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Updated: 29 min 27 sec ago

Ducati revenue driven by new models

8 hours 29 min ago

Ducati looks set for a continued model assault as its sales hit a record for the seventh consecutive year in 2016 and revenue was up 4.1%.

In 2017, the Italian brand introduces seven new models: 1299 Superleggera, SuperSport, Multistrada 950, Monster 797 and 1200, and Ducati Scrambler Café Racer and Desert Sled.

How many more can we expect in 2018 if this success continues!

CEO Claudio Domenicali attributes the brand’s sales and revenue growth to their “continuous evolution of our range”.

Ducati revolutions

It’s been more like a series of revolutions rather than an evolution.

Ducati was a superbike company until 1993 when it introduced the naked Monster which quickly became their top seller. By 2005, Monster accounted for more than half of Ducati’s global sales.

In 2003, the adventure-oriented Multistrada was launched and replaced Monster as the top seller.

The revolutions continue with the 2015 introduction of there Scrambler which quickly surpassed Multistrada in sales and now numbers eight models.

Ducati sold 55,451 bikes last year, 642 more than in 2015 and increased revenue by 4.1% from €702 million to €731 million.

Most Ducatis are sold in the US (8787), while around the world sales grew as much as 38% in Spain, 20% in Italy and 8% in Germany.

However, Australian sales were marginally down 8.2% or 181 to 2013. However, it should be noted it was after healthy sales growth in 2014/15 of 12.2% and 10.4%.

Revenue optimism

Claudio says the worldwide sales and revenue growth “allows us to look to the future with optimism, knowing that we are heading in the right direction”.

Claudio on a Scrambler

That direction seems to be further away from sports bikes and into new niches.

Ducati CFO André Stoffels confirms this.

“The company is continuing to invest in new technologies and in new products,” he says.

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Motorcycle glove GPS a silly invention?

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 7:40am

We’ve seen some silly motorcycle inventions in our time, but the glove GPS could be one of the silliest and possibly also dangerous.

The Friedlander TurnPoint Smart Glove system is a standard right glove and a left glove with a pocket on the back to fit a round dial that illuminates to point navigation directions.

It looks like a distraction well away from where you should be looking or a temptation to ride along one-handed while you check your bearings.

And, in a crash, the bulky GPS could cause more damage to your hand.

The system is only at the Kickstarter crowd-funding stage so far.

It looks unlikely to go into production judging by the $697 pledged so far by eight backers with a target of $125,000 and 43 days to go.

The gloves cost $149 if you pledge now, but if they go into production they will cost $249.

Most riders who use GPS on their bikes use a dedicated unit or their smartphone, mounted on the handlebars where they can easily see it.

Why would you want a GPS on the back of your hand? Who asked for such an invention?

Well, inventor and rider Steve Friedlander of Lab Brothers, Atlanta, Georgia, says those screens are too far away and difficult to see.

I have to agree, but with Bluetooth communications, you can also have audio prompts. In fact, I can usually successfully navigate without having to look at my phone which I keep in my pocket.

The Friedlander system is actually a Bluetooth unit that communicates with your phone’s navigation app. It’s iOS, but an Android app is being developed.

The device’s 18 bright red, green, blue and white LEDs point the direction for turns and Steve reckons they can be seen in your periphery vision without having to look away from the road.

However, that would depend on where your handlebars are located. On a sportsbike, they would be very difficult to see.

Riders can also check how far to the next turn by pressing their thumb and forefinger together which changes the LEDs showing increments on the dial in miles from 0 to 4.

Steve, who has more than 80 patents in consumer electronics, is also looking at other functions for the glove such as a compass and displaying how much is left off the eight-hour battery charge.

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Cyclone postpones show and shine

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 6:00am

A forecast cyclone over Queensland has dampened a scheduled Show and Shine at Mt Mee’s Pitstop Cafe and forced it to be postponed to May 6, 2017.

The event is part of Sandra Moran’s quest to raise funds and awareness for depression after her son, Jaie, took his life in 2014.

She set off to ride around Australia in 2015 to raise awareness for depression, but an accident in Western Australia halted her ride, called Jaie’s Journey.

Now Sandra continues to raise funds and awareness for depression and mental health.

The show and shine was to be held on April 1, 2017, the third anniversary of Jaie’s suicide. However, it has now been postponed because of the forecast cyclone.

“The past few cyclones have wreaked havoc with flooding over Queensland the past few years,” the website says.

“Safety is a major concern for us and we need to take into account the possible weather for the day.”

Motorcycle-friendly Pitstop Cafe on Mt Mee

The show will run all day from 7:30am to 4pm at the cafe at 2070 Mount Mee Road.

It’s free for spectators, but entrants will pay a fee of $40 to enter as many categories as you like.

