FREE 2013 FEBRUARY
2013 MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA + BMW S 1000 RR HP4 LAUNCH
IN THIS ISSUE
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 2
Firstly I’d like to thank all of you - readers and advertisers - for supporting the Cycle Torque iPad and eMag editions. Growth has been spectacular since we kicked them off less than a year ago, the reviews are embarrassingly good and have a constant five-star rating and being consistently in the top ten automotive publications on iTunes is awesome. For the February issue we have Moto Guzzi’s new California, a very important bike to the company, being the next generation of machines from Mandello del Lario, and it’s a great bike, too. BMW’s next-generation sportsbike, the HP4, is a special edition rocketship and we also have a look at the Husqvarna Nuda Touring, Yamaha’s YZ450F and the KTM 690 Duke. Importantly we’ve revisited the Ducati Panigale, this time with some advice and tips from the factory, and Smarty’s gone to Queensland raceway to sample Yamaha’s latest road racing machines and he’s brought back a great story. I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed producing it. – Nigel Paterson Publisher
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RIDDEN 2013 MOTO GUZZI CALI
HUSQVARNA NUDA TOURING
BMW S 1000 RR HP4 LAUNCH
5 16 18 20 21 22 23 70 72 75 83 90
KTM 690 DUKE TEST
NEWS SMALL TORQUE PIT BITS EDITORIAL DIRTY TORQUE RACE TORQUE GUNTRIP BOOK SHOP MARKET TORQUE BIKE STIFF USED & REVIEWED TORQUE BACK - LETTERS
FEATU RES 2013 YAMAHA YZ450F TEST
DUCATI PANIGALE REVISITED COVER PHOTO BY: NIGEL PATERSON
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Filtering THE VACC has got behind the recommendations by the Victorian Parliament’s Road Safety Committee for motorcycle and scooter riders in Victoria to filter through stationary traffic. The VACC and members of the Motorcycle Industry Division (MID) addressed the Road Safety Committee, Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety, in Victoria, in October 2011, presenting a number of recommendations, including the introduction of filtering, a motorcycle safety public awareness campaign and called for the Motorcycle Safety Levy to be scrapped. “VACC, and our motorcycle members, support the trial of filtering in particular, and permitting motorcycle and scooter riders to move to the front of stationary traffic. This will enable riders to be ahead of traffic flows and removed from the traffic mix. But in order for motorists to appreciate the benefits of filtering, the trial must be accompanied by an education program,” said the VACC’s David Purchase. According to the VACC the definition of filtering and lane splitting is completely different but often confused. When a motorcycle or scooter moves straight and through stationary traffic to the front, for example at red traffic lights, it is filtering. Lane splitting is riding a motorcycle or scooter between lanes in the same direction as the moving traffic. “Filtering is currently illegal, but the Road Safety Committee has recommended that it be made legal. VACC supports this position and will be calling on the Victorian Government to trial filtering, and if it is successful, as we expect it will be, the next step should be to mandate filtering,” Purchase said. A three month filtering trial in NSW will commence on February 1 but is limited to a small number of areas in the Sydney area – see the advertisement on page 23. n
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Stripped Goldy HONDA has stripped the Goldwing bare to produce a semi naked cruiser which will be available in Australia from April. Honda has done this in the past with its Valkyrie but the new F6B has more fairing real estate, and to be honest a lot more style. It does boast plenty of storage space and many of the features you would find on a Goldwing, including the comfort levels. It uses the same 1800cc two valve per cylinder flat six as the Goldwing, and essentially all the same running gear too. It has seats unique to the F6B, and a four speaker sound system will see you travelling in style. The look is very much in the ‘Bagger’ style so popular at the moment. With a price of $24,990 Honda should sell more than a few too we reckon. The F6B will be available exclusively through Honda Goldwing Dealerships.
Go to www.hondamotorcycles.com.au for more info. n
It’s not where you’re going, It’s how you get there!
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2013 World Superbike grid takes shape
FANNED by yet another massive off-season shakeup, the 2013 World Superbike Championship begins at Phillip Island on February 22-24 as the first shots are fired to crown a replacement champion for the retired Max Biaggi.
Curtain (Yamaha), Mitchell Carr (Triumph), Josh Hook (Honda) and Matt Davies (Honda) in Supersport.
All but Carr and Davies will be making one-off championship appearances, but 46-year-old The 2013 grid exudes class from every angle, with five Curtain certainly won’t be overawed: he’s of the six factory teams – Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki, finished on the World Supersport podium BMW and Aprilia – all starting the championship on four times at Phillip Island, including a victory well-sorted bikes, and fielding riders who have won in 2001. 65 WSBK races between them. The even spread of machinery in World The X-factor is Ducati, which is inaugurating its allnew 1199 Panigale R in 2013 – but with such an imposing WSBK heritage the Italian manufacturer is also certain to be a contender from the get-go, particularly with Phillip Island specialist Carlos Checa one of the riders.
Superbike is really going to put extra heat on the riders in 2013, and one man who keeps on receiving glowing reviews is Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes. The Yorkshireman only finished half-a-point behind Biaggi in the 2012 championship, and the bitter disappointment of such a narrow loss has galvanised him to take the next step in 2013. Sykes The championship opener is set to be the fastest has consistently been at the top of every test session world superbike race at Phillip Island on record following a $3 million resurface of the 4.445km circuit. since losing out to Biaggi, and his warm favouritism The current lap record is held by Biaggi (1:31.785), but for next year is justified – although he will shoulder a lot of pressure at Kawasaki with teenage team-mate expect to see that time obliterated as the superstars Loris Baz seemingly not yet at the level where he can of WSBK get down to business. circulate at the front of the pack with regularity. There will be two 22-lap WSBK races on February 24, Alongside Sykes, another rider whose deeds in 2012 and the Supersport World Championship – which Turkey’s Kenan Sofuoglu will defend on his Kawasaki – didn’t require any sugar coating was Marco Melandri, also gets underway at Phillip Island. Six hard-charging who was superb in his first year at BMW. He had the Australians will be racing in the world championship championship lead at one stage before tailing off near the end of proceedings, but his aggressive game plan classes at Phillip Island: Jamie Stauffer (Honda) and was brilliant to watch and it could deliver BMW its first Glenn Allerton (BMW) in Superbike, with Kevin championship in 2013. Melandri’s new team-mate will
be Chaz Davies, who impressed in his rookie season on a privateer Aprilia. Aprilia’s factory team retains Eugene Laverty, while the fast but streaky Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli replaces Biaggi in what could either be a boom or bust decision for the Italian operation. But Guintoli is certainly great to watch, so expect fireworks at Phillip Island as he seeks to impress in his first official outing. Guintoli shared third places with Sykes at Phillip Island in 2012, with Biaggi and Checa winning the two races. Meanwhile, Laverty finished 2012 with plenty of purpose, so he could be the rider who keeps on piling on the big points for Aprilia. At Honda, perennial contender Jonathan Rea also has a new off-sider in the form of Leon Haslam, who was let go by BMW at the end of 2012. Rea, in particular, hasn’t set the world on fire at Phillip Island in recent years, but he’ll want to claim a few scalps at the circuit in 2013 to get his championship off to a strong start. Continued on next page
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2013 World Superbike grid takes shape Continued from previous page
And Haslam is already a known product around Phillip Island, having won a race in 2010 when he was Suzuki mounted. Leon Camier is again Suzuki’s big hope in 2013, and his confidence would have been buoyed after finishing off 2012 with a real sting in his tail. World Supersport runner-up Jules Cluzel will be his new team-mate. Meanwhile, long-time Suzuki collaborator, the Belgian-based Team Alstare, has now been appointed to run Ducati’s official WSBK team over the next two seasons, with Checa and Aryton Badovini to fill the roster in 2013. Checa, seventh on the all-time WSBK winners’ list with 24 victories, literally owns the Phillip Island real estate and has won four of the last six races around the circuit, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him give the 1199 Panigale R its best possible start on February 24. The WSBK title also welcomes back German hard charger Max Neukirchner in 2013 on a Ducati, while Italian duo Michel Fabrizio and Davide Giugliano will be Aprilia-mounted. All three could certainly challenge for race wins at Phillip Island and during the season, especially if the conditions become a lottery. While they won’t be on the bill at Phillip Island, three other Australians will also be racing in support categories when the WSBK title makes its way to Europe in 2013, with Mitchell Pirotta (Kawasaki) contesting the Superstock 1000 class, with Mike Jones (Honda) and Adrian Nestorovic (Yamaha) in Superstock 600.
The on-track action at Phillip Island will be completed by the opening rounds of the Australian Prostock and Supersport Championships, as well as events for national Superbike and Historic competitors. The ontrack action commences before 9.00am on all three days of the event. Tickets for Phillip Island are available at www. worldsbk.com.au or call the ticket hotline on 1300 728 007. If you buy before the event you can save heaps, with race day tickets from $75 in advance, and three day passes $135 adult advance or $270 advance for a family of four, plus a postage and handling fee.
more info. If you prefer the Bologna made machines you might like to check out the Ducati Superbike Club, including exclusive access to the fully catered hospitality facility, elevated grandstand seating, pit walk, superscreen viewing, free access to the paddock on Friday and a commemorative gift bag. Situated on the Gardner Straight immediately south of the start line and overlooking the fastest section of the track, the Ducati Superbike Club will be a hot place to be over the weekend. Tickets are priced at $775 for Adults and $585 for Children. Go to www.ducati.com.au to get your spot.
Kawasaki will be pushing hard this year to get that Watch in style elusive Superbike championship, so near achieved in Yes, you’ll have an amazing time if you sit on the grass 2012 and has the hospitality package to match. but you could have an even better one with Aprilia, It’s also situated on Gardner Straight, with autographs, Ducati or Kawasaki. gifts, prizes, pit lane walks and pit box tours are just a portion of what you can enjoy with Kawasaki. Aprilia Australia is offering two hospitality packages for the PI round of the WSBK.
For $565 you can sit on Gardner Straight in Aprilia’s Aussie Superbike Club, and for this you get lots of extras besides your three day entry, including a pit walk on Saturday and Sunday, and a reserved car park. And this is besides being fed and watered (cash bar). The second package (Club Superbike) on the pit roof gets all that and more for $795, including complimentary beverages (cash bar for spirits). Spots are limited so go to www.aprilia.com.au for
Cost is $625 which includes a three day pass and parking. Book now on 02 4227 4583 or email revsell@ bigpond.net.au.
Don’t forget BMW though. It’s hospitality se up is on the pit roof and includes all the regular offerings of full catering, pit walks, reserved parking etc but also beer, wine and soft drink included. Cost for three days is $725. Email WSBKhospitality@bmw.com.au for more info. Remember, spots at all the above hospitality gigs are strictly limited so be quick. n
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Riveting Rivale CHECK out the 2013 MV Agusta Rivale 800, unveiled recently at EICMA motorcycle show in Milan late last year. It looks as though the Rivale is aimed directly at customers who would buy a Ducati Hypermotard or the like. The basis of the engine is the three cylinder 675cc unit from the F3, but bored out to 800cc, with 125 horsepower. A counter-rotating crankshaft which reduces inertia and helps the bike change direction quicker, according to MV Agusta. MV Agusta’s new MVICS (Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System) is fitted to the Rivale, giving it three different power modes, and fully adjustable Marzocchi and Sachs suspension. And isn’t it beautiful? With the signature trellis frame and single sided swingarm it is definitely Italian. It won’t be available until later in 2013. n
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CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 10
Highway Performance Bikes
Yamaha releases updated R15
THE second incarnation of Yamaha’s YZF-R15 sports commuter is due to hit stores with major updates for 2013.
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Known as the Version 2.0, the new YZF-R15 features sportier styling to bring the look more in line with Yamaha’s existing sportsbike range. The sports commuter market is booming at the moment with new riders looking for an entry level motorcycle that still has sharp looks and the R15 takes full advantage of this by borrowing styling cues from the R1 and R6. A redesigned tail section and LED lights complete the look while other updates include a reconfigured ECU that will let the 150cc engine sit on 120km/h comfortably and maintain a fuel economy of around 45km/l. n
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Frank Fogliati sent in his entry to our Reevu helmet competition: we’ll let him take up the story: ”Mongolia, where else! After 10 days riding through remote South Western Mongolia we were now on the edge of the fabled Gobi Desert. A herd of Bactrian camels were ahead of us, it was a photo opportunity. Then off to the side two more camels strolled past to join up with the herd. I think the combination of KTM and camels represents the definitive adventure image.” Frank has won a Reevu helmet, next month is your last chance to enter, so send us your best motorcycling picture and you to could win a fabulous Reevu helmet.
