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Updated: 38 min 32 sec ago

Melbourne Toy Run hits 40th milestone

Sun, 10/12/2017 - 8:31pm

Up to 10,000 people are expected to participate in the 40th annual Melbourne Motorcycle and Classic Car Toy Run on Sunday (December 17, 2017) at Tabcorp Park in Melton.

Victorian Motorcycle Council chairman Rob Salvatore says the “traditional annual motorcycle charity toy run is an institution in Melbourne”.

He estimates that more than 200,000 have attended over the years donating several millions of dollars of goods for the annual Salvation Army Christmas family appeal.

“Forty years of helping the less fortunate is a huge and important legacy,” Rob says.

“We wholeheartedly thank the sponsors, riders, car enthusiasts, volunteers, supporting organisations and organisers who keep the event growing and supporting even more families in need.”

Donations for 40th event

Last year about 5000 people donated more than two pantechs worth of goods and organisers are expecting up to 10,000 to decorate their vehicles and participate in the 40th event

This year, 11 motorcycle feeder rides will head to the event, including a city based ride from the State Netball Hockey Centre next to the historic Melbourne Zoo.

It will be waved off at 9.30am by Roads Minister Luke Donnellan and led by Assistant Police Commissioner Doug Fryer with a police escort. 

Participants are asked to bring toys and non-perishable food donations.

Cash and monetary donations can be made directly to the Salvation Army representatives at their donation truck.

The event starts at 10am at Tabcorp Park with a family carnival featuring trade and food stalls, bike and hot rod displays, MX stunt shows, live music and children’s activities.

Click here for more details of the 2017 40th Traditional Melbourne Motorcycle and Classic Car Toy Run, feeder rides and other Australian motorcycle toy runs.

The preferred kinds of charity goods and donations are listed in the website Frequently Asked Questions, but include non-perishable foods and new toys.

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Motorcycle police in embarrassing blooper video

Sat, 09/12/2017 - 8:53pm

This blooper video of a South African motorcycle officer trying to get on to their bike is one of the most frustrating things you will ever watch.

The combination of a heavy BMW R 1200 RT Police, a slope and a short – possibly female(?) – rider make to difficult to get on the bike, balance on one leg and flip up the side stand to start the bike.

The officer gets some help from a bystander, but doesn’t trust him to hold the bike and then, with some hesitation, drops it.

The R 1200 RT Police is not a light bike at more than 260kg, equipped with radar and communication gear.

One thing the officer could have done was to drop the tyre pressures to make the bike sit more upright.

It makes us wonder about the training program for South African motorcycle police.

However, we can understand the officer’s plight having been caught in a similar blooper with another BMW model.

Embarrassing blooper BMW K 1600 GTL

My first motorcycle launch after a major crash in which I broke most of the bones in my torso, was the even bigger and heavier K 1600 GTL at 321kg.

I had parked the massive GTL in the main street of Murwillumbah which has a big camber, so the bike was leaning a fair way over.

Not only could I not muster the strength to push the bike off its sidestand, but there was also the concern that I would overbalance and drop the bike on its other side.

In fact, I had to seek the help of a female pedestrian to help me lift the bike off its stand.

I didn’t drop the bike like this officer, but I can understand how it happened.

It’s a great lesson in buying a bike that is not too big to handle.

Read our tips for handling a heavy motorcycle.

(Updated: Originally I thought the bike was the heavier six-cylinder K 1600, but it has been pointed out is the Boxer-twin.)

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Vie Fit Bluetooth earplugs suit riders

Sat, 09/12/2017 - 8:15pm

There are a lot of Bluetooth earplugs hitting the market, but they are heavy and bulky and uncomfortable under a motorcycle helmet.

These Japanese Vie Fit earplugs look like being a lot more suitable.

The company launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign that surpassed its target seven-fold, so they are set to go into production costing $US149.

Small, light and comfortable

Vie Fit earplugs are small so they don’t stick out of your ears, weigh just 6 grams for the pair and the whole plug is made of a soft silicone, not just the tip.

The antibacterial silicone is also guaranteed not to irritate the ear after wearing for a long time.

We’ve tried other Bluetooth earplugs but they are hard, bulky, uncomfortable and easy to knock out of your ear while putting your helmet on. If you don’t knock them totally out of your ear, they can be slightly dislodged and don’t sound right.

But the Vie Fit should feel more comfortable and fit better to create a seal and reduce external noise.

It also won’t matter if they are disturbed while putting your helmet on because the omnidirectional, 8mm, neodymium speaker rotates 360 degrees to point directly into your ear no matter how you put them on.

They also feature the latest Bluetooth 5.0 system for clear sound and foolproof pairing.

Vie Fit drawbacks

Drawbacks are battery life and operation.

There is only 4.5 hours of continuous listening from the battery, so they wouldn’t be much use on a long all-day trip.

You would also need to attach your music player or phone to your handlebars to operate the associated app which operates play, pause and volume. It also shows battery life.

Vie Fit are water-resistant and come with a USB charging cable.