If you are interested in entering your bike or wish to provide other support on the day, please contact the organisers via email or see Michelle at the cafe.

Registration forms and payment must be completed by March 24 to be eligible, so you can register on the day.

To register your bike, pick up a form from the Pitstop or email Sandra.

All proceeds will be donated directly to Jaie’s Journey Inc. (IA55787) helping to break the stigma of suicide.

Jaie and daughter Poppy Sandra’s mission

Jaies Journey was created to help remove the stigma and mystery surrounding mental health illnesses and also the taboo subject of suicide.

“We are here also to provide support, whenever possible, for those bereaved by suicide of a loved one,” their official website says.

In 2015, there were 3027 suicides or 8.3 deaths per day. It’s more than the combined total of road toll and deaths from skin cancer.

Three out of every four suicides is by a male and Aboriginal and Torres Strait slanders are twice as likely to commit suicide.

The Royal Flying Doctors Service figures show males in remote areas have a 1.8% higher risk of suicide and in very remote areas it rises to 2.9%.

  • If you, a friend or family member is struggling with depression or mental illness, please contact Lifeline counselling on 13 11 14.

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Harley shares up despite sales drop

Fri, 24/03/2017 - 5:00pm

Financial analysts must see a rosy future for Harley-Davidson as shares have jumped 48% since June 2016 despite a 1.6% decline in motorcycle shipments.

Harley this week released its financial details showing revenue rose by only 1% in 2016, mainly due to a weaker domestic market.

International sales rose 2.3% and in Australia they were up 5%, but this growth was offset by a 3.9% decline in US retail sales.

However, US sales of $2.4b last year still account for 41% of revenue and 35% of profit. So what happens in America is very important for the shares performance of the Milwaukee icon.

Shares threats

The biggest threat to Harley shares is the fall in young American motorcycle buyers and the growth in older riders.

The median age of American motorcyclists is 47, up from 32 in 1990 and 40 in 2009. And Harley has a healthy 55.1% share of the 35 and older male rider demographic. It’s fairly similar worldwide.

But the problem is that those mature-aged riders will gradually leave due to illness and age.

This situation is amplified by the decline in American riders under 18, down from 8% in 1990 to 2% last year, and down from 16% of riders aged 18 and 24 to 6%.

Targeting youth

In recent years, Harley has aggressively targeted younger riders with its Dark Custom range and its new Street 500 and 750 models.

Last month Harley boss Matt Levatitch promised 50 new models in the next five years and so far they have unveiled a cheaper dark version of the Road King and an aggressive 750cc Street Rod, both aimed at a younger maker.

Motorbike Writer will attend the launch of the Street Rod in Singapore at the end of next month.

Harley surely wants to keep its shares on the rise, so we expect to see more of these “younger” motorcycles among the coming 48 new models.

The post Harley shares up despite sales drop appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

BMW sales up, average age down

Fri, 24/03/2017 - 1:00pm

While BMW motorcycle sales rocketed to €2 billion last year, the average age of BMW customers has decreased by four years over the past four years.

BMW Motorrad Australia general manager Andreas Lundgren says the average age of their customers is now 46, down from 50 four years ago.

That’s pretty significant considering BMW is a premium brand and out of reach for many young buyers, says Andreas.

Grandpa brand image

BMW used to be known as the grandpa brand selling mainly touring bikes in 50 shades of grey or the odd Camry maroon.

But over the past 20 years, the blue propellor brand has been entering new, more dynamic segments and this year introduces its G 310 R and G 310 GS learner-approved bikes.

Andreas says the bikes are expected to attract a much younger buyer when they arrive in mid-year starting at an attractive $5790.

“They are extremely attainable,” he says. “It’s a very fair price for a premium-end product in that segment. Its purpose is to bring new riders into the brand.”

New models, new buyers

BMW has been introducing new riders to the brand in recent years with the introduction of the S 1000 RR and the R and XR derivatives as well as the super-hip R nineT and its four variants.

Andreas with an S 1000 RR

Andreas says the much-awarded S 1000 RR is a premium product with high technology that may not be effecting a drop in the average age of their customers, but creates a more youthful and vigorous image of the brand.

However, he says the R nineT is definitely attracting a “younger hipster” customer.

“Apart from the fact that it’s a very cool and attractive bike, it’s also a very capable motorcycle,” he says.

BMW R NineT Scrambler

“Where we have a real edge over competitors is that apart from looking fantastic, the way it performs, it is a top-notch motorcycle.”

Andreas says the youthful image of the brand is also served by the growing popularity of their GS models.

GS means adventurous

“We now see three generations coming along on our GS Safaris,” he says. “There’s the new guy aged about 18 or 19, his father and even his grandfather are riding together.”

BMW GS Safari Tech-savvy youth

Andreas also believes the advanced technology of the brand is attracting younger tech-savvy customers.

