - and with a 35kW version also available, the MT-07 is extremely popular with riders who hold an A2 licence.

To find your nearest Yamaha dealer please go to www.yamaha-motor.ie or call us on 01 285 9177 or email info@danfay.ie

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USED METAL

NC 750 X 18

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USED METAL

ALL YOU’LL EVER NEED NC 750 X

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hen we first rode the NC 750X we were, as arch conservative motorcyclists, somewhat appalled with the automatic gearbox and the fuel tank being in the wrong place. Now a few short years later these are the very things that set it apart from other machines and make the NC stand out from the rest of the pack.

in dealerships where they are being offered as used machines. One of particular note is for sale in M50 Retail. The bike has been lavished with extras by its previous owner and features a set of spot lights. Switching a pair of these on is perhaps the most effective method of cutting commuting time down known to humanity, as well as the taller screen.

On a recent spin from Dublin to Waterford and back I took a used one and found that the bike was incredibly easy to ride. I did need to recalibrate my manual brain somewhat to work with the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) and filling the tank that lives under the pillion seat is always going to be a bit strange. Once under way, however, the bike feels perfectly balanced. Despite having it on test for less than a week I still managed to fill the dummy tanks storage space with a whole heap of detritus that no one, me included, was ever really going to need.

The adventure theme is continued with a set of hand guards which in turn help the Oxford heated grips work a treat while the spot lights are mounted on a set of, yet to be used, crash bars. Most interestingly the suspension has been dropped. This has been done by adding a simple piece of linkage from the wonderfully titled ‘Lust Racing’. This little piece of metal allows the seat height to be lowered without changing the performance of the shock in any way. Very clever indeed and we’re quietly impressed.

The NC is an incredibly unthreatening bike to ride. So much of what the bike does makes it easier to use and as a city bike it offers a real world alternative to the super scooter with the auto gearbox and the on bike storage. This one, however, looks a little bit like an adventure bike and wouldn’t be out of place with some bigger machines.

ABS comes as standard and the bike is powered by a parallel twin motor that puts out a more than adequate 56 bhp. This makes for a machine that is frugal on fuel and is so unthreatening that even your insurance broker will approve of you riding one. The bike is available to test ride in Dublins M50 Retail. Give Barry a call on 01438 1999 to book a slot. It’s on a 152 registration plate, cost €6,950 and is available new for €9,900.

Launched in 2014 the first used ones are just now beginning to show up

The NC is an incredibly “ unthreatening bike to ride

WORDS Paul Browne IMAGES Ralph McKeon

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KIT GUIDE

KIT GUIDE Get ‘Cafe Racer Cool’ with Tucano Urbano Established in the late 90s in Milan, Tucano Urbano produces urban-contemporary clothing and accessories traditionally linked to the world of two wheels. They are constantly enlarging the scope of the brand to reach a wider, international public of all ages and passions that appreciates a metropolitan, practicable style and, above all, the creativity of an original product. You’ll find the range in Megabikes, Call Ryan on 014784200 to book a fitting.

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1. The BRED is a brand-new jacket, understated and timeless in its design. It is made from fine-grain, super-supple sheep leather with a heavy-duty metal zip-fastening, a quilted polyester lining and soft, knitted fabric at the inner collar, cuffs and waistband. The jacket features Comfort Protection System (CPS) CE-approved level 1 armour in the shoulders and elbows. There is also a pocket to accommodate a back protector. The integrated reflective strips can be hidden when not required. Internal and external pockets provide plenty of space for storage and a zip and popper system at the cuffs allow perfect fit adjustment. €339 2. The TOM is a real sheep leather jacket with classic styling, perfect for riding in warmer weather thanks to its perforated outer. It has a light Polyester mesh lining and features the level 1 armour in the shoulders and elbows. €319.99 3. The BIBIP is a short length jacket with a retro look. Made from HYDROSCUD® breathable, windproof and high waterproof rated Oxford outer with taped seams, the BIBIP has a lining and thermal padding for warmth. It features CE-approved level 1 shoulder and elbow armour as well as a pocket for back armour. There are cooler than cool padded patches on the elbows and shoulders as inside and outside pockets of differing sizes to house the latest phone and a container of beard wax. €164.99

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4. The GIG PRO vintage-style glove is new for 2018. Made from 100% goat leather, it features soft D3O inserts on the knuckles and palm, ensuring it meets CE safety standards for motorcycle gloves. With adjustable Velcro wrist straps and touch screen fingertips, the perfect combination of practicality, style and protection. Available in black and vintage brown. €194.99 5. New for the season, the BOB SKIN is a vintage-style glove. Made from 100% goat leather and featuring contrasting orange lining. The same soft D3O inserts in the palm keep riders safe, whilst an adjustable velcro wrist strap and touchscreen fingertips promote comfort and ease of use. Available in Black and Vintage (Brown). €64.99 6. The EL’JET Helmet is a stylish and classic alternative to traditional designs. Removable and washable Polyester mesh and cheek pads make keeping the helmet clean an easy task. A micrometric strap means getting the helmet on is quick and simple. Highly customisable, with the ability to use double visor, long visor only, sun visor only or without visors all together. Manufactured in two different fiberglass shell sizes. Available in seven colour options including the new Glossy Italian Red and Glossy British Green. Prices have yet to be confirmed. 7. The POL is a classic style short jacket made from waxed effect cotton canvas. It is 100% breathable and windproof, featuring CE-approved level 1 D3O armour at the shoulders and elbows as standard, with a back protector pocket for optional back armour. Available in Khaki, Black and dark Blue. €179.99 8. The POLETTE is a classic style short jacket in a womens cut. Made from a 100% breathable and windproof waxed effect cotton canvas which is treated for water resistance. Featuring full CEapproved level 1 D3O armour at the shoulders and elbows as standard. Available in Khaki and dark Blue. €179.99 In addition to clothing options for both men and women, Tucano Urbano also offer a broad range of leg covers and handlebar muffs to keep riders warm and dry in wet and cold weather conditions.

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USED METAL

G C I 1

THREE’S COMPANY 847 ccs of pure joy!

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he MT range initially changed Yamaha’s fortunes when launched a few years ago. Now it would appear to have changed motorcycling in its class by re-inventing the super naked in a cooler and so much more usable style. When we first rode it after the initial launch we were impressed to see Yamaha outdo themselves and return so convincingly to the triple cylinder power plant. There are now a host of MTs including a 125, a 300, the excellent 700 and of course, the MT 10. The 700 and the 900 have their own tourer derived Tracer options and the MT 10 is available as a GT model. Last months magazine featured the new MT 09 SP with all the shiny gold Ohlins bits and new colour scheme. The triple produces a more than adequate 115bhp, and matches that with a surprising amount of torque. The performance is added to with a light aluminium chassis and swingarm; the bike tips the scales at a skinny

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188kg. There are three power modes for the engine and perhaps more importantly there is a superbike level of ground clearance. That’s low weight, high power and a brilliant chassis. What’s not to like? Sounds like time to call the BBG solicitor again… The bike does benefit from some suspension tuning and once that’s been addressed the machine is more than good enough to take on the fast group at your local track day as much as it’ll handle the morning rush hour. We would have said it was more than capable of taking on a long tour, and it is, its just that the MT 09 derived Tracer 900 is so much better at that than the original bike. There is now one being offered for sale from Moto4U in Rathfarnham. The 2016 bike is impressively clean, completely standard and in perfect condition. The lads are looking for €8495 and are happy to take a trade in. Not bad when you consider that a new one still costs €10850 and this one only has 5,000kms on the clock.

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22/03/2018 10:39 16:19 15/03/2016


PABLO’S CAFÉ

LOOKING FORWARD Here comes the sun!

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f I see one more snowflake I’m probably going to scream. By snowflake I mean frozen water molecule drifting from the sky and not one of the bearded sensitive types who work in the design office. Unlike real snowflakes they can be shouted at and respond terribly well to abuse, while the original stuff can be screamed at all day long and won’t melt any faster.

you have yet to do this then you really need to take the time out to do so. They have a training system that is second to none and appear to have something to offer everyone from the newcomer to the seasoned racer to the returnee to motorcycling. I’m very much looking forward to doing this one again.

Yesterday I took my lid off as I filled the tank on the bike with fuel and I felt it for the first time this year. The sun on my face. It was, I won’t lie, somewhat of an emotional experience. I was so happy to feel something other than a biting wind that I was almost afraid to say anything or even acknowledge the suns warmth to myself. I finished fueling the bike, paid and left. My experience was reinforced by the taxi drivers taking up space in my bus lanes driving with their windows down. Spring, dear reader, may well have sprung!

Then there are the somewhat more gentle options. Here at home we have the Photo Rally to do and we get to do it in our own time. Many of us will head out to ride to new places here in Ireland as well as further afield. David Buckley and his team, Celtic Horizon Tours, are organising a trip to Scotland again this year as well as a choice of life changing trips to ride some of the most iconic roads in North America. Speaking of travel Derek from Overlanders continues to have the very best job in the world as he looks forward to a hectic few months of travel both in Europe, North Africa and even further afield.

Winter sucks and I’ve had quite enough of it. So I’ve decided to refuse to acknowledge it and look to the immediate future. That’s because the future is bright and rather wonderful, at least from a motorcycling perspective. The geo political situation and the inevitable environmental global catastrophe are a very different story but that’s for a different magazine.

Revup is on again this year. It’s impossible to talk about this event without remembering Aidan and all the good work that he did for DSI over the years. He was very much inspired by his daughter Robyn and now that things have moved on for DSI and they are no longer raising funds this way several of his friends have decided to take the plunge and run the event anyway.

At the time of going to press it seems that everyone has an open day happening now or scheduled to happen soon. Motorcyclists are gathering at dealerships and shows all over the country where they are planning trips, buying kit and new machines as well as reacquainting themselves with Sunday morning runs and track days. Its all so wonderful it would almost bring a tear to ones eye…

This year Rev Up will go ahead as per usual with 1,000 or so kilometres of new roads and great riding to take place over the May bank holiday weekend. This time the money raised will go to Robyns school which needs a minibus to carry the children, all of whom have mild learning disabilities and need the excellent work and care of their dedicated teachers in the Lucan based school, on school excursions.

Meantime we’ve got a busy season ahead. Paul Creevey and the crew from Motocraft are heading down to Monteblanco in southern Spain this coming month for a sold out three day track event while British endurance racing legend, Terry Rymer, will bring his ‘Powerdays’ event to Bishopscourt as well as Anglesey in Wales later this year.

The last few places on the run have yet to be sold. We’d love to see you there as well as at any of the events mentioned above. If, in the meantime, you’re organizing an event then please feel free to let us know and we’ll publicise it for you for free for you. Just drop an email with the details to me at paul@bikebuyersguide.ie and we’ll look after the rest.

We’ve continued our social rehabilitation and made friends with the BikeSafe team from Northern Ireland who we are planning to visit later on this year in Newry as we no longer have the option, at least officially, down here. It should be interesting to see how this one goes as it’s been a while.

Whatever you decide to do and wherever you decide to ride, please, please stay safe. Until next month…

The team from the California Superbike School had such a good time here last year that they’ve decided to come back again this summer. If

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WORDS Paul Browne

22/03/2018 16:19


IRELAND

: w o n r e d r O e i . h c e t a r shop.to u

LESS winD. MORE FUN. TOURAtECH WINDSCREENS. Not satisfied with the original wind shield of your bike? Thanks to countless miles of adventure experience and to the know-how of our production department, we developed a wind shield that unites an appealing adventure design and an optimal function for every application. Replace your original windscreen with the Touratech

wind shield and discover much better driving properties! The aerodynamic optimization guides the air streams over the head of the pilot without unnecessary turbulences. So, the wind shield is not only flatter-free, it also guarantees a relaxed driving pleasure that doesn‘t exhausts the pilot nor the pillion passenger.

Adventure Motorcycles Ireland Ltd. | Unit 35 Gorey Business Park | Ramstown Gorey Co.Wexford Phone: +353 (0)5394 22415 | info@touratech.ie

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SHOP.TOURATECH.IE

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CLASSIC

The bike’s sporty riding position made for a fairly comfortable ride

CLASSIC 26

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CLASSIC

MV AGUSTA 350 GT Roland Brown takes an early 70’s Grand Tourer for a spin but can you actually tour on it?