INDIAN Motorcycles has rolled out the 2013 Indian Chief Vintage Final Edition, the final version of the Kings Mountain era of Indian Motorcycle. A limited number of this model will be made, and the paint scheme emulates that of the Indian Chief on display at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York It comes with a host of accessories, like the auxiliary driving lamps, black leather solo seat with included detachable passenger seat, windshield, black leather saddlebags; chrome grab rail, leather fringe; engine guards, and chrome fender tips. Powered by the PowerPlus 105cubic inch engine, this historic 2013 model will be manufactured with a custom designed and numbered emblem on the frame to commemorate the brand’s historic achievements. There’s no chance of buying one of this specific model in Australia as it’s a North American model only but we thought you’d like a sneak peak at one, considering Indian will start selling motorcycles into Australia in the near future. n
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Ducati goes Iron
DUCATI Australia and New Zealand is sponsoring the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Surf IronMan Series and IronWoman Series, with winners of both series riding away on a Monster 659. Ducati CEO Warren Lee said the company’s character linked with the perseverance of the series athletes. “Ducati has a long tradition of producing motorcycles characterised by their superior performance, innovative design and avant-garde technology,” Lee said. “We understand the dedication and passion it takes to cross the finish line in first place and we are thrilled to support the upcoming IronMan and IronWoman Series”, he added. By the time the February issue of Cycle Torque hits the bike shops you will be able to catch round three of the series at Portsea in Victoria on January 27. From there the rest of the series dates are as follows: Round 4 – Saturday 9 February 2013 – Surfers Paradise QLD. Round 5 – Sunday 17 February 2013 – Coolum QLD. Round 6 – Sunday 24 February 2013 – Noosa Heads QLD. For more information visit www.surfironmanseries.com and www.ducati.com.au. n
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CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 14
From Mad Max to De Vice IT’S A far cry from the Mad Max 4: Fury Road film set in Namibia to Wickham in Newcastle. But that’s the journey De Vice Motorcycles crew chief Matt Bromley has taken.
Pic John Turton heading up the bike department for filming the new Mad Max movie: FURY ROAD, Matt’s past rap sheet for work and gigs around the country and world, runs extensively into more than one facet of the bike world. In short from extensive Now ensconced within a revamped crusty old head technician and custom work (which he likes Newcastle industrial building on the edge of to regard more as bike enhancements), over 10 Honeysuckle Bay, encapsulated by a newish one years with Crusty Demons and Metal Mulisha FMX year young café, known as Wickham Motorcycle Café, you’ll find a new motorcycle workshop inspired riders and pioneers, the film and television work , Factory Kawasaki Motocross Team, Workshop by the deep and extensive motorcycle racing and Management for some of the largest bike stores technical culture that Newcastle and the Hunter in the country (i.e. Frasers: old Homebush Store region has produced over the generations, De Vice etc), consulting and technical work for the top Motorcycles. FMX riders who have won Xgame gold medals De Vice Motorcycles crew chief Matt Bromley, etc. He has been enhancing motorcycles in his along with many other past and current technical own sense of classic styling for well over 20 years, purists who now reside in this region, is one of and purely not in a “phat!” or “Kustom” sense. those gentlemen who has sought nothing more This brief story won’t come close to touching from his career other than the best results possible factory race teams run, championships won, for his riders, racers, stunt riders, FMX pilots and involvement with FMX since its inception, 14 clients. Bromley is now gearing up to pump out years worth of building and developing FMX a bunch more bespoke machines, along with all bikes capable of pulling it. To give you a better the technical services that you may expect from idea on what he has accomplished in these past an ex-factory team mechanic. The shop will be years, below is a list of the see the racers/riders/ well equipped to assist clients with their general motorcycle requirements, while enjoying great food celebs and rock stars he has had the pleasure to work with, Keanu Reeves, Ewan McGregor, and coffee at the same time. The new workshop Orlando Bloom, Billy Joel, Eric Bana, Chad Reed, is geared to tweaking the looks, performance and Stephen Gall, Andrew McFarlane, Brian Deegan handling of the new Triumph Twin range, like the and Mulisha Crew, Jackson Strong, Mad Mike Bonnevilles, Thruxtons, Scramblers etc, along with Harley Davidson Sportsters in their many guises. Full Jones, Robbie Maddison, Nate Adams, Jay and Dyno-Tuning Services available and repairs/services Ryan Marmont, Kain Saul, Carey Hart, Twitch, on most models and makes. *FREE tyre fitments with Charleeze Theron, Tom Hardy, Shane Jacobson, Paul Broomfield, Charlie Boorman, Danny Ham, all tyres purchased at De Vice Motorcycles for the or call 0457 482 621 or visit Wickham Motorcycle Seth Enslow, Trigger Gum, Codie Mackie, Robbie month of February – bookings essential. Café, 3 Throsby St, Wickham. Ph: 4969 6525 or email Marshal etc, the list goes on. You can contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org n Recently returning from nearly 12 months in Africa De Vice Motorcycles email@example.com
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SHOW TIME AT SOFALA
The schedule will cover the full range of LATER in the month but not far down the road disciplines including motocross, road racing, from Bathurst will be the Sofala Bike Show ‘N’ enduro, speedway, trials, dirt track and quads. Go to www.ma.org.au to find out more. Shine, held on Sunday February 24. Lots of different categories for bikes, which will be on show from 10am - 2pm. Camping is available on the Saturday night, and the show will be held at the Sofala Show Ground. Sounds like a great day, or weekend, out. Enquiries to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A RIDING EXPERIENCE
THE chance to ride a Ducati at some of the world’s most famous race tracks is almost too good to be true. The 2013 Ducati Riding Experience is a tried and true format of fun and tuition, but for 2013 the DRE will use the 1199 Panigale for all track courses, with the new Multistrada and next gen Hypermotard for the intermediate level riders. Troy Bayliss is also back on board for the Troy Bayliss Academy, with four dates available in 2013 at Misano and Mugello. For those wanting that experience you even get to ride a race kitted Panigale. The DRE kicks off on April 17-18, with six events through to September 10-11. Mmm, riding a Ducati in Italy, possibly with Troy Bayliss showing you the way. Sounds like fun. For more info visit www.ducati.com.au.
HONDA has got some great deals on everything from the CBR1000RR to the humble scooter, and off road bikes as well. The deals offer various amounts of Honda Dollars which you can either take off the purchase price or spend in store where you buy the bike. Go to www.hondamotorcycles.com.au for more info.
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DAELIM Australia has relaunched its S1 model for 2013. Initially released in 2010 the Daelim S1 has been a consistent seller in the marketplace. Powered by a liquid cooled 125cc fuel injected engine the Daelim S1 is a handy commuter, and the scooter is available for only $2,990+ on road costs. With every S1 purchase customers will also receive free a genuine Daelim windscreen, SHAD 29l Top Box and genuine Daelim hand protectors, valued at over $400.
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WITH the season opener of the World Superbike Championship (WSBK) at Phillip TRY IT DAY Island fast approaching, there are still some EVER wondered what motorcycling is all openings for race officials at the event. about? Thought about getting a dirt bike? Any enthusiast with a basic understanding Wanted to give motocross a go? Wondered of motorcycle racing will fit in immediately how to get into road racing? Then the because of the leadership structure built into National Come and Try Day is for you! the event, and the briefing process all officials Motorcycling Australia (MA) has launched the 2013 National Come and Try Day, which will see are taken through at the event. Free camping is available at the circuit for motorcycle tracks burst into action across the officials, and each official gets a free pass for a country on Saturday March 2, 2013. guest as well. The day will see a jam-packed schedule of Application forms are available to download events across metropolitan and regional New from www.phillipislandcircuit.com.au or at South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South www.ma.org n Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.
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AUSTRALIAN EXCLUSIVE IMPORTER FOR SHINERAY
SMALL TORQUE GARDNER SELLS TO GAS IMPORTS
FORMER World 500cc Motorcycle Champion Wayne Gardner recently announced the sale of his motorcycle accessory import and distribution business, Wayne Gardner Enterprises [WGE] to Victorian based Gas Imports. Based in Wollongong, NSW, WGE has been in operation since 1981. Wayne’s family built the business up over a thirty-year period whilst Wayne was motorcycle racing overseas, with Gardner taking control of the business in 2002 when he retired from car racing. In January 2012 Wayne and his family relocated to Spain in order for his sons Remy and Luca to pursue their racing careers, and found the business suffered from his absence. “This has been a tough decision, however I believe it is a very positive one for our customers, staff, suppliers and myself,” said Gardner. “Being so far away from the day to day operations of the business has made it very hard for me and my staff to effectively manage the business. I’m sad to leave such an important part of my life behind, but my focus is now on my kids and providing them with the best opportunity I possibly can,” he added. “The support we’ve experienced from the industry over the many years of operation has been tremendous, and I hope the trade and consumers will continue to support the products we’ve proudly introduced and nurtured into the Australian market,” Gardner added.
farmland, towering eucalypt forests and even a cruise across the sometimes wild and woolly Port Phillip Heads, the 2013 BMW Motorrad TS Safari will be one to put on your bucket list. At the conclusion of the Safari entrants will have the option of priority booking for the BMW Motorrad Hospitality Facility at the first round of the World Superbike season at Phillip Island. The perfect end to a great week of riding on some of the best roads Australia can offer. All details and further information at the recently upgraded BMW Safari website, www.bmwsafari.com.
A LIMITED number of selected 2012 models are currently available at Ducati dealers where you get to ride away for just the price of the regular RRP. Basically you get free 12 months rego, 12 months CTP and applicable statutory and dealer charges. Models include the Learner Approved Monster 659 ABS, through to the 4-bikes-in-1 concept of the Multistrada. Availability will vary from dealer to dealer and only while stock remains available, so see your Ducati Dealer now. The fact the 659 Monster is included in the sale will be of interest to learner riders as the bike is now available to learners in Western Australia under the the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMs).
BIKES AT BATHURST
THE annual Bathurst Street and Custom Motorcycle Show is on Saturday February 2. BMW TS SAFARI Held outside the Civic Centre in Russell PLACES in the 2013 BMW TS Safari are filling Street from 9am - 3pm, you can expect to see up quickly, so if you want to go on one of the best rides you will ever experience you better everything from mild to wild. get in quick. General entry is free, if you want to enter your bike in the show it’s $10. Set up is from 9am, This year’s BMW TS Safari will set out from bands kick off from 11am, and trophies are Warrnambool, the gateway to the Great Ocean Road on Sunday February 17 and wind its way to awarded at 2.30pm. the Yarra Valley on Friday February 22. It looks like being a thoroughly enjoyable day Through world-renowned coastal vistas, rolling without taking up your whole weekend. n
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Despite the new open-tyre format, two of the three primary factory superbike teams - PTR Suzuki & the Motologic prepared Team Honda Racing - have decided to continue their relationship with Dunlop.
It’s a great spectator sport, and the Yamaha King of the Enduro X is one event to make sure you get to.
PIROTTA TO GO
ENDURO X is an amazing sport to watch, with everything from fast paced MX action to rock jumping and log crossing. Think extreme and you’re on the money.
The intense racing is helped by a monster of a track that throws up a number of obstacles including tabletops, whoops, sand sections, log hops, rock pits, tyres and walls. The event will take place on April 27 at Gillman Speedway in SA. The venue offers an amphitheatre atmosphere allowing an elevated view of the whole infield track. It will be a great atmosphere for racers and spectators alike, and there are classes from juniors to expert. More info? Go to www.kingoftheendurox.com.
ASBK 2013 DATES
THE WSBK round at Phillip Island on February 2224 will also be the first round of the 2013 ASBK championship series, with all regular classes included. There are some changes for 2013, including the combination of Supersport and Superstock 600, run together but points given separately. There are seven rounds in total, with rounds five and six a double header at Eastern Creek. Yes, that’s right, ASBK will be back at the ‘Creek for the first time in years. Supp regs for the National Support Classes (inc Historics) at the WSBK round are out and can be found at www.ma.org.au. Go to www.asbk.com.au for more info.
DUNLOP GETS THE NOD
DUNLOP Tyres has been chosen by both PTR Suzuki and Motologic Honda race teams in next year’s ASBK Championships.
EXPERIENCED road racer Mitchell Pirotta has signed with the Italian based team Go Eleven, to ride a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R in the FIM STK 1000 (Superstock) class in 2013. Pirotta takes a wealth of experience with him to his new team having already won the 2010 Australian Formula Extreme Supersport Championship. 24 year old Pirotta, who started road racing in 2008, also took 2nd place in the ASBK Superstock 600 class in 2009 and competed in the World Supersport Championship in 2011. “I know that both the Ninja ZX-10R and my new team, Go Eleven, are capable of top results. The team knows what it takes, they’re all really positive and they take on board everything that I say and ask for. Team Manager Denis Sacchetti who was a racer himself knows what it takes so all in all it’s a good thing,” said Pirotta.
THE State Motorcycle Complex at Broadford is the place to be this Easter, with the fifth running of the Honda Broadford Bike Bonanza (HBBB) set to be the biggest yet. The headline act this year is a celebration of the Velocette marque, and around 150 examples of the iconic British machines are expected to be on track and on display. At the other end of the scale, a special tribute to the mighty Honda RC30 will put around a dozen of these exotic and highly prized V4s on track over the weekend. Of particular note are the two ex-Honda Australia Winfield Team bikes raced to Australian title successes by Troy Corser and Anthony Gobert. Ducati fans will see Kevin Magee reunited with the motorcycle that set him on the path to GP glory – the Bob Brown Ducati.
The 2013 Championship series has opened the door For all the latest news and announcements ahead to other tyre manufacturers for the first time in four of the 2013 Honda Broadford Bike Bonanza be sure years and Dunlop, Michelin and Pirelli have stepped to check out the HBBB website at www.ma.org.au/ forward to take part in next year’s series. hbbb. n
PIT IBITS ORDER YOUR TYRES PIRELLI tyres for the 2013 Australian Superbike Championship can now be ordered using the special ASBK Tyre Order Forms, for pick up at Round 1 at Phillip Island February 22-24. This will then entitle all Pirelli riders to the Pirelli Privateer Program which includes paying rider entry fees, for Superbike, Pro Stock and Supersport 600 classes.
BATCHELOR WINS AUSSIE TITLE Queensland rider Troy Batchelor has claimed his maiden Australian Senior Solo Speedway Championship after winning the third and final round of the 2013 series in sweltering summer conditions at Kurri Kurri recently.