BMW has been at the forefront of technological advances in braking, traction control, electronic suspension, adaptive headlights and other safety and performance features.

Andreas says being part of the BMW Group gives the motorcycle arm the advantage over their competitors in technological research and development.

Sales trends

While BMW Motorrad increased global sales last year by 5.9% to 145,032, a sixth consecutive record year, BMW motorcycle sales in Australia were down marginally.

Andreas says sales were affected by the running out of the G 650 GS learner-approved model.

In Australia, LAMS bikes are a big segment and not having a bike in that segment affected the company’s performance.

However, the new LAMS G models should be a volume seller for the brand, Andreas says.

Other new models coming this year are the R nineT Pure, Racer and Urban G/S and the K 1600 B bagger.

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Throttle Roll Street Party returns

Fri, 24/03/2017 - 6:00am

The fifth annual Throttle Roll Street Party celebrating motorbikes, music, food and drink returns on Easter Saturday, April 15, 2017, to Marrickville in Sydney.

This year Harley-Davidson officially joins the party with their new 750cc Street Rod on display for the first time.

Harley-Davidson Street Rod

The Throttle Roll Street Party is Australia’s biggest custom bike celebration.

Apart from about 50 custom bikes, there will be food trucks, bands, booze and displays by Scrambler Ducati, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield and Chinese motorcycle company Sol Invictus.

In fact, one lucky visitor to the street party could win a learner-approved Sol Invictus bike to get their own custom project rolling. To be in the draw you have to buy your tickets online before the event.

Tickets are on sale now at $20 online or $25 at the door.

The day starts with a Throttle Roll Ride to the venue.

And it rolls on into the night with a big line-up of DJs and bands, including The Delta Riggs, Papa Pilko And The Binrats, Frank Sultana and The Sinister Kids, The ReChords, The Hollerin Sluggers with more to be announced soon.

Visitors are asked to bring their kids and pets as the event is declared family and pet friendly.

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Riders seek loyal, trusting friends

Thu, 23/03/2017 - 4:00pm

Riders want riding partners and friends who are trustworthy and loyal, according to an independent survey of 1018 British bikers in March 2017.

It found trust was important for 70% and loyalty to 69%, but 75% of riders only get to see their close friends once every fortnight to a month.

About half claim they have one to three close riding friends and 12% admit they hardly ever see their mates.

So British motorcycle insurance broker Carole Nash has launched their #BikerBuddy campaign to create a data bank of riders aimed at matching them up for rides with like-minded bikers.

Even if you love riding solo, rather than in a group, it’s still a good way for riders to meet up with others at a cafe to share their love of motorcycling.

It would be a great way to size up a potential riding partner.

It’s very difficult for riders to find other suitable riding partners who share their same level of skill, regard for safety or thrill, and tastes in motorcycles and road types.

Psychologist Dr Becky Spelman says it becomes harder as we get older to make new friends.

“One of the best ways to connect with others is through a shared interest, and biking can be a great way to make likeminded friends, as it’s so community-focused,” he says.

Motorcycle brand clubs bring riders together, but not everyone wants to belong to a club.

So the #BikerBuddy campaign could be a good venue for riders to find riding buddies.

Apart from motorcycle clubs, the only match-making group we know of in Australia for riders is the Single Lovers of Motorcycles Australia Wide (SLOMAW).

It’s a closed Facebook group created by Queenslander Susan Henderson to allow single people who love motorcycles to meet, go for rides and attend social functions.

The #BikeBuddy system is less interested in love-making and more concerned with bike-riding and friend-making.

If you’re British and you want to be involved in Carole Nash’s initiative, share a quick description of the type of rider you are, and what kind of biker buddy you’re looking for by tweeting @InsideBikes with #BikerBuddy or emailing bikerbuddy@carolenash.com.

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Hiring a lawyer after a motorcycle crash

Thu, 23/03/2017 - 8:09am

A lawyer might be a necessary evil after a motorcycle crash, especially if it is your first crash, it wasn’t your fault or you are being hassled by your insurance company.

A reputable and trustworthy law firm with experience in motorcycle crashes will evaluate your case for free, so you can get a clear understanding of how they might help you before you commit, says American legal firm Pittman, Dutton & Hellums.  

They have provided us with tips on when a lawyer may be of help and how to evaluate a legal firm on their expertise.

What to do after a crash

If you have been involved in a crash, no matter how minor it may seem, make sure you carefully gather evidence and witness statements straight away.

Your lawyer will only be able to work with the evidence you provide.

Do not provide any statements to anyone without consulting a lawyer first.

Check out this article for more details on what to do after a minor crash.

When to hire a lawyer

You probably won’t need a lawyer or attorney if you have been involved in a minor motorcycle accident where