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f all the bikes of the mid1970s, Suzuki’s T500 was the one I liked just about least – though not through any fault of its own. Sure, the Suzuki was a smelly, rattly two-stroke, but that wasn’t the problem. What really annoyed me about the T500 – known as the Titan in most countries – was that one of my motorcycling mates owned one. And as well as being far cheaper to buy and to run than my own Triumph Bonneville, it was infinitely more reliable and every bit as fast. The little MV’s name is 350 GT, and at first glance I had expected it to live up to those initials. High handlebars, a relatively large dual-seat and that aristocratic MV Agusta name on its tank combined to make this GT seem as much of a Grand Tourer as any elderly parallel twin with a capacity of just 349cc could possibly be. But as the little maroon-and-white twin charged along the narrow country lanes, its engine revving hard, its exhaust note rolling across the fields, and its taut handling and powerful braking making it as much fun in the bends as on the straights, that GT designation seemed more than a little misleading. If this bike is a Tourer at all, it’s one with a distinctly sporty heart. I really shouldn’t have been surprised. The 350 GT is an MV Agusta, after all; a bike built in the heyday of the famous old firm from Gallarate, north of Milan. When

WORDS Roland Brown

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this bike was produced in 1972, MV ace Giacomo Agostini was on his way to winning the marque’s 15th consecutive 500cc world championship, and also to taking yet another title in the 350cc class. Like the vast majority of the MV factory’s production, this 350 roadster was a very different machine to the exotic, multi-cylinder racebikes ridden to glory by Ago and Co. Ever since the Agusta firm had begun production after World War II, most of its output had been relatively humble singlecylinder machines. And although MV had unveiled a striking 350cc sports model at the Milan Show in 1955 – complete with gear-driven double overhead cams, and electric starter – it was never produced. In the early Sixties, MV developed a sporty 166cc twin called the Arno, but even this was too expensive to be sold in any numbers in the depressed Italian motorcycle market. Instead, in 1967, the firm released a less glamorous 250cc model, called simply the 250 2 Cilindri, whose styling, especially the chromed tank with its knee rubbers, owed much to Japanese bikes such as Suzuki’s popular T20 Super Six. In 1969 the twin was renamed the 250B (for Bicilindra), and joined by a Scrambler derivative that incorporated high-level pipes but few other off-road modifications. The 350 twin range was launched two years later, at the Milan Show in November 1971, and was created by boring out the 249cc unit to 349cc,

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CLASSIC

giving oversquare dimensions of 63 x 56mm. A slightly increased, 9.5:1 compression ratio and larger, 24mm Dell’Orto carburettors helped boost the pushrod-operated twin’s peak output by 13bhp to a claimed 32bhp at 7650rpm. Two models were introduced: the sporty 350B, with clip-on bars, angular fuel tank and humped seat; and the more practical 350 GT, which featured higher, swept-back bars; a more rounded tank, and a conventional dual-seat. Both were stylish machines, their compact, neatly finned engines held in single-downtube frames, and with their predominantly red paintwork offset by small, chromed sidepanels. This example, from Suffolk-based classic specialist Made In Italy (www.madeinitalymotorcycles.com), was a very original 1972-model machine that was in excellent condition, even if its odometer’s 10,500km figure was surely not accurate. The GT’s maroon-and-white tank carried a typical MV badge on its top, showing a group of stars and the words: “34 volte campione del mondo”, emphasising the firm’s championship-winning history. The GT was almost completely standard, apart from its carbs being unfiltered, like those of the B model, instead of having the small filters that they would have worn when new. To start the bike, I applied a bit of choke, tickled both carbs to get the petrol flowing, then stood to its left and gave a gentle dab of the kick-starter. The MV came to life easily, with a pleasant parallel-twin bark through its pair of chromed exhaust pipes. If the sound was improbably sporty then the same was true of the bike’s feel, despite the upright riding position dictated by those high, pulled-back handlebars, and footrests that were set further forward than the B-model’s racy rearsets. At a claimed 152kg the GT was light, and its low seat and fairly firm suspension helped make it feel very agile and easy to ride as I snicked into first gear with the right-foot lever, let out the light clutch and accelerated away. Straight-line performance was impressive for an elderly 350cc tourer, and if anything the bolt-upright riding position helped by making the little MV seem quicker than it really was. The motor pulled crisply from low revs, sending the bike rumbling respectably rapidly up to an indicated 120km/h, about 6000rpm in top gear. Acceleration above

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that speed was more gentle, but the GT was good for a maximum speed of about 150km/h. At low and medium revs the GT’s 360-degree parallel twin motor stayed pleasantly smooth. The bike was happy to sit at an indicated 100km/h feeling as though it could live up to its Gran Turismo label by covering some serious distance in reasonable comfort. But above about 5000rpm the bike emphasised its engine layout by vibrating a bit through the seat and footrests; not painfully, but insistently enough to encourage me to change up through the light and smooth-shifting fivespeed box, which had a heel-and-toe lever. That meant the MV was best ridden in a in a not-too-aggressive way. So although the racier and 350B doubtless made a more stylish and exciting machine for the youthful Italian enthusiasts of the early Seventies, the more relaxed GT was arguably a more practical bike. It handled well, too, steering effortlessly with gentle pressure on those wide bars, and staying stable with no need to wind up the friction steering damper at the headstock. That reasonably firm suspension hinted at MV’s sporty background, and made the bike fun to throw into bends, confident in its generous ground clearance. The Metzeler front and Pirelli rear tyres on its 18-inch wheels were narrow, but gave very adequate grip on a cold but dry day. And the 200mm twin-leading-shoe front drum brake, identical to that of the 350B, did a great job of slowing the light MV, backed up by a similar-sized single-leading-shoe drum at the rear. If I’d had further to ride, the 350 GT’s upright riding position and highrev vibration would probably have made it uncomfortable before long, despite the reasonably generous dual-seat. But the GT was undoubtedly a stylish, lively and sweet-handling bike – and also a fashionable one, thanks to that all-conquering MV Agusta name on its tank. Although very few were exported, the GT was quite popular in the Italian market. The original model was uprated in October 1972 by the addition of 12V electrics and electronic ignition. But MV had ambitious plans for its middleweight range, and at the Milan Show in 1973 the firm unveiled a new generation of 350cc parallel twins. The revised version of the engine featured more angular cases, completely reworked finning, and a claimed 40bhp output.

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CLASSIC

VITALS Engine type

Displacement Bore x stroke Compression ratio Carburation Claimed power Transmission Electrics Frame Front suspension Rear suspension

Front brake Rear brake Front tyre Rear tyre Fuel capacity Weight

The new touring model had the full name of “350 GT model 216”. It combined the new engine and frame with a familiar GT layout of high bars and forward set footrests; and used wire-spoked wheels, drum brakes, and gold and blue paintwork. Inevitably the sensible GT was outshone by its racier stablemate the 350 Sport, whose dramatic styling – by famed car designer Giorgio Giugiaro – featured cast wheels and a twin-disc front brake. Both the new twins were good for a genuine 160km/h, and handled well thanks to stiff new frames and high-quality suspension. But their reception was mixed, partly because the new engine’s extra power was accompanied by increased vibration. Just like its predecessor, the 350cc parallel twin unit was highly regarded for its performance and reliability, and even for its low fuel consumption. But between 4000 and 6000rpm it shook badly enough to numb its rider’s hands and feet.

Aircooled 4-valve pushrod parallel twin 349cc 63 x 56mm 9.5:1 2 x 24mm Dell’Orto 32bhp @ 7650rpm 5-speed 6V battery Steel single downtube Telescopic, no adjustment Twin shock absorbers, adjustable preload 200mm tls drum 200mm sls drum 2.75 x 18in (Metzeler Rille) 3.25 x 18in (Pirelli MT50) 13 litres 152kg dry

Ultimately, however, the new 350 GT’s main problem was exactly the same as that of this original model: it was simply far too expensive, especially to make a serious impact outside Italy. The original GT had never gone on sale in many major export markets; almost all had been sold in Italy. By 1978, MV’s problems were summed up by the fact that in many countries the 350 GT cost more than Suzuki’s new GS750 four! Sadly for MV Agusta, that inability to offer its bikes at a competitive price handicapped the firm right across its range, and resulted in this most glamorous of marques ceasing production later that year. The fate of the 350 GT went almost unnoticed by most people, amid the publicity surrounding the demise of MV’s exotic four-cylinder superbikes and once all-conquering race team.

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DAN THE BIKER

A VIEW FROM THE HILLS IT’S NEVER POINTLESS

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otorcycling, for me, is an open book. It’s an unwritten story. A tale waiting to be told. It’s an individual experience to each and every one of us. Allowing us to make up our own minds about it. We forge our own opinions on the small industry that surrounds us. Making the conscious decision to head out on the road each and every time we do. Some us of ride because it’s in us. It runs through our veins and is part of our very being. To others it’s a weekend sport. We pack up and head to the dirt or tarmac track. Pushing ourselevs and our machines to the limit. Coming home with smiles on our faces. It doesn’t matter how we enjoy your sport, once we do. Every aspect is unique to the participant. I choose my bike because it’s the one that suits my style of riding. I love everything about it, even the “old man’s bike” stigma that surrounds a R1200GS. I love the slagging and jokes from mates riding four cyclinder sports bikes who’s performance on two wheels just doesn’t live up to their witty remarks. The same lads who back-track and admit “she’s not a bad bike” when they eventually catch up to me at the next petrol stop. My helmet makes me smile every time I look at it. It singles me out from the crowd and defines me as a rider and my gear keeps me warm and comfortable on every journey. My style of riding is individual to me. I push as hard as I am comfortable with and I ride a bike because it makes me happy. Very happy. The energy that surrounds the bike excites me. The sound of the engine and the smell of the exhaust tingles senses I didn’t know I had. One of the best things about being a motorcyclist is the community it builds around us. The people it brings into our lifes and life it brings into our days. Like many motorcyclists on the last Sunday in February I found myself in the “real” capital of Ireland at the monster motorcycle show. To me these shows are just as much about the people who visit it as the people who are displaying. The chance to meet up with old friends from every corner of the country and to be introduced to new ones. An opportunity to compare journeys, brag about new machinery and organise ride-outs for the year ahead. This year I had a court side seat to a conversation about advanced riding and the shear pointlessness of it all. There seems to be a myth amongst other riders that, if you hold a Rospa gold you are as good as it gets on two wheels and others just aren’t up to your level. During this conversation one rider stated that he was giving it all up after receiving

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a silver award when someone else, less experienced than him received a gold. That it was pointless, unfair and not worth the hassle. I listened to this whole conversation and instead of getting into what could ultimately end up a heated discussion I walked away and enjoyed the rest of the show with my wife. However, this conversation played on my mind ever since. The impact of hearing this on other riders could turn you completely off taking your riding to the next level. Although now late to the party I wanted to give my own tuppence worth. The myth that if you hold a Rospa Gold you are as good as it gets is complete rubbish. The point of a test is not to grade you on your riding but to award you for your continuous effort in improvement. Your award proves that you rode in an advanced manor for an hour and a half, not that you are an advanced rider. You are only ever as good as your last ride and do well never to forget that. We could be Rospa gold today and back riding like we have “L” plates tomorrow. That’s up to us. Advanced riding is not about awards. It’s about being the best we can be on two wheels. It’s a commitment to riding correctly each and every time and having the discipline to correct ourselves when we don’t. It’s about not crossing that solid white line no matter how slow the car in front of us is. It’s about setting a standard for those around us and living up to it ourselves. It’s a mindset that rubs off on others and it’s what ultimately keeps us that bit safer. It’s about getting the most out of machines. It’s enjoyment, on a whole new level. Being an advanced rider is knowing we are never as good as we could be and always having the hunger to be better. No award does this for us. We do this for us. The training, the advice and the test are all brilliant. They improve our riding. They make us safer on our roads. The only time these are pointless is if we’re not prepared to do it when no one is watching. Why spend all that time and money improving if we’re just going to revert back to the same bad habits we had before. It’s not for everyone but it is for me. If you’re thinking about doing it don’t be swayed by others. If you don’t get the result you wanted just stay improving and it will come. Take a minute and look at how you did ride compared to how you are riding and I’m sure it’s something to be proud of. We all have the ability to be better. The fact is every time we go for a spin we leave with a gold. It’s up to us what we come back with it!

WORDS Dan Tynan

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BikeTrac App Now Available!

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Key Features We are Thatcham 6 & 7 approved  Stealth Installation All authorised BikeTrac dealers are trained to ensure that your unit is installed in the most covert location possible, giving the best levels of protection and adhering to Thatcham’s high security standards - it’s essential.

