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july 2011 www.cycletorque.com.au

Contents 40

41

test

yamaha xtz660 tÉnÉrÉ

moto guzzi stelvio 1200 ntx

42

43

44

test

test

test

24 test

bmw k 1600 gt & gtl

bmw f 800 gs

test

triumph tiger 800 xc

ktm 690 enduro r

features 36 Outback adventure tour 54 troy bayliss experience 56 Tasting tour – NSW central west

REGULARS 3-20 News 21 LETTERS 22 e-Torque 23 GUNTRIP 30 quad torque 32 EDITORIAL 33 race torque

50

34 Dirty torque

feature

48 used & reviewed

sym symba scooter

46 Bike stuff

62 BOOK SALES

Cover photos: BMW by Lou Martin, KTM by Nigel Paterson 2 – JUNE 2011


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NEWS torque

SOON: 2012 Husqvarnas

HUSQVARNA’S 2012 enduro range is all set to be released in Australia. Two-strokes are still very much in vogue at Husqvarna, with the small bore strokers – WR250 and WR300 – have benefited from updates which are common across the range, namely black chassis, silver Excel hubs and new graphics. Other than that the bikes are unchanged from last year. At the pointy end of the four-stroke models, the TE511 and TE449, a number of engine and suspension changes, and extra bracing to the chassis. For more information on these, and other models like the TE310 and TE250 go to www. husqvarnamotorcycles.com.au. n JUNE 2011 – 3


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4 – JUNE 2011


BMW K 1600 GT & GTL – P24


Huge adventure touring feature – page 36


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Leigh Adams injured TEN time Australian speedway champ, and world speedway ace Leigh Adams has been seriously injured while practising for the recent Finke Desert Race.

better. He actually watched part of a DVD featuring last weekend’s Speedway Grand Prix in Copenhagen so he can keep up to date with what’s going on in the sport he loves”.

40-year-old Adams crashed on a rocky section of the course on June 7, receiving a number of life threatening injuries, including damage to his spinal cord and two punctured lungs.

Kylie, Leigh and their children Declyn and Casey would like to extend their sincere thanks to the many friends and family that have shown unconditional support for them during this most difficult time.

Adams was transported from the scene by ambulance and then flown to Adelaide where he underwent surgery.

“Everyone has been so thoughtful and generous and we’re really grateful, “Kylie added.

Adams’ wife Kylie says her husband is in remarkably good spirits and is doing far better than expected. “Leigh is making good progress and has now been moved from intensive care into a private ward,” Kylie said. “At this stage doctors are recommending that only Leigh’s immediate family should visit him. It’s obviously far better that Leigh conserves his energy to give him the best possible chance of getting

Leigh has received thousands of messages and emails of support from all over the world. Meanwhile, Gillman Speedway in Adelaide has confirmed it will be staging a Leigh Adams Benefit Meeting on Saturday night, November 26, 2011. The event, combining the annual Jack Young Cup for speedway solos, will be a gala affair featuring many of the sport’s biggest names. n

www.cycletorque.com.au PO Box 687, Warners Bay, NSW 2282 Ph (02) 4956 9820 • Fax (02) 4956 9824 Email: info@cycletorque.com.au Editor CHRIS PICKETT Advertising DENNIS PENZO, 0420 319 335 dennis@cycletorque.com.au Design & PRODUCTION Dionne Hagan, THE D MEDIA DESIGN Accounts: Rebecca Eastment bec@cycletorque.com.au PUBLISHER Nigel Paterson 8 – JUNE 2011

Regular contributors: Darryl Flack, Bob Guntrip, Keith Muir, Alex Pickett, Darren Smart, Todd Reed, Friedemann Kirn, WWW.2SNAP.COM. CYCLE TORQUE is published by Motorcycle Publishing Pty Ltd. ABN 91 085 871 147 Printed by RURAL PRESS, NORTH RICHMOND. Print Post approved PP255003/04198 ISSN 1441-8789 Cycle Torque is available from bike shops across Australia. If you can’t find our latest issue, call 0420 319 335. Subscriptions are available. $24.95 per year, call 02 4956 9820 for details. Copyright 2006. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, including electronic, without written permission of the publisher. PLEASE CONTACT THE EDITOR BEFORE SUBMITTING FREELANCE CONTRIBUTIONS.


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Study proves gear works

AN Australian study providing new evidence on the injury reduction benefits of motorcycle clothing in crashes was launched in Sydney recently. The study, led by Liz de Rome from The George Institute for Global Health at The University of Sydney, is the first of its kind and will be published in Accident Analysis and Prevention. This is the first study in over 25 years to examine the effectiveness of specialised motorcycle protective clothing and in particular, body armour. It is also the first to control for the contribution of other factors that may affect the severity of injury, such as speed or type of impact and age of rider.

One of the key findings of the study, which was funded by Swann Insurance and involved 212 motorcycle and scooter riders, was that riders were significantly less likely to be admitted to hospital if they crashed wearing a motorcycle jacket, pants or gloves. Ms de Rome said “One of the most important findings was the difference it made to be wearing body armour, particularly for hands and knees.” When garments included fitted body armour there was a significantly reduced risk of any injury. The results also found riders wearing shoes or joggers had a much higher risk of foot and ankle injuries, as any type of boot reduced risk of injury by 53 per cent. While there are limits to the extent clothing can prevent injury in high impact crashes, it is in low impact crashes that protective clothing is thought to offer the greatest injury reduction. There is also evidence that the majority of motorcycle crashes do not involve high impacts.

Ms de Rome commented, “Over 200 motorcyclists die and a further 8,000 are seriously injured on Australian roads each year. For many years, motorcycle safety research has been dominated by debate about the effectiveness of helmets with less focus on other protection for the rider’s body. “With the increasing human and economic costs of motorcycle injuries around the world, there was a need for research into the effectiveness of protective clothing. We hope that the results of this study will show riders that their gear protects them from more than just the weather, encouraging them to wear more protective clothing which will in turn help reduce injuries.” The results of the study also send a clear message to the manufacturers of motorcycle protective clothing. The proportion of jackets (29 per cent), pants (28 per cent) and gloves (25 per cent) that failed under crash conditions due to material damage indicates a need for improved quality control. While mandating usage of protective clothing is not recommended by the study’s authors, consideration could be given to providing incentives for usage of protective clothing, such as tax exemptions for safety gear, health insurance premium reductions and rebates. Co-investigator, Associate Professor Rebecca Ivers, Director of Injury Research at the George, Institute said “This is ground breaking research. It sends a clear message to riders that protection is important every time they ride, and highlights the need for further investment by Government to encourage riders to wear appropriate clothing, and to work with the industry to improve the quality of products available”. n

Another first for the KX250F IN 2011 Kawasaki was the first manufacturer to offer Separate Function front Forks (SFF) on a mass-produced motocrosser. Now with the announcement of another first for 2012, the world’s first dual injectors for a motocrosser, the 2012 Kawasaki KX250F continues to set high standards. The KX250F received Fuel Injection in 2011. That is stepped up in 2012 with the addition of dual injectors. This gives the 2012 KX250F a significant increase in power. Power is greater at all RPM but especially in the high RPM range. Showa’s SFF separates damping and shock absorbing duties. The result is a configuration that offers both smooth action and firm damping performance – a combination difficult to achieve with a conventional fork. In 2012, the KX250F receives a new, stiffer main spring and a longer top-out spring allowing it to operate over a greater range. The super hard titanium coating on the outside surface of the inner fork tubes to reduce sliding friction is also retained on the 2012 model. Kawasaki says changes to the Uni-Trak rear suspension, namely less rigid tie rod arms, enable smoother action and improved bottoming resistance. Gear changes should be better too, due to the revised shift drum. Styling remains unchanged. At this stage there is no set release date, other than the second half of 2011. Check out the www.cycletorque.com.au/more for a look at the 2011 model launch report and video. n 10 – JUNE 2011


KLR650

KLX250S

KLX250SF

Visit www.kawasaki.com.au for more information SCAN TAG FOR FULL SPECS AND MORE. Get the free mobile app for your phone http://gettag.mobi * 12 months insurance offer available through participating Kawasaki dealers only. Offer is based on Kawasaki comprehensive insurances. Offer available for a limited time only. Conditions apply. Insurance issued by Swann Insurance (Aust) Pty Ltd (Swann). Refer to the PDS available from Swann or your participating Kawasaki dealer. ** $530.49 value is based on 40 yr old male, locked garaged in postcode 2116, no accidents, no other drivers, no criminal convictions, no modifications or additional accessories, agreed value, for a Kawasaki KLR650. *** Please check with your state licensing authority or Kawasaki dealer for full details of applicable models


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NEWS torque

Motociclo for Moto Guzzi John Sample Automotive Regional Manager Frank Lagana, left, with Motociclo Dealer Principals John and Nicole Vittorio at the St Peters shop.

JOHN Sample Automotive, Australian importers of Moto Guzzi motorcycles, has announced the appointment of Motociclo at St Peters in Sydney as the newest dealer and service centre for the Moto Guzzi range of products.

Motociclo is a small and highly specialised family-run business that has built a strong reputation for servicing European and classic motorcycles. John and Nicole Vittorio opened their doors in 2003 after John had spent more than 20 years in the industry, originally as an apprentice at the iconic Jack Graham Motorcycles in Arncliffe. John Sample Automotive General Manager Kris Matich said he was very pleased to have Motociclo join the Moto Guzzi family. “We are certain that with John and Nicole’s passion for our products and providing excellent service to their customers, we will have a great future together,” Kris said. Dealer Prinicpal John Vittorio said that Motociclo had been working on Moto Guzzis for many years and he felt very comfortable representing the brand in the heart of Sydney.

“We are very excited to fulfil this longtime ambition to officially represent Moto Guzzi in Sydney,” John said.

“We feel the timing is perfect as the iconic Italian brand has never been as strong, stable and committed and joining them in the year of the factory’s 90th anniversary is just perfect.”

Motociclo is located at 95-97 Princes Highway, St Peters, NSW, call (02) 9557 7234. n

Stoner fine art WANT a free fine art drawing of Casey Stoner and Valetino Rossi? Well, who wouldn’t? Go to www. b i l l y a r t . c o. u k / f r e e d o w n l o a d s / freedownloadsbybillytheartist.html. Check out the pics and check out the other art Billy has done.

Online this month at cycletorque.com.au Heaps of new Videos! • Adventure tour and bike • Gas Gas EC300 • Kawasaki w800 • Troy Bayliss Experience

12 – JUNE 2011


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NEWS torque

NSW motorcycle safety initiatives welcomed THE Motorcycle Council of NSW (MCC) has welcomed the announcement by Roads Minister, the Hon Duncan Gay, that motorcycle safety initiatives have been escalated as part of the $170 million Road Toll Response Package.

“The inclusion of research projects, such as studies into fatigue and helmets is particularly welcomed. NSW is a big State, with vast distances to cover, yet rider fatigue as a factor in accidents is an issue that is not well understood.

Simon Disney, Acting MCC Chairman, said there are now over half a million motorcycle licence holders in NSW and that scooters and motorcycles are increasing in popularity as a low-emission, congestion-busting means of personal transport.

“Contrary to popular belief, the average age of motorcyclists in NSW is 44. Motorcycle tourism is growing rapidly and injects considerable income into rural and regional economies.

“For too long, motorcycles have been regarded by policymakers as simply some kind of small car. The different handling characteristics of motorcycles means that better road design in the planning stages and improved training for road maintenance crews will bring about safer roads for those on two wheels and just as importantly, safer roads for cars too”.

“MCC looks forward to working further with the Minister and RTA when the Ministerial Advisory Council reconvenes, to explore how we can most effectively communicate the findings of these studies and initiatives to member clubs and rider groups in NSW”, concluded Mr Disney. n

“Unfamiliar roads and conditions, combined with fatigue – particularly for ‘returning riders’ who had a motorcycle in “MCC has held a number of motorcycle strategy forums their teens and twenties - can be a factor in accidents. We recently, and the motorcycling community is keen to work need to better understand the role fatigue can play. with the RTA and MAA on a range of strategies to increase “Racking up 600km or more in a day on a bike may be fine in motorcycle awareness and safety and reduce accidents and your twenties, but it can be an entirely different proposition injury”, Mr Disney said. for a ‘returning rider’, 30 or 40 years down the track.

Motorsports protection AN INNOVATIVE headgear design specifically for the motorsports world has made the shortlist of this year’s Australian Design AwardJames Dyson Award. ‘Neurosense Racing Headset System’, designed by Norman Oliveria, provides teams and race control with immediate recognition of a driver’s neck injury and whether the injured driver has gone into a state of unconsciousness. Teamed with a balaclava incorporating Electroencephalography which records electrical patterns of the brain and measures movement of the neck, ‘Neurosense’ aims to limit the risk of life-altering injuries in the field. The Australian Design AwardJames Dyson Award is Australia’s top student design award that aims to discover and nurture young industrial design talent like Norman. It celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year.

development of technology. It may not be too far in the future before our road helmets are fitted with such life saving devices.

Further information can also be viewed at www. The racing world is well known for its fast studentdesignawards.com.au. n 14 – JUNE 2011


5.99%


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Endurance racing returns to SA MANY years since it was a part of the glory days of Dowsett explained, “this year’s event is designed for riders endurance road racing in Australia, the ‘3 Hour’ will to get a feel of how exciting endurance racing is and be a return to South Australia. part of. Everyone I’ve spoken to, just want to be involved Mallala Motorsport Park will be the venue for this and teams are lining up. Get your teams together now as reborn unique event, full of action, strategy, tactics and entry fields are limited.”

endurance. Which team will be the new endurance stars in The event is also supported with a 50km race for Limited, the resurgence of endurance racing in Australia? Period 5, 6 and C20 machines, as well as Bracket Racing and The ‘3 Hour’ is open to all race ready motorcycles from Historic machines. Also to give recognition for individual 600c to 1000cc four cylinder, 650cc twins and 675cc triples riders in the 3 hour, a 75km individual race is planned for to 1200cc twins. Teams up to three riders can also include late Saturday afternoon to give endurance racers individual three bikes: no machine or tyre restrictions apply and one bragging rights if they beat their team members. event licences are accepted.

More info: www.phoenixmcc.org.au or Rick Dowsett Mobile: 0403 386 788 or email: rick5564@internode. Promoted by Phoenix Motorcycle Club, President Rick on.net. n

Monster Evo

DUCATI has announced the release of the Monster 1100 Evo with an RRP of $17,990 plus ORC. “The new Monster 1100 Evo boasts new levels of performance and safety technology as standard with both Traction Control (DTC) and ABS, while also delivering a very attractive RRP five per cent lower than the previous model.” said Warren Lee, CEO – Ducati Australia. “For riding and ergonomic comfort, there’s also a new wet clutch and higher handlebars. Overall it’s another very exciting evolution of the Monster family and model range for those looking for a higher level of authentic Italian performance.” The new Monster 1100 Evo has a number of design cues from the Streetfighter and 1198 models, like the 10 spoke wheels and twin silencers. As with all new Ducati motorcycles, the Monster 1100 Evo is covered by a 2-Year unlimited kilometre warranty and Roadside and Emergency Assist should it ever be required. The Monster 1100 Evo is available in red with white stripe or Diamond Black with Racing Grey Stripe and can be further customized with the Monster ART or Genuine Ducati Accessories to suit any taste.

16 – JUNE 2011


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NEWS torque : pit bits

MotoGP Officals needed

THE Australian round of the MotoGP World Championship is returning again in 2011, and an amazing opportunity exists for interested people to join the team and become an official for the event. Australia’s own Casey Stoner will be aiming for his fifth consecutive victory at the event, held at Phillip Island on 14-16 October, and he will be facing strong competition from the likes of Italian legend Valentino Rossi, teammate Dani Pedrosa, and reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. A variety of roles exists for officials at the 2011 MotoGP - including pit marshals, flag/ track marshals and communicators - and volunteering as an official has many benefits: free entry for you and a friend for all three days of the event; invitation to a post-race Officials BBQ; free camping, and an opportunity to meet and greet riders. To apply as an Official for the 2011 Australian MotoGP, you can complete the Officials Application and Indemnity form which can be downloaded from the MA website at www.ma.org.au/officials. For more information about the 2011 IVECO Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix visit: www.motogp.com.au. For more information about becoming an Official, visit the Officials section on the MA website at www.ma.org.au/officials. n

2011 Yamaha Australian Off Road MOTORCYCLING Australia (MA) has confirmed the date and venue changes for the 2011 Yamaha Australian Off Road Championship (AORC). As a result of excessive rain in the Hunter region, rounds five and six of the AORC, originally slated for 18-19 June will now be held on 1-2 October at Salisbury, NSW, in conjunction with the existing NSW State Championship rounds scheduled. The AORC to be held on 1-2 October will become rounds nine and 10, and will be a Cross Country/Sprint format. For more info on other changes go to www.motorcycling.com.au. n

Well Done MRRDA The Motorcycle Road Racing Development Association (MRRDA) was established in 2007 and hosted an inaugural five round series. The classes were Junior, 125GP, 250GP, 250 Production and Formula 400. The series went beyond pure race meetings, extending to seminars held in NSW, QLD and VIC covering the topics of media awareness and Sponsorship. The series has been seen by thousands of people on SBS Speedweek and Fox “Inside Speed”. A number of riders have gone on to bigger things after learning their craft in the MRRDA. Mike Jones, Matt Walters, and Alex Pickett have all won Australian titles as senior riders, and names like Dylan Mavin, Jed Metcher, Andy Lawson, Josh Hook, Daniel Falzon, Zach Thackeray, Adrian Nestorovic and Brody Nowlan are constantly heard in the race paddock. Want to road race as a junior? Go to www.mrrda.com. n

MX/Off Road training camps MOTORCYCLING Australia (MA) is now accepting applications for the MA/AIS Under 21 Motocross/Off Road Development Training Camps to be held in 2011 and 2012. The camps will be held at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra, with the first camp to be held from 1-7 September 2011 and the second camp from 17-26 January 2012. The Development Training Camps have run successfully since 2007, providing many of Australia’s up and coming Motocross and Off Road riders with access to elite standard training, education and support facilities. Application forms are available through the MA website at: www.ma.org.au/forms. Applications for both the 2011 and 2012 camps must be received by the COB Monday 1 August 2011 and addressed to: Laurence Miller National Development Officer Motorcycling Australia PO Box 134 South Melbourne Vic 3205 Email: development@ma.org.au

For further information regarding the application process contact National Development Officer, Laurence Miller on the above contact details. n

Australia qualifies THE Australian Under 21 Speedway Team has made it to its first appearance at the FIM Speedway Teams Under 21 World Championship finals. The team of Darcy Ward (QLD), Josh Grajczonek (QLD), Richard Sweetman (NSW), Justin Sedgmen (VIC) and Sam Masters (NSW) were brilliant in their semi-final event held in Germany recently, scoring a total of 63 points to convincingly win their way through to September’s final. Ward, a two-time FIM Speedway Under 21 World Champion, top-scored on the night with 15 points and was equally supported by Grajczonek (14), Masters (13), Sedgmen (11) and Sweetman (10). The quintet will have plenty of time to prepare for their chance to become World Champions, with the final event to be held on 3 September at Balakovo, Russia. n

Endure 24 hours IT’S not too late to try your hand at an off-road 24 hour endurance event. The 2011 Swann 24hr will be held in the Barossa Valley in South Australia on July 9. The Swann Insurance 24 Hour Reliability Trial is a true test of rider and machine, with competitors having to carry all spares and riding gear that they require for the event: the only assistance allowed is when refuelling their motorcycle. With entries starting to roll in, 2008 winner Shane Diener is confirmed to come back for another crack at winning his 11th 24hr title, this time excited to be going back to his roots riding a Yamaha WR450F supported by Bills Motorcycles and Yamaha Australia. Shane said “I am very happy to be able to gain support from a great company on a proven product, I rode a Yamaha WR250 for my first win in 1992 and am looking for another win on a Yamaha in 2011”. At this stage the last three winners will be lining up to add to their tally. Last year’s winner, New Zealander Chris Power, will be back to defend his title, 2009 winner Sean Throup aboard a Yamaha WR450F from Bills Motorcycles and Yamaha Australia will be keen for more luck after putting a hole in his engine case last year. Entry forms and event information will be available from the website www.24hrtrial. com.au but get in quick as there’s a rider cap of 200. For any further enquiries please call Brett Tomkins on 0413 840 449 or Shaun Blenkiron on 0488 570 510. n

Crowning a new King NEW South Wales’ best dirt track riders will take to one of the country’s most iconic motorcycle complexes when they compete in The King of Nepean on Saturday and Sunday, 16 - 17 July 2011. Extreme speed enthusiasts will witness riders reach speeds in excess of 130kmh and power-slide around the historic Castlereagh track, which will host The King of Nepean for just the third time in almost 20 years. To be run over two days, almost $3,000 in prize money is up for grabs across nine senior race classes including The King of Nepean title – supported by three junior contests and a Nippers demonstration featuring four to seven year olds. Hosted by the Nepean Motor Sports Club, The King of Nepean is an open meeting and is expected to attract hundreds of riders – both from NSW and further afield including Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria. Race Secretary, Peter Snow, said competition over the two days will be fast and furious as the best solo riders return to the celebrated track – the last of its kind in the Sydney basin. “Riders will find that work has continued this year to further improve the surface of the track so it’s in the best shape possible to allow the fastest times possible,” Peter said. “The racing will be close, full-throttle, bar-bashing entertainment – there’ll be a great atmosphere for both the riders and the fans.” There’s a number of other classes racing during the event. Rider entries close 29 June 2011 for inclusion in the printed program, however riders can still enter The King of Nepean after this date. For more information visit www.nepeanraceway.com.au . n JUNE 2011 – 17


Get it right

SMALL TORQUE

IN last month’s issue we made a few mistakes with the Takamii helmet featured in our Bike Stuff section. Here’s what it should have said: I recently had the chance to race test a Takamii RH0K carbon fibre helmet, and what a revelation. It’s incredibly light, weighing only 1400 grams. I couldn’t say it was like having nothing on my head but it’s as close as I’ve come regarding a motorcycle helmet. There’s not a huge amount of different styles, and for my test I used the Cherry Black colour, with an Iridium visor. Other colours available are ‘Cosmos Blue’, ‘Graphite’, and the ‘Lycan’ graphic which makes you look a bit like a werewolf. You can also get other visors too, like chrome, dark tint and iridium blue. $65 will get you a smoked visor, $90 an Iridium. Takamii is a carbon fibre manufacturer in Taiwan and the quality is very high, and the helmets come standard with removable linings, a breath guard, and chin curtain to keep some of the wind from flying under the chin piece and into your eyes. Takamii is also testing a ‘Photochromatic’ visor which changes its shade to suit the light – neat. Takamii has got a Cycle Torque special at the moment too. For $999 + $29 registered and insured delivery you get two helmets with all the fruit. To get this deal the helmets must be the same

colour and size and you must have a competition licence, plus tell them you saw it in Cycle Torque.

Get it right 2

Normal price for one helmet is $589. More info at www.rhok.com.au, or email info@takamii.com.au. You can get them from selected stockists.

IT’S come to our attention we also made some mistakes in the recent KTM 300 EXC/Husaberg TE 300 test.

Helmets are AS1698, DOT and ECE 22.05 certified. – Alex Pickett

There’s a few reasons why the Husaberg retails for a higher price than the KTM.

Mojo dealers capitalise on GE link

- The Husaberg runs closed cartridge front forks but the KTM doesn’t. This explains the different ‘feel’ the tester found.

GE CAPITAL will be the exclusive floor plan provider to the Mojo Motorcycles national dealer network from July 1. Mojo Motorcycles stable of brands includes TGB, CF Moto and Daelim and the new relationship with GE Capital cements Mojo’s position as a serious independent force within the industry. Mojo is an Australian owned company which targets key segments in the motorcycle industry covering scooters, commuter bikes, learner approved bikes and ATV’s. GE Capital introduced floor plan finance into the motorcycle sector in 1972 and is a global business operating in 55 countries around the world. Employing over 4600 it is the fifth largest lender in Australia and New Zealand by assets under management. It is the largest inventory financier, funding more corporate aircraft, marine leisure craft dealers, caravan dealers, motorcycle dealers and agriculture equipment dealers than any other company in Australia. n

- The Husaberg has billet triple clamps (this also changed the handling quite a bit as they are stiffer than the cast units). - The Husaberg has anodised blue rims. - The Husaberg has an 11 litre fuel tank. - The Husaberg comes fitted with an ignition map switch. n

New in the city PETER Stevens Motorcycles has announced Steve Glab has been appointed Branch Manager and Dealer Principal of the Melbourne city stores. Steve has been a key member of the Peter Stevens Motorcycles team for over five years. Previously dealer principal and owner of a Honda dealership in Geelong, Steve began his career with Peter Stevens as Branch Manager of the Peter Stevens Geelong store after it opened in 2003. Steve has a challenging role ahead of him in


SMALL TORQUE taking on the management of the two city stores – Elizabeth Street and the newer flagship HarleyHeaven and City Triumph store around the corner in A’Beckett Street. Steve will lead a team in excess of 100 staff employed in sales, customer service and technical roles. n

Corser Concepts CORSER Concepts Motorcycle School is running some great skills based off-road courses near Sydney. The next course is on July 8-9. CCMS also has a ‘bring a friend’ promotion. More info? Go to www. corserconceptsmotorcycleschool.com or call Dale on 0414 552 781. n

Kawasaki new blood KAWASAKI Australia has appointed Ben McCosh to the position of Victoria/Tasmania Sales Representative at Kawasaki Motors. McCosh will work alongside VIC/TAS Sales Manager, David O’Brien, to continue the growth of Kawasaki sales within Victoria and Tasmania. Ben McCosh has worked extensively within the motorcycle industry for the last 10 years within respected companies such as Bel Ray, Ficeda and Australasian Dirt Bike Magazine. A keen and talented rider, McCosh has been a regular fixture within the off road community having competed

in such events as the Finke Desert Race, the Condo 750 and A4DE. Ben McCosh is contactable on mobile phone number 0419 314 342 or via email at mccosh_b@ kawasaki.com.au.n

Off to Assen CONGRATULATIONS are due to a lucky YZF-R1 owner and YZF-R6 owner who are off on a week long tour to the Dutch Moto GP with a partner valued at $17,000 per trip. The winners entered a Moto GP competition run by Yamaha Motor Australia that was open to all purchasers of Yamaha R1 and R6 supersports bikes before 31 May 2011. All new owners received a free 50th Moto GP anniversary race stand and were asked to describe why they wanted to attend the Assen Moto GP in 25 words or less. The entries of Robert Davidson from Port Macquarie, NSW and Dylan Jones from Adamstown Heights, NSW were judged to be the most creative. Lucky buggers. n

Buzzing around Brazil THE crew at Brazil On Bikes have just released a promotional offer for riders over 65 years of age to obtain a five per cent discount on tours during the 2012 riding season.

There is a growing market for riders in that age group to explore exciting locations on two wheels and South America offers a truly exotic motorcycling adventure. For more information on this offer and the other adventure trips available check out their website on www.brazilonbikes.com or you can email them on info@brazilonbikes.com or ring (02) 9418 9928. n

Kawasaki specials FOR a limited time Kawasaki is offering 12 months free comprehensive insurance with the purchase of every new or demo model KLR650, KLX250S or KLX250SF. The offer, for eligible clients, is valued at over $500. The deal ends on August 31 2011. See the KLR650, KLX250S and KLX250SF at your nearest Kawasaki dealership. For more information on the 12 months free comprehensive insurance promotion, visit www.kawasaki.com.au. The green team is also offering a great bonus pack with the KLX450R. If you buy a new or demo KLX450R you’ll get a Pro Circuit pipe, Michelin tyres, Talon sprockets, DID chain, a GoPro HD helmet camera and a heap of other stuff, including an additional Kawasaki spares kit. Great bike. Great deal. Be quick though, it’s only available for a limited time. n


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SMALL TORQUE Around the world on a scorpion PIRELLI’S Scorpion Trail tyres have completed a lap around the world on a Ducati Multistrada 1200 S. Italian rider Paolo Pirozzi left the Misano circuit on June 14 2010. Using only eight sets of Scorpion Trail tyres to cover nearly 100,000 km. n

Cheap Suzukis SUZUKI is offering price freezes and cash backs on a number of new models. For July all models from Suzuki’s road bike range purchased and delivered from participating Suzuki dealers until 31 July, 2011 will come with free 12 months registration, Compulsory Third Party insurance, stamp duty, dealer delivery and freight charges. In addition to that the GS500 and GS500F have had price roll backs, $500 for the 500 ($7,490), and $700 for the 500F ($7,990). Both models are LAMS eligible. If you are more interested in off road then the RMX450Z has a $500 factory bonus, as does the DR-Z400E, and the DR-Z250 a $250 factory bonus. For more info visit your local Suzuki dealer of go to www.suzuki.com.au. n

Powersports Kawasaki open POWERSPORTS Kawasaki is open for business! Located in Seaford, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the dealership is just one of many new Kawasaki dealerships opening up around the country. Powersports Kawasaki offers customers a comprehensive range of the very latest Kawasaki Motorcycles, (road and off road), ATVs and Jet Skis all housed inside a new state of the art dealership with purpose built workshop. Owned and operated by Adam O’Byrne, the dealership is in the hands of somebody who is no stranger to the motorcycle industry. Since cutting his teeth as an apprentice mechanic in 1985, O’Byrne has risen through the ranks and is now the Dealership Principal of not one but two motorcycle dealerships. An enthusiastic Adam O’Byrne says, “Since we opened our doors almost eight weeks ago at 1/8 Klauer Street, Seaford Vic, the reception to the new dealership has been overwhelming. We have a knowledgeable Sales Manager in Ben Sterling and our Workshop Manager, Steve Powell has taken our workshop and turned it into an efficient and highly professional work station. His great suspension

City Slicker

YAMAHA’S XC125 Vity is just the ticket for inner city commuting.

tuning skills and broad mechanical know-how is becoming known in the area. Drop in or give them a call on 03 9781 8700. n

Cheap finance

LIKE most manufacturers, Honda is offering great deals at the moment too. Until July 31 you can buy a Honda ‘fun-bike’ with a finance rate of only 8.95 per cent. The range includes everything from the CRF50 to the CRF150F, and TRX90 atv. n

Rocket ABS Triumph’s Rocket III Touring has gained ABS as standard fitment on its 2011/12 models, ‘at no extra cost’. “Triumph is committed to offering ABS, either as standard or as an option, on all new projects that they are working on. So you will have seen that the last ‘all-new’ projects i.e. the Tiger 800s, Speed Triple, Thunderbird, Sprint GT and Rocket III Roadster, have all been developed with ABS either as standard or an option,” commented Triumph Australia’s Marketing Manager Mal Jarrett. The Rocket III Touring is available to order now from authorised Triumph dealerships for $23,990 plus ORC. n

Spot the Husqvarna 900

Vity has a wet weight of only 110 kg, and a wheelbase of just 1250 mm. It’s one of the smallest and lightest 125cc scooters in its class. In combination with a fuel-injected 125cc engine, you can navigate traffic and overtake without stress. n

IN A recent issue Cycle Torque released details of a new Husqvarna street motard style machine. Reports suggest the bike will be powered by a 900cc parallel twin cylinder engine which is heavily based on the BMW F 800 engine. You might have missed the fact BMW owns Husqvarna so don’t be too surprised. Here’s a spy shot of a test mule. n 20 – JUNE 2011


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LETTERS TORQUING BACK Write A Letter!

WIN A Great PRIZE

This month Brad Stevens has won an Airhawk mid-cruiser seat for his bike, valued at $159. Airhawk seats make riding a lot more comfortable by putting a cushion of air between you and your bike. Check out www.airhawkguy. com for more information. Send your letters (and/or great bike pictures) to The Editor, Cycle Torque, PO Box 687 Warners Bay, NSW 2282 or email chris@cycletorque.com.au.

Risky business

I DON’T get it. Wire fences. A road safety device that clearly puts road users at risk and has seriously injured and possibly killed people? In some locations their use is certain to cause or at least increase the risk of injury. This suggests they are a flawed design. So how is it they’re still in use? The fact that they can harm road users, including motorcyclists, brings to mind laws relating to racial discrimination. Okay, it’s illegal to ‘slag off’ at someone because of race. Then surely it’s just a matter of time before successful legal action is taken against the use of equipment that so evidently reduces road safety, increases the level of risk and actually causes serious physical injury on Australian roads? It’s a no-brainer. Know a good lawyer? Regards, Dave Jones Hi Dave I agree the wire fences can cause injury if hit by a motorcyclist, and I wouldn’t want to be the rider at the time of the impact. Of course if a car hits one the injury to the driver is expected to be less. I wonder about your argument on the legal ramifications for them being there though. What about a legal argument about no barriers between traffic? Ed.

Overtaxed

WITH all the recent talk about motorcyclists getting ripped off by green slips, taxes, bad roads etc I am often amazed at the opinion of the general non-motorcycle riding community. Having a discussion with pushbike riders and mentioning that they should pay for registration and a licence fee the reply I got back was: Why should we pay for rego and licence when we pay for these on our cars? Tell me push bike riders, (and Clover Moore) how the hell is this different than a motorcyclist? Can we now get our rego, insurance and green slip for free because we pay for these on other modes of transport? Somehow I think not. To all the pro pushbike and non-motorcyclists out there who think motorcyclists are receiving a fair go tell me this: do motorcyclists take up a whole lane doing only 20kmh hour holding up traffic? Do motorcyclists pay as much (if not more pro rata) for their rego and insurance? Do motorcyclists demand their own lane on roads and do motorcyclists not wear better protective gear than your push bike rider or car driver (got to love those lycra pants)? Can non-motorcyclists tell me when they will realise motorcyclists actually contribute more than their share to the roads and community? We pay more, we keep traffic going, we look out for our safety (I know some exceptions who don’t) and we don’t talk on mobile phones while driving. So in closing can any non-motorcyclist tell me how motorcycle riders are receiving a fair go (especially those knobs on push bikes with 25cc engines who don’t require a licence, rego etc)? Mark Robinson Hi Mark A number of my motorcycle riding friends hate push bike riders but I’m not one of them. We all seem to forget most of us rode ‘pushies’ around the place during our childhood. When I was an apprentice I rode my Malvern Star to work every day until I could get a licence.

I don’t believe you should pay to ride a pushbike, and in fact the thought to me is ludicrous. But you are entitled to your point of view. The only time I can remember being pissed off at a pushbike rider was when my wife was walking across a pedestrian crossing in North Sydney recently and was abused by a wanker bicycle rider for having the audacity to hold him up. He screamed at her to get out of the way, and if I could have caught the bastard I would have been doing some screaming myself. You get knobs in all walks of life I suppose.

Re Skinny and waterproof

I TOTALLY agree with Shawn Zammit.I ‘m 6’2” with a 32” waist and I bought a pair of camo Draggin Jeans years ago and they are way too short. You’d think they could offer different lengths. Levi’s can do it (32 waist 34 leg). I have the same problem with my work shirts and pants. I guess the people who make all these clothes are going off patterns from fifty years ago. I don’t know how the young kids go these days, they all seem taller than my generation. Peter Hall, Malabar Hi Pete It’s always worth asking people like Draggin if they can do a custom job to suit your particular size. It might cost slightly more, but then custom work usually does.

A good bloke!

A COUPLE of months ago I was called out of work early to attend hospital because one of my children was in a very serious accident. While riding my bike there my back tyre went flat. I was pulled up on the side of the road for about five minutes trying to arrange another form of transport when another bike pulled over to see if I needed help. This was Peter Stevens’ Tyre Centre Manager Rob Pennese of the Ringwood store. As he was trying to fix my tyre he heard my distressed phone call to my partner, as I was needed at the hospital ASAP. He handed the keys to his bike and said, “you need my bike more than me mate. Take it and I’ll stay with yours until it’s fixed.” Rob didn’t know me but I took his offer and made it to the hospital to see my son just prior to undergoing surgery which luckily he came through with flying colours. A couple of days later my bike was fixed and delivered back to me in his personal ute, and I returned his six-month old Fireblade. I thought it was a company bike but it turned out it was his own. All I can say is a big thank you to Rob and Peter Stevens Motorcycles for the best service I have ever had in my life. Brad Stevens Note: this is a shortened version of a letter sent to Peter Stevens Motorcycles thanking Rob for his help. It was forwarded to Cycle Torque and we thought it should be printed because it shows the big bike chains aren’t all about profits. Motorcycling is a lifestyle for us, and the bike shops are part of our lifestyle too. Well done Rob. Ed.

JUNE 2011 – 21


E-torque

Cameras, cameras everywhere THE on-board camera has evolved from a space-age squilliondollar TV-station-only device into an ubiquitous, inexpensive, compact and high quality accessory anyone can own and use, in just a few short years. These days, with Youtube as your outlet, it’s easy to post exciting video footage up on the web for all to see quickly and easily. So much so Cycle Torque ended up taking five cameras on the big adventure trip detailed elsewhere in this issue, and all of them were capable of shooting video. I had hoped to be posting video snippets and still picture galleries along the trip, but reality got in the way: at the end of day two our one and only big crash of the trip happened, which resulted in sleeping in tents, delays all round and, well, we never got fully back on track to uploading as we travelled. I did get a couple of day’s riding posted up, and since returning I’ve been at work putting together our video reviews of the different bikes on the trip. Check out the videos at www.cycletorque.com.au/ more. That page will be the place to look for more information about anything you see in Cycle Torque. It will have links to anything and everything we have on the bike tests, product evaluations and news run in Cycle Torque - you’ll find comprehensive specifications, galleries, videos and lots, lots more on that page. Once I get the video reviews of all the bikes finished I’ll be working on a video of the entire tour, but don’t hold your breath… We had also hoped to test various communication devices on the trip, but adventure bikes proved our undoing - with small screens and reasonably high speeds, the wind noise inside our helmets on

most of the bikes made the use of earplugs essential. My Earmold earplugs have headphones built into them, so I could listen to tunes as I rode, but with no microphone built in it makes communicating more difficult. I researched a couple of GPS tracking options but ended up just using my iPhone running Everytrail software. Everytrail plots your route which you can then upload to the web. The biggest issue with tracking your trip in this way is power: if you don’t have power from the bike, don’t do it! Battery drain is incredible when using any GPS. To carry the gear on the trip, I decided to bolt an instrument box to the KTM 990 Adventure R to hold the camera and video gear. These foam-filled boxes are designed to isolate shock and vibration from the contents and are popular with photographers, surveyors and anyone who needs to carry delicate gear. The rack has four bolts holding it on – I simply unbolted the rack, used the holes as a pattern to drill the box and bolted it in place. I’d sat it forward to keep the weight as central as possible, but not so far that it interfered with riding. At the front the bike became one of the main on-board cameracarrying machines. I used a ZTeknic bracket to attach our Drift camera, with power coming from the standard socket on the dash. A socket adaptor in the small compartment between the tanks also held the iPhone (which was in a plastic bag to keep dust out). We shot some video of the bike’s preparation which will hopefully be online by the time you read this – see www.cycletorque.com.au/ more. – Nigel Paterson


www.cycletorque.com.au

GUNTRIP

The tunes in June

Race bikes, public road… nothing like the Isle of Man. SO THE season’s highzoot action is finally beginning to happen in the northern hemisphere: Lorenzo and Stoner are coming to grips over top spot in the MotoGP standings, Charlie Checa prepares to extend his lead at the head of the World Supers chase in Italy and Spain, a baying pack of BMWs and Aprilias on his rear tyre; both of them epic struggles in the making – and I’d be somewhere else entirely, given the choice. For me June comes down to a choice between the Isle of Man and Le Mans, between the attractions of the TT and the Le Mans 24 hour, each among the most magnificent confrontations on their respective calendars and, not coincidentally, sources of some of the best video footage in the history of motorsport. It’s plenty of years since the Isle of Man TT had the prestige that held it aloof from all other forms of road racing, and while the Le Mans 24-hour is undoubtedly the premier distance event on fourwheeler schedule, F1 dominates everything on their side of the fence. When asked recently how the Isle of Man TT fitted into the motorcycle sport spectrum, I had to think about it. A mighty affair, of course, with overflowing entry lists and an abundance of talent, yet not an event that’s attracted the crème de la crème for some decades. MotoGP and World Superbike stars tend to stay away, with succeeding generations making their point about the terrors of kerbstones, garden walls and telegraph poles. Who does that leave? A shadowy community of ‘real road’ enthusiasts, largely Anglo-Irish in character, who earn their living from nowadays overlooked and elderly gems of the international calendar such as the North West 200, Ulster Grand Prix and Southern 100. These guys just might be the bravest of the brave. The tracks on which they ply their trade are not only lined with the routine horrors of daily life, they’re also stupefyingly fast. Kiwi Bruce Anstey currently owns the outright lap record for Dundrod, the 12km track over which the Ulster GP has been run since time began, at a tick over 215km/h – making him the fastest bloke on the fastest bike track in the world. Lancastrian John McGuinness, meanwhile, recently posted his 17th Isle of Man TT win, beating home Suzuki-mounted Guy Martin by a snick less than eight seconds after the six-lap (364km) Senior TT, logging an average speed of 206.7km/h for the journey but not troubling his outright lap record of 211.75km/h. Outright speeds on the TT course don’t quite approach the stellar figures routinely posted by the MotoGP men – 310km/h seems to be about it for Sulby Straight – but I invite you to consider those numbers for a moment, just the same. Imagine it, if you would: pick yourself 60km of two-lane suburban blacktop strewn with a variety of bends and the full gamut of suburban landmarks – pedestrian

crossings, roundabouts, corner shops and pubs and think about what it would be like not just to average 210km/h for a single pass, but to do it half a dozen times in a row. Naturally, the cops have closed the road for you and its surface regularly receives the kind of workmanlike and considered maintenance that most of our roads have never had, but you take the point. Major cojones required. We westerners might live in an increasingly nanny-like superstate, but we can still enter the TT and, if we’re good enough, ride the world’s most formidable racetrack and run the risk of being asked to pay the penalty already exacted from 231 riders since the event began in 1907, when Charlie Collier and Rem Fowler whiffled to sedate wins on the longdefunct St John’s circuit. Is it fair, reasonable or responsible behaviour? Daft questions all. Go and talk to your local mountaineering club about danger. Failing that, turn your back on the TT and head for northern France and another great road circuit, albeit much more heavily modified, not the least down the Mulsanne Straight where five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell remembers pulling 246mph (396km/h) in a Porsche 956. Yes, it helps to have 470+kW in an 800kg package if you want to do that kind of velocity, but that still leaves John McGuinness with a better power-to-weight ratio than Bell. Put it down to the tyranny of aerodynamics. Le Mans is a shorter party than the TT, but it’s intense and romantic in a way that race week on the Island is not. You’re not obliged to stay awake for the full 24 hours but you’ll miss plenty if you don’t. There’s the funfair, sideshow alley and legions of French folk being chic in the most improbable of environments. Whatever their differences though, you’ll see plenty of history being made at both events. And when the circus leaves town, well, you still have MotoGP, World Supers and – if you’re truly desperate – F1 to fall back on until June rolls around again. Try to get to the TT (or Le Mans) next year. It’s something you’ll never forget – or regret. – Bob Guntrip

JUNE 2011 – 23


Launch Report – BMW K 1600 GT/GTL REPORT BY

Chris Pickett

RIDING GEAR: KBC helmet, BMW jacket, Hornee jeans, Thomas Cook boots

PHOTOS BY

Lou Martin


Six-Pack To Go BMW’s new six cylinder flagship is all the touring rider could ever want, and more.

Continued next page


Launch Report – BMW K 1600 GT/GTL

SOMEONE at BMW must have said, “Give them six of the best”. Whoever it was obviously didn’t mean for the headmaster to get out the cane, he or she wanted BMW’s designers to build the best ever six cylinder engine for a motorcycle. If it is or not all depends on your view of the past but in my view this is one of the best engines ever to grace a motorcycle, and certainly the best I’ve sampled in a touring machine.

Why?

BMW has always marched to the beat of a different drum to give itself a marketing edge over the competition and to display its technical capabilities.

When you look at the company’s products only the S 1000 RR and the G 450 X are similar to other bikes in their respective market segments. I think the fact no other bike in the sports touring/ touring sector had an inline six was as much a defining factor as anything when the decision was made to build the Beemer six. There’s also no doubting BMW has the runs on the board when it comes to inline six cylinder powerplants. And no, we are not talking Holden red motors here, we are talking very high spec performance engines. It’s hard to imagine some of this technology not being used in the new motorcycle engine, albeit on a smaller scale.

Six pot screamer

BMW says the new engine is the lightest and most compact inline six ever built for a motorcycle in 1000cc plus capacity. If you are thinking CBX1000 Honda or Z1300 Kawasaki then this engine is light years ahead of those, in every way. With a capacity of 1649cc, and power/torque figures of 118kW (at 7,750rpm) and 175Nm (at 5,250rpm) it’s one hell of a potent powerplant. In fact torque is so strong that 70 per cent of it is available at only 1,500rpm. You can snick it into sixth gear and pretty much leave it there. By all accounts the new engine is only a couple of inches or so wider than the 1300cc inline four employed


Six pots and not much between them.

Canted forward cylinders to keep the weight low.

S p e c i f i c at i o n s : 2011 bmw k 1600 gt (gtl) Engine Type: Liquid-cooled inline six Capacity: 1649cc Transmission: 6-speed Fuel Capacity: 24 Litres (26.5) Frame Type: Twin beam alloy Seat Height: 810/830mm (750mm) Dry Weight: 295kg/321kg Front Suspension: Duolever Rear Suspension: Paralever Brakes: Twin 4-piston, single 2-piston Tyres: 120/70-17, 190/55-17 Price (RRP): $34,990 ($36,990) + ORC www.motorcycles.bmw.com.au Call for a quote

1800 24 34 64

WE’LL BEAT ANY PRICE GUARANTEED*

in the K 1300 models. This has been achieved by giving the engine a nice long stroke (so the bore is narrow) and only 5mm between cylinder sleeves, which is amazing. All of the electrical ancillaries and their drive mechanisms have been perched above the gearbox and behind the crank, so nothing is hanging out in the breeze so to speak. A dry sump set-up is employed, with the oil tank sitting inside the crankcases. BMW is so confident it says you don’t have to monitor engine oil levels. If it drops a light will come on the dash to tell you so. That would suit me. I never open the bonnet on my cars between services. Inline six cylinder engines are known for inherent smoothness and this is the reason BMW has not used a counter balancing

shaft to offset vibes from the engine. Simply put it doesn’t need one. This is one of the reasons the motor only weighs 102.6 kg – impressive. The cylinder bores are Nikasil coated so essentially there’s no wear. Let’s face it, BMW has a reputation for reliability, and with an engine this lightly stressed I can’t imagine the K 1600 wearing out anytime soon. A six-speed gearbox uses a wet clutch to get drive to the shaft drive. BMW wanted a light clutch for the rider so used what it calls a self-energising mechanism in the clutch cage. You can actually feel it working if you rest your fingers on the clutch lever. When you accelerate the clutch lever goes tight, when you back off it goes light. Hard to explain. Easy to feel.

Six-into-two. Akrapovics optional.

Very, very comprehensive instruments.

Continued next page


Launch Report – BMW K 1600 GT/GTL

Harnessing the power

Controlling all this abundant horsepower and torque is a system called BMS-X. It’s a new system and the K 1600 series is the first time BMW has used it on a production motorcycle. Part of this system is the fly-by-wire throttle BMW calls E-gas. Manufacturers have got fly-by-wire very good now and the K 1600 is no exception. I noticed a couple of very minor glitches at low speeds but only because I was looking for them. Funnily enough, when I got on with the ride the glitches quickly disappeared. It goes to show all bikes have subtle differences which you can quickly get used to. The other cool piece of the BMS-X puzzle is the three engine mapping choices. ‘Rain’, ‘Road’ or ‘Dynamic’ are the choices, and all bikes tested on the launch were also fitted with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). DTC works in conjunction with the three power modes. If you select ‘Rain’ you get a flatter power curve and traction control that cuts in nice and early. In ‘Road’ mode you get full torque but with a gentler accelerator response. DTC cuts in a little later so you can explore the power more. ‘Dynamic’ gets you full everything. DTC is only employed if things are getting serious. Modes are changed via a switch on the right switch block, and can be done on the fly. In all modes the ABS system works as normal.

ESA II

BMW’s second generation Electronic Suspension Adjustment system comes standard on all Australian delivered K 1600s. By using the novel swivel selector on the left handlebar you can change spring pre-load on the fly. A picture on the dash lets you know what’s selected. You simply choose what load you have. ‘Solo’; ‘Solo with luggage’; ‘Passenger and luggage’. Then you can select either ‘Comfort’, ‘Normal’ or ‘Sport’ damping. Pre-load changes can only be done with the bike stationary and the engine running, while damping can be done while moving. I’m a huge fan of the ESA system. You notice changes to the bike immediately and worrying about suspension changes and updates are a thing of the past if you own a BMW fitted with ESA.

Chassis, suspension and brakes

An all-new alloy bridge type frame uses the engine as a stressed member. Mounted to the front of it is BMW’s Duolever front suspension system, which BMW uses on a number of its inline-engine multi cyclinder bike. Essentially it works differently to regular telescopic forks, and uses a single shock absorber to take control of the lumps and bumps. Down the rear the Paralever system is used, which is the electronically adjustable single shock mentioned earlier, combined with a single-sided swingarm. 3.5 and 6-inch wheels are used, with 120/70-17 and 190/55-17 tyres fitted respectively. While the ABS equipped brakes don’t look that impressive they certainly work impressively. Dual 320mm discs and four-piston calipers wash off the speed of the front wheel, and a 320mm disc and twin-piston caliper does likewise at the rear.

Styling

Looking at the GT and GTL sitting side by side there don’t seem to be

many differences. Panniers are the same, fairing likewise. The rider sits lower on the GTL – the GT’s adjustable seat can be set at either 815mm or 835mm while the GTL has a fixed height of 750mm, with a taller accessory seat (780mm) available. Screen shape and height is taller on the GTL but both screens are electronically adjustable. Of course the top box on the GTL makes the bike look bigger but in real life it isn’t substantially so. Ready to roll the GT weighs in at 319kg and the GTL 348kg. Handlebars are pulled further back on the GTL, and the ’pegs are slightly further forward too. Out the back there are twin mufflers, each with three outlets. You can actually get accessory Akrapovic mufflers for them. The standard ones sound cool anyway. In typical BMW fashion you can buy shedloads of accessories, like engine crash bars –heaven forbid you might need them – driving lights for the GT (standard on the GTL), tank bags etc. The GT is available in red or white/grey, and the GTL in blue or silver. In the flesh all colours look striking.

On the road

Both bikes don’t feel particularly huge. You know you are riding a big tourer but BMW has done well to keep the weight low and manageable. You can notice the difference in weight between the GT and GTL but it’s hardly an issue. I preferred the riding position of the GT which is slightly more leaned forward for the rider, and the seat shape of the GTL tends to keep you in a tighter spot than the GT. I also liked the extra roominess on the GT due to its higher seat. Around town the bike is easy to manoeuvre. I did find it tended to drop into roundabouts easier than expected due to the E-gas glitch I experienced but as I said earlier this disappeared as I got more accustomed to the system. Once in the open you can explore the engine and quickly come to love it. As a motorcycle engine it is simply sublime, with so much torque it’s ridiculously easy to ride. If you let the engine rip it accelerates with a zest few touring machines can match, unless you are on a Kawasaki GTR1400, and even then it would be interesting to see who was the boss. At full revs the engine sounds awesome, almost shrieking in a polite sort of way. Much has been said over the years of the V-twin note, or even the triple. BMW’s six is different, and just as pleasing at full noise. BMW says the K 1600 is capable of speeds over 200km/h. Well it’s well over 200km/h, and it’s stable at those speeds too. Top gear overtaking is simply a matter of twisting the throttle, but if you want a bigger rush then snick it down to fifth before you do so. You can notice a difference in power between ‘Rain’ and ‘Road’ modes but between ‘Road’ and ‘Dynamic’ it’s harder to discern. I tended to leave it in ‘Road’ mode, with the suspension set in either ‘Comfort’ or ‘Normal’. The suspension coped well with our crap roads, but at times I thought it struggled to cope with rougher sections. Then I realised the speed I was doing and thought it was doing a very good job after all. You would expect the K 1600 to be a handful in tighter corners, and you do know you are on a big bike, but it tips in and holds its line remarkably well, with little hint, if any, of understeer. I found myself heading into one corner which tightened up much more than I expected. I wasn’t hanging around at the time and a quick hard stab on both brakes, a little shimmy from the bike, and I tipped in holding my breath. No worries, the


Adaptive headlights point around corners. bike stuck to its line and felt very composed. There is an amount of driveline snatch which makes itself known when quickly opening or closing the throttle but once again as you get accustomed to the bike you hardly notice it. You would think a six cylinder engine would compromise ground clearance but not so. Sure, I touched the centrestand down a couple of times but this was when encountering a dip in the road on a tight corner, while I was in ‘Sport’ riding mode. While the screens are different shapes, I actually preferred the smaller GT screen. I found it gave less buffeting – the GTL screen gives barely anyway – and it was lower in the centre which gave me a better view of the road. I found the GTL screen sat right across my line of sight when I looked straight ahead, and was a distraction when riding quickly. It’s purely a personal thing and really dependent on your height. At full height both screens will suck you towards the front of the bike to a degree, especially at higher speeds, but both are some of the best I’ve sampled for the dreaded ‘helmet shake’. Rarely do we get to sample a bike at night during a launch. But BMW was keen for us to do so on this launch because of its avant-garde lighting system. BMW calls it the Adaptive Headlight. A xenon main-beam light sits in the centre of the headlight housing. On either side of it are two high beam lights. The interesting thing is the main light is controlled by sensors and a gyroscopic arrangement which lets the light follow your direction. If you enter a right hand corner, the light automatically aims around the corner, depending on your speed, lean angle etc. Up hill or down dale it’s the same, with the gyro aiming the light exactly where you want it to be. If your bike is equipped with the spot lights you will have some serious lighting at your disposal. Impressive? Very much so.

RRP $3,999.00 + dealer

Verdict

BMW Australia has found most buyers in this country like to spec up their machine. Accordingly it’s been found best to do it first. In other words the standard machines are higher spec in Australia than most other countries. $34,990 will buy you the K 1600 GT, with two grand more for the GTL. Both plus on road costs. As high speed touring machines go, I think the K 1600 is the best you can buy. Not only is the engine a masterpiece, the bike handles very well, and comfort levels are up with the best. There’s so much information on this bike I could hardly fit it all in. If you are in the market for a sports/tourer or tourer then head to your local BMW dealer. If you aren’t impressed as all get out with the new K 1600 then I should start looking for another job. n

delivery charges


QUAD Visitors to Farmfest in Toowoomba recently got a close look at Iron Baltic products. “We’re hearing stories already about how they’ve saved money on expensive parts for a farmer or serious injury for an enthusiast; it is good news wherever we go”, said Les Davis, Iron Baltic’s Sales Manager . “It’s great to have a product that everyone wants; it’s blowing our mind how popular this stuff is,” he added. Iron Baltic is hand crafted in Europe by a bunch of ATV riders for ATV riders. They have designed a complete range for most makes and models. Check out ironbaltic.com.au for the complete range and more information. If you would like more information contact Tim or Les on 03 8773 0200 or visit the website at ironbaltic. com.au. n

Can-Am wins Finke The Tattersall’s Finke Desert Race is renowned for being one of the most intense and gruelling offroad races around the world. This year was no different with an international contingent of 516 competitors toughing it out across two days of frost, dust, and tough terrain. Crossing over 460km from Alice Springs to the small Aputula Community, some 12,000 spectators and competitors converged on one of the most remote places on earth for another legendary event. Can-Am X-team rider, Chad McKay, rode a great race on the powerful Can-Am DS450X MX powering to his first Finke title. With impressive legs across both days McKay finished the race with an overall time of 5hr and 18min. “Finke is definitely the hardest race I have competed in throughout my racing career,” said McKay. “Since joining the Can-Am X-team in 2009, I have put the product through its paces in some of the toughest terrain in Australia, however riding at Finke was on a totally different level. “After missing out on the title by a mere 83 seconds last year, it was a great feeling to win this year’s race.” n

Get some iron


Quad Torque Launch Report

Polaris Power From work to adrenaline rush, Polaris has you covered. REPORT BY

Chris Pickett

PHOTOS BY

Adam Riemann

POLARIS is a major player in the world ATV and side-by-side recreational and utility market, and Cycle Torque recently had the chance to sample a wide variety of Polaris’ range. Polaris had everything on hand: basic farm quads, six wheel drive utility vehicles, six seater utility vehicles, racer quads, and even the new RZR XP two-seater excitement machine.

Adrenaline rush

A number of specially designed tracks allowed us to sample the range but no doubt the most outstanding part of the launch was a few hot laps with multi Australian and Asia-Pacific rally champ Cody Crocker. Crocker is an ambassador for Polaris but also races an RZR in extreme off-road events like the Thumb Pump 300. To say it was exciting is a fair understatement. Not only does the new Prostar fuel-injected 900cc parallel twin engine pump out a decent amount of grunt (88 hp), because it’s so light it accelerates like a maniac. But it’s the supple long travel Fox Podium shocks and suspension which ranks it at the very sharp end of the market. You see a big hit coming and brace yourself for the impact, then the impact doesn’t seem to eventuate. They say nothing rides like a Polaris... We also spent some time on one of Luke Beechey’s Outlaw race ATVs. This thing had gearing for the Finke Desert Race and was a bit out of sorts in the tight rough confines of the second test track (it would have been scary fun on the more open track where Crocker was let loose on the RZR XP). Powered by a KTM 525cc liquidcooled single cylinder engine the Outlaw isn’t short on power. With a full five speed manual gearbox – and reverse – you can wind this baby out to the stratosphere. With only two wheel drive on hand, tail out or wheelstand action is only a thumb stab away. Both the RZR and Outlaw have loads of accessories available to pimp or pump up your ride.

On the land

With more and more farmers going to ATVs Polaris has ensured its range has them

covered on all fronts. You can go for a more basic 2x4 model like the Hawkeye 300 with IRS for a plush ride, to a 4x4 Sportsman 400. If you need bigger go for something like

Continued next page


www.cycletorque.com.au

the Sportsman Touring two-seater. It’s got the fuel injected 850 twin, and really is designed for work and comfort, with a fair bit of play thrown in for good measure too. Even the passenger gets their own sprung seat. Want a quad that can really tow? The Polaris ATVs lead in almost every class. Want to get even more done? Then check out the 13 models in the 2011 Ranger SXS lineup. So you only have enough brownie points for only one work vehicle? Take a Ranger HD. The HD takes grapples and front end loader attachments – perfect for those that have a few acres. On some models you can also opt for a tilt tray on the back, which can also take spray tanks and the like. Some owners look for a bit of both, and if this is the case you can go for the Scrambler 500. On demand 4X4 (it self engages 4WD when you need it and reverts back to 2WD when you don’t) and powerful liquid-cooled single cylinder engine, so you can mark out a bit of a track on the way to mustering the sheep or fixing the fence. If you need something really serious and want to pension off the old Land Rover Polaris has the Ranger 800 6X6. There’s not much this doesn’t do, and it can cope with much tighter and rougher terrain than your average 4X4 farm ute. Aside from the pure sporting Outlaw, most of Polaris’ range uses CVT automatic transmissions, with reverse, and electronic power steering is standard on many of the models too. To find out more visit your local Polaris dealer or go to www.polarisindustries.com.au. Lots more information including a video Cycle Torque did of the launch at www.cycletorque. com.au/more. n

32 – JUNE 2011


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www.cycletorque.com.au

EDITORIAL

Back in the day I’VE just finished reading Kim – the Kiwi on the Konig by Tim Hanna. It’s a story about New Zealand’s Kim Newcombe who put a two-stroke Konig outboard motor into a motorcycle of his own design and raced it to second place in the 1973 500cc World Championship behind MV Agusta’s Phil Read. The research Hanna must have put into the book is staggering and covers so many personal stories of all the parties involved who ended up at that final moment where Newcombe lost his life racing his beloved Konig. Hanna is also putting the final touches to a documentary of Newcombe’s story, and to be honest I can’t wait to see it. It’s not a quick or light-hearted book to read, but I found it extremely enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone interested in not only motorcycle racing but the human spirit. You can buy it from Cycle Torque for only $45 (plus postage) which is a bargain. Ring us on 02 4956 9820 or visit www.cycletorque.com.au to buy one. There were so many facets of the story I found fascinating, but the way in which the Continental Circus went about its business really struck a chord with me. I’ve been racing motorcycles for over 20 years off and on, mainly centred around historic road racing. Everything from T250 Suzuki Hustlers to booming Ducatis and CB1100 Hondas. In my mind there’s always been a bit of a festival atmosphere surrounding classic racing, and everything I’ve read about road racing in the ’60s and ’70s hints that it felt the same for those riders trying to get starts in races all over Europe. You see, back in those days you sent in an entry for a race and it was either accepted or declined, depending on your stature in the racing world. Most races were oversubscribed and if you weren’t well known you didn’t get a gig. If your entry was accepted you generally got start money, and prize money if you finished well. Many riders lived hand to mouth and relied on the start money to get them to the next meeting. Over the years plenty of Aussies have travelled overseas to join The Circus, and many died on the mainly street circuits.

34 – JUNE 2011

You get the impression many race promoters saw the racers as cash cows, and there was little thought to their safety. More hay bales for obstacles represented less profit for promoters so they used as little as possible. If you didn’t like it you didn’t have to race. For many years I have had this dream about racing a Manx Norton during that period but somehow I think the glasses are pretty rose coloured. But I can still imagine kicking back around a caravan with like-minded racers while drinking a local cold beer. There are lots of differences to how we race now. Over the last four and a bit years my family and I have travelled up and down the Eastern Seaboard of Australia while my son competed – and still competes – in a number of road racing series. It’s rare that circuit owners will allow you to camp or stay at the circuit in a caravan. We now pay to race, and it’s also rare your entry would be declined. There’s an old saying which is quite funny, and true: ‘It’s the only circus where the clowns pay to entertain’. That said, the world has changed. With circuit fees and other costs ever increasing for promoters they have to make a living and I readily accept that. Plus the crowds who attend a modern race meeting are just a fraction of what they were back in the day. I suppose there’s just too many other things for the modern family to occupy their time. I’ve made lots of friends through racing, many I still have from those early days. Maybe it’s the fact you are risking your life on the track together, or watching your child do likewise against a friend’s child. Whatever it is there’s a common bond when you are at the track but I believe it would be more fun if you had tents pitched and caravans in the circuit paddock. Modern local racing just doesn’t have that festival atmosphere, except for the big events like the SBK and MotoGP, and classic events like the Island Classic and the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed. Over in New Zealand they have the Sound

of Thunder, the Pukekohe Classic Motorcycle Festival, and the Burt Munro Festival. While I’ve been more involved in modern racing lately – my son Alex has a 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R which he’ll ride for the first time at the next Formula Xtreme round – I’m also building a new historic racing Honda, and Alex will also ride a very potent GSX1100 Forgotten Era historic racer in some upcoming events. The Continental Circus may no longer exist but you can still have lots of fun racing motorcycles. – Chris Pickett


www.cycletorque.com.au

RACE torque

Forces of the Zeitgeist

Back in the day: Harada (31) taken out by Capirossi.

LAST month, we discussed how the imposition of rules and penalties for riding infractions was way out of whack following incidents involving Valentino Rossi and Alex de Angelis at Jerez, and Max Biaggi at Monza. We have since witnessed the ride-through penalty given to Marco Simoncelli at Le Man and the 20-second wallop handed out to Johann Zarco when he veered into Nicholas Terol at Catalunya. Let’s look at the Simoncelli incident first. His outside pass of Dani Pedrosa was criticised by leading MotoGP riders as well as ex-champ Wayne Gardner. It’s not that Super Sic’s move had any intent in taking Dani out; it was simply an impetuous decision that could’ve waited another two corners, or another lap, to have been done cleanly. It’s not the first time such an incident has taken place at that corner, which is why most of the current crop of riders criticised the Sic manoeuvre. It’s simply not a wise place to pass, and runs the risks of bringing both the passer and passee down. To wit, Dani did the honourable thing and rather than run into Marco, whom he could not have possibly avoided if he had’ve attempted to make the corner, he stood the bike up to try avoid contact but clipped the tall Italian’s rear tyre and down he went. Simo of course managed to stay upright, and given the heated press conference at Estoril where both he and Jorge Lorenzo had a frank exchange (in perfect English it must be said) about Marco’s riding style, he must’ve sensed that race direction would be having a very close look at the incident as he circulated in second place. Now while I agree that Simo made an error of judgement that both brought Dani down and reinforced Marco’s reputation as a loose cannon, I don’t think he should’ve received a ride through penalty. After maintaining his innocence all the way through to the next GP at Catalunya, Simo admitted his complicity, if not guilt, in the incident after the injured Pedrosa was ruled out of the British GP as well. In a previous column, I stated that a rider who is at fault for bringing down another rider and manages to continue and finish the race should have half of his points deducted for the race (or the next race in which he scores points). Ride-through penalties simply make riders angry, and apt to make even sillier decisions once back on the track among slower riders. In the Simo-Dani situation, and indeed the

Rossi-Stoner incident at Jerez, what should occur is what happens in rugby league where an incident that cannot be adjudicated upon immediately due to lack of proof of intent should be placed on report. The decision to put a rider on report would be indicated simply by a white flag with ‘R’ in black emblazoned upon it, rather than receiving a ride-through. Why? If race direction is now prone to hand out penalties for overzealous and dangerous riding, riders should be allowed to complete the race then both he and his team would have the opportunity to argue their case before a judiciary or tribunal. As in rugby league, each alleged offence would carry a grade of seriousness, from 1) careless, to 2) overly-aggressive/reckless and 3) malicious with points accruing for each proven offence that would ultimately result in a commensurate loss of points or possible suspension. And like the NRL, if a rider takes an early guilty plea he may receive reduced punishment. In addition, race direction would have the discretion to black flag a rider for a clearly malicious attempt to knock a rider off. In the case of Kenan Sofuoglu running into Julian Simon at Catalunya, there was obviously no malice, just a significant misjudgement on Kenan’s part and a lot of contrition. That incident would be put on report and investigated on the charge of either careless or reckless riding. In the matter of Zarco versus Terol, I believe the right decision was made. It was a clearcut case of the intent of one rider to make potentially dangerous contact with another rider to gain an advantage. There was no need to put this on report. Race direction obviously had a good look at the incident and judged that Zarco had altered his line on the

run to the flag that pushed Terol off the track and onto the grass, a clearly dangerous act. Relegated from first to sixth after copping the 20-second hit just minutes after the race, Zarco was probably going to win anyway if he had held his line. Is this is getting too complicated? Maybe, but if race direction is going to hand out penalties like whistle-happy refs on the footy field, it needs to square up offences with penalties and have a new reporting and tribunal process to investigate incidents. In the current climate, Loris Capirossi would have never been allowed to become 1998 world 250cc champion after spearing Aprilia team-mate and fellow title aspirant Tetsuya Harada into the weeds on the final corner of the final lap of the Argentine 250cc Grand Prix. Yes, Capirossi was excluded from the results for his actions but because there was no provision to compensate Harada for his loss of points due to an illegal act, the Italian was crowned world champion, 204 points to Harada’s 200 (Rossi actually finished second with 201). Sacked by Aprilia for the incident, Capirossi later had his second-place result reinstated on appeal and his total points increased to 224. Adding insult to injury for Harada, Capirossi won a court case against Aprilia in 2004 for his sacking! Which leads us back to Marco Simoncelli. A young Super Sic would’ve been brought up watching the antics of Capirossi knocking Harada off his bike and Rossi running Gibernau off the track at Jerez, and logically assumed that this kind of behaviour was acceptable. As Marco has learned so bitterly, there is no logic, merely officialdom bowing to the wildly oscillating forces of the zeitgeist. – Darryl Flack

JUNE 2011 – 35


dirty torque

Ban James Stewart

IN MY not so humble opinion I honestly believe that James ‘Bubba’ Stewart should be banned from racing supercross ever again. That’s right, BANNED! Why? Well, it’s as obvious as the nose on my face that the guy does not have the mental capacity to race the indoor tracks safely and it is only a matter of time before he seriously hurts himself or someone else. Before we get to ridding ourselves of this on-track ‘time bomb’ let’s look at James Stewart’s career. ’Bubba’ holds the record for the most Amateur National Motocross Championships with his final tally at 11 and in 2004 the then KX125 pilot won the AMA 125 East Supercross Championship and the AMA 125cc Motocross Championship. Stewart’s move to the open class put the new kid on the block against Ricky Carmichael and Chad Reed and that is when the carnage really started. Since his stellar 2004 season Bubba has managed to win the AMA Supercross Championship twice (2007/2009) and the AMA Motocross Championship once (2008). Three championships over the last seven years is hardly what you would call dominating the sport yet Stewart refers to himself as the ‘fastest man on the planet’… oh dear… what a wanker! I will admit to admiring Bubba’s commitment in the early years but my lack of respect got underway when James jumped into the back of Carmichael at Unadilla in 2005. My lack of respect grew to absolute contempt immediately when Stewart laid in the middle of the track while RC got back up

(while gesticulating to Stewart his horror at what had just occurred) and kept riding. I mean, RC was the one that got jumped on, not ‘Bubba’. RC should have been the one lying on the track but unlike ‘Bubba’, RC has ticker. As the years progressed lying in the middle of the track after a crash becomes a common occurrence for Stewart. But, that aside, I have to ask, how is it possible to land on someone who is right in front of you and clearly visible? I have been racing since I was just out of nappies and I have never jumped onto the back of another rider… and I am sure there are 1000s of other riders who can claim the same. (You have to actually jump bikes to land on someone Smarty– ed.) Since James got on the bigger bikes he has been a constant danger to his fellow competitors and something should be done about it…thankfully ‘Bubba’ is less a danger racing the outdoors because there is more room to get out of his way (unless he is directly behind you) but as far as supercross goes there isn’t a stadium in the world that is big enough to house Bubba’s stupidity on a motorcycle. Stewart has been in the thick of it when some of racing’s most dangerous stunts have occurred. He took Jeremy McGrath out in 2006, then in ’07 rode into the path of Travis Preston without looking, after crashing and remounting. It was a sickening crash. In the 2009 season he caused a crash with Chad Reed, with Reed getting up and continuing while Stewart did his usual ‘dead dummy’ impersonation before getting up and – get this – pushed his bike

straight into the path of Kevin Windham who was blitzing the whoops down the left side. Who the f**k does that? I will admit, for the 2009 supercross season Stewart was in devastating form but once again the Time Bomb managed to cause absolute chaos in the final at the Daytona round where he out-braked himself into the first corner and took out a dozen riders in the first corner and then got on the wrong bike in the ensuing pile up. And for 2010 it looked like Stewart was going to be the dominant force in supercross until he took himself out of the season at round two after jumping onto the back of Kyle Partridge during his heat race causing a huge crash and then Reed during the main taking them both down and effectively both out of the championship. He takes two riders out in one night and nothing is done. James came back from his reality TV show (which is absolute dribble) to contest the 2011 AMA Supercross Championship and again Bubba lived up to my predictions with crashes at almost every round. To add to this whole mess James’ little brother Malcolm has joined the AMA tour and he has managed to crash out of almost every race he entered for the 2011 AMA Supercross Lites East class. In fact he stupidly took PJ Larsen out during the first of the East Coast finals… hmmm? So, let’s put it out there, who is living in Dumb World with too much money, too many hangers-on, too many cameras and two dumb parents good for a supercross or motocross career? Well, the Stewart brothers are living proof to the answer to that question. I agree with the likes of Stefan Everts who has said many times that intelligence is the key ingredient to being a great rider… sure, bravery and skill are also integral parts of the equation but it all has to be governed by intelligence… Bubba is brave and has the skills, no argument there but he obviously lacks the intelligence necessary to know his limits, on and off a motorcycle. Popular European web site mxlarge.com has compiled footage of all of James’s crashes throughout the 2011 supercross season and put it up on Youtube. It goes for almost nine minutes and they dub him The Most Dangerous Man on the Planet. So, have I convinced you yet? Would you feel comfortable racing with ‘Bubba’? Should this guy have an AMA licence? Should the AMA stop him from racing supercross? For me it’s a firm yes to banning ‘Bubba’ from supercross. – Smarty You’ve convinced me Smarty. That you don’t like the bloke. Ed.


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Outback Adventure Cycle Torque Touring Feature

What happens when 10 blokes ride off into the sunset?

Good times, and chaos.

THERE I was, standing on the red dirt road between Bourke and Wanaaring in outback New South Wales, dusk an hour away and another 150 kilometres of dirt to go before we reached our overnight stay at Wanaaring. There was one major issue though. Lying in the middle of said road was my mate Gareth who didn’t look all that healthy, but was valiantly sucking in the big ones telling us he would be able to get up soon. I pretty much knew that was a pipe dream. The only way he was going anywhere was in an ambulance. Not far away was the Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX lying on its side in the sand. It had played a part in the crash but looked like it could keep going, unlike Gareth. For a moment I wondered how we got here. How did a trip for two blokes turn into 10, and why was Gareth, one of those original two blokes, unable to complete the trip? It all seemed so unfair. Gareth and I had planned this trip for ages. We

decided to head out west to Broken Hill, and then down to Port Lincoln in South Australia to go cage diving with Great White Sharks. I’d mentioned the idea to the guys from Triumph at the launch of the Tiger XC, and they were keen for us to take one. When Cycle Torque Publisher Nigel Paterson heard about it, he immediately wanted to add a BMW F 800 GS and the long-term test KTM 690 Enduro R to the fleet so he could come too. Then we asked Graham “Harry” Harrison to be our tour guide, KTM said we should take take a 990 Adventure R, Yamaha had a XTZ660 Ténéré for us and a few friends put their hands up as well and before we knew it there were 10 riders and Steve in the back-up Pajero towing a trailer… unfortunately, it got plenty of use. All bikes were in various states of ‘preparedness’, from Harry’s KTM 990 equipped to go it alone, to our BMW F 800 GS which came with no luggage at all. No matter, Steve was driving our back-up

vehicle so he could take a certain amount of gear. It might be seen as a bit ‘soft’ to have a 4WD following but it sure came in handy a few times, especially at the crash.

Meeting up

We all arrived at Singleton Maccas on time for our departure. All except for Nigel who has an inbuilt aversion to putting things down where he can find them. A frantic 45 minute search at Chez Paterson found the keys to his test bike and when he finally rode into Singleton we were finishing our coffee and breakfast. Glad I didn’t sledge him too much, the next morning I mislaid the key to the BMW… We were heading northwest to Burren Junction on Day 1, then west to Bourke, southwest to White Cliffs, then to Broken Hill. From here, Gareth, Ron, Daniel and I would leave the rest of the crew to loiter around Broken Hill while we headed south to


Bourke to Louth.

Morning at Burren Junction.

Adelaide. Daniel would break off to visit family in the Clare Valley while Gareth, Ron and I would fly to Port Lincoln for our bowel loosening experience with the big sharks. From there we were all to meet again in Mildura a few days later, travel up through the Mungo National Park, blast through Mount Hope and on to Bathurst, the Bridle Track to Hill End, and finally home via the Bylong Valley Way. Lots of dirt, lots of fun and lots of frivolity were planned and expected by all.

On tour

It was all going to plan at the end of the first day. As we ventured north via Merriwa and Cassilis the roads got a little straighter and flatter. After Coolah we pulled into Coonabarabran which is a larger town than I remembered for a spot of lunch at a nice cafe Harry knew. With full bellies and full tanks we headed northwest through The Pilliga and ended the day at Burren Junction. What’s there I

hear you ask? It’s a small town with a few streets, a pub, garage. We had booked in to the Junction Hotel (02 6796 1440) so stopping and getting rid of our gear was easy. Then it was only a short hop to the hot natural spring baths a few kilometres down the road. The springs car park was full of grey nomads camping and enjoying the baths. It was a perfect way to wind down the day. A number of our group thought it would be fun to dive under the water but this is seen as somewhat dangerous because of some nasty bugs that live in the water. This caused a little consternation when one of us read the sign which said pretty much that. They are all still alive at the moment. The Junction Hotel is very much an out west pub. Good food, good grog, and a reasonably comfy bed for a very reasonable price. Accommodation is a number of site buildings with beds, with guests sharing a separate toilet/shower block. As we were knocking back a few cold ones at Burren Junction the question of our intrepid web

guy Matt came up. He was late, it was getting late, and as usual you couldn’t get him on the phone. Matt lives in Brisbane and was to join us at the end of the first day. His mount was the Cycle Torque long term KTM 690 Enduro R. To be honest Matt wasn’t looking forward to the 662 kilometres of tar on the first day, especially on the 690. Maybe it was this, or the fact he seems to be in perpetual slow motion. Whatever the reason, Matt left Brissie much later than he should have and could only make it to Goondiwindi by nightfall. This was some 300 odd kilometres from us and it threatened to cause delays to the trip. Of course we all sledged Matt as much as possible and hit the sack ready for day two.

Continued next page


Dirt in all directions.

The Stelvio came out of the crash better than Gareth. Bourke and beyond

Because of Matt’s reluctance to leave on time we had a bit of a sleep in at Burren Junction. We faced 350 kilometres of mainly straight tar to get to Bourke, and after meeting Matt in Walgett for a coffee we set off for Bourke, stopping only for fuel at Brewarrina. Both Walgett and Brewarrina are towns with a bit of a reputation for local unrest. Sometimes reputations are hard to get rid of but we were treated very well in both communities. More fuel at Bourke where we contemplated the 190 kilometres to Wanaaring. Harry had done the trip before, and a mate of mine used to be the police lock up keeper there over a decade ago. I knew from his stories the road could be bad but we decided to continue on, taking it easy. Sand shenanigans For 30 kilometres or so out of town the road is tar. The group had spread somewhat and when I hit the dirt I stopped to take some footage from my Xtreme Sport goggle video camera. At this stage I was on the Triumph Tiger 800, and after a bit of clowning around with Daniel, ‘Goldy’ and Matt I let them go ahead. The idea was to get footage of me overtaking them on the dirt. Belting along at 100 km/h felt OK and just when I got into clear air I saw Ron waving me down. It was obvious someone had come off, and that it was Gareth on the Moto Guzzi. As this realisation hit me I suddenly found myself battling the Triumph for control as I hit deep sand. Luckily I had washed off lots of pace because I was warned. Gareth wasn’t so lucky. With no phone service we sent one of the riders

back to call for help. Soon a 4WD happened by and they promised to call for help as soon as they also had phone service. Another 4WD had a satellite phone and he also made the call. Eventually an ambulance, and the police arrived. Gareth was taken to Bourke hospital and it was dusk before everyone was on their way. The evening hadn’t finished with us yet though. Matt copped a flat, and Craig Reeves copped a ’roo. Changing the flat by torchlight was easier than expected (Lincoln did most of the work while the rest of us watched), and Matt was proving himself to be somewhat of a time waster. Eventually we made it into Bourke’s caravan park where the crew pitched tents and drank bourbon while I ensured Gareth was OK. He would eventually be flown to Dubbo Hospital for further tests which would diagnose a cracked vertebrae. At Bourke he was doped to the eyeballs and was talking gibberish. I did work out he wanted us to keep going, so in good Aussie style we cast him aside. Crashing a motorcycle to get out of swimming with sharks was just a bit extreme, we thought… Louth and beyond The start of day three saw us take stock of our position. The Stelvio was on the trailer but looked OK (we had no-one available to ride it). It had started easily when it was put on the trailer at the accident scene. Harry suggested riding along the Darling River to Louth, then Tilpa to Wilcannia. We had a night’s accommodation booked at the underground motel in White Cliffs so the plan was to make it that far. Louth was the first stop after 100 kilometres of dirt. Louth is a wonderful little

spot and was once a river port. Hard to imagine now but if you squint your eyes you can imagine a paddle steamer or two on the river. Just under 100 kilometres further on is Tilpa. A cool little pub in the middle of nowhere with a not so friendly bloke behind the bar. Gregarious he isn’t but he did speak to us long enough to inform us the road from Tilpa over to White Cliffs was closed due to the recent rains. This meant we had to continue along to Wilcannia and then up to White Cliffs, a further journey of just over 200 kilometres. The dirt was pretty good the whole way but still threw up some curly moments for most riders. Matt was keen to hand over the keys to the KTM 690 when we were on the tar but no-one wanted to take up the offer. As soon as we hit the dirt the shoe was on the other foot. Everyone wanted the 690 but Matt wasn’t so keen to hand the keys over anymore. We stopped for fuel at Wilcannia where Matt got another flat. Nigel got stuck in and replaced the tube while we watched. I think Daniel even laid down for a quick snooze. Of course this allowed us to ride half of the trip to White Cliffs at a time when we should have already been at our destination. Kangaroos and emus were everywhere but aside from one or two ‘moments’ we got there safe. Other than the two flats and the crash, all the bikes were running well. White Cliffs’ underground motel is well worth checking out. It has a very surreal feel to it, and the owner is a KTM owner, and therefore bike friendly. Give them a call on 08 8091 6677. The next day saw us visit the home of ‘Jock’, a


Inside Jock’s catacombs. local identity who lives in an underground home. He reckons he’s mad, we all agreed, and we also agreed at $5 it was a very entertaining hour or so. I received a call from the shark diving mob in Port Lincoln informing me the diving trip was off due to expected bad weather. I was disappointed but it also meant Gareth and I could go at a later date when he got over his crash. I think sharks can sense an injured person. I don’t think I’ll go in the cage with Gareth. From here it was another 250 kilometres of dirt to Broken Hill via the Broken HillWhite Cliffs Road. We had a corner man system happening, and while Matt was on a corner Ron rode straight by. Matt was waving, Ron just thought he was being friendly. This caused Nigel to begin a frantic chase after Ron. They eventually turned up some time later. Finally we made it into Broken Hill, ready to put our feet up and contemplate the rest of our adventure.

– Chris Pickett Next month: the return trip. Check out www.cycletorque.com.au/ more for videos of the trip and the test bikes we took along, galleries of images from the areas we rode through and more.

Tilpa Hotel is famous for its signatures, and ‘friendly’ barman.

Dawn in the outback.


How to cross a desert Cycle Torque Tour Test: Yamaha XTZ660 Ténéré

The latest single-cylinder Ténéré is capable of taking on the adventure of a lifetime…

THE word Ténéré - a word boldly emblazed on many Yamaha off-road bikes over the past couple of decades – literally means desert. And if riding in the desert isn’t your idea of an adventure, I’m not sure you still have a pulse… Cycle Torque’s big adventure trip didn’t take us into the desert, but the countryside around White Cliffs, Broken Hill and Silverton is pretty close. It’s desolate, barren and a long way from help, so reliability comes to the fore and the XTZ660 didn’t let us down. The bike arrived from Yamaha with a set of genuine aluminium and plastic panniers ($1402.91 plus $348.87 for the stays), but no key for them: someone at Yamaha HQ thought the two keys with the bike were both ignition keys so stashed one away safely but it was the pannier key, which looks similar to the ignition key. The correct key was duly despatched, but it wouldn’t arrive until the day before we were due to leave, so a locksmith was entrusted with getting the panniers open so we could pack. He failed, as did two others. Yamaha locks 1, Hunter Valley Locksmiths 0. Serious security. Yamaha also sent up a GYTR bash plate ($269.96), engine guard ($277.81) and hand protectors ($92.47). These were all easy to bolt in place, although when the instructions say to use Loctite, take the advice seriously: I didn’t have any at the Cycle Torque office and we lost a couple of bolts on the trip…

That was about it for Ténéré preparation. The bike is very well equipped for the long adventure tour with a good touring screen, decent headlight, comprehensive instruments, a comfy seat and with the accessories supplied it would be a bit tougher and able to carry a good deal of luggage, too.

Motor-vation

The current Ténéré is a single cylinder adventure bike – mid capacity with moderate power output, this bike isn’t about ripping up the desert, it’s about getting through it comfortably, safely and having fun along the way. The liquid-cooled four-valve motor provides enough power to cruise above the highway speed limit if you’re so inclined, although a downshift or two is required to overtake B-doubles and caravans quickly. But being a single means the bike is lighter and a lot cheaper ($13,999+ORC) than many of the other machines on our trip. With a 21-inch front wheel it was quite at home in deep sand or even single track, but keep in mind it’s not a WR450. It’s far better than a WR450 on the long haul. One of our testers, Daniel, speared off from Broken Hill to visit his parents in the Clare Valley, SA, and ended up doing well over 800km in a day catching back up to the group, and he didn’t need a chiropractor that evening.

This bike - possibly more than any other in this group - could probably go places none of the others might make it, at least without serious modification. A big fuel tank with miserly consumption, the right wheel and tyre sizes for dirt riding, light weight compared to the multi cylinder machines and even a tow hook on the front if you need some help getting out of a tough situation adds up to a package which might be just the ticket for getting across the Ténéré… or the Simpson, Great Sandy, Tanami… – Nigel Paterson Next month we sum-up how the Ténéré fared on the big trip. There’s a video review of the bike and lots more information and links on www. cycletorque.com.au/more.


Mountain Goat Cycle Torque Tour Test – Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

The Stelvio looks tough, and it would turn out its strength goes much deeper than its looks.

NAMED after a famous Italian mountain pass, Moto Guzzi’s Stelvio NTX is designed first and foremost to be a road machine, and it does this very well. It’s also designed to be a competent off-roader. It’s not the best adventure machine out there for a variety of reasons, not least its weight (214kg dry), but if you are game to explore the rutted gnarly back blocks, the Stelvio is game also. Priced at $23,990 the Stelvio compares well price wise with its competition, which are bikes like the KTM 990, BMW R 1200 GS, Yamaha’s Super Ténéré, and even the Triumph Tiger 800 if it’s kitted out with all the fruit, which the big Guzzi has standard. Cycle Torque tested the Stelvio when it first came out, and while the bike was good there was an issue which needed sorting. That first test bike pinged quite a bit, even with premium unleaded coursing into its combustion chambers. The bike we took on this trip showed no signs of that, even when we were forced to run standard unleaded. We don’t know if it was a problem with that first bike only, or a problem with the model. Suffice to say we didn’t experience it this time around. Powering the big adventure tourer is the 90 degree 1200cc V-twin engine Moto Guzzi is well known for. It’s fuel injected and has four valves

per cylinder. Power has increased a little from the earlier version, and so has torque. This is no power junkie. It’s all about lazy torque, and the bike has lots of it – 113Nm at 5800 rpm in fact. If you expect 220 + top speeds you’ll be disappointed. Fitted with a six-speed gearbox and C.A.R.C shaft drive you get relaxed top gear cruising, and a maintenance friendly rear drive. Lots of bits come standard on this bike: alloy panniers and frames; bash plate; engine guards; spot lights; rear rack; hand guards. You don’t need to spec it up, it already is. A plastic 18 litre tank sits underneath the bodywork, which is a little out there styling wise. You love it or hate it. We like the look of it, it’s very business like. We only ever received positive comments about the styling. At one stage we needed to remove the bodywork surrounding the tank after we crashed the bike (see the Outback Adventure story) and we all agreed the bike would look maybe even better with only the tank showing. It would be even more businesslike if you get our meaning. Wide seats greet the rider and pillion, and the riding position is all about ample room. There’s a comprehensive dash but it proved hard to navigate at times. We got the impression it was a bit too

comprehensive. A manually adjustable screen lets you move the buffeting around, and you can do this on the move. 19 inch front and 17 inch wheels allow the fitment of some aggressive adventure rubber if you need it – 110/80-19 and a 150/70-17 give a wide range of tyre choices. As tested the Stelvio had Pirelli Scorpions, more road than dirt in their pattern. At the front the 50mm USD forks are adjustable for preload, and rebound and compression damping. The forks offer 170mm of travel. With 155mm of travel the rear shock has hydraulic preload adjustment. Brakes look and feel like they are off a sportsbike – four-piston radially mounted calipers at the front, twin piston at the rear. Part way through the tour one of our testers would crash the Stelvio and get himself flown out to hospital. He might be a bit ‘soft’ but the big Guzzi proved it wasn’t, starting up straight away and continuing on for thousands more kilometres. It might have copped a few battle scars but it’s what’s inside that counts. Next month we sum up how the Moto Guzzi Stelvio fared on the Cycle Torque adventure trip. Check out www.cycletorque.com.au/more to watch the video review of the bike, read previous tests and find more information.


Nicely Balanced Cycle Torque Tour Test: BMW F 800 GS

Not too heavy, powerful or expensive, the BMW F 800 GS could be just the adventure riding balance you’re looking for… BMW essentially invented the adventure touring market when the company introduced the R80G/S three decades ago. Although it didn’t set the sales charts alight at the time, the machine was the forerunner to 1000, 1100, 1150 and 1200cc machines which followed. As the years passed and the GS models got bigger (BMW dropped the slash in the name pretty early on) a few riders complained about the increasing size and weight of new models as they were introduced, which is part of the reason why the 1200 GS is substantially lighter than the 1150 it replaced. However, there’s no getting around the fact that the R 1200 GS is a very big motorcycle, and so when BMW introduced its 800cc parallel twin it was only a matter of time before a GS version of the bike was introduced. The $17,490 + ORC (two year unlimited kilometre warranty) F 800 GS offers most of the performance of the 1200 at a much lower price, with a lot less weight. It’s much easier to throw around offroad, but still offers big bike feel on the bitumen. Unlike most of the bikes on Cycle Torque’s big adventure trip, the F 800 GS turned up without accessories or luggage – a mix-up with our departure date meant the luggage BMW was sending up didn’t arrive in time. Luckily, our local

BMW dealer, Brisan Motorcycles, loaned us an Oxford tankbag and one of the crew (Gareth) owned a BMW roll bag, so that was pressed into service on the 800. BMW offers a huge range of touring accessories for the GS including its own tankbags, top boxes and panniers, so you can tailor the bike to suit your riding style and preferences. Powering the machine is a smooth middleweight twin. Like any parallel twin there are enough vibes to let you know it’s there, but the modern design means the vibes never intrude. Power and torque outputs of the motor are moderate, with a claimed 85 horsepower being produced. This is more than enough for adventure riding. For the adventure trip I was pleased to see heated handgrips as standard, but disappointed there were no handguards. I was also wondering if long days in the tall saddle would be comfortable, and was surprised at just how high the seat was – anyone with ducks’ disease will struggle. The GS also has a power socket next to the ignition, perfect for powering a GPS or charging your phone in a tankbag. BMW has chosen to keep some components of the F 800 GS conventional, at least in part to reduce costs. There’s no Telelever front suspension, USD

forks are used. At the back there’s a dual-arm swingarm and chain drive, rather than a shaft and single-sided swingarm. Those conventional items don’t change the fact that the F 800 GS is a pretty unusual bike though: the styling is typically BMW GS unusual, the fuel tank lives under the seat and the indicator switches confuse everyone the first time you use them (but are great once you work it all out). ABS on a GS is switchable, so if you want to be able to lock the brakes in the dirt, you can. At a little over 200kg the GS weighs in heavier than the single cylinder bikes on our trip but considerably lighter than some. Could this be the perfect balance between weight, performance, comfort and handling? – Nigel Paterson Next month we sum up how the BMW F 800 GS fared on the Cycle Torque adventure trip. Check out www.cycletorque.com.au/more to watch the video review of the bike, read previous tests and find more information.


Cycle Torque Tour Test: Triumph Tiger 800XC

Full tilt triple

CYCLE Torque has previously tested the Tiger 800XC and its slightly ‘softer’ sibling, the Tiger 800 before. We think they are both great bikes and when the chance came up to take an 800XC on our adventure trip we jumped at it. If you want to read the full tests of either bike check out the April and May editions of Cycle Torque online at www.cycletorque.com.au.

The guts

What makes the guts of a good adventure bike? We reckon a torquey engine, good ground clearance, not too much weight, capable suspension and decent luggage capacity. Of course there’s much more to it but the Tiger 800XC has been a great first time effort for the English company, and all the above bases have been covered well enough. Our test bike came with all the fruit. You don’t normally get that when you buy a Tiger but you can spec it up to a full tilt adventure tourer before you leave the dealership if you so wish. Because it’s a new machine on the market it will take some time for the aftermarket adventure touring companies to offer products but it’s already happening. Two of Cycle Torque’s advertisers are working on it already. Rideworx has Barkbusters and Storm hand guards (check them out on our Bike Stuff pages this issue), and

Triumph’s new Tiger 800XC is an exciting machine on, and off, road.

Adventure Moto is working hard on a range of gear also.

Genuine accessories

Standard the XC retails at $16,290 + ORC and the gear it came with adds just over $2000 to the price. For what you get the accessory prices are very reasonable. Panniers: $1195 • Tail pack seat bag: $234 Tank bag: $198 • Tank bag harness. $95.99 Sump guard: $234 • Headlight protector. $71.98 Dry roll bag: $126 All the luggage accessories are waterproof (some with plastic covers), and offer some decent carrying capacity. The seat bag offers 50 litres, the panniers 62 litres combined, the tank bag 20 litres, and the waterproof roll bag a massive 40 litres. You can also get pannier inner bags so you can leave the panniers on the bike and just carry the inner bags to your room, or tent. As you can see, fully kitted out the 800XC had some serious luggage capacity. There’s no doubt Triumph has priced the 800XC sharply to compete with more established adventure bikes. All up, the bike we tested with the accessories would cost you around $20,750 ride away brand new.

Before the trip

The team at Brisans in Newcastle had prepared our

Tiger for the trip, and also fitted it with Metzeler Karoo dual sport tyres. The Karoos looked aggressive but we had reservations on how long they would last trying to harness the 800XC’s torque on the tar. While these tyres are primarily designed to cope best in the dirt they still work well on the road. Of course if you are pushing hard the tyres will ‘walk’ on its knobs a bit. After he left Brisans in Newcastle, our tester Ron Young did a few extra miles on the way home to get used to the bike. He rang later to inform us he liked the bike but thought the extra weight of the gear made the handling a bit iffy, and the tyres could grip better on the road. He also spent some time playing with the mounting of some of the luggage just to get them to his liking for the big trip. That’s what you get with an exroad racer who works on bikes for a living. The seat is adjustable for height – 845 or 865mm. Ron had it at the lowest setting to suit his stumpy legs. Later we would have to just about hit him over the head to pry him off his ‘beloved’ Tiger. Don’t worry, we thought about it a few times. – Chris Pickett Next month we sum-up how the Tiger 800XC fared on the big trip. There’s a video review of the bike and lots more information and links on www.cycletorque.com. au/more.


Menage a trois www.cycletorque.com.au

The white 990 is the standard: the black, the 990 R.

Cycle Torque Group test: KTM 690 Enduro R, 990 Adventure, 990 Adventure R

We’ve turned our long term 690 Enduro R into an adventure bike and taken it riding with both KTM’s 990 Adventure and high-spec 990 Adventure R… The KTM 990 Adventure R is the most hard-core Adventure bike you can buy. If you’re coming to adventure riding from a dirt bike background and want to move away from single-cylinder machines, the 990R offers the best package of suspension, performance and off-road handling available today. I tested that conclusion when one of our support testers sailed on past a turn. The person on that corner stopped me and said, “Ron didn’t turn - he just kept going. He’s only four or five minutes ahead”. Four or five minutes? On dirt roads where we are doing 8090km/h? If I hadn’t been on the 990R I doubt I would have caught him before Tibooburra, a couple of hundred kilometres away, but I simply stood up on the pegs, let the big engine have its head and trusted the suspension. 20km later I was leading back our errant tourist, revelling in the way the big KTM had simply risen to the challenge and given me the fastest dirt-road ride I’d ever experienced, and did it so easily and comfortably. I’d had that ride in perfect conditions for adventure bikes too: open countryside on the edge of

46 – JUNE 2011

the desert, where high speeds and long distances are simply facts to be dealt with, and where a good adventure bike is lots of fun, where its weight is not a problem and where luggage is a necessary evil. The 990R offers extra performance in a number of areas over the 990S. A different ignition boosts horsepower to 115, up from 106. Different White Power suspension offers 38mm more travel at each end, for a total of 248mm. This also boosts ground clearance to an impressive 296mm, but this has the knock-on effect of increasing seat height to a hamstring-straining 296mm. Talking of the seat, it’s different on the 990R, flatter and more dirt-oriented than on the 990S, which is a good thing if you’re moving your weight around to suit different conditions. Interestingly, KTM seems to have responded to criticisms the earlier model Adventure R was too tall, because suspension travel, ground clearance and seat height are all actually a little reduced for 2011: this will be viewed as a step backwards by some, but believe me this is still a tall, big motorcycle. The powerplant of both motors is the same: a 75-degree V-twin four-

The 690 Enduro R on tour.

stroke with four valves per cylinder and double overhead cams. Fuel injected, of course, and the injection is excellent. Although I like the low maintenance of a shaft drive, I prefer adventure bikes to be chain driven. This gives the option to change gearing (lowering the gearing of the Adventure R would be good if you were heading for very tough terrain) but the big advantage is repairability if something goes wrong, and they can actually be cheaper to own than a shaft: you will need to replace chains and sprockets regularly but they are cheap compared to shafts. KTM Australia had supplied the bike ready to take on the outback. At the front they’d added a set of crash/engine bars, at the rear a set of awesome Hepco & Becker panniers. Panniers are an excellent way to carry gear – the weight is carried low (usually between the axles) and models like the Hepco & Becker units carry heaps. Made from a tough double-wall plastic, these boxes look to be a better option than the aluminium units which are still available. The latches are very heavy duty too. There’s even

an optional tap kit to use the gap between the walls of the panniers to hold three litres of water in each box. Talking of water, no rain got inside either box during the test. At the front of the current KTM 990 models is a small compartment between the two fuel fillers - the 990 actually has a tank on either side, with separate fillers for both. Filling both sides is a minor pain, but at least you can pull the key out with the cap open, so you can get them both open and the key back in the ignition before starting to fill the bike. Fuel capacity is 19.5 litres, enough for around 300km. We’d like a longer range on an adventure bike in Australia, but unfortunately noone makes a bike just for us. Also standard on all 990 Adventure KTMs is a small rear rack. I used it to carry camera and video gear (see my eTorque column for more on this). If you’re coming from a road bike background the stratospheric seat height and aggressive nature of the 990R might mean you’re better off with the standard KTM 990 Adventure, which, while still coming from a manufacturer


Above/right: Setting up the 990 Adventure R with on-board video and a box for the camera gear.

The 990 R out bush. right: Smarty riding the 690R in its natural enviroment. famous for its dirt bikes, delivers off-road adventure performance second only to, well, the Adventure R. With a tamer ignition there are a few less horses, but the maximum power is delivered lower in the rev range, too, and in general the bike isn’t as aggressive to ride. It’s easier to live with day-to-day because the seat is lower, so paddling along with your feet down - which you shouldn’t be doing, standing up on the pegs almost always offers more control – is a lot easier. Switchable ABS is good to have, increasing the safety factor. We weren’t able to take the standard 990 Adventure on the outback trip: the bike limited to day trips from Cycle Torque HQ while here on test. What we love about this bike was its versatility. It’s not acceptable on bitumen, it’s downright great fun. The long travel suspension soaks up the bumps beautifully, on road or off. The riding position is relaxed and comfortable, but the footpegs are positioned to make standing easy and comfortable. The tank, although wide by dirt bike standards, is easy to grip with your knees when standing. Pillion accommodation is good… in fact, the bike is hard to fault. The standard screen is awful if you’re my height (185cm), dumping the airflow halfway up my helmet causing buffeting and incredible amounts of wind noise. When Cycle Torque owned an earlier model 990 we had Eagle Screens in WA make up a short screen which eliminated the problem. For longer distance touring KTM offers a larger touring screen, which I should have requested for the Adventure.

690 Enduro R

THE GFC killed KTM’s single-cylinder adventure bikes as off-theshowroom-floor models, but you can still build one, using the 690 Enduro as a base. We did, using the 690 Enduro R long-term test machine and a combination of both genuine KTM spares and accessories as well as some trick products from Adventure Moto. In standard trim the 690 Enduro R is a big, powerful dirt bike: more versatile than a 450 because it’s a lot more at home on bitumen but still able to play hard on the trails, this bike is also suitable for single-track dirt bike riding. To turn it into an Adventure bike there had to be changes though. Firstly, fuel range was never going to be sufficient to make the distances between fuel stops in the outback, so KTM Australia supplied us with a Safari Tank: this replaced the shrouds which make up the fake fuel tank

at the front of the bike, but doesn’t actually replace the standard tank, which actually lives under the seat, so with this one addition the 690 Enduro R went from having the worst fuel range to having the best, with a calculated range of over 600km. Adventure Moto is Australia’s leading supplier of after-market gear for the dirt tourer, and they recommended we try their bash plate, rear rack and special over-the-seat bag. There’s also a tankbag available, but with the amount of bikes on the trip we didn’t need that. Check them out on www.adventuremoto.com.au or call them on 1300 GO MOTO. From KTM’s extensive catalogue of accessories we added the short touring screen and the gel seat, both items aimed at improving comfort on the long haul. The bike also needed fresh bags for the trip: White’s Racing Products supplied us with a pair of Sava Rockrider tyres. These are more aggressive than your usual adventure tyres but not as aggressive as enduro tyres. At the end of day two the 690 copped a flat, and as the Kenda tyre was all but shagged we replaced it with the Sava on the side of the road. From there we did at least another 2000 kilometres and the Sava Rockrider held up extremely well. The Kenda front tyre also held up well to the point we didn’t need to replace it. The 690 Enduro R was ridden primarily by our least experienced offroad rider on the trip – and we chose that deliberately. The lighter weight of the 690, knobby tyres and a riding position well suited to dirt riding meant it would give Matthew the best chance of being able to not only keep up but give him the confidence which is so key to riding off road. The bike succeeded at that task really, really well, but more on that in next month’s issue. Next month: How the 690 Enduro R and 990 Adventure R performed during Cycle Torque’s 4000-km outback tour. Check out more information about these bikes, a gallery of images, earlier tests, full specifications and videos at www.cycletorque.com.au/ more. – Nigel Paterson. RRP: KTM 690R - $15,395 + ORC, 24 month parts and labour warranty. 990 Adventure - $21,995 + ORC, 24 months parts and labour warranty. 990R - $23,995 + ORC, 24 months parts and labour warranty. n


INFORMATION FROM OUR ADVERTISERS 1

Tiger’s bark

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An eyeCard for detail

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Alpinestars GP-R leather jacket

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Warm me up

RIDEWORX has now produced Barkbusters handguards to fit the new Triumph Tiger 800 and 800XC adventure bikes. Barkbusters VPS guards have height adjustable wind deflectors for added protection. There’s now an optional Skid Plate to protect the outer edge of the backbone. The Storm plastic guard is designed for street, dual sport and adventure bikes. The plastic is larger and wraps around the hand more to offer better weather protection. Price: $120 aluminium backbones, mounting hardware; $45 for storm guards and $45 for VPS Barkbuster guards. Available from: Good bike shops

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HELMETLOK has released a portable reading solution called eyeCard. The size of a credit card (85x50x2mm) and weighing only 5gm it is perfect to slip into your wallet so you don’t have to squash those reading glasses on your next bike trip. Made in Italy by Nannini, eyeCard is a one-size-fits-all. Moulded in a single piece of clear scratchresistant polycarbonate it sits easily on your nose bridge so you can use it hands-free. Price: $19.95 Available from: (02) 6687 1388

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MADE of 1.3mm full grain leather with external PU sliders on the shoulders and built-in foam back padding it also features removable and adjustable CE certified bio-armour in shoulders and elbows. There’s a lateral accordion stretch panel across the back and longitudinal underarm stretch panel as well as chest and back pad compartment. It has D-ring waist adjustment. Sizes in Mens Euro 48-60, colours white/black or all black vented version. Price: $549.95 Available from: All good bike shops GEAR up for winter with Yamaha’s neck warmer, made from soft, stretchy fleece material for comfort. It’s doublesided to add extra warmth and it’s perfect for those cold days out on the road. Colour is blue with Yamaha logo embroidered in white. Price: $19.57 Available from: All good Yamaha shops.

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More Information: www.cycletorque.com.au/more


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Shoei XR1100 Seilon

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Total control at your fingertips

THE XR1100 Seilon sports touring helmet offers superior comfort and performance and is handcrafted in Japan by skilled craftsmen. It features five shell sizes so each helmet is tailored to the wearer and offers optimum safety for each head size. The new larger CW-1 visor self-adjusts to reduce wind noise and increase weather protection. The XR1100 has been designed in Shoei’s new 320kmh wind tunnel for pure performance. Available in blue or red XS to XXL. Price: $849 Available from: Good bike shops THE award-winning Australian designed and manufactured combined clutch and brake lever is now available with dual control. The new model CLAKE offers riders the ability to retain the brake pedal via the optional DCS (Dual Control System) allowing riders to use the rear brake from the standard foot lever as well as by the CLAKE either separately or simultaneously offering seamless transition from one to the other. Featuring billet construction, fold out lever and transferable from bike to bike. Can be used on all bikes from trials to road racing. Price: $1298 incl GST Available from: 0418 533 775 or 0425 724 621 3

Remus - sounds hot, looks cool!

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Seal it up

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REMUS Australia has just released an exciting range of Remus Okami performance slip-on mufflers for the new Honda CBR250R single. They are available in stainless steel polished or carbon fibre sleeve. Price: Stainless $599, Carbon fibre $699. Available from: Remus Australia on (03) 8788 8210 or selected bike shops.

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YAMAHA has introduced genuine Yamaha top and bottom end gasket kits for a range of years and models including YZ/WR250F and 450F plus the YFZ450/R and X models. Price: All under $100. Available from: Yamaha dealers

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More Information: www.cycletorque.com.au/more


Maximum sport

A NEW set of Dunlop Sportmax SportSmart tyres found their way to Cycle Torque a few months ago and were fitted straight away to a 2010 Suzuki GSX-R750. Since then it’s been ridden in all, conditions. The bike is an everyday machine and clocks up plenty of miles commuting, touring and scratching. Overall the tyres have offered loads of grip, and they feel confidence inspiring in the wet. Overall we have found the Dunlops give lots of confidence to push hard, and even though they are at the sticky end of what’s on offer in the market, they still give reasonable mileage. Price: Fronts from $205, rears from $289. Available from: Dunlop stockists

Shark attack

WE HAVE worn this helmet on numerous bike launches and tests on everything from scooters, cruisers and even on the track on some pretty hot sportsbikes. Not only is the RSR 2 a safe helmet to be protecting your bonce it’s such a comfortable and super-lightweight helmet, thanks to its carbon-fibre construction. Reduced weight means less buffeting at high speeds, can reduce the incidence of injury in a crash and makes it more comfortable on track or tour. The lining is plush and the quality of finish exceptional. It’s available in all sizes and comes in white or black. We like the look of the white with a tinted visor. Unfortunately the boss wears a similar size helmet to me and he often pulls rank on me to take this one off my hands. - Dennis Penzo Price: $995.95 Available from: Leading motorcycle shops

More Information: www.cycletorque.com.au/more


RUSH FULL CROSS OVER EXHAUST SYSTEMS FOR HARLEY DAVIDSON SOFTAIL MODELS • Crossover is a mid-length system with a welded crossover for that 2-into-2 look with the performance of a balanced system. • Item fits 2007-2010 Harley Davidson Softail Models (except 2010 Softail Convertible). • Head pipes are coated with exclusive 1700 degree ceramic to ensure excellent head dissipation. • Available in either show quality chrome or black ceramic finish. • Comes with O2 sensors. • All Rush systems are manufactured in the USA and are proudly built to the same high quality standards as their mufflers. • Each item includes all mounting hardware and instructions.

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Cycle Torque Test – SYM Symba TEST BY

Dennis Penzo

PHOTOS BY

Chris Pickett

RIDING GEAR: RXT Challenger helmet, Fuglies eyewear, Ixon Oxygen jacket, Hornee jeans, Triumph Newington gloves, Joe Rocket Big Bang boots.

This semi automatic scooters bears more than a passing resemblance to timeless classics of the past.

Symba

stalks the streets TAIWANESE scooter maker SYM used to build the Honda Cub under licence, and the heritage of the Symba 100 harks back to that era. Select Scooters markets the SYM brand in Australia and many people would remember them marketed under the name of Bolwell. SYM has been around since 1961 in Taiwan and is one of the largest scooter producers in the world, building more than 2500 scooters a day. Select Scootas began in 1999 as Bowell Scoota, a joint venture between Bolwell Corporation and the Black family, which bought out their partners in 2008 and rebadged as Select Scootas, so it’s still a family run operation and most, if not all, of the Black family are still involved. Powered by a 101.4cc single cylinder fourstroke engine the Symba has an electric start, and

a kick start back up if your thumb gets tired. It’s a semi automatic which means there is no clutch lever. You just back off the throttle and kick up. It’s a centrifugal clutch with a fourspeed transmission and neutral is at the bottom, just like a CT110 Postie-Bike. It was my first ride on a machine with a semi-auto set-up and it takes no time at all to get used to it. The gear shifter is a heel-toe shift so it doesn’t matter what shoe size you are, you’ll be able to use it easily. It is a very light machine, as you would expect from something of this engine size, and it weighs in at 95kg dry. With a seat height of 76cm it is clearly a very easy

machine to wind your way through urban traffic which is what it was designed for. The other good thing is the 17-inch wheels which give this bike a much better feel than you would get with traditional scooters of this engine capacity with their much smaller wheels. Suspension duties are handled by telescopic forks front and back, with adjustment on the rear, which combined with those big wheels made for a very confidence inspiring experience. Speaking of comfort, the legshield offers good protection from the elements and there is easy access to the horn, on the left-hand side, and the carby, on the right. It is pillion friendly with fold-out pillion footpegs and also a sturdy passenger handle to hang on to. The other friendly features include a removable


Enclosed chain will see long chain life.

Leg shields to keep the rain at bay.

Kick start backs up the electric leg.

Love the pressed steel guards.

Seats can take a variety of bum sizes. pillion seat that has a rack underneath as well as both a sidestand and centrestand. We also liked the fact that it has a steering lock as well as a helmet lock. Instrumentation consists of an analogue speedo with various lights for blinkers, neutral, fuel etc Top speed, according to the brochure is “faster than your mail gets to you” so that’s maybe around 80kmh. We actually put this to the test and only just managed to reach this speed; you might get a little faster with a very favourable tailwind. So that means that the 110mm drum brakes on the front and back will be well and truly able to control the 5kw@8500rpm power and 5Nm@6000 rpm that this little urban guerilla puts out. Don’t come barrelling into a roundabout at 80km/h and expect the brakes to stop you on a dime though. Braking requires forethought, and it’s best to think this way with the Symba. The fuel tank holds 4.1 litres but it will be a long time between drinks with this little petrol miser. We liked the fully enclosed chain and I imagine that people like Sebastian Terry who rode across the Nullabor Plain on a Symba earlier this year to raise money for Camp Quality found it extended chain life. Last year a bloke called Binh Cheung rode a Symba from San Jose (USA) to Alaska and back, so if you’re wondering if the little Symba has got lots of heart under that little exterior then you’d have to think that it does. Having said that we’re not sure how safe it would be battling the traffic on the freeway. Might be best to stick to the city limits. You can find links to these rides on www.cycletorque.com.au/more. The recommended retail price for the little Symba is $2999 plus on-road costs so this little commuter is definitely not going to break the bank. Select Scootas have lots of confidence in their products and for quite some time have offered an industry leading fouryear warranty on their Taiwanese machines and that’s pretty hard to beat. For more information check out www.cycletorque.com.au/more. n

Old school drums all round.


Cycle Torque Feature: The Troy Bayliss Experience

y o r T

Here’s your chance to get out on track with three-time Superbike World Champion Troy Bayliss…

ALTHOUGH Cycle Torque’s on-board video camera was wet and foggy, there’s no mistaking the huge ‘21’ on the front of Troy Bayliss’ Ducati as it catches our editor Chris Pickett and just squirts past him, almost like he was standing still. While Chris was riding our recently-rebuilt 20-year-old Ducati 851 in the rain and therefore wasn’t exactly going for it, the video is an amazing example of what it’s like to be on track with three-time Superbike World Champion Troy Bayliss (you can watch the video at www.cycletorque.com.au/more). We were riding with Bayliss at the launch of his new project, The Troy Bayliss Experience. These events give Bayliss’ fans the chance to meet Troy and get some riding tips, take part in a question and answer session and even get some of Troy’s latest merchandise autographed. There’s also going to be the ‘2-up pillion superbike experience’ where a small number of people at each event will be taken for three hot laps on a Ducati with Troy at the handlebars. At selected events there’s also going to be a Supporter Dinner, where Troy will talk, answer question and show limited-release footage of his racing, and, of course, sign autographs and memorabilia. At the heart of the Troy Bayliss Experience is the chance for Troy to mix with his fans and provide a personal experience. In Troy’s racing days many fans would queue for hours to get an autograph or photo: at the Troy Bayliss Experience you’ll get to chat, share a meal and probably scare the daylights out of you on a pillion ride, as he’s said “I love the look on people’s faces when they get off the back of my bike. I promise I will go slow for you… NOT!” Champion Ride Days are organising the events on behalf of Troy, and their experience with putting track days together means the days will run smoothly. Cycle Torque interviewed Troy at the official launch of the Troy Bayliss Experience, which kicks off in August. “I do the Ducati Ride experience in Europe and thought, ‘this is a bit of fun’, so I hooked up the Champion Ride Days and Ducati Australia and we’re here for the first time. “Hopefully I’ve got some things [to say] which are worth listening to, but it’s about getting out on the track with riders who have been supporting me. I can’t wait to get back to some of the old tracks, my old stomping grounds. “I’m really excited about the two seater. People are going to get a big thrill from it, that’s for sure. But it’s about fans and followers getting on the bike, getting out on the track, enjoying the day.” – Nigel Paterson You can view the interview, including on-track footage of Troy, at www.cycletorque.com. au/more. Also there are links to the Troy Bayliss Experience website, photos from the event and lots more.


Bayliss on track an d with fans at the launch of Th Troy bayliss Experien e ce. Pillion passengers, especially, came ba ck exhilarated about th e experience.

Cycle Torque’s publisher, Nigel Paterson, riding the office classi c Ducati 851.


Touring Feature – Bathurst to Mudgee via Hill End

Photos © by Colin Whelan

Tasting Notes The Lue Rd has been flood damaged but is still way more fun than the highway.

Believe me you don’t want a front tyre caked like this: Wollar to Bylong back road.

Colin Whelan is back, this time sampling some of the beautiful Central West region of NSW, and a bit of the gold rush past too. LAST summer in Sydney was been a total disgrace! If I’d paid for it, I would’ve been demanding my soggy money back. So, with the help of my trusty friends at bom.gov.au, I headed out to Mudgee for a couple of days riding. The whole area was coming out of floods but the radar was showing the prospect of a few clear days. The Mudgee Region, about four hours slingshot ride from Sydney, is positioning itself as a major player in the NSW wine industry. But whilst the Hunter Valley is dominated by the major players, Mudgee’s defining characteristic is its boutique vineyards providing high quality in small doses. I soon realised that the region’s roads reflect the vignerons’ philosophy and these are my tasting notes.

Bathurst to Mudgee via Hill End

Initial impression: Surprisingly smooth with good aromas and just a hint of gravel mid-palate There’s any number of routes into Mudgee but I chose to come up from the south, leaving Bathurst for Hill End, confident that the Super

Tenere would handle the unsealed clay based sections featured on all my maps. I didn’t need to even consider this as, without any fanfare, the entire section from Bathurst to Hill End via Sallys Flat is now sealed. A near deserted smooth strip bereft of traffic through ghost gum bushland: a tantalisingly good first tipple! The hub of Hill End is the Royal Hotel which is a classic design traditional Aussie pub with what must be the only publican/licensee with full blown cerebral palsy. Matt Rattray is a fantastic guy who runs a destination pub. The accommodation is very comfortable and the locals who gather each afternoon are friendly, interesting and interested. Across from the pub is the General Store, which has just been taken over by Dimity who has extended its hours. It now sells general stuff plus unleaded standard 8-5 Wed to Sun and 9-4 Monday and Tuesday. I top up here for no other reason than to support a worthy person making an effort. As with all these small country businesses, the more we use them the more chance they’ll be there when the next rider needs them.

Because Hill End is in a National Park there is no feral camping so if you want to throw your swag down you’ll have to do it at the camping area and pay their fee. (The Hilton appears closed…see photo!) The road north from Hill End is now fully sealed except for a very timid and well maintained 3km section which serves only to emphasise the great surface of the 56 remainder, filled with sweeping curves, the occasional tighter twist and easy undulations. The 25km squirt from Hargreaves to the Castlereagh Highway is the first truly enjoyable boutique ride of the region. Summary: A good nose with a slight flintiness. Suitable for immediate consumption, no cellaring necessary!

Mudgee Ulan Gulgong Rylstone Bow Tie Run

Initial impression: A robust full bodied ride with strong hints of eucalyptus and grape, and after-taste of ‘Damn that was fun!’ Next morning was overcast so the rising sun was no consideration and I headed north on


Vines under water beside the Lu

e Rd.

rking s no undercover pa ha d En ll Hi at l te Ho randah. The Royal u parking on the ve but doesn’t mind yo

the boring Cassilis Rd toward Ulan. This is a busy (and patrolled) strip of vanilla riding but just short of Ulan I swung left for Gulgong and immediately the road becomes more interesting. This road is like a politician: Mainly straight but with some interesting hidden crooked bits. It’s mostly empty of traffic and with the bush barrier not growing right to the side of the tar, it gives good visibility all day. A top dash down into Gulgong, which is a town I can’t quite work out. Gulgong was featured on the original ten buck note and it clings to this and to its tenuous connection to Henry Lawson like a shipwrecked sailor to an esky lid! Lawson lived in Gulgong for just two years, from ages four to six but the extent to which he is claimed by the town borders on tragic desperation. Best to keep riding! The Castlereagh Highway back to Mudgee is a bland characterless clean skin of a road. Instead, head east onto the Henry Lawson (what else) Drive which cuts through great wine country and through Lawson’s real

childhood home town of Eurunderee. This is a designated tourist route but traffic is scarce, the surface smooth and predictable and the scenery worth slowing down for. You’ll then turn right for a brief section of Ulan Road before swinging left onto Lue Road for the 42 km ride to Rylstone. This is another wonderful boutique ride. Not suitable for cellaring. Should be sampled immediately! Ah, Rylstone! One of my favourite stops in this part of the countryside. Without the pretence of Gulgong, it is a great place to stop and for me it’s usually at Bizzy Birds right in the middle of town. Run by the wonderful Cathy it features a national map on the wall with black texta lines from west coast to east, and all up the Pacific coast of rides she’s done on the back of her husband’s bike. The food is fresh, and homemade, and the entire atmosphere reflects the relaxed grace of the surrounding village. Why is it that businesses run by bikers so often hit the mark so well? After a milkshake and a long chat with Cathy comes the first of the real options for the day. I choose not to head down to Kandos on Bylong

Valley Way but rather head west on Cudgegong Rd which tracks the river of the same name and then skirts Lake Windamere. Again the road is a delightful short (15km) tasting glass of a ride. Smooth unrutted surface with great views to the right of the waters of the lake. Now, if you want to be sensible, turn right, count the blessings of the rides you assembled in your memory cellar and head north to Mudgee on the Castlereagh. ( I didn’t take this advice but turned south to the dirt of Aarons Pass Road… see below) Summary: Overall a good vintage with complex structure and a very pleasing mid-palate of bitumen and tar.

Mudgee Wollar Kandos Loop

Initial impression: A complex enigmatic late harvest botrytis ride: Sweet when it’s dry but when wet displays classic rot characteristics not entirely noble! Well suited to a picnic under clear skies (When wet, will teach you why such wines are known as ‘stickies’) This 204km loop has some of the very best riding in the area but the one unsealed section, from Wollar to Bylong is a real trap in wet


weather. Clay-based for much of it, this section has three semi-constructed causeways all of them with red-clay approaches which preclude braking and are simply near unrideable on street tyres. And the clay is the stickiest I’ve ever hit with my front and rear tyres completely jamming when I rode it on a Multistrada last year. In the dry though, it’s pleasant and mostly unchallenging but the dips into the causeways should be treated with great respect wet or dry! Head north east out of town on Cassilis Road past the racecourse on the right and then Henry Lawson Drive on the left and then around 9km out of town take the right for Wollar. You are now out of wine country and headed for the unsealed section so there’s little traffic and sure smooth surface. Time for that right wrist to do what it’s meant to do! Once through the 17km of dirt turn right onto the Bylong Valley Way and just down the road pull into the Bylong Valley Store, with its sign proudly proclaiming it to be the, ‘Best General Store in Bylong’. Jodie and Jayne who run the store are great folks and bike supporters. They’ll sell you anything from a freezing can of beer to a great hot pie to fuel to local jams. The outside garden is spacious, shaded and peaceful…a mandatory stop! The road out of Bylong north-east to Denman became fully sealed a year or so back and is now worth a squirt so even if you are not headed out that way it’s a great “out’n’back” to head out and over the hill for 16km or a little further to the turns to either Widden or Baerami Creek. These two side roads are sealed dead-ends which head down into Wollombi and must be the narrowest 100kmh roads in the country. Enjoy them then U-turn it and head back to Bylong on the wonderful new tarmac. The stretch from Bylong to Rylstone is for me some of the finest empty road riding in NSW. Simple as that! Imbibe, inhale, enjoy! Once again at Rylesone you’ll have the choice of down to Kandos and on to the Castlereagh or across on Cudgegong Rd with its views of the river and lake. Your choice! Whichever way you go, you’ll have an easy unremarkable ride back up the highway to Mudgee but an untaxing final section to a great morning’s ride is not always a bad thing. Summary: Overall a smooth and rewarding drop! More blend than single varietal this ride displays a wonderful balance between lusciousness and structure after allowing for a little early disturbing minerality. Savour in company, never alone!

Mudgee Wellington Orange to Bathurst

Initial Impression: Full bodied with good length and a long aftertaste of quality but its great texture and sometimes impressive nose are diminished by its disappointing finish. Drink now to avoid sour grapes. (If you’ve come into Mudgee from Denman via Bylong, this ride can link up with my approach from Bathurst for a fantastic full day loop ride.) Head north on our old boring mate, the Castlereagh to Gulgong and turn left about 14km out of town onto Guntawang Road and then left at the Tonto Goolma Road and set sail for Wellington. I really try to like Wellington but everything always seems to be closed, especially the bakery adjacent to the Caltex and the coffee elsewhere is uniformly abysmal, so I just top up the fuel and head south. The Mitchell Hwy is like the boring uncle who wears a waistcoat and cufflinks at Christmas and who never says an interesting or provocative word and so best to stay with it the least possible time. Which luckily isn’t long. The Apsley bridge is down from the floods when I get there so I continue down for 13km to the Dripstone turn-off and immediately the road becomes more LAST summer in Sydney was been a total disgrace! If I’d paid for it, I would’ve been demanding my soggy money back. So, with the help of my trusty friends at bom.gov.au, I headed out to Mudgee for a couple of days riding. The whole area was coming out of floods but the radar was showing the prospect of a few clear days. The Mudgee Region, about four hours slingshot ride from Sydney, is positioning itself as a major player in the NSW wine industry. But whilst the Hunter Valley is dominated by the major players, Mudgee’s defining characteristic is its boutique vineyards providing high quality in small doses. I soon realised that the region’s roads reflect the vignerons’ philosophy and these are my tasting notes.

Bathurst to Mudgee via Hill End

Initial impression: Surprisingly smooth with good aromas and just a hint of gravel midpalate

There’s any number of routes into Mudgee but I chose to come up from the south, leaving Bathurst for Hill End, confident that the Super Tenere would handle the unsealed clay based sections featured on all my maps. I


Hill End, tranquility.

didn’t need to even consider this as, without any fanfare, the entire section from Bathurst to Hill End via Sallys Flat is now sealed. A near deserted smooth strip bereft of traffic through ghost gum bushland: a tantalisingly good first tipple! The hub of Hill End is the Royal Hotel which is a classic design traditional Aussie pub with what must be the only publican/licensee with full blown cerebral palsy. Matt Rattray is a fantastic guy who runs a destination pub. The accommodation is very comfortable and the locals who gather each afternoon are friendly, interesting and interested. Across from the pub is the General Store, which has just been taken over by Dimity who has extended its hours. It now sells general stuff plus unleaded standard 8-5 Wed to Sun and 9-4 Monday and Tuesday. I top up here for no other reason than to support a worthy person making an effort. As with all these small country businesses, the more we use them the more chance they’ll be there when the next rider needs them. Because Hill End is in a National Park there is no feral camping so if you want to throw your swag down you’ll have to do it at the camping area and pay their fee. (The Hilton appears closed…see photo!) The road north from Hill End is now fully sealed except for a very timid and well maintained 3km section which serves only to emphasise the great surface of the 56 remainder, filled with sweeping curves, the occasional tighter twist and easy undulations. The 25km squirt from Hargreaves to the Castlereagh Highway is the first truly enjoyable boutique ride of the region. Summary: A good nose with a slight flintiness. Suitable for immediate consumption, no cellaring necessary!

Mudgee Ulan Gulgong Rylstone Bow Tie Run

Initial impression: A robust full bodied ride with strong hints of eucalyptus and grape, and after-taste of ‘Damn that was fun!’

Next morning was overcast so the rising sun was no consideration and I headed north on the boring Cassilis Rd toward Ulan. This is a busy (and patrolled) strip of vanilla riding but just short of Ulan I swung left for Gulgong and immediately the road becomes more interesting. This road is like a politician: Mainly straight but with some interesting hidden crooked bits. It’s mostly empty of traffic and with the bush barrier not growing right to the side of the tar, it gives good visibility all day. A top dash down into Gulgong, which is a town I can’t quite work out.

Gulgong was featured on the original ten buck note and it clings to this and to its tenuous connection to Henry Lawson like a shipwrecked sailor to an esky lid! Lawson lived in Gulgong for just two years, from ages four to six but the extent to which he is claimed by the town borders on tragic desperation. Best to keep riding! The Castlereagh Highway back to Mudgee is a bland characterless clean skin of a road. Instead, head east onto the Henry Lawson (what else) Drive which cuts through great wine country and through Lawson’s real childhood home town of Eurunderee. This is a designated tourist route but traffic is scarce, the surface smooth and predictable and the scenery worth slowing down for. You’ll then turn right for a brief section of Ulan Road before swinging left onto Lue Road for the 42 km ride to Rylstone. This is another wonderful boutique ride. Not suitable for cellaring. Should be sampled immediately! Ah, Rylstone! One of my favourite stops in this part of the countryside. Without the pretence of Gulgong, it is a great place to stop and for me it’s usually at Bizzy Birds right in the middle of town. Run by the wonderful Cathy it features a national map on the wall with black texta lines from west coast to east, and all up the Pacific coast of rides she’s done on the back of her husband’s bike. The food is fresh, and home-made, and the entire atmosphere reflects the relaxed grace of the surrounding village. Why is it that businesses run by bikers so often hit the mark so well? After a milkshake and a long chat with Cathy comes the first of the real options for the day. I choose not to head down to Kandos on Bylong Valley Way but rather head west on Cudgegong Rd which tracks the river of the same name and then skirts Lake Windamere. Again the road is a delightful short (15km) tasting glass of a ride. Smooth unrutted surface with great views to the right of the waters of the lake. Now, if you want to be sensible, turn right, count the blessings of the rides you assembled in your memory cellar and head north to Mudgee on the Castlereagh. ( I didn’t take this advice but turned south to the dirt of Aarons Pass Road… see below)

Summary: Overall a good vintage with complex structure and a very pleasing mid-palate of bitumen and tar.


r renovations.

is closed fo The Hill End Hilton

Mudgee Wollar Kandos Loop

Initial impression: A complex enigmatic late harvest botrytis ride: Sweet when it’s dry but when wet displays classic rot characteristics not entirely noble! Well suited to a picnic under clear skies (When wet, will teach you why such wines are known as ‘stickies’)

This 204km loop has some of the very best riding in the area but the one unsealed section, from Wollar to Bylong is a real trap in wet weather. Claybased for much of it, this section has three semi-constructed causeways all of them with red-clay approaches which preclude braking and are simply near unrideable on street tyres. And the clay is the stickiest I’ve ever hit with my front and rear tyres completely jamming when I rode it on a Multistrada last year. In the dry though, it’s pleasant and mostly unchallenging but the dips into the causeways should be treated with great respect wet or dry! Head north east out of town on Cassilis Road past the racecourse on the right and then Henry Lawson Drive on the left and then around 9km out of town take the right for Wollar. You are now out of wine country and headed for the unsealed section so there’s little traffic and sure smooth surface. Time for that right wrist to do what it’s meant to do! Once through the 17km of dirt turn right onto the Bylong Valley Way and just down the road pull into the Bylong Valley Store, with its sign proudly proclaiming it to be the, ‘Best General Store in Bylong’. Jodie and Jayne who run the store are great folks and bike supporters. They’ll sell you anything from a freezing can of beer to a great hot pie to fuel to local jams. The outside garden is spacious, shaded and peaceful…a mandatory stop! The road out of Bylong north-east to Denman became fully sealed a year or so back and is now worth a squirt so even if you are not headed out that

way it’s a great “out’n’back” to head out and over the hill for 16km or a little further to the turns to either Widden or Baerami Creek. These two side roads are sealed dead-ends which head down into Wollombi and must be the narrowest 100kmh roads in the country. Enjoy them then U-turn it and head back to Bylong on the wonderful new tarmac. The stretch from Bylong to Rylstone is for me some of the finest empty road riding in NSW. Simple as that! Imbibe, inhale, enjoy! Once again at Rylesone you’ll have the choice of down to Kandos and on to the Castlereagh or across on Cudgegong Rd with its views of the river and lake. Your choice! Whichever way you go, you’ll have an easy unremarkable ride back up the highway to Mudgee but an untaxing final section to a great morning’s ride is not always a bad thing.

Summary: Overall a smooth and rewarding drop! More blend than single varietal this ride displays a wonderful balance between lusciousness and structure after allowing for a little early disturbing minerality. Savour in company, never alone!

Mudgee Wellington Orange to Bathurst

Initial Impression: Full bodied with good length and a long aftertaste of quality but its great texture and sometimes impressive nose are diminished by its disappointing finish. Drink now to avoid sour grapes.

(If you’ve come into Mudgee from Denman via Bylong, this ride can link up with my approach from Bathurst for a fantastic full day loop ride.) Head north on our old boring mate, the Castlereagh to Gulgong and turn left about 14km out of town onto Guntawang Road and then left at the Tonto Goolma Road and set sail for Wellington. I really try to like Wellington but everything always seems to be closed, especially the bakery adjacent to the Caltex and the coffee elsewhere is uniformly abysmal, so I just top up the fuel and head south. The Mitchell Hwy is like the boring uncle who wears a waistcoat and


Old Jack on Burrendong Way.... who knew for sure which roads and bridges were open.

cufflinks at Christmas and who never says an interesting or provocative word and so best to stay with it the least possible time. Which luckily isn’t long. The Apsley bridge is down from the floods when I get there so I continue down for 13km to the Dripstone turn-off and immediately the road becomes more interesting. Tighter curves and little traffic and the surface still good despite the rains. Right onto Burrendong Way and a couple of clicks down I find old Tom in his Massey Ferguson with trailer and dogs crossing the road from his riverside paddocks to higher back-blocks. He tells me reliably which roads and bridges are down: tells me that all crossings of the Macquarie south of Lake Burrendong are down and so I won’t be able to cut across country to Hill End. We share a brew beside his old near-blind cattle dogs before I roll down to Stuart Town, leaning into a succession of sweeping corners as smooth and enjoyably predictable as the best Cabernet Merlot. Stuart Town’s pub is the Ironbark Inn but down the road a bit is the Rural Exchange and Internet Centre which is way more interesting. Run by Marjorie and Margaret, two retired treasures they give me free hot water for my coffee plunger and sell me some fabulous cherry cheese which they are sure is delicious coz they both just had some for lunch. Marjorie explains that Stuart Town was originally named, ‘Ironbark’ and was the home of Banjo Paterson’s ‘Man from Ironbark’, a favourite poem of mine from primary school when it was the only time we could say ‘bloody’ without getting the cuts! The Burrendong Way continues its graceful serpentine path to the northern outskirts of Orange and then, with all roads through Ophir cut due to the flooding, for me it was back onto the boring Mitchell Hwy for a quick sprint to Bathurst.

Summary: A very rewarding drop...the more you put into this, the more you will get out. Rich languid aftertaste of fruits of your labours in the setting sun, especially when combined with the Bathurst-Hill End-Mudgee vintage reviewed above. Serving suggestion: indulge fully before a quiet feet up evening on balcony of the Oriental at Mudgee or the Royal at Hill End.

Additional Notes

Mudgee seems a great town with some top parks and a few very decent traditional hotels. I stayed at the Oriental on Mortimer and Lewis and for my forty bucks got a huge room equipped with a basin, air con, electric blankets, clean working shared bathroom and breakfast room and access to a wonderful balcony. The ‘Ori’ is about the best value I’ve encountered anywhere in the bush. In the latter stages of one of the loops via Rylestone, I took the dirt option along Aarons Pass Rd and headed to Carcalgong, Pyramul and up to the bitumen at Windeyer before joining the Hill End to Mudgee Rd. This road (and it was pumping down rain all the ride) was not worth the effort. Hard riding with no great views and despite the discovery of a great pub at Windeyer, I suggest you leave this one alone. Fuel is available regularly on all the loop rides in this article. A Google map of all rides is available online together with downloadable .gpx maps which can be uploaded into any GPS device. To access them become a friend on Facebook of ridensw and hit the discussion link.

– Colin Whelan

You can find links at www.cycletorque.com.au/more.


1

Book Sale

CROZ Larrikin Biker

I lifted up my cracked UV visor with my thumb. ‘Which way does the track go and what’s the lap record?’, I called out over the noise of the valve gear rattling and clanging between my legs. The flag marshal’s eyebrows raised in disbelief. I could see him muttering, ‘And who the hell do you think you are - Mike Hailwood?’ CROZ Larrikin Biker – $35.00 2

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Going Postal

Nathan Millward had a dream, he wanted to ride across the world on a small motorbike. A decommissioned Australia Post bike, to be precise. Nathan hit the road on his clapped out postie bike, from Sydney to Darwin then through Southeast Asia and onwards to Pakistan and China and the home run through Europe. Going Postal – $30.00 3

Grand Prix Motorcycle Racers

Until the 1970s, North America was considered a backwater with respect to world championship-level motorcycle road racing. European racers viewed American riders as little more than provincial hillbillies who rode around in circles on tracks made of dirt. That all changed when Kenny Roberts exploded onto the Grand Prix racing scene and became the first American to win the world championship in motorcycle road racing’s premier class. Grand Prix Motorcycle Racers – $39.99 4

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Long Way Down

After their fantastic trip round the world in 2004, fellow actors and bike fanatics Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman couldn’t shake the travel bug. And after an inspirational UNICEF visit to Africa, they knew they had to go back and experience this extraordinary continent in more depth. Long Way Down – $24.99 5

Motorcycle Maintenance

The purpose of this book is to introduce the novice motorcycle mechanic to the basic mechanical concepts and that go into designing, building and maintaining modern motorcycles. By performing their own basic maintenance readers will gain a much better understanding of how motorcycles function, and develop a much better feel for the health of their bike and deal with little problems before they become a big one, or worse, a serious safety issue. This text is written so that anyone with the proper training and the right attitude can become a competent if not excellent mechanic. Motorcycle Maintenance – $65.00 6

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Chrome Cowgirl Motorcycle Life

A primer for women who ride, or want to, or might simply like to jumpstart their lives, the book addresses women astraddle in a way that’s as funny as it is informative. Whether it’s how to ride, what to do to your bike, or what to wear, Sasha has the advice. What’s more, her bike savvy and street strategies pack powerful lessons, offering a friendly word from the wisecracking on how to get the most out of life’s wild ride. Chrome Cowgirl Motorcycle Life – $39.99

Huge selection of books available online at www.cycletorque.com.au


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Race Tech’s

Based on Thede’s world-famous Race Tech Suspension Seminars, this step-by-step guide shows anyone how to make a bike handle like a pro’s. Race Tech’s – $49.99

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Jupiter’s Travels

For 25 years this book has been a favourite for travellers of all kinds, but in the world of motorcycle travel it has been a true phenomenon. Jupiter’s Travels – $27.99 9

Sportbike Suspension Tuning

Sportbike Suspension Tuning’ covers the basics—setting static sag for your weight—as well as more subtle and advanced adjustments, such as how to optimize rear-end squat. A comprehensive discussion on chassis geometry, suspension technology, and the many interactions among adjustments helps demystify suspension tuning. Andrew also explains how to analyze various handling symptoms and make adjustments to correct them. Plus, he offers specific setup techniques for both the street and the track. Sportbike Suspension Tuning – $29.99

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Dual Sport Motorcycling

Everything you need to buy, ride and enjoy trail and adventure motorcycling. Sections on riding gear, tools, riding tips and safety and maintenance keep you well informed for the trip ahead. Exploring and navigating are also covered in this comprehensive guide book. Dual Sport Motorcycling – $55

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11 The Upper Half of the Motorcycle

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Due to the popularity of Bernt Spiegel’s The Upper Half of the Motorcycle in its original German, leading to multiple editions and printings, the book has been translated into English to bring its provocative message to a wider audience. Spiegel’s metaphor considers the rider and the motorcycle as a single unit, the rider being the upper half. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, Spiegel draws on anthropology, psychology, biology, physics, and other disciplines to analyze the theory and function of the man-machine unit. Motorcycle riding is seen as a serendipitous junction where people have created machines for personal transport and then become so adept at using them that the machine becomes like an artificial limb - part of the rider himself. The ultimate goal for riders is the integration of the manmachine interface and skill development to the point of virtuosity. The Upper Half of the Motorcycle – $49.95 12 The Riders

Australia’s love affair with motorcycle racing and its fearless heroes was meant to be. Two things have made it so enticing. The first is the inherent love of freedom, speed and adrenalin - that wild feeling of the wind whipping your face as you fight to take the machine as fast as it can go. The second is the ingrained Australian desire to test ourselves against the rest of the world to be the quickest of all. The Riders – $35.00

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Cycle Torque July 2011