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AUSSIE-BUILT CUSTOMS TURBO’D SUBARU TRIKE PROJECT NUTS & BOLTS ROCKIN’ SPYDER

ON THE ROAD  

POWER CRUISERS POLAR EXTREMES

BREAKING COVER

YAMAHA STRYKER  HARLEY-DAVIDSON NIGHT ROD SPECIAL  MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 CUSTOM  HARLEY-DAVIDSON STREET GLIDE  TRIUMPH ROCKET III ROADSTER  HARLEY-DAVIDSON FORTY-EIGHT  VICTORY VEGAS 8-BALL  YAMAHA VMAX

PLUS: A DAY IN THE SADDLE | YORK MOTORCYCLE FESTIVAL | AND STUFF FROM THE SHED

WWW.CRUISERANDTRIKE.COM.AU

NEW BIKES TESTED 2014 (Vol. 6 No.3)

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NOT A STREET BIKE. A BOULEVARD. The All-New SUZUKI BOULEVARD C90T cruiser delivers an unmatched level of performance – and it’s ready to let you choose any road. A liquid-cooled V-Twin engine, the most powerful in its class, built with Suzuki-technology delivers outstanding power and torque specially in low to mid-range. Long-range comfort is enhanced by fully integrated hard saddlebags, windscreen and multi-function instrumentation on the C90T model. This ride is ready to roll. On the road, or the boulevard.

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12 New Bikes & Trikes 12

Power Cruisers Three bikes with enough torque to drag elephants up hills.

26

Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight One of the very finest 1200 Sportsters.

38

Triumph Rocket III Roadster With added grunt in the first three gears.

57

Poster The Softail is 30 years young and still recognisable.

61

Polar Extremes Harley-Davidson’s Street Glide and Night Rod Special.

68

Victory Vegas 8-Ball Victory’s base model packs a lot into a tight package.

26 Ridden 88

Customised 34

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Project Nuts & Bolts We’ve taken Yamaha’s Star Bolt and are making it uniquely ours. Then we’re gonna make it one of yours.

Breaking cover 94

Yamaha Custom Bolts Add the extras before you take delivery and save bucks.

100 Yamaha Stryker Already popular in the USA, now it’s our turn for the Stryker.

AC-DC Spyder One man’s tribute to his favourite band.

106 T-Rex Turbocharged Subaru-powered Phoenix Trike.

Long-Termer: Yamaha XV1900AT We say farewell to the original Luxo Liner.

On the road 46

A Day In The Saddle Blessed are the cheese makers.


74

106 People & Places 90

York Motorcycle Festival East of Perth, just like the other 99.999% of Australia.

96

Shop Talk: Trooper Lu’s Garage Shops that do the right thing deserve praise.

With your help 8

Reader’s Ride A very clean and tidy Triumph America from Tassie.

Technical notes 23

FYI News and products you need to know about.

80

The Shed: Get Round That Corner We took a Dyna Wide Glide and made it corner without grinding.

84

The Shed: Setting The Bars Making the bars and hand controls fit you.

111 Cruiser & Trike Price Guide Do the sums and count the pennies.

Columns 6

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G’day Why Mick loves riding motorbikes to distant places.

114 Sandbag You’re safe as long as he’s moving.


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Editorial

I

f you look at the two pics on this page, you’ll see mates having fun. Taken weeks apart, one shows Tim Sanford and myself having a laugh and clowning about while Heather was trying to be serious and take sensible pics of the Forty-Eight outside Two Sugars Cafe at Erskine Park. The other pic also includes Paul Bailey and was taken by Kristine McDonald at a servo at Lawson as we were preparing to head off on the day ride that became known as Power Cruisers. Each pic is a snapshot of mates having fun and talking about bikes.

We don’t make plans; we have ideas of where we’d like to end each day and the roads we’d like to ride. If we get there, then that was our plan all along. If we don’t get that far, we had a better idea. Our original ideas for Power Cruisers changed as the day progressed. We don’t make plans; we have ideas of where we’d like to end each day and the roads we’d like to ride. If we get there, then that was our plan all along. If we don’t get that far, we had a better idea. Sounds a little bit philosophical but it’s the journey that is the important part. If we don’t get somewhere in particular this time, well, that gives us an excuse to head off in that direction another day. The memories from that big looping day ride will remain sharp in my memory bank. Each of the three bikes had more than enough torque to carry all three of us up the steepest hill, with a bit left over to tow a small car or two. Elsewhere in this issue is a little trip Sandbag and I did to Bega. The bikes we chose may seem completely mismatched, but where does it say you can’t tour on a Night Rod Special? Or extreme cruise on a Street Glide? We prefer to make up our own rules as we amble along from bakery to bakery to feed Sandbag’s meat pie addiction. Mark Hinchliffe took a Victory Vegas 8-Ball out of town for a couple of days

Cruiser & Trike

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because touring on a bike with no luggage-carrying ability makes sense to us. Sandbag had an idea about heading out of town on the Forty-Eight for a week but didn’t. Instead, he rode it up and down mountain ranges and all over the eastern edge of NSW. Notice the common thread? Motorcycles being ridden — in our case, outside of the accepted range. Get out and ride your own cruiser somewhere you’ve never been before. Share the ride with mates and take pics. Lots of pics. Share the memories with your mates. Get onto our Facebook page (CruiserTrike) and share your pics with the rest of the readers who get online. Send them to us and we’ll share them with the remainder who want to stay away from the digital age. The last couple of months have been great and the next couple are looking just as good. It’s an exciting time in the world of cruisers and trikes with all sorts of new models being released. Our testing schedule is pretty full-on but that’s the way we like it. Have fun, Mick Withers


Readers’ Rides

ill Sandford is the proud owner of this exceptionally clean and tidy 2009 Triumph America. “It has Kuryakyn handgrips, Triumph running boards, high-flow shortened exhaust, teardrop mirrors, sissy bar and backrest, Willy and Max toolbag, tacho and a few other bits and pieces including the Willy and Max saddlebags and chrome bits. I’ve had it from new and these photos were taken this year so you can see it’s been well looked after. It gets ridden regularly to work and on long rides too. Thought you could use one of these photos in Reader’s Ride.” Great pics, Bill. Your copy of The HarleyDavidson Motor Co. Archive Collection, a brilliantly photographed book highlighting HD’s own private collection of bikes, is on its way to you down there in Tasmania.

B

This page is reserved for photos os from Cruiser & Trike readers. They ey don’t have to be the greatest picss in history; as long as they’re in focus and relevant, we want to see them. They also need to be your own work, but you already knew that. We have more copies of the book to give away to readers whose pics are chosen for Reader’s Ride. Send high-res images to cruiser@ universalmagazines. com with Reader’s Ride as the subject.C&T Cruiser & Trike

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Editor Mick Withers Contributing Editors Tim Sanford and Paul Bailey Contributors Mark Hinchliffe, Craig Stevenson, Travis Anderson, Philip Stone and Atsushi Sunayama Photographers Heather Ware, Tim Munro, Mark Hinchliffe, Craig Stevenson, Tim Sanford and Frank Reeby Designer Crystal Bernia Sub Editor Michelle Segal Editorial Email cruiser@universalmagazines.com.au Subscription enquiries mailorder@universalmagazines.com.au National Sales and Marketing Manager John Arens, jarens@universalmagazines.com.au (02) 9887 0331 Advertising Manager Jon Van Daal, jvandaal@universalmagazines.com.au 0459 147 592, (02) 9805 0347 US Advertising Representative Stacey Swanson, marketsas@gmail.com Ph 925-292-9470 Advertising Production Ian Cassel Advertising Senior Designer Martha Rubazewicz Publisher Janice Williams

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Circulation enquiries to our Sydney head office (02) 9805 0399. Cruiser & Trike Vol. 6 No. 3 is published by Australian Publishing, Unit 5, 6–8 Byfield Street, North Ryde NSW 2113. Phone: (02) 9805 0399, Fax: (02) 9805 0714. Melbourne office, Suite 4, Level 1, 150 Albert Road, South Melbourne Vic 3205. Phone (03) 9694 6444 Fax: (03) 9699 7890. Printed by KHL Printing Pte Ltd, Singapore, distributed by Network Services, Phone: (02) 9282 8777. This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publishers. The publishers believe all the information supplied in this book to be correct at the time of printing. They are not, however, in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. Prices, addresses and phone numbers were, after investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, up to date at the time of printing, but they may change in some cases. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements which appear in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility must therefore be on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisements for publication. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.

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Power cruisers

Cruiser & Trike

12


Power cruisers

POWER

CRUISERS

WHEN YOU’VE GOT A BIG LOAD TO CARRY, OR JUST WANT MORE TORQUE FOR THE BIG JOBS.

Cruiser & Trike

13


Power cruisers

Words: Paul Bailey, Tim Sanford & Mick Withers Photos: Mick Withers

ow different could three power cruisers be? One is a “mere” 1400cc transverse v-twin, another is a 1680cc longitudinal v-four, and the third is a massive in-line triple of more than two litres, yet each of them does the basic job of motorcycling with massive muscle power very well, so it quickly becomes a discussion about the finer points. In the “go” department, the VMax is a clear winner, shading even the gargantuan Rocket Three with its power output. Although the available power from those two is far more than you would ever need on the road, the control and delivery is smooth and progressive, with outstanding overtaking ability being a feature of all three contestants. It was only when aboard the California Custom that I felt I needed a downshift to make the progress more rapid. Downshifting to overtake on either the VMax or the Rocket Three produces enough thrust for you to contemplate the imminence of intergalactic travel. Don’t read that as a criticism of the Cali; it has more than enough grunt for every situation you can put it in — except when you compare it to the other two. In slow traffic, the fuel metering from the VMax was not as good as it should be and this resulted in jerky progress. It’s the fuel cut-off which is the problem; as you close the throttle, the bike feels like it has hit a brick wall. Fortunately, when you dial

H

the throttle back on, the power delivery is smooth. It’s irritating, but I found I could live with it. Clutch control is excellent from all three, with the good gearboxes of the Rocket and the Cali being about equal, and yes, those ancient riders who remember the dreadful Guzzi gearboxes of old will be astounded at how slick the one in the Cali is. That being said, it’s not as good as the VMax, which revels in the sort of sweet, swift and accurate shifting which is usually the domain of sportsbikes. The only gearbox that missed the occasional shift was the Rocket Three and I suspect the reason for that foible was more the location of the lever rather than the actual gearbox. Stopping is an area which has been taken seriously on all three bikes and they boast very sophisticated brakes. Maximum retardation is smooth and controlled on all three and you will be surprised at how quickly the huge Rocket Three can be brought down from warp speed in complete control without dragging the ABS into play. All three have that feature, by the way. The Cali’s brakes are always sure and progressive, but they start from an almost instant bite: caress the front lever and the bike is stopping. The VMax brakes win for me, with their power and control being completely confidence–inspiring. When our ride took us over some blacktop strewn with lunar craters (we call them “roads” in NSW), there was a mad scramble to get onto the VMax because its suspension was best at insulating our test bodies from the road “irregularities”. It simply did the Cruiser & Trike

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old “glide over the bumps” trick with utter disdain for the terrain. It comes standard with fully adjustable suspension (preload, compression and rebound damping at both ends) and on the standard settings it was a pleasure to ride. Not so the Rocket Three, which required a delving into the tool kit to grab something to increase the rear preload, after which it performed better, but still not in the VMax’s class. As for the Cali Custom, as set up initially it was diabolical. My chiropractor has been rubbing his hands with glee thanks to the work he has had to do on my mangled spine. (Dear Esteemed Editor, can I claim my chiropractor’s fees as expenses? Please?) The problem was quite simple: the front suspension did a reasonable job of smoothing the ride but at the rear, the preload was set way too soft and any large bump became an absolute spine-smasher. This sort of setting is okay if the roads you travel are boulevards and billiard table smooth, but that was not the case out where we were doing our test riding. I dug around in the bike seeking a tool kit, but if there is one fitted, it is extremely well hidden. Back in my workshop (and well after the comparison ride, sadly) I was able to increase the rear preload by adjusting the dual rings at the top of the springs, but for the life of me I couldn’t find a way to get a pump onto the air shocks to increase their pressure. Perhaps Moto Guzzi has a special pump for this purpose, but frankly the whole thing was really excessively difficult. The eventual good news is that after a substantial increase in rear preload,


the Cali was transformed and riding it over poor roads became a joy. So again the VMax came out on top. I said in my test of the Rocket Three that it desperately needed better suspension; now if we could just manage to graft the VMax suspension (fully adjustable) onto the Rocket Three… Feedback to the rider is best on the Cali, with easy-to-read instruments and a layout which makes sense, but you only get the full benefit of its features after you do a full read of the Owner’s Manual. The instruments on the Rocket Three are old school and clear to read but on the VMax, the big dial up on the bars (tacho) has numbers which look blurry thanks to the font styling and the colours used. It’s a small thing but it annoyed me. The digital speedo — a bit small perhaps — was very good. The display on the tank top gave you an analogue display for fuel quantity and engine temp (which never changed) and a digital readout for trip, odometer and fuel reserve distance travelled. The Cali has a cruise control, which I found not too easy to use and a bit jerky in operation. I dispensed with it, even on the freeway. What was fun to use on the Cali was the switchable traction control (mostly I left that alone) and the engine management maps which give you three options via a digital screen. To change between these maps you press the starter button when the engine is running. You can do it when stopped, but I also found it would change the settings up to a speed of around 65km/h. These three maps effectively give you three motorcycles in one: choose Pioggia for rain, Tourismo for touring, or Veloce for sports riding. I found that Tourismo, which gives you full engine power but with a slightly soft throttle response, was ideal for general cruising whereas Veloce, with its very crisp throttle response, was great for the twisties. If you are returning to riding after a long time away from motorcycles, the ability to start your relationship with the Cali with the engine response set on Pioggia would be best because that will make it a very smooth and docile bike to ride and get to know. Later, when you become more familiar, you can make the steps up the ladder through Tourismo and then to Veloce. Conversely, if you are coming from a sportsbike onto the Cali, choose Veloce and enjoy yourself. Sitting at a cafe and checking out the style of these three showed some real contrasts: the presence of the Rocket Three is enormous, almost intimidating,

thanks to its length and size; the VMax has a near-alien look with its huge air intakes straddling the tank and its tall predatory appearance; and the Cali is pure Italian style, with all sorts of little touches which make it look like it has been lovingly crafted by a custom builder with a penchant for exotic and detailed machine work. Check out the handgrips and the levers and you’ll see what I mean. Oh, and did I mention the long black pipes with their “Agostini” signature? I’m not sure about the connection between Moto Guzzi and multiple world champion Agostini, but I am sure that the sound coming from those long black pipes is pure motorcycling music. The riding position of these bikes influences their riding environment. The Cali is the most cruisy, with footboards well placed so that when you come to a stop your feet fall naturally from them to a secure and stable place on the road. The Cali’s footboards are flexibly mounted and they have rubber undersides that let you know when you are approaching the maximum lean angle by a soundless skimming of the tarmac, not a nervewracking scraping of steel. The wide bars add to the relaxed cruising feel. The Rocket Three is more upright, as is the VMax, and that more upright position makes them both better for longer rides, but here the Cali jumps in with an interesting feature: it doesn’t have a screen as such but the shapes of the headlight and the big tacho combine to ensure the airflow around the rider is free from turbulence up to well over

Cruiser & Trike

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Power cruisers

freeway speeds. This means you can cruise at speed on the Cali without earplugs, whereas they are a necessity on the Rocket Three and the VMax, even though the VMax was fitted with quite an effective little screen from the Yamaha parts and accessories range. The VMax is easily the most versatile of the three. Its ability to devour most roads is enhanced by the fact that the fully adjustable suspension can be tailored to suit the conditions, whereas on the other two this is pretty limited. It also gets praise for the fact that its ground clearance is a cut above the others, so it will be the bike of choice if you do a lot of curve carving. The Rocket Three will do corners pretty well but there’s the very real feeling that you are aboard a bike that is not quite happy in that environment, thanks to its length and mass. The Cali was lots of fun to use in the bends (after the suspension was stiffened up) and its wide bars make steering input easy and precise. The lean limit is limited by the footboards and as long as you don’t get caught out with the radius of the corner, you won’t have a problem. The advice “plan ahead for your corners” is sound advice.

HEIGHT AND WEIGHT Mick Tim Paul

183cm & 140kg 180cm & 90kg 178cm & 97kg


Power cruisers

So, you ask, which is the best of these three power cruisers? Of course I won’t answer that directly and you didn’t expect me to. For all-round riding and versatility the VMax comes out a clear winner. It does everything very well and you always feel in complete command of any situation. For pure grunt, presence and motorcycle machismo the Rocket Three is the outstanding winner. For sheer presence, nothing comes near it and as long as your roads are not too terrible it will give you many good rides. For classy cruising in the urban environment nothing touches the California Custom and when you’re sitting sipping coffee and letting your eyes roam over the many amazingly beautiful little custom touches on the bike you will be lapping up the pleasure. My choice? VMax for versatility. But there’s one more tiny detail: cost. Each of these machines will do the jobs outlined above brilliantly, but before you can enjoy them you’ll have to fund the pleasure. Here’s the wallet wallop: The Rocket Three will cost you around $21,490, the Cali Custom retails at around $23,490, and the Yamaha VMax will drain your bank account by $31,299. Hmmm, money puts a different perspective on the choice, doesn’t it? Is the VMax still for me? Is it up to $10,000 better than the other two? In a word, no. For value for money I believe the California Custom comes out on top because it is a lot of fun

to ride and it is also effectively three bikes in one. Now if Yamaha were to bring out the VMax with a similar three-way engine management option, that would make the choice much harder wouldn’t it? The final word is this: if you’re after a cruiser with power to spare, any one of these three will do it for you. — Tim Sanford

PAUL’S OPINION Recently I had the opportunity be involved in a comparison test of the Triumph Rocket III, the Moto Guzzi California 1400 and the Yamaha VMax. The goal of the test was to cover some of the best and worst roads out of Sydney that could be covered in a day of riding, around 700km with lunch stops, coffee stops and fuel stops. The route taken was from western Sydney over the mountains via Katoomba to Cowra, then south towards Yass, returning to Sydney via the Hume Freeway and some of the old sections of the Hume Highway. The idea was to swap bikes regularly and try to ride each bike over all the types of terrain we would encounter on this route. The day was hot, the traffic was light and we were on three Power Cruisers of significant engine size and power, with very different ways of delivering this power and three similar styles of bike regarding riding position and seating position. There are other bikes out there that fit into this criteria, but these were the three Cruiser & Trike

16

for this test. I’m going to go through each bike individually first and then give some opinions after on each as I see them.

