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Kit BiBle 186 Bits of kit that do their joB Brilliantly
£3.90 SEPT 2010 USA $9.75
leathers 13 tWo-PieCe suits tested to destruCtion
s1000rr awesome hi-tech rocketship vs all the top sportsbikes
HonDa CBF1000 looks dull. isn't on sale july 21-august 17
10 uP For graBs
A £180 Kryptonite locK, chAin & ground Anchor sets
> Buy a VFR FoR a gRand > New ANNIVeRSARY BMws > 8 pages oF new geaR ReViews > WIN A dAY At the CAlIfoRNIA SupeRBIke SChool
more fun, less risk
RiDE Best Buy is one of the most coveted awards in biking. A product bearing this tag has passed our tough tests with flying colours and is great value for money. The RiDE Recommended tag also highlights great kit.
Two-piece leathers Words Matt Hull Pictures John Noble and Mark Manning
Each suit is pushed on to a moving grinding belt by a weight equivalent to a rider’s body, simulating a slide on the road
Two-piece leather suits are essential kit for many a motorcyclist. You can use them on the commute or at a trackday. You can wear the jeans with a textile jacket, or you can use the jacket as casual wear down the pub. Some are even waterproof. They’re among the most versatile pieces of bike gear. You can expect a decent suit to last for years, so it’s hugely important that you choose wisely. The fit must be right, otherwise the leathers won’t be able to do their job properly. And don’t neglect the visual aspect – you shouldn’t end up with leather that don’t look right with your bike and your helmet. We can’t measure how well they fit you and we can’t measure how good. But we can measure how well they perform in accidents, simulated in a world-respected product testing laboratory.
How we TesTed THem
We tested 13 suits, covering a wide price range. We got in two examples of each suit. In each case, one suit was given to a member of the RiDE team to be used as everyday clothing for a minimum of 1000 miles. They were commuted in, used at trackdays, worn as separates and generally treated like our own. They were tested in spring, so the weather was never very cold but was sometimes wet. They were all ordered to suit the specific measurements of RiDE testers, to minimise the problems associated with poor fit. After all, when you’re paying for a suit with your own money, you simply wouldn’t buy it if it didn’t fit properly. The other suit was taken to independent testing laboratory SATRA. They used their carefully calibrated rigs to test the abrasion resistance of the shoulder, elbow, hip and knee sections; to test seam strength, to see how well the different parts of leather are stitched together; and impact resistance – how well the armour (or lack of it) protects you.
SATRA lab tester and RiDE writer examine the evidence
36 Ride September 2010
Key points are hit to test impact resistance, simulating a fall
Seam strength is tested by a balloon inflated underneath
68 Ride SEPTEMBER 2010
the 360º test
ETTERTON ainstream. Conformist. Going with the flow. Words and phrases not usually linked with Germany’s unorthodox bike builder. But BMW built the S1000RR to hit two specific targets. First, they wanted to build a mainstream sportsbike that would take on the big four Japanese manufacturers in the showrooms. Secondly, it had to be a bike that would challenge them on the World Superbike Stage too. A tall order for any manufacturer, let alone one that had specialised in quirky tourers for 60 years. Fortunately, BMW failed spectacularly with part one of their plan. The S1000RR is anything but conventional. Sure, it’s got a 999cc inline four engine, 46mm upside-down forks, monoshock rear, chain final drive and even regular switchgear. It’s all wrapped in a pleasing – and somewhat Suzuki GSX-R-shaped – angular silhouette. But that’s where the S1000RR’s fleeting dalliance with conformity ends. Step forward an engine with 192bhp at the rear wheel – that’s 20bhp more than its nearest power rival, the Kawasaki ZX-10R. Harness that power with an adjustable traction control system and hi-tech ABS, and on paper it’s easy to see why the S1000RR appears to have right royally rogered the Japanese with their own rulebook. On-paper proof counts for nothing – it’s on-tarmac performance that counts. The S1000RR soon proved itself, while also fulfilling part two of the BMW masterplan, by sweeping Troy Corser to their first World Superbike podium. Impressive – but is such a weapon still rewarding for us more normal riders?
To find out we go to a trackday at Snetterton, one of the fastest circuits on the British Superbikes calendar, where the Revett straight allows litre bikes to reach their very limits. To the S1000RR and its rival from our 2010 long-term test fleet, the Suzuki GSX-R1000, that limit’s just under 190mph, or it would be if the riders’ limits weren’t slightly lower. The combination of speed and sun has brought them all out – including eight S1000RRs of various flavours. A couple are strictly road bikes; a few more are lavish track bikes; the rest are the race bikes of Superstock championship contenders. There’s no rain, so no Rain mode – we’ll save that for the inevitable downpour on the road test. A click of the mode button, then a squeeze of the clutch to confirm, and the word Sport steadies on the LCD screen. This mode offers all of the bike’s 192bhp via a ‘normal’ power delivery and promises to override any throttle-related cack-handedness if my lean angle is 42º or more. This is a comforting thought, but one which evaporates as I head out on track. Years of riding without electronic safety aids have wired in a healthy aversion to whacking the throttle open mid corner, and it takes many a lap before I sign over all my trust to a machine. Sear corner is highside central. Just ask BSB rider Dan Linfoot, who pinged himself and his R6 into the heavens there last summer. It’s a 90º right-hander just before the long Revett straight – a bend that sets even the calmest of throttle hands twitching. I notice the shivering orange light on the dashboard first. At the base of my peripheral vision it twinkles away, informing me that it is right now
Fast-selling S1000RR is being used hard by owners on the road and the track, so that’s exactly what we did in the company of our Suzuki GSX-R1000
MORE 360º tEst s1000rr vs snetterton
today Can you really become a better rider in just a few hours? We enlisted three experts to help a RiDE reader corner confidently and quickly
Rob Hoyles, 36 “I started racing in 2006 and went from a bib-wearing novice to a national-level racer in one season. I’ve made the switch to the Metzeler British Superstock championship and came eighth in the XR1200 Cup at Mallory Park.”
