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Issue 646

7 NEW

BIKES

MSL July 2014

TESTED INSIDE

LEARN HOW TO RIDE BETTER

25 GREAT BIKE EVENTS INSIDE

Improve your skills on Find out what’s on, road, track and trail where and when

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BIKE LAST LONGER

And save you money

MOTORCYCLE * 4 places worth £250 each

SPORT & LEISURE

FOR THE FUN OF RIDING

◆ Honda F6B and F6C ◆ BMW C-Evolution ◆ Yamaha XVS1300 ◆ Norton Domiracer ◆ Zero SR

CHEAPER LIGHTER FASTER

WIN

£1000

WORTH OF YAMAHA

OFF-ROAD

2014’s middleweights: Why size no longer matters

EXPERIENCE*

NORTON’S £20,000

DOMIRACER “WE KNEW WE HAD A HIT” www.mslmagazine.co.uk

BMW’S ELECTRIC SUZUKI GSX650F USED ALL-ROUNDER C-EVOLUTION 135MPH, 200+ MILE RANGE, FROM £3000 75MPH, 60 MILE RANGE, £13,500 PLUS: Yamaha XS-1 twin revisited – the British bike beater ◆ Battery talk: hydrogen’s the future ◆ Dainese airbag – the big bang theory ◆ Why Morocco’s ideal for a big first trip

No. 646 July 2014

£4.10


Here’s a thought… Steve Rose

L

ast time was easy. I bought myself a 12-foot long CB750-powered chopper called Rammesses II. e time before that I bought a Honda RC30 and the time before that I swapped a lucrative career in biochemical research for a pauper’s existence in motorcycle journalism. It’d be a lot easier to plan these things properly if we knew how long we were going to live. And, as a motorcyclist, this is further complicated by a necessary belief that I am immortal and invincible. So, rather than be worried I’ve decided to embrace these midlife moments (crisis implies something bad and so far I’ve enjoyed all mine immensely) and jump right in to something new. But I’m struggling with this one. I don’t enjoy driving, so a sports car is not an option, the closest thing I have to a secretary to run away with is a collection of burly motorcycle magazine editors, none of whom fancy me or scrub up particularly well and growing a ponytail will simply make me look even more foolish than nature already intended. Last weekend I had the answer. Buy a motorbike shop. Being a creative chap, I had a business plan written by teatime. Only one thing for it – a trip to the pub. By closing time, the plan was fully formed. Raid the Rosechild’s college fund, rent a local shop, fill it with bargain bikes and wait for the money to roll in. Someone in the pub suggested a website where businesses are bought and sold. Blimey, who’d have thought there were so many motorcycle shops up for sale. And then it dawned. How come there are so many small motorcycle businesses for sale? My plan was based on selling cheap used bikes to new riders and commuters. Until recently, small bikes and scooter sales had been propping up many dealers and these bikes haven’t been hit by the masses of European dealers coming over to the UK and buying up used UK stock. But the numbers are drying up. Back on the businesses for sale website a quick search for motorcycle training schools for sale proved very depressing. Dozens of them, made worse by the pictures of bleak, strips of deserted Tarmac and rusty shipping containers full of tatty old 125s. It’s a recurring theme at any industry meeting I attend these days. How do we get more new riders on to bikes? e Get-On campaign has been successful, but not especially well supported from dealers because the results are invisible to the bike trade (they don’t know which of their new customers 122 mslmagazine.co.uk

My name is Steven and I may be going through a midlife crisis. Again.