 Self Maintaining

BikeTrac has its own internal battery, so it doesn’t rely solely on the bike’s battery for power. If it detects a drop in the bike’s voltage, you’ll receive a helpful text to tell you so. The internal battery lasts for up to 28 days.

 24-7 Operations Center Our secure operating centre doesn’t sleep, so you’re protected 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If the unthinkable happens, our team contact you via text, phone and email and then liaise directly with the authorities to pinpoint your machine.

 Real-time Monitoring

Once you’ve registered your BikeTrac unit you have total control, 24/7. Edit your details, add loved-ones for notifications and even select the voltage threshold for receiving low battery notifications. Been on a ride? Look back on the journey and download and share the route.

 Bike Down Ideal for lone riders or those straying away from civilisation, BikeDown offers additional peace of mind should a rider be involved in an accident by alerting your chosen contact via text if the machine goes over 70 degrees for more than 45 seconds with ignition on. This function can be easily activated or switched off.

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• Only Thatcham Cat3 approved 10mm chain • BikeTrac unique Grab Bag chain and lock • Includes protective gloves • Bolt Cutter proof • Designed for portability

For more information visit www.biketrac.ie or call +44 (0) 1327 317 980 BikeTrac is endorsed by Insurance accredited

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BMW HP4

We first heard of the HP4 at the EICMA show in 2016

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BMW HP4

DO WE DREAM IN CARBON FIBRE? The HP4 lands in Ireland

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MWs all new S1000RR has come to the market. As we know, things move on and bikes get better and the S1000RR has been somewhat of a benchmark in the evolution of race reps. It has been up with the best of them in the rapidly evolving superbike market for a number of years now. It’s still a leader in the electronic rider assisting electronic jiggery pokery that we seem to need to manage the 200 BHP, and the rest, that the entire litre class is putting out. On a recent Friday evening as we were winding down from yet another week of ‘getting free stuff and riding other peoples bikes’, the phone rang. Bruce from Joe Duffys in Finglas was the caller and he was somewhat excited, “You’re

WORDS Paul Browne IMAGES Ralph McKeon

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gonna want to see what’s just landed here. It’s simply awesome”. That was about as much as I was going to get before I actually made my way back to the ‘Old country’ that is the Northside. The trip, to say the least, was well worth my while. I got to the store just after closing and was somewhat surprised to see that most of the motorrad staff were still in the workshop, as were several suit wearing types from the higher echelons of the management team. As I battled my way through the assembled crowd I found Master Tech and race bike guru, Paul Forrester, doing a passable impression of a one man security detail as he guarded a rarer that rare BMW HP4 from the grubby hands of the lowly car sales people.

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BMW HP4

We first heard of the HP4 at the EICMA show in 2016 and to be honest we’d heard very little since. Now, there was one in Finglas and that’s kind of good. As we stood there looking at the bike it was hard to find a place to rest my eyes. Every bit of the thing was special. The fact that the in line four produces 215BHP no longer makes it unique. The fact that the people at BMW in Berlin have made a bike with this type of power and got it on the scales at a little less than 147 dry kilos is nothing short of remarkable. The HP4 is a pure race bike. The production run has been limited to 750 of these machines which have all been made by hand by specialist builders. They are even fitted with a numbered sticker. It’s hard to look at the bike without seeing just how much carbon fibre is involved in its construction. Rather than just the usual race panels being made of the stuff, the frame is also a fully carbon fibre unit. Not only does it look great but it also weighs four kilos less than the standard frame. The carbon signature continues at the front of the bike where the ram air intake gives the bike a look so aggressive that it seems to need to be ridden at ten tenths or not at all. This is a single purpose machine, and that purpose would appear to be to propel the rider to victory in whatever race class the bike is being ridden in! The race engine was hand made in the Motorrad factory in Berlin. Top figures include the production of 215 BHP as well as 120 Nm of touque at 10,000 RPM. This new engine has been developed from the WSB blocks and this one now revs out at a healthy 14,500 RPM. When the bike gets its first service the engine is endoscoped* and the control times and valve clearance are adjusted accordingly. This means that the bike is ready to race right from delivery to the customer. As for the build process of the engine, BMW state that, “The engine housing was HIPed”. As part of the construction process the smallest air pockets were eliminated from each individual part under overpressure. The light and high-strength motorsport steel connecting rods are paired to half a gram and move in the finely balanced crankshaft. Meanwhile the four pistons are matched to withstand the increased rotational speeds

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and loads. The maximum regulated oil pressure of the oil pump was reduced from 6 to 5 bar and, in combination with thin-bodied 0W40 oil, results in significantly less power loss. Power is, as we know only too well, nothing without control. To this end the HP4 is fitted with a set of Moto GPs favorite stoppers, the Brembo GP 4 PR brake caliper. This piece of gorgeousness is dressed with the best of lines and pads and it encompasses a 320mm floated racing brake disc. The gearbox is controlled via its very own HP Race shift assistant pro. Thanks to the lack of a spring actuator the rider gets perfectly clear feedback with each gearshift. The box is reversed as is usual in racing but can be reversed to a normal road set up if necessary. The wheelie control and the maximum engine torque are tuned to the four riding modes dry1, dry2, int and wet. Pit lane limiters and launch control are automatic. The chassis of the new bike is fully adjustable for use on any type of racetrack. Using the variable offset adjustment, teams can adjust the factory settings. Every one of the 750 HP4 Race has its own consecutively numbered carbon plate that is countersunk into the fork bridge, so you’ll never forget how special you are! The dash is simply spectacular and as well as offering the rider a choice of settings also display the information in a clear and easy to read manner. The footpegs, seat height and handlebar tapering can all be adjusted to fit the rider. The traction control and engine braking can also be tailored to suit and the whole thing sits on a set of beautiful carbon fibre wheels. A bike like this has been engineered to win races and to that end everything has been lightened or removed if not necessary. It’s even held together with titanium screws! The cost for something this good? A surprisingly affordable €86,000 which even includes the VAT. Call Bruce on 01864 7750 to order yours…

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BMW HP4

*Just like a colonoscopy but for an engine

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HELMET NEWS

THE AGV K1 Protection that doesn’t cost the earth

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talian giants and sister company to Dainese, AGV helmets, have launched a new brand new lid called the K1. The helmet is designed to be race legal without costing the earth. The new sport helmet has a high impact resistant thermoplastic shell and the internal liner is made from no fewer than four densities of EPS, the crushable impact absorbing inner layer that allows the riders head to travel that critical bit further when the shell has come to a halt. The UK safety ratings agency are impressed, SHARP have given the K1 no fewer than four out of five stars. AGVs innovative processes have resulted in a curved profile on the collar, which goes quite a way to helping prevent those all too frequent collarbone injuries sustained in a highside. The mechanism that holds the visor in place is now smaller by 40% compared to the older K3 model and now features a brand new quick release system. When in place and closed the visor offers a field of vision that has been optimised for sports bike riding while there is 190 degrees of horizontal vision. It is, of course, an antiscratch and Pinlock ready affair that is available in two different sizes to guarantee a perfect fit with regards to the size of the helmet.

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The aerodynamics are looked after by a new spoiler which is wind tunnel tested and perfected for racing, while the vents on the chin and forehead are complimented by an exhaust which is routed through back of the same spoiler. The interior lining has been reworked to offer more comfort to a rider who operates their machine at a pace while at the same time the padding is constructed to be eyewear ready. The whole thing weighs in at only 1490 grams. The K1 is scrutineer friendly with no interior sun visor built into the shell and it even has a double d closure ring on the strap to ensure a perfect fit every time. Its available in all sizes from teeny tiny extra small all the way up to ‘you must be terribly smart to have a head that big’ double extra large. There are a number of graphics to choose from including several from the VR 46 range as well as good old plain black or white. They are available from the dealer network nationwide now at a rider friendly price of only €190.

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FRANKLIN MOTORCYCLES UNIT G1 SWORDS ENTERPRISE PARK FELTRIM ROAD SWORDS CO DUBLIN K67 H7W54

01 538 5005

IRISHINDIANMOTORCYCLE

JUST SOME OF THE BRANDS WE DO

FRANKLIN MOTORCYCLES, UNIT G1, SWORDS ENTERPRISE PARK, FELTRIM ROAD, SWORDS, CO DUBLIN, K67 H7W54

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CLOTHING

DRESS TO IMPRESS… ... and to stay safe

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hile it’s definitely taking its time this year, we have been assured that spring is indeed on the way. The new season brings a whole lot of riding opportunities with it including a whole new choice of track days with Motocraft offering some fun in the sun over in Spain as well as the option to ride in Mondello at a satisfactory pace with the team in the Kildare track. A track day isn’t just about riding the wheels off your bike and putting in lap times that would embarrass a club racer. It’s also the type of event where one should appear properly attired. Indeed the fashion stakes are high and getting higher. Think of going to mass in the 1970’s or the school run in some Dublin neighbourhoods… Enter sartorial saviours, Alpinestars. The CE certified GP Plus Venom Leather Suit is an aggressively designed, fully featured racing leather suit, which features class-leading protection. The suit is ideal for both track days and racing, incorporating a range of innovative features such as stretch paneling, aerodynamic hump and calf expansion gussets, which have been meticulously designed and developed to improve anatomical performance and comfort. The outer shell is made from a premium leather chassis constructed from 1.3 mm supple premium grade bovine leather. The hide is allowed to do its job thanks to being complimented by large accordion stretch panels, which are strategically positioned for improved movement and comfort on the bike. These reinforced stretch fabric panels can be found on the sleeves, the crotch, calves and the chest where they further improve fit, movement and feel. The ergonomic back hump is MotoGP-tested and shaped for improved airflow and performance at high speed. The cleverly pre-curved sleeve and leg construction make for a comfortable fit and actually help reduce rider fatigue. The comfort is added to with perforated paneling, which provides highly improved levels of ventilation. The suit is finished with Aramid fiber inserts on the arms and legs for critical seam reinforcement. There is even a calf expansion gusset for adaptive fit which accommodates various lower leg sizes. There’s a removable inner mesh liner for convenience and breathability: the liner is body-mapped to work in conjunction with rider’s physique as well as stretch zones in the leather suit. You can also take it out and wash it, which is more than helpful… The suit comes with chest pad compartments with PE padding. The Alpinestars Nucleon chest pads are available as an accessory upgrade. There is also a multiple snap button system to integrate the companys own Nucleon back protector. Already fitted is the internal CE certified GP-R protection system on the shoulders, elbows and knees. These protectors are anatomically profiled and feature impact-absorbing EPU foam for fit and comfort. Protectors are replaceable. For those of us who like to get our elbows down the suit is fitted with Dynamic Friction Shield (DFS) external dual density TPU sliders on shoulders and knees for abrasion resistance and ‘performance against impacts’. The innovative new elbow slider is anatomically contoured and incorporates a triple-density polymer compound for improved performance in crash slides. The elbow slider features a removable and replaceable screw-mounted insert slider for those of us who like to let our inner Marquez out to play. The suit comes with a pair of sport knee sliders which are constructed from advanced PU compound and shaped for optimal contact with the black stuff in your favorite corner. The full range is available from Mega Bikes with prices starting at only €999.

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POWER DAYS

POWER DAYS ARE COMING TO IRELAND Circuits include Bishopscourt in Northern Ireland as well as the picturesque Anglesey Circuit in Wales

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ollowing two successful years, Michelin has once again teamed up with Rymer Racing to bring the 2018 Michelin Power Days to five top British circuits. Michelin Power Days are hosted by racing hero and twice World Endurance Champion, Terry Rymer. Special guests are also due to attend with the likes of Steve Parrish, Chris Walker and Gary Mason on track at previous events. Riders are invited to join the action at a heavily subsidised price when they purchase a set of Michelin Power Cup Evo, Michelin Power Slick Evo, Michelin Power Rain, Michelin Power RS or the NEW Michelin Road 5 this season from participating dealers. Circuits include the fantastic Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, Knockhill in Scotland and Bishopscourt in Northern Ireland. This year the team will also return to Snetterton and for the first time include the brilliant and picturesque Anglesey Circuit in North Wales in the line-up. New for 2018, Michelin Power Days will stage a complete takeover of each track, which will of course be hired exclusively at all of these events meaning a more intimate and personal experience, along with the chance for more participants to claim one of the 600 places available. Michelin Power Days are designed to welcome all riders. Whether a track-day hero or a complete novice, the team at Rymer Racing have a wealth of experience to accommodate all needs and requirements with tuition available in the classroom and on the track.