TRIUMPH ROCKET III ROADSTER This is easily the biggest motorcycle out of the three with regard to sheer mass and engine capacity. It is LARGE. Surprisingly, it is easy enough to get off the side stand and it rides reasonably well considering the weight factor of the bike. The engine is strong, with so much torque and easy low-end power delivery that it is hard to fault the engine in any way. It was not overly hot on the legs or body, even for the 40°+ temps we were riding in. The throttle is a concern, though, at very small throttle openings, about 1/8th throttle and low RPM, around 1500 to 2000. The ECU doesn’t seem to be able to decide what is happening at this point. I had the sensation of the throttle closing shut rapidly or the ignition turning off at this small throttle opening and low revs; it does it quite abruptly while you are running along in traffic and was a discomfort to me. It made it difficult to ride the bike smoothly at low speed. Yes, I could have gone to a lower gear, but then there seemed to be too many revs and when closed shut, the throttle made the bike decelerate too quickly. Apart from this, the throttle response was great. I’m just under 6ft tall, but I found the


bike to be a bit too large for me. The reach to the bars, even after pulling them back some 4in, was too great. The levers are also too far away from the bars; even on the closest setting I felt I was having to reach out to them. I’m an XL in glove size so it wasn’t due to small hands — it just wasn’t natural enough. The seat is comfortable, broad and offers good support, the rider pegs are positioned well and offer good comfort and support. The handlebar grips, however, are ridiculously large in diameter. They’re made of a non-flexible rubber and offer no grip or vibration absorption at all. In fact, they made for hard work later in the ride. I found my hands cramping from having to hang on so tight. You can’t rely on a nice grippy rubber to give you some help in this — the grips are just too hard and too large in diameter. The bike’s fuel consumption was acceptable. Ride it smooth and it gives good consumption; ride it hard and rev it and the consumption dropped accordingly. It was comparable with the other bikes on

lighter throttle use. The suspension is another area of concern. There is no getting away from the fact that the rear suspension is totally underpar for this type of motorcycle. Anything other than a small bump in the road surface caused the rear suspension to bottom out and drive the rear tyre up through your spine. The shocks are short travel and the sheer mass of the rear wheel and associated drive shaft and brakes make for a very heavy wheel combination. This equates to massive unsprung weight, which then equates to this mass forcing itself through the suspension stroke way too quickly on larger bumps. The result is a back-jarring, spine-tingling, uncomfortable ride. The preload was set to maximum but did very little to stop the unsprung weight of the wheel doing damage to the rider. It needs longer travel shocks and better compression dampening to try to control this issue. Yes, I know it takes away from the styling of the bike, but if you’re going to ride it on country roads in this state, you need

Quickspecs Model: Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom Price: $23,495 (ride away) Engine: Air/oil cooled 90º V-twin, 4 valves per cylinder, SOHC, twinspark, 3-stage traction control, 3-mode engine mapping Bore x stroke: 104 x 81.2mm Displacement: 1380cc Compression: 10.5:1 Power: 71kW @ 6500rpm Torque: 120Nm @ 2750rpm Transmission: 6-speed, single-plate clutch, shaft final drive Suspension: F: 46mm telescopic fork, 120mm travel. R: twin-shock,

adjustable preload, 110mm travel Brakes: Brembo & ABS. F: 320mm rotors with 4-piston calipers. R: 282mm rotor with 2-piston caliper Tyres: Dunlop D251. F: 130/70R18. R: 200/60R16 Frame: Steel double cradle Seat height: 720mm Wheelbase: 1685mm Length: 2445mm Weight: 318kg (wet) Fuel capacity: 20.5L Warranty: 2 years, unlimited distance Servicing intervals: 10,000km or 12 months

Cruiser & Trike

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Power cruisers

much better shocks. The front suspension is adequate, but again when pushed through corners the mass of the wheel works against the bike, causing the front to skip over bumps in a bend rather than following the road surface. This is not ideal.

MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 CUSTOM This bike has some unique styling for an Italian brand. It’s definitely a cruiser, with its footboards and high, wide bars and low seat height. The engine is strong, with good mid-range power and a good, strong topend as well. It did need to be encouraged a bit more when going to overtake traffic; I found it wiser to knock it down a gear and use the higher rpm for this sort of stuff. The engine is smooth, though, for a biggercapacity twin. Throttle response, as mentioned with the Rocket III, was good, but I did still find some issues with small throttle openings and deceleration. The bike tended to shut down too quickly and this made it difficult for the slow riding with small throttle openings. The reach to the bars was good; with a low seat height and relatively high bars it worked well and long stints in the saddle were fine. The footboards aided this, with the flexibility to move your feet around and still be supported comfortably. But this bike had some sort of accessory hand grip fitted, not the same as our test bike back in C&T 5.4. They were rubber. These were billet alloy with some sort of twisted design and style. They offered no real grip because of the lack of rubber, and were also too large in diameter to be comfortable. Out on the country roads, with no wind protection and poor handgrip, it made for hard work. Not nice. Fuel consumption was good for this


Power cruisers

motorcycle. Even on harder throttle use it gave good figures. The dash layout is what you would expect from the Italian marque — quality all the way. Suspension on this motorcycle also suffered from the country roads and larger bumps. The rear suspension is too short and too under-sprung for this type of riding. The mass of the wide rear wheel again worked against the bike, just like with the Rocket III. With my 95kg it didn’t cope — pity a rider of 140kg riding this bike any real distance. There was some preload adjustment left and it was probably set for an 85kg rider, as all the manufacturers do from the factory, but with only 110mm of travel it runs out very quickly on the bigger bumps and smashes your spine on potholes. The front suspension worked well and offered good feel all the time. Again, the styling factor of this model has been put before the comfort of the rider. The seat was quite comfortable and offered good support for the longer stints. The interesting thing with the Moto Guzzi was that it offered a much higher level of standard specs compared to the others. Brembo calipers, lighter-weight alloy wheels with a unique spoke pattern, ABS and mapping functions, and the rear shocks were adjustable by lock rings, not

the typical five-notch cam you see on most bikes. Nice and typical Italian touches.

YAMAHA VMAX Power cruiser, hmm. This doesn’t quite sum up the bike very well. It’s not just a power cruiser; it’s a monster, balls and all, super-quick from the land of the rising sun. This thing is seriously, seriously FAST! Yamaha first had this design back in the ’80s as a 1200cc monster that had more horsepower than any other bike in production. It fried tyres all day long and was a sensation. We never saw the original for sale in Australia — why I don’t know, but what a waste. Yamaha completely redesigned the VMax and brought it up to more modern specs — bigger engine at 1670cc, bigger wheels, bigger everything in fact. But when it has 200 horsepower and low gearing, who cares how much it has beefed up from the original? The engine is a V-4 design. It offers more rpm than the other two bikes on test, has way more horsepower than the other two and is so compliant to ride at any speed it is hard to fault the engine. I would liken the power delivery to that of a Chrysler Viper V10 — absolutely breathtaking in its sheer acceleration. A true sports bike may have the edge with the power-to-weight ratio, but with the VMax’s low gearing it is truly something Cruiser & Trike

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to ride at full throttle off a set of lights or out on the open road when you come up behind a five-trailer road train. By the time the truckie realised you were there, you’d be 5k’s down the road. Nothing is a problem to pass in top gear; knock it down a gear of two and prepare for “ludicrous speed”, as they say in Spaceballs. AWESOME! The throttle response at any speed and any throttle opening was perfect — no hint of the issues as with the other two bikes. Seating is very good, with a deep low seat with plenty of lower back support to hold you in when you open up the throttle. The seat-to-foot peg relationship is also right there on the money, very comfortable and relaxed. Fuel economy when cruising is good and comparable to the others, but open up the throttle and it takes very big gulps of premium unleaded. For me, I would live with that, it’s part of what the VMax is. Suspension on the VMax is good — no short shocks on the rear but a mono shock that offered good travel and control of the rear wheel over all road conditions. The front suspension was also good; it offered control and stability through bends at speed and never misbehaved. The brakes on the VMax are also first rate, offering good feel and power, which you need if you go into Ludicrous Speed and need to stop just as quick. The dash layout is split between the traditional top yoke position and a digital display on the tank/airbox. The important stuff is in your line of sight and is good. The information on the tank display can be a bit awkward to see and read at times; forget about putting a tank bag on. Everything else on the VMax felt natural and easy to use. The handgrips were of normal diameter and made of a soft compliant rubber that made for a loose and relaxed handgrip on the bars. The levers were also easy to use and adjustable. Now I have been a bit negative about some of the bikes in certain areas, but as I have said before, I’m here to be truthful and fair in my evaluations so that you, the customer and reader of this fine magazine, can get a true and honest report from us. That said, all the bikes are nice bikes to ride in standard trim, and all have a place where they are most comfortable on the roads of our country. It really is horses for courses as they say. We looked at these bikes as Power Cruisers; that was the brief. We tested their capability in some very different environments and we have reported on them and their ability and faults. Take away from this what you want;


Power cruisers

I’m sure there are many of you who would automatically change the shocks on your bike anyway, and the same goes for grips, bars and seats. Ride any of these bikes around town or to the local cafe and they will perform perfectly. It is just when you take them out of their comfort zone that you find fault, but this is what we are meant to do for you, the reader. We all have our tastes and we change bikes to suit ourselves and our style of life and riding. These bikes were supplied to use in a certain state of build and tune and I have done my bit and reported back to you with my results. For me, the motorcycle of choice is the Yamaha VMax. It wins by a country mile over the Moto Guzzi California, with the Triumph Rocket III close on the heels of the Guzzi. You just can’t ignore the VMax for its power, comfort and ride ability in all conditions. Now, at $32,000, almost $10,000 more than the other two, is it value for money? I don’t think so. Will it hold its value over time? Yes, I think it will. It’s a model that has defied the years of change, is still loyal to its original design, and will be very hard to beat in the horsepower stakes. Does Yamaha need to sell it cheaper? Yes, at least get it down to a V-Rod price as that is probably its nearest rival. — Paul Bailey

MICK’S OPINION There is no greater justification for our three-way Power Cruiser comparo than roaring up a hill and passing everything. The surge of power at the other end of the throttle cables of any of these three bikes is something everybody needs to experience. Addictive? Yep, and I shall not utter a single word of apology for that. Cruising along at the speed limit is fine, but there are times when extra thrust is

Quickspecs

Model: Triumph Rocket III Roadster Price: $21,490 (ride away) Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline three cylinder, 4-stroke, 4-valves per cylinder Bore x stroke: 101.6 x 94.3mm Displacement: 2294cc Compression: 8.7:1 Power: 109kW @ 5750rpm Torque: 221Nm @ 2750rpm Transmission: 5-speed, wet multiplate clutch, shaft final drive Suspension: F: 43mm telescopic fork, 120mm travel. R: Twin coil-over shocks, 105mm travel Brakes: F: Dual 320mm rotors with

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needed and these three all provide more than enough of that to push even the largest rider up the steepest hill.

MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 CUSTOM As this was parked in my shed, it was my first ride for the day and we stayed together over the hills and far away to Blayney. Climbing Lapstone Hill at the 80km/h speed limit in sixth gear was the first big challenge that the 1400 passed.

Nissin 4-piston calipers. R: Single 316mm rotor with Brembo 2-piston caliper Tyres: F: 150/80-17. R: 240/50 R16 Frame: Tubular steel, twin spine Seat height: 750mm Wheelbase: 1695mm Length: 2500mm Weight: 367kg (wet) Fuel capacity: 24L Warranty: 2 years, unlimited distance Servicing intervals: 10,000km or 12 months


Power cruisers

The road might as well have been flat. With the Turismo map selected, the throttle response was progressive, with no real spikes in delivery — just a smooth, linear flow of torque and flexibility. The other two maps — Veloce and Pioggia — offer speed or rain settings respectively. Overall peak power is the same in all three maps and the difference is the way it is delivered. There is also traction control but without a handbook to refer to, we left the map and traction control wherever they were set. A couple of sections of rough road were deliberately ridden over while I was trying to work out why the rear suspension felt harsh. When we stopped for fuel in Blayney, I mentioned this to Paul and he pointed out that from his vantage point behind me, he could see that the 1400’s rear shocks were about 20mm from bottomed out with me aboard. So the harshness I could feel was actually the rear shocks riding on the bump stop rubbers. Without the required tools to raise the ride height, we left it alone for the rest of the day. Cruising the 100km/h speed limit of our state highways, the Moto Guzzi’s tacho reads 3000rpm and is right at that happy spot where a touch of throttle is enough to take you to the lock-you-up zone. It’d happen as

more of a progression than an instant jump. Fifth gear will give it much more urgency. The correct map choice would make a difference, but we didn’t try that. The dimensions of the Cali 1400 Custom fitted me very well and even though the rear shocks hated me, I could have sat in that seat all day. Under each of the footboards you’ll find a block that touches down when extreme cruising — not all the time, but occasionally to let you know that you’re having a go. My only gripes centred around my hands. The handgrips look pretty cool but the aluminium was tiring to hang on to and I’d prefer a full rubber grip. They were part of a package of genuine Moto Guzzi bling bits that included a set of hand levers and various other bits and bobs. All very nice to look at and beautifully made — even the brake and clutch levers felt like I was squeezing a pencil. A very hard-edged pencil. The Agostini-branded mufflers almost made up for that with the musical booming they provided. So that’s all I found to whinge about: a pair of shock absorbers, handgrips and levers! To be fair, I rode this bike a few days later after Sandbag had raised the rear ride height and it was a much better ride. He

also worked out how to change the map and set it on Pioggia. He told me it was the most aggressive map. I was disappointed in the result of that change but have only just found out why. Deliberate? Possible. We’re a bit like that.

YAMAHA VMAX Since the release of the 1670cc VMax in 2009, I’ve been lucky enough to find an excuse every year to borrow one from Yamaha. If the finances were in a better state as the result of a major financial windfall, I’d buy one tomorrow. Actually, the shops are still open so it’d be today. Yes, I really like the VMax. By now you’re thinking that I’d already made up my mind before we’d even set off on our Power Cruise. Well, you’d be wrong. The VMax started the day carrying Sandbag and I didn’t get on it until our first changeover at Cowra. After the wide-open seating position of the Cali 1400, the VMax felt small when I first sat on it. My feet were back on footpegs and everything felt funny with the world. After the first couple of corners out of the 80km/h speed-limited Boorowa Road, I felt at home again. Almost. After the extreme flexibility of the Cali 1400’s throttle, the VMax felt twitchy at very low throttle openings. At first it annoyed me but by the time we swapped bikes again at Boorowa, I’d gotten used to it. It felt as though the VMax was constantly ready to accelerate but being held back by a poofteenth of a turn of the throttle. Very much like any of the current crop of litre superbikes. To me, they feel the same and small throttle movements can make a big change to your licence situation. The sheer joy of sitting up and accelerating out and around a line of cars VMax-style is a memory to treasure. Two clicks down and full throttle as you pull out and pass is unforgettable. Restraint is required or your licence will be, at best, temporary. There is much more to the VMax than brutal acceleration. At the posted limit, it is a comfortable cruiser. Having put in a big day of riding on one before, I know you can sit on it for a fair while. Out of these three bikes, it would be my first choice for duty as a daily commuter. It is certainly the most nimble. I only rode it from Cowra to Boorowa because of how much I’d ridden one before.

TRIUMPH ROCKET III ROADSTER Apart from a couple of round-the-block test rides when I was last on the spanners, I’m pretty sure I hadn’t sat on a Rocket III since testing one shortly after they came out. Cruiser & Trike

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Power cruisers Physically, this has to be the largest non-faired bike I’ve ridden. I’d forgotten just how big they are. Yeah, it’s big and it’s heavy, but once you’re off and moving, it

lightens up. Sounds weird but this bike is much easier to manoeuvre on the clutch and throttle than by pushing. The steering lock is short and that gives a wider turning

circle than many of the cruisers we’ve tested. Be prepared to put your feet down while doing a U-turn. Out of town and away from the 50km/h speed limits, the Roadster made much more sense. The seating position was again wide and open. And comfortable. My size 12s were happily planted on footboards that allowed room for movement. When the road got twisty on the way out to the Hume Freeway, or whatever they’re calling it this year, I found the Roadster needed more guidance in the form of firmer pressure on the bars to turn into a corner and then to hold it there. The Roadster definitely wanted to stay up and heading straight. Later we rode up the old Hume Highway over the Cullerin Range via Breadalbane and Gunning. The lessthan-perfect surface of the old road really showed that the Roadster’s rear suspension could do with a re-work; my spine copped a workout on a few of the unavoidable bumps. On the freeway it was fine, but on the old road… Out on the freeway at a constant speed, the Roadster’s fat handgrips and heavy throttle combined to cause aches in my fingers and hand. A Kaoko throttle control or one of those slip-on units would make a huge difference. For me, this spoiled what was otherwise a very pleasant bike to ride.

AND IN CONCLUSION…

The Triangle Seat to bars: Bars to pegs: Pegs to seat:

Quickspecs

Moto Guzzi 900mm 775mm 845mm

Model: Yamaha VMax Price: $31,299 (ride away) Engine: Liquid-cooled, V4, 65º V-twin, 4-stroke, 4-valves per cylinder Bore x stroke: 90 x 66mm Displacement: 1679cc Compression: 11.3:1 Power: 147.2kW @ 9000rpm Torque: 166.8Nm @ 6500rpm Transmission: 5-speed, wet multiplate clutch, shaft final drive Suspension: F: 52mm telescopic forks. R: Monocross single shock absorber

Yamaha 865mm 860mm 610mm

Triumph 860mm 750mm 740mm

Brakes: ABS F: Dual 320mm rotors with 6-piston calipers. R: 298mm rotor with single-piston caliper Tyres: F: 120/70 R18. R: 200/50 R18 Frame: Twin-spar aluminium Seat height: 775mm Wheelbase: 1700mm Length: 2400mm Weight: 310kg (wet) Fuel capacity: 15L Warranty: 2 years, unlimited distance Servicing intervals: 10,000km or 12 months

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All three of these bikes are exceptionally good motorcycles, but from the day I took over as editor it has been house policy for all road testers to make decisions, especially in a comparo like this. Taking into account the fact that my decision was based purely on these three bikes on this day, I have to say that the VMax would have been the winner, but the price difference got me thinking and I asked myself the question, “Is it up to 10 grand better?” On the basis of the price tags of the bikes I rode, I have to pick the Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom as the best value for money of the Power Cruisers we tested. There wasn’t much between it and the Triumph Rocket III Roadster, and the flaws I found with either of them could be easily rectified. Overall, I found the Cali 1400 an easier bike to ride and much less tiring. BUT… my riding life revolves around so many different needs and desires. I clock up many miles, with everything from quarter-mile hops to interstate trips as a part of my normal riding. Forget the price tag and my choice is the Yamaha VMax. C&T


Bolt On Custom

Precision Stitching All Mustang seats are individually handcrafted at our historic New England facility, right down to the smallest stitch. Speaking of stitching, you can now customize your Bolt seat with contrasting thread colors, tuck and roll or diamond stitch patterns along with multiple insert colors. Tech@MustangSeats.com for discounted shipping rates


FYI

ORDER THE NEW TODAY cruiserandtrike.com.au It’s still broken. The coolkids are trying to work out how to build a dinosaur-proof website with just one button. Hopefully in the near future, before the leaves start re-appearing on the trees, you’ll be able to log on to cruiserandtrike.com.au and see fresh stuff that we’ve uploaded.

ONLY $25 TEES COME IN BLACK OR WHITE AND SIZES S-3XL

Call 1300 303 414 or visit www.universalshop.com.au to order one today!

CRUISER & TRIKE T-SHIRTS Our T-shirts have lobbed and we’re more than a little bit pleased with them. They’re $25 and available in sizes from S to XXXL. Your colour choices are black or white. That’s better than Henry Ford was offering.

facebook.com/CruiserTrike In the meantime, here’s one we haven’t broken. We’ve been having a bit of fun with this and invite everyone to stick their head in the door to see what we’re up to. It’s a bit like this joint: There’s not much that we take seriously. We want more interaction with the rest of you. Facebook gives us a chance to do that.