Who is Rose? Steve Rose is a high mileage road rider. A former editor of Bike and RiDE magazine and one time back street bike dealer. He’s also one of the UK’s most experienced and trusted road testers

came into biking through Get On). Another industry initiative, the wheels-2-work scheme (which helps young riders with a job, get on to two wheels) has also been successful without anyone really noticing. What would really help, of course is a small bike dealer in every town, with a showroom full of small, cool bikes and decent affordable kit in the window that makes biking seem like a mainstream lifestyle option for smarter individuals as opposed to something pursued by the last ponytailed, greasy bloke you’d ever want your daughter bringing home. Unfortunately, most of the bike dealers moved out of town in the 1990s. If the shops were there, people might get interested. If you got people interested, they might end up at the training schools. If the training schools were busy they might be able to afford to make learning to ride an experience that felt like it was worth the enormous cost and less like a scene in e Sweeney where something dodgy happens in an East End wasteland. And once people got trained, they’d be back to the bike shop to buy a 125 and some kit. And once more people got into biking, then biking wouldn’t be scary and more people would do it. A recent report claimed that if 10% of car drivers switched to two wheels congestion would be reduced for all road users by 40%, and if 25% of them switched, congestion would be eliminated altogether. ink about how many people you know who’ve taken up cycling or running in the last few years. ink about how many have started eating healthily, think about how something as simple as a TV programme can spark a resurgence of interest. My lovely wife watched Great British Sewing Bee and Great British Bake off and, like thousands of others took up both with gusto. Looking for sewing shops or cake shops for sale shows virtually nothing – they are booming. I’m pretty sure that more people will die a cake-related death than a motorcycle one this year and, yet, everyone is jumping in with both feet. So, before I buy a shop I need to start a TV programme. ‘e Great British commute-off ’, where a carefully selected bunch of cultural stereotypes commute across a selection of UK and European cities in a series of challenges while being patronised by slightly-toowell-groomed experts. e pitch to the BBC is in the post now.


An open letter to Chris Evans (kind of) Tony Carter

S

o there I was, blatting into work on the long term V-Strom 1000. I’d been riding at what the boys in blue call a ‘brisk pace’ for over an hour. e early morning chill had been replaced by the comforting and exciting warmth of a spring sun and all was good. Very good. e bike was seamlessly lovely. e roads had loads of grip, even in the low temperatures, and the traffic was playing along too. You know those sort of mornings? Yeah you do. I had my trusty Interphone F5 Bluetooth turned on, apparently I was in the mood for a bit of radio on today’s ride. Normally I wouldn’t bother – I like the silence of a solitary ride in – but this morning, what the hell, let’s listen to Chris Evans and have a laugh. So there’s Chris making me chuckle as usual and then the ginger warrior pipes up about some fact that’s caught his eye in the paper. He says: “Apparently the average commuter wastes a year of their time commuting over the course of their working life.” Whoa, whoa, whoa there my radio demigod. What’s all this ‘waste’ nonsense? I oen commute a couple of hours each way on a motorcycle. And even if I do that in the worst sort of weather, the sort that makes bits of your body disappear into other bits of your body, then I can’t ever remember having thought that the trips were wasted. I’ve told you before of my sick perversion for riding in really, really bad weather. e worse it is, the more I enjoy it, largely because it means that my riding is getting better and better with each mile. It’s a constant learning process. Yes, mornings like this one are lovely and not unusual (Tom Jones reference!) and who wouldn’t love a commute like this on a

MSL: Meet the Team Bruce Wilson

MSL’s Deputy Editor started riding aged 10. He’s 27 now. Bruce has written for Motorcycle Racer, MCM, Classic Motorcycle Mechanics and others, before joining MSL three years ago. He has since tested almost every new bike launched.

Roland Brown

Has ridden for 37 years and been a bike journalist for more than 30. At Bike he ended up as deputy editor before going freelance. An author of 11 books, as a racer he was Bemsee 1300 champion 1984 and raced UK F1, Superstock and Superbike, plus World F1 races.

If you commute to work and do that journey on two wheels, you already know how good it is. If you don’t and you get the chance to do it – then do. It’ll change your outlook on the drab and the dreary. powerful motorcycle, but not much dims the shine on any two-wheeled commute for me. I know I couldn’t do the train thing every morning. Oh god, people standing that close to each other. e scowling. e unpleasantness. Makes me shudder. Car commutes are better because you can isolate yourself from the sprawling masses, even when that sprawl is logjammed bumper to bumper for hours. But ride a motorcycle and nowt is wrong with the world. Praise be indeed, here’s a motorcycle and here’s the commute. Slap on the kit, don the helmet and raise a smile, eager chap. Get on two wheels and get enjoying life before the glow of the computer screen saps the very essence of why we’re here from your soul. Wasted commute? Not for those of us enlightened to the way of the motorcyclist. And if Evans fancies a blatt to see what it’s all about then all he’s got to do is shout. I actually think he’d love it. Anonymous rider, black visor, back of a new superbike and some great roads. His show’s already a blinder to catch in the morning, imagine how much more peaked he’d be aer a great ride in every day. Just a thought. Have a safe ride,