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 19 March 2013. The Manual contains the General Competition Rules, which govern the participation and conduct of Motorcycle Sport in Australia. Changes are sometimes made to these rules to make competition easier or fairer, to reflect changes in technology or equipment, or to make the meaning of the rules clearer.
REECE SCHOLARSHIP BACK SINCE 2004, the Reece Bancell Scholarship has been awarded to and provided support as a pathway for many of Australia’s current top riders as well as supplying safety equipment to Race Safe and Team Medical and funding safety and medical facilities at race tracks around Australia.
Despite putting an end to the scholarship last year David and Jill Bancell have decided to support Heading into the decider with an eight-point the Motorcycle Road Race Development Series advantage, Batchelor recorded a heat score of 14 to (MRRDA), the main junior road racing series in progress straight through to the A Final along with Australia. New South Wales rider Jason Doyle and Victorian Plans for 2013 include running a joint auction rider Dakota North. dinner with the MRRDA to help fund both the New South Wales rider Rohan Tungate rounded out Reece Bancell Scholarship and the MRRDA, and the A Final field, after claiming the B Final honours working closely with the MRRDA media partners from Cameron Woodward, Tyron Proctor and AMCN and Speed TV. Michael Dyer. Despite the testing hot weather conditions, Batchelor continued his blistering form to triumph over Doyle, Tungate and North to seal his third consecutive A Final win and finalise a perfect Championship campaign.
CHINESE ENTER THE IOM TT
MOTORCYCLING Australia (MA) has advised that rule change submissions for the 2014 Manual of Motorcycle Sport (MoMS) must be received by 22
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WK BIKES has confirmed plans to enter the first Chinese made motorcycle ever to race at the 2013 Isle of Man TT Races in 2013.
Batchelor finished the 2013 Championship with a maximum 60 points, well clear of second and The Hampshire based company has entered a 650 third placed riders Dakota North (48) and Cameron twin manufactured by Chinese based company CF Woodward (47). Moto in the Lightweight TT Race which will be held Overall fourth was determined in a run off between on the final race day - Friday 8th June. It will race under its UK brand name of WK. tied New South Wales riders Rohan Tungate and Jason Doyle, with Tungate emerging victorious to WK Bikes has lined up Australian rider David take the coveted fourth place position. Johnson to race the bike. The Adelaide based
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rider, who made his Isle of Man TT debut in 2010, returned to the TT last year having missed the 2011 meeting. He scored top fifteen finishes in the Superbike and Superstock Races and recorded a fastest lap of 17m59.45s (125.831mph) around the Mountain Course. n
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CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 20
How much better are they? YOU know, I’ve ridden some fantastic bikes in my time here at Cycle Torque, and some nice ones prior to that too. But I’ve often asked myself how much better are the bikes that are built today compared to machines built years ago. I suppose I need to clarify that to some degree. Over the years there have been periods when a bike has come out and blown away the competition, almost making everything else obsolete. It’s pretty much accepted that the Honda Four was one machine, and when it was released back in the late ’60s the big bore Pommy bikes were dealt a death blow, but their makers just didn’t quite know it then.
1992 Honda CBR900RR
Olson, also R1 mounted at 59.7 seconds). You get the idea, it’s sub one minute. That’s seriously cranking, and no doubt the times get slightly faster each year.
Only a week ago I was at Wakefield Park for the BMW S 1000 RR HP4 launch. You can read the full test of this bike in this issue, For me it was then bikes like the Suzuki GSX1100. I remember in short it is seriously trick and seriously the first time I rode one. I thought I must have been riding the fast. It has fully active suspension which is Space Shuttle it was that fast. electronically activated and is one of the best bikes I have ever ridden on the track. I Of course we had bikes like the RZ and RG500 two strokes, would say the only bike to eclipse it for me turbo models, the GPz900R was one notable machine, and would be the Ducati Desmosedici which was then in 1985 Suzuki brought out the GSX-R750, the first time a a wonderful experience, and not just for its 750 produced 100 glorious horsepower thingies. Well it did at on-track capabilities. Back to lap times though. Now I didn’t least produce them on paper, and it was fast. think I was mucking around on the HP4, and at times I was having a red hot go as fellow moto journo Stuart Woodbury In 1992 Honda again set the benchmark with its CBR900RR and I were swapping places, and generally having a blast. Fireblade. I bought one close to a decade ago off eBay. It In one session I decided to use the lap timer gizmo and the was crashed, but with a few new parts and some shed time I best time I recorded was a 1m 9s lap, much the same as I had built it into a classic race bike. ‘Classic’, I hear you say. Yes, the done about five years ago on my trusty ’blade with budget Post Classic Racing Association had just introduced a class called Pre Modern for bikes built up to 1995, and I think I built suspension and a 30,000 kilometres old engine. the first Fireblade for that class in NSW. Anyway I had lots of Please don’t think I’m bagging the HP4, far from it in fact. It is fun, and with Zach Thackeray even won a One Hour historic a very special machine, and at the cutting edge of technology. endurance race on it. I think it was Zach’s riding prowess It adjusts its own suspension on the fly and if you want more which won us the race, I just made up the second part of the power than it has, well you are a better rider than me by a long team. shot. I don’t know if I’ve just got slower (a distinct possibility) or if the bikes just aren’t demonstrably better than they were But this bike got me thinking about how far bikes have when the Fireblade ruled the streets. I suppose we can only evolved in the last 20 years. When we won the One Hour I ride them so fast before the laws of physics halt play. broke into the 1m 9s bracket at Wakefield Park for the first time ever. Yes I know plenty of you will poopoo that time I think in the last 20 years since that first Fireblade the bikes but I was pretty stoked to go sub 1m 10 seconds, and while have become better, but not as much as the jump in the 20 younger and faster riders are doing quicker times (I think the years prior to the CBR900RR. lap record there is 58.6 seconds or thereabouts, Kev Curtain on a Yamaha R1 I believe, although some research says it’s Rick I also think some of us have an inbuilt safety switch which
only allows us to go so fast. I certainly feel as though I do. Even though the HP4 has traction control which you know can allow you to get on the throttle earlier than a bike without it, my brain keeps telling me I can only screw the throttle on so hard, regardless of what I can actually get away with. Is this what separated Casey Stoner and the rest on the Ducati MotoGP bike? Was he the only rider willing to explore the limits of the bike’s technology? So a younger rider who isn’t as set in their ways might get more out of an HP4 quicker than I could, especially with the thoughts of not wanting to bin someone else’s new bike in the back of my mind… and I reckon if I did a one hour race on an HP4, I’d shave a few seconds off my best time on the Blade. But there’s also no doubt the changes from 1972 to 1992 (increased horsepower, radial tyres, alloy chassis, liquid cooling, reduced weight, increased cornering clearance and lots more) were more significant than the improvements since. – Chris Pickett
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 21 Davi Milsaps
2013 – the best yet BY THE time you read this you will know the results from the first few rounds of the AMA Supercross, Dakar and a couple of the Euro pre-season motocross events. On top of that, most of us local wood-ducks will have had at least one or two club days under our belts on our new rigs so with all of that adrenalin still bolting through our veins let’s take a look how 2013 should pan out for us moto heads. Make no mistake, for the true enthusiasts season 2013 is going to be a bucket load better than 2012 racing wise. Why? Well, we obviously now know what happened in 2012 so in our minds 2013 could well see the best racing we have ever seen in our whole life, and on a personal front there is a good chance we will be a couple of seconds a lap faster at our local track thanks to the new 2013 model sitting in the garage.
Jackson Richardson and Wil Hahn to name a few. Who will win is anyone’s guess. Then once the supercross is over and done with all of the riders will start looking towards the AMA Motocross Championship, and I think it will come down to either Reed, Dungey or Villopoto in the 450 class. The 250 class is much more open and should be a cracker.
We really are a ‘glass is more than half full’ mob. If my memory The 2013 World Motocross Championship is probably a little serves me right, 2012 was also going to be one of the best more predictable with the MX1 and MX2 defending champions seasons ever but it ended up being riddled with injury in almost Tony Cairoli and Jeffery Herlings odds on favourites to take every major championship around the world. the titles again in 2013 unless someone jumps out of the pack So now that everyone is fit (hopefully) and ready to race and loses a second a lap and gains an enormous amount of let’s keep that glass half full for now and see how the major intestinal fortitude. championships could well play out. In the MX1 class I will be interested to see how Tommy Searle At the time of me writing this column the 2013 AMA Supercross goes on the KX450 and I think Max Nagl on the Honda will be a series is only one round old and it has already thrown up a heap threat on certain tracks. of surprises. Davi Milsaps won the opening 450SX main event Jeffrey Herlings will simply steamroll the MX2 championship in at Anaheim 1 after a ding-dong battle with Trey Cannard while 2013 but look out for Jake Nicholls, Alessandro Lupino, Arnaud the big four, Ryan Dungey, Chad Reed, James Stewart and Ryan Tonus, Jeremy van Horebeek, Jordi Tixier and our own Dean Villopoto all had nights that didn’t go to plan. Ferris to battle it out for podium positions behind Herlings all But that only adds to the intrigue of the most exciting series on year. the planet and there is nothing surer that Dungey, Reed and The Australian MX Nationals has the potential to be an absolute Villopoto will get race wins and be in contention at season’s ‘hum-dinger’ of a year (there I go again) and with injury aside end though I also expect Cannard and Justin Barcia to put their you would have to put your money on Ben Townley taking Hondas on the top of the podium as well. As far as Stewart goes the MX1 championship but I am sure that Todd Waters, Cody I will be surprised if he makes it to the half way mark of the Cooper, Lawson Bopping, Billy Mackenzie, Jay Marmont and Tye series. Simmonds will have something for the former World Champion The 250SX East and West series are dead-set riddled with talent to think about. and I expect Eli Tomac to defend his number one plate in the MX1 class newcomers Adam Monea, Kirk Gibbs and Ford Dale East series ahead of the likes of Ken Roczen, Blake Baggett, will definitely throw themselves among the leading riders on Jason Anderson, Tyla Rattray and a gaggle of HOT yank talent more than one occasion while the Moss twins could do anything while once the 250SX West riders hit the track we will get to from blitzing a moto or two to eating dirt all year. see Marvin Musquin take on Aussie SX Champ Gavin Faith, Darryn Durham, Justin Hill, Dean Wilson, Zach Bell, Justin Bogle, The MX2 class is anyone’s guess with Luke Styke probably
the favourite after his performance last year but I think Luke Clout, Kade Mosig and Josh Cachia (if he gets a ride back here) would argue that right now and if the Kiwi contingent of Justin McDonald, Rhys Carter and Scott Columb make their way over again they will definitely pepper the podium throughout the series. And what about the 2013 Australian Supercross Championship? The 2012 series exceeded all expectations and I am sure that this year will see a lot of improvements but racing wise I suppose the outcome will depend if Chad or anyone else from the U.S makes their way over to contest the series. That aside, defending champ Jay Marmont will not be easy to beat in the Pro-Open class but I expect a big improvement in Todd Waters on the supercross tracks this year, and I honestly think that it will be between these two for the championship. In the Pro-Lites class it would be hard to bet against Gavin Faith if he comes back to defend his title but again there is a gaggle of Aussie talent ready to give Faith a hard time. And finally let’s take a look at our life as club wobblers. In between being an adoring fan to all of the racing above we load up and head to our local track once a month to bang ’bars with our fellow club members and hope that we sort of look like we know what we are doing while we try to emulate the likes of Reed, Cairoli or Waters. Does life get any better than that? So there ya go, you see what I mean? This really could be the best season ever! – Darren Smart
Yes He Can
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 22
I’M A little bemused by some pundits who are writing off Valentino Rossi as a title threat in 2013. Bemused because many of these wizened observers were hailing Rossi as the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) just a matter of years ago, and now they are dismissing him as a washed-up Supernova.
In 1973, motorcycling in Australia was at an incredible apex. I was among the first generation whose first ride on a twowheel motorised convenience was aboard a minibike, a Taiwanese-built Deltek Rockhopper. I was also among the first generation of rookie riders whose formative years were spent off-road, and whose first motorcycle was made in Japan, to wit a 1970 Honda CL100. All three stand as the most significant developments in motorcycling in the last half-century; the minibike boom, off-road riding and Japanese brands coming from nowhere to wipe the floor with the western manufacturers in less than a decade. For many years, BSA, Triumph and others ruled the roost, but by 1975 it was game, set, match Japan.
Motorcyclist, Cycle Guide, Dirt Bike and Motocross Action, while England’s MCN was also available. The late Ray Ryan, founder of VMX magazine and co-founder of ADB, was my favourite local scribe while Cycle’s impossibly erudite trio of the late Gordon Jennings, Phil Schilling and Cook Neilson were, and remain, a constant source of inspiration. It was a true education reading the works of these brilliant journos and catching up with all the news, however old it was. But for a fan like me, the fortnightly dose of REVS or AMCN just wasn’t enough. With the internet still 20 years away, I decided to get myself a short-wave radio and chance upon coverage of the GP circus via BBC World Service, and AMA racing on the Voice of America.