VICTORY GUNNER

AUSSIE HARDARSE ASSOCIATION Can you handle riding 1600km in 24 hours? We’re launching an allAustralian association for Aussie Hardarses. Specific details are still being nutted out as we go to print with this issue, but keep an eye on our Facebook pages — CruiserTrike or AussieHardarseAssociation — and we’ll share the finer points. In a nutshell: You’ll need to provide proof of your starting point and time, take pics along the way and post them to our Facebook wall, and then we’ll need an ending point and proof. Everyone has a mobile phone with a camera these days and MAGAZINE you’ll have to use it to prove that you’ve been where you say you have been. Not going to go into all of the fiddly bits now but start 1600KM IN 24HRS AUSSIE HARDARSE getting your bike or trike ready for a long day’s ride. ASSOCIATION

The Victory Gunner features bobber styling that delivers street cred with an unmatched combination of performance and looks. Features for the Victory Gunner include: Factory suede titanium metallic and black 2-tone paint; 106 cubic inch Freedom V-Twin offering 110ft/lb of torque; 24-spoke cast-aluminium wheels; low seat height and relaxed ergonomics as well as a huge range of customisation options.

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FYI

2014.5 HARLEY-DAVIDSONS

DEBBONAIR MOTORCYCLE AIR PAD

You may or may not have already seen these three new models, but we wanted an excuse to run the pics. The original Low Rider set a styling benchmark when it was introduced in 1977, and HarleyDavidson designers went back to that milestone motorcycle for inspiration in creating a new Low Rider with a look that’s timeless and authentic. The Street Bob Special retains the stripped-down presence of a Big Twin, features forward controls and dragbars, which replace the stock mini-apehanger bars. A chopped rear fender, Fat Bob fuel tank, split five-spoke cast-aluminium wheels, finished in black with contrast cut highlights, along with a Badlander two-up saddle to replace the stock solo seat. Boasting a nimble chassis and power delivered from the brand’s Evolution® 1200 V-Twin engine, the SuperLow 1200T weighs in at almost 53.5kg less than the lightest Harley-Davidson Big Twin touring motorcycles to offer riders versatile performance and functionality. Equipped with essential touring features such as a detachable windshield, mini-footboards, locking saddlebags and new adjustable suspension package, the SuperLow 1200T boasts the benefits of a tour-ready motorcycle which includes new seat and control ergonomics, specifically calibrated to give riders more long-distance comfort.

We’re waiting for one of these to arrive in the mail and next issue we’ll tell you how effective it is at stopping numb bum. A layer of interconnecting air cells allows a rider to move around and reduce pressure points. That can be the difference between a comfortable day in the saddle or a day you’d rather forget. Manufactured from polyurethane, DebbonAir air pads are joined by high-frequency welding and are completely free of adhesives. DebbonAir air pads are imported by Zen Motorcycle Gear. They’re just $117.30 delivered anywhere in Australia. For more details, go to zenmotorcyclegear.com.au or phone Marx on 0408 085 438.

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FYI

ANDY STRAPZ TOOL ROLLZ Over the years, Andy has had requests for tool rolls but resisted making them because they would be problematic. People would want a bigger pouch for a large, left-handed screwdriver or a special shaped slot for a small roundtuit. It wouldn’t suit some people. “I’ve always made a tool roll as I needed one, grabbing a bit of scrap canvas and quickly knocking up something,” he explained. “I needed a new one for my last trip out to Never Never and put a little more time and thought into it. As it turned out, I was pretty happy with the results. I wanted a roll with flexibility, a pocket for bits and pieces and a small work surface. It had to be compact; travelling with 125kg of tools is not a smart idea. “In the end it made sense just to release it to those who might like it, accepting that it wouldn’t suit some. It’s constructed of tough Aussie canvas to the high standard that you’d expect from us. They’re in stock and ready to go.” Price is $45 each plus postage. Only available from 16F New St, Frankston 3199. You can phone (03) 9770 2207 or email info@ andystrapz. Check the website for other stuff: andystrapz.com

BAGSTER TANK COVERS AND DRIVER BAG These are great things for a heap of different reasons but the main points are that the Bagster tank covers protect your tank and offer a place to attach a variety of different styles of luggage. The newest option is the Driver bag that features a storage space for your touch-screen tablet. Made from heavy-duty nylon, it is both lightweight and strong. With a 15- to 25-litre expandable capacity there is plenty of room to carry the essentials. For use off the bike, the Driver can be used as a backpack with its included padded straps. Driver bags are available in a variety of colour options with an RRP of $179. We’re going to fit a Bagster tank cover and tank bag to Project Nuts & Bolts. Watch this space for pics. Model-specific to perfectly match your bike, Bagster tank covers are sold separately. Check out ctaaustralia.com.au for more info.

SYKO PATRIOT HELMET Got a Southern Cross tattoo? Then the Syko Patriot is the full-face helmet for you: it has ightweight and hard-wearing Polylite shell construction with three vents for max airflow. A built-in breath deflector helps you keep your cool and a pair of D-rings makes the chin strap an easy option. All of this with AS/NZS1698 approval and an RRP of $199. Sizes? S to XXL. If that’s all a bit bright for you, the Syko is also available as the Nightrider in satin black.

DRAGGIN CLASSIC JEANS Draggin Jeans is proud to be the first licensee to use the DuPont™ Kevlar® Preferred Licensee logos in the motorcycle jeans category. This is a big deal for Draggin, motorcyclists and the wider motorcycling community. In a statement that hit our inbox, Grant Mackintosh said, “At Draggin we are concerned with the safety of motorcyclists and that is why we are proud to become an official licensee of DuPont™ Kevlar® fibre for our motorcycle jeans. For many years, Draggin has worked on producing the highest safety for motor bikers and its products have been tested through certified methods to be fit for purpose. Draggin has always rigorously tested its products to ensure safety. “Today we unveiled that Draggin’s Classic jeans are lined with DuPont™ Kevlar® fibre. For me this license is an important part of Draggin’s technical development so I am excited about the steps forward we will make with the relationship with DuPont™.”

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New Bike Test

HARLEY-DAVIDSON

FORTY-EIGHT

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New Bike Test

THE XL1200X IS A SPORTSTER THAT TOOK SANDBAG BACK TO HIS YOUTH. COULD THIS BE THE MAGICAL ELIXIR OF LIFE? OR JUST A DAMN FINE MOTORCYCLE? Cruiser & Trike

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New Bike Test

Words: Tim Sanford Photos: Heather Ware

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New Bike Test

Words: Tim Sanford Photos: Heather Ware

f your idea of bliss is based on being carried from place to place on some sort of turbine-powered super-smooth set of wheels, forget the Harley 48. Everything about this motorcycle lets you know that a big twin-cylinder engine is the powerplant that is doing the work. The feel of the machine emphasises the engine, as does the appearance: from the side the V-twin layout dominates the view and from the rider’s seat, when you look down the tiny fuel tank, it does very little to obscure the view of the top of the engine. But it’s in the riding that the characteristics really shine because at no time could you be unaware of what’s thundering away down below. This is a motorcycle that was designed as a town bike and it fills the design requirements very well. Indeed, you could argue that the size of the fuel tank — less than eight litres — limits the use of the bike to around town. I didn’t bother with

I

fuel consumption figures for this bike because there is no point; it demands that you keep a close eye on the imminent blinking of the little yellow “on reserve” light and you keep up your knowledge of the location of the servos in your riding area. That said, you can also brag to your mates that, even with fuel at the prices we are enduring presently, you can top it up from reserve for less than 10 bucks. Try that with your big interstate cruiser! The styling of the 48 is eye-catching and the most novel feature, the underslung mirrors, add a unique touch because at first glance you think they’ve been left off. Using them takes a tiny bit of getting used to but after riding the bike for a couple of days, glancing down and getting the view from below, which included my knees instead of my elbows, it all became second nature. As delivered, the mirrors needed a bit of adjustment to give their best but once adjusted, they gave a good view of both following traffic and also traffic on your rear quarters. I liked them.

The powerplant is the proven 1200cc Sportster Engine and it is carried in massive rubber mounts to isolate the pulsing vibrations from the frame. To ensure the big V-twin doesn’t leap out and go galloping down the road on its own, there are several small but effective lateral mounts. Despite all of that, you never miss out on the feel of the engine. Power gets to the rear wheel via a five-speed box that has a massive and strong appeal to it. Every gearchange telegraphs its engagement with a very solid clunk, but every change is also a certainty. The rear wheel receives the power thanks to a belt drive and that takes care of any minor misalignment as well as absorbing some of the power pulses. The clutch is not superlight but its engagement, although very rapid, is perfectly controllable. I liked the way the bike gets underway the minute your fingers think about easing out the clutch. The setup of seat, footpegs and bars is interesting because the low and almost flat bars encourage a lean-forward riding

Quickspecs Model: Harley-Davidson FortyEight XL1200X Price: $18,995 (ride away) Engine: Air-cooled, four-cam, 45º V-twin, 4-stroke, 2-valves per cylinder Bore x stroke: 88.9 x 96.8mm Displacement: 1202cc or 74ci Compression: 10:1 Power: N/A Torque: 96Nm @ 3500rpm Transmission: 5-speed, wet multiplate clutch, belt final drive Suspension: F: 39mm telescopic forks. R: Twin coilover shocks, preload adjustable

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Brakes: ABS F: Single rotor with 4-piston caliper. R: Single rotor with 2-piston caliper Tyres: F: 130/90B16. R: 150/80B16 Frame: Tubular cradle Seat Height: 710mm Wheelbase: 1520mm Length: 2255mm Weight: 255kg (dry) Fuel capacity: 7.9L Warranty: 2 years, unlimited distance Servicing intervals: 8000km or 12 months


New Bike Test

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New Bike Test

position, notwithstanding the fact that there are forward controls in typical cruiser style. My lanky 185cm frame found the position comfortable with a slight reach forward. Other riders with less gorilla-like arms will find a definite forward lean. It’s a good riding position and makes you feel very much in control and connected to what’s going on with the bike. The seat’s comfort factor is not really an issue because with the very limited fuel range, you’re going to be stopping for fuel well before your most sensitive anatomical bits start to complain. The suspension is good up front and coped well with the sort of roads this bike is likely to see. I found the rear a bit too hard initially, but reducing the preload to one notch above softest gave me a good ride and it’s easy to do with a c-spanner. My scales display a touch over 92kg for me in riding gear so you can make your own judgement based on that. Behind the rider there is a pillion pad; it’s not very wide and it seems to have a very slight slope rearward. I think it will find

occasional use, but only by people who are really enthusiastic about either going for a ride with you or being seen on the 48 with you. (The seat fitted to this 48 was an option from the extensive Harley-Davidson 2014 Parts & Accessories Catalogue. Standard is a low, slimline solo seat — MW). The rubber bits are Metzeler Marathons and they are carried on wide spoked wheels. At 130/90 up front and 150/80 at the rear they don’t subscribe to the current thinking, which says the rear tyre must be as wide as possible and the front must be ditto skinny. They add very much to the bike’s strong and solid image but more importantly, they give you a lot of rubber on the road. The close parity in sizing also means that when you tip the 48 into a corner there is no weird transition zone as the tyres try to sort out their size differences. For me, that’s a good thing. From any angle the 48 is all engine and fat wheels. The minimalist styling makes this bike shout raw muscle and although Harley makes more powerful motorcycles, Cruiser & Trike

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GRINS

Ride me. NOW!!

GRIPES

You can run out of fuel because you’re having too much fun.

not too many look as tough and strong nor as powerful and capable as the 48. Sportsters have had the same basic look forever and this one is no different, so on that point alone it will make friends of many riders. Sportsters have also been favourites with customisers and the way this bike looks, with its tank perched up there on the top of the frame rails, gives the impression that you’ve done all of the work yourself to give the bike its good looks. The factory actually got in there first but no one needs to know that, do they? The braking department is by single rotors at both ends, with twin-piston caliper up front and single at the rear.


New Bike Test

BOYMAKER Remember the first bike you owned? Remember how any excuse would do to get out and ride it? Well the 48 is just that kind of motorcycle. Harley’s design brief was evidently to make a bike that would be a magnet for the younger, more fashion-conscious rider, but for my money, just getting on this bike transports you back to those great days when you’d just go out on the bike for a ride. The fact that the bike is simple, light and very rapid in its responses has something to do with it, but none of that measurable stuff tells the real story, which is all about enthusiasm.

I know that in this day and age, when political correctness is aggressively promoted, it’s frowned on to say that something encourages the hoon in us, but in many respects that’s what the bare bones of motorcycles has always been about. Sitting at the lights on the 48 has you thinking, “When that thing turns green I’m gonna give it the berries, lose the clutch and hang on.” The result is an instantly disappearing Harley as the rest of the traffic sloths away from the intersection. I guess the 48 gives you two simple home truths: if you want to look younger, get a face lift; if you want to feel younger, get a 48.

They are powerful and two fingers on the front will see you stopping fast with total control from any speed you want to get to. Like every other model in the 2014 Harley range, the 48 is also ABS-equipped. The headlight attracted lots of favourable comments and it lives up to the praise, throwing a good long spear of light on high beam and a wide spread on low. So what’s it like to ride? Lots of fun is the short answer to that one! I loved the way it got away and romped up through the gears with clean shifts and a constant forward thrust. At cruising speeds the engine let me know that anything under 100 kays an hour was fourth-gear Cruiser & Trike

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territory and over that it wanted fifth. Notch fifth below 100 and there are all sorts of interesting noises coming up from the engine room and, because there isn’t much width of a fuel tank to muffle them, you get the complete picture that the engine is not as happy as it wants to be. Over 100 and on the freeway, fifth is a great gear that allows the bike to roll along smoothly. There is an interesting throttle response: when you wind open the throttle the initial response is instant, but then it seems to trail off and you think that not much is happening — until you glance down at the speedo and notice you are travelling at a speed

which is very much in the State Revenue Enhancement Zone. Avoid that; keep a close eye on the speedo dial! Through bends the bike has good ground clearance and the first things to skim when you are quite a good way over are the rubber ends of the footpegs. Don’t push it too far on the right, however, because a couple more degrees of lean will see the lower muffler scrape and it is solidly mounted. During my test, the pegs touched quite often in the bends but it was easy to keep the speed in check to keep the pipe from touching. The bike’s handling is very predictable and confidence-inspiring and the term Cruiser & Trike

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“chuckable” comes to mind. It is nimble at high and low speeds and the low seat height makes it easy to move around in the parking lot. It’s the sort of bike you’ll enjoy riding round town and when you get it out of the urban environment it will hold its own on bendy roads. Just make sure you don’t stray too far from the servos. The 48 is a bike you’ll love to use to decorate your favourite coffee shop, but as you’re sitting there the bike will be saying to you, “Hey, come on, finish the coffee and let’s go for a ride” — and that sort of impatience is very easy to live with. On the 48 things happen fast and that’ll put a big smile on your face. C&T


PROJECT NUTS & BOLTS

PROJECT NUTS & BOLTS

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PROJECT NUTS & BOLTS

THE BIG PUBLIC REVEAL HAS HAPPENED AND WE’RE HAPPY WITH WHERE WE’RE UP TO WITH PROJECT NUTS & BOLTS. WHEN WE FINISH MODIFYING AND ALTERING, WE’RE GONNA GIVE IT AWAY TO ONE LUCKY SUBSCRIBER.

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PROJECT NUTS & BOLTS

WIN PROJECT NUTS & BOLTS f you walked through the Yamaha display at Moto Expo at the RNA Showground in Brisbane, you’d have seen Project Nuts & Bolts in living black, blue and chrome. What you saw was the stage-one version. The stack of white boxes that were making the editorial office even busier than normal were taken over to Trooper Lu’s Garage. With all of the right parts in the workshop and Nuts & Bolts on a hoist, Mick and Trooper Lu’s Garage employee James spent a day making stuff happen. Because Mick is the editor, he decided that our Bolt had to have high bars. Never mind that wiring had to be extended, new clutch and throttle cables made to suit and a new Venhill braided brake line fitted — he was adamant. With an extra set of Bolt switchblocks fitted after the Ventura Apehanger handlebars were drilled for the locating pins that stop them from flopping about, the wires were run down along the bars and past the top triple tree before the plugs were cut off. The original switchblocks were plugged into the bike’s wiring harness and then cut off to match the new

I

extended length. All that Mick had to do was solder the dozen or so wires together on each side. Heat shrink was fitted to each joint that he also staggered so that they wouldn’t be too fat and bulky in one spot. The final job was neat and everything worked exactly as Yamaha had originally intended. It took a bit of extra work but the results were definitely worth the effort. When extended throttle or clutch cables are required, the crew at Trooper Lu’s Garage use General Auto Cables. The cables they produce are about the same price as standard and the quality is equal to any stock cable we’ve seen. The lengths were as requested and they fitted exactly as per original. Having struggled with some other aftermarket cables in the past, Mick reckoned that these were a pleasure to fit and adjust. A Venhill braided brake line is the easiest option when it comes to fitting a longer brake line to suit taller bars, or just to improve braking feel and performance. With the removable hose-ends available in a wide range of bends, you can plumb up any brake hose in short order. With the use of a vacuum bleeder, most of Cruiser & Trike

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See this bike? It could be yours. Yamaha has built the Star Bolt and given it to us to make our own. Work hasn’t finished yet. In November, after we’ve finished making changes, we’ll draw one current subscriber’s name and they’ll become the new owner of Project Nuts & Bolts. Check out page 104 and 105 in this issue of Cruiser & Trike for info on how to take out a sub and go in the draw. the air was bled from the system but Mick insisted on finishing it off the oldfashioned way with a piece of hose and James operating the lever. Either way, it worked and the front brake is even better than it was before. Someone at Yamaha had their thinking hat on when they designed the spoked wheels for the Bolt. When the Bolt was released in Brisbane, Mick claims his first reaction was that he would rather have spokes than mags. One of the Yamaha staff showed him the extensive parts and accessories list and right there was a pair of bolt-in spoked wheels. The standard


PROJECT NUTS & BOLTS

brake rotors and rear pulley are also a perfect interchange. Spoked wheels need tyres suitable for tubes and a set of Pirelli Night Dragons in the standard sizes was ordered from Link International. In company with a pair of tubes, they soon appeared and were mounted to the spoked wheels along with the stock rotors and pulley. With the spoked wheels fitted, everybody stood back and made ooh and aah sounds. When the Mustang DayTripper seat was added, the picture was complete. Almost. Mick and James put their heads together and decided the standard rear reflectors had to go and the number plate bracket needed a bit of love and attention. The stock mirrors were now big and ugly. Mick wanted the CRG mirrors that he’d seen on display in the new upstairs parts and accessories area at Trooper Lu’s Garage so they were added to the bars. Much better. Hanging down underneath like they are in the pics may look cool, but they provide a very good view of nothing because your arm is in the way. We’ll flip them around and

have them sticking out the top so that we can use them as nature intended. As a reward for all his hard work, James got to take the rejuvenated Project Nuts & Bolts for its maiden voyage. He went around the very big block and came back smiling. Shortly after that, and obviously before Mick and Justin got to do something about the basic black paint, Allwest picked up Project Nuts & Bolts and took it back to Yamaha head office so they could take it north for Moto Expo. Our intention from the start was to modify a stock Yamaha Bolt using off-theshelf parts and accessories so that anyone could follow our lead. We wanted a bike that was fun to ride and would turn heads. Loud enough to make you smile but not drive you mad. We’re satisfied with where Project Nuts & Bolts sits right now but… Next issue we’re hoping to have the paint re-done. The ideas that Justin and Mick have come up with are secret. Apparently. We’re also going to hand it off to Sydney Dyno to see what improvements Dyno Dave can make. Yep, we’ve still got a lot of plans left to execute. C&T Cruiser & Trike