BUY Alpine MotoSafe earplugs now in our online shop

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Marquez and Pedrosa race mopeds

Sat, 09/12/2017 - 7:38pm

After a hard-fought win in the MotoGP season, it was time for World Champion Marc Marquez and teammate Dani Pedrosa to let off some steam racing mopeds.

This Honda Racing video shows the Repsol partners demonstrating their skills against amateurs in Japan.

They are racing in their Repsol leathers on Super Cub 110 mopeds also with Repsol livery.

The mopeds are powered by a single-cylinder 109.1cc overhead cam engine with just 8 horsepower (6kW) and 8.4Nm of torque.

That compares with their RC213V race machines with about 1256hp (185kW).

The video starts with Marc doing a burnout on the starting line, probably not so much to heat the tyres, but just out of pure fun.

Despite starting toward the back, it’s not long before the pair are competing for the lead.

At one point Marc switches on his indicator to distract Dani.

Other riders try cutting corners and motocross-style cornering, but the MotoGP greats prevail, with Dani claiming the win over his Spanish compatriot.

In a display of bravado, Marc ends the race by take-sliding into a wall!

The Honda honchos must have been biting their nails wondering if the pair would injure themselves.

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Final Temporary Australians screens

Sat, 09/12/2017 - 1:29am

The final series of Temporary Australians premieres on Saturday January 27 2018 on 7mate at 10am with a special tribute to the late Greg Hirst.

The TV series was started in 2008 by “Hirsty” who passed away on June 6, 2017, from complications after surgery.

Thousands attended his funeral in western Sydney.

Greg was a moto journo who worked with the homeless, was a founding member of the Christian Motorcyclists Association of Australia, organised the Silverwater Motor Festival and established the Bathurst Bike show.

His series was well regarded by many in the motorcycling community.

Final Temporary Australians series

The final series of Temporary Australians explores the Melbourne Motorcycle Expo, joins the Kobber’s Kruiser Klub on their annual Easter charity ride and visits the Silverwater Street and Custom Motorcycle Show to celebrate 40 years of Brotherhood CMC.

The show will also pay tribute to Hirsty’s contribution to the Australian Motorcycling community and join him on his last ride.


Fellow Temporary Australians host Brendan ‘Jonesy’ Jones says he has never met a “more brave, righteous and persistent person than Hirsty”.

“Whenever I was about to throw in the towel on this show, he’d draw me back in. He was a true believer.”

His widow, Colleen, says Greg made no money from the show.

“It was all funded through sponsors,” she said.

Meanwhile, Temporary Australians series 5, including Hirsty’s last American ride, is available for download on Vimeo on Demand.

Business partner ad Temporary Australians director Tim Robinson describes Hirsty as “a trusted mentor and a great mate”.

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‘Train engineers on riders’ road needs’

Sat, 09/12/2017 - 1:13am

Civil engineers should be trained in the special needs of riders for safe road construction and maintenance, says a longtime motorcycle advocate.

The recommendation is one of several in a paper written by former No 1 member of the Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia Rodney Brown and presented to Victorian Roads Minister Like Donnellan.

Rodney, who ended up in the emergency ward after crashing on a “slippery substance” left on the road at Riddle Creek near Canberra, says rider safety depends on having properly built and maintained roads.

Rod with his crashed Bonneville

“The planning, design, construction and maintenance of roads is critical for maximising safety for motorcyclists,” he says.

Curriculum for engineers

Among his suggestions is an assessment of the curriculum of civil engineering courses for content relating to rider safety in the planning, designing, constructing and maintaining of roads.

“Educating our future road planners and designers at university level is one way we can ensure the construction of safer roads and roadside infrastructure for vulnerable motorcycle and scooter riders,” he says.

However, he acknowledges that it is difficult to make engineers and authorities aware of the importance of road surfaces to rider safety when it is not reflected in the crash statistics.

Most authorities cite the Hurt Report which claims only 2% of motorcycle crashes are caused by the road defects.

Crash in dodgy roadworks

However, that report is more than 36 years old and road crash statistics are often flawed by poor police crash investigation that simply blames speed as the main cause.

Road recommendations

Rodney’s paper makes a number of recommendations which he says were well received by the Minister.

They include:

  • Road warning signs that alert riders to specific conditions such as gravel, potholes and ruts;
  • Review the criteria that rates the hazards of potholes and other road irregularities that reflects the special needs of riders;
  • Undertake immediate and appropriate roadworks if the hazard is rated as high for riders; and
  • Ensure only qualified people inspect road hazards to determine their danger rating for riders and assess the appropriate roadworks and urgency of repairs.

Rodney says all stakeholders in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of roads need to be “constantly aware of their obligations in making roads safe for all users, especially motorcycle and scooter riders”.

“Lives are on the line here,” Rodney says.

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Braaap motorcycles faces federal charges

Sat, 09/12/2017 - 1:02am

Tasmanian motorcycle company Braaap is facing new federal charges over vehicle dentification plates.

Founder Brad Smith and general manager Toby Wilkins are already facing fraud charges in NSW. The charges relate to selling up to 85 “rebirthed” vehicles.

Brad and Toby have denied and are defending the charges.

Federal charges

Now the Federal Department of Infrastructure has charged Braaap Wholesale Pty Ltd with offences under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. The charges will be defended in Launceston Magistrates Court next week.