Tony Carter Tony has been riding for nearly 30 years, in most countries and on most types of bikes. A journalist for 20 years, MSL’s editor has written for a host of newspapers including The Sun, The Mirror and The Observer. Formerly head of news at Motor Cycle News, he has written for dozens of motorcycle magazines around the world.

Tony Carter Editor

Alan Cathcart

Alan Cathcart has been writing about bikes for over 30 years, and riding them for even longer. He’s regularly given the keys to factory prototypes and being on first name terms with the bosses of bike companies around the world allows him to bag many scoops.

Chris Moss

Mossy has raced the Isle of Man TT, dispatched in London and ridden everything from CX500s to full-blown GP prototypes. A former chief motorcycle tester for Motor Cycle News, the 53-year-old admits he’s still loving two-wheeled life, and still learning.

Malc Wheeler

Has ridden motorcycles for 49 years. In the United States of America Malc would be politely called a senior. He started riding before he legally could and no one has been able to stop him since. Malc’s day job is editing Classic Racer.

mslmagazine.co.uk 3


MSL July EDITOR: Tony Carter: tcarter@mortons.co.uk PUBLISHER: Steve Rose: srose@mortons.co.uk DEPUTY EDITOR: Bruce Wilson DESIGNER: Sarah Scrimshaw REPROGRAPHICS: Simon Duncan GROUP PRODUCTION EDITOR: Tim Hartley DIVISIONAL ADVERTISING MANAGER: Sandra Fisher: sfisher@mortons.co.uk GROUP KEY ACCOUNTS MANAGER: Steff Woodhouse: swoodhouse@mortons.co.uk 01507 529452 / 07786334330 ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE: Sandra Fisher: sfisher@mortons.co.uk 01507 524004 SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER: Paul Deacon: pdeacon@mortons.co.uk CIRCULATION MANAGER: Steve O’Hara: sohara@mortons.co.uk MARKETING MANAGER: Charlotte Park: cpark@mortons.co.uk PRODUCTION MANAGER: Craig Lamb: clamb@mortons.co.uk PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: Dan Savage: asavage@mortons.co.uk COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: Nigel Hole ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR: Malc Wheeler MANAGING DIRECTOR: Brian Hill EDITORIAL ADDRESS: MSL Magazine, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6JR WEBSITE: www.mslmagazine.co.uk GENERAL QUERIES AND BACK ISSUES: 01507 529529 24 hr answerphone help@classicmagazines.co.uk www.classicmagazines.co.uk ARCHIVE ENQUIRIES: Jane Skayman jskayman@mortons.co.uk 01507 529423 SUBSCRIPTION: Full subscription rates (but see page 30 for offer): (12 months 12 issues, inc post and packing) – UK £49.20. Export rates are also available – see page 30 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 DISTRIBUTION: COMAG, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7QE. 01895 433600 PRINTED: William Gibbons & Sons, Wolverhampton

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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@classicbikebooks.com

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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

Independent publisher since 1885

SEE SEE PAGE 30 PAGE 40

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CONTENTS

47

NEW 6

ONE TO RIDE

12

WIN WIN WIN

17

FIRST RIDE: HONDA F6B AND F6C

22

FIRST RIDE: NORTON DOMIRACER

27

Another great route to get out on if you get the chance.

£1000 worth of brilliant off-road training is up for grabs this month.

The old F6C was a very accomplished motorcycle, these bikes take the idea on a stage further.

An update on a classic idea with great modern touches.

FIRST RIDE: YAMAHA XVS1300 CUSTOM The UK’s first steps on the pimped up factory cruiser.

30

SUBSCRIBE TO MSL!

