Issue Issue638 ???
Bennelli 600 China’s ﬁrst four
The little legend
Ugly’s got charm!
MSL November 2013
MOTORCYCLE FOR THE FUN OF RIDING
◆ Yamaha MT-09 ◆ Benelli BN600 ◆ Ducati 900SS
YAMAHA’S TRIPLE TRIUMPH
SPORT & LEISURE
115bhp. £6799. It’s NOT a Street Triple, it’s a very naughty boy!
RIDE BETTER Part two of our FREE smarter rider guide
PAGES OF TOURING Romania Monopoli ◆ ◆
USA ◆ Roman Road
How to get the best bike you can, as cheap as chips
PLUS: Why three cylinders make THE perfect motorbike engine
◆ Two teachers, a Matchless and Moscow ◆ Moto Morini’s Rebello 1200 ◆ Out There: your ultimate FREE biking diary pages
No. 638 November 2013
MSL November EDITOR: Tony Carter: firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHER: Steve Rose: email@example.com ROAD TESTER: Bruce Wilson DESIGNER: Sarah Scrimshaw REPROGRAPHICS: Simon Duncan GROUP PRODUCTION EDITOR: Tim Hartley DIVISIONAL ADVERTISING MANAGER: Sandra Fisher: firstname.lastname@example.org GROUP KEY ACCOUNTS MANAGER: Steff Woodhouse email@example.com 01507 529452 / 07786334330 ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE: Sandra Fisher firstname.lastname@example.org 01507 524004 SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER: Paul Deacon: email@example.com CIRCULATION MANAGER: Steve O’Hara: firstname.lastname@example.org MARKETING MANAGER: Charlotte Park: email@example.com PRODUCTION MANAGER: Craig Lamb: firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: Dan Savage email@example.com COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: Nigel Hole ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR: Malc Wheeler MANAGING DIRECTOR: Brian Hill
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CONTENTS NEW 7
FIRST RIDE: YAMAHA’S MT-09
THE £1000GS: BUY IT CHEAP, RIDE IT LOTS, MAKE MONEY ON IT
There’s a new Ducati on the horizon and some other rather large bits of interesting things going on too.
This is something of a unique thing for Yamaha, a new bike that’s competitively priced, great fun and encourages silliness (but can also commute). Looks like the tuning fork lot have got their heads on the right way round again...
A real story about a real man who really did do just that with arguably the most iconic motorcycle of the last several years. And we’re explaining how you can do it, too.
FIRST RIDE: BENELLI’S BN600
OLD RECORDS REVISITED
AMERICANS VIA THE STURGIS RALLY
A hugely signiﬁcant bike this, but we bet you don’t see many of them around. This is the ﬁrst Chinese/Italian four-cylinder coming together, okay... but does it work?
Four weeks on since the tweaked MSL hit your stands (or your doormat if you subscribe) and a few of you express your thoughts about it, and other items of interest.
BE BETTER AT RIDING: FOR FREE AND IN 15 MINUTES!
Part two of our ongoing series about how to be a better, smoother and safer rider on the road.
Our Bruce had a certain idea of what riding a big, classy American bike across the heartland of America would be like. And it was pretty close to the ideal – until he got to Sturgis and saw the sights... poor boy...
Thirty pages of our top touring section, this month we’ve got a look at the Pan European motorcycle, a trip along the Roman Ermine Road, a tour to Monopoli in Italy and a jaunt (yeah, we said jaunt) through Romania to the Black Sea. Among other things.
So we all tend to think that just because we want to go on some life-changing ride around the world that it’s a unique thing... check out what the old boys were doing in 1925.
LONG TERM (SPORTING) LIFE
So there they were, Tony and Bruce, sat at Cadwell Park waiting to go out on track. Around them a selection of GSX-Rs and R1s. It was at this point that the editor (on his 1190 KTM) turned to Bruce (on the Tiger Sport) and said: ‘Whose bloody stupid idea was this?’. Bruce reminded the ginger idiot that it was his...