Riders will be allocated to one of three groups either Novice/ Road 5, Intermediate or Fast – each with equal track time and expert tuition from seasoned instructors. The day will include 120 minutes of track time along with tyre technical workshops and track day tuition from Terry himself. Refreshments are included and riders will also take home a photo and limited edition t-shirt and mug. Michelin’s new sports touring tyre, the Michelin Road 5 will make its debut at the event this year. This all-round tyre is new for 2018 and promises to offer riders all they could want on both road and track. Michelin Power Days 2018 will begin on 22nd May at Snetterton, the home of the British Superbike Championship and on to the ever-popular Knockhill Circuit in Scotland on 21st June, followed by Bishopscourt Circuit in Northern Ireland on 24th June. We’re planning on taking the trip up ourselves and look forward to seeing you there. Cadwell Park is up next on 11th July followed by the stunning scenery of Angelsey in North Wales on 3rd August which is less than 15 minutes from the ferry terminal in Holyhead, another one for the 2018 bucket list. Places are subject to availability and are certain to sell out quickly. To book your place visit www.powerdays.co.uk and get an official dealer to supply and fit your Michelins. See Cotter Motorcycles or Adventure Motorcycles Ireland for more information.

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TYRES

DUNLOP EXPANDS MOTORCYCLE PARTNERSHIPS INTO 2018 Dunlop confirms title sponsorship of Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship

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unlop has continued to grow its championship partnerships in 2018, with both new and existing deals spanning the Dunlop tyre range. The tyre supplier has worked on a number of new offers to enhance championships across the UK and Ireland. Renamed the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship for 2018, the long running series held at Mondello Park has confirmed the title sponsorship deal for the next three years, with Dunlop also becoming the sole tyre supplier to the SBK & SSP championship using the latest KR slicks and D213 GP Pro product. The need for a control tyre comes after requests from riders, allowing for an even playing field and a focus on rider performance. Dunlop will continue to support riders in this series by providing tyre technicians at each race to ensure the product is used to its full potential. Dunlop has also become the sole tyre supplier to the Thundersport500, providing Alpha 13SP product to the series as a control tyre, allowing the 500cc bikes to compete on performance and skill on one tyre. Dunlop will also be supporting the Thundersport GB series with the #ForeverForward award, with prizes awarded to the top 3 Sportsman Elite 600 riders riding on Dunlop over each race weekend. A 2 year deal has also been signed with the National Flat Track Championship,

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providing the DT3, Dunlop’s flat track tyre option. Over all 7 rounds of the championship, the Dunlop DT3s will become the control tyre, used by every rider across the weekend. RHL Activities, organisers of the British Youth National Championship and Hydrogarden Weston Beach Race, are also continuing a successful partnership with Dunlop into 2018. A relationship proven to be strong, 2018 will be Dunlop’s 5th year working with the team at RHL to provide support to these events, including fitting services and promotional support. Dominic Clifford, Motorcycle Sales Manager UK & Ireland commented, “The growing number of partnerships secured by Dunlop proves the confidence and trust in the tyres by these well- established championships. We are pleased to represent our range from our hypersport offerings through to our flat track and sand tyres, providing a consistent message of Dunlop performance throughout the Motorcycle market” For all your road going needs see Franklin Motorcycles, Cotters or Adventure Ireland Motorcycles.

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MICHELIN ROAD 5

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MICHELIN ROAD 5

MICHELIN ROAD 5 Gimmie Five!

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hile we live in a world of extremes, the fastest, the biggest, the best we sometimes forget that what we want and what we need may actually be a little different. Riding Michelins Power RS on track last year convinced me that this was the tyre that I had, as a motorcyclist, ‘evolved’ to. Now that the same company has launched the latest Pilot, a road dedicated tyre that has no claim on the track, it was time to ride on a road tyre again. The ‘Pilot’ sub brand has been around since, what seems like the beginning of time, all the way back in 2002. Now having ridden on the ‘5’ it seems that I’ve reason to think about what suits my riding best all once again. The new tyre comes in a choice of versions, the standard road going one and a more specific trail offering for the tall tourer riders amongst us. Where it’s sure to shine is in the sports touring end of the spectrum. For those of us who want something good enough to handle everything from a mid August breakfast run to a trip from one city to another on a rainy January weekday the Pilot range has been offering us just that for four generations at this stage. Now the Michelin Road 5 has arrived and having taken a first ride last month it would appear to be their best yet. The French company has started with what they already have in terms of an excellent product in the existing Pilot 4 and the Adaptive Casing Technology (ACT) wizardry that they have previously been using. They are also using their latest sipe technology, which is both distinctive, from a styling point of view, as well as being highly effective at clearing water. Think of sipes as being the antidote to rain! Both the rubber and the way the tyres are made have changed dramatically in the last few years. The company is now using new moulds, which allow the new Pilot 5 to perform better for longer in its usable life. Combining the new rubber with the new sipes and the latest generation of the ACT technology has resulted in a new tyre, whitch with 5,000 kilometres on it, has the same stopping distance as a new Pilot 4 in the wet. This is an impressive metric by anyones standards! On our recent road test the tyres were put through their paces on a wide variety of motorcycles most of which were on the sports touring end of the spectrum including the BMW S1000XR. The best compliment that we can give the Pilot 5 is that the tyres were so reassuring that after a few laps of the test track they inspired a riding style that was perhaps a little more enthusiastic than what one would normally expect to see on a machine such as this. While we were presented with the tyre as a sports touring option the rubber behaved impeccably on both the test track and the road where we rode it extensively. One of the less enjoyable features of a comprehensive tyre test is the ‘wet road’ test. This is where a section of a perfectly good dry track is doused in water and we get to ride through it, usually at some degree of a lean angle, and assess how it performs. While I can say that it was excellent and exceeded all expectations, it may be easier to articulate how good they are in the wet by saying that I was looking forward to hitting the wet stuff more and more as we put in the laps. As for its dry performance it was simply excellent and never gave any cause for concern. It appears that the technology is so good that not even a motorcycle journalist, and one who occasionally thinks he’s so good that he needs cut slicks, could get it wrong! The new tyres are available from Ross Motorcycles in Cork, AMI in Wexford and Cotters in Dublin. Prices vary depending on the size that your bike takes and we can’t recommend them enough.

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ARAI

MAKE IT YOUR OWN An Original Arai

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n our recent trip to the Northern Ireland Motorcycle Festival we met with Iain Baldwin from Liquid Colour Designs (LCD). Ian and the team have a state of the art custom paint shop and studio, which is located in the picturesque village of Ballycarry, in the beautiful countryside of County Antrim. Art made in Ireland! Iain is a ‘foreign type’, having grown up in the small seaside town of Scarborough, North Yorkshire. There was always the annual influence of bikers and scooter’s riding about the town showing off their custom paintwork and airbrush detail designs. Watching motorcycle legends, such as Barry Sheene and other amazing greats like Joey race at Oliver’s Mount, he would spend hours looking at the bikes parked up in the paddock. He was influenced by some of the amazing artwork on display. Back then the custom paint, airbrush and graffiti scene was becoming massive and fuelled the start of Iain’s interest into the genre. He found himself becoming involved in graffiti and was painting and spraying for small art projects. He eventually realised that he wanted to put his talent and love of art to

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good use. LCD was born! He was afforded great training opportunities such as being shown some of the many different techniques of airbrushing and custom painting from top European artists such as the world famous Dru Blair. Since then this award winning company has gained the attention and recognition of many top professionals from the Motorsports industry worldwide such as Eugene Laverty. Last year they were named House of Kolor Prestigious Painter for 2017. As Irelands’ leading full time custom paint company they paint helmets for professional sports people, including Road Racing NW200 & IoM TT, British Superbike, World Endurance Racing teams, World Rally Teams such as Citroen Racing, Karting, Formula’s, LeMans, closed cockpit, Single seat, Water sports, Stunt Drivers, Pilots and most importantly us motorcyclists. At LCD the whole team are very good at ensuring that their customers get the personal touch. Give Iain, or any of the lads, a call on 00442893378525 and arrange to call by…

BikeBuyersGuide

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Full range of new & used models Sales & Service

1 Main Street Rathfarnham Dublin 14

moto4umotorcycles

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@moto4u

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REV-UP 2018

GET REV’ED UP Your May Bank Holiday Is Booked!

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s motorcyclists we collectively do a whole lot of good each and every year. From a small group of local riders who come together quietly to look after a family in need in their community to those who undertake challenges like sponsored rides across continents and poker runs, we are indeed pulling our weight when it comes to fulfilling our social responsibilities. Ask anyone who takes part or organizes one of these events and they’ll all say the same, ‘doing the right thing always feels good!’ The annual RevUp run is no different.

Before it’s delivered the bus will be badged with and will proudly wear the Magnets #34 logo in memory of Aidan. It’ll then be put to work and used to take the children and their special needs assistants, who are there to help the little passengers who need it, on school trips. The bus won’t need to be specially fitted as the children in the school have mild general learning disabilities and don’t need wheelchairs. The bus will cost somewhere in the region of €50,000.

This years RevUp run will be held in conjunction with the Lords Taverners Ireland, which is a charity for disabled young people and those with special needs. This three day mystery tour will cover 1,000km on some of the very best roads our beautiful country has to offer.

The run is, as ever, hugely popular. At the time of going to print there are only 30 spaces left. The prices remain at only €650 per rider and €500 for pillions. In order to assist you in raising the money there is a facility to raise the funds via Everyday Hero. Good old fashioned sponsorship cards are also available for old school fundraising and letters from the charity are available on request.

This year the money raised will go to the St Michaels Holy Angels School for children with special needs as well as Spina Bifida Ireland. We’ll no longer be handing over a cheque. Since the school now requires a new minibus, we’re hoping to buy it from the proceeds of this years RevUp.

To take part in the best two wheeled event of the year sign up online at www.revup.ie or ring Don Moore, our fearless leader, on 086 332 0229 and we’ll see you on the road. You’re highly unlikely to have this much fun repaying your debt to society in any other way!

The run tends to perform quite well from a financial point of view, therefore any additional funds will be used to purchase some much needed equipment for the school.

The money raised will go to the St Michaels Holy Angels School

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REV-UP 2018

T REV’ED UP WORDS Alan GB McCaffrey

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USED METAL

HOME AGAIN A blank canvas

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ndian have come back to the bike market globally in a big way over the last few years and come back to their spiritual home here in Ireland with a postive impact that has surprised many over the last twelve months. Franklin motorcycles is based in Swords and since they launched the brand just over twelve months ago it has gone from strength to strength. The newest bike to the range is the Scout Bobber. An 1133cc twin with stripped back styling, the new machine offers itself up as a blank canvas to its new owner. The short fenders, the small but powerful headlight and the black engine all accent the ‘less is more’ feel to this most American of motorcycles.

as clean throttle response from brilliantly mapped fuel injection system compliment the old skool looks. The bikes suspension differs from the standard bikes in that it’s 25mm lower and the ergonomics are more conventional than cruiser with the pegs being further back along the bikes frame than the standard machines. Franklin was the Dublin born engineer who went to the US and worked on the very first Scout in the early 19th century. We’re very proud to have brought his bike home and delighted that we have such a great bike to offer his countrymen. The bike featured is, of course, available to test ride. Contact any of us here at Franklin Motorcycles on 01 538 5005 to book some time on one…

The power is exceptional for a bike in its class putting out, as it does, 95 bhp. State of the art ABS, LED lights and a belt for a final drive as well

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The power is exceptional for a bike in its class

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WORDS Peter Emmett Images Ralph McKeon

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LETTERS

LETTERS Hi Lads, I recently bought myself a used, but immaculate, Kawasaki ZZR1400. I really love the bike and having ridden other big touring bikes in the past the power delivery is something else! The only niggle that I have is that the throttle response is a little bit ‘snatchy’. While its ok one up, the plan is to ride across to the continent in the summer with my other half on the back. Do you know of any easy fix for this problem? The bike is a 2011 model with 36,000 kilometres on the clock. Alan Cork Hi Alan, You’re in luck. Motorcycle control specialists, Venhill, now produce replacement pattern Featherlight Throttle Cables for the ZZR1400. These are now available for the 20062015 ‘standard’ and ABS models The new cables are almost identical to the factory-fitted items in appearance, but are made to a higher standard, for a smoother throttle action and improved durability, so they work better for longer and your pillion will be a happy little bunny. Visit www.venhill.co.uk for details of these or talk to any good motorcycle dealer.