32

FIRST RIDE: BMW’S C-EVOLUTION

42

MIDDLEWEIGHT MASTERS

47

GET TRAINED

How to do it, what you need to know.

Our first outing on the newest super scooter from the Germans.

60

Do you really need a big bike these days? The BMW F800GT and the Street Triple R prove a point.

All you need to know about a raft of great training to make you a better, safer and more confident rider this summer. Training for your level of skill on road, track and dirt. All here.

PRODUCTS

Dainese has come up with a new airbag system and showed it off at its Italian factory. MSL was there for the big bang theory made good.

TOURING 76

TOURING

The tale of a Japanese couple touring around the world on a bike and sidecar combi, no less.

82

THE ONE DAY RIDE

84

THE LONG WEEKEND RIDE

88

THE LIFE CHANGING RIDE

A great route out on the Salisbury Plain, taking in Stonehenge on a CBF125 Honda.

Brrrr! Riding up to the arctic circle via Denmark on a CBX500. Two up.

Full width of Canada on two wheels. Triumph’s Bonneville and Tiger provide the motion from Halifax to British Columbia.

KNOWLEDGE 106

USED BUYER’S GUIDE: SUZUKI GSX650F

A venerable favourite of the clever set, the Suzuki is a smart buy if you know what you’re doing.

22

112

REFLECTIONS: YAMAHA’S XS1

In 1970 the 650cc four-stroke was Yamaha’s great answer to a British-bossed market. mslmagazine.co.uk 5


Competition

WIN WIN WIN! £1000

WORTH OF BRILLIANT OFF-ROAD SCHOOLS RIDING AND TUITION TO GIVE AWAY FOR FREE!

T

his is a mega giveaway this month that combines the greatest aspects of riding a motorcycle with the best instruction money can buy – and we’re giving it away to you for FREE. We’re offering FOUR places on the simply brilliant Yamaha Offroad Experience in Wales. Run by British Enduro legend Geraint Jones (a multiple former British Enduro Champion and enduro training school guru since the mid 1980s) the school gives riders the chance to ride across some of the most scenic terrain in the world and boost their skill levels at the same time. Geraint and youngest son Dylan, also a top level enduro rider who has represented Great Britain at the International Six Day Enduro on numerous occasions, look aer the day to day running of the school and do much of the coaching. Wyn Hughes, also a former British Enduro champion and current top veteran rider, also makes up part of the coaching team, along with John Begley a former mechanic and rider for the armed forces motorcycle team. All of the instructors are fully qualified ACU Commercial coaches. e cleverness of the coaches and the way the school is set-up

means that no matter what your off-road riding level – even if you’ve never even sat on an offroad bike before – then they can cater for your every need. is is an incredible competition to enter – and it’s all FREE. So don’t delay, get your entry in and bag four places to one of the most amazing riding experiences ever.

WHERE THE SCHOOL IS HELD

e Yamaha Off-road Experience is based near Llanidloes in Mid Wales. Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff airports are all about 100 miles from the school. e school is five miles outside of Llanidloes which can be found just off the main A470 road. e school operates out of a huge 600 acre farm which backs onto the magnificent 10,000 acre Hafren Forest and Sweet Lamb motorsport complex.

THE BIKES YOU CAN RIDE

e bikes on the off-road experience days are mainly Yamaha WR250 and 450Fs but the school is also doing the exceptional Ténéré experience too (see the editor’s go at this on page 55 the old fool LOVED it!) these days are held using either the 600 or new 1200 Z Ténérés.

e smaller bikes are so simple to ride and the bigger bike Ténéré experience will really let you find out just what a big motorcycle designed to travel around the world can do. Or you might fancy riding your own bike if you have one that’s suitable – speak to the school beforehand and if they think it can cope with the offroad terrain then you’ll be welcome to ride that instead.

WHAT ABOUT THE KIT?

Riding kit is included as part of the off-road experience days. is includes riding jeans and shirt, gloves, helmets, boots, goggles, kneepads, body armour and waterproofs – literally everything you will need to be able to ride the bikes.