BUYER’S GUIDE: 1999 DUCATI 900SS
As crazy as this might sound these days, the 900SS wasn’t really liked when it was launched. It seemed a bit ‘odd looking’ for the time. Today though, there’s no denying its instant-classic appeal.
IN THE GARAGE: MY COLLECTION
KAWASAKI’S TOP GUN
A quiet, unassuming businessman from Nottingham and his collection of incredible GP motorcycles including bikes raced by Sheene, Mamola and Rossi.
It was the bike that launched Tom Cruise (literally, watch the ﬁlm) in Top Gun and secured it’s place in history. The GPZ900R. mslmagazine.co.uk 5
O HOONS RULE AGAIN Yamaha’s MT-09
Finally. A bike that’s the genuine grandson to the RD350, the TDM250 and the DT125 combined. And all for £6799 too. Read this, then go ride one. WORDS: Tony Carter PHOTOGRAPHY: Yamaha
h sweet baby Moses, Yamaha is back. And in a simply bloody brilliant way. Say hello to this not-so-little, little beauty, the MT-09. It’s a gem of a bike. It’s corking, it’s cracking, it’s something in the mould of the TDM250 or the RD350 (yep, really). at’s because it’s fun with a capital F, in the same way that Jeremy Clarkson is annoying with a capital A – that much fun. It’s crazy that it’s taken so long for Yamaha to come up with a bike that just makes you smile in the old hooligan ways, but let’s not dwell on that for too long because there are some salient points you need to know about this MT.
NEW A sweeping road, a 115bhp motorcycle and a rider who should know better. This is what the MT-09 is all about.
First, it’s not perfect; there are downsides to this bike. e throttle is ridiculously snatchy oﬀ low revs when you ask a handful of it, there’s no white colour scheme (orange, black, purple? Oh yes! Moderny-retro white? Nope), and the styling is perhaps too much on the conservative side. But apart from that, this is a great bike. Rest assured, dear biker that somewhere in Japan are working bike builders who still remember what’s it like to have a laugh on two wheels without the need to get all sportbike serious, thank goodness. e MT is wonderfully narrow, with an upright riding position that’s much more Street Triple (but not quite as pitched-forward as the Brit bike) than the FZ8 from the same ﬁrm. e bars are pulled back and are wide, the footrests low, the engine punchy from
In detail: Yamaha’s MT-09 RIDING POSITION The 400mm long seat has an almost ﬂat proﬁle and the steel fuel tank has been made using a new process which achieves extremely tight curves which were previously not possible to sculpt in a steel design. The new tank is also very slim in the area close to the seat.
low-down (snatchy pick-up aside) and wind it up to north of 10,000rpm for some long-legged rushes too... it’s a motorcycle that’s easy to get on and feel like you’ve been riding it for years. It’s familiar in the way that all those loon bikes from so far back in your youth were, too. ere’s three modes available, accessed by a button on the le handlebar. ey work, just like they all do these days. e digital dash is simple in its information (gear change indicator included) and perched high on top of the handlebar clamp. Erm... sounds nice and rorty too, brakes are sharp and there’s even a pillion seat of sorts. Okay? Usual testing report stuﬀ done? Right let’s get back to the ride. Yes, it’ll commute easily, it handles motorways well and on slippery roads
there’s a lot of feedback from the chassis underneath you. All of which we took in during a great day riding in Croatia along the Dalmation Coast. But this motorcycle is ALL about how it makes you feel right from the oﬀ. ere’s 64.4lb- of torque, delivered in a wonderfully linear wave of torque from 2000rpm and a tight chassis, great suspension and sharp brakes make this a punchy, engaging ride. A real-world word here though, this bike might have an astonishing 51º of lean angle (the same as an R6) and the suspension for the job but nobody on this world launch got to try it out, the roads in Croatia are all old and in poor, slippery, shiny state. MSL will put one of these on track in the future, just to see if this is as great at getting over as it is at everything else. mslmagazine.co.uk 13
First rides Benelli BN600
Italy’s ﬁrst four-cylinder motorcycle – made in China! words: Alan Cathcart photography: Kel Edge
This is an important motor, engineered in Italy, made in China.