Alan Kilcock

recently no one seemed to know how to take part in it or where to book. Can you shed any light on it?

Hi Alan, The VJMC show takes place this coming May bank holiday weekend in Swords at the exhibition centre. The place will be packed with vintage and classic Japanese machines as well as their owners and builders. If you can’t find out what you need to know at this event then you never will! Mark Dear BBG, Does anyone know what ever happened to the Garda initiative, Bike Safe? Several of the riders from around our way took part and when it came up in conversation

Paul Lucan Hi Paul, Bike Safe appears to be gone from southern Ireland, at least for the moment. The good news is that it’s still going strong in the UK and as such we’ll be looking at organizing a bit of a road trip to the North of Ireland to take part in the local PSNI effort up there. We’ll pick a date, post it on our social media pages and flag it in the news in the magazine before we go so that you and the other club members can come along. Colin

Paul Dear Editor, I have recently come into possession of an 1993 Honda CBR900RR Fireblade. The bike is, unfortunately, not running and while I’m reliably informed that the machine is worth money even in it’s current state I’d love to get it running again. Back in the early nineties I watched this machine come to the market alas I couldn’t get my hands on one. I’d love to get this one back to where it should be and use it if only on sunny days. Do you have any suggestions as to where to start with a project like this?

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Please feel free to get in touch with us by sending an email to paul@bikebuyersguide.ie. If you actually still use the postal service please send all correspondence to the following address; Bike Buyers Guide Unit 22 Kilcarberry Business Park New Nangor Road Grange Castle Dublin 22 Please include a return address and mobile phone number as we may even send you a gift if your letter is deemed to be worthy of one… The Star letter each month now gets a limited edition classic racing pin badge replicating Barry Davidsons helmet with the compliments of the Mid Antrim 150 Club.

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n o i t u l o v e r e h t n i Jo rotection in p

Warrior Promodal jeans LIGHTWEIGHT PEKEV ® LINED MOTORCYCLE JEANS WITH AN ABRASION RESISTANCE OF 5.21 SECS, WITH ADJUSTABLE KNEE AND HIP ARMOUR FROM D30. AVAILABLE IN BOTH MENS & LADIES SIZES VISIT OUR WEBSITE NOW TO FIND YOUR LOCAL STOCKISTS OR ONLINE RETAILER WWW.RESURGENCEGEAR.NET INFO@RESURGENCEGEAR.NET +44 (0)20 3514 2413

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ENGINEERED STYLE

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SECURITY

WHAT’S IN THE BAG?

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All You’ll Ever Need

“ Grab Bag & Chain ”

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he good people at BikeTrac have added to their highly effective tracker offering with something that should make their tracker recreational only. The new grab bag contains a full hard security kit and really does have all you need to keep the thieving hands away from your pride and joy. The bag contains an all-new chain and a disc lock, which is made by Abus, the company who make the industry standard in locks. The chain is the industry’s first with links that have a thickness 10mm and are approved to Thatcham Category 3. Its also bolt cutter resistant. This chain is offered in two lengths, 1.2 metres and 1.4 metres. Combined with the disc lock any bike can be secured to an immovable object and effectively immobilized the good old-fashioned way. The kit is designed to be fully portable. To that end it comes complete with its own carrying bag. The bag includes a fastening strap so it can be attached to the bike, usually over the pillion seat. No one likes going into work, a meeting or on a date with

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brake dust covered hands and no one likes having the same brake dust and road dirt on an expensive pair of gloves so they have very cleverly included a pair of gloves in the pack that can be used when locking the bike. The Abus disc lock comes with a set of two keys as well as a code card. You’ll need the latter to get any additional keys cut. The disc lock can be used on its own and to that end there is a reminder tag in the bag as well. One sure fire way to ruin a first date is to entice the young lady to sit on the back of your Gixxer before heading off at an impressive rate of knots only to propel her over your shoulders half a wheel rotation later. That, however, is a different story to be told at a different time, which wouldn’t have been the case if that particular lock came with a reminder tag like this one does. There are two prices, €179.95 for the bag with the 1.2 metre chain and €199.95 for the longer 1.4 metre offering. If you’d like more information about their products, see www.biketrac.ie

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BALBRIGGAN, NORTH COUNTY DUBLIN TUES – SAT 10AM – 6PM Phone Lee: 01 8496806

NORTH DUBLIN MOTORCYCLES

Suzuki GSXR 600 Trackbikes K5 - €2995 K2 - €1995

Rothmans Fireblade - €12,995

2008 Suzuki GN125 1 owner, 30000kms - €1450

2006 Aprilia Tuono - €4995

2012 Aprilia RSV4R - €10,250

2013 KTM 990 Adventure €8250

2013 KTM 990 Adventure R €8995

1993 Honda Fireblade €4450

Stomp 140 Z3 (yellow) - €1245 Z3R (blue) - €1395

BIKES BOUGHT AND SOLD

w w w. n d m o t o . c o m To make an appointment please contact us by email: SALES: sales@ndmoto.com SUSPENSION: suspension@ndmoto.com DYNO: dyno@ndmoto.com

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GIRL RACER

READY TO RACE Cabin fever is kicking in

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he final countdown is on until I can stop talking about what we do and don’t do during the off season and start talking about racing motorbikes again! Anyone else excited? I won’t lie, the final few weeks before the season start are pretty torturous. A mix between “I’ve definitely forgotten something important...Is the engine even in the bike?” and “How many minutes can really be left until I get to race”. Due to a delay in shipping because of the snow I haven’t been able to get out testing on the bike just yet. I’m not worried about that, the bike is pretty much set how I want it, and we’ll have plenty of time at the Donington test before the first round to get a good set up. Despite the lack of testing, I’ve been pretty good at occupying myself for the last couple of weeks. The snow helped, I brought out my mini dirt bike, which I fell off a lot, and my mountain bike, which I fell off even more. It was good times and really falling is half of the fun. I also bought a skateboard, and went BMX riding. Despite cries of “be careful before your racing season” from my parents, I figure what’s the worst that can

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happen? Although I’m thinking as I write this I probably shouldn’t say that just yet, at least not until the first round. But I remain optimistic! For my next trick, I’m heading out on a trials bike for the first time ever. Trials bikes have always looked like fun and are great for training balance and bike control. My first mission is to wheelie. How awful is it to be able to race a bike at over 100mph but not even wheelie it? I’ll probably be posting some videos and photos of how this goes on my social media accounts so if you fancy a laugh you should check them out! Facebook & Instagram NicoleLynchRacing. For those of us who are slightly shorter than the rest of the population, a trials bike will be a much more suitable form of off roading. The great thing about bikes, is there are so many ways to enjoy them. Racing, in the snow, off road, on road, and even the ones without engines. Safe to say I’ll never be bored. Check back next month to see how my weekend at Donington goes for the first round of the Thundersport GB Championship.

WORDS Nicole Lynch

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MONDELLO PARK 24TH & 25TH JUNE 2018 BOOK NOW!

To book your place visit www.superbikeschool.co.uk BBG_170 USE.indd 55

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RIDER COACHING

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WORDS Paul Creevey

IMAGES Big Joe

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RIDER COACHING

MONTEBLANCO Once around the track please sir…

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ick Tock Tick Tock. Brakes serviced, New Pads. Engine warm. Battery charged and charging. Fuel on board. Tyre warmers on and up to temperature. Pressures are good. Back & chest protector, padded shorts, leathers, boots, gloves, helmet with tinted visor… It’s time!

First mission is learning the circuit. YouTube has provided a more than comprehensive analytical foundation, but nothing can replicate what its like for real! The bumps, the grip, the feedback from your suspension. What it’s actually like to go from 6th gear red-line to 2nd half positive throttle as the first right hander is negotiated. 185MPH according to Dan Linfoot! Lets agree that’s not our target for a few sessions just yet! Sitting up, body moved to the right, brakes full. Balancing the brake pressure to lean angle, eye-line focus point located - Tracking ahead constantly. The first right turn sees us remaining cranked over as we pass through our exit point and power through the next right kink as we set up for the first left. I can hear myself breathing. Thank god! Body neutral. Bike upright. Weight to the left and brakes full, ready for the first leftright chicane. My brain checklist is working away sub-consciously. Braking Point. Track position. Body Position. Braking. Dynamic posture. Tracking focus point. Entry point. Apex. Exit point. Smooth throttle. Weight off the seat. Loose arms… Learning one thing at a time is the key and having Motocraft Coaches like Mark O’Byrne and Alan O’Connor to break down the corner through video debrief with you is so valuable and productive! Next, Left-Right chicane and exit point is crucial. We build speed as we ride through another right kink all the while keeping our weight right side bias from the exit of the chicane. Two close 90’ left turns again sees us exit into a short straight where the bike remains leaned right as we build power through another right kink which has a very bumpy entry into the next right. The rear can bounce here. Motocraft’s suspension guru, Ciaran Ryan, is on hand to help here. He is cranky though, so we better bring biscuits! A short run leads us into another left-right chicane where we exit and stay left as we approach an extremely difficult very and fast blind up-hill right corner where you immediately need to get back over to the right for the next slightly longer left-right chicane. This is a corner that requires maximum respect. Too much “I’m a riding god” and you’ll soon find out you’re not! The exit here leaves us naturally on the left side for the approach onto the last right before straight. Exit, bring up the bike as we balance the throttle opening. 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th - Im pretty sure this is the first time I’ve sat in the middle of the bike - still breathing, shit, never brought spare knee pads! Yep, I’m pretty sure this is the real reason motorcycles were actually made! The team at Motocraft are at it again with a trip to Monteblanco in southern Spain later this month, call Paul Creevey on 0868222859 to book yourself a place. This is one airport shuttle bus that you really want to be on…

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TRAVEL

HIGHLAND TREASURES The Islands and Highlands 2018

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he road, the street, the motorway, the green lane and dirt tracks. The paths on which travel occurs. Connecting the civilised cities with the unpolished rural pastures that surround them. Like everything around us, roads are constantly progressing. These paved surfaces originalally created for trade have progressed to be the busy commuting trails they are today. But these trails are not just for commuting. These twisty, tar surfaced routes are also our playground. The route to our next adventure and pathway to free our soul.

joining the A835. Taking us away from the hustle and bustle of tourism that surrounded Loch Ness and back into the wild detached highlands. I found it hard to contain my primal need to go fast. My wrist so eager to twist the throttle and my conscience battling to contain it from doing so. The road barren of any traffic so inviting to the needs of any motorcyclist. Using every inch of the road. Bouncing from one bend to another. My focus gone from the clocks on my bike and now solely set on one limit point after another. It was as if the bike was no longer under me. But that I was flying free.

One road leads to another, which leads to another. Until eventually you run out. You end up at edge of our island. The ferry in the docks crys out for us to load up and see what else is out there. So that’s what we did. On a dark spring morning we packed up and headed for the docks. On an adventure overseas. To land which promised an untamed and unventured terrain. A land so vast and isolated that it needs to be seen to be believed. One that promised twisty road after twisty road. Through uncompromised isolated lands, untouched by modern society. Lands so pure they are the breath of fresh air to our choked up urban lungs. The excitement of loading onto the boat that morning seemed almost outweighed by the feeling of nerves as we prepared to roll off onto the tarmac on the other side. Our group just one of many eager to disembark the boat and begin our adventure. Landing in Scotland we headed north from Cairnryan along the coastal road. The longer we seemed to travel, the busier the road seemed to get. Before long ours thoughts of raw deserted lands changed to the reality of the busy areas of which we were riding through.

We pulled up outside Ullapool to regroup. Not passed by another motorist during all the time we are stopped there. The winter snow was still sitting on the ridges of the surrounding mountains is a reminder of just how isolated we are. We continued into the town to refuel our bikes and our belly’s before pushing further north. The road itself seemed to have changed. No longer was it the main wide perfectly finished trading route in which we travelled before lunch. The road had changed and with it so did the landscape. The road narrowed and the bends tightened. The wide open valleys had contracted to narrow twisty ones. The sharp climbs and descends followed suit to increase the complexity of the road. And within minutes we were out in the vast isolated land. The batch of “Bend Ahead” roads signs along the edge of the road seemed redundant as we were reading them from a position where our pegs were scrapping the ground.