After the demise of the old Honda, it was time to step up to new technologies. After all, bikes remained cool and surf fashion labels like Golden Breed were jumping on the bandwagon. In fact it was Golden Breed’s Aussie licencee who The Japanese domination meant mass production on a scale I don’t remember exactly how I tracked it down, but I do recall first began making Golden Breed motocross jerseys, exporting never seen before. This led to more and cheaper models, venturing to Sydney’s Goulburn Street and a pokey electronics them back to the US parent company. Although I got a 1977 including production racers like Yamaha’s TD, TR and TZ series. store in early 1976 and paying around $70 for a Russian Yamaha DT250D and my L-plate six months after selling the State road race championships enjoyed entries ranging made Selena-Vega short-wave radio. It did pick up BBC World Honda, I owned a Golden Breed Bultaco jersey which I think from 300-400, and motocross events weren’t far behind with Service and the Voice of America, and I did get scant reports I got for my 17th birthday. We’re talking hip with a capital the launch of Mr Motocross. The advent of multi-cylinder on Barry Sheene’s march towards his first world championship, ‘H’. Not to diminish the sartorial importance of the Golden production ‘superbikes’ like the Honda CB750 and Kawasaki but nothing on AMA racing, which remains very much an Breed MX jerseys, the seven-year gap between my Honda and Z1-900 spawned endurance production racing in Australia oddity in the world’s largest democracy. I count the Russian Yamaha marked a huge leap from the past to the future. that would become the nation’s highest profile class of road radio alongside my first helmet, gloves and boots as nostalgic racing for well over a decade. The 1974 release of the Yamaha accoutrements of my formative years in motorcycling, The DT250D was the first-ever road-going bike with monoTZ700 launched Formula 750 racing in Australia made famous underlying the fanaticism - however misplaced - of my newshock rear suspension, and the first Japanese trailbike by the Warren Willing-Gregg Hansford rivalry. Live TV coverage found passion that I parlayed into writing this piece almost with conical hubs, radial-finned head and cam-snail chain of the Castrol Six-Hour firstly on the Seven network and 40 years later. By mid-1976 my CL100 was on its last-legs, the adjusters. We’re talking super, duper trick here. later by ABC-TV brought bike racing from the fringes to the seat secured by a piece of string after I stripped the mountingIn 1979, I sold the DT and bought a low km Yamaha RD400D mainstream. The 1973 release of On Any Sunday, the brilliant nut welded to the rear subframe. The return spring on the with de rigueur flat-bars, and beautiful J&R chrome ‘chambers Bruce Brown film that documented the motorcycle boom in kick-start had long broken, which meant securing it with a the US, also played a significant role in selling the unique fun section of occy-strap, and the thing just wouldn’t pull up hills that generated a hit and wail at 5000rpm that has never left me. The memory has lasted, but the bike didn’t. I wrote it off that biking could offer. Magazines such as the sadly defunct anymore. It was definitely a carburettor/fuel problem, like several days after returning from the Easter Bathurst meeting. REVS Motorcycle News (the format of which was the inspiration a whacky float level, but no amount of fiddling would solve That is definitely another story… for Cycle Torque) became the fortnightly fount of all things it. I sold the bike to a young bloke from Bankstown, whom I motorcycling. REVS, Two Wheels, Trail & Track, Cycle Australia, warned about its asthmatic state. Despite struggling up our – Darryl Flack AMCN and ADB covered the local scene, while the newsstands steep, rocky footpath on his 30m test ride, he put down the were flooded with American imports Cycle, Cycle World, necessary $150. I hope he fixed it. It was probably sloppy
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 23
Like the Ashes, only faster
THE year ended quietly enough. Bad news received just before Christmas had the effect of modifying our plans immediately afterwards: we’d reckoned on running the Triumph south on a two-day bimble down to Melbourne, in part to see Sri Lanka at the G – but it was no particular hardship to miss that fizzer. Thinking about it since, I don’t recall having seen a team from the subcontinent that’s played as a team since Imran Khan retired. For me, I’ve been so captivated by India’s top six in recent times – Tendulkar in particular – I’ve been prepared to forgive them anything. Until last summer, that is, when I began to wonder if India had lost interest in Test cricket altogether. But enough of that. The months immediately ahead look congested enough, albeit without much cricket until June, and it seems unlikely from here I’ll be unable even to make the seasonal visit to Armidale, much less the journey to Toowoomba we’ve been talking about. Ah, life’s trivialities. Meanwhile, at the big end of town some interesting stoushes lie ahead. I was sorry to see Valentino Rossi’s affair with Ducati end in such a whimper, but pleased he’ll be back on a bike he knows and understands. I don’t imagine teammate-to-be Lorenzo enjoyed the first season back on 1000cc kit anything like so much as he did the zenith of the 800cc era but he still managed to get the job done by dint of an impressive log of second places. In 18 races Lorenzo claimed six wins and 10 runner-up spots compared with Pedrosa’s seven wins, four seconds and four thirds. And with such a heavyweight as Rossi alongside him, I think Pedrosa will struggle to keep Yamaha in sight, although he too has some impressive help for the season ahead. It’s been impossible not to be impressed with Marc Marquez’s meteoric rise through Moto2 to replace Casey Stoner at Repsol Honda. During the 2012 season he took nine wins from 17 starts in the 600cc class and bagged the title at a canter. It’s an entertaining season in prospect, though I find it interesting to consider that, of the 18 races making up the
2013 MotoGP season, four are to be held in various parts of Spain and three are in the USA. Perhaps that’s where we’re going wrong: to be a successful host of MotoGP you need a flagging national economy. Over in World Superbike, Rossi’s sometime MotoGP rival Max Biaggi has called it a day with two titles for Aprilia to his name. Well, so much for that. Biaggi’s disappearance should leave the way clear for Charlie Checa (Ducati), fellow MotoGP veteran Marco Melandri (BMW), and the official Aprilia crew (Sylvain Guintoli and the youngest of the three Laverty boys, Eugene) to resume their struggle for supremacy, with added interest from Leon Haslam, who’s jumped from BMW to Honda, and 2012 runner-up, Tom Sykes, who’s back with Kawasaki. Sykes surprised a few folk by collecting a total of 13 podium placings in 2012, four of them wins, which compared favourably with Marco Melandri (six wins), Biaggi (five) and Checa (four). Perhaps he can go one step better in 2013. In our own neck of the woods, the Australian Superbike Championship returns to New South Wales for the first time in a while with a double round at Eastern Creek in August. The series begins at Phillip Island with the World Supers on the weekend of 22-24 February and wraps up in the same place on the weekend of 4-6 October, in between taking in visits to Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Whether Josh Waters will be back to defend his title is another issue. He wants, like so many before him, to head overseas. No doubt the headlines will tell us if his quest a) gets going and b) is successful.
Phillip Island is one of the few circuits on planet Earth to be visited by MotoGP, SBK and the local Superbike series and it’s interesting to compare lap times. The fastest lap of the 2012 Australian GP went to Stoner at 1m 30.191s. Biaggi was the quickest man in the SBK round at 1m 31.785s, while Wayne Maxwell punted his Honda round in 1m 33.666s in the August ASBK set-to. Make of that what you will. The bloke I’m going to cheer for will appear in none of these pursuits of glory. New South Welshman Josh Brookes has been running in the British Superbike Championship for four seasons, has a hatful of race wins and has finished runnerup in the title chase twice, in 2010 and again last year. He’s well overdue to take the big one. It’s a competitive series that’s attracted a lot of veteran MotoGP and SBK talent (John Hopkins, Noriyuki Haga, reigning BSB champ Shakey Byrne) and a fair amount of TV coverage (check your cable listings). As things stand, he’s perhaps our best shot for a title next year. It’ll be like the Ashes, only much faster. – Bob Guntrip
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2013 MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 TOURING
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 26
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 27
Moto Guzzi has outdone itself with the new California, a big tourer in a cruiser style with lots of character and technologyâ€Ś
2013 MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 TOURING
n TEST BY CHRIS PICKETT : PHOTOS BY PICKETT/ PATERSON
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 28 n RIDING GEAR: NOLAN N104 HELMET, SCHOTT JACKET, LEE PARKES DESIGN GLOVES, TKD JEANS, DRIRIDER BOOTS.
control, a polygonal headlight, 200-section rear tyre, anti-theft system, ABS and traction control.
MOTO Guzzi’s new California 1400 is a seriously big motorcycle. While 1380cc may not seem quite as impressive in outright capacity these days many bikes eclipse the engine’s swept volume – the physical dimensions and impressive styling of the new California give the bike a ‘presence’ of no Guzzi – and few other machines – before it.
The technology goes even deeper with the optional iPhone App (which is still in development) which converts your phone (or, presumably, an iPad mini, which might be easier to read) into a supplementary dashboard supplying navigation, performance and technical data. There’s no option for audio equipment, but I think we’re better off these days building that into helmets anyway.
Our ageing but much-loved office all-rounder, a Honda CBR1100XX, is all but dwarfed by the California, despite the Super Blackbird being a big, strong, heavy motorcycle.
Driving force Pushing the 337kg machine along is 96hp – but more importantly there’s 120Nm of torque available at just 2750rpm to make a loping ride. Torque delivery is very flat, with most of it still available right up to where the engine makes peak horsepower, 6750rpm.
The California is not for the faint of heart. It is for the passionate, the strong, the rider who wants a comfortable ride with character and soul. It is the bike Italians believe Californians should ride, from their swooping canyons to the open freeways. At under $25,000 (plus on road costs) it could be the Bargain Bagger, but does it suit Australia?
Reinvention Back in the late 1960s, Moto Guzzi became the first non-American motorcycle manufacturer to supply the Los Angeles Police Department with bikes, winning the tender against both the locals and the British. By 1971 a consumer version, named the California, went on sale and became a very important model for the company, selling alongside its sporty LeMans models. In latter years the California evolved into a cruiser/tourer and with Moto Guzzi in trouble financially, wasn’t able to be updated in ways to keep its market share. Now, with Piaggio’s money invested in R&D, Moto Guzzi has built it up and out to be a 1400, the largest European twin around. Piaggio, the parent company of Vespa, bought Aprilia and Moto Guzzi in recent years and invested over $50million into the iconic brand, and this California is one of the results.
The company may have new owners but the soul is still Moto Guzzi and so are the basics of the engine design – a 90-degree V-twin with a pot sticking out each side. There’s four valves feeding each cylinder and fuel injection, too. With the crankshaft running in line with the bike it makes sense to drive the big beast with a shaft final drive. Wrapped around the pots is a big fat fuel tank (which, alas, only holds 21 litres), while the whole shebang is supported by a new steel chassis with ‘elastic’ (rubber) engine mounts to reduce vibration. The classic styling can also be seen in the wheel design, which harks back to the spoked wheels of old but these days the construction is in lightweight alloy. The technology continues with the adoption of LED lighting, cruise
Fuel injection and computerised ignition complete with three user-selectable engine maps – help keep emissions and fuel consumption low while still providing the kind of performance we expect these days, and I wasn’t disappointed. The California will get up and boogie a little bit – more than I expected from a heavy bike with less than 100hp – without the acceleration being neck-
In a somewhat typical Italian manner the ignition maps are in Italian – Veloce means fast, Turismo is touring and Pioggia translates to rain. You use the starter button to swap ignition maps with the bike idling, you can’t do it on the move. Yes, you can feel the difference between the different engine maps, and I like having a rain mode on bike machines, it make for a softer power delivery which in turns means more relaxed riding. The big cylinders are each equipped with two spark plugs, the fuel’s fed through 52mm throttle bodies and the injection’s from Magneti Marelli. Fuel consumption hovered around 6.2L/100km but improved when I switched my head and wrist to touring mode, so
around town I’d expect 300km between refuelling and 350 on the open road. The grunt factor leads me to wonder why we need six gears, but there’s probably a good reason I’m just struggling to find – still, it makes for very relaxed freeway cruising. Although the bike only had 2000km on the clock, gear changes weren’t very clunky for a Guzzi – older large capacity Guzzis often made awful noises when changing, but this gearbox is vastly improved. Top gear is an overdrive. The heel-toe changing was welcome, too. The clutch is traditional Moto Guzzi, a single-plate dry unit with an anti vibration buffer. Like the rest of the bike it’s big and heavy, but not unduly so. The fuel exits via a massive two-into-two stainless steel exhaust.
Styling and equipment The California 1400 still ticks the important boxes: comfortable seating for two, good luggage capacity from the 35 litre panniers, weather protection from the large screen and American-inspired cruiser styling. Add in footboards, driving lights and the relaxed powerplant and you’re got a machine you can seriously ride all day without fatigue or hassle. I felt the bike has been designed for big people - at around six foot in the old scale most bikes feel like they’re designed for someone shorter than me, but not the California 1400. With my feet out forward relaxing on the footboards, the big rounded saddle keeping my arse comfortable and the handlebars just the right distance from my body, I have a feeling the designers thought their big California would be bought by big people, so they designed it to fit them. Some big people have big friends too, so the pillion seat is big, too. And there’s a beautiful chromed grab rail running around that passenger seat for them to hang onto if they feel the need. Either side of the pillion seat is a big top-loading 35 litre hard pannier case. These will swallow heaps of luggage, although serious tourers will want to add a top box: there’s a couple of options then from the accessory catalogue. I loved the cases but was disappointed they use a different key to the ignition… but at least they can be latched closed without being locked, which means you can use them without a key - and I’ll take that over panniers you must lock. Up the front is a large touring screen I could look over, but if you’re much shorter you’ll be looking through it. The screen directs a lot of the wind blast up and over a peak-equipped open face helmet, which was my preference when riding the California.
Optional on the California are heated handgrips, but standard is footboards, a tank cover, leather bags, grips, GPS mounts, protective cruise control. About time, too, I might add: I’ve been harping on accessories, chromed dress-up parts and, importantly, a variety of about bikes not having cruise when they should forC years andLyears topR boxes YC E TO Q UandEseats. FEBRUARY 2013 - 29 – it makes long distances that much easier to conquer. It’s great there’s a lower seat option, disappointing the heated grips Cruise on the Cali is handled with one button - hold it in to engage, then press again at your desired speed, relax. With the enormous torque of the 1380cc engine the cruise control handles hills effortlessly.
are an option rather than standard – but at least you can get them.