o when is a Chinese Italian bike a real ﬁrst? When it’s the ﬁrst ever fourcylinder bike made in China – that’s when... To understand why this bike is signiﬁcant, you’ve got to know a bit of the back history. In December 2005 Qianjiang (pronounced Chin-jung) bought Benelli, one of the oldest Italian marques, with an idea to bring out several models. And, ta-da... What we have here is also signiﬁcant because, really, it was the ﬁrst longterm gameplan from a Chinese ﬁrm to actively get into the serious western market. As Benelli’s chief engineer Stefano Michelotti conﬁrms, when this project kicked oﬀ in 2006, the BN600 was designed and initially developed in Italy in collaboration with QJ engineers, before it was transferred to China for ﬁnal pre-production development. is meant that Benelli tester Gianluca Galasso covered countless test kilometres riding the prototype bike in the open on public roads, carefully disguised as a wellworn Honda Hornet that nobody would give a second look. “To begin with, it was diﬃcult to work with Chinese engineers, not only with the language diﬃculties, but also because we were each accustomed to
pursuing diﬀerent objectives in creating a new design,” says Michelotti. “But little by little we understood each other’s strengths, and now the collaboration is fantastic. It bodes well for the future, with other projects.” e BN600 is the ﬁrst product QJ has built that’s over 250cc in capacity, and the Italian company’s female CEO Yan Haimei has conﬁrmed to MSL that this is to be the ﬁrst of several new models coming shortly from China bearing the Benelli badge, all of them like the BN600 engineered jointly by QJ and Benelli technicians, then manufactured in China to reduce costs. e EVO version of the BN600 being sold in Europe, North America and Australasia carries Brembo brakes, Marzocchi fork, and a Sachs shock, all replacing the less eﬀective but also less costly Chinese-made original components, but at only a slight price increase. When it goes on sale around the world in November this year, the BN600 will retail for just 5890 euros on the road in Italy including 21% local tax, against 7660 euros for the equivalent Honda CB600F Hornet, both without ABS. However, that’s the same price as Yamaha’s entry-level XJ6 four, but with the Benelli oﬀering signiﬁcantly improved suspension and brakes versus the Japanese bike, plus a little more power from its slightly shorter-stroke four-cylinder motor.
This is at the same stage with fuelling as the Japanese 15 years ago... mslmagazine.co.uk 27
Improve Your Riding: Part Two
Junctions: GeT Them RiGhT anD suRvive
Be safer, smarter, and a better biker. All in 15 minutes. Read this and then do this. words: Tony Carter and Rob Chandler photography: Joe Dick
How these features work
In the pictures, Lego-man Smoothie- Dave (red bike) will show you the correct position to be in, his two
helpers, PC Gary and PC Roy will risk all by showing you what NOT to do on the road where needed.
So follow Fast-andSmooth Dave and you’ll soon be getting things sorted.
elcome to the second instalment of MSL’s Improve section, where we show you an easy and free way to kick out some bad habits you may have picked up over the years and replace them with ways to be a safer, better and cooler (okay, maybe not cooler) rider for no money down and just a few minutes of your time. is month, we’re looking at junctions. Sounds easy, working a junction, but just like the basic road positioning we covered last month, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time but here, maybe more than in any other type of road riding, it’s crucial to work out what you want to do then do it nice and early. Rushing or chopping and changing at junctions is deﬁnitely the wrong way to go, it’ll wind up other road users, leave you in a very vulnerable position and cause you much stress. So this is the best way to go about dealing with all types of junctions, all types of problems and all types of ways to control the road around you. Good luck out there.
Improve your rIdIng
Step one: Right for right turn is is all about thinking ahead and getting into the correct position when turning right at a T-junction. ere are a few points to note about this. From the correct position, two-thirds across your lane, you need to position yourself as close as you can to the centre line and as near to the front of the junction as it’s possible to be without straying into the oncoming road. is is primarily for observation purposes. Yes, you need to be ready to ride oﬀ when the coast is clear but being here is also a good way to control the part of the road around you. is position makes you very visible to other road users. ey can see you easily; you’re not likely to be obscured by other vehicles.