Ed Whatsize, 58 “I first got on a bike when I was 16 and had one for a year, then left bikes behind until my daughter’s boyfriend let me have a go on a Ducati Multistrada and I was hooked. I did my test in 2007. Recently I did a trackday on a hired Suzuki GSX-R600.”
Andy Giddings, 47 “I started riding on a Yamaha FS1-E when I was 16. I’ve been a Class 1 police bike rider since 1986. At home I have a 2005 Honda Fireblade.I also run my own better riding company: www. apexlineperformance. co.uk.”
Simon Horwood, 47 “Like Andy I started on the Fizzy at 16. I’m a CBT, DAS and ERS tester and trainer. I’m a former RAF pilot and I run a Yamaha dealership (www.brackley-yamaha. co.uk) as well as my own training business which you can find at www. ridertraining.biz.”
86 Ride september 2010
Words Bertie Simmonds Pictures Jason Critchell
Wouldn’t it be good if we could guarantee you more confidence and better cornering skills in just a few hours? Maybe it can be done. To find out, we’ve brought together a nervous RiDE reader, a 14-mile route and three experts from various fields of motorcycling – a copper, an instructor and a racer – to try to give our man Premier League corner taking ability.
Refreshingly, the riders shared a mutual respect: no pontificating policeman, arrogant advanced instructor or brain-out racer here. Each had something to offer our subject and he soaked it up like a sponge. And don’t worry if you think getting this much two-wheeled talent to teach you is a flight of fancy. Try it with a more experienced mate one weekend, or get on a BikeSafe day (www.bikesafe.co.uk) – courses cost from nowt to around £50.
Lap ONE: ALL FOUR RIDERS On our first lap of the 14.3-mile test route Andy leads, followed by Rob, Ed and then Simon. The pace isn’t blistering, but no one is hanging about. At the end of it, Ed is the first to admit that he’s way out of his comfort zone trying to keep up, and his mind is racing to keep up with his riding. Simon was the first to comment on Ed’s performance: “That was a good ride but remember your primary concern is safety. You do need to look at your positioning. I can see you’ve done some advanced riding, and you’re moving around to get good vision ahead, but why are you not moving over to the nearside more for better vision? What would stop you? Sure, a junction you can’t see into, or road debris, but if you can see things are clear use that space as you really need to see further
ahead. I can see you’ve done a trackday recently as you’re apexing the left-handers – the problem with this is there’s a 15ft hedge in your way of seeing ahead and you don’t get that on the track do you? You can see zilch and you need to ask yourself if you can stop in time if there’s a tractor on the other side of the corner. “You need to force yourself into a later apex on the left-handers, as this will give you more vision ahead. Stay out wider and see if the road ahead is clear. Same goes for other obstacles – when we had a van in front of us you were right up its backside and you can’t see past it, so drop back. You said to me that you’d already gone past the thing in your head, but don’t let your mind rush you. With all this said that was a good first ride – you’re pretty good
on right-handers and you’re not afraid to get some nice lean angle, but do remember a golden rule: never sacrifice your safety or road position EVER. If you’re not sure of the road ahead, simply slow down. Slow in, fast out.”
september 2010 Ride 87
Words Matt Hull Pictures Jason Critchell
gs trophy cup
“easy… for a few seconds” Off-roading has always appealed to me, but for some reason I’ve only tried it a handful of times. So I was a little surprised to find myself ‘volunteered’ for the GS Trophy, the trials-style event run by BMW at their off-road skills school in Wales for anyone who owns any of the GSs built in the last 30 years. Owners pay just £50 to compete on five stages on the school’s bikes. The top 20 go through to the final, with the top three going to this summer’s world finals in South Africa. That’s a massive carrot to dangle to a GS owner, and 90 riders queued up to give it their best, ranging from off-road novices to seasoned trials and motocross stalwarts. We were placed in groups of six riders and the more experienced started to walk the stages, to plan their route. Following their lead I took notes, not so much focusing on where to go, but where to avoid – for a road rider a 10-inch boulder counts as a no-go area. The staff from the school were on hand to offer advice and you were allowed two practice runs before your marked attempt. Marking was done on a trials system: one penalty mark given if you put your foot down, two if you do it twice, and once you’d done it three times that’s all the penalties you can pick up – so long as the bike doesn’t stop you can keep touching the floor. If the bike stops or you miss a part of the course, or hit one of the posts, you score the maximum, five. The lowest score wins. Stage one was a dry, rocky stream bed with a tight turn and a run back traversing a rut. This was to be performed on an F800GS that looked
✓ Get your bum out of the saddle. Moving the brake and clutch levers so they are comfy to use while standing really helps. ✓ Look ahead so you can get the bike in the best place before you attempt an obstacle. ✓ People balance on a bike in different ways, from gripping the bike with their knees to sticking their legs out. Find the one that you find most natural.
