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Real-world long-distance test of Yamaha’s MT-10



Buy the right sat-nav: UK s most in-depth UK’s in depth test




Living with the Herald 250: time for an honest review


Classic harrd-tail style witth moderrn performance & comfort E STA B L I SH E D 1 9 6 2 : T H E OR IG I NA L A N D B E ST B I K E M AG A Z I N E


MSL December EDITOR: John Milbank: DEPUTY EDITOR: Bruce Wilson: SENIOR DESIGNER: Justin Blackamore DESIGNERS: Fran Lovely, Charlotte Turnbull PRODUCTION EDITOR: Dan Sharp PICTURE DESK: Paul Fincham, Jonathan Schofield PUBLISHER: Steve Rose: GROUP KEY ACCOUNTS MANAGER: Steff Woodhouse: 01507 529452 / 07786 334330 ADVERTISING MANAGER: Martin Freeman: 01507 529538 ADVERTISING SALES: Zoe Thurling: 01507 529412 SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER: Paul Deacon: CIRCULATION MANAGER: Steve O’Hara: MARKETING MANAGER: Charlotte Park: PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: Dan Savage: COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: Nigel Hole ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR: Malc Wheeler EDITORIAL ADDRESS: MSL Magazine, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6JR WEBSITE: GENERAL QUERIES AND BACK ISSUES: 01507 529529 24 hr answerphone ARCHIVE ENQUIRIES: Jane Skayman 01507 529423 SUBSCRIPTION: Full subscription rates (but see page 16 for offer): (12 months 12 issues, inc post and packing) – UK £50.40. Export rates are also available – see page 16 for more details. UK subscriptions are zero-rated for the purposes of Value Added Tax. SUBSCRIPTION AGENTS: Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6JR CUSTOMER SERVICES NUMBER: 01507 529529 TELEPHONE LINES ARE OPEN: MONDAY-FRIDAY 8.30AM-7PM SATURDAY 8.30AM-12.30PM DISTRIBUTION: COMAG, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7QE. 01895 433600 PRINTED: William Gibbons & Sons, Wolverhampton The publisher accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If you are sending material to us for publication, you are strongly advised to make copies and to include a stamped addressed envelope. Original material must be submitted and will be accepted solely on the basis that the author accepts the assessment of the publisher as to its commercial value. © Mortons Media Group Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage retrieval system without prior permission in writing from the publisher. ISSN: 1478-8390 MOTORCYCLE SPORT & LEISURE (USPS:001-522) is published monthly by Mortons Media Group Ltd, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6LZ UK. USA subscriptions are $66 per year from Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. Periodical Postage is paid at Bancroft WI and additional entries. Postmaster: Send address changes to MOTORCYCLE SPORT & LEISURE, c/o Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. 715-572-4595 chris@

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News: 2017’s hottest new bikes


Passports: Richard Millington


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South Africa expedition training


Yamaha Technician Grand Prix


White knuckles on the Apache Trail


Letters: Win a Kriega pack


Winter of discontent or party season? Leon Mannings


Test ride: Mash 400


Buyer’s Guide: Yamaha MT-01


The cost of fun: Kevin Cameron


Long-term test: Suzuki GSX-R1000


Test ride: Yamaha MT-10


Long-term test: BMW C650GT


Dark as a dungeon: Maynard Hershon


Long-term test: Yamaha XSR700


Riding a World Endurance Championship-winning Suzuki


Long-term test: Herald Classic 250

More racing, fewer bikes please: The High Sider


Long-term test: Honda Africa Twin


Long-term test: Royal Enfield Continental GT



Long-term test: Suzuki GSX1250FA


My bike: Ducati 899 Panigale


Halfway round for Teenage Cancer Trust


UK: Essex breakfast

100 Garmin Zumo 595, JW Speaker cornering headlight


Norway: Fjord deep, mountain high

104 Classic test: 1982 Honda CBX550F2


USA: Coast-to-coast Commando

114 Back to the future: Steve Rose





Top Stories Fireblade reborn

Honda’s new CBR1000RR Fireblade SP finally gains the electronics of its competitors, while focusing, the Japanese company says, “squarely on power to weight ratio.” Losing 15kg, and gaining 11bhp, the bike makes 189bhp @ 13,000rpm and 89lb-ft @ 13,000rpm. Weighing 195kg, that’s a power to weight ratio of 0.97bhp per kg, or 995bhp per ton, though as Suzuki claims its new GSX-R1000 makes 0.99bhp per kg (997bhp/ton), the gloves are truly off in the supersport battle. The new machine comes with an up and down quick-shifter and Öhlins electronic suspension that features three active modes (that can be tweaked), and three userdefinable manual modes. Cornering ABS works alongside wheelie/traction control, selectable engine braking and three preset riding modes that vary the power output, torque control, engine braking and suspension. Two further modes allow the rider to programme their own settings for each parameter. As on the RC213V-S, the new ’Blade has a full-colour TFT dash, as well as an LED shift light.