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PROJECT NUTS & BOLTS THANK YOU LIST Allwest Motorcycle Transport: Shipping Nuts & Bolts all over the place General Auto Cables: Extended throttle and clutch cables Kenma: Supply of EJK Electronic Jet Kit, Venhill braided lines, Ventura handlebars and stuff Link International: Supply of Pirelli Night Dragon tyres Mustang Seats: Supply of Tripper Fastback seat Speedcycle: Supply of mirrors, blinkers and stuff Staintune: Supply of Staintune slipon muffler Sydney Dyno: Supply of dyno services and tuning Trooper Lu’s Garage: CRG Mirrors, workshop facilities and making stuff fit together and work properly Yamaha: Supply of Yamaha Star Bolt and stuff


New Bike Test

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New Bike Test

TRIUMPH

ROCKET III ROADSTER A ROAD TEST IN THREE PARTS: ON THE STAND, ON THE ROAD, AND OVER A CUPPA WITH A DASH OF EXTREME CRUISING

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New Bike Test

Words: Tim Sanford Photos: Tim Munro

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New Bike Test

Words: Tim Sanford Photos: Tim Munro

THE ROADSIDE STARE If first impressions are the things that count, then imprinted on your brain would be that Triumph’s Rocket Three is the biggest motorcycle you’ve ever seen. The bike has an enormous (pardon the pun) presence and from any angle it looks huge. It also looks solid, dependable and heavy. My test showed that some of these first impressions were wrong: not the solid bit, nor, I expect, the dependable bit, but as far as hugeness goes, the appearance is deceptive. Looking back over the bigger bikes we’ve tested in the past few issues shows that the Rocket Three is in the same mass league as Kawasaki’s Vaquero and Honda’s F6B. The difference is not much more than the difference between an empty and a full tank of fuel and frankly, I’ve never noticed the difference between those two extremes. Park it anywhere and it seems to dwarf anything in the parking lot, and with its 2.3L three-cylinder engine, I never tired of the amusing comment to car drivers of, “Yes, the engine’s bigger than the one in your car.” Presence is what this bike is all about and several aspects contribute to it. First is the massive tank, which is oddly shaped in that it is widest at the top and tapers down and back from there. Second is the long in-line triple engine, the design of which is emphasised by the three chromed exhaust pipe covers. And third is the combination of tyres — 150/80 front and 240/50 rear — which add significant size to each end of the bike. The overall

effect is one of balance and although the motorcycle is big, it’s all in proportion. I won’t waste your time writing about the design and size of the engine because you either already know about it, or a trip to Triumph’s website (http://www. triumphrocket.com/) will fill you in. When you check out that site, do have a look at the video called Manufacturer Video. I swear that if you don’t collapse in a fit of hysterical laughter at how the Brits do things these days, your sense of humour needs some serious resuscitation. The mechanical devices that follow the engine are: a wet multi-plate clutch, a fivespeed gearbox, and a shaft drive. Stopping the bike are twin discs sourced from the Daytona 955 up front and a single disc at the rear. The brakes are operated separately by front lever and rear pedal and there is an ABS system to save the

Quickspecs

Model: Triumph Rocket III Roadster Price: $21,490 (ride away) Engine: Liquid-cooled, in-line threecylinder, DOHC, 4-stroke, 4-valves per cylinder Bore x stroke: 101.6 x 94.3mm Displacement: 2294cc Compression: 8.7:1 Power: 109kw @ 5750rpm Torque: 221Nm @ 2750rpm Transmission: 5-speed, wet multiplate clutch, shaft final drive Suspension: F: 43mm telescopic forks. R: Twin coil-over shocks with adjustable preload

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whole plot from going side-sliding if the rider gets overactive with either or both brake controls. Fuel and ignition are handled by a team of electronic wizards that really knows its stuff. As an aside, after you’ve seen the abovementioned website you’ll be forgiven for thinking that such items as fuel delivery are probably handled by a team of three men each armed with a squirt bottle full of petrol. I jest not, check it out. Suspension is by inverted telescopic forks and twin rear shocks. Only rear preload is adjustable. Lights? Two big headlights which are good but interestingly enough not in quite the same league as those on the Thunderbird Storm I tested last year. Odd, that. Instruments are easy to read because they are mounted near eye line between the bars. Speedo and tacho are there, although the tacho is a bit irrelevant, and

Brakes: ABS F: Dual 320mm rotors with 4-piston calipers. R: Single 316mm rotor with 2-piston caliper Tyres: F: 150/80 R17. R: 240/50 R16 Frame: Tubular cradle, twin spine Seat height: 750mm Wheelbase: 1695mm Length: 2500mm Weight: 367kg (wet) Fuel capacity: 24L Warranty: 2 years, unlimited distance Servicing intervals: 10,000km or 12 months


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HARLEY, HARLEY-DAVIDSON and the Bar & Shield Design are among the trademarks of H-D U.S.A., LLC ©2013 H-D and its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Wiley X, Inc. is a licensee of Harley-Davidson Motor Company.


New Bike Test there is a small panel telling you stuff like trip distance, gear engaged, fuel info and so on. It’s in slightly small print for this ageing myope but still legible. The usual lights in the instruments tell you the usual things and the fuel information includes how far the bike predicts it will have to carry you, before you will be expected to push it. The frame is a massive affair in steel painted a glossy black. Nice.

NOW WE’RE ROLLING This motorcycle begs to be ridden and it makes that task enjoyable and easy. Thumb the button and there is a soft rumbling from the pipes. (Later, I will hear this transformed into a deep droning redolent of the powerful noise a diesel locomotive makes.) Ease out the clutch, add a slight movement of the right wrist and the show is well and truly on the road — and here comes my first gripe: the levers, both brake and clutch, are a long way from the bars. OK, they are adjustable, but even adjusted in as far as they would go, the clutch is still a bit distant. The Sandbag paws would not disgrace a gorilla so it follows that shorter-fingered humans will be even less comfortable. The clutch control is, however, superb and it allows easy getaways as well as good slow-speed manoeuvring. With all that torque available I couldn’t resist the temptation, and yes, the Rocket Three will take off from a standstill in fifth without murderous

clutch slippage. It will also take off in first with no throttle input, but you do need to be especially diligent with the clutch. Romping up the road, the gearbox changes swiftly and fairly silently but I did encounter a few missed shifts when I changed up. I suspect the likely culprit was the gear lever that was sitting a little bit too high. For the test I didn’t alter it and simply concentrated on making sure I gave the lever maximum travel when shifting — problem solved, but if it was my motorcycle I would adjust the lever downwards a bit. The riding position is a good one and it is helped greatly by the big seat. Even dimensionally advantaged persons will find plenty of room to move forwards or backwards on this seat, ensuring that a comfortable position is always available. The reach to the bars is good for my long arms and I adjusted the bars up a bit to give me a longer and more relaxed reach. You have the option at any time to lengthen or shorten by simply moving around on the seat. The padding is about right for a few hours in the saddle and my body never complained. The rider’s feet have footpegs and they sit just right for comfort and control, but I found a small gripe here: the master cylinder for the rear brake has a neat chromed cover which is ideally located so that it pushes your right foot into a pigeon-toed position. I got

GRINS & GRIPES GRINS The incredible, endless thrust. The way it dwarfs everything except B-doubles.

GRIPES The long reach to the levers. The suspension; with adjustable forks and shocks it would be a proper weapon.

used to it but I was never fully happy with the way my foot sat on the peg. A peer around the general area showed that there is really no other suitable location for the essential hydraulics so it’s a case of put up with it. A solution involving any other location would mean extra linkages, which would mean eventual pedal slop and therefore less accurate rear-brake control. As I mentioned before, getting the bike away from a start is dead easy. Getting it away in a hurry is a simple matter of more throttle. In fact, just about every situation on the road can be effectively dealt with using the “more throttle” option. Wrist twisting results in rampant rocketing and any traffic drama is very quickly left well and truly behind. Checking on those left behind is done with two good-sized mirrors and thanks to the engine’s sweet nature, they are always utterly free from vibration. Another aspect of the Rocket’s performance is the incredibly relaxed nature of the power delivery. Not only is it there in enormous amounts when you Cruiser & Trike

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New Bike Test

want it, but it is there regardless of the gear you’re in. OK, I found that the bike was slightly happier in third or fourth around town, with fifth being nicest over 80, but there’s not a lot in it and you find that once you’re in a gear, you tend to forget about it and just ride, such is the smoothness of the power delivery. If you think this is some sort of Sandbag rave about the engine, you’re right. It is brilliant in every respect. The big and wide bars made the bike very easy to steer and once you’re rolling, the bike’s mass is not something you notice. At parking-lot speeds and when coming to a stop at lights there is a real need to be precise in your actions because, like any big cruiser, once the mass takes over, there is not a lot you can do to stop it and a Rocket

Three on its side would not be something to take lightly — if you’ll pardon the dreadful pun. Be comforted by the fact that because the centre of gravity is quite low, the bike can be lifted from a “resting position” without the use of a crane. When you’re stopped at the lights you will become aware of the cooling system if you’re riding in summer because the fan will be blowing warm air back over your thighs. Our test was done in the heat of summer and although I noticed the airflow, it was never a serious problem for comfort. Could be nice in winter, though. Rolling along a smooth road is bliss itself but when the road gets bumpy, two things appear: first there is a tendency to bump steer, especially from the 240/50 rear tyre; and second, even though the Cruiser & Trike

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bike is heavy, the ride is not quite as comfortable as it might be. There is one area where the Rocket could definitely benefit from better components and that’s in the suspension department. This is Triumph’s flagship and, very good bike though it is, it would be a wonderful machine with improved (and adjustable!) suspension at both ends. During our test, the fuel consumption varied between 13 and 15km/L, which gives the bike a touring range of better than 300km. Good for this big country.

EXTREME CRUISING Once upon a time there was a private road, which was twisty and had some very interesting bends and bumps. This road had no traffic on it, except one Rocket III


New Bike Test of it. On the straights I occasionally heard some squealing from the rear tyre as it did its best to translate the power to the tarmac. The tyres are Metzeler Marathons and they do an excellent job of keeping the bike on the road. Powering out of corners on maximum lean, the rear is fully utilised and the wear pattern showed that it was doing its job. Through fast and smooth sweepers the bike tracks well and is easy to keep on the chosen line. The same cannot be said for bumpy corners, where I found a degree of suspension-related wallowing going on. This was reduced by upping the rear preload as far as it would go but the wallowing was still there. Driving hard out of slower corners would see the rear tyre beginning to powerslide, but I never felt it was unpredictable. In fact, the bike is very dependable when pushed to its limits but the combination of slow steering: 32º rake and either 148mm or 152mm trail (depending on where you get the specs) means the bike has a tendency to run wide on the exit of corners. Raising the rear preload also helped this but it was still present. Ground clearance was helped as well but it still provides the bike with a limit you must not exceed. Hitting the rev limiter in every gear on our closed road showed the “rocket” aspect to its fullest, and before I ran out of road I saw just over 200 on the speedo. At that speed the bike was utterly and completely

Roadster with a sedate Sandbag in the saddle. If you were straddling an engine that puts out 109kW of power and 221Nm of torque (that’s 148hp and 163ft/lb in old-speak), could you resist the temptation? I couldn’t! The Rocket III’s most endearing feature is the way it drives from any revs and because its maximum torque is made at 2750 revs, you are always in the land of tremendous torque. On our private road, this torque translated into a relentless drive out of corners and along straights. Exiting bends hard on the throttle had the scenery going into timewarp mode and almost instantly becoming a rushing blur. There is no perceptible power band, just heaps of drive. Every corner exit with this massive bike was an enormous amount of fun and frankly I couldn’t get enough Cruiser & Trike

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stable. When you are travelling at that sort of velocity, you need good brakes and here again the performance is excellent. The twin front discs sourced from the Daytona 955i stop the bike with very satisfying power and control. I tried a bit of hamfisted braking and the ABS system took over and stopped the bike effectively. You can rely on these brakes absolutely. Riding the Rocket under these conditions was really exhilarating and I enjoyed it hugely. Thank goodness for private roads! I’ve read that the Rocket Three has been trumpeted as a devourer of sportsbikes. If I may offer a word of caution, I’d use the bike’s enormous power to run them down on the straights rather than try to hunt them down through corners. This is a cruiser, remember, and although it has more ground clearance than most cruisers, it has significantly less than a sportsbike. Please be aware of that and your rapid rides will be spent with a grin on your face as big as the Rocket III Roadster. Well, almost as big. C&T

CAFE CONTEMPLATION If you like a big motorcycle with a huge presence, the Rocket Three is the goods. On the road, whether cruising the town or hammering the back roads, you’ll not find many bikes to stay with it. I rode it a lot and I liked it a lot.


A Day in the Saddle

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A Day in the Saddle

A DAY IN THE SADDLE THE FAR-SOUTH COAST OF NSW IS A POPULAR SPOT FOR RIDERS FROM ALL OVER THE STATE. TRY IT FOR YOURSELF.

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A Day in the Saddle

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A Day in the Saddle

Words: Tim Sanford Photos: Tim Sanford & Mick Withers

lessed are the cheese makers because though they are surrounded by caravans; yea verily there are times when they are also visited by cruisers. WTF I hear you ask? Read on... Actually, this is two days in the saddle and, if you want to do some exploring, it can easily become three. The basic ride is down the coast to Bega and back

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again, but there are wonders to be had in between. We started on a morning when drizzle filled the air and the roads south of Sydney. Because our meeting point had something to do with the domiciliary location of the Esteemed Editor, we set off south via the road which now rejoices in the title Princes Freeway. It used to be the Southern Freeway and before that the Princes Highway, but doubtless, with the love this state has for novelty in nomenclature, soon it will have yet

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another name — and more costly signage to waste money on. You learn interesting things about people when you ride with them and readers will be delighted to know that the Esteemed Editor is slightly psychotic where caravans are concerned. No, I suspect that “slightly” might be understating it, but more on that later. The road through to Wollongong, that once thriving — if rather evil-smelling — steelworks town is straightforward and a stop at the Mount Keira Lookout is worth making before you plunge down the escarpment via Mt Ousley. Google “Mt Keira Lookout” and that will give you directions to this out-of-the-way but very worthwhile stop with panoramic views across the city and up and down the coastline. The motorway from Wollongong down to Nowra is now an interesting mix of old and new roads as the earthworking machinery carves out a new road to replace the serpentine route, which was once a lot of fun — if you could get at it with no traffic. In short, to make this trip truly enjoyable, get to Nowra through the Southern Highlands and Kangaroo Valley. Heaps better riding. We stopped at Berry for coffee because it has become the new Newtown or Leura of the South Coast. Some disparaging remarks by the E.E. were heard across the table but they will be ignored. You don’t want to know about “the main n street


A Day in the Saddle

bowling club” and “lost and wandering seniors”. We chose the excellent Jetz Cafe for its good coffee and sweet treats. The road south of Nowra is a good combination of roads wide and straight, where there is safe overtaking and smooth surfaces, and narrow and winding where there are lots of excellent views of the lush countryside where cows graze to provide the white stuff that is now marketed as milk. You will pass through Milton and get to Ulladulla where we stopped at Hayden’s Pies for lunch. I have a total failing for a good pie and my recommendation here is for the lamb rendang. Also try the sausage rolls and the coffee. Years ago, Ulladulla was a vibrant fishing village where the local fish shops Cruiser & Trike

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served fish caught locally. Now the term “faded glory” is over-complimentary and apart from the smattering of trawlers in the enclosed harbour, the best thing about the town is the road beckoning you south. After a few more miles of rolling through a combination of pastoral and tree-filled landscapes, you’ll get to Bateman’s Bay. Once a fairly secluded little village, this bustling town is now the play centre for the well-heeled population of Canberra and the extensive modern development of holiday accommodation and second homes has destroyed much of its charm. Ride on south! The road from Batemans Bay to Bega is nothing short of brilliant. There is scenery to delight your pillion passenger — if you have one — and winding roads to ensure


A Day in the Saddle

you remain focused on the job in hand. There are passing lanes, which is just as well because although there’s not a lot of traffic, you will find plenty of examples of the caravan species crawling along enjoying the countryside. You should also expect to stop a lot to enjoy the delightful small towns along the way. First town is little Mogo, which made its name in the 1800s when there was a gold rush, and you can still go fossicking in the creeks if you want to. There are museums of items from that heady era and “experience centres” where you can see how folk lived back then. Next town is Moruya, which was both a harbour and the location from which the grey rock (granodiorite) for the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge were quarried. You can

visit the quarry and marvel at the fact that all that rock — as well as lots more for other buildings in the state capital — was cut out of the ground and transported on small ships to Sydney. When you reach Bodalla, you are entering real cheese country but before you get to the town, there is one of the last remaining examples of a bascule bridge left in NSW. The three-span steel bridge has a centre span that can be raised like an old castle drawbridge to allow tall-masted sailing ships to pass underneath. Central Tilba and its near sister village Tilba Tilba are now home not only to cheese making, but also cheese tasting, and if you fancy a bite, here is a good place for it. These little villages and the following Cobargo are all well preserved and they Cruiser & Trike

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are like stepping back in time. Stop for a stroll, drag out the camera and browse the shops that sell local craft. Our journey took us on to Bega and the ride through that countryside is well worth the effort. The road is good and there are plenty of corners to roll through while your passenger enjoys the sights along the road. Bega is a major town and interesting for the fact that it appears devoid of motels. We rode in, we rode through, we rode back again — no motels. You, of course, being sensible, will have checked for accommodation first but the Cruiser & Trike team expected to rock up and spot a bed, no trouble. Eventually we did and spent the night in surroundings gs that had a touch of the surreal about them. hem. e


A Day in the Saddle

Dinner? Local hotel has an excellent Chinese restaurant. Breakfast next day was at the Bega Cheese Factory, where the entire history of cheese making was laid on. Not for breakfast, actually, but upstairs. The breakfast was huge and wholesome and was made more entertaining by the fact that when we arrived, our two motorcycles were lonely in the sparse car park. That park filled rapidly with — you guessed it — caravans. This did not go down well with poor Mick, whose caravan psychosis I had been studying. Apparently the Esteemed Editor has long been troubled by the proliferation of these “moving potholes” (his words), the rear of them frequently adorned with such self-indulgent notices as “Spending the kids’ inheritance” and so on. It seems he has taken on something of a Scarlet Pimpernel persona where these relatively harmless folk are concerned and now delights in lurking in the more gloomy areas of caravan parks so he can

graffiti the backs of their ’vans. Altering the mobile phone numbers is a good laugh evidently, as is altering the CB radio call sign. However, not content with the chaos those small changes will make, this night stalker has sunk to changing the names as well, and based on the fact that caravaners appear to be always couples, he giggled when he told me that he has changed “Robert” to “Roberta”, “Alan” to “Alana”, all in the course of making the airwaves of social intercourse abuzz with assumptions that our nomads are undergoing a subtle change in their gender mix. The other fascinating aspect of our breakfast was listening to caravaners’ conversations. I mean, how riveting can it be that the Sundowner 19T carries a larger sink than the Rambler 24? Don’t they have camshafts, EFI, ABS and EMS to talk about? Breakfast over and souvenir (and cheese) shop toured, we were on the road again, with our route taking us back over the same wonderful riding road to Batemans Cruiser & Trike