INSURANCE

ird party insurance is included for all participants but be aware that neither the school, MSL nor its parent company Mortons Media are able to provide personal accident insurance cover (so make sure you’ve got some, just in case).

ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation is not supplied as part of this prize but should you want to stay nearby then there are plenty of local hotels, B&Bs and self-catering lodges and cottages to suit all budgets in and around Llanidloes. If you want pointers about where to stay then contact the school – Geraint and Dylan have lots of contacts!

WHAT’S THE RIDING LIKE?

ere is a huge variety of terrain, from farmland and open hill to the Hafren forest where most of

12 mslmagazine.co.uk

the riding takes place. is is enduro heaven and has staged British, European and World Enduro Championship events over the past 10 years. It has everything you would expect from a Welsh forest from rocky tracks, tricky ascents and descents, bogs, ruts and easy gravel paths and fireroads. e Ténéré Experience days also take in the Tarenig forestry block, country roads and the green lanes around Mid Wales, which are perfect for adventure bike riding.

IF YOU DON’T WIN BUT…

Still want to go (and trust us about this, it’s one of THE best riding days ever!) then here’s what you need to know in order to get on these courses yourself. Off-road experience day: £200 during the week or £215 at a weekend. is includes bikes, all clothing and equipment, packed lunch and refreshments and third party insurance cover. Using your own bike is £85. Off-road experience PLUS day: £225. is includes bikes, all clothing and equipment, packed


NEW

lunch and refreshments and third party insurance cover. Using your own bike is £85. Two Day Enduro training schools: £150 for the two days using your own bike and £320 using one of hire bikes. is also includes refreshments and use of the school’s workshop facilities and third party insurance cover. One Day Ténéré Experience: £250. is includes bikes, clothing and equipment (if needed), refreshments,

pub lunch and third party insurance cover. Two Day Ténéré Experience: £450. is includes bikes, clothing and equipment (if needed), refreshments, pub lunch and third party insurance cover. Reasonable damage to the bikes is not charged for, however reckless damage is charged at cost price. All the instructors are first aid qualified and carry first aid kits on all of the courses. e school has

changing rooms, toilets and showers on site as well as pressure washers for washing bikes.

CONTACT THE SCHOOL DIRECTLY

If you’d like more information, or fancy getting yourself on one of these schools then here’s how to get in touch. Email: info@yamaha-offroadexperience.co.uk Tel: 01686 413324 www.yamaha-offroadexperience.co.uk

How to win this fantastic prize

To be in with a chance of winning just fill out the details below and send it to us at MSL Towers (address on page four), please mark your entry envelope ‘MSL July 2014 Yamaha Off-Road Experience Competition’. Or enter online, details below. Only tick this box if you do not wish to

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receive information from Mortons

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Media Group regarding or relating to current offers of products or services

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offers via email/post/telephone) ❑

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On occasion Mortons Media Group Ltd may permit third parties, that we deem to be reputable, to contact you by email/post/telephone/fax regarding information relating to current offers of products or services which we believe may be of interest to our readers. If you wish to receive such offers please tick this box❑

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IF YOU DON’T WANT TO CUT UP YOUR MSL… But still want to enter the competition then you can do it absolutely for FREE at our Facebook page. Just go to www.facebook.com/MSLmag and how to enter is right there at your fingertips. Easy as you like. For full terms and conditions please visit our website (www.mslmagazine.co.uk). The winner will be the first name drawn at random. The competition ends on July 6, 2014.

mslmagazine.co.uk 13


NEW

First Rides Honda F6B

BAGGER BEAUTY Five grand cheaper, 36kg lighter and 15mm lower. Honda’s new F6B is a very different proposition to the GL1800 Gold Wing that spawned it. WORDS: John Milbank PHOTOGRAPHY: Honda