The engine’s increased performance was achieved through revised valve lift and cam timing, and has a new slip-assist clutch and magnesium covers. The Honda’s chassis maintains the 23.3° rake and 96mm trail of the previous model, but 10% more flex in the torsional place is said to improve steering response. Thinner frame walls save 300g, and an electronic steering damper works to maintain stability. The subframe also saves 800g, while the 16 litre titanium tank is positioned to reduce inertia. The wheels save around 100g with their new Y-shape design, and the fairing has been developed to reduce width – 24mm on the upper and 18mm across the centre. Further weight saving is achieved with a 1kg lithium-ion battery and LED lighting. The SP2 model comes with lighter Marchesini wheels and a revised cylinder head that doesn’t alter compression, but has larger valves, elongated spark plugs and tightly-wrapped water jacket for improved cooling, as well as larger valve lifters to accommodate high-lift cams. The pistons are stronger,

The new ’Blade has been slimmed down for 2017.

with lighter pins, and a racing kit will be available for track use. As we went to press, BMW was claiming 0.94bhp/kg for its S1000RR; Kawasaki 0.96bhp/kg for the ZX-10R and Yamaha 0.99bhp/kg for the R1M. Ducati’s Panigale R is claimed to make a staggering 1.10bhp/kg and Kawasaki’s H2R? 1.42bhp/kg (that’s a whopping 1457bhp/ton)! The Koenigsegg One:1, priced at

Aprilia gets more tech

A CB for 2017 Honda’s CB1100RS, the sporty sibling of the CB1100 EX (which is updated for 2017) shares the same 89bhp @ 7500rpm, 67lb-ft @ 5500rpm 1140cc air/ oil-cooled four cylinder motor, but has a sharper geometry – a rake of 26° and trail of 99mm, on a wheelbase of 1485mm, as opposed to 27°/114mm/1490mm. A set of 43mm Showa Dual Bending Valve forks replace the EX’s 41mm units, and are carried in a new die-cast aluminium top-yoke. The rear shocks are upgraded to remote-reservoir Showas, and carry a new aluminium swingarm. Brakes are switched to radially-mounted four-pot Tokicos, stopping new 17in cast wheels with 120/70 17 and 180/55 17 rubber (the

£2.3million, is the world’s first production car to make one Megawatt – 1341bhp – so its power to weight ratio is 1.341bhp/kg, or 1368bhp/ton. Put another way, the eyewateringly expensive H2R will set you back £133/bhp. The Koenigsegg is a slightly richer £1715/bhp. The other bikes here are around £75/bhp. So, scientifically, bikes are a bargain!

EX runs on 110/80 18 and 140/70 18). The tank remains at 16.8 litres, but the seams along the bottom edge have been removed. Seat height is 795mm, with a kerb weight of 252kg. The EX gets new stainless-steel spoked wheels, updated 41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve forks, and – like the RS – LED lighting all round, and a slip-assist clutch that reduces the lever pull by 16%.

12 The original and the best – established 1962

Meeting Euro 4 regulations, Aprilia says a revised engine makes the RSV4 RR & RF one second faster. Along with the Tuono V4 1100RR and Factory, the machines are bristling with even more tech, with cornering ABS now standard, and... Aprilia Traction Control, adjustable on the fly (without having to release the throttle); Aprilia Wheelie Control, adjustable to 3 levels, on the fly without closing the throttle; Aprilia Launch Control, for use on the track only; Aprilia Quick Shift, now with downshift function; Aprilia Pit Limiter, which lets you select and limit the top speed allowed in pit lane at the track or to make it easier to comply with speed limits on the road; Aprilia Cruise Control, for long trips without touching the throttle.