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Bay. The main road bypasses the town centre and the only service station on the new road is at the southern end of town. This we discovered after another of those annoying trips through and back to find fuel. Over the bridge and a west turn at the roundabout saw us heading west on the Kings Highway. This road has it all: straights where the view is spectacular, fast open bends with plenty of overtaking room, twists and turns where concentration on the road is absolutely paramount, and then a fast run through rolling pastoral landscape to Braidwood. Treat this road with the respect it deserves and don’t do it on a weekend, because the volume of traffic is very high with the Canberra set bringing their aquatic toys to Batemans Bay for a two-day jaunt. Getting stuck behind a convoy of four-wheel drives towing boats will frustrate the most tolerant rider. Any cruiser will handle this road with ease and the surface offers plenty of grip and security for safety. Braidwood was our lunch stop and of course the pies at the Braidwood


A Day in the Saddle

Bakery on the main street were my choice. Excellent and highly recommended, and the coffee is good too. Braidwood is a town with a wide-ranging history and plenty of recognition of its importance to modern travellers so you can visit museums and specialty shops or just take in the well-preserved architecture of the wide main street. It is still a centre for the regional grazing properties and the sight and sound of kelpies barking at everything they see from the back of their mud-covered 4WD utes is common. From Braidwood our road took us up to Goulburn, where a word of warning about the speed limits and the need to respect them is appropriate. The NSW Police Academy is just outside the

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A Day in the Saddle

town so the most likely location for the students to practise their policing skills is the local roads. Please take note of this. Goulburn is a thriving city with all sorts of delights, but I will leave you with just this one: if my research is anything to go by, Goulburn has more cemeteries than any other town. That may seem a macabre comment but in terms of family history, they are a very useful resource. There are two ways back from Goulburn and time constraints demanded that we endure the boredom of the Hume Motorway. My choice would have been to turn left near the outskirts of the town at the sign to Crookwell. Follow that road to the T-intersection and go right to Taralga. This is another fabulous riding road, with mainly fast open sweepers and an excellent Cruiser & Trike

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surface. Up until a few years ago it had a section of dirt in the middle, but it is now blacktop all the way. Take your time at the steep descent down to the Abercrombie River and even stop for a break using the little camping

area on the left before the low-level bridge. Enjoy the steep switchback climb out of the river’s ravine and then the incredible rolling countryside to Oberon, where a stop for fuel and food will be welcome. When you get to the

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Great Western Highway — not called the Western Motorway yet but it will be soon — you are back in the traffic grind so relax and enjoy the good days of riding you’ve had. Let me know how you get on. C&T


2.3lt ROCKET III TOURING has always had that EXTRA something,

....now it has that EXTRA, EXTRA something.

Footboards/Heel Toe Shift

Hard Panniers

Touring Screen

Pillion Backrest & Rack


When Harley-Davidson released the 1984 Softail, it created a new model that is still instantly recognisable 30 years later. Enjoy our 30th Anniversary salute with this original 1984 FXST Softail and 2014 FXST Softail Standard. According to The Canberra Times, 22 November, 1983, the Softail was due in the showroom at Robbo’s Motorcycles that week with an expected price tag of $9500 for the 80-cubic-inch (1340cc) carburettorfed, Evolution-powered, chain-driven, four-speed and kickstart-equipped bike. The rear tyre was a 130/90-16. You read that right, the first Softails were released in 1983. Roll the clock forward and we have a ride away price of $27,250 for a 103-cube (1690cc) Twin Cam engine with EFI, a six-speed transmission and ABS. The rear tyre is now 200/55-17.


2014 Harley-Davidson FXST Softail Standard


Spyder ST LIMITED roadster shown

EXPERIENCE THE OPEN-ROAD IN THE THIRD DIMENSION. The stylish Can-Am® Spyder® roadster redefines open-air riding with a distinctive 3-wheeled stance and automotive-inspired technologies for greater stability and control. Head out for a few days or a few hours, set a relaxed pace or hug the curves – you’ll experience the freedom of the open road in an entirely new way.

Discover Riding. Reinvented. brp.com ©2013 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. ®, ™ and the BRP logo are trademarks of Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. or its affiliates. Always ride responsibly and safely. Follow all instructional and safety materials. Always observe applicable local laws and regulations. Always wear a helmet, eye protection and appropriate protective clothing. BRP reserves the right, at any time, to discontinue or change specifications, price, design, features, models or equipment without incurring obligation. Depending on location, products are distributed by BRP European Distribution SA, BRP US Inc., BRP Australia Pty Ltd. or Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. Vehicle performance may vary depending on weather, temperature, altitude, riding ability and rider/passenger(s) weight. Some models, equipment and accessories depicted may not be homologated in your country and may include optional equipment or equipment which is not available in your country. EC-homologated versions could slightly differ from models depicted.


Polar extremes

POLAR EXTREMES IT’S BEEN ALLEGED THAT WE HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO USE TEST BIKES IN WAYS THAT ARE OUTSIDE OF THEIR NATURAL HABITAT. YEP, WE SURE DO. HERE WE RAN A COMPARO BETWEEN HARLEYDAVIDSON’S STREET GLIDE AND THE COMPANY’S NIGHT ROD SPECIAL. OBVIOUS TRAVELLING PARTNERS!

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Polar extremes

Words: Mick Withers & Tim Sanford Photos: Mick Withers

aking two Harleys for a two-day test ride down the far south coast of NSW just had to be one of the Esteemed Editor’s more brilliant ideas. Touring on big Harleys — cruising bliss. Then I realised that the bike I had in my shed was the V-Rod Night Rod Special, an excellent bike — but for two days? And which bike would Mick be riding? Oh, that would be the Street Glide. From where I sat, it looked like it was going to be two days of touring torture; one bike is a purpose-built longhaul motorcycle, the other is a drag strip destroyer and boulevard bad boy. I had already formed a high opinion of the Night Rod. Riding it around town was heaps of fun and even on the freeway, the little nosecone and sloping headlight seemed to combine to minimise the wind turbulence. The specs of the engine are interesting: the “little” 60º V-twin is only 1250cc and HD doesn’t seem keen to give us the cubic inches which are 76; it is designed to rev, developing its maximum torque at a very high 7250 rpm with a redline at nearly 9000; and there are only five gears in the box. None of that detracts from its ease of riding around town and I found that the bike was quite happy in fifth as long as it was romping along at around 80 kays. Above 3000 revs it is super smooth and quite unlike any other Harley. There seems to have been a very

T

Quickspecs Model: Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special VRSCDX Price: $26,995 (ride away) Engine: Liquid-cooled, Revolution, 60˚ V-twin, 4-stroke, 4-valves per cylinder Bore x stroke: 105 x 72mm Displacement: 1247cc or 76ci Compression: 11.5:1 Power: N/A Torque: 111Nm @ 7250rpm Transmission: 5-speed, wet multiplate clutch, belt final drive Suspension: F: Telescopic forks. R: Twin shocks

clear intention to make the V-Rod very different from its stablemates. I liked the riding position a lot. The seat is deep and well contoured and the stretch to the forward controls suits my long legs, likewise the reach to the low-set bars — but here is a word of warning: the seat offers a snug seating position which doesn’t allow you to move around, so if you sit on it and you like it, then you will be comfortable for a few hours before the legs start to let you know they are out in the wind. With the small tank you’ll be stopping often enough to get off and stretch, but if you find the seating position uncomfortable the minute you get on it, be assured that it will be all downhill from there.

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Brakes: ABS F: Dual rotors with 4-piston calipers. R: Single rotor with 4-piston caliper Tyres: F: 120/70ZR19. R: 240/40R18 Frame: Tubular cradle Seat height: 675mm Wheelbase: 1705mm Length: 2440mm Weight: 302kg (wet) Fuel capacity: 18.9L Warranty: 2 years, unlimited distance Servicing intervals: 8000km or 12 months

The suspension is firm but the ride is good. I jacked up the rear shocks to the second-highest preload and the bike coped with anything I could throw at it. It feels friendly and you can throw it around on a bumpy road; it goes where you put it and then stays there, holding its line with minimal input from the rider. I was so impressed with it that I even aimed it at some big bumps in some corners, with the result that the bike became airborne, but it landed straight and still tracked true. As I said, I already liked the Night Rod Special but touring on it? Hmmmm, I got the feeling that I would definitely be travelling upon the underdog.


Polar extremes

Riding along the motorway behind the Street Glide I couldn’t help thinking about the differences between the two bikes. From any angle the Street Glide looks stunning and the metallic gold paint (they call it Amber Whiskey) gives the bike terrific presence. So much so that whenever we parked the two bikes together, the only comments we got were always about the Glide and how terrific it looked. The Night Rod, parked next to it and looking low slung and purposeful, might as well have been in the next street for all the notice it attracted. Underdog. The similarities the bikes share include the very good brakes, which are badged HD but made by Brembo. Very good stopping power and control for both bikes. The clutch and brake levers are the same but neither of them carries any sort of adjustment for reach, which is sad because although they were okay for my long fingers, they might be a bit too far away for shorter fingers. Both bikes are very quiet, which is great if you like it, but for me I’d like a bit more exhaust note. Aftermarket pipes, yes? The Night Rod is so quiet that around town you can hear all sorts of soft mechanical music wafting up from down below. Getting away from the lights is easy on either bike but the Night Rod needs just a little more throttle for a clean getaway. You get used to it very quickly, but when you get off the Street Glide, which pulls away in the manner expected of 103 cubic

Quickspecs Model: Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe FLSTN Price: $33,995 (ride away) Engine: Air-cooled, Twin Cam 103B, 45º V-twin, 4-stroke, 2-valves per cylinder Bore x stroke: 98.4 x 111.1mm Displacement: 1690cc or 103ci Compression: 9.7:1 Power: N/A Torque: 138Nm @ 3500rpm Transmission: 6-speed, wet multiplate clutch, belt final drive Suspension: F: Telescopic forks.

inches, the need for a touch of extra throttle on the Night Rod is evident. The differences are much more numerous. The V-Rod sits you in one place, the Street Glide lets you move around. Forward pegs on the Rod, footboards on the Glide, with a bit of room to move your feet about. Not as much on the left thanks to the placement of the heel-and-toe gear lever. Instrumentation: the Rod is minimalist, the Glide is a complete flight deck. Luggage carrying: the minimal personal equipment for an overnight stay, hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste were snug on the Rod in my Ventura Tank Bag. The panniers on the Glide were packed with everything an editor needs when away from the office Cruiser & Trike

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R: Twin underslung shocks Brakes: ABS F: Dual rotors with 4-piston calipers. R: Single rotor with 4-piston caliper Tyres: F: 130/70B18. R: 180/65B16 Frame: Tubular cradle Seat height: 695mm Wheelbase: 1625mm Length: 2450mm Weight: 372kg (wet) Fuel capacity: 22.7L Warranty: 2 years, unlimited distance Servicing intervals: 8000km or 12 months

and I was grateful for a place to wedge my wet weather gear among Mick’s travelling clutter. As for the riding experience, the two bikes could not be more different. The Rod demands that you do everything yourself, but the Glide offers every bell and whistle to make the trip more homely. Personally, I prefer the minimalist demands of the Night Rod. OK, it meant that I had to use my own singing as “entertainment” but it also meant I could remain fully committed to the complex task of staying alert on the road without the distractions of modern technology. Obviously, from the plethora of “infotainment” options provided on the Glide, my view is a minority one so I will


Polar extremes

leave Mick to describe all the stuff it can do for you. Do you get the picture that they might both be Harleys but they are utterly poles apart? On the road they are both extremely competent through traffic, with the Night Rod having a slight edge thanks to its narrower width. On the highway they both have more than enough power to demolish overtaking tasks with ease, but that showed an unexpected difference: at the freeway speed limit with the Glide loping along in top gear (of six), overtaking was sluggish unless you shifted down two gears, but at the same speed in top (of five), the response from the Night Rod was instant and rapid. Going up through the gears from a standing start, the power of both engines is evident and although the Glide’s gearbox is slick-shifting and precise, the Night Rod’s change is sweeter and faster. Over bumpy roads the Rod is firm and in two days I had one bump which bottomed the rear suspension. With the Glide I found that although it is very aptly named — it glides serenely over all sorts of road horrors — when it was faced with a deep hole in the road the front handled the situation well, but the rear seemed to have excessive rebound damping, which left the wheel hanging over the hole. The Street Glide’s ability on twisting roads has gained it some very favourable comments and it’s easy to see why: the bike handles bends well and it has considerably more ground clearance than

we’ve come to expect from cruisers of this size. That makes it a very good freeway cruiser and when the mountains loom, you can now anticipate a good fun ride rather than have to endure the horrors of scraping through every bend. I found one aspect of the Street Glide that was very difficult to live with. It would appear that good use has been made of wind tunnel testing because the bike is very stable in any road situation, especially the bow wave of big trucks and semis. Hit the wave and the Glide glides. The fairing is wide and there is a little screen screwed to the top of it. At 60 kays the air bubble around the rider is placid and the ride is absolutely delightful. Between 60 and 80 it is good but there is the beginning of turbulence. Over 100 and at freeway speeds, the helmet buffeting is nothing short of diabolical and it doesn’t improve if you ride at much higher speeds. It is so bad that long before any sort of body ache sets in, you want to get off the bike. At the overnight stop I asked Mick if we could remove the screen to see if that helped to reduce the turbulence. We decided not to attempt that in case the nuts for the screen screws weren’t captive and dropped out of reach — the idea of holding a Street Glide upside down in the car park and shaking out the nuts didn’t look like a good idea. In short, this turbulence is very distracting when you are riding the bike and it detracts from all of the other excellent qualities the bike

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possesses. Riding on the freeway on cruise control, I found that if I got my head right down, the turbulence disappeared. The only problem with that was that my head was so low I couldn’t see over the fairing. Not a very safe practice. I’m very pleased to report that a check of the comprehensive HD Accessories Catalogue reveals a selection of screens ranging up to 15in (38cm to us) in height. If you ride this bike with the low screen, be aware that with a taller screen the turbulence at cruising speeds will be much reduced and the ride will be much more enjoyable. It might not look as cool but you’ll feel better at the end of the ride. This trip took us through a section of highway that is allegedly reserved for sportsbikes. Tell that to the Night Rod. It devoured this section of the trip in a manner that would have left plenty of sportsbike riders panting to keep up. When I got off the bike at our Braidwood lunch stop, I couldn’t help thinking “how can a motorcycle which is that long and low be so chuckable” because that’s what I was doing on the Night Rod. It could be charged up to tight corners, braked deep into them and then powered hard out at the exit. The grip and feedback from the massive rubber plantation that is sucking you onto the road is excellent and the steering is light and precise. Even if used hard, the Brembo brakes just keep coming back for more. Ground clearance is good enough for you to be travelling at speeds that are well into the Revenue


The Triangle Seat to bars: Bars to pegs: Pegs to seat:

Enhancement Zone and all the while the bike feels completely secure. It says, “You get me into a corner and I’ll get you out. Rely on me.” As you can gather, I loved the bike. The forward controls are a long way forward but the pedals are well located. Riding fast with forward controls is an acquired art, but the results are satisfying and the Night Rod makes the learning curve less steep. Another thing I noticed was that although there is a huge difference between the tyres (front 120/70, rear 240/40), there was never any hint of the profiles becoming incompatible as the bike was pushed into, or out of, any corner. Other bikes with massive rear rubber show this problem, but not the Night Rod. So what conclusions did I draw? Was touring on a V-Rod insane? No. It might sound like madness, but it works. The bike is a very capable and comfortable highway cruiser and it’s brilliant at trafficdismissing, but not stupid, speeds. In sportsbike territory it is huge fun and very satisfying to ride fast with complete safety. The Street Glide is a truly excellent bike but as tested, it was let down by the medium to high-speed turbulence and helmet buffeting. When that problem

Polar extremes STREET GLIDE 890mm 730mm 850mm

is fixed (and it can be), the bike will be untouchable as an all-round cruiser.

MICK’S OPINION Sometimes I come up with ideas that even I can’t credit. When the idea of Polar Extremes first surfaced and I shared it with Sandbag, his silence told me that this was going to be fun. Where does it say that a Night Rod can’t go out of town? It is my belief that any motorcycle can be taken out of town for an overnighter. The majority of riders I know own one bike that has to do everything that they want to do, regardless of whether that’s riding to work or Sunday morning coffee runs. Most of them want to do the odd weekender, or perhaps longer. Which is where the idea for this trip came from: Can you use a V-Rod for those weekend trips that may be traditionally seen as the domain of Street Glides or other models from that end of the HarleyDavidson catalogue? Although I pride myself on not making assumptions, I’d already made one about the Street Glide and its touring abilities, but the big question mark hung over the Night Rod Special. Cruiser & Trike

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NIGHT ROD SPECIAL 845mm 770mm 800mm

The planning stage was no more complicated than looking at a map of the NSW south coast and deciding that Bega would be our aim for dinner and overnight accommodation. From the M4 westbound service centre at Prospect, it’s about 450km of mixed roads, with everything from multi-lane 110km/h freeway to single-lane mountain goat tracks. There’s a separate story about our trip south and north starting on page 46 in this very issue. When the Sandbag arrived at my place, I pointed out that the left pannier on the Street Glide was his to fill. Never mind his protestations about how little he carries and blah-blah, my meagre array of bugger-all fitted into the Street Glide’s right-hand pannier, along with a Grypp puncture repair kit and a Rocky Creek Designs compressor. There was still room for a couple of extra bottles of water. Starting off on the Street Glide, we headed south under skies that looked wet and heavy. When they started sharing their water content, we stopped under an overbridge to put wet-weather gear on. Sandbag looked longingly at the Street Glide’s sizeable upper weather protection as we rode off down the freeway in the rain. As he hadn’t yet ridden it, he


Polar extremes

HEIGHT AND WEIGHT Mick: 183cm & 140kg Tim: 180cm & 90kg

was blissfully unaware of just how bad the turbulence was around the helmet at the speed limit. Even with Earmold ear plugs in place, the roar was quite bad. I experimented by holding my hand up to add height to the screen and things improved. If you love the look of the short screen and don’t intend venturing out on the freeways or highways, you’ll be happy with the stock screen. We’d be delving into the 2014 HD Parts and Accessories catalogue to find a screen about 100mm to 150mm taller. Even if you only fitted it when you’re heading out on a highway, it’d be well worth it. While you’ve got your head in the P&A Catalogue, check out the Harley-Davidson Boom! Audio range. If it was mine, I’d be adding a set of saddlebag speakers. But hey, I like to hear music when I’m riding. Rightio, that’s enough about the wind and music. The mirrors are great and

made it easy to keep a wind- and rainswept Sandbag in view. Our first stop was in Berry — about two hours down the road but long enough to form a few opinions: The Street Glide is happy to cruise along at the posted speed limit or any higher speed you choose; the heel-toe shifter restricts foot movement on the lefthand side. Personally, I’d remove the heel section for more size-12 foot space. The Street Glide seat had good lumbar support and the triangle of seat, bars and footboards worked pretty well for the twohour hops we ended up doing. Engine noise was noticeable by its absence. So was the traditional Harley exhaust note. I hate greenies for it is they who have neutered the music. Tree-hugging bastards. Probably all own caravans, too. The lack of music didn’t really hurt performance unless Cruiser & Trike