First Rides

B

stands for bagger. In cruiser talk that defines a motorcycle with purpose fitted saddlebag panniers. It suggests a cruiser owned by someone who wants to go the distance in comfort. And that’s exactly the kind of experience you can expect from Honda’s new F6B. Okay, so if you want the ‘king of tourers’, you’re going to need to buy the £24,999 GL1800 Gold Wing Deluxe, but unless you really need that extra storage capacity, the F6B is a very serious contender. e 25.5 litre panniers each easily swallow a full-face lid and plenty more besides, and combine with front-fairing storage to offer a big 53.8 litres of space for your essentials. e four-speaker stereo system works great (a Bluetooth connection would be appreciated, but it supports iPod or USB Flash Drive connectivity, and is compatible with MP3, WMA 18 mslmagazine.co.uk

and AAC formats), but you lose the GL1800’s sat nav, airbag, electric reverse gear, cruise control, illuminated switchgear, auto-cancelling indicators and seat heaters, though there’s still a pair of heated grips fitted. Traction control would be nice on a bike with this much torque, but it’s only really an issue on very loose, gravelly lay-bys. If you want the burbling bark of a Harley, then you might not appreciate the deep, bassy throb of a flat-six, but for comfort, handling and performance, the F6B is superb. If you’re not covering big miles, the F6C saves a further £2000 by losing the luggage and many of the frills. It’s got a slightly more aggressive feel to it, while keeping the comfortable ride and excellent handling and performance. A bike of this size really shouldn’t handle as well as it does, but somehow the steering is light, precise and relatively fast. Like any cruiser-styled bike, when hurrying through tight bends it’s not hard to hear the odd scrape, but as the folding foot-pegs are

the first things to touch down, you have plenty of warning, and more than enough lean le in reserve for when things tighten up mid-corner. It’s 36kg lighter than the GL1800 (20kg of that is from losing the top box) and with the seat 15mm lower than the full-size ’Wing, the F6B feels far from heavy – even at very low speed – thanks to a low centre of gravity. e 45mm non-adjustable anti-dive forks work with a preload adjustable mono shock, attached to the single-sided swingarm via a Pro-Link linkage. Dual-Combined ABS comes as standard, with a pair of three-piston calipers biting 296mm discs on the front, and one three-piston caliper and 316mm disc at the rear – more than enough to haul the machine to a standstill. ey work really well and the same can be said for the F6B’s

ABOVE: The F6B bears a strong resemblance to the Gold Wing GL1800.

My general opinion of the F6B is one of quality.


MIDDLEWEIGHTS

WHY SMALLER CAN BE BETTER

There are plenty of advantages to downsizing to a modern middleweight, including these‌ WORDS: Bruce Wilson / Roger Jones PHOTOGRAPHY: Joe Dick


The 675cc triple had more than enough power, handled great and was good on mpg too.

I

n 1992 Honda launched the iconic Fireblade. At the time it was gauged as one of the biggest and baddest bikes known to man, producing 125bhp; some 7bhp less than Triumph’s 2014, 675cc Street Triple R. Times have certainly moved on. And the fact that a modern middleweight will outperform a 90s superbike prompts you to question the need for bigger machinery. e last time I checked, 135bhp was a fair amount of oomph. I know I struggled to use its potential when I rode the Triumph recently. e excuse of sub-1000cc bikes lacking the desired performance we’re aer is quickly wearing thin. Especially when you go to consider the recent resurgence in top performing middleweight models, all delivering strong bhp and torque figures. Great bikes such as Yamaha’s MT-09, Kawasaki’s Z800 and the even more recently launched Honda VFR800 are surely set to make us rethink our acceptance of middleweight machines, especially considering their road focused doctrines of build. ey slot in among a plethora of fantastic options around the 650-900cc sector. Whatever you are into, you’re almost certain to find a style of bike to your liking within this field. And chances are you’ve never even considered taking one out for a test ride. What’s in your garage? I’d bet your main bike’s probably of a larger capacity. Something big, comfortable and powerful. Good call. I’m sure it’s a great piece of kit, but is it the right size bike for you? You won’t know the answer to that question until you try something else. It may be one of the bikes listed above. If you need more of an incentive before you commit to that next upgrade, stop and compare the price differences of a middleweight as opposed to your normal big bike option. ere’s probably a good couple of grand to be saved on the purchase price. Most middleweights don’t get overwhelmed by tech options, so they’re cheaper to build and cheaper to buy.