Test Ride


British style, French flair and Chinese manufacturing – is Mash the ultimate g global motorcycle? y WORDS: Peter Henshaw PHOTOGRAPHY: Daniel Faulhaber & Peter Henshaw


s businesses becomes ever more global, the importance of national boundaries starts to blur. Whatever you think about Brexit, the hard fact is that we live in a world where pulling up the economic drawbridge is just about impossible. Paradoxically, this blurring of national borders is happening alongside a booming nostalgia market for national brands, which I reckon is stronger in Britain than just about anywhere else. Norton, Triumph, Brough-Superior and AJS are all active again, and you can buy a brand new bike bearing any of these badges. But even here globalisation is having an effect – Norton’s 961 might have a big UK content, but Triumph's latest Bonneville is made in Thailand, the Brough is French and all of those AJS-badged 50s and 125s have been shipped in from China. The Mash, of course, doesn’t sport a hallowed badge from the past – the name comes from the American TV series of the 70s – but it’s as much a

global bike as any of those, at least in spirit. The machines are styled in France, made in China and pay homage to British bikes of the 1960s. It’s a formula that clearly works, as Mash has been a great success in its home French market, topping the geared 125 sales chart for the last three years. And for the last couple of years, Andover-based HQB has been bringing the 400cc Road Star and Scrambler into the UK – it’s the same company that imports the reborn SWM.

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ABOVE: Mash has got the Café Racer’s styling just right.

BELOW: Fred Fourgeaud (on the right) is the man behind Mash.

Mash clearly has ambitions to expand, unveiling a whole raft of new bikes and scooters at its first major international launch in Corsica. Flagship of the range is the TT40 Café Racer, but it also showed the Black Seven – a 125cc retro roadster – a geared 50 and a couple of scooters. All of them (50s apart) meet the latest Euro 4 regulations, which means compulsory ABS on the bigger bikes, linked brakes on the sub-125s and fuel injection on everything. The Mash range in France is even bigger, including more 125/250 retros and a modernish 400cc adventure bike – which are already being sold in the UK but by different importers with different badges on the tank. It’s a tangled web, but HQB is hoping to bring some of these into Britain next year.


Mechanically, it’s very similar to the Road Star we featured back in issue 659, powered by the same 399cc sohc air-cooled single that can trace its origins back to Honda’s XBR of the

MSL’s Bruce Wilson on Suzuki’s race-winning endurance machine.


Having just wrapped up the 2016 World Endurance Championship, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) gave MSL a rare opportunity to try out the team’s 203bhp GSX-R1000… WORDS: Bruce Wilson PHOTOGRAPHY: Suzuki



he whole team’s watching as I walk over to the highlymodified GSX-R, its technicians poised to remove the tyre warmers and release it from its paddock stands. I climb on board. The bike feels tall, poised high in the carbon Kevlar race fairings. The seat’s rock hard and the rearsets force my ankles acutely rearward; it’s no armchair. The bars are wider than expected, and their switchgear’s confusing. Crew chief Dominique Hebrard steps over and translates them – on the left is a cluster of six buttons: plus or minus traction control, pit-lane limiter, total electronics reset and two different power maps. Dominique selects full power and the bike’s Motech dash fire’s into life, displaying traction position, power mode and revs. I’m ready to roll, the bike’s limiter’s engaged and now all I need to do is start the beast. This moment couldn’t have come soon enough – a chance to ride the most successful Suzuki in history. A championship-winning GSX-R1000 valued at just under a quarter of a million euros, built and maintained by the most successful endurance team ever to grace the World Endurance Championships (with 15 WEC titles) – SERT. It’s a 203bhp, handcrafted weapon. I’m terrified, but can’t wait to clock up a few laps of the complex and damp Negaro circuit in the south of France. Below the main and rain light switch is a simple start button on the right bar’s cluster. I hit it and the Suzuki booms into life as burnt gases race their way along the featherweight Yoshimura titanium race system. This is really happening. The garage door’s raised as I pull in the clutch and select first gear. Only I don’t. The bike’s on race shift, which means the pedal works in the opposite direction. I realise as I set off and go to hook second, slotting the standard ratio ’box back into first. It’s not embarrassing… honestly. Or at least it wouldn’t be if 10-times world endurance champion Vincent Philippe wasn’t following me out on track riding the standard GSX-R I’ve been using to learn Negaro’s layout. He shakes his head, I hook the Get MSL extra at 45

Day Ride

Open, empty roads early in the morning.


Find the right roads, and even Essex has some empty Tarmac, but you might have to get up early... WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: Dick Underdown