It is the first time the department has laid these charges against any company.

In June 2016 the department suspended five identification plate approvals held by Braaap Wholesale. They involved the Street Superlite 50, Street Superlite 125, ST250, Moto 3 and Urban models.


The federal department claimed the business did not demonstrate correct practices for vehicle compliance with Australian Design Rules.

While under suspension, a company cannot put identification plates on new vehicles or sell them in Australia.

The suspension for the ST250 was later lifted after Braaap changed its business practices and issued a voluntary recall over a loose front fender.

Braaap forges ahead

Toby has told us the company is forging ahead with an electric MotoE ($14,995 plus on-road costs) coming in January and expansion into the South East Asian market.

Braaap MotoE

Braaap believes it is the first company to make an electric motorcycle in Australia.

The Braaap MotoE electric motorcycle has a claimed top speed of 165km/h and a two-hour or 200km battery range.

Braaap general manager Toby Wilkin says they have been working on electric technologies for three years, partnering with “some of the best in the world”.

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SWM adds two Superdual thumper models

Fri, 08/12/2017 - 8:07pm

Revived Italian motorcycle manufacturer SWM is adding two new models to its 600cc Superdual adventure thumper.

The Superdual X features 21/18-inch wheels instead of the 19/17-inch combination of the standard model.

SWM Superdual X

Those wheels are fitted with Metzeler Sahara 3 tyres for hardcore adventure and the bike has switchable ABS.

It arrives later this month at $10,490 (plus on-road costs) in red and is available in either full power or as a learner-approved model.

SWM Superdual X

SWM’s Stephen “Tuffy” Tuff says they have a “huge amount of pre-orders”.

It will followed by the 2018 Superdual T in January at the same price.

The standard Superdual is $9990.

SWM Superdual T

The T model also comes equipped with switchable ABS and in either full power mode or LAMS approved.

Superdual T is painted grey and is fitted with 19/17-inch wheels mated to Metzeler Tourance tyres.

“Australian adventure riders have been fizzing for these two new models ever since they broke cover in Europe some months ago,” Tuffy says.

The Superdual X and T are powered by the same liquid-cooled 600cc engine with six-speed transmission coupled to GET ignition and Mikuni D45 fuel-injection system.

They are suspended by 45mm upside-down forks and Sachs adjustable shock with remote preload adjuster.

All Superduals have 19-litre fuel tanks for plenty of adventure riding range.

SWM Superdual

As an introductory special, SWM will offer a free GT Kit including panniers and driving lights valued at $1500 from January 1, to March 31, 2018.

SWM Superdual T with GT kit

All Superdual models come with hand guards, windscreen, aluminium skid plate, engine and tank crash bars, centre stand and rear carry rack. There is provision for 12-volt socket outlet under the digital speedo display.

SWM history

SWM (Sironi Vergani Vimercate Milano) was founded in 1971 and forged a formidable reputation in trials and enduro.

It was liquidated in 1984 and given a new lease on life in 2014 with funding from the Chinese Shineray Group.

Their new range of dirt and road bikes is Italian designed and built in the same production plant in Lombadia, Italy, where the company started. Some engine components are made in China.

  • Engine: 600cc, liquid-cooled DOHC 4-valve single cylinder four-stoke
  • Bore x Stroke: 100 x 76.4mm
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • Clutch: Wet multi-plate with hydraulic control with cush clutch hub
  • Ignition: GET
  • Fuel system: Mikuni D45 EFI
  • Start: Electric
  • Front suspension: 45mm USD fork with 210mm of travel
  • Rear suspension: Adjustable Sachs shock with external shock spring pre-load adjuster and 270mm of travel
  • Front wheel: 19-inch (T model) 21-inch (X model) with 300mm brake disc with ABS
  • Rear wheel: 17-inch (T model) 18-inch (X model) with 220mm brake disc with switchable ABS
  • Seat: 890mm
  • Wheelbase: 1510mm
  • Clearance: 180mm
  • Fuel capacity: 19-litres
  • Weight: 169kg

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Get free stuff at Ricondi store opening

Fri, 08/12/2017 - 7:27pm

Riders will get discounts and free stuff at the official opening tomorrow (December 9, 2017) of Brisbane-based Ricondi Motorcycle Apparel.

Founder Andrew Smart started the company a few years ago making and set up in a small room above a motorcycle mechanic, but has now moved to a big shop at 532 Seventeen Mile Rocks Rd, Brisbane.

Featured discounts of the open day include: 50% off selected helmets; up to 60% selected Ricondi and Five gloves; savings on Nolan/X-lite and selected Kabuto helmets and a free helmet with selected race suits.

There’s also plenty of free stuff for riders who can enter to win special Petrucci boots from FORMA, a Kabuto Areoblade V helmet and Future Shields.

There will also be free gloves for the “pick of the bikes” in the carpark every hour from 8am.

Andrew with store manager and veteran racer Scotty Mackellar

Andrew says there will be coffee from 7am, stunt shows from 10am, a free barbecue all day and millions of dollars worth of exotic bikes on display.

He says they will “fire up” a Suzuki RG500 at lunch time.