The technology’s hit the brakes too, with ABS standard and traction control fitted too. On a big touring bike they are safety features most riders will never engage but are well worth having, especially in the wet.
The California will take you places. It’s very comfortable and easy to ride long distances, so all-day trips covering vast distances are not just achievable, but fun. No, it’s not designed for high speeds, rather rapid cruising – dial up a speed you’re comfortable with and the Cali will do it for you, all day everyday. In summer you could remove the screen, in winter add the heated grips, with a passenger add a top box – here’s a tourer for all seasons.
The first time I tried to start the California the button wouldn’t work: I hadn’t disabled the alarm/ignition lock, controlled by a tiny remote with the ignition key. I usually hate alarms, but the California’s behaved impeccably: it never went off without provocation and it always disarmed easily. There are lots of lights including one of the oddest-shaped headlights around, one Moto Guzzi says is excellent, but I’m disappointed to report I didn’t get the chance to ride the bike at night so I can’t comment of its efficacy.
Out and about
So does it suit Australia? It sure does: it’s a great ride, especially in the 80-130km/h band, it handles well for the type of bike it is, the range will take you around the country and it’s very comfortable. It’s a big, heavy bike, but it doesn’t break any records there – plenty of machines are bigger and heavier, and the Guzzi is more fun to ride than many of them. It’s well worth a look if you’re
interested in something a little bit different. n
Handling and brakes Moto Guzzi has isolated the engine from the steel chassis, hanging the motor on ‘elastic’ mounts, which has reduced the vibration which would otherwise get to the rider. The system helps make the ride more comfortable. Suspension is via big non-adjustable forks and twin Sachs shocks adjustable for preload. well, they’re adjustable, but as it looked like the panniers would have to come off to make any adjustment I didn’t bother – luckily position two out of about seven was comfortable enough, although I always like to have a way to quickly adjust preload if you add a passenger or load. Handling is fine. This is a big bike (have I said that yet?) and it’s styling is cruiser, so this is no scratcher’s machine, but you knew that looking at it. On its design brief it handles well, cornering confidently until it scrapes the footboards and beyond. It handles better than most big tourer/cruisers and is fun on a twisty road. Stopping the beast requires a firm application of the Brembo brakes, but they pull you up quite quickly.
Customise and Accessorise Moto Guzzi is producing more accessories and equipment for the California 1400 than for any model ever. There are replacement
Why ‘California’? Many people are under the impression the Moto Guzzi California, which first appeared in the early 1970s, was a machine designed for the American market, copying Harley, but that’s not the case. The bike evolved out of the police bikes Moto Guzzi sold to the Los Angeles Police Department in the late 1960s and then the California Highway Patrol. Selling the bikes to the coppers was a bit of a coup for Moto Guzzi: it was the first non-American motorcycle company to sell bikes to the LAPD. Demand for a consumer version of the bikes was high enough for Moto Guzzi to start producing a variant, and the 850 T3 California was born. The California of one size or another has basically been produced ever since, gradually growing over the years to the current 1400. n MORE
2013 MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 TOURING
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C Y C L E T OnR Q U E F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 3 - 3 1 ENGINE TYPE: AIR/OIL-COOLED V-TWIN
n CAPACITY: 1380CC n TRANSMISSION: 6-SPEED n FUEL CAPACITY: 20.5 LITRES n FRAME TYPE: TUBULAR STEEL n SEAT HEIGHT: 740MM n WET WEIGHT: 322KG n FRONT SUSPENSION: 46MM TELESCOPIC n REAR SUSPENSION: TWIN SHOCK n BRAKES: TWIN 4-PISTON RADIAL CALIPERS, SINGLE REAR n TYRES: 130/70-18, 200/60-16 n PRICE (RRP): $24,990 + ORC
Rider gets footboards, pillion gets pegs.
Check out the massive header pipes.
Chrome rails help prevent scratching the panniers.t
Funky instrument binnacle is a styling feature in itself.
Big bike. Big brakes.
Cali engine is the best yet.
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Spot lights look retro and cool.
Oil cooler uses plenty of real estate.
2013 MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA CYCLE TORQUE test 1400 TOURING
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BMW S 1000 FEBRUARY 2013 RR HP4
Launch CYCLE TORQUE REPORT
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BMW’s 2013 S 1000 RR HP4 is the first production sports motorcycle to have active suspension. MORE
BMW S 1000 RR HP4
Launch CYCLE TORQUE REPORT
n RIDING GEAR: HJC HELMET, RST LEATHERS, GLOVES BY FIVE GLOVES, ALPINESTARS BOOTS.
MOST readers interested in sports bikes would already know that BMW’s S 1000 RR is very much at the pointy end of the field. Like its competition it’s extremely powerful and handles well.
You could say the new HP4 is the race version of the sports S 1000 RR. The interesting thing is you would expect the HP4 to be even sharper and harder edged than the ‘cooking’ S 1000 RR, but BMW has not only made it a better track bike, it’s made it a better road bike too. How so you say? It’s all in the Dynamic Damping Control (DDC), a fully-active suspension system that adapts on the fly to the HP4’s selected riding mode (Rain, Sport, Race or Slick) road conditions, and your riding style.
A bike that thinks The S 1000 RR was updated over 12 months ago and wasn’t due for another one just yet, so the decision was made to create an up-spec S 1000 RR, with a HP moniker. BMW’s other HP models – this is the first four cylinder BMW to carry the HP tag – have been pretty special so the bike needed to have more than some carbon bling and flashy stripes. The aim was to have the HP4 one second quicker than a standard S 1000 RR on any given racetrack, but better on the road, therefore the HP4 gets lightweight wheels for quicker direction changes, quicker acceleration and better braking performance, tricker Brembo front brakes (with IDM ABS settings), and the street legal titanium Akrapovic full exhaust system. The HP4 still has the same peak power as the standard machine (193hp at the crank), and slightly more midrange, but it’s around eight kilos lighter, which is where a decent chunk of the one second a lap quicker comes from. Active suspension has been around in cars for some time now but it’s never really made its way on to mainstream motorcycles. Ducati’s 2013 Multistrada 1200 has the ‘Skyhook’ suspension which is very similar in concept, but for different reasons BMW sought to put it on its premier sports bike before it goes on to other models in the range. There’s various ways to make suspension fully-active. Some systems do away with springs and according to people who know more about it than us it generally uses electricity to change the oil viscosity which in turn changes the damping. Of course there would be much more to it than just that. The HP4 system uses springs front and rear, and the ECU changes the height of a needle in the suspension which changes the damping and preload, depending on your speed, acceleration, throttle position, braking forces, and lean angle, and it does this in milliseconds. You can also get into the system via dash settings to personally tailor the base parameters of the DDC. It does sound very technical, and it is, but once shown how the system works it’s easy enough to navigate.
n TEST BY CHRIS PICKETT : PHOTOS BY KEITH MUIR
As with the standard S 1000 RR there are four riding modes: Rain, Sport, Race, Slick. On the S 1000 RR Rain mode reduces outright power as well as bottom and mid range, but on the HP4 each mode has full power, but in Rain it is softer down low. There’re lots to adjust if you wish, but as you select each different riding mode the suspension characteristics are automatically adjusted to suit that style of riding (the base settings are also adjustable to suit different rider weights, preferences etc). It’s more involved than BMW’s ESA found on other BMW models. Imagine riding along a bumpy road, you might be in Rain mode, with softer suspension settings, the road turns to smooth corners, you go to Sport mode while still on the move, now the suspension is a bit firmer, and still adjusts automatically to the various inputs. In Slick mode the race spec ABS uses settings perfected in the German IDM Superbike Championship. The Race ABS IDM setting is calibrated for racing to provide more aggressive braking with less intervention, so the front tyre can actually lock slightly before ABS will react, this allows ‘A’ grade riders to push harder and deeper into corners than they normally would, feeling less intervention from the HP4’s ABS.
While you can’t adjust the ABS you can the DTC. There’s 15 settings in all including zero, and you can select up to +7 or -7. Some of the more adventurous riders on the launch were sampling way down the minus settings but we stayed around the zero mark or above during our track sessions.
On the road Normally we would not relish the thought of heading into heavy traffic on a sportsbike but the HP4 was relatively easy to live with in this type of riding. We just love the quickshifter which comes standard, it works beautifully, even if you are just plodding along. Once outside the confines of the city we were in either Rain or Sport modes and could not help but be impressed with the way the HP4 soaked up the road conditions. It’s no GS of course, but it wasn’t a pain to ride. At one stage we were on a bumpy back road heading to a mountain pass, and the HP4 coped amazingly well, with no hint of a snatchy throttle, or any pilot launching antics from big bumps. We covered around 300 kilometres on the road trip, swapping between the S 1000 RR with regular suspension, and the HP4 with the DDC. Comparing both bikes as to their road handling abilities, the HP4 was definitely better on the rougher roads. If on totally smooth surfaces the choice would be harder to define. Both bikes have awesome brakes, essentially the same power, and handle well. But we got off the bikes at the end of the day thinking we would rather have spent the whole day on the HP4. The S 1000 RR is a fantastic bike, but the HP4 is a better one.
On the track One word described the HP4 on the track. Wow! This bike is way faster than we can ride it but it has so much to offer the regular track day punter, if that’s why you are buying it. In all track sessions we tried either Sport, Race or Slick mode, and towards the end just had it in slick. This allowed us to play with the DTC settings just to see how they worked and we can say it’s perhaps the best we’ve ever sampled on the track. It doesn’t feel very intrusive but you can see the light on the dash flash when it is doing its job. We think the secret to getting the best out of it is getting your head around trusting it. If pulling the odd wheelstand or two is your go simply put it in Slick mode and go for it. Heading up Wakefield Park’s hill we were constantly pulling power stands, with only a couple nearly getting ugly when we were a bit throttle happy. Geez this bike has some mumbo.
Glenn Allerton testing the launch control on the HP4. limits rpm to around 9,000 and deactivates wheelie control so you can loft the front wheel when nailing a good start (DTC can sometimes reduce power when it senses an extended wheelie, therefore hindering the perfect start. There is still an art to getting the clutch out in a way to get maximum drive and not too much wheelie, but its much easier when the rpm is limited (you don’t need 193hp to get the bike moving from the line!) This can only be done in Slick mode, and you only get three goes in quick succession before the system shuts you out of Launch Control to save the clutch until it cools down.
It’s hard to say exactly how much better the HP4’s brakes are compared to the regular Verdict S 1000 RR, they are both great on the track, offering loads of initial bite and power. We couldn’t really tell the difference, maybe faster riders can. We think it’s similar to the DTC, The HP4 definitely has the edge over the S 1000 RR on the road, and it also has it on the maybe you just need to learn to trust the bike rather than go on what your experience with track, although maybe not so clear cut. Let’s face it, most riders would be more than happy other machines tell you. Maybe the HP4 redefines those limits? blasting around the track on an S 1000 RR but the HP4 takes it to the next level, and what a level that is. And all this for only $27,990 + ORC. That is a lot of bike for the money. As you went from Sport through to Slick mode you could tell the change in the way the bike handled and steered, especially the steering. In Slick the suspension firms up and And if the HP4 isn’t enough BMW has a competition package available for it, which slightly changes the geometry slightly, enough to stop the bike from running oh so slightly includes rear sets, carbon bits, different coloured wheels and different stickers, and trick wide exiting corners. hinged brake and clutch levers. This costs an extra $4,460. Launch Control is another feature on the HP4. The name pretty much says it all, but it allows the rider to get better race starts, simple as that. With the throttle held wide open it
The trouble is getting one. The first shipment of the HP4 has been pre-sold and the next one is expected later this year. n
BMW S 1000 RR HP4
Launch CYCLE TORQUE REPORT
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SPECIFICATIONS: n ENGINE TYPE: LIQUID-COOLED INLINE FOUR n CAPACITY: 1000CC n TRANSMISSION: 6-SPEED n FUEL CAPACITY: 17.5 LITRES n FRAME TYPE: BRIDGE FRAME ALLOY n SEAT HEIGHT: 820MM n DRY WEIGHT: 169KG WITH ABS
Lightweight forged wheels come standard on the HP4.
n FRONT SUSPENSION: 46MM USD WITH DDC n REAR SUSPENSION: SINGLE SHOCK WITH DDC n BRAKES: TWIN 4-PISTON BREMBO FRONT CALIPERS, SINGLE REAR CALIPER n TYRES: 120/70-17, 200/55-17 n PRICE (RRP): $27,990 + ORC
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In slick mode you can adjust the traction control (DTC) on the fly.
BMW quick shifter is superb.
The dash has all the info you will ever need, and check out the build number on the triple clamp.
HP4 gets better Brembos.
Competition pack has adjustable rear sets.
BMW S 1000 RR HP4
Launch CYCLE TORQUE REPORT
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Shell Material: Composite Plain colours starting from $349.95 To view full colour range visit www.motonational.com.au
Moto National Accessories
TOLL FREE 1300 885 355
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2013 YAMAHA YZ450F
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Screw it on and hang on.
isn’t for babies.
2013 YAMAHA YZ450F
n TEST BY TODD REED : PHOTOS BY CHRIS PICKETT
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n RIDING GEAR: SHOEI HELMET, SHIFT NYLONS, ALPINESTARS BOOTS.