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you were on the speed limit in sixth and wanted to overtake. Quicker and safer to click it down a gear before pulling out. Overtaking should never be a chore. I rode the Street Glide second on our second day and the first road I hit was a sports bike favourite that climbs from the coast to Bungendore. This may be considered an extreme cruising road yet I only touched down once, and that was on a 25km/h hairpin at a slightly higher velocity than the signpost suggested. The Street Glide was definitely harder work than the V-Rod when extreme cruising. Not surprising when you compare 372kg to 302kg. This was the first section where I really got to give the Street Glide’s Brembo-sourced brakes a workout and was impressed at just how well they converted friction into heat without bringing the ABS into play. I had


Polar extremes no reason to make any mention of the suspension in my notes and as there are no memories of big hits, it must have handled the extra weight quite well. From somewhere down south of Berry, we stopped for fuel and swapped bikes. This was shortly before it finally stopped raining. Now while it is fair to say that the Night Rod Special may not be the first choice of the interstater, it was better for longer than I had predicted. Yep, I’d made an assumption and figured that an hour or so would have been the limit on the Night Rod, but I was wrong. Even though I was more or less locked in one position, it was actually quite a comfortable position with good lumbar support. A variety of straight sections allowed a chance to experiment with overtaking the caravans. In fifth gear at the speed limit it was over-geared for overtaking — fine for cruising — and needed a love tap back to fourth before flicking out and around. That made things happen in a manner that caused smiles. One thing that was immediately noticeable was the need for more rpm when taking off, as well as the much later take-up point of the clutch lever. Neither was a biggie but compared to the Street Glide, it was different. The front suspension was obviously good as I made a note saying exactly that, but the rear suspension was not quite so good. Although generally fine, a series of rapid bumps caused the rear shocks to compress but not rebound quick enough. A slightly

softer rebound dampening option would have probably fixed that. At first I thought it was just me and my weight, but when I mentioned it to Tim, he said he’d had the same result. Around town this wouldn’t happen, but it’s something to consider if you’re planning to explore more of Australia on a Night Rod. From many years of riding with forward controls, I automatically pull my heels inboard when cornering and as a result I only touched them down a couple of times, but that was while extreme cruising and the less said about that the better. No one was going to jail. Through some sections of road with lots of corners, I got to try the Night Rod’s grip and despite trying fairly hard, nothing the bike did caused my heart to race. The adrenalin was flowing but that was purely self-induced. A well-ridden Night Rod Special will definitely surprise more than a few sportsbikes. I didn’t really get to try the Night Rod’s brakes in anger, other than while we were extreme cruising. Nothing scary to report. You squeeze the levers harder and you stop quicker. As with the Street Glide, I never had the ABS kick in. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. I can live with that. The final stretch of our trip was north from Marulan South service centre. At Tim’s offering, I chose to do the last 150km aboard the Night Rod Special. It may not have been the more comfortable of the pair, but the wind roar aboard the

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Street Glide was draining. That last stretch aboard the Night Rod Special was just long enough for me to start getting antsy, but five minutes after pulling up at home, I could have jumped back on and ridden the same trip again.

MUSICAL EXTREMES My passion for music while riding is something that has seen me spend stupid amounts of money over the years trying to perfect the sound clarity and quality while reducing wind roar. When I spotted the entertainment centre in the middle of the Street Glide’s dash, I got a little bit excited. When I found out about the magic flap on the right that conceals a docking point for a music-laden iPhone or other music-holding device, I was in bliss. Open the flap, plug cord into phone and start scrolling through the 1000-plus songs loaded in. The toggle on the left switchblock was a bit fiddly at first, but I soon got the hang of it and stopped cursing every time I wanted to skip a song that didn’t suit my mood. It was also distracting until I really got the hang of it. The music quality was great at urban speeds, but out on the highway, the wind roar overpowered the standard speakers. A taller screen would also help in this area. As would the extra fairing and saddlebag lid speakers. On the Night Rod Special, I reverted to Earmold ear plugs with speaker wires and sang along with whatever I wanted. C&T


New Bike Test

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New Bike Test

VICTORY VEGAS 8-BALL STRIPPED DOWN AND BLACKED OUT, THE BASIC VEGAS

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New Bike Test

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New Bike Test Words & Photos: Mark Hinchliffe

get tired of defending cruisers from critics who’ve never ridden one or don’t know how. Instead, I should just throw them the keys to a Victory Vegas 8-Ball. Here is a cruiser that looks like a work of art that should be hanging in an art gallery somewhere, not out cruising country back roads. Of course it’s not going to set the fastest lap times at Laguna Seca. To quote Albert Einstein: “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Just because the Victory Vegas 8-Ball is not a superbike doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. In fact, this bike just gave me some of the best days of riding I’ve had in a while on some of the bumpiest and twistiest tar northern NSW countryside can throw at you. It has a flexible engine, well matched and smooth transmission, adequate brakes, good grip, a nice ride, and turns heads everywhere it goes. After all, who could resist those turbo-fan mag wheels, swoopy fuel tank, custom saddle, wide-wide beach bars and Batman-cowl

I

headlight? It comes in any colour you want so long as it’s Gloss Black. What’s best is you get to ride away on the Vegas 8-Ball for just $19,995. You could say it’s a Softy for not much more than a Sporty price tag. The Vegas 8-Ball is powered by the same flexible and refined 106 Freedom air/oil-cooled V-twin as the rest of the Victory fleet. It has plenty of torque, doesn’t vibrate too much, has low mechanical noise and is perfectly matched to the six-speed box. Victory’s transmission is getting better and better every year. It clicks into gear without any nasty clunks, although finding neutral is a bit difficult. The cable clutch is a shortcut that keeps costs down and feels a bit stiff, so riding in traffic can be a bit of a chore. But around town you can swiftly flick through to fourth and trawl around on the lusty mid-range torque. It will pull from just below 2000 revs and will happily cruise in sixth at 100km/h on the highway at 2300rpm and accelerate smartly for overtaking without requiring a lower cog. At higher revs, it still feels like it is pulling strongly and doesn’t get rough,

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raucous or vibey. This engine pumps out a lot of hot air, but on this naked bike I couldn’t feel any of the heat. The riding position is a bit of a windsock and anything over 110km/h requires a firm grip of those wide bars. Yet it’s a comfortable riding position with the controls not too far forward, the bars close enough for a relaxed elbow bend and a well-contoured dish-shaped saddle. After a few hours, though, my bony butt started to feel a bit sore. A bit more padding or a bit less at the back so I could slide further back might be better. I’m 187cm tall, so shorter people or those with more natural padding might find it more comfortable. You

GRINS & GRIPES GRINS Torque, refined engine, head-turning looks, bargain price GRIPES Cheap clutch cable, hard seat, windsock riding position


New Bike Test can get an optional pillion seat, but in Queensland the single seat means cheaper registration. It starts with an old-school key in the side, which could scratch the blackedout side cover if you dangle anything off it. In front of you, the beautifully blue

backlit speedo lights up in all its functional simplicity. There is a traditional singlepod chromed analogue speedo with an LCD screen that shows enough info to keep most cruiser riders happy and you can toggle between the functions with a convenient switch on the back of the

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left switchblock. Other than that, there is nothing between you and the view. As part of my test I rolled out of the city for an overnight ride with some mates through northern NSW, wondering how I could manage to last two days on a bike like this with no room for luggage,


New Bike Test an improbable skinny 21-inch front tyre, a low seat, minimal clearance and a windsock riding position. Fuel range is about 240km before the fuel light comes on, leaving you with about three litres and 75km to empty. Yet I never felt like I couldn’t make the distance to fill-up time. My backside got a bit sore, but my arms didn’t tire and I felt fresh and still excited every time we stopped. Some of the roads we took were tight and winding, some with massive bumps and potholes. Of course, the clearance was an issue, so you have to arc the corners a little wider and plan a bit more carefully. It touches down quicker on the right because of the double exhausts on that side. Despite the big 21in tyre, it is surprisingly nimble. Turn-in is nimble because you have the leverage in those wide bars to flick the bike over quickly to its optimum lean angle. Once into the turn, the big front wheel tracks well and you can readjust your line if needed. Mid-corner bumps don’t upset the bike as the bars are fairly stiff and the 21in wheel just crashes through the biggest bumps and craters. The back end hops on its spring a bit, but it didn’t lift the rear wheel off the ground. Brakes are adequate for a 290kg bike, with some fork dive up front but a strong rear disc. Lines are braided so there is plenty of feel in the levers. However, be careful on downshifts when also braking as the rear wheel can lock easily. It is a shame Victory only has ABS on its big tourers, but they are trying to keep a lid on their cruiser prices. The best way to negotiate country corners is to get hard on the anchors before the entry point, then release, turn in quickly and throttle smoothly through the arc to lift the suspension and gain some clearance. With that method I not only managed to stay with the other bikes in our group, but set a cracking pace up front on occasions. Superbike riders might revel in sheer speed, but where can you legally exercise those joys these days? On this bike I can have just as much fun at legal speeds. And oh what a joy to lean back, arms out wide to greet the corner as you tip the Vegas in, watching the road come up toward your backside, your heel skidding across the tar just like you’re speedway riding. The defence rests.C&T

Quickspecs Model: Victory Vegas 8-Ball Price: $19,995 (ride away) Engine: Air/oil-cooled, 106 Freedom, 50º V-twin, 4-stroke, 4-valves per cylinder Bore x stroke: 101 x 108mm Displacement: 1731cc or 106ci Compression: 9.4:1 Power: 72.3kW @ 5000rpm Torque: 153Nm @ 4000rpm Transmission: 6-speed, wet multiplate clutch, belt final drive Suspension: F: 43mm telescopic fork, 130mm travel. R: Single monotube, airadjustable shock, 92mm travel

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Brakes: F: Single 300mm floating rotor with 4-piston caliper. R: Single 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper. Tyres: F: 90/90-21. R: 180/55 B18 Frame: Tubular cradle Seat height: 640mm Wheelbase: 1684mm Length: 2439mm Weight: 290kg (dry) Fuel capacity: 17L Warranty: 2 years, unlimited distance Servicing intervals: 8000km or 12 months


Custom Roadster

ROCKING

SPYDER

IN THE BEGINNING, BACK IN 1955, MAN DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SHOW AND ALL THAT JIVE!

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Custom Roadster

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Testdster tom Roa CusBike New

Words & photos: Craig Stevenson

ere’s something a little left of field. BRP has been manufacturing the Can-Am Spyder for years now and not unlike an ever-enduring rock band, has developed an almost cult-like following. The three-wheeled, Rotaxpowered roadsters took a while to catch on but there are more and more on the road and they’ve made a healthy dent in our market, especially where covering big kays in comfort and with ease plays a major role. The Spyders have a rep for being part of a fairly conservative group of riders and I see quite a few of these unique-looking machines on my squirts down the NSW south coast — but I’ve never seen one quite like this before. Rob Martinelli, or ‘Roadie’ to his mates, a self-confessed AC/DC fan since his teens, wanted his Spyder RT-S to be that little bit different so he dedicated his pride and joy to the iconic Aussie rock and roll band. The result is as in-your-face and imposing as the band itself.

H

Buying a Spyder wasn’t a snap decision for Rob. After an accident he spent happy times cruising around on an OzTrike while keeping an eye on the marketplace for something perhaps more suited to his long-haul trips and personal needs. The Spyder was around but existed solely as a Roadster until 2010, when the RT-S was released. Finally, after two years searching, he believed he’d found the right machine and dropped a cool $41K on a brand-new, 5-speed semi-auto, fully optioned RT-S that same year. He freely admits that he likes machines that are a little different from the norm but also values handling and performance, and the Spyder ticked all the right boxes. They not only look different but are very different to ride — “They take some time to get used to and it takes around an hour to become familiar with the way they steer and ride,” states Rob. Watching him track across the south coast back roads, I couldn’t help remembering the absolute ball I had punting around a similarly configured vehicle many, many moons ago. Except that one was built for the snow! Cruiser & Trike

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Custom New Roa Bike dstTest er

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Testdster BikeRoa Custom New

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It’s been the ideal travel companion for Rob, who is unashamedly passionate about his motorcycling lifestyle and regularly shares his riding experiences with his wife, close friends and fellow Spyder owners. His ride has been put through its paces over the years and includes trips to Bundaberg twice a year and various other journeys as far afield as Lorne in Victoria. The Can Am has covered 28,000km to date, has more than met his mechanical and touring requirements, but the desire to own something different raised its head again and he’s started applying some individual touches to separate his pride and joy from the crowd. For extra carrying capacity, a towbar is fitted so a trailer can be hitched. For contrast and shine there’s also a good dose of chrome on board including hand controls, foot controls and folding footrests. The standard rims have been replaced with 13in units from a 2013 model that sport lower profile rubber for sharper steering and a broader contact patch. The biggest and most unique addition, though, would have to be the amazing airbrush art dedicated to

AC/DC that flows all the way from the Spyder’s chrome fangs to its tail. For this, Rob turned to the supremely talented Wayne Harrison of Advanced Airbrush in Penrith, NSW, who put his legendary skills to work transforming Rob’s ideas into reality. Rob is both patient and very meticulous when it comes to his ride and to ensure a quality job and help keep costs under control, he left the Spyder with Wayne for eight weeks and gave him the freedom to create the artwork as he best envisaged. The result is well worth the time and strategy. The portraits of Bon Scott, Angus Young and Brian Johnson are an eerie likeness of the guys themselves, and the detail and finish, with metal flake running through it, is exceptional. There’s also the obligatory spider flanking the pillion seat to serve as a reminder of the machine it’s been applied to. To keep the paint fresh and damage-free, it is protected in vulnerable areas by clear polyurethane contact supplied, cut and applied by Ozicozi Surface Protection. This stuff has a rep for being ultra-tough and it’s the thinnest, most transparent contact Cruiser & Trike

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I’ve seen; until you find its edges, you wouldn’t even know it was there. After riding and owning various bikes for 35 years, including a Victory Jackpot that is still parked in the shed, Rob is justifiably proud of his threewheeled ride and it doesn’t half turn heads and attract passers-by like ants to honey. Punted around the roads, it’s a bit like an AC/DC travelling show and it’s not surprising Rob ended up with the nickname “Roadie”. He’s not finished yet, though. There are plans to add some more chrome where clear wind deflectors currently reside; continue the AC/DC theme on the trailer; and there’s also a new Yoshi exhaust system in the wings waiting to be fitted and tuned. He’s also very keen to point out how accommodating and helpful BRP has been with any aftersales queries or parts. You can tell that living with the Spyder has been nothing but good times and a lot of fun, and despite, or more likely because of, its unique configuration, it has proved to be a highly rewarding cruiser to ride and own. Rock on! C&T


The shed

THE SHED Cruiser & Trike

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The shed

SHOCKED

WIDE GLIDE TRAVIS IS A FAIRLY TYPICAL HARLEYDAVIDSON DYNA WIDE GLIDE OWNER. HE LOVES GOING ROUND CORNERS AS WELL AS GETTING OUT AND CRUISING WITH MATES. HE’S ALSO A MAD-KEEN DRAG RACER. THE BIG FELLA WASN’T OVERLY HAPPY WITH THE HANDLING OFFERED BY THE STANDARD SHOCK ABSORBERS AND AFTER SEARCHING AROUND AND ASKING LOTS OF QUESTIONS, HE ORDERED A PAIR OF GAZI SHOCK ABSORBERS. HERE’S HIS VERSION OF EVENTS. Words by: Travis Anderson

I opened the box my new Gazi shock absorbers arrived in and I have to say, in black, they are a good-looking shock. The bike was already on the lift as I’d just changed the rear tyre; a season of racing hadn’t been kind to it. A centre lift jack is definitely going to make this job easier. If you are doing it on your own, a trolley jack under the rear tyre will help with lifting the swing arm up or down to line up the bolts. Tools required for this job, apart from the jack, were a ¾in socket for the top shock nuts, a ¾in spanner for the left-hand bottom shock bolt, as well as a T50 Torx bit for the bottom shock bolts. I’d also recommend removing the seat for better access to the top of the shocks so you’ll also need a Phillips head screwdriver and a T27 Torx bit. With the bike strapped onto the centre lift and the seat removed, crack the top nuts with the ¾in socket then undo the bottom bolts. The left bottom bolt has a nut on the inside of the swing arm (hence the ¾in spanner), while the right one is captive threaded into the swing arm. You will need to use the jack to raise the rear wheel to make getting the bolts out easier. If you do it with load on them, not only will they be harder to undo, but you also stand a very good chance of stripping the threads. Harley uses a strong thread-locking compound when assembling these things so you need to make it as easy as possible.

Once you have the bottom bolts out, undo the top nuts, remove the covers and slide the old shocks off. My bike required 10mm spacers to fit the new shocks (talk to the guys at Gazi when ordering your shocks and they’ll provide the right size for your application). The original top bolt covers won’t fit on with the new shocks without some grinding with a Dremel or similar. I left them off as I’m trying to reduce the chrome and increase the black. Reassembly is simple. Slip the spacers over the top bolt; push the supplied bushings into the eyes of the Gazi shocks and then slide on the top bolt. Put the top nut on with a dab of blue Loctite (medium strength) but don’t tighten yet. Put the bushing into the bottom eye, slide the bolt through enough so you can put the spacer in then thread the bolt in (also use a dob of blue Loctite here). Once the shocks are all lined up, tighten everything up. Then double-check all nuts and bolts are tight. Set the base settings as per the supplied instructions. Measure the unladen sag while the bike’s still on the stand, then put the bike back on the ground and measure the sag again with the bike’s weight only. You will need a helper for the next bit. Get your riding gear on and sit on the bike while your helper then measures the sag again. The instructions give you the measurements to work by. It’s a lot easier than it sounds.

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RIDE FOR LONGER

NATURAL COMFORT

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IKON SHOCKS & S FORK SPRINGS

• Wide Widdee range ran ange nge of of tw twin wiinn sh sho shocks, hhoock cks, ks m monoo sh sshocks hoc ockks and for oc fork orkk sp or springs priring nggs to suit suit bikes bik ikes es from fro rom m ye yest yesteryear sstter ter erye year ye ar ttoo to tod today. day. day da y. damping improved • Progressive Prog Pr ogre ress ssiv ivee ra rate te sspringing prin pr ingi ging ng aand nd aadjustable djus dj usta tabl blee da damp mpin ingg fo forr im impr prov oved ed performance. • Variety of options for many models for varying loads, heights g and styles. • Custom made shocks a speciality.