Several clubs and riding groups will attend including NWP, Club Laverda and the Italian Bike Addicts.

Andrew with Club Laverda members and the race bikes

Among the display bikes on the day will be two Redax Laverda race bikes that dominated the 2017 National BEARS F4.

There is always plenty to see inside the store as well.

Andrew’s store permanently displays Gregg Hansford’s Kawasaki KR250 on which he came second in the world championship.

Hansford’s KR250

Another point of interest is a damaged crank and rod from a 2014 EBR1190 RX race bike that seized at 250km/h at Phillip Island.

“It certainly creates some chatter in the store,” Andrew says.

“You don’t see this type of thing in most motorcycle stores. This is different.”

Andrew began making racing leathers and gloves several years ago, but has now expanded into retro-style street leathers for men and women and textile gear.

His new store is now big enough to stock his entire range of 125 different products.

He also stocks MotoNational products, including boots, helmets, and motorcycle accessories and consumables.

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Tuscany motorcycle tour perfect for couples

Wed, 06/12/2017 - 8:43pm

If you want to put a spark in your love life, you should join Mrs MBW and me on a romantic motorcycle tour of Tuscany and Umbria next July with Hear the Road Tours.

Tour company owner and founder Enrico Grassi says the eight-day tour is perfect for couples because they stay in only two four-star hotels while riding around Italy’s most romantic region.

Tuscany roads

“Three nights are spent in Siena, with a rest day and loop day-rides from that hotel,” he says.

“Two nights are in a beautiful resort nestled into a fabulous winery setting in Orvieto.

“This allows you to settle into only two hotels and enjoy their amenities, without having to unpack and repack each day for a new hotel.

“The hotel in Siena has a beautiful infinite swimming pool overlooking the town. 

Hotel in Siena

“The resort hotel in Orvieto has a fabulous spa with all the spa amenities one could imagine and two swimming pools.

“During the past few years often the passenger (which normally is a lady) preferred to join the amenities that the hotels offer instead to ride.”

Singles are also invited – who knows, you may meet the pillion of your dreams in the Tuscan hills!

Tour deal

The July 6-13, 2018, tour costs from €2810 (depending on bike) with a free night in Rome at the start or end of the trip if you book before January 31, 2018.

You can book online here. Don’t forget to tick the “MotorbikeWriter” option under the question “How did you hear about us?”.

Remember, we will be along for the tour, so we can answer all your motorcycle questions.

Mrs MBW gets carried away on a Mexican tour

But the best part will be our local tour guide, Enrico.

“You will experience Italy like a local!” he says.

Easy riders

The five days of riding through the Tuscany and Umbria hills will be as challenging and exciting as you want.

Hook into it like the excitable locals, or settle into a relaxed sightseeing pace.

“We have easy ride days,” Enrico says.

“Of the five riding days, the longest mileage day is 250km. The other four are no more than 200km.

“This leaves lots of time for breaks, sightseeing, and photos of the fabulous scenery along the way.”

That should keep the pillion-in-a-million happy! And if you’re having fun, backtrack and do that great road one more time!

On your day off you can continue to explore on your own – ramp up the pace or take another leisurely ride through the hills.

Wide motorbike choice

Hear the Road Tours offers a wide range of motorcycles including Italian Ducatis and Moto Guzzis, a range of practical BMWs or even super-comfortable Harley-Davidsons!

All come with panniers and/or a top box; not that you need it as there is a luggage support vehicle and you are only staying in two hotels, so there is no need to carry luggage.

We’re tossing up between a Multistrada for the charming cobbled village streets or a Monster 1200 to blast through the winding hills.

Cobbled Radicofani

Enrico confirms that all roads on the tour are paved.

“The roads were chosen to meet the needs of first-time overseas tour travellers who may be overwhelmed enough by the new environment,” he says.

Tuscany and Umbria tour costs include:
  • Motorcycle rental (varied depending on which bike you choose)
  • Accommodation with breakfast in four-star hotels (2 nights in Rome, 3 nights in Siena, 3 nights in Orvieto)
  • Transfer to and from the airport
  • Luggage transportation
  • 5 dinners including beverages: 2 in Rome, 2 in Siena, and 1 in Orvieto
  • Wine tasting in Siena
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel kit
Tour costs do not include:

• Lunches

• 2 dinners including beverages (1 in Siena and 1 in Orvieto)

• fuel

• entrance fees to museums or other sites

• gratuites and tips

• flights to and from Roma

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Staying safe this Christmas

Wed, 06/12/2017 - 8:32pm

Christmas makes us all behave a bit differently. You may be filled with excitement at the prospect of a few days off with extended family, or you may be frantically rushing around, trying to bag that present for that someone…

It’s small wonder, then, that the festive season sees more crashes and other accidents, as well as sub-par road behaviour than any other time of year.

If you’re planning to do a lot of riding or driving over Christmas, follow these tips and you won’t be looking for legal help in the New Year.

(These tips are provided for our readers in the northern hemisphere.)

Don’t drink and ride/drive

If you know you’ll be drinking later, then either book a taxi or make sure there’s a designated driver. Plan ahead as much as you can so that you’re sharing a cab – don’t become a statistic just because you wanted to save some money.