AFTER its groundbreaking release in 2010, with the ‘backwards’ engine design and mass centralisation concept, the current generation YZ450F has had quite a controversial impact on the off-road motocross market. Its reviews and success have been both up and down, with some riders adapting easily and feeling right at home, like we do, while others struggle to find confidence and comfort on the unique machine. Yamaha enjoyed the success of claiming two straight Australian Motocross Championships in 2010 and 2011 in the capable hands of CDR Yamaha and Jay Marmont, yet battled through the epic failure that was James Stewart’s attempt at an AMA Supercross Championship in those very same seasons.
The Specs Yamaha has implemented minimal changes to the YZ450F since its 2010 overhaul and the 2013 model which retails for $10,999 (over $1000 cheaper than the 2012 model) receives only minor cosmetic changes from MY12, with new graphics, a white rear fender and new Yamaha-branded black handlebars. The engine and all of its internals stay the same, with its rearward slanted DOHC titanium 4-valve design. Tucked away up front under the fuel tank,
a Keihin EFI system takes care of the intake duties, while the tornado style exhaust exits the rear of the cylinder, twists around under the seat and exits out the rear like a traditional exhaust. Kayaba do an amazing job on the suspension on the YZ450F, with the KYB units renowned for their quality, performance and durability. Dunlop recently released an updated front tyre in their Geomax Series, the MX51FA, which is standard equipment on the Yamaha and matches the MX51 rear tyre.
On the track There is absolutely no shortage of power on the YZ450F. Almost immediately after hitting the track, you notice the YZ has plenty of power and if you’re game enough to twist the throttle fast enough, it comes on with quite an aggressive hit. The responsive engine has plenty of power right off the bottom and stays strong right through the mid-range and high into the rev-range. Once you
get the big YZ revving, the power isn’t schedules. as strong as some of its opposition CY C L E Tand O R Q USetting E F Eup B the R Ususpension A R Y 2 correctly 0 1 3 -is 4 7 seems to sign off a little bit early. This a must on any modern-day motocross isn’t really much of a problem though, as bike, we began by setting the rider sag at much as we all think we’re pretty quick on 100mm and winding the clickers to the a dirt bike, there are very few riders out middle setting on both the front and rear there, including us, who can hold a 450cc of the bike. After a few short sessions we motocross bike wide open for any more made some small adjustments, we went than a few seconds. down further on the rider sag to 103mm For our test we were lucky enough and slightly stiffened up the suspension to have Yamaha’s ace tuner and race both front and rear. After that we were mechanic Darren Thompson along to very comfortable with the feeling of the make sure we were happy with all of the bike and happily went lap after lap on the bike’s settings. Darren brought his GYTR YZ450 for the rest of our test day. Power Tuner for us to try out some of As usual, the controls are all top class the different power mapping settings products and felt comfortable right from that he has developed over the past few the get go. It’s as easy as setting your seasons working with some of the most lever heights and bar positions with a few experienced riders in the business. We spanners and the big YZ feels as good as were offered settings from mild to wild any in the cockpit. and it was very interesting to see how a few small changes on fuel mapping affected the entire behaviour of the Verdict engine. We settled on a map which was The YZ450F may get a bad rap from slightly de-tuned from standard and it some, but from us here at Cycle Torque was simply down to personal preference we think the Yamaha is a fantastic bike. and track conditions which determined our choice. We also enjoyed the standard The YZ offers unmatched durability and map, and a more aggressive map which is more power than you can poke a stick one of the race team settings, however on at, it handles great once it is set up right and with additional features available like the hard-packed blue groove test track, the GYTR power tuner a catalogue full of we were constantly looking for traction GYTR hop-up parts it becomes very hard and the more power we gave the bike to look past the YZ. n the harder it was to keep the rear wheel under control. The GYTR tuner also offers an hour meter feature which enables the rider, or their mechanic to keep a close eye on the time being put on the bike to better control servicing and maintenance MORE
2013 YAMAHA YZ450F
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CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 49 SPECIFICATIONS: n ENGINE TYPE: LIQUID-COOLED SINGLE n CAPACITY: 450CC
n TRANSMISSION: 5-SPEED n FUEL CAPACITY: 6 LITRES n FRAME TYPE: BILATERAL BEAM n SEAT HEIGHT: 998MM n WET WEIGHT: 111.5KG n FRONT SUSPENSION: USD n REAR SUSPENSION: MONOSHOCK n BRAKES: SINGLE DISC FRONT AND REAR n TYRES: 80/100-21, 120/80-19 n PRICE (RRP): $10,999
Brakes are the same as the 2012 model.
KYB Speed Sensitive front forks.
2013 model gets a white rear guard in the slightly revised look.
Reverse head 450 motor is unchanged from 2012.
KYB rear shock is fully adjustable
2013 YAMAHA CYCLE TORQUE YZ450F test
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HUSQVARNA NUDA TOURING
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You would call the Nuda fitted with touring accessories a Sports Tourer, with an emphasis on the Sports.
HUSQVARNA NUDA TOURING
Touring with an edge
HUSQVARNA’S Nuda 900 wouldn’t pop instantly to mind if you were thinking of a touring model. And fair enough, it’s a ballsy, no nonsense, aggressively styled machine which looks as though it’s ready for supermoto action just sitting on the stand. But it’s amazing what a few touring accessories can turn a machine into.
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n TEST BY CHRIS PICKETT : PHOTOS BY NIGEL PATERSON
If we are being fair dinkum here you could go touring on a postie bike if you strap enough luggage onto it. It might not be all that fun but it can be done. On face value this looks like what Husqvarna has done with the Nuda 900 Touring. It’s not a specific model as such but a Nuda fitted with a set of hard panniers, small screen and a small tank bag, items all available through your Husqvarna dealer. But to think this would be a massive injustice to the capabilities of the bike.
The difference When we tested the Nuda 900 and 900R in the May 2012 issue of Cycle Torque we were more in love with the 900 rather than the 900R. While both bikes share the same mechanical package the 900R gets upspec suspension and brakes. It has more grunt down low due to shorter final gearing, and the seat height is taller. On the whole it feels more manic to ride compared to the ‘standard’ 900 and we would rather own the 900 because it was just plain nicer to ride on the road. It is cheaper too, $13,995, two grand less than the ‘R’. To compare, the suspension on both bikes are 48mm Sachs forks, fully adjustable on the ‘R’, and with heavier springs. At the rear the 900R gets a fully adjustable – including ride height – Öhlins shock, while the 900 gets a Sachs unit with preload adjustment only. Brembo brakes are fitted to both models, but the 900R gets monoblock calipers. Let’s just say neither bike is underbraked.
Engine The BMW-based engine was changed extensively before it was placed in the Nuda chassis, which is straight from the BMW 800 GS and shortened by 50mm. For a start, it now has chain and not belt drive, it received an increase in capacity to 898cc and an increase in power from around 80ps to 105ps, and 100Nm of torque. Compression is up to 13:1, and its redline is 8000rpm. Two power modes are available – Full Power and Rain Mode.
n RIDING GEAR: ZEUS HELMET, ARLEN NESS JACKET, GLOVES BY FIVE GLOVES, BULL-IT JEANS, FALCO BIKER BOOTS.
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Road trip As you can see from the pics, the Nuda is quite minimalist and you sit perched on top rather than in. Overall though, it’s a reasonably comfortable bike to ride, with the only gripe being the flat and hard seat. When we say gripe, it’s meant in the context of a touring motorcycle. The other issue for long distance work would be the lack of fuel range. It does have a range of around 250 kilometres, which by looking at the fuel tank you would immediately disbelieve. That’s until you realise the 13 litre fuel tank sits under the seat, as per its BMW forefather. The bike will happily just cruise along, with its V-twin sounding parallel twin cylinder engine purring along. If you want to have a bit of a crack the Nuda can provide plenty of entertainment in that regard, and the touring accessories do not hinder the enjoyment in any way.
Touring accessories Husqvarna has put a fair bit of thought into accessories for both Nuda 900 models, and in fact you can buy five different ‘kits’. Our test bike was fitted with most of what’s in the Touring Kit, which normally consists of a windshield, tank bag, hard panniers, seat bag, heated grips and an antitheft kit.You can also get a comfort seat and soft throw-over saddlebags, so there’s plenty of scope to kit out a Nuda for longer distance runs. The full price for the Touring Kit is $2031, and is by far the most cost effective way to buy the parts. Buy them separately and it will cost you more.
Final word While the Nuda 900 might not be an ideal touring bike it still does a pretty good job of being one when fitted with a factory Touring Kit. It will lope
along while you take in the scenery on a long weekend away, and when all of a sudden you hit some primo curves you can just wind the wick up and have some fun. It might be more of a sports bike than a tourer but it never feels out of its depth when on tour. n
HUSQVARNA NUDA CYCLE TORQUE TOURING test
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SPECIFICATIONS: n ENGINE TYPE: LIQUID-COOLED PARALLEL TWIN n CAPACITY: 898CC n TRANSMISSION: 6-SPEED n FUEL CAPACITY: 13 LITRES n FRAME TYPE: TUBULAR STEEL TRELLIS n SEAT HEIGHT: 870MM n DRY WEIGHT: 174KG n FRONT SUSPENSION: 48MM SACHS USD n REAR SUSPENSION: SINGLE SACHS SHOCK n BRAKES: TWIN 4-PISTON BREMBO FRONT CALIPERS, SINGLE REAR CALIPER n TYRES: 120/70-17, 180/55-17 n PRICE (RRP): $13,995 + TOURING KIT $2031
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KTM 690 DUKE
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How can they make big singles this smooth?
KTM 690 DUKE
n TEST BY CHRIS PICKETT : PHOTOS BY NIGEL PATERSON
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BIG single cylinder machines were all the rage years ago but despite attempts to make them a regular feature in modern brand line-ups they have never really hit a chord with mainstream buyers. We think the KTM 690 Duke is one of the best big single cylinder road bikes ever built, mainly because it’s so smooth.
n RIDING GEAR: SHARK HELMET, BMW JACKET, IXON GLOVES, DRAGGIN CAMOS, DRIRIDER BOOTS.
Yes, it has the edgy looks needed for a modern street motard style of bike, and the brakes and handling are top notch too, but it’s the engine which really sets this bike apart from its competitors.
New era Anyone who rode an old version Duke made back in the ’90s and this version back to back would be amazed by the difference. The older single was rough and vibrated the bejesus out of you, but it was a good handler. This bike is simply light years ahead of the old one in so many ways. This bike is an Australian only model too, which seems a bit odd seeing it would probably suit Europe’s more confined spaces than our open ones.
In the wild
WP forks and a WP shock handle the bump action, using 17 inch wheels at either end to do so. Fuel tank capacity is a handy 13.8 litres and it weighs only 150 kilos with an empty tank.
What you get on paper is a trellis frame housing the four-valve 690cc engine which is fuel injected, started by an electric boot, has a six speed ’box, and boasts a slipper clutch, perfect for backing it into your driveway. 43mm USD
What you get in the real world is a bike very suited to city dwelling, where an upright riding position gets you seeing over most cars, the ability to lane filter easily, and an engine which is quite happily slugging it out on the
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commuting circuit, throwing the odd wheelie or two from the lights to entertain the other commuters. You might think, like most other ‘motards’ that this would just about be the limit of the bike’s capabilities, but you would be seriously wrong. We love competition style motards but the thought of riding one 100 kilometres to a fine piece of swervery and then back again would just about send you and your engine builder into meltdown. They are just not designed for it. But, ride the 690 Duke in the same trip and you will not only come home fresh from the ride, but bouncing off the walls as you carved up the odd sportsbike poser or two in said swervery. Any longish straights would count you out of the equation of course but you get the idea. This bike likes corner speed and lots of it. It’s happy to rev without feeling like you are abusing it, and the big single front brake washes the speed off easily, helped no doubt by the bike’s integral lack of weight. The bike is happy cruising along at 120km/h or thereabouts but any thoughts of sitting on 160 keeping up with your mates on big bikes should be dispelled immediately. Besides being illegal, it’s just not fun for anything other than short bursts. It will go faster, maybe close to 200 down a hill but that’s not what this bike is about.
This is a fun bike to ride. We did some city stuff but mainly we rode it on country roads and where big sportsbikes like to play, and it was a real giggle. We reckon you could even ride this bike on a long distance trip with some In 20-65 kilometres corners it will see off most bikes with a decent rider on throw over luggage, and maybe an Airhawk or gel seat addition to ease some board, with perhaps the only thing lacking being some grunt out of corners. backside pain, and you should have no issues getting over 200 kilometres Prices have gone up slightly for 2013, and if you buy a 2012 model sitting on from the tank, seeing it’s pretty frugal if sitting on the speed limit. the showroom floor it will cost you $10,995 + ORC, a 2013 model $11,495 + We even did some dirt roads just to see how it went. That’s not really its bag, ORC, and for the extra sporty ‘R’ model you will need to shell out $13,495 + but it’s more than competent doing so. We did a ride recently which included ORC. the Oxley Highway, some dirt near Nowendoc, and through Comboyne to It is lots of laughs per dollar, which is what it’s all about really. It’s a shame it’s Wingham. We reckon the 690 Duke would do it easily. not learner legal. n MORE
KTM 690 DUKE
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This much weight only needs one front brake.
Catalytic converter is in the muffler.
Engine is a beauty, and likes to rev.
Swingarm is a work of art.