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6 Ainslie Close, Somersby NSW Ph: 02 4372 1100 For more info give us a ring or email info@oztrikes.com.au


The shed

When I ordered my shocks, the guys at Gazi asked me for weight, pillion weight (if you carry one), standard or lowered shock height, then sent me a pair built to suit. I didn’t need to touch the spring rate settings or ride height, just the rebound. I set the rebound by winding it all the way in and then backed it out 10 clicks as per the instructions before heading out for a

ride. I found that going back in two clicks made the rebound spot-on for me. Compared to stock, the difference in ride and handling is worlds apart. The swing arm sits straighter and the bike sits a little bit higher in the rear, with far less sag when I sit on the bike. After a trip to the editor’s cave, I decided to take the long way home along some great rural roads. One section of this regular ride has a particular mid-corner bump that I know well. It’s in an 80km/h zone with the recommended corner speed sign stating 55. It’s easily taken at more than that as long as you remember to change line slightly to avoid the bump. With the standard shocks, this bump would cause the bike to twist itself up, making life uncomfortable. I decided to test out these beauties by hitting the bump at my normal speed rather than ride around it. I was ready to fight the Wide Glide as I would have had to with the standard shocks, but when I hit the bump, the bike barely moved at all; the shocks soaked it up so well I only felt a slight rear-end dip — it was amazing. The bike changes direction much quicker, feels more nimble, scrapes the pegs and exhaust less in corners and just feels amazing to ride. The next big test will be on the drag strip to see how well it will launch now. The straighter swingarm angle should also help reduce the bike’s desire to wheelstand. C&T

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The shed

THE SHED Welcome to The Shed, the section for Cruiser & Trike readers who want to get off the lounge and out into the shed. Shed time should be happy time. We’re gonna show you stuff that some will find easy and other stuff that leaves us scratching our collective heads. Not every job is simple and we all have a point where we call in the experts. There are no hard and fast rules about what we will or won’t cover in The Shed. If you’ve got an idea or would like to contribute your own shed stuff, shoot an email to cruiser@universalmagazines.com.au Your bike is a very personal thing and for it to give you the best ride, it needs to be set up so that it fits you properly. The most important controls are on the handlebars, and they need to be within easy reach so you can maintain proper control. They also need to be set so they don’t make the ride uncomfortable. So let’s adjust them.

SETTING THE BARS

Start with the correct tools. Almost all handlebar fittings are secured by hexagon-socket bolts or cap screws and they will be either metric or imperial. Make sure your Allen key is a perfect fit for the bolt, because the wrong tool will chew out the bolt and you’ll have real trouble getting it out.

1

Before you attack the handlebar clamps, loosen the screws which hold the switch blocks onto the bars and test whether you can rotate the switch blocks around the bar. Most bikes allow liberal rotation but some are pinned and consequently their movement is severely restricted. That will limit how far you can adjust the bars.

2

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The shed

If the switch blocks can rotate, snug them up again temporarily and loosen the four bolts of the handlebar clamp. Do this a bit of a turn at a time and do it in a crosswise fashion until they are all just loose enough to allow you to move the bars. Sit on the bike and move the bars up or down until you get a position that feels good, then snug up the bolts, again using a bit of a turn at a time and the crosswise pattern until the bar won’t move on its own.

3

Once the clamp is snugged up, loosen the switch block screws and set the clutch and brake lever perches so that they’re easy to reach. A good rule of thumb is to set the levers so that when your fingers are on the levers, they are in a straight line with your forearm. Sit on the bike, imagine you’re riding, and use both the clutch and the brake levers to see how they feel.

4

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The shed

5

Before you go any further, you need to turn the bars full from one side to the other to check that nothing is going to hit the tank or pinch your thumbs between the bars and the tank while doing a U-turn. If they feel okay and everything clears, adjust the mirrors so that they give you a good view behind.

6

After everything feels like it’s in the best position, tighten up the handlebar clamp evenly and crosswise using the Allen key. Do up the clamp bolts with your best strength because they must not work loose! Keep in mind that each hex key

is designed so that using its length as a lever, you can put the right amount of torque on the bolt. You won’t damage the bolt and you won’t need any extra leverage. When the clamp is tight, do up the screws in each switch block. Sit on the bike, make a final adjustment of Cruiser & Trike

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your mirrors and you’re ready for a test ride. If it’s not quite right, go through the process again until it is right. Now your bike will fit you better than before, it will be more comfortable to ride and you will enjoy it more. And d that’s th hat at’s ’ss what it’s all about, isn’t it? C&T


Long-Termer

Yamaha XV1900AT

THIS IS THE END OF THE FIRST CHAPTER.

WE’VE ALREADY STARTED WRITING THE SECOND. Cruiser & Trike

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Long-Termer

THANK YOU AMHP: Headlight protector DUDLEY’S: Dyno time, use of workshop, coffee and advice KAOKO: Cruise control KENMA: DNA high-performance air filter and EJK Electronic Jet Kit LINK: Cobra Speedster Slashdown exhaust MUSTANG SEATS: DayTripper seat (#75618) YAMAHA: Long-term loan of the XV1900AT VENTURA: Fat Man handlebars

Words: Mick Withers

L

ike all good things, the party was over for Luxo Liner. Someone at Yamaha decided that our XV1900AT was getting old and needed to be taken away from us. It’s fair to say we were more than a bit attached to the Luxo Liner. After all, it was the very first bike tested after taking over editorship of this fine magazine. A couple of weeks spent in the hands of a lesser magazine was the only time it spent away from home. We know the bloke who rode it and he looked after the stock standard bike better than his own. When we set forth on our Heavyweight Cruisers (C&T 5.4) voyage to Maryborough, I started off on the XV1900AT and tried to push everyone else away when it was time to swap bikes. By the time we arrived, the XV1900AT had risen in my estimation and the trip home with JD saw us knock over 1200km in a day before the rain beat us. For every one of those klicks, I was aboard the big Yamaha. The screen was the first part to be jettisoned and it lived in a box in the bike shed until it was returned to Yamaha, along with the other stock parts removed and replaced. From my days working on bikes for a living, I know what a hassle it is to fit higher bars to many bikes and why it costs so much if you’re paying someone else to fit them, as well as the required new cables, hoses and extended electrical wiring. A bill of $2000 is not unusual and is probably still about what the job could cost you. With the help of Peter Lucas from Kenma and Ventura, we designed the Fat Man bars. The beauty of these is that they’re a direct bolt-on for a Yamaha XV1900AT and for $399 you can buy your own set in chrome (YH17) or black (YH17B) for $299.

The Mustang seat was chosen for looks and also by reputation. Before this one arrived, none of us had actually sat on any of their seats. A DayTripper (#75618, $US379) is definitely not a stock XV1900AT seat! Two-tone with a textured grey insert panel on top, the DayTripper suits the style of our Luxo Liner perfectly. Removing the sissy bar also tidied the rear end of the bike. But it was the difference in ride that we loved the most. This is a comfortable seat. Noise is good. We like noise, but more importantly, we like musical noise rather than a harsh racket. Link International imports Cobra Exhausts and among its wide range is the Speedster Slashdown (81-282-30, $1069) that we chose. Fitting was quick and easy enough for most home mechanics to knock over in a day. We opted for the more restrictive baffles and found the music level they offer is loud enough to be enjoyable without having to have discussions with the owners of overly sensitive sound level measurement equipment. Performance is improved and the extremely heavy stock muffler relegated to the spares shelf. To complement the sound and ensure the right amounts of air and fuel are ingested, we used a DNA air filter element (P-Y19CR09-01, $79) and an EJK Electronic Jet Kit fuel controller (9120289, $349) from Kenma to allow us to fine-tune the fuel curve and maximise efficiency. Not that we’re lazy, but out of town, anything that takes the strain out of hanging onto the throttle for hours on end is good. We were offered a Kaoko Cruise Control Kit (Yamstar & Yamliner, $159) and found it is a bloody good thing. Highly recommended if you ride out beyond the end of the streetlights. Speaking of lights, the good folk from Australian Motorcycle Headlight Protectors sent us one of their Cruiser & Trike

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fine products (CY38, $52.30) to protect the expensive headlight from rocks and other road trash. All of these modifications and additions were carried out as we identified a way to make our Luxo Liner better while clocking up kilometres all over NSW. Everyone who rode it came back impressed. Yamaha nailed it with this bike. It is big enough for the largest rider to feel comfortable yet still be controllable for those of smaller stature. The 1900cc engine is truly one of the gems of the motorcycle world. It has more torque than any other stock cruiser under 2000cc. So there you have it. Well, almost. That was just the first chapter of our Tale of Two Luxo Liners. Although Luxo Liner #1 went back to Yamaha, all of our added pieces are being removed and fitted to a new 2014 Yamaha XV1900AT Star Tourer. The new Luxo Liner is silver and we’re waiting very impatiently for it to arrive.C&T


York Motorcycle Festival

YORK

MOTORCYCLE FESTIVAL ALONG WITH MOST OF AUSTRALIA, YORK IS EAST OF PERTH. THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT IT IS MOTORCYCLEFRIENDLY, UNLIKE OTHER PARTS OF OUR LAND

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York Motorcycle Festival

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York Motorcycle Festival

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he 2013 York Motorcycle Festival brought about 5000 people into the town, good for business anywhere these days. The main street is closed down on Saturday and was then filled with market stalls, trade displays, food stalls, live music, motorcycle stunt shows, kids’ activities, stage shows, Show & Shine and more. Among other attractions was Badpiper, well known in WA as the world’s only flame-throwing, leather-clad, tattooed heavy-metal bagpipe musician. The Show & Shine was held in the York Town Hall, not something that happens in many town halls!

The York Motorcycle Festival is a charity event designed to help raise money for WA organisation Wheels for Hope. Part of the WA Motor Trades Association, Wheels For Hope provides vehicles to WA families who have children with disabilities. Wheels for Hope will be hosting a charity ride to the 2014 York Motorcycle Festival to help raise funds. Plans are already in place for the 2014 York Motorcycle Festival but it will have been run and won by the time you see this. If things work out, we’ll bring you pics and info of the 2014 event. For more info, log on to yorkmotorcyclefestival. com.au C&T

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York Motorcycle Festival

YORK, WA

York is the oldest inland town in Western Australia, situated 97km east of Perth in the heart of the wheatbelt, and is the seat of the Shire of York. Home to 3396 people, according to the 2011 Census, it was settled in 1831, only two years after Perth was settled.

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Breaking cover

2014 STAR BOLTS A NEW COLOUR AND TWO DIFFERENT ACCESSORY PACKS TO ADD VALUE TO YOUR OWN BOLT

HELL FOR LEATHER Rear fender rack Brass speedo visor Brass headlight bezel Brass taillight bezel Brass mesh air cleaner cover R/H engine cover small insert, black Clutch cover insert, black Generator cover insert, black Leather saddlebag, Oxblood Springer solo seat Saddlebag support bars Black fork gaiters Blinker relocator kit

KEEP IT GREEN News that the Camo Green R-Spec is now available in Australia is testament to people power. You asked and Yamaha responded by adding it to the list for Australia. Only available in R-Spec, the Camo Green option is $12,999 ride away.

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Rideaway Prices

Breaking c over

MODEL KIT

RRP

RIDE AWAY SAVING

Hell for Leather (XVS950HLE) Paint it Black (XVS950PBE)

$2821 $1263

$14,999 $13,999

We’re fans of the Yamaha Bolt, in case you hadn’t noticed. We’ve ridden them and are currently modifying one that we’ve called Project Nuts & Bolts. It’s an easy bike to ride and also an easy bike to modify and personalise; hey, if we can do it, just about anyone can.

$821 $263

Yamaha released a range of accessories specific to the Bolt and we’ve used some of them on Project Nuts & Bolts. To help promote the range, Yamaha has come up with a couple of accessory kits that are available from your local dealer.

PAINT IT BLACK Rear fender rack Stainless-steel mesh air cleaner cover R/H engine cover small insert, Midnight Generator cover insert, Midnight Black fork gaiters Mini bullet cowl, Raven

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Here’s the deal: Buy a Bolt and order one of the two kits. When you pick up your new Bolt, it’ll already have all of the extra parts fitted for a price that is cheaper than buying them separately — plus they’re fitted! The two accessory kits are Hell for Leather and Paint it Black. Check out the sidebars for a list of what’s included in each of them. Now you’ve got the info, chase up your local Yamaha dealer. C&T


Shop Talk

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Shop Talk

TROOPER LU’S GARAGE

Motorcycle shops are at the heart and soul of motorcycling. Sure, you can order stuff online, but nothing substitutes being able to lean on a counter and ask a question. Equally, no matter how good the graphics are on your computer screen, being able to touch and feel motorcycle parts is much more satisfying. We celebrate the culture of Australian motorcycle shops and workshops. No matter where you lived, Saturday mornings were when every young rider would head off to the local, or not-so-local, shop to hang out and share experiences as well as look at the parts and bikes you dreamed about buying. In Shop Talk we pick the shops that you tell us about and discover what makes them popular. If you want to recommend a shop or workshop, send us an email and tell us who, what and why. The address is cruiser@unversalmagazines.com.au We caught up with Trooper Lu’s Garage owner Justin Chisholm for a chat. Enjoy.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO OPEN UP SHOP? Initially it was a hobby and I had a few weeks contemplating life after finishing another profession. I just got busier and busier working from home! So I rented a small factory — we just wanted to be a shop that believed in bikes as I have been around bikes since I can remember.

HOW LONG HAS THE SHOP BEEN GOING? In total now, four years. Feels like 20 years though!

WHAT’S THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT COMPONENT IN YOUR SHOP? Service department and suspension. Despite having 16 staff, budgets to manage and a business to run, I still like to spend a few hours a day in the workshop — especially on Cruiser & Trike

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ORDER THE NEW TODAY

ONLY $25 TEES COME IN BLACK OR WHITE AND SIZES S-3XL

Call 1300 303 414 or visit www.universalshop.com.au to order one today!


custom bikes and problem jobs. This is good as people know we are problem solvers, but bad as we get the end of the customer’s patience: eg, He has already had issues and we wear that frustration sometimes.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? Just being me and spending time with our customers and the staff — they are all like family. My kids hang out here and it is a real family atmosphere.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? STABILISE — I don’t want to get any bigger. We just want to do what we do and focus on processes and coping with the large customer load we have. I want to focus on efficiency and how we can do better in every aspect of the business. I feel we never stop and just keep developing what we do, getting better and better and better.

GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK AT THE FUTURE: WHAT NEW MODELS HAVE YOU GOT COMING? Well, some exciting products from Yamaha for sure. Triumph has the LAMS bike coming out, and we have quite a few custom builds, like the Bolt we are doing from Yamaha, a cool Tenere 660, VMax special and a heap more.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS? Most travel a fair way to the shop; they come from Perth, Dubbo and all over Australia. Because we run a pick-up service Sydney-wide, this brings people from everywhere in the Sydney metropolitan area. We use Servin’ It Up Motorcycle Transport and the guy is really professional

Shop Talk

and follows our business model with how he does his bike collections, so we get customers from everywhere. Many just come and hang out at the shop and poke around. We have the pinball machine and TV here and people just chat. I love that.

WHAT BIKE DO YOU CLAIM AS YOUR OWN PERSONAL FAVOURITE? Yamaha RZ500 — I love it My Triumph Explorer — love it The Triumph scrambler — well that one’s a keeper The VMax is just CRAZY CRAZY and one of the best motorcycles I have ever ridden. It is by far my favourite to ride. And the Yamaha WR450, which I also love.

WHAT BRANDS DO YOU OFFER? Triumph, Yamaha, MV Agusta, Sea Doo and a large range of used motorcycles.

WHAT BRANDS OR PRODUCTS DO YOU IMPORT AND DISTRIBUTE? We import ZARD exhausts, Rizoma accessories, Sato Racing components and a heap more. All boutique stuff that gives us a point of difference.

KEY STAFF We have more than 15 staff. We have a great team and are always developing and learning. Starting from nothing means we have had to learn as we go. We have made errors and we learn from them every time. We are actually one of the only shops our size to have started up from nothing in the past 20 years. Many have bought existing shops, but actually starting with new name, new premises, new processes, off the back of a GFC is really tough. But we are here and getting stronger every day.

LOCATION 3/80 Heathcote Road Moorebank NSW 2170

PHONE (02) 9602 3773

WEBSITE trooperlu.com.au

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2014 YAMAHA STRYKER

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HERE’S A SNEAK PREVIEW OF THE NEXT YAMAHA CRUISER TO BE DIVERTED FROM THE USA AND SENT OUR WAY

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lready well-proven in the USA cruiser marketplace, Yamaha has just released the Stryker onto the Australian market. Readers familiar with the Yamaha cruiser range would recognise the Stryker’s engine that it shares with the V-Star XVS1300A. The fuel-injected and liquidcooled 1304cc V-twin offers a flexible power delivery and with 106Nm of torque at 4000rpm and 52.4kW at 5500rpm, there’s enough grunt to get you where you’re going.

A

STYLE AND STUFF Alright, you noticed that the front-end is raked out. First thing we noticed, too. The 6° yoke and raked triple clamps combine to provide a total of 40° of fork rake. This achieves the aggressive raked-out styling and solid straight-line performance you’d expect, while at the same time providing light, nimble handling characteristics, even at low speeds. Seat height is low, just 670mm, letting the rider sit in rather than on the bike when riding, and enjoy having both feet planted firmly on the ground when stopped. Steel guards are one of this bike’s features. Steel fenders are ideal for customisers who want to cut, chop or modify. Cast wheels have low-profile tyres. A wide 210-series rear tyre and 21-inch front wheel add to the aggressive attitude of the bike. The relaxed riding position is complemented by the carefully chosen handlebar position, which puts the rider’s arms comfortably level with the horizon. Being a constant 1in diameter, there are already plenty of handlebar options so you can find the set that is just right for you. Large 320mm front and 310mm rear discs provide serious

stopping power and belt final drive will give long service with low stress levels. Given the wide range of accessories offered by Yamaha for the existing Star range, expect to see a variety of options.