or a lot of people, Sunday mornings are their only chance to escape on the bike for a few hours from work, family and everything else. Those precious, early morning hours while the rest of the world buries its head beneath the duvet are not to be wasted – perfect light, still air and (if you listen hard enough) sparrows yawning, are the only disturbances. I live in the crowded south east, about 30 minutes from Chelmsford, but even here, if you know where to look, and start early enough, it’s possible to find quiet roads before breakfast. Chelmsford is a good place to start, with plenty of bike parking and the possibility of coffee at 5am. It’s the only thing I’ll ever go to McDonald’s for. The town is also home to the magnificent art deco Marconi radio factory, or was until developers pulled down all the bits that weren’t Grade II listed. Still, after being in ruins for years, the frontage has now been restored and used as the facade for some modern apartments. A nod to history, and I do approve. Anyway, head north out of town on the A130 and branch off on the A131 towards Braintree. A short bit of dual-carriageway sprinkled with roundabouts, it will warm you and your tyres up. You might have company with the usual crowd heading out towards Finchingfield at first, and who can blame them? It’s beautiful. Leave them by turning onto the old London Road then soon left onto Mill Lane. Suddenly you’re on your own, with threequarter width lanes lined by hedges and tree canopies, and great views over gently undulating 54 The original and the best – established 1962

ABOVE: Canewdon church, great views from here. BELOW: None of your croissants... this is what Dick comes here for.

farmland. Just watch for gravel at the edges and bits of field left on the road by tractors. This becomes Boreham Road, meandering through old villages where nothing appears to have changed for centuries. Cross the A12 to Boreham, site of an airfield used by American bombers during the Second World War, which later became a racing circuit and is now used by Ford as part of its testing programme. Turn right and then soon left at the Six Belles pub onto Plantation Road. Now you’re on open roads again, twisting down to a narrow bridge (watch out for fishermen) before joining the A12 for a single junction to come off for Battlesbridge. On this faster section you can see several pillboxes, part of the British Field Defences on the GHQ (General Headquarters) line, intended to be Britain’s last line of defence if the Nazis had invaded during the war; over 400 concrete pillboxes were built in Essex alone. Now lying abandoned, but still solid, standing guard, they are a reminder of what might have become of the area if this was a last line of defence. Cross the River Crouch on a bridge that replaced the original a century ago – the original was destroyed when a runaway traction engine crashed into it. The Crouch is tidal, controlled by impressive, 19-tonne gates made of pine and steel. Classic bike and car shows are held here in the summer, and they make for good days out.

Big Ride


Forget those hired Harleys. Richard Pearce rode across the USA on a Norton 961…

ABOVE: Skyline drive is worth a detour, even at 35mph. LEFT: Amish ahead – you don’t see these in the UK.



ver since I saw the pictures in MSL eight years ago, showing a brand-new black Norton Commando, I had to buy one. And I did. Another ambition was to ride through America, probably on a big adventure bike, but why not combine the two and do it on my 961 Norton? I can’t understand why some people say it took them two years to plan a trip – you just need to get on with it, decide roughly where you’re going, book flights and shipping, and go. Flying your own bike out to North America and boating it back is actually cheaper than hiring one out there for 10 weeks. Having said that, as I write this my bike is still impounded by US customs in Los Angeles. After reading a few books and all the mags I took the plunge, flew into Halifax, Nova Scotia with the bike, having arranged for it to be shipped back from Seattle. Yes, I took too much stuff and took a few weeks to manage my bags until I got everything in the right place – as the bike was going to be my home for 10 weeks, it had to be right. Arriving at Air Canada’s warehouse I was hit with a $587 bill for four days’ storage, not the $50 local tax I

60 The original and the best – established 1962


Seattle Chicago New York San Francisco

Los Angeles


Test fleet: Suzuki GSX-R1000 Touring – it really doesn’t matter what bike you ride…


airpin after hairpin, we climbed higher and higher on the mountainous Furka pass. Glistening glaciers towered above the sheer-sided sliver of Tarmac, which was interspersed by grassy knolls; themselves littered by bell-clanging cows and stilted wooden alpine homes. It felt like being an extra in a chocolate commercial, but this was just everyday Switzerland we were seeing. It was a motorcycling paradise that had been so easy to find. Rewind the clock by 24 hours and the environment was starkly different, as Simon Roots (editor of our sister mag Fast Bikes) and I rolled into a truck-stop near Northampton. This was our meeting point with motorcycle transport experts Bikeshuttle, who were set to ferry our machines over to Geneva that evening. Short of time and

determined to pack the most into our four day adventure, the service had seemed a no brainer, and we were chauffeured to a riverside pub for lunch while our bikes and kit were carefully secured inside a purposedesigned articulated truck trailer. Next stop Switzerland, after another short transfer by Bikeshuttle to Luton airport. We’d been booked into a hotel just over the French border, and after a good night’s kip, our bikes were set to meet us early the next morning, but I think it came as a shock to most of the 20 customers in our group when we got up to find that the Bikeshuttle lorry had arrived several hours before we’d even had breakfast. We weren’t complaining – we had that whole first day to ride. Simon was on his V-twin KTM 1290 Super Duke R, while I’d kitted out my GSX-R1000 with more saddlebags than a mule.