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KTM CYCLE TORQUE 690 DUKE test
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 64
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 65
CYCLE TORQUE FEATURE DUCATI 1199 PANIGALE S REVISITED
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 66
You don’t need a science degree to set up the 1199 Panigale
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 67
DUCATI’S 1199 Panigale is one of the most advanced motorcycles ever built. It boasts electronically adjustable suspension and a V-twin engine with an incredible amount of horsepower. Besides these technological updates, the Panigale was also totally different to the bike it replaced, the 1198. The name change might have only been one digit but the two machines are worlds apart, at least in design. The Panigale was much closer to the MotoGP race replica Desmosedici, with the engine much more than just a stressed member of the frame. It this case the structural components of the chassis hang off the engine, not the other way around. When we tested the Ducati 1199 Panigale in our October 2012 issue we were critical of the harshness of the suspension. During the test we rode the bike on a variety of road surfaces, both good and bad, and we found the Panigale to be quite a chore to ride when the surface was rough and potholed, but glorious on the smooth stuff. After the test was published we received letters from Panigale owners telling us we were off the mark. With so much adjustability available on the Panigale’s riding modes and suspension we started to think maybe we didn’t have the bike set up as well as it could have been. Did we get it wrong? The machine in question was the ‘S’ model with electronically adjustable Öhlins suspension (the ‘standard’ 1199 Panigale has regular fully adjustable suspension, 50mm
Marzocchi forks and a Sachs shock), so it seemed only fitting that we went back and had another go. You can read lots about the Panigale’s advanced suspension, like the fact it’s got 43mm Öhlins NIX30 forks and an Öhlins TTX36 shock. It’s also got a handy adjustable pushrod fixing point which changes the way the side mounted rear shock works, changing it from a progressive rate for the road to a flat rate, preferred for racing or track days. There are three riding modes to choose from
– Wet, Sport and Race. In Wet mode the power is reduced to 120hp, the traction control and electronic engine braking is adjusted to suit. The suspension settings are softened too. In Sport mode you get the full 195hp with a slightly smoothed out power delivery, and all other settings are revised to suit this mode. The suspension is stiffened and the quick shifter engaged. Of course in Race mode you get the track ready suspension settings, and everything is heightened so to speak to suit the track. Continued on next page
CYCLE TORQUE FEATURE DUCATI 1199 PANIGALE S REVISITED
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 68
ITALIAN EXPERTISE Continued from previous page
Tailor made We are no experts on the Panigale but luckily we do know one, Craig McMartin. McMartin is a multi Australian Pro Twins champion, and currently races a Panigale. He is one of the main in-house Ducati Australia experts, so knows a thing or two about these red blooded motorcycles. McMartin told us the important thing is you can further tailor the system to suit your individual weight and riding parameters. For example, you can tune the suspension in say Rain mode softer than it comes from the factory. McMartin told us that Rain mode was a good choice for bumpy roads because it had a softer power delivery, and if you softened the base settings it coped well in these conditions. Each riding mode has its own ‘base’ settings from the factory but these can all be changed specifically to suit the rider. And there is a huge range of settings to choose from when it comes to compression and rebound damping. Pre-load is still done the old fashioned way, with a C-spanner for the shock and spanner for the forks, but the damping settings are
accessed via the left handlebar switch. It’s all pretty simple when you are shown how, but trying to do it without an expert showing you the way, or at least a comprehensive owners manual would be, and is, a recipe for failure.
Road test During our day with McMartin we tried numerous settings, all along the same stretch of twisty road. First it was Rain mode with the factory settings, which were ok, but better
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 69
Make the changes and set it to memory.
Simple looking dash belies the fact the Panigale is one of the most technically advanced motorcycles ever made.
Spring preload on side mounted rear shock is simple to adjust.
when we softened the damping slightly. McMartin was also spot on with his view on Rain mode, with ‘only’ 120hp on tap it was easy to ride, rode the bumps very well for a sportsbike, and the softer power delivery allowed you to cruise along, with the Panigale feeling more relaxed than if it was in Sport mode.
Race mode is just too full on for the street, and you would expect this to be the case, so we just concentrated on riding the bike in Rain and Sport mode.
the bike handled poor road conditions much better than it did during our first test of the bike - and that’s down to better set-up.
In Sport mode we tried the base settings then tried less compression damping but slightly more rebound and this was better again. There was never any need to reduce the pre-load on the forks. The same could be said for the shock but we tried it just for the exercise. McMartin reduced the rear pre-load in basically a matter of seconds such is the simplicity of the system. In this guise the bike was even better again.
Worth the effort Getting the best out of a Panigale is likely to take some experimentation from an owner: Ducati has its base settings when you pick up the bike, but tailoring suspension settings to suit your weight, ability, the road conditions and preferences is why there is so much adjustability available. If you do this you will open up a whole new world which most motorcyclists will never get to experience. During this, our second ride of the Panigale,
When you purchase a Panigale, your dealer will take you through how to set-up your bike, and you’ll be provided with a comprehensive manual to refer to. We can envisage just about all sportsbikes going this way in the near future. See the test on the BMW S 1000 RR HP4 is this issue to see what we mean. Not only is the technology on these new breed of road burners making them better track bikes, it’s making them better road bikes too. Not long ago that would have been almost unthinkable. n
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 70
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 71 CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 71
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EXPECT MORE FROM YOUR JEANS!
YES, they are actually made in Australia by an Australian company! The photo shows the Benji bleach blue bootcut design 100% cotton jeans being worn, while the Removable Protection System (RPS) is being inserted into the Alexander straight blacks, made of stretch denim. The RPS is made of 100% 350gsm British Dupont loop pile brushed kevlar. Full coverage protection with a single seam inside the leg to prevent seam burst. One protection system to fit all the TKD jeans of the same size. Thereâ€™s even pockets to insert optional CE knee armour. At last a riding wardrobe that looks cool and keeps you safe. Distributed by Carlisle Tyres and Accessories (CTA). PRICE: $179 for the RPS liner, $159 for the Benjis, Alexanders $189 AVAILABLE FROM: Good motorcycle shops or www.tkdjeans.com MORE INFO: www.cycletorque.com.au/more
IBIKE STUFF WUNDERLICH AIRMAN PUMP FEATURES a plug to fit any BMW accessory socket and easily convertible to fit standard lighter socket. Built-in pressure gauge and on/off switch. Can fill most bicycle tyres in one minute and most car tyres in seven minutes. Designed in Denmark. Nice optional carry case also available. PRICE: $42.35 AVAILABLE FROM: www.procycles.com.au MORE INFO: (02) 9564 8000
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 77
ENGINE Ice is great for keeping the lid on your bike’s engine temperature, whether you are racing or just plain riding for fun. Made of Propylene Glycol which is biodegradable and non-toxic. Premixed with de-ionized water which eliminates all impurities. Proven to reduce operating temperatures by as much as 10 degrees C, a necessity for today’s high performance bikes. PRICE: $29.95 AVAILABLE FROM: From all good motorcycle stores MORE INFO: www.cycletorque.com.au/more
IBIKE STUFF COSTA COOL
THE new Fox Youth V1 Costa helmet is pulled straight from the racewear range and has a great gloss finish. The injection moulded polycarbonate shell has 10 intake and four exhaust vents for enhanced airflow. It meets, or exceeds, Snell 2010, DOT, Australian AS/ NZS1698 standards. Available in black, blue, orange or black/pink, it comes in Youth S to L sizes. PRICE: $149.95 AVAILABLE FROM: At all good bike shops MORE INFO: www.cycletorque.com.au/more
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 79
WE ALL know our helmets can smell after a while, especially if you do a bit of riding in hot weather. This is where the Helmet Ion Generator from Sharp comes in. It purifies your helmet to keep it feeling and smelling like a new one, using Plasmacluster technology. Itâ€™s simple to use to, simply place the helmet over the unit and leave it on for eight hours or overnight. PRICE: $149 AVAILABLE FROM: Online at www.mysharp.com.au MORE INFO: www.cycletorque.com.au/more
IBIKE STUFF BEING WISE
SHANE Watts has been one of Australia’s best known off-road racing exports, but in recent years he’s perhaps better known for his instructional skills, holding riding schools and producing numerous instructional DVDs on how to ride various terrain. Out now is a 4-pack DVD set which comprises info on how to tackle everything from mud and sand through to hills and rocks. A must have for the enduro or trail rider. PRICE: $94.95 AVAILABLE FROM: www.shanewatts.com MORE INFO: www.cycletorque.com.au/more
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 81
RUSH OF FREE AIR
UNIFILTER has just released a new filter to their O2Rush range to suit the KTM Freeride. The high performance O2Rush range are fully reusable and incorporate a unique sawtooth design for even better airflow. If you want that little extra kick and better throttle response check these out at your local bike shop. PRICE: $29.95 AVAILABLE FROM: From all good motorcycle stores MORE INFO: www.cycletorque.com.au/more
IBIKE STUFF NINJA RACK
VENTURA has two new Bike-Pack Systems for the 20122013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Suzuki Inazuma 250. Venturaâ€™s Bike-Pack system has proven to be tough and well made, and the pack can be placed either wholly on the rack or on the pillion seat is required. They are available as kits with a range of packs in several sizes and rack configurations. Accessories such as GrabHandles and the smaller Sports-Racks and 10 Litre SportsPacks are also available. As shown with the Mistral pack they are $489.00 but Sports-Kit (small rack no bag) is $280.00 . Touring-Kits start from $389.00 with seven bag options going up in price to the Mistral $489.00. PRICE: From $280 AVAILABLE FROM: From leading motorcycle shops. MORE INFO: www.cycletorque.com.au/more
USED & REVIEWED
FLIP ME NOLAN’S N104 flip-top is simply a great all-rounder’s helmet. The chin guard pivots up but hinges backwards on a patented cam so it doesn’t turn into a windsock, and a lock lets the rider keep the chin guard up. Inside the helmet is an enclosed tinted screen which pivots down in front of the rider’s eyes via a sliding bar on the base of the lid and it is retracted almost instantly with a button. The main visor is thick, anti-scratch and anti-fog and supplied with a Pinlock anti-fog insert. I’ve been using the N104 throughout summer, and have loved it – most of the time in open-face mode keeping the mile in the breeze, but having a chin guard and full clear visor available whenever I wanted it. Made from polycarbonate and in sizes from XXS-XXL the N104 is best suited to touring, commuting and light scratching. There’s a huge range of colours.
PRICE: $449 (solid colours) $479 (Graphics) AVAILABLE FROM: Bike shops everywhere MORE INFO: www.cycletorque.com.au/more
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 83
USED & REVIEWED RACK OFF SICK of having tools and related stuff lying about the place and generally getting in the way? We were so it was very handy when we got a Rack It workbench for Cycle Torque HQ. It’s way stronger than it looks, holding up to 1000kgs evenly distributed over the two beams, and measures 345mm wide x 675mm deep. Mind you we haven’t put anywhere near that sort of weight on it. It’s been ideal for us, we repaired stuff on it, charged drills, stored stuff etc, and it’s hard to imagine how we got on before we put it up. That’s another thing, it’s simple to put together, and anyone with only the slightest inclination of how to use a tool will have it done quick smart.
PRICE: $149 AVAILABLE FROM: Bunnings stores nationwide MORE INFO: www.cycletorque.com.au/more
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013
USED & REVIEWED
TU OE R QF U E RFUEABRRYU A Y 32 -0 8 15 3 CYCC L EY CTLOER Q EB 2R 01
MOTOZ TYRE TEST SMARTY recently shoe-horned a set of Motoz Tractionator tyres on his 58hp Husaberg 650 and gave them the workout from hell – here is the story. No-one likes buying tyres. It is a pain in the arse to have to fork over $100 plus for a round bit of rubber that may or may not offer you the traction, performance and durability that you hoped for and with this in mind I had to have a good hard look at what I was going to put on the 58hp, 650cc Husaberg. After a fair bit of net surfing I chose to slot the 80/100x21 and 130/90x18 Motoz ‘Tractionator’ Enduro ST tyres on for my first serious ride on the ’Berg which traversed many kilometres of trails in the D’Aguilar State Forest on the north side of Brisbane. So why the Motoz tyres? Any trail rider knows that on any given day you can ride on solid hard packed trails through to sloppy mud, sand, rock and everything in between and according to the blurb on the Motoz web site the Tractionator series are ‘suitable for harsh conditions like desert racing, multi day enduro or long distance adventure riding’. The Tractionator tyres are designed for long wear life, have a ‘Super Heavy Duty’ ply construction, a puncture resistant casing, reinforced sidewalls, large rim protector and anti chuncking compounds with ‘aggressive MX grip with robust enduro construction’. So with all of that in mind I hit the trails just a few days after a good dose of rain and it wasn’t long before I found myself slopping my way through mud trails then up a sandy creek bed and into the deep loam at the floor of the forest. Now, if you have ever ridden a dirt bike as fast as the ’Berg you will appreciate the need for two things. One is good brakes and the second is good traction and I am happy to say that I had both that day. Remember, I am a knucklehead when it comes to throttle control and love to rip from corner to corner so the above two elements are even more important for riders like me. So all up, I can report back that the Motoz Tractionator tyres gave me a great deal of confidence throughout a hard day of riding, even the firm side walls didn’t deflect off the smaller bumps, there wasn’t too much tyre squash under hard braking and under acceleration I was really impressed with the drive a was getting out of each corner. Funnily enough, a young Honda CRF250 rider that was along for the ride came up to me as we were resting between blasts and said, “I have never seen so much roost come out of any dirt bike in my life”. I have now had the Motoz tyres on the ’Berg for three day long rides and the rear tyre wear is probably around 20 per cent and thankfully I am still getting good traction while I haven’t had any punctures along the way. Other tyres in the Tractionator series include Tractionator (H/T), Tractionator Enduro (I/T) and Tractionator X-Circuit (I-H/T). Motoz tyres can be purchased on-line via its web site and there are selected dealers throughout Australia. So, either go to www.motoz.com.au or call the guys from ProAccessories on 07 3277 0675. n
PRICE: From – Front $68, Rear $88 AVAILABLE FROM: All good bike shops MORE INFO: www.cycletorque.com.au/more MORE
USED ATV TEST 2007 SUZUKI KING QUAD 450
QUAD TORQUE It can be difficult to find a bad bike these days - there are so many quality machines on the market. When the chance pops up for a retrospective test it’s a great opportunity to let loose and find out what worked and what didn’t. So while we’ve always known Suzuki’s King Quads were quality workhorses, it was good to be able to throw a leg over a couple of aging examples and have a good look. If you don’t like reading too many words, you can stop here if you want to and go buy one. Two King Quads with five years use each leave me with no other conclusion: for general farm use these machines are a top choice. To find out why, read on...