If you add extra weight to something, more energy is required to move it.

You don’t need eight power maps on a bike that produces sub-140bhp... or traction control... or a load of other gismos you’ll probably never utilise fully. Why do you need engine braking control on a road bike? e thing I enjoyed most about the Street Triple R was the relationship between the throttle hand and the rear wheel. e connection was unmolested, so I got to savour the joys of its stonking triple motor without the dash lighting up like a Christmas tree. e Street Triple R is a tasty piece of kit, but it would still probably be cheaper to insure than a bigger bike option – cheaper than its 1000cc sibling, the Speed Triple R, for example. Capacity is obviously a considered factor when it comes to insuring something, and then you’ve got the obvious mpg advantage of a less thirsty, smaller motor, fitted to a less weighty machine. e mass of a motorcycle typically increases with the capacity. A bigger bike has to be built to suit higher levels of performance; swingarms have to be stiffer and stronger, wheels are typically larger to accommodate bigger tyre profiles. Details like these, along with a physically larger engine, are why bigger bikes weigh more. e downside of this extra mass means the handling characteristics are compromised. If you add extra weight to something, more energy is required to move it. at’s principally why smaller bikes handle better – or require less effort. e packaging of more components can also cause headaches. When manufacturers build bikes, they prioritise where the core of the mass goes, but sometimes they have to compromise the bike’s handling performance by slotting in components where space will allow. is in turn promotes a less balanced handling package, especially at slower speeds. Which is where we oen feel most uncomfortable. In all the miles I did on the Triumph I never once felt uncomfortable, regardless of the speed I was travelling or the environment I was in. To me, the Triumph epitomises the advantages of owning a well considered, great performing middleweight. It might not be your cup of tea, but if you’re a confirmed big bike fan there could be a smaller bike out there with your name on it. My advice would be to go and try out some of the many options. You might just find yourself pleasantly surprised. mslmagazine.co.uk 43


BETTER OFF-ROAD

BETTER RIDING

HITTING THE DIRT

Following on from the Super Ténéré’s recent launch in Italy, MSL takes the big twin for a spin on Yamaha’s Off-Road Experience. WORDS: Tony Carter PHOTOGRAPHY: Jonty Edmonds

The details of the bike Eight weeks ago we headed out to Italy to ride this latest version of the Yamaha Super Ténéré and now this is the major off-road test of the same bike. Tweaked riding modes, electronically adjustable suspension and revised looks have upped the Ténéré’s currency in the hyper competitive Adventure bike market.

The 110bhp bike is 4kg lighter than last year’s model too. There are two versions of the bike; the XT1200Z gets all the changes from the factory but doesn’t get the electronically adjustable suspension or the heated grips, those are only available on the ZE version. The XT1200ZE will cost £12,799.

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BETTER OFF-ROAD

The Super Ténéré Experience You know how most things in life aren’t as good as you want them to be, so you go through them and then try to make the most of what you’ve had? Well the Yamaha Super Ténéré Experience with Geraint and Dylan Jones and the whole team is way, way better than you can imagine. Friendly, relaxed and welcoming, the school is a hotbed of enduro talent. Geraint and Dylan are both ISDE competitors, Geraint is a multiple British champion and a true enduro legend. The pair are well known on the world enduro scene but both, in fact all the staff at the school, are so easygoing that no matter what your skill level you’re made to feel incredibly welcome and looked after. The school is offering the Super Ténéré Experience this year where

Specification YAMAHA SUPER TÉNÉRÉ Engine: 1199cc liquidcooled, dohc, four-valve, inline, two-cylinder Bore x stroke: 98 x 79.5mm Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection Power: 110bhp @ 7250rpm Torque: 86lb-ft @ 6000rpm Length: 2255mm Width: 980mm Height: 1470mm (high), 1410mm (low) Seat height: 870mm (high), 845mm (low) Wheelbase: 1540mm Rake and trail: 28° / 126mm Fuel tank capacity: 23 litres Wet weight: 265kg Final drive: Chain Clutch: Wet, multi-plate Gearbox: Six-speed Frame: Steel tube backbone Wheels: Spoked, aluminium Tyres: 110/80R 19M/C 59V (F). 150/70R 17M/C 69V (R) Suspension: Kayaba 43mm, adjustable preload, compression and rebound (F). Kayaba shock with 190mm of travel (R)