82 The original and the best – established 1962


of road tax) from a garage in Geneva. It cost about £40 per bike, and allowed motorway use for a whole year, which seemed a bit excessive for the two days we’d be there, but rules are rules. There were two roads out of Geneva, with the E62 sitting a

The plan was to head east over three mountain passes, then ride north through as many great roads as we could find en route to Calais. The first of the passes was 180 miles away, but first we had to pick up a vignette (a form


Calais London



Paris Zurich Geneva


Test Fleet: Herald Classic 250 John takes on his first Chinese bike… just in time for winter.


hy do people buy Chinese bikes? It’s a common question from many with years of experience riding and buying motorcycles. For the price of a new Chinese machine, you could track down a used Japanese model. Though didn’t many bikers moan about all that ‘Jap crap’ just a few decades back? I have to admit, I wondered why anybody would buy one just recently – a girl was crouched by her scooter at the side of a particularly busy stretch of road. I pulled over, but as I walked back to her I knew I wouldn’t be able to help – the thing looked knackered; “It just keeps stopping when I try to go.”

It was full of fuel, but the seat was covered in gaffer tape, the panels tatty, and with one plastic section pulled to one side, she said: “This is loose, they said it was loose.” The plug cap was indeed pretty loose, though the plug itself seemed secure. Too close to a dangerous junction, I didn’t have time to ask much more – I just wanted to get her off the main road. As the scooter apparently ran on a small throttle opening, I suggested trying to limp it back at low speed, getting off at the next junction. There was nothing more I could do – it did seem to be an ignition fault, or was it a weak feed to the carb. Or simply a blocked breather pipe? The real problem was what

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I think can be hugely damaging to motorcycling as a whole – inexperienced riders with no mechanical experience buying cheap bikes with no support. They don’t realise that even the best bikes need to be maintained, that you can’t just ride them through the year, leave them in the back garden, and never service or wash them. And it’s not helped by some dealers who might simply see the opportunity to shift a few crates and make a fast buck. This first experience of riding a motorcycle can discourage people from two wheels. I’ve seen it happen. So why am I running a Chinese bike on the test fleet for the next six months?

I’d ridden some Heralds two years ago, and knew that, while these are made in the same factories as some other Far-Eastern bikes, many of the parts are changed here in the UK by this relatively new brand (which is one of eight divisions of the well-established Encocam engineering company). I wanted to find out if, with a bit of common sense and care, these bikes would make a good year-round machine that could be as fun for commuting as to potter about on at the weekend. Experienced riders might want something small and light to get into town with, to explore the local roads, or even to customise, given the current enthusiasm among bikers for

Classic test:

1982 HONDA CBX550F2 Sales were destroyed after engine problems, but a good CBX can now be your way to an affordable Eighties classic… WORDS: Roland Brown PHOTOGRAPHY: Phil Masters

104 The original and the best – established 1962

REFLECTIONS Launched in 1982, the Honda was built to take on Kawasaki’s GPz50.


he cover line screamed “Speedin’ In A New Dimension,” above a photo of the magazine’s editor cranking a classy looking, half-faired Honda around a left-hand bend with its crossed-up quartet of shiny exhaust downpipes gleaming in the sunshine. The year was 1982, the bike was the Big H’s CBX550F2, and as the recently employed junior road-tester I’d been thrilled that I’d also got to ride – and even to speed test – the hot new middleweight four that Honda had just launched to do battle with Kawasaki’s classy GPz550. Like the vastly more experienced editor, I’d been seriously impressed by what seemed like the best, most complete middleweight the world had yet seen. The CBX’s neat half-fairing, stylishly angled downpipes and compact design added to the promise of its specification. Rushing up the A5 to the MIRA proving ground, I’d enjoyed its blend of rev-happy speed, fine handling and decent weather protection. The Honda’s 118mph maximum through the timing lights was competitive rather than anything special, but the CBX seemed like a superbly quick and practical machine that combined style, speed and technical innovation to take middleweight motorcycling to new levels. It charmed not just us journalists but the public too, and looked poised for lasting sales success. But unfortunately for Honda, its glorious first few months as a magazine cover star had hardly ended before rumours began circulating regarding serious engine problems. Soon the word was out that if the CBX’s camchain tensioner didn’t fail then its engine or clutch bearings would. Motorcyclists’ opinions quickly changed, and the Honda’s sales stalled. All of which was a shame, because when the CBX was running reliably it was every bit as good as my first fleeting ride suggested. Get MSL extra at 105

Motorcycle Sport & Leisure December 2016 preview