The test bikes Both the test bikes were 2007 models purchased new. Since then they have been used constantly over heavy terrain at the foot of the Barrington Tops in NSW. The decision to go with Suzuki really boiled down to the local Suzuki dealership being closest to the farm. At the time there were so many choices which looked suitable on paper – all with similar features and at a similar price point. We chose the 450 because of the steep terrain – at 275kg dry the general thinking was to find an ATV that was as light as possible but still had adequate pulling power for the hills or cargo. The Suzuki was one of the only ATVs on the market at that stage with EFI as standard. This was a slight concern because, like many people, we believed
we would be better off with less electronic parts to worry about.
on most ATV’s - having seen so many roll overs I need to feel safe.
When it came to handling the Suzuki also ticked the boxes. A good seat height maintained a reasonably low centre of gravity but still felt comfortable and practical to get off and on frequently.
The King Quad has just the right geometry to give you the confidence to tackle the heavy going. With a seat height of 860mm and wheel base of 1280mm it has that ‘go anywhere’ mix. Couple that with push button four wheel drive with diff lock and there is no problem over the rough (or slippery) stuff.
The Ride Almost every time these bikes are taken out of the shed they end up in billy goat country. There are countless large rocks, tree stumps, creek crossings and everything in between to negotiate on a daily basis, which means we had a good chance to evaluate just how safe the King Quad is. I mention safety first because that is the clincher when I jump
The 454cc EFI single cylinder liquid cooled engine has been near on flawless. It can generate a bit of heat on a warm day but delivers the power well. After five years there can be an occasional lag when you bring the power on hard, but it is not a problem and probably due to tuning issues. In two wheel drive the ‘King’ has
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 87 not as heavy as other ATVs I have ridden. This makes a long day in the saddle more bearable. Back in two wheel drive the handling is even better, once again I feel the geometry of the bike puts it in that sweet spot for a good balance of handling versus performance.
Wear and Tear
The ‘King’ label is a big call and can leave some large shoes to fill, but if the cap fits...
Heavy-duty shift lever.
excellent acceleration and torque and can even handle a bit of ‘fun’ stuff. Bear in mind if you are considering any mid sized ATV don’t expect to be carrying extremely heavy loads. The 450 will handle a decent amount on its back but if you want to carry a heavy spray pack for example, then the larger engine might be a better choice. The independent rear suspension provides great feel over unsteady terrain and has held up well over the years. Brakes are also good performers, especially the twin discs up front. Transmission is a two speed CVT type with centrifugal clutch with a simple high and low range option. I think this is a very practical combination from Suzuki – I really don’t want to be changing up and down gears with buttons or a gear lever. The high and low ratio is well spaced with ample get up and go in high range and good power to the ground in low. Personally, I also like the belt drive for the feeling it gives you in steep country. The push button four wheel drive has operated perfectly – it was another one of those ‘electronic things’ you don’t want to have problems with in the bush, but there has been no problem with either bike. Handling in four wheel drive is easy to manage and
Our two test bikes have been ridden in country you would describe as pretty harsh. As mentioned previously, the terrain is rough and steep in most places with plenty of necessity to use four wheel drive only. What has stood out is the way the build quality has endured on both machines. A lot of ATVs get wheeled out for daily use on flat ground - acting as a commuter and carry all. These two machines have taken the proverbial hiding and still look and feel reasonably fresh.
Bits and bobs One of the only sore points has been an experience fitting indicators. For NSW conditional registration ATVs are required to have indicators fitted and I do wish more manufacturers would do this as standard. The mechanic made a mistake with the wiring and shorted out the cooling fan – nothing to do with the Suzuki itself, just one of those things. The 450 is also fitted with a pull start (that we have never had to use).
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and here we’ve used it to the maximum. After more than 10,000km and a combined ten years of use our 450 King Quads certainly have been the ‘Goldilocks’ choice - not too little, not too much. Just right.
Reliability, handling, versatility and performance, those are the four words I would use to sum up this capable all rounder. As testament to their high quality these quad’s hold their value well, so expect to pay around $6000 for a well looked after example. – Matt O’Connell
CYCLE TORQUE RACER TEST YAMAHA RACING R1 AND R6
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We test Kevin Curtain’s Formula Extreme championship winning machines.
YAMAHA Australia recently invited ol’ Smarty out to Queensland Raceway to have a crack at Kevin Curtain’s championship winning Yamaha YZF-R1 and YZF-R6 racers so along with up-and-coming road race star Josh McGrath we hit the track to see what makes these blue beasts so special. The R1: Apparently the Formula Extreme rules don’t allow for major changes to the standard machinery but the R1 that Yamaha has put together for KC has an Öhlins TTX Shock, Öhlins fork internals and Öhlins steering damper to look after the handling while the engine is given a bit more mumbo thanks to the Power Commander and Titanium Exhaust. There are also a plethora of peripheral items around the bike that make it very trick but all I want is power and handling, right? If you have ever ridden around Queensland Raceway on anything that is vaguely fast there are two things that will surprise you. One is how bumpy the track is and second how short the straights are when a well fettled 1000cc motor is running you from corner to corner. My time on the R1 was only a handful of laps (that was my choice) but it was enough time for me to look on admiringly when 16 year old Josh McGrath
jumped on and started ripping laps off like it he had been riding it since he was a baby (which wasn’t that long ago). You see, on a motocross track or even on a good trail ride our average speed would probably be around 45 to 60 km/h so my speed perception on the R1 was all out. I simply could not get my head around how fast this thing would go when you pulled the throttle to the stoppers but then again, I was thankful to how well the Goodridge braided line assisted brakes pulled me up as well. At my speed, mid corner stability was great and obviously I would find little fault in the Öhlins suspension or the Dunlop control tyres through Josh was managing to get a nice slide out of turn five….GULP! Honestly, I was standing next to track watching Josh enjoy his first ever ride on a 1000cc racer and before long he is coming onto the main straight full throttle with the R1 looking for traction and five corners later he rips off this huge slide out of the left hander in the middle of the track. Bloody 16 year olds!
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“That is the most amazing motorcycle I have ever ridden, that power is so sweet,” said Josh after his initiation into the world of 1000cc Formula Extreme machinery. “The front suspension was great, I felt comfortable under brakes and at no time did I feel like I was going to lose the front when I tipped it in which gave me the ability to pull the throttle on early in the corner. I love it.” The R6: Like the R1 there isn’t a lot they can do to the stock R6 and still make is comply with the Superstock rules so the KC bike has a ‘modified’ rear shock, Öhlins fork internals, Öhlins steering damper, Power Commander and ‘Racing’ Exhaust with a GYTR slip-on muffler. After my R1 experience I was thinking I might be able to give the R6 a bit more curry and ride the wheels off the ‘little’ 600 but I was sadly mistaken. This thing is a dead-set rocket, and although the bike was still beyond my ability, the mid corner stability allowed me to get on the throttle a lot earlier than the R1. Once you have this thing floating around red line the braking marks come up real fast, but once again the brakes are nothing short of sensational.
even though it is a little faster than my bike but the front forks felt unreal, I have done a heap of laps around this track and I have never had so much confidence in the front as I did just then, I could have easily gone a lot faster,” said McGrath after his ride. I am the first to admit that I am no gun as a road racer but I can see how a rider with the experience of Kevin Curtain could get the most out of these two machines and win championships. Josh and I really liked the way the power is fed on so smoothly from idle to red line and with the suspension and brakes offering all the feedback and confidence a rider could want we can only take our hat off to the crew at Yamaha. Josh and I would like to thank all of the people at Yamaha for letting us ride the championship winning YZF-R1 and YZF-R6 and in particular Scott Bishop for his assistance throughout the day.
Since he owns, has raced and won on an R6 already I figured Josh would be able to get some serious pace out of Curtain’s R6 and I wasn’t wrong. Even with my words ‘don’t you bin this’ ringing in his ears McGrath was able to get We also got to ride the ‘works’ Yamaha YZ450F based road racer on the day, so around in the mid to low 1 minute 14 second bracket (Josh easily does 1.13 sec look out for that test in an upcoming issue of Cycle Torque. laps on his 2009 R6). – Darren Smart “Compared to my 2009 R6 this thing is incredible, not so much power wise,
K C A B I G N I TO RQ U
JUST wanted to say another great edition by the Cycle Torque team. Sitting on Koh Samui, Thailand with my new iPad enjoying the mag. – Andrew Russell
Thanks from China
WE HAD had a white Christmas here in China, with about six inches of snow and there’s still some lying around – not quite my idea of bike-riding weather! I read your thoughts concerning the unfortunate passing of your mate Kev [Editorial, January 2012]. Yes, it’s something all road users should be aware of – the dangers on the road. It reminds me of a mate who has vast experience riding all kinds of bikes, is a qualified bike mechanic, and was even a racing instructor who got taken out by a roo only 10km from home on his way back from Phillip Island. Thankfully, he survived but explained that it happened so fast, and out of his line of vision, that he had no chance. Like you said, most bike riders exercise much greater concentration when riding compared with car drivers. Maybe it should be made compulsory for all learner car drivers to be given a few rides on a bike to improve their concentration and awareness of bikes? I liked your comments on the little Virago and your poser about how many of us learnt on one. Well, I did, and regretted selling it (for a small profit – they seem to be going up in value haha) – it would have made the ideal commuter. I’m heading back home for the Spring Festival vacation and can’t wait to hop on my bike and go on a few rides with me mates, but probably a little more sedately. Well, have a great New Year, stay safe and keep the good work coming! Cheers – Mick C.
BIT late going through the August issue and just finished reading the letters page about the poor
CYCLE TORQUE FEBRUARY 2013 - 90 WRITE A LETTER!
state of NSW roads. Seems funny to me that my riding mates and I all comment on how good the roads are when we cross the border from Queensland to New South Welly. Go figure? – SeaBee
WIN A GREAT PRIZE
This month Mick C has won a Cargol Turn & Go puncture repair kit. Available from better bike shops everywhere and there’s a video of one being used on the Cycle Torque website. Send your letters (and/or great bike pictures) to The Editor, Cycle Torque, PO Box 687 Warners Bay, NSW 2282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
T’WAS the night before Christmas and I was perusing your Buyers’ Guide, considering supporting your sponsors. Any thought of spending my hard earned turned to almost projectile disgust when I saw your suggestion of “My plates”. Are you f-ing joking?! Every state government on Julia’s Isle has done its damnedest to gradually shaft motorcycling into extinction for the two decades plus that I have been road riding. As an ex-pat Mexican I know full-well the evil that is the Victorian Motorcycle tax (safety levy). I have combated countless other draconian antibike measures too; Sergeant “If you don’t like it, stop riding motorcycles” Gore’s compulsory dayglo vest law being a prime example. The list is frightening and Victoria is only the test bed - if it results in motorcyclists throwing more money into the oligarchys’ coffers while being further subjugated there, then other state governments will follow. This being the case it stands to reason that the motorcycle industry and media would be vociferously anti-government. One would think that bike magazines would refuse point blank any solicitation from TAC and RTA for advertising, telling them to push their, “Plan your corners” and “it’s OK for drivers to go through stop signs but bikies shouldn’t be 5km over the limit” ads up their arses. The reality however is that Cycle Torque is promoting the (anti-motorcycling) NSW government’s fund-raising products! Please spare me the “We do not force anyone,” bollocks. No one has a gun to their head, but clearly the government is the foe, in which case buying a ‘POOFT4 PL8’, to use the chronic masturbator idiom, is willingly financing their
agenda is tantamount to treason and encouraging this is irresponsible at best. What’s the bet this gets thrown out with other feedback with mumbles of “malcontent” or “recalcitrant” so you can continue pedalling Government crap with impunity? I hope your Christmas was a safe one anyway. – Lindsay Swift You do understand it’s advertisers who pay for your copy of Cycle Torque, don’t you? – NP
IN REFERENCE to your editorial “entrapment” in November’s edition of Cycle Torque, can I suggest an alternative scenario which in my view is far more probable, even if a bit less conspiratorial. There is a well known area on a given road where people pass on double lines, perhaps speeding in the process. The police set themselves up in a vantage point with a video camera, a radar gun and a radio. They record offences being committed on this stretch of road, and radio ahead to an intercepting unit who issue the infringement notices. The grey Nissan X-trail was being driven by a member of the public, who pulled out on the motorcyclist, pulled to one side as if to say “Sorry” (which they probably were, happens all the time) allowing your reader to pass which he did, unfortunately for him crossing double lines and copping a fine.
– Scott Morris
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