We opted for the short ferry ride from Mclnroy’s Point to Hunter Quay. When we reached the other side of the peninsula things seemed to change. We rolled into a small fishing town like those located in the west of Ireland. The roads changed from being the heavy traffic A roads to smaller, quieter B roads and after travelling two hours up through Scotland we finally had our first promise of what was to come. We left the small Village of Kirn heading north along the A815. We crisscross back and forth through the serious of roads along our path. On the advice of a friend we took in the B8074. A small stone chipped road that leads up along the River Orchy. Lined on one side with trees and the alluring waterfalls of the river on the other. We rode against the flow of the river and exited onto the A82. The moment we turned left we knew we had found the Scotland we were looking for. The peaks of the highlands stood in the distance. A vast open valley stood between them and us. The road linking us to them was surfaced like a race track. There seemed to be almost a pause when we turned onto it. As if time slowed down so we could take in the sight that stood in front of us. Just as quickly the pause came, it went and we were off. One bike after another down into the valley. Bend after bend, apex after apex. The sounds of engines roaring, the wind whistling and the road eating into our tyres. That 30 minute ride through the valley, through the wall of rock that lined either side and out into the opening at the other end, made the whole day worthwhile. It made all the traffic, all the slow filtering and dual carriage way riding from that morning irrelevant. It wiped the slate clean. This one road was the pathway from the regular to the irregular we had dreamed about. We had found it. Day two saw us head further north along the A82. We stopped and got our fishing rods out to see if an Irish man could bag himself the infamous loch ness monster. But after half an hour of failed attempts to get the bait on the hook we scrapped the idea and went back to our motorcycles. We headed west along a zig zag of minor roads before

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Day three we woke to a slightly overcast morning. A sea fog had blown in overnight. It was the first morning on our trip the sun didn’t greet us as we woke. We geared up, filled up and headed for the destination the whole trip was built around. The place made famous by Charlie and Ewan in 2007, John O’ Groats. It’s funny how certain places make it onto our bucket lists. A sign post on a hill, but as I rode up that hill with my dad by my side the feeling of accomplishment was almost overwhelming. It’s a memory, a feeling that no money could pay for and evil in this world will ever take away from me. It’s a constant reminder that life is about experiences not materials. It’s about people, family and friends. The joy I saw as I watched each one in our group take their picture with that pole one by one is something I will never forget. We left here heading south on the A9. The sun burned off the morning dew and the day brightened. Heading through the back roads and byroads to our final Destination in the town of Drymen. The atmosphere in the bar that evening was fantastic. Each one of us on the trip had achieved something today. And it was clear in all our faces. Our celebrations went on into the small hours of the night. That night 18 acquaintances became friends. Our final day on our journey was all about getting home. Although the A712 through Galloway Forest Park is one road I hope to repeat. Our last hurrah before the mundane journey home on the boat. Our four day trip covered 2250km on Scottish Soil. We rode new roads. Experienced the isolated tranquillity of the Scottish no-man’s land. We searched for Nessy and drank hot chocolate in Durness. We battled the north winds and embraced the sunshine. We celebrated reaching John O’Groats and we paused to reflect on how far we had come. We lost ourselves in the valleys, in the sweeping bends and the Scottish mountains. And most importantly we all got home safe. Scotland you’re a lady and for one weekend a year, you’re ours! If you’d like to head to Scotland this year motorcycle travel specialists, Celtic Horizon Tours, are heading there this summer. To take part see www.celtichorizontours.com or call 016292000.

WORDS Dan Tynan

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TRAVEL

land so vast and “ Aisolated that it needs to be seen to be believed

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RACING

THE NIFTY FIFTY The Irish race season is off to a fun filled start.

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or the past eight years the Nifty-Fifty Race has become the highlight of February’s racing calendar. Apart from being bucket loads more fun than one can reasonably expect from the Irish racing scene in frosty February, it has evolved into a significant charity event. I competed at the first Nifty-Fifty race in 2010. Back then it was scheduled as an eight-hour endurance event. Thankfully common sense was quick to intervene and it has now been curtailed to a much more manageable, from the rider’s perspective, four-hour event. There is, after all, a very fine line between ‘fun’ and ‘endurance’. Since then, I’ve always maintained an interest in proceedings, partly due to an element of ‘I did that’ but also to keep an eye on one particular machine, my old Cub 90. I sold my old Cub 90 to Eddie Manly a few months after the inaugural Nifty-Fifty and he has managed to secure no less than five wins in the intervening seven years occasionally star-studding his team with celeb riders like Cody Nally and even Guy Martin joining his team one year. The old Cub is still remarkably original-looking, pretty much the same as it did 26 years ago when we wheeled it out of Kennedy Motorcycles and onto Dyer Street, Drogheda. It’s unrestored, hasn’t been repainted. In fact, it still has the tiny, fluorescent-orange dealer sticker on the headlight nacelle. As usual, Saturday morning was bitterly cold and most of the competitors and their entourages huddled on pit-lane, warm coats over their leathers, waiting for the signal to start their two warm-up laps. I watched from the pit-wall as the riders finished warm-up and formed on the grid but there was no sign of Eddie! Turns out he’d crashed spectacularly on turn five. Now, normally this would result in automatic exclusion from the start, at least until both rider and machine had been thoroughly checked out, but not today. Eddie eventually rolled around and handed his machine to Cody and then took up position on the far side of the track for the Le Mans start. Say what you like, but I really love this part of the proceedings as I feel it definitely adds to the whole sense of occasion; as the flag goes up and the riders sprint across the track, hop on their machines and tear

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off, chin on handlebars, up to turn one. There will always be a few fallers on the final corner at the end of lap one and this year was no exception, and, as with other years, all riders remounted, having first checked that they had grabbed the correct machine, and resumed racing, most losing less than thirty seconds in the process. With the race approaching the beginning of the fourth and final hour, I was delighted to learn that Eddie and his team were leading the race by no less than five laps and seemed to be well on the way to win number six when, as Eddie puts it, he became aware of an unfamiliar vibration low down and as he leaned it into Bridgestone Sweep felt the silencer dig into the tarmac and, in an instant, it was sheared off and went tumbling noisily to the edge of the circuit. This is not a time for the feint-hearted and Eddie continued apace as if it was all going to plan. A few laps later and Eddie became aware of a high-pitched ‘Wheee’ sound emanating from the bike as though, perhaps, a piece of cardboard might be caught under the mudguard. Keep Going! It’s all you can do with barely forty-five minutes to go while leading by almost six laps. A lap or two later and the ‘Wheee’ sound was now a high-pitched squeal and was growing louder. In addition, several riders had begun to overtake him. Unbeknownst to Eddie, the loss of the silencer and exhaust had resulted in the motor sucking up the oil out of the sump, an occurrence that puts severe time-limitations on the lifespan of small motors being run flat-out for lengthy periods. Thus, inevitably, the squealing reached fever pitch and then the poor motor seized, the bike ground to a stop and Eddie’s race was run. Despite this, he still managed to finish in the top 20. Personally, I felt a bit distraught. I reckon I still harbour feint paternal feelings for this machine and the last thing I wanted was to see it dying a graceless death before my very eyes. I need not have upset myself, Honda Cubs are world-renowned for their durability and longevity and by the time anybody gets to read this it will have been furnished with a new piston, rings and liners as well as a silencer and will be back on the streets doing what it does best. Rest assured, if there is a Nifty-Fifty race next February, it’ll be back out at Mondello, fiercely hunting Win number six.

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RACING

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SUPERBIKE SCHOOL

RIDING TECHNIQUE VS. MOTORCYCLE TECHNOLOGY What makes a riding technique successful?

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hat is riding technique? And what makes a technique successful? Is riding just a composition of good or bad technique, or is there something more basic? Shifting with or without the clutch represents two workable techniques for changing gear. But what technology, or basic principles, do they both rely on for their workability? To define it, technique is the physical actions taken. It is the method used to access the underlying technology. In a motorcycle transmission, once a gear is selected it will resist change as long as there is force on it from either acceleration or deceleration. For example, it’s impossible to change gears while at full throttle unless you use the clutch. The clutch disconnects the power going through the gears. Reducing that force allows you to disengage one gear and select another. Downshifting without using the clutch involves a rapid “blip” of the throttle. That throttle blip reverses the deceleration force on the transmission. In that moment of transition from deceleration to acceleration, the load on the gearbox is relaxed, which allows for a downshift the same way the clutch does. Plus, as the gear is being selected, there is another brief window of time when none are engaged. In that moment, the throttle blip free-revs the engine, allowing a perfect downshift with revs matched to the new gear. Upshifts are similar: You interrupt the acceleration power with that same throttle blip, off to back on, then the power is relaxed and you change up. Understanding the engine, clutch and transmission and the laws of motion that govern them allows that technology to be accessed by two very different techniques. There are definite benefits that go along with understanding this. Clutchless shifts are quicker and smoother. They also eliminate two control actions: pulling and releasing the clutch lever. Wear on the clutch is reduced because it is never used except

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for starting and stopping. While rough gear changes may not jack up your survival reactions, they can be distracting. We can also look at technique vs. technology in a more stressful setting—for example, handling quick, flick/flick sections of road or track. We must first coordinate our physical actions with our outward perceptions to gather information, which escalates the potential for confusion and errors. Many things come into play: timing your steering inputs and throttle actions (off and on), choosing an entry speed, deciding if braking is necessary, deciding on a gear change, assessing your line-ofsight to read the radius of a turn, reading the road’s surface, etc. The answer to the question of why all riders do things a little differently is contained in their unique responses to any given situation. What they do, however, either follows the underlying technology of the technique, or crosses it in some fashion. To be a successful technique, the method must have a solid base in: 1) the bike’s design; 2) the technology behind it; 3) the physics principals and laws of motion involved; 4) the freedoms and limitations of human anatomy; and 5) the freedoms and limitations of the rider’s senses and perceptions. A good technique is in agreement with all five points. The question for you is: How much do you need to understand about what you are doing to create the level of confidence you would like? The difference between the physical laws of motion that govern the bike and the laws that govern the rider is the perceptions the rider must rely on for his information, which he then uses to control the bike’s speed and direction. The California Superbike School comes to Mondello this coming 25th and 25th of June. To book your place see www.superbikeschool.co.uk.

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SUPERBIKE SCHOOL

WORDS Richard “Badger” Browne

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IMAGES CSS

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FEATURED PRODUCT

LAYER UP The Knox Jacket system

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hen your parents first started riding bikes way back in the day one of the first things that they learned was to wear layers of clothing in an effort to keep the cold out. With kit being incredibly basic compared to what we have today the options were limited when it came to staying warm and safe. A warm vest, a shirt, a decent geansaí and some sort of coat were as good as it got. Thankfully things are a whole lot better these days and bike kit tends to be fitted with CE approved armour and weather proof products such as Thinsulate and Goretex. The issue here is that the clothing tends to be very purpose specific. What works in summer won’t work in winter and vice versa. The people at Knox have come up with a solution and rather wonderfully it involves wearing layers of clothing, just in a much different way! The innovative English company now do a base layer that regulates the wearers body temperature, as well as a jacket system that comprises of an independent close fitting armoured shirt and a jacket with a

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detachable liner, collar and cuffs. The base layer keeps the rider warm, or cool, while the armour keeps us safe and the jacket can provide everything from winter warmth to ventilated summer comfort. Best of all the big geansaí is no longer necessary and the whole thing is as comfortable as it is stylish! There is a huge range of these jackets available. We’ve had a quick look through the catalogue and we’ve counted 30 different stylish outer jackets for both ladies and men, every one of which is smart and stylish enough to be worn off the bike and without the armoured vest. The great news is that the jacket system, which comprises of the jacket and armoured shirt, is now available at a reduced price as part of an offer this season. Buy any Knox jacket from Adventure Motorcycles Ireland in Gorey or Kennedy Motorcycles in Drogheda and get the armoured shirt for only €60. If you buy them together you’ll save €95. The offer only applies in store and they are on 0539422415 and 0419838117 respectively.

The whole thing is as comfortable as it is stylish!