Think about other road users

If you’re biking, make sure you’re clearly visible and think about how your riding affects drivers and other road users. If you’re using your car for a longer journey, or if you’re pulling a trailer, watch out for backlogs of traffic behind you and be ready to pull into a hard shoulder to let the frustrated motorists pass. This will keep everyone sweet and can help to avoid overtaking-related accidents.

Do not use your phone and drive

It’s been illegal since 2007, so you should know by now! What you may not know, though, is that driving while texting or talking on a mobile is implicated in around 300 road-deaths a year. Just don’t do it. The call or text can wait.

Book your vehicle in for a service

Whatever your vehicle is, make sure it’s up to making those long Christmas journeys. Get a winter service if you can, because it may just highlight a slight problem that you can sort out before it becomes a major or life-threatening one.

Maintain a distance

We all know that in wet or icy conditions your stopping distance increases. If you’re driving or riding in very cold or wet weather you should try to keep a distance of at least 10 car lengths away from the vehicle in front.

Try to resist the urge to overtake

It’s usually OK to overtake in dry, well-lit conditions. However, at Christmas time, there’s all the usual stressors as well as darker evenings and wetter roads. Try not to overtake on a regular, single-lane road and wait until you’re on a dual carriageway.

Tame your high beams

High beams are useful on dark roads, but not when they’re busy! Make sure your beams are dipped when you have oncoming vehicles, otherwise you may dazzle – or at least annoy – other drivers and possibly cause an accident.

Don’t drive if you’re tired

If you’re really tired, then avoid driving. If you have a long drive coming up, make sure you stay sober the night before and try to get a good night’s sleep. If it’s a very long journey, think about breaking it up with a stay in a hotel or at a friend’s house along the way.

Drive according to the conditions

If you’re driving in very icy conditions, then just slow down. Ignore the speed limits and stay well under them. This will keep you safer and it’ll remind other road users to do the same. You should also keep a keen eye out for drivers who aren’t playing safe.

(Collaborative post)

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Call for riders to be ambassadors

Wed, 06/12/2017 - 8:08am

Motorcyclists have had a bad name for too many years and it’s time for riders to actively be good ambassadors for their pastime, says Simone Watts.

There are several things riders can do to avoid fostering negative images: not speeding through school zones, not revving their bikes at 5am in the suburbs and not popping wheelies in public.

However, these are all passive measures.


Simone says she is calling on riders to become ambassadors by taking some active initiatives such as seeking more training and talking to younger riders about safety.

“I challenge all who read this to be motorcycle ambassadors – stop and have a chat when you’re out and about,” she says.

“Help our communities to become more ‘bike aware’ by humanising us riders.

“People regularly talk to my partner and me,” says Simone who rides a Ducati Monster 821.

Simone on her CBX250

Simone got her motorcycle licence in the 1980s, then had a 15-plus-year break.

Seek training

Even though she still had her licence, when she returned to riding, she did voluntary rider training.

“I feel this education is 100% necessary,” she says.

“It helps us to anticipate and expect the unexpected.

“An example is the buffering technique. I never knew about this in my earlier riding experience.

“Unfortunately I still see many riders lane-splitting or filtering past heavy vehicles (illegal in some states) and L and P platers who are not supposed to at all.

“These newer riders have received mandatory rider training and still put themselves at risk. I suppose you can’t put an old head on young shoulders.

“Please think about updating your skills via a fun rider course.”

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How to avoid scratched motorcycle rims

Tue, 05/12/2017 - 10:14am

Have you ever had new tyres fitted and then found that the rims have been scratched and the fitter claimed the scratches were already there?

Annoying and avoidable!

However, there are things you can do to ensure that your shiny rims are not damaged.

1 Find a good fitter

Almost all tyre fitters use a special machine to remove and fit tyres.

They are actually better than manually removing tyres with tyre levers as they have a rubber, kevlar or composite plastic head. Avoid tyre fitters that have a machine with a bare-metal head.

However, to get the machine started, the tech still has to use a prybar.

So you need a tech who is careful not to scratch or even dent the rim lip.

Rather than getting the cheapest fitting quote, check the tyre fitter for quality work.

You could ask on internet forums, ask your mates for a recommendation or go in and ask what care they take fitting tyres.

It’s also a good idea to go and have a look at them changing a tyre.

Sometimes you can see the techs at work, but sometimes they are behind closed doors.

You could always ask to see them changing a tyre. If they object, go elsewhere.

When I got Dunlop Alpha-14 tyres fitted on new Blackstone TEK carbon rims on my Ducati GT1000, I went to Oliver’s Motorcycles in Brisbane because I trust the guys there.

Tech Mark Zach always wears gloves, cleans every piece he removes, and uses rags on the tyre-fitting machine to ensure there are no scratches.

2 Photograph your rims

If you end up with a scratch, the shop can always say it was already there.

So it’s important that you photograph your wheels first with a camera that records the date.

Then you have proof that the wheel was not scratched before you dropped off your bike.

No scratches on these carbon beauties! 3 If your rims have been scratched.

Don’t wait until you get home to find the scratches or dents.

Give the rims a close inspection before you leave the shop.

If they are damaged, you should insist on either a new wheel or a proper repair, not just a touch-up job.

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Ducati World to open in theme park

Tue, 05/12/2017 - 9:16am

Ducati is following in the footsteps of fellow Italian automotive company Ferrari with plans to open Ducati World inside a theme park in 2019.

Ducati World will be located at the Mirabilandia amusement park on the east coast of Italy just 100km from their factory and museum at Borgo Panigale in Bologna.

Mirabilandia amusement park

It will feature a special Ducati rollercoaster, motorcycle virtual reality simulators, a museum filled with Ducatis through the years, a Ducati-themed restaurant and merchandise shop.

There is no word on whether the current factory museum and shop will be relocated or if this is a replication.

The factory Ducati museum

Ducati Licensing and Corporate Partnership Director Alessandro Cicognani says there will be attractions for kids as well.

“Thanks to this agreement, together with (park operator) Parques Reunidos we’re developing the first motorcycle themed area in an Italian amusement park,” he says.

“Mirabilandia’s location, at the heart of the Motor Valley, adds further value to this project dedicated to fun.”

Italy’s Motor Valley also includes automotive manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Pagani.

The 35,000-square-metre Ducati World is expected to open to the public in 2019.

Ducati has had a “rollercoaster year” with VW considering selling the company to pay its debts almost winning the MotoGP and releasing its first V4 production bike.

Ducati Panigale V4 1409

Would you rather ride a real Ducati on Italian roads than a pretend Ducati on a rollercoaster in a theme park?

If so, why not join us on the Hear the Road Tour of Tuscany and Umbria next July?

Click here for all the trip details.

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Honda CB4 concept uses wind power

Tue, 05/12/2017 - 8:31am

Honda’s Italian-designed CB4 Interceptor Concept has innovative wind powered touchscreen instruments according to this official video.

It uses a wind turbine to power the instruments which also include satnav, mobile phone connectivity and the ability to make emergency calls.

Honda’s press release says:

The front of the bike features a fan used to convert the motorcycle’s kinetic energy to power the touch-screen located on the tank. The screen provides constant connectivity, to allow the rider to follow the road through digital maps, make emergency calls or simply to connect devices.

Honda doesn’t explain the emergency calls, but it could be similar to BMW’s SOS button which either automatically calls emergency services if you crash or can manually dial.

BMW SOS button

Let’s hope Honda goes ahead and builds this bike as it is not only a refreshing change to decent design, but also quite innovative.

The Interceptor concept was the most popular concept at the recent EICMA motorcycles show in Milan according to our online poll.

It scored 31% of the vote ahead of the Indian Motorcycle FTR1200 concept with 29%.

The bike has been designed by their R&D facility in Rome.

Given the vacuum cleaner designs they’ve been coming up with in recent years, let’s hope there is more involvement from their Italian designers in future.

The CB4 Interceptor is a four-cylinder model, hence the moniker.

Yet it looks very much like the much-vaunted Ducati Pantah, except for the underseat exhaust.

The Interceptor is the result of ongoing research around their Neo Sports Cafe concept unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in October.

It is also an extension of their CB4 Concept shown at the 2015 EICMA, although a lot less ungainly.

2015 CB4 concept

There are still no specifications, but it appears to be based on a Fireblade engine and could be in production as early as the third quarter of 2018.

The Interceptor is a glamorous blend of retro and future and there is a lot of the Husqvarna Vitpilen about it, especially the LED headlight.

The Husky has been promised for a couple of years and looks like it’s ready for production.

But there is no word about a production-model CB4 Interceptor.

Honda has instead extended its Neo Sports Cafe concept design language to its range of CB1000R, CB300R and CB125R naked bikes.

However, the new CB naked bikes are modern and minimalist and how ugly is that muffler?

Other Honda models on display include an updated Africa Twin and a more rugged Adventure Sport model, the GL1800 Goldwing which debuted last week, a more off-road X-ADV scooter and the Neo Sports Cafe concept which debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show last week.


The post Honda CB4 concept uses wind power appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Why you should practise counter steering

Mon, 04/12/2017 - 10:47am

If you’ve ridden a bicycle, counter steering will come naturally to you, so why would it be necessary to practise counter steering?

The problem is that, in an emergency situation, your instinct is to turn the handlebars toward the direction you want to go.

Here is a graphic video example of what can happen.

Notice the rider makes a couple of steering corrections.

There are a number of mistakes this rider makes.

First, the rider enters the corner too shallow which makes the bike run wide. The rider should take a wider approach so the bike is leaning and turning away from oncoming traffic.

Read more about apexes here.

Second, the rider sees the truck and develops target fixation. That is, the rider looks at what they could hit and naturally steers toward it.

Read about target fixation and how to make it work to your advantage.

The third problem is that the rider has not practised counter steering, so they swap back and forth between steering and counter-steering, weaving into the truck.

You need to practise counter steering to ensure that it becomes your reflex action in an emergency.

Read what counter steering is.

How to practise counter steering

You should start at slow speeds and gradually build up speed.

However, don’t try counter steering at a really slow walking pace as it doesn’t work.

Find a vacant carpark (you may need to get permission) or a quiet stretch of road and start practising at about 20km/h. (Keep your eyes peeled for any approaching vehicle in front or behind.)

In you are in a vacant carpark you can use cones or other safe objects to weave around.

Otherwise weave around white line markings or parking bays.

Make sure your forearms are parallel with the grips. Depending on your handlebars, this may require you to crouch and drop your shoulders and elbows.

In this position, you are more likely to push and pull the bars, rather than just lean on them. This has more effect on the steering.

Keep your torso upright as you push and pull the bars, noting that when you push the right bar, the bike drops to the right and turns right and vice versa.

Gradually build up speed, noting how little handlebar input you need to effect a turn.

This exercise is not designed for cornering, but for swerving to avoid an obstacle in an emergency.

You most likely already use counter steering techniques when you corner.

You will find that you can adjust your bike’s angle quicker and swerve faster if you allow the bike to lean while keeping your body upright.

Trying to lean your body as well increases the weight you are trying to lean, so the response is slower.

However, at highway speeds, you will need to lean with the bike or it could unsettle the machine and cause a high side.

Like any skill, practice will make it become a natural reaction.

The post Why you should practise counter steering appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Indian to go electric and smaller cc

Mon, 04/12/2017 - 8:52am

Indian Motorcycle will definitely produce smaller capacity bikes and go electric, but not within the next three to five years.

Polaris President of Motorcycles Steve Menneto has told Motofire that smaller-capacity bikes would fit in with their global strategy.

His comments follow the successful unveiling of the FTR1200 custom bike (pictured above) at the Milan motorcycle show.

Steve says public reaction was enthusiastic and “better than what we expected”.

He stopped short of saying they would produce the flat tracker for the streets.

FTR1200 Smaller motorcycles

However, he did say they want to be a global brand which requires Indian to “play in different segments, geography and different CC levels”.

“We do see ourselves going down in CCs and moving in different areas that we’re not in.,” he says.

“There is a lot of growth in front of us that we have to make sure we do smartly and – the highest priority – the most premium level.”

Indian Motorcycle Australia manager Peter Harvey says they would love to have a learner bike.

However, he warns Aussie novices keen to throw a leg over an Indian “don’t hold your breath”.

“A LAMS (learner-approved) bike is a long, long way away,” he told as at the recent launch of the Scout Bobber.

Indian Scout Bobber

“From a business standpoint it costs as much to develop and build a 650cc bike as it does a bigger bike.

“You have to sell in big volumes to make LAMS bikes profitable, because you make less money on each bike.”

Peter says he has asked Polaris about the possibility of a learner bike.

“They know about the importance of LAMS from our side, but don’t hold your breath for a LAMS bike in the near future.”

Electric Indians

In 2016, Harley-Davidson committed to a production version of their electric Livewire within the next five years.

Harley-Davidson electric Livewire

Indian Motorcycle may not be far behind.

Steve says they are able to access the electric vehicle R&D from parent company Polaris which bought an electric mobility company and Brammo electric motorcycles.

They produced a Victory Empulse TT motorcycle based on the Brammo Empulse, but that stalled when Polaris axed Victory Motorcycles in January.

MBW rides the Victory Empulse TT electric bike

Steve says Indian “will be in electric powertrains”, but not within three-to-five years.

The biggest hurdles to electric motorcycles are battery range and cost.

“If you’re looking to get good range you have to put some massive batteries on to the bikes and these don’t look good for style and the costs are troubling and not good for the marketplace,” he says.

However, he says battery cost and range, and public charging infrastructure will improve with technological development.

“Once that starts to take hold then that’s when you’ll begin to see motorcycle manufacturers be really excited about the fun that electric power-trains can bring,” he says.

The post Indian to go electric and smaller cc appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Kawasaki recalls Z900 over rear shock

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 12:02pm

Kawasaki Motors Australia has joined a worldwide recall on the 2017 Z900 over an issue with the rear shock absorber.

Bikes affected were sold nationally between January 1 and November 27, 2017.

Check the VIN list at the end of this article to see if your Z900 is affected.

The voluntary recall notice is issued through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

It says holes in the rear shock absorber tie-rod frame mounts “could become elongated if the rear shock absorber bottoms out”.

“This may prevent the rear shock absorber from operating correctly and could result in a loss of control of the motorcycle,” the notice says.

Owners are advised to contact an authorised Kawasaki Service Centre to arrange for inspection and repair of the motorcycle.

In the case that elongation of the tie-rod frame mount is found, a replacement frame will be installed free of charge.

Click here to locate your nearest Kawasaki dealer.


Recall notices are issued by the manufacturer through a voluntary industry code under the ACCC.

Despite hundreds of recalls by various automotive manufacturers, none has ever been mandatory.  All have been issued by the manufacturer.

While any recall is not good news for the manufacturer, it shows that they are largely diligent in fixing problems.

If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites:

• Australia


• UK

• New Zealand

• Canada


The post Kawasaki recalls Z900 over rear shock appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Stylish motorcycle helmet bag for travellers

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 9:27am

Do you need a stylish way to carry your motorcycle helmet as well as other small items such as wallet, sunglasses, keys, phone, gloves and more?

Singapore company Neo and Sons has now launched a crowd-funding campaign for their clever leather helmet bag that includes an internal storage bag for smaller items.

The smaller bag fits inside the helmet and you can access it through a “trap door” opening in the bottom of the helmet bag without having to take your helmet out.

How clever is that?

The bags are made from Italian full grain leather/18oz or waxed canvas and come with Japanese YKK zippers.

Of course, style comes at a price. Tobacco brown or black leather will cost at $US168 for the early bird price or $US268 retail, while the onyx canvas bag will cost $US108/$US168.

Rather than carry handles, it has a shoulder strap which attaches to D rings on the bag via a sturdy clip.

There is also a secondary “crossbody” strap to secure it when wearing it while riding.

It clips on to the bag on the other side and is attached to the main strap by a velcro loop.

The bag looks like a stylish way to carry a spare helmet for a pillion you are picking up. It would also be great as cabin baggage for travellers.

Co-founder Sue Anne says they spent a year perfecting the design and are ready to launch on Kickstarter.

Buy a Henty commuter backpack NOW!

The post Stylish motorcycle helmet bag for travellers appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Motorcycle police ramp up riding gear

Sat, 02/12/2017 - 2:52pm

Gone are the days when motorcycle police rode around in jodhpurs and a leather jacket with no protectors.

International Workplace, Health and Safety standards now require police to have certified safety riding gear.

Most seem to be complying in a more responsible example to all riders.

Queensland Police last week unveiled their new DayGlo yellow motorbikes and jackets to make them more visible on the roads.

So we contacted all other state services to find out what their motorcycle police gear included, but only NSW and Victorian police replied.

NSW Police NSW bike cop (Photo supplied by NSW Police)

However, NSW Police did not provide any details, only some photos.

A NSW Police spokesperson simply said: “NSW Police continue to outfit motorcycle riders in approved riding apparel that is fit for purpose. NSW Police will continue to review new trends on the market when selecting the most appropriate rider apparel.”

NSW motorcycle police (Photo supplied by NSW Police) Victoria Police

Victoria Solo Unit motorcycle police uniforms (Photo supplied by VicPol)

A spokesperson for VicPol replied with a list of their motorcycle police gear and a plea for “all riders to ride within their limits, wear the right gear and ride within the conditions of their licence”. 

“Motorcyclists are a highly vulnerable road user group and each rider needs to do everything they can to make themselves as safe as possible,” the spokesperson says.

“Yes, it’s mandatory to wear a helmet, but really it should be common sense to ride in full protective clothing. 

“Victoria Police encourages all riders to wear protective boots, pants, jacket, gloves and helmet at all times when on their bikes.”

Victorian motorcycle police road uniform consists of the following:  Victoria Solo Unit road uniform (Photo supplied by VicPol)
  • Helmet = Shoei Neotec Flip Face and GT Air Full Face sourced from McLeod Accessories
  • Jacket = Custom-made sourced from Glanda International
  • Shirt = Normal police uniform shirt and or police bicycle shirt
  • Leather Pants = Custom-made sourced from Tiger Angel Motorcycle Apparel
  • Leather Boots = Alpine Star Gran Torino Gore-Tex sourced from Monza Imports
  • Gloves = Alpine Star summer and winter sourced from Monza Imports
Victorian motorcycle police off-road uniform consists of the following:  Victoria Solo Unit off-road uniform (Photo supplied by VicPol)
  • Helmet = Arai VXPro 4 sourced from Cassons Imports
  • Jacket = Rally Cross 3 DriRider sourced from McLeod Accessories
  • Pant = Thor summer and winter sourced from Gas Imports
  • Boots = Alpine Star Tech 8 sourced from Monza Imports
  • Jersey = Custom-made sourced from Impact Sports
  • Gloves = Thor summer and winter sourced from GPS imports
  • Knee Braces = Pod K8 sourced from Monza Imports
  • Body Armour = Thor or Dianese
  • Backpacks = Kriega r30 sourced from Egress Solutions 
Queensland Police Queensland Road Policing Operation Inspector Peter Flanders

Queensland Road Policing Operation Inspector Peter Flanders says the new DayGlo jackets will increase visibility to other motorists of the presence of police and make motorcycle police safer.

“We had to strike a balance between workplace health and safety on reflective material and making the jackets protective for the rider,” he says.

The jackets were made by G-Moto by Glanda to special Queensland Police specifications.

They replace hi-vis reflective vests that were worn over the previous black motorcycle jacket.

“So we can hop off the bike and don’t have to waste time putting on a reflective vest,” he says.

“If we had to give chase while wearing the vest, it would fly up in your face.”

DayGlo Queensland Police

Peter says he would like to see riders follow the lead of the police and take responsibility for their own safety with proper motorcycle gear.

“After 30 years of campaigning, the community now thinks drink driving is bad. In the same way, I’d like to see the riding community view riding in shorts and thongs as bad.

“But these things need to be decided within the riding community not imposed from without.”

  • What do you think of the motorcycle police riding gear? is it a suitable example for riders? Leave your comments below.

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