96 Ride september 2010
totally standard apart from the sump guard, knobbly tyres and deactivated ABS. Both practice runs ended up with my feet dangling around, revs bouncing off the limiter, and me looking a little like a five-year-old learning to ride a push bike. Hopeless. Then I watched the next person in our group, a quiet and unassuming chap. There were no revs, feet were on the footrests, body position was relaxed and he had a total look of calm about him. He showed complete control over his bike and knew exactly where to place it. It was a revelation, and after watching I managed to emulate him with no points – a clean section. Easy. Easy. Easy! This glow lasts for several seconds, until I tackle the following section, the gravel trap. Simply ride an R1200GS through a slalom course of tyres through a foot of gravel. No delicacy needed here, just power, and most of the group thought the same. Most put their foot down, some stopped and I kept going with just one foot down, but missed one of the gates of tyres – five points. Drat. The other sections included an evil looking stage built around a huge mound of earth with steep drops. There was also one that involved jumping over tree trunks and tractor tyres on a BMW X Country – and that had me slumping over the handlebars. By the end I had scored 20 points and came 54th overall, meaning I could watch Alistair Allen win followed by Kevin Hammond and Mark Kinnard. Off-roading has made its mark on me. It’s challenging without being too dangerous and you learn loads about bike control. I no longer want to just dabble at it. I want more.
Matt on his way to clocking another five points
✓ Leaning backwards when going downhill and forwards when going uphill helps balance, confidence and control. ✓ You can use your front brake but not nearly as much as you do on the road. A lot more emphasis is on the rear to prevent losing the front. ✓ Keep your weight over the back when riding in gravel, so the tyre has a better chance of gripping.
september 2010 Ride 97
In assocIatIon wIth DevItt
Words Matt Hull Pictures Jason Critchell
BMW GS 30th AnniverSAry special editions Marking 30 years of a legend
BMw’s first go-anywhere Gs model was the R80G/s, which was launched in 1980. today the range boasts four models: the water-cooled parallel-twin F650 and F800; and the the air-cooled flat twins, the R1200Gs and R1200Gs adventure. to mark the 30th anniversary of their iconic bike, BMw have added these distinctive special-edition models, all of which carry the red, white and blue colour scheme of the BMw motorsport division and a red seat with an embossed Gs logo. the F650Gs 30 Years Gs gets a high tinted screen, a heavy duty plastic sump guard, hand guards, new wheels and clear indicators, which make it £6825 – £375 more than the standard model.
Price Engine Power Torque Chassis Kerb weight Seat height Fuel tank
the F800Gs 30 Years Gs gets an aluminium sump guard, hand guards and clear indicators, making it £8110 – £460 more expensive than the standard variant. the 30th anniversary R1200Gs gains the black-rimmed spoked wheels from the adventure, bigger hand guards and a tinted screen for £10,750 – which makes it £575 more expensive than the standard model – while the £11,485 adventure gains hand guards and an aluminium sump guard, making it £300 more expensive than the normal model. Both also come with panniers fitted free of charge. standard expandable panniers worth £506.57 come with the R1200, while the adventure gets a £665 set of £665.45 set of aluminium panniers. all are on sale until the end of september.
BMW R1200GS Adventure 30 Years GS
BMW R1200GS 30 Years GS
BMW F800GS 30 Years GS
BMW F650GS 30 Years GS
£11,485 1170cc 8v flat twin, a/c 110bhp @ 7750rpm 88.5lb.ft @6000rpm tubular steel, engine as stressed member 256kg 890mm- 910mm 33 litres OFF-ROAD VERDICT Good grip and amazing range Heavy for serious off-roading
£10,750 1170cc 8v flat twin, a/c 110bhp @ 7750rpm 88.5lb.ft @6000rpm tubular steel, engine as stressed member 229kg 850mm- 870mm 20 litres OFF-ROAD VERDICT Surprisingly competent and agile Weight easily gets the better of you
£8110 798cc 8v parallel twin, l/c 85bhp @ 7500rpm 63lb.ft @ 5750rpm tubular steel, engine as stressed member 207kg 850mm- 880mm 16 litres OFF-ROAD VERDICT Easy to ride, easy to handle Can stall with low revs
£6825 798cc 8v parallel twin, l/c 71bhp @ 5000rpm 55lb.ft @ 4500rpm tubular steel, engine as stressed member 199kg 790mm- 820mm 16 litres OFF-ROAD VERDICT Easy to ride off road, loads of fun Runs out of puff on faster sections
122 Ride SEPTEMBER 2010