ENGINE AND STUFF Yamaha reckons the 80-cubic-inch (1304cc) liquid-cooled, single overhead cam 60-degree V-twin with dual counterbalancers offers plenty of smooth performance. If it is tuned the same as the XVS1300A, the company is probably right. Computer-controlled twin-barrel fuel injection provides optimal mixture whatever the temperature or altitude. Ignition and fuelinjection maps are optimised for Stryker’s performance character. Four valves per cylinder (36mm intake, 32mm exhaust) provide optimum combustion efficiency; roller rocker arms reduce friction for better performance and reduced wear. Ceramiccomposite cylinder sleeves contain 100mm forged pistons for excellent durability and longevity. Aggressive cam timing and 9.5:1 compression ratio produce plenty of power across the board and a distinctive exhaust note. Forged connecting rods ride a single crankpin for true V-twin sound and power. Its sneaky cooling system routes liquid through hidden hoses and internal engine passages for air-cooled looks and liquidcooled performance. The oil filter is easy to get to but also tucked nearly out of sight for clean looks. The exhaust system, designed specifically for Stryker, adds to the distinctive look of this bike while also optimising its engine performance, and is claimed to offer a magnificent exhaust note. Hmmm, we’ll reserve judgement on that until we ride one ourselves. C&T

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PLUS A FREE 2014 BIKE GUIDE! 6 issues of Australian Cruiser & Trike magazine – RRP $45 + FREE 2014 Bike Guide

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Custom trike

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LOST CONTACT DETAILS MEANT WE HAD TO HOLD ONTO THIS STORY FOR A WHILE, BUT NOW WE CAN SHARE WITH YOU THIS AMAZING PHOENIX TRIKE Cruiser & Trike

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Custom trike

Words & photos: Mick Withers

ike many of the finest innovations in the world of motorcycles and things with engines, this project was launched by a group of mates who were having a few drinks. Someone asked if it was possible to build a trike with an engine other than a traditional air-cooled, flat-four VW. Although well proven in this application, the VW engine dates back to the 1930s. It’s old technology with a few modern touches. They can be modified for improved performance, even built from new using aftermarket components, but it’s still a VW. This discussion took place at the Ulysses AGM in Penrith, which makes it 2009 when an unidentified “somebody” asked, “Can you build a trike using a Japanese multi-valve engine and move away from a VW engine?” Lightbulbs were illuminated above heads and as time passed, Kiwi pondered and plotted a more involved idea. Back home in the workshop at Leon’s Motors in Brisbane, Leon, Andrew and Kiwi — the three wise morons (as they call themselves) — came up with T Rex. They might have a bit of form for this type of caper, seeing that the business is also known as Phoenix Trikes. A Subaru engine was located, in this case a turbocharged 2.5-litre flat-four from a donor WRX. For added exclamation marks on stories, the standard turbo was replaced with a healthier option from Garrett that feeds compressed air to the intake ports after being fed through an intercooler. Sensible and healthy mods that will promote a long, healthy life yet still provide 400 healthy horsepower. Backing the EJ25 engine is a VW gearbox that was especially built by Leon’s Motors to handle the obviously large supplies of horsepower and torque. With the basic driveline decided, work began on the chassis. Starting with a clean sheet of paper allowed Big Dean McIntyre

L

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to bend and weld chrome-moly tubing into the desired shape. This also provided somewhere to hang the front-end at the pointy end and the Subaru/VW package at the blunt end. With the basic chassis sorted, Clinton was able to work fibreglass mat into a suitable shape and hang it over the top. Sounds easy when you say it like that! With the seating positions sorted, Gary Molkin was able to make up seats for rider and passenger comfort. Generous side supports are an added feature and a damn good idea given the insane g-forces produced by this 441kg monster when cornering. Various pieces of sheet metal were bent, folded or welded to shape by M-T Sheetmetal, and it is fine work they have produced. Some you can see, but many more are hidden away under the outer shell. Also under the outer shell is a very neat electrical wiring loom that was laid out by Andrew at Leon’s Motors. Clever bloke that he is, Andrew also tuned and tamed what could have been an unruly beast. Auto Collusions was responsible for applying the colour and gloss to the complete Phoenix trike and it’s a credit to them. When I spotted this trike at the Ulysses AGM in Maryborough, there was already a crowd gathered around it but no one knew

who the owner was. Thankfully, Kiwi found the note I left on the seat and we caught up long enough to grab these images. While shooting pics, Kiwi told tales of three-wheeled terrorism performed on riders of sportbikes along twisty roads. Given the basic specs and power-to-weight ratio, there’s no reason to doubt him. His phone number was written down in a notebook that simply disappeared and I had no way of finding him other than by sticking a pic of the trike in C&T and asking for someone to please put us in touch. Kiwi sent us a brief email with the basics of his amazing Subaru-powered trike and ended it with the following points: “This is one quick trike and not built for the fainthearted. It was hand-built over 28 months, which was a brain-killing exercise. These are not off-the-shelf trikes. Will we do this again? One big YES! These are fun, fun, fun.” Like there was any doubt of that. If you’d like to explore your own level of self-control, you could chase up the Three Wise Morons at Phoenix Trikes, or Leon’s Motors — whichever you prefer. Give them a call on (07) 3277 7489. Or log on to phoenixtrikes.com.au Don’t say we didn’t warn you, though. A trike this light and powerful has the potential to shred your licence on the spot. C&T

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YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A YAMAHA BOLT! PLUS A FREE 2014 BIKE GUIDE!

6 issues of Australian Cruiser & Trike magazine – RRP $45 + FREE 2014 Bike Guide

FOR ONLY $30 PLUS! Go in the draw to win our Yamaha Bolt


Price Guide Spyder RT-S ..................... Ultimate Touring......................... $38,990 Spyder RT Limited............ Touring luxury ............................. $39,990

Cruiser price guide

CF MOTO

Can I afford it?

DUCATI

N

BOLLINI

WE SAY

HARLEY-DAVIDSON

PRICE

urbanmotoimports.com.au

Cruiser Supershadow.................... Cheap to run .............................. $3990

CAN-AM BRP SPYDER

ducati.com.au

Cruiser Diavel ............................... Velvet-wrapped cosh ................. $23,990 Diavel Carbon Red ........... Black art..................................... $29,490 Diavel Stripes ................... Add a line ................................... $26,990 Diavel Strada ................... Black with chrome ..................... $26,990

ew bike prices can go up and down like the stock market, so in every issue we’ll bring you the sticker prices. To be completely up to date with things such as factory discounts and incentives, check the Cruiser & Trike website (cruiserandtrike.com.au) where we will bring you all the special deals, bonus offers and cashback promotions. We have listed the importers’ websites if you’re looking for more information. These are the prices the distributors gave us; some may be promotional prices and may no longer be available when you go to the shop. Some of the prices are ride away and the rest are plus on-road costs. Check with your local dealer.

BRAND & MODEL

cf-moto.com.au

Cruiser V5 ................................... Points for finding the engine ...... $TBC

spyder.brp.com/au/home

Roadster Spyder RS ........................ Corner muncher ......................... $19,990 Spyder RS-S .................... With more .................................. $23,990 Spyder ST ........................ Sports tourer.............................. $22,990 Spyder ST Limited ........... Sports tourer plus ...................... $28,990 Spyder RT......................... Touring........................................ $30,490

harley-davidson.com

Cruiser XL883L SuperLow ........... For the shorties .......................... $14,750 XL883N Iron 883 ............. Iron tough ................................... $14,995 XL1200CA Custom A ...... Show off A ................................. $19,250 XL1200CB Custom B ...... Show off B ................................. $18,750 XL1200C Custom ............ Basline Custom ......................... $18,750 XL1200X Forty-Eight........ Retro cool................................... $18,995 XL1200V Seventy-Two ..... Vintage muscle .......................... $18,495 FXDB Street Bob ............. Versatile ..................................... $22,495 FXDC Custom.................. A bike with attitude.................... $23,495 FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide Let your hair hang down ............ $24,995 FXDF Dyna Fat Bob ......... Lay off the burgers Bob! ............ $25,495 FLD Dyna Switchback ..... Click your fingers ....................... $26,250 FXSB Breakout ................ Make a statement...................... $28,995 FXST Softail Standard ..... The original ride ......................... $27,250 FLS Softail Slim ............... Slim, yet PH fat!......................... $26,250 FLSTF Fat Boy ................. Big bruiser.................................. $28,995 FLSTFB Fat Boy Lo .......... Low bruiser ................................ $28,750 FLSTN Softail Deluxe ...... Classy dude ............................... $28,995 FLSTC Heritage Classic... Visually beautiful ........................ $29,995 FLHR Road King............... Be the king................................. $32,495

FIND OUT MOR RE, VISIT:

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hd h ds street treet bob

MC Cruise (V4) the latest release of the world’s leading model-specific Motorcycle Cruise Control system, is now available on Harley-Davidson Street Bob.

Harley-Davidson FXDB 2010 Street Bob

Talk to your dealer, visit mccruise.com email sales@mccruise.com or phone 03 9808 2804 for more information

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MCcruise.cOM THE INNOV VATORS IN:

Motorcycle cruise controls The lead ading model-specific motorcyc yclle cruise control system ms

quadcruise Electronic speed and spr praay control for ATVs

SpeedSafe Speed limiters rs for ATVs


Price Guide FLHX Street Glide............ Bad boy ...................................... $33,995 FLTK Electra Glide Ultra .. New generation tourer............... $38,250 FLHTCU Ultra Classic ..... Comfy ........................................ $37,250 VRSC Night Rod Special . Looks like a dragbike ................. $26,995 VRSC Muscle................... Muscle me ................................. $26,750 CVO FXSBSE Softail Breakout . Bling chopper ............................... $43,995 FLHRSE5 Road King ........ King bling ................................... $47,995 FLHTKSE Ultra Limited ... Modern cruiser........................... $50,995 FLSTNSE Deluxe ............. Classy touring ............................ $44,995

HONDA

honda.com.au

Cruiser VT400 ............................... Classic styled, LAM................... $9299 VT750S ............................ Streetwise appeal ...................... $8099 VT750C ............................ Classic appeal............................ $11,749 CTX700NA ABS .............. All-new cruiser ........................... $9049 VT1300CXA Fury ............. Chopped dragster...................... $15,490

HUNTER

KAWASAKI

KYMCO

kymco.com.au

Cruiser Venox 250.....................Value and looks ....................... $5490

LARO

laro.com.au

Cruiser Cruiser 250 ..................Learners ride ........................... $3990

LIFAN

motorcycle-city.com.au

Cruiser V250 Custom ...............Revvy, stylish cruiser ............... $3990

MOTO GUZZI

huntermotorcycles.com.au

kawasaki.com.au

Cruiser Vulcan 900 Custom ......Thin-tyre tripping ..................... $12,699 Vulcan 1700 Classic .....Great blank canvas ................. $19,999 Vulcan 1700 Nomad .....Add a bit of bling ..................... $22,999 Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ...Go to the dark side ................. $24,499 Vulcan 1700 Voyager ...Plush ride................................. $25,999

motoguzzi.com.au

Cruiser Bobber............................. Cool custom.............................. $6490 Daytona ........................... Cool for cats ............................. $5990 Spyder ............................. Don’t mess with Angry ............. $6490

Cruiser Bellagio 940 .................Crossover charmer.................. $17,490 California 1400 .............Beast ....................................... $21,990 California 1400 Touring .. Long-distance beast ....................$24,990

HYOSUNG

PAGSTA

hyosung.com.au

INDIAN

pagsta.com.au

Cruiser Cruisa 250 Series Two ... Nice appeal..................................$3990

Cruiser GV250 Aquila .................. Little cutie ................................. $4990 GV650 Aquila .................. Responsive rider ....................... $7690 GV650C Aquila Classic... LAMS value .............................. $7690

SUZUKI

indianmotorcycle.com.au

Cruiser Chief Classic ................... Leading the tribe back .............. $28,995 Chief Vintage .................. Signature heritage aesthetic .... $31,495 Chieftain .......................... First Indian tourer and bagger .. $35,995

suzukimotorcycles.com.au

Cruiser VL250 Intruder .............Bang that drum ....................... $6690 VL800 C50 ...................Traditional ............................... $10,990 VL800 C50T .................All-new class ........................... $12,990 VZ800 M50 ..................Neat bobber ............................ $10,990 VZ1500 C90T...............Bad boy ................................... $17,490

Being a biker means more than just a motorcycle parked in the garage. It’s attitude, passion, brotherhood, it’s a way of life. J&P Cycles, born for your way of life.

Born a biker.

Call or order online 0011

1(319) 462-4817

WWW.JPCYCLES.COM

To advertise in Cruiser & Trike magazine Please call Jon on 02 9887 0347

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Price Guide VLR1800 C109R ..........Classic looks ........................... $18,690 VLR1800T C109RT ......Now as a tourer....................... $18,990 VZR1800 M109R .........Beaut and brutal ..................... $18,990

TORINO

torinomotorcycles.com.au

SEE US AT MOTO GP EXPO SHED PHILLIP ISLAND 26th -28th OCTOBER 2012

Cruiser Veloce 250 ....................American-styled ...................... $4695 La Bora .........................Bargain custom ....................... $5995

TRIUMPH

triumphmotorcycles.com.au

Cruiser America ......................... Easy urban rider ..........................$13,090 Speedmaster ................. Custom, tasty handler .................$13,090 Thunderbird ABS ............ Better brakes ..............................$19,490 Thunderbird ABS TT....... Sharper brakes ............................$19,990 Thunderbird Haze ........... Not purple ...................................$21,990 Thunderbird Storm ......... Thunderous ..................................$20,490 Thunderbird Storm ABS . With sharper brakes ....................$20,490 Rocket III Roadster ABS Wanna drag? ...............................$20,990 Rocket III Roadster Haze And some more ...........................$21,490 Rocket III Touring ABS ... Reasonably easy to ride ..............$23,990

Pro Musicians audio driver fully Incorporated Into custom mould

VICTORY

Wax Cap for Effortless Cleaning and Maintenance

victorymotorcycles.com.au

Cruiser Vegas 8 Ball.................... Sink the 8 ball ..............................$19,995 Vegas Jackpot ................ A pearler ......................................$24,995 Highball........................... Ol’ skool cool ...............................$19,995 Judge.............................. R U ready to be judged? .............$19,995 Hammer 8 Ball................ Hammer that 8 ball ......................$20,995 Hammer S ...................... Hammer it! ...................................$22,995 Boardwalk Black............. Dark classic .................................$21,995 Boardwalk White ............ Cool classic .................................$22,495 Hardball .......................... Bad ass ........................................$23,995 Cross Roads ................... Robert Johnson cool....................$24,995 Cross Roads Classic ...... Chromed up cool .........................$24,995 Cross Country . .............. Hard panniers ..............................$24,995 Cross Country Zach Ness ...................................................Let’s see it $29,995 Cross Country Tour Cory Poster material ............................$31,995 Cross Country Tour ........ Tour in comfort.............................$27,495 Vision Tour ...................... Space age looks ..........................$29,995 Vision Tour Arlen Ness ... Hot rod touring ............................$32,995

Viper

urbanmotoimports.com.au

Cruiser Black Diamond ............... Ilmor-powered hot rod .................$49,990

YAMAHA

Optional dual canal featuring Non-linear filler for varied Sound attenuation

yamaha-motor.com.au

Full compatible with Jabra BT 3030 bluetooth device Recive and re dial phone calls Adjust volume, skip, play and pause music straight from the device Jabra bluetooth sold seperately NoiseGuard Moto cable extension included

PANTHER TRIKES LIAN AUSTRAAND MADE TED OPERA

PANTHER NEW MODEL is available now! Standard Panther Terminator FOR ONLY $28,600 inc GST

Cruiser XVS250 Virago............... Great small package....................$6499 XVS650 Custom ............ Popular custom ............................$10,499 XVS650 Classic ............. And as a classic ...........................$10,990 XVS650 Bobber ............. Chopped up .................................$TBA XVS950CU Bolt ............. Basic Bolt ....................................$11,999 XVS950CUSP Bolt R..... Bolt plus ......................................$12,499 XVS950A........................ Mighty mid-ranger .......................$13,999 XVS1100A Custom ........ Thin tyres .....................................$14,699 XVS1100A Classic ......... Fat tyres.......................................$15,699 XVS1300A...................... Favourite of many riders ..............$15,999 XVS1300AT Tourer......... With more features......................$18,299 XV1900A Roadliner ........ Art Deco piece.............................$21,499 XV1900AT Star Tourer ... Editor’s current favourite ............$24,099

2014 BIKE GUIDE ON SALE NOW Check out the all-new 2014 Bike Guide for more in-depth analysis of all the new and current models available in Australia.

PANTHER ENGINEERING (AUST) P/L Unit 7/379 Manns Road, West Gosford, NSW Ph: 02 4322 2339 Mobile: 0414 878 711 www Web: www.panthertrikes.com Email: sales@panthertrikes.com

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Sandbag

WHO’S IN CONTROL? Is it the man or the machine...

Words: Tim Sanford ho says it’s getting easier? Riding a motorcycle used to be such a simple pastime; the instant the brain registered “let’s go for a ride” the body was in gear with all the necessary requirements for the pleasure of a lifetime. The body was adorned by clothing entirely suitable to the occasion: blue jeans if it was cold, blue jeans if it was hot, leather jacket ditto. Boots of course, but only to add to the style of the jeans. Helmet? Well if you must, but many didn’t and the reason was obvious: other people got hurt on motorcycles but we never did. We crashed, yes, but did we get badly injured? Never! Coming off the bike was described in lurid terms like “trowelling it”, “throwing it up the road” and later came “binning it”. All part of the richness of description and bragging about how fast we were going (before we came off) and what a fantastic ride it was (before we came off) and how great it would be when the bike was back on the road so the whole process could start all over. Now, gentle Cruiser & Trike reader, we welcome a brave new era when riding your machine is a task “assisted” by the technological advancements now available to us thanks to electronics, computers and so on. The latest wonder spawned by the fertile brains of those with degrees in Clipboard Management is the wizardry in new American motorcycles that cuts out the throttle response if you happen to have a touch of rear brake. Read the C&T test report of the new Indians and you’ll get the picture. Some techno-assist has merit, no doubt about that. If you don’t have race braking experience, then a good ABS system is worth

W

its weight in gold when you need to stop ASAP. With ABS even the most ham-fisted rider can stop the bike extremely rapidly and safely and that, in my opinion, is an excellent thing. But, as with so many things, it becomes a question of line drawing. One of the motorcycles decorating a room in the Crumbling Mansion is a 1911 Triumph; riding it requires skills like manually advancing the magneto to optimise the ignition timing for best power output. Engine management has certainly come a long way since then — and a good thing too — but who knows what is presently bubbling away inside the festering brain pits of the “safety experts”? Remember a little while back some genius proposed (and they were serious) that motorcycle jackets ought to incorporate an airbag system? My vision of the activation of this safety device is the colourful spectacle of a Michelin Man-type figure bouncing down the road while the road safety experts congratulated themselves with comforting thoughts of how safe from injury the encased rider would be in their wonderful airbag safety suit. My musings extended to a situation which none of these people ever suggested, but which would clearly be extremely advantageous: consider the case of a stunt rider on a cruise liner. Should there be a problem with a stunt and the rider parted company with the machine, then the airbags would instantly inflate as the rider flew overboard and when they landed in the salt water of the Pacific Ocean, he or she would float until the rescue team could winch them back on board. All done to the delight of the languid passengers as they lay on their deck chairs sipping their ice-cold cocktails. Cruiser & Trike

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Somewhere along the way, the essential elements of riding a motorcycle have been forgotten in this well-intentioned madness: a machine which has only two wheels must be unstable. The science of physics will tell you that at speed, the machine can achieve a state of equilibrium provided that forces of an appropriate magnitude and direction are constantly applied to it. That’s known as unstable equilibrium. Interestingly, we fragile humans are perfectly able to apply those forces to keep a motorcycle under control and rolling along quite nicely, thank you, without the need for endless electronics. That said, and speaking personally, I have occasionally shown a disturbing tendency to have a motorcycle fall over at zero speed (when I forgot to kick out the sidestand) or at parking lot speeds when I’ve managed to get it wrong and the mass has taken over. This has fortunately only ever happened when there has been a most “appreciative” audience — always to heckle but never to help. So it comes down to this: controlling a motorcycle is a highly complex process; we do it pretty well most of the time and we find it very enjoyable. Think back to your best rides. It doesn’t matter where or how you were riding, the memory will focus on how good it felt when the machine was rolling (or rushing) along the road with you in perfect harmony and control. Did you need a computer to do that? No, it was you and the motorcycle that were the essential ingredients for the enjoyment and I would like it to stay that way. Yes, we should have the technology, but please make it available as an assistant to the process, not the master of it. C&T


HEAD FOR THE HORIZON WITH FIVE STAR QUALITY... AND FIVE YEARS PEACE OF MIND


Australian Cruiser & Trike # 6.3  

Welcome to the re-invigorated Cruiser & Trike, an Australian magazine that provides real-world road tests and technical information, not fai...