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you can go and ride the 1200 along routes designed to give you a thrill according to how well you can handle a bike. Don’t worry if you’ve never even been off Tarmac before, the Jones boys will make sure you have the best day possible. You can read all about the school on pages 12-13 of this issue of MSL, we’re also giving away four places at the school to one lucky winner. Call to see what sort of package can be tailored to your Adventure bike needs, and make sure you say MSL sent you. To get in touch with the school email: info@yamaha-offroadexperience.co.uk call 01686 413324 or go to: www.yamaha-offroadexperience.co.uk

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kay, into gear. Stand up on the pegs. Power, bit more power, bit more power. Look ahead. Don’t look at what’s directly in front of you. Look ahead. Let the bike take care of what’s going on beneath. Ignore that vague feeling. It’s okay. Ruts coming up. Relax. More power. Oops, getting cross-rutted. Not good. Don’t panic. Look ahead. More power. Give it a handful. Uh-oh.. Now. Here’s the thing (and where I made my biggest mistake of the day). By turning off the Ténéré while waiting for my turn at the rough run I’d put into effect the traction-control-reset-to-most-intrusive-setting that automatically engages when the bike is turned off then on again with the ignition key. e plan was to try and ride this section with the traction control turned off completely so that we could use all of the 110bhp power to get us out of trouble like this. What I ended up doing was asking the bike for all of its power and having its electronic brain thinking that I was riding on the road, the artificial intelligence cut in and stopped me having what it thought was going to be a massive highside. Uh-oh... Hitting the rock was painful. And entirely my own fault. You can read about the immediate aer-effects of it on page 60 but for now let’s just say that by being dim on the Ténéré I’d given myself a very real wake-up call about just how much these things can bite back. Pay attention, Tony! e purpose of this ride, through some of the most gorgeous scenery the UK has to offer, was twofold; to try out the 2014 Yamaha Super Ténéré on proper rough stuff with the right tyres fitted to the bike and to get out for a day with the Yamaha Off-road Experience crew.

It was my biggest mistake of the day...

So let’s focus on the bike to start with. As we already know from the world launch a couple of months ago, the new bike is 4kg lighter than the old version, whacks out 110bhp and 86lb- of torque and the two riding modes have been tweaked. For the riding we were on Metzler Karoo 2 tyres with a portion of the day on the road and the majority offroad with terrain ranging from shale-based riverbeds and streams to sodden muddy slipways to fireroads to thumping, sump-bashing rocky runs. Other than the tyres, the bikes were as standard fare as we experienced on the world launch along the Amalfi coast. It’s been quite a while since I’ve ridden anything offroad in anger so to be on top of the Ténéré in a serious way while an ex-International Six Day Enduro star in the form of Dylan Jones (youngest son of the legendary Geraint Jones who runs the Wales-based school) showed us these glorious routes was fairly intimidating. But any trepidation soon went, Dylan and another instructor John were simply superb at instructing, helping and encouraging the same small group of testers who’d put the Super Ten through its paces in Italy a couple of months ago. e bike was welcoming and reassuring on the more solid terrain, I’d even go as far as to say it was easy to get on with as the pace went up on things like the fireroads and the more solid-packed rough ground. However, when things got slippery I found the front of the bike very tricky to get on with. For me the bike’s high-and-forward weight meant too much bias on the front tyre. And then there’s the traction control error I mentioned at the start of this article. Factor those elements together and the upshot is that when things get slippery under the front tyre you’ve got to be so very careful – you oen find yourself sitting down on the seat and paddling your way through whatever you’re faced with. It’s partly this weight that is so high and over the front end of the bike AND those excellent brakes that make the Super Ténéré such a great ride on the road though. It’s difficult to see how Yamaha could resolve the issue of



Motorcycle Sport & Leisure - July 2014 - Preview