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Authorized Agent of:

6 Dyer Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth Tel: +353 41 983 8117

2014 Yamaha SR 400 Scottoiler, One owner from new

2005 Yamaha XJR 1300 SP

,

€POA

Mileage: 13,803m

2008 BMW F800R €6,750 Full Dec Art Customs Motorrad Paint job, Sco oiler,MRA Screen,Bellypan,GPR Exhaust

2007 Yamaha Dragstar XVS 1100 Call for price Givi Custom Screen, Highway Hawk back carrier and side rails, Oxford Custom Heated Grips, Pinion Back Rest, Meta Alarm System

1985 Yamaha RD500 €POA Mileage: 31,909m, Restored 3,500 miles ago

98 Aprilia RS250 €6,250 Only 5500 original miles, colours, never been painted or repaired. Full service

2007 KTM Adventure 990 Call for price Givi Back Box, Meta Alarm System, Engine Bars

2006 BMW R1200GS €8,500 One off, FSH, Full Dec Art Customs Motorrad Paintjob,Carbon Trim,Ohlins, ring for full spec.

2016 Honda CRF250L 3800km IMS tank, Sump guard, Rear Rack As New

1978 Yamaha XS750 45,000 miles, Beautiful condition

€4,750

€3,250

2013 Triumph Tiger 1050 €7,995 Fully kitted, Full Luggage, Screen, Engine Bars, Huggar, Exhaust etc

2006 Suzuki V-Strom DL 1000GT

€3,000

www.kennedymotorcycles.com

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USED METAL

REFINED TOURING Yamahas FJR 1300

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or most of December last year, all of January and some of February, Yamaha Ireland offered to take up the Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) on a number of their new bikes. Among the machines to benefit from the deal was the FJR 1300, to the tune of a little over €1,600, and as a result Megabikes in Dublin have a few tasty used touring bikes in stock, there is even a pre owned FJR in store as a result of the offer! The FJR has been around for quite a while now with several re-dos over the years and it does get compared to some of the other offerings in the market. It doesn’t have the speed of the big Kawasaki 1400 or the dazzling amount of features as seen on BMWs RT and K1600 machines but, as any traffic Garda will tell you, it has the ability to move and its handling is quite dynamic. Indeed, one could be forgiven for thinking that the big tourer came from the same factory as an R1 or an MT 10 for example… There are a number of things to appreciate. The bike is big and feels spacious for both rider and pillion. Spending all day on one of these is more than do-able thanks to the ergonomics being laid out as well as they are an addition to the bike having a suitably deep seat. There are two different models available in this market, one with and one without panniers. There are a host of dealer fit options available and while heated grips are now standard there is a choice of topboxes with an option to add a backrest and even a tank bag. The optional pannier and top box liners make checking in to your expensive French hotel that little bit more dignified thanks to not having to remove the boxes from the bike every time you park it up when on your ‘holliers’. ABS comes as standard as does traction control which inspire plenty of confidence once up to operating speed. Speaking of speed, the bike does seem to be conscious of which tyres work best at lower speeds. Dunlops Road Smart III seemed to make most of the bikes low speed weight disappear. The motor is a straight in line four-cylinder affair, which is managed with a power mode button on the handlebars. Touring works well on the longer journeys while sport tends to offer quicker acceleration in the lower end of the rev range and as such works better on the commute. The bike featured is a 2014 model and is in stock at Megabikes on Dublin’s Wexford Street where it offered for sale at €14,495 where there are several other options to choose from including an older FJR, several RTs and a GTR 1400. Give Robbie a call on 01478 4200 to arrange a test ride on any of them before booking your foray into Europe this year.

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Spending all day on one of these is more than do-able

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WORDS Paul Browne IMAGES Ralph McKeon

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USED METAL

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DUCATI SCRAMBLER

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DUCATI SCRAMBLER

NICE SLED DUDE The Scrambler gets even more retro treatment

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hen Italian culture is married to American culture sometimes, just sometimes, wonderful things happen. This would appear to very much be the case where the Scrambler Desert Sled is concerned. Taking the cooler than cool urban Scrambler from Ducati and giving it the off road treatment, has resulted in a surprisingly good motorcycle. Calling it a desert sled was first done by our Californian cousins who would have modified standard road bikes way back in the eighties to make them dirt track resistant. We’re a cynical lot here at BBG and seeing yet another Scrambler emerge from the Ducati stable usually isn’t enough to get us to stop smoking our cigar for long enough for the sales man to explain what we’re looking at.

This one, however, has gold rims and spoked wheels. And we’re suckers for a set of spoked wheels on gold rims. We really are. So much so that we had to take it from the dealership and rush to the centre of Dublin where we parked it up outside a Dublin 2 café before relighting the same cigar and ordering a chi latte, taking a seat outside and settling in to watch the army of hipsters that the neighbourhood seems to produce look over the bike with what can only be described as a terrible need in their poor little eyes. The interesting thing was that on the way into the city the bike seemed to perform like a bike. There was very little of the ‘Land of joy’ twaddle that we’ve been exposed to over the last few years since the original Scrambler was launched. The Sled is comfortable to sit on and carries Ralph, our

MBLER WORDS Paul Browne IMAGES Ralph McKeon

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photographer, and all his kit with ease. Hipster nonsense this isn’t, a real motorcycle it is. This is in a lot of ways thanks to it simply being a bigger bike. The seat is higher at 860mm. The height is countered by it being narrower at the front so that those with a shorter inside leg can still get a foot on the deck while taking advantage of the elevation offered by the new higher accommodation. The suspension has more travel, up 50mm to 200mm and the bars are also higher and wider. With these few simple changes the Scrambler has grown up and shed its small bike status. The “sleding” aspect is accomplished by adding a higher set of mudguards, a bash plate over the engine, off road foot pegs and a very cool metal headlight protector. The ability to handle the rough and tumble is confirmed with a subtle

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reworking of the chassis. The suspension on both ends is now from KYB and is fully adjustable. The frame is stronger than the original as is the swingarm, which takes advantage of the new spring down the back, by being longer than the one on the standard machine. The styling is excellent and this is very much what we wanted from the original with all the pertinent information being displayed on the off centre mounted single clock. The brace on the handlebar probably isn’t completely necessary but should be there because it adds so much to the bike visually. The bike on test is the 2017 paint schemed with its red tank and white mud guard. The frame, engine, swingarm and seat are all black as are the forks. The whole lot is wonderfully bookended by those beautiful gold wheels. The motor is the same 803cc L twin that has powered the original bike in such a wonderfully broad choice of model derivatives. While it still produces the same 75 bhp it doesn’t leave the bike feeling underpowered in any way. The Scrambler range is now supplemented by a learner friendly 400cc offering and there is an 1100cc version on the way. Extras such as LED indicators and a ‘termi’ exhaust are all but compulsory. The standard end can is just too quiet and the indos look grand until you realise that they could be LED ones and then that’s exactly whet you’ll need on your sled. The standard Pirelli Scorpion tyres have somewhat of a light offroad pedigree and manage to look the part while still performing perfectly on the road. Replacing them with a more road orientated set of tyres would be a bit of a shame as they’d simply take from the way the bike looks. The bike on test came from Rosso Ducati in West Dublin where it is part of the demo fleet. If you’d like to take a spin, give Keith a call on 01464 2211 and book an appointment. The scrambler range starts at €8,850 and the Sled featured is €12,830. Finance is available as is in house rider training.

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READY TO RACE

READY TO RACE Big year ahead for Derek McGee

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017 was a good year to be a road racer if your name was Derek. Yet again the top awards went to a rider with that name, but surprisingly it was Derek McGee rather than Derek Sheils that was picking up all the awards at the end of the year.

While he wasn’t exactly in Sheils shadow, Derek McGee had to give best to his rival in 2016 as he continued his progress up the charts following his graduation to the senior Road Racing ranks in 2012. Having picked up the Supersport title in 2014 and the Supertwin crown the following year the ‘Mullingar Missile’ looked likely to take another championship win in 2016, but he had to give best to Sheils in both Supersport and Superbike as he also came up short once again in his quest for a first Superbike championship race win. Last season was altogether different however as the first Superbike victory finally arrived in a season where he also won twice in Supersport and took a double in Supertwins to take a clean sweep of the three most prestigious Road Racing championships. McGee heads into 2018 in an unfamiliar position as the man to beat so how does that feel after a number of years trying to get to the top. “It feels good to have had such a great season, especially with us being such a small team. There’s lots of people I have to thank for my success, including all of my crew and the sponsors who make it all happen, especially Noel Doyne Construction and Misdirector. 2017 is gone and we are now focussing on this season where we will have to try and do it all again. I don’t feel any additional pressure going into this year as my National Championship goals remain the same, to fight for wins and podiums and let the championship take care of itself.” Having become a big star on the roads McGee admits that racing between the hedges was not his goal when he started racing. “I did a couple of races in 2008 but only tackled my first full season in the Clubmans Championship in 2010. I finished third that year with four race wins so I was all set to try and win the championship the following season. The first few events didn’t go very well and so I decided to do my local road race in Walderstown for a change of scenery. I won two races on the day of my 25th birthday and set a new lap record, so I stuck at it for the rest of the year and remained unbeaten on my way to third in the championship. From then on I decided to concentrate on the roads.” The next big stepping stone for the Westmeath man was the move from Senior Support to the National ranks for 2012. “That was a big jump in in terms of depth of field and the quality of rider. From my first race in the Nationals I was dicing with the Dunlop’s and I led until I overshot at a junction and dropped to fourth. I couldn’t believe that I was racing with Michael and William who I had been watching from the sidelines a couple of years before. That was the highlight of my first year which I took fairly steady. I upped the ante the following season and got my first Supersport win and finished second in the championship as well as fifth in Superbikes so I really felt I was getting to grips with the roads. McGee has shown great versatility in the last couple of years, racing Supersport, Superbikes, Twins and even 125’s, so does he have a preference. “When I first moved into the Nationals I got a bit of a reputation as a Supersport racer but in reality I don’t have a preference for any particular class. I’ve probably enjoyed Supersport more as I’ve taken two championships as well as three runner up spots. I’ve had more wins on the 600 and really enjoyed riding against William Dunlop who is very fast but smooth and predictable. I’m still learning the big bikes so I’ve done better on the smaller ones, but I just enjoy riding any bike so it doesn’t matter to me which one I’m racing. Before 2017 Derek had just one win on a Superbike, the previous years Grand Final at Faugheen, so he started the season chasing his first championship Superbike victory. By the end of the year the win had been secured at the

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circuit where it all started, Walderstown, and that was just one of many high points during the year. “Everything just clicked last season and I was in contention for three titles right from the start. Two wins and a second from the first three Supersport races meant that even an engine failure at Walderstown did not harm me too much. I was running at the front all the time and had the Supersport and Supertwin titles wrapped up before the Ulster, which was a good thing as that event produced the lowest point of the year when I broke my leg. I really wanted the Superbike title to go with the two others but to achieve that I had to get back on the bike for Killalane. I only had four weeks to recover and I was delighted with the way it went. I travelled three times a week to Cork for sessions in the hyperbaric chamber and this paid off as I was back walking after two and a half weeks. I wasn’t right for the final race of the season but I only needed to finish in the top eight to beat Derek Sheils to the title so I was determined to give it a go. In the end I finished a very satisfying third to secure a treble.” With the National successes of 2017 under his belt the treble champion will shift his focus slightly in 2018. While a return to the Isle of Man TT following a years absence, along with a trip to the NW200, will assume slightly more importance, a repeat of last seasons treble is still high on the list of goals. “I’d like to prove myself at home again in 2018 where I will race in four classes for four different teams. I’ll still ride my own Superbike but I’ll join up with Ryan Farquhar for Supertwins, B&W for Supersport and Gary Dunlop for Moto3, which will be a new experience for me. On top of that I’ll be returning to the TT with the aim of improving on my last effort and I’d love to go back to the Ulster and go quicker than 130mph.” For McGee, repeating 2017 will be a tall order especially with his namesake Mr. Sheils aiming to win his crowns back. Having the likes of Ryan Farquhar, Brian Hull and Gary Dunlop in his corner alongside his own team will help and the battle for supremacy should be one of the best for many years. Whatever way it goes Derek has a tough year ahead but by the sound of things one he is definitely up for.

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ADVENTURE RIDING

THE SEASON OPENS! Gorey is the place to be this month

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ith spring just around the corner the team at Overlanders and Adventure Motorcycles Ireland are busy gearing up for the 2018 season. It looks like it’ll be a full throttle to say the least. Early April marks the companys first European bike shipment of the year to Spain along with their BMW Off Road Skills course in Wales, which is closely followed by the ever popular Annual Open weekend in Gorey. This years Open Weekend is set to be bigger and better with more activities, ride outs and attractions then ever before. It’s always a great event and, for many riders, it marks the end of winter and the beginning of summer riding season. Either way it’s a great excuse to get on the bike and see what’s new for 2018. Here at the magazine we’re looking forward to catching up with our many friends and customers in the world of two wheels! The Annual Open Weekend takes place in the AMI Shop which is in Gorey in Co. Wexford on Saturday the 14th and Sunday the

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15th of April this year. Highlights will include the launch of 2018 SCOTT and KNOX Clothing ranges, a huge selection of bikes to ride from a multitude of brands as well as special offers and even a clearance sale on some products. Exhibitors at the event will include Rally Raid Products, Principal Insurance as well as First Bike On Scene. The FBoS team has a course scheduled for AMI on May 12th. There will be organised ride outs on both the Saturday and Sunday and, as always, refreshments will be provided free of charge. There will be an evening presentation by a special guest and renowned traveler on Saturday night in The Loch Garman Arms, Gorey at 19.30. This isn’t to be missed! There will also be a presentation of all the new Overlanders tours for the 2018 and 2019 riding seasons. Accommodation is available. Please contact any of the team on 053 9422 415 for a list of recommended hotels and B&B’s.

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HONDA X-ADV

HONDA X-A 76

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HONDA X-ADV

A FEET-FORWARD, SMALL-WHEELED ADVENTURE BIKE? You meet the nicest people on a Honda

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n its launch a year ago the X-ADV seemed – to me and many others, at least – like another entry on a list of bizarre Honda models that few people understood or would buy. A scooter with off-road styling? A feet-forward, small-wheeled adventure bike? Surely it was just another crazy Honda creation that made little sense and would follow the DN-01 and Vultus by selling in tiny numbers before being quietly dropped and forgotten about. But that’s not what happened at all. Instead, the X-ADV’s blend of chunky looks and maxi-scooter performance and practicality struck a chord with plenty of people. This was motorcycling’s first Sport Utility Vehicle – stylish, rugged, versatile and desirable. It ended up as Europe’s seventh best selling model last year, doubtless to the delight of Honda Europe’s Italian-based R&D team, who had come up with the concept and persuaded their Japanese bosses to put it into production. That success still seems slightly strange, but also makes some sort of sense as I aim this year’s mildly updated X-ADV along a winding road in southern Spain. I’ve just finished a short dirt-road diversion, where the Honda’s flexible, 745cc parallel-twin engine and long-travel suspension made it easily controllable when standing on the pegs, despite its weight, big-scooter-like geometry and slightly eccentric combination of cycle parts.

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Now I’m back on tarmac and sitting on the seat, my bag stashed under the seat, my feet on the footboards, and the X-ADV’s fairing, adjustable screen and hand-guards combining to keep me reasonably comfortable on a cold day. With the DCT transmission set to Sport mode the torquey, 54bhp engine is making the Honda both quick and easy to ride, and it’s handling sufficiently well to be fun. Given the X-ADV’s impact, it’s no surprise that Honda has done very little to update it just a year later. The mods

are really just electrical tweaks: the rev limit is raised slightly, to 7500rpm. That doesn’t affect the character of an sohc powerplant, shared with the NC750 models and Integra, that has longstroke dimensions (77 x 80mm) and is designed mainly for economy and low-rev performance, producing its maximum power output at 6250rpm and its torque peak of 68N.m at just 4750rpm. The X-ADV comes only with Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission, unlike the Africa Twin and NC models that have a conventional six-speed option. Like the Africa Twin, for off-road use it now gains a “G” button on its dashboard, which when pressed gives a more direct drive to the rear wheel, to allow better control. The X-ADV also gains a traction control system that can be adjusted through two positions, or turned off, with the press of a button. There’s no change to its chassis, with its lengthy tubular steel frame, similar to that of the Integra scooter, and unique combination of chassis parts. While the suspension matches the NC750X adventure bike with its travel – 153.5mm from the upside-down forks and 150mm at the rear – and the wheels have wire spokes and fairly chunky Bridgestone Trail Wing tyres, their diameters are 17in front, 15in rear. And while the Integra’s front brake comprises a single front disc and twinpiston caliper, the X-ADV gets twin discs and four-pot radials. It also gets a pretty high specification, with keyless ignition, LED lighting, hand-guards (borrowed from the Africa Twin), centre-stand and a screen that is manually adjustable through five positions and 136mm. The seat hinges to reveal a courtesy light, USB socket and room for a full-face helmet. At 820mm the seat is 30mm higher than the Integra’s, and its height and width combine with the long footboards to make the X-ADV slightly tricky to climb aboard, and to balance unless you’ve got long legs. But once you’re underway it’s simplicity itself,

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comes only with Honda’s “ The X-ADV Dual Clutch Transmission ”

with the ultra-torquey parallel twin motor and DCT gearbox combining to give scooter-style convenience with respectably motorbike-like performance. Despite weighing a hefty 238kg with fuel (same as the Integra) the X-ADV accelerates respectably briskly, especially if you’re in automatic mode and using the sportiest of the three Sport settings, rather than one of the other two or even the softer still Drive mode, which changes up even earlier. In its latest incarnation the DCT system works well, and also gives the option of manual change using the thumb- and forefinger-operated paddles on the left bar. The X-ADV certainly feels as quick as the Integra, NC750 or most other maxi-scooters, and it cruises along very smoothly and efficiently, sipping fuel at not much more than 4l/100km while giving the

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HONDA X-ADV option of accelerating towards a top speed of about 170km/h. There’s reasonable protection for chest, hands and legs, and comfort is reasonable although the feet-forwards riding position puts all your weight through the seat, which wouldn’t be ideal on a long trip. The Honda’s oddball chassis works pretty well, too. The fairly conservative geometry and long wheelbase help keep things stable, the 17in front wheel allows reasonably neutral steering despite the long wheelbase, and the suspension is of sufficient quality to give a well-controlled ride despite the generous travel. That twin-radial-caliper front stopper is powerful, and gets some easily used help from a rear disc that is operated by the left handlebar lever in scooter style. Our launch route also included a short diversion down a dirt track, where the X-ADV confirmed that it could cope with some gentle adventure riding. Or at least, it could while I was standing up on the serrated footrests, which are accessories made by Italian specialist Rizoma (and sold through Honda dealers). These put your weight much lower and further back than the standard footboards, which felt much too high and far forward for standing up on. The suspension had enough travel to soak up some bumps, though I’d have been glad of the aluminium bash-plate on anything rougher, and wary of damaging Honda’s shapely and expensive plastic. As so often, the limiting factor on a muddy track was the road-biased Trail Wing tyres, though I’m not sure how keen I’d have been to fit knobblier rubber and search out some more demanding trails. Instead of that, we headed back via road to the upmarket launch base hotel, where the X-ADV had the opportunity to play perhaps its most valuable card, at least as far as many potential owners are concerned – by looking sufficiently cute-yet-tough to fit in perfectly alongside the four-wheeled SUVs in the car-park. Given that most X-ADV owners, like most adventure bike riders, won’t ever to ride the Honda off-road, its success must to some extent be a triumph of style over substance. After all, the Integra offers identical straight-line performance, fuel economy and weight, similar handling and comfort (albeit with less suspension travel and braking ability), an extra litre of fuel capacity (though less storage) and a substantially lower price. But while the Integra looks like just another big scooter, the X-ADV is a funky, fun-looking, unique and adventurous machine. It’s expensive and has some drawbacks but captures the imagination before you climb on board, makes you smile while you’re riding it, and confirms that this time Honda’s product planners got a new concept absolutely right.

VITALS Engine type Liquid-cooled parallel twin Valve arrangement SOHC, 8 valves Displacement 745cc Bore x stroke 77 x 80mm 10.7:1 Compression ratio Carburation Electronic fuelinjection Clutch Wet multiplate dual clutch Transmission 6-speed, Dual Clutch Transmission Maximum power 54bhp @ 6250rpm 68N.m @ 4750rpm Maximum torque Front suspension 41mm usd forks, 153.5mm travel, adjustment for preload and rebound damping Rear suspension Pro-Link single shock, 150mm wheel travel, adjustment for preload Four-piston radial Front brake calipers, 296mm discs Rear brake Single-piston caliper, 240mm disc Front tyre 120/70 x 17in Bridgestone Trail Wing 101 Rear tyre 160/60 x 15in Bridgestone Trail Wing 152 Rake/trail 27°/104mm Wheelbase 1590mm Seat height 820mm Fuel capacity 13.1 litres Kerb weight 238kg

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INTERVIEW

ANTHONY FOX This month we talk to Anthony Fox, former filmmaker and director of The New Theatre, Dublin which specialises in new writing and celebrates 21 years and counting in 2018.

power at that age! Flying around Cavan roads half mad with every other 15 year old looper I could find. I graduated to a Yamaha DT100 after that. Another dream machine. We even had a 100cc club.

What do you currently ride? A high mileage Ducati 749 and an old Yamaha TW 125. I picked up from an actor friend, to be a starter bike for my kids. My eldest daughter has already dropped it, in a field. Going down a drumlin, the front washed out. Good learning curve. I reminded her the smack on her helmet and clay on her right side would be road rash. Why that bike? It’s so durable, fun and no matter how mucky the field, the TW pulls and slides. It’s my 13 year old that I’m trying to hold back from taking it out but that’s the bug. On her second outing she was hammering through the gearbox. The field is too small now!

Who do you work for, your boss or your customers? Customers are my Boss. We produce approximately 12 new writing plays annually and about 12,500 audiences see our shows every year in The New Theatre. Regular spins out to North Dublin, Meath and Cavan on the Ducati keep my head clear and help me focus on finding ways to keep our base happy and engaged.

Do you get to ride any other bike? My trusted 749 serviced in Mototechnic is a dream bike. I’m relatively tall, the bike suits my frame and the top end rush is plenty for me. I’ve put 60K on the clock and a few points on my license so it’s easier than modern Ducati’s to keep south of 120kmh!

What is your most memorable ride? In 1999 my buddy Mark and myself rode a bike each to Athens. We’d damn all cash, just a desire to get on the road and head south until we were broke. We just camped where we stopped. Several times we were moved on. Gendarmes were definitely the worst. The Greek people were the friendliest by a mile. Greek road structures are mad as they use marble stone mixed in tar. Bikes were spinning up regularly. Good fun. We were only gone a month but the memories last forever. On the way back my gloves were stolen so we had to share gloves! We shivered and shook the whole way to Holland. Then we decided to ride separatelyhim to see ride the Dutch TT track - me to my girlfriend Leanne in Dublin via Britain - because without her I could not have survived in Theatre or indeed in this world.

Which bike is the best you’ve ever ridden & why was it so good? First bike was a Honda 50, no exhaust, no licence - just about road legal, pure dreamland. At only 15 I’d saved the price of it and once on it I experienced the freedom, escape from myself, the noise, the huge

Do you get to spend much time riding bikes? Not nearly enough as I cycle too to keep a little fit. I’ve always joked to our kids I need a belly to ride a Harley so I’m currently battling that bulge! I’ve a few 400km round trips in Ireland planned. So I might ride a Harley some day...

And the worst? NW200 Antrim - we departed sunny Dublin, a gang of bikers. By the time we arrived in Monaghan water was collecting in places you’d rather keep dry. In Antrim it poured and poured rain. I mean it bucketed down. Tents filled with water. During the night a storm blew in so at 6am still in our damp biking gear we loaded up everything soaking wet and shaking with cold. Some lads just left their tents. The steam coming of the Ducati engine and radiator didn’t stop until we reached El Paso (Dundalk). The sun came out, our gear started to dry. We had great craic all told! What are you most looking forward to this season? Either Rossi taking the title, Dovi winning one for Ducati and Michael Dunlop to win The TT. Skerries too. Biking with my kids on the TW! Ride outs with a few buddies. What the one piece of advice you could give to our readers? None. As soon as I give advice it normally backfires. Keith Code gave a free workshop a few years ago and at it he said - always focus to go one side of a pothole as our caveman instincts are to focus on the danger/pothole and then we drive straight into them on the brakes! Tension goes through your whole body into your lower spine. Focus on the escape. Focus on getting away from danger. He gave examples in MotoGP. Rossi was the best example. No matter what goes on around him he just keeps refocusing on the win. No distraction. What would you most like to see happen to improve motorcycling? Serious points/fines for car drivers who tailgate bikers. Immediate bans in some cases. BMW, Audi and Mercedes male drivers 55 ish! Also there’s some scary bus drivers out there too. Really poor skills. Otherwise keep it lit and keep it steady. Anthony Fox’s new show ‘NORAH’ by Gerard Humphreys and starring a cast of six actors opens April 11th and goes on tour Nationwide see www.thenewtheatre.com for details or call 01-6703361. Thanks to Mary Fox for the picture.

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