Key points: ■ Think ahead early ■ Right, square on to the centre line at the end of the junction ■ As far up the junction to the T-line as possible
As far over to the right in the lane as it’s possible to be.
Step two: Right, now for left turn Basically, this is the same principle as for right turn out of junctions but this time you’re in position early and slightly pointing in the direction you’re going. Don’t be too le-turned on the bike otherwise you could seriously restrict how much of the traﬃc in the lane you’re joining because you won’t be able to turn your head far enough. But again, from here you can see, you’re right up to the edge of the junction (safely) and the other road users can see you. Lovely.
Key points: ■ Think ahead early ■ Position far left, slight angle in favour of direction ■ Make sure you’re as far up the junction as possible
For the lefts you need to be as far over to the left of the lane as possible. So I said, ‘You can’t do that mate, I’m a Lego cop!’ and he pulled me head clean oﬀ me shoulders!
GRAND OLD ADVENTURE STORY
From the archive
AUSTRALIA, CAIRO, LIBYA AND BLIGHTY! Epoch-making postwar endurance tests at home and abroad which have proved the mettle of British motorcycles
PHOTOGRAPHY: Mortons Media Archive ILLUSTRATION: Rosie Ward
Welcome to real touring history This is the second in our ongoing delve into the archives that spawned MSL. The article reprinted here was originally published in our mother title, The Motor Cycle, in December 1925. It’s priceless for giving us a view of big touring on two wheels at the time. Check out the references to the mileages, the attitudes to women and the sniﬀy way the writers play oﬀ the perceived attitude of the degenerate youth!
s it not rather strange that so little attention is paid by the world to the great British achievements which are making motorcycle history? Every year daring feats are carried through and amazing journeys are accomplished, the history of which, were they carried out on any other type of vehicle, would ﬁll many columns of the daily press. Yet the two-wheeler, which is oen the only mount which could survive the hardships of such a journey, remains unsung except by those journals specially devoted to its welfare. Only last week, the editor received calls from (1) a young Englishman who had made a trip to Constantinople on a model P Triumph, (2) a Persian gentleman who is buying a sidecar outi with the intention of making his way home by land, and (3) a Manxman who is contemplating a trip round the world by motorcycle.
FREQUENT FEATS OF ENDURANCE
If the general public realised the frequency of such feats of endurance and the precision with which they are carried out, we should hear less about the unreliability of motorcycles, and, incidentally, less about the degeneracy of modern youth. If we were to go back to prewar days we should ﬁnd instances in plenty of hardy pioneers who undertook all sorts of feats on early types of motorcycles, when conditions were harder than they are today; and we must not forget – as some are apt to forget – the deeds of our dispatch riders during the war, the tales of which would make a thrilling book. But interesting and exciting though these stories would be, the present article must conﬁne its scope to
The editor received calls from a young Englishman who had made a trip to Constantinople on a model P Triumph those postwar rides which, besides forming milestones in motorcycle history, will provide ample proof of the soundness of British motorcycle construction and of sturdy spirit of our present-day riders.
THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN RIDING ADVENTURE
In all corners of the world and in all parts of our empire great rides have been carried through on British machines which will live in the memory of motorcyclists and might be commemorated more widely. Such a journey, for instance, was the circuit of Australia by Mr A W Grady, mounted on a 348cc Douglas solo machine. e journey necessitated covering miles of sand and bush country, and since the rider was oen far from the outposts of civilisation he was forced to carry spare petrol to the extent of three gallons. At least 800 miles of sand had to be covered in low gear, and the fording of one river necessitated the partial dismantling of the machine, which was carried over in sections. e journey occupied ﬁve and a half months and in spite of the almost heartbreaking conditions no part of the sturdy little Douglas failed to function, and even the tyres were unpunctured. Another destination for great rides, Africa has become well known. In the south the great Durban-Johannesburg race itself constitutes annually a great feat of endurance,
ABOVE: From the ﬁrst well in the Northern Territory to the typicalfor-the-time donkey teams, the early explorers had it tough – sometimes having no roads at all to ride along as they tried to cross the Aussie outback not long into the start of the 20th century.
MOTORCYCLE FOR THE FUN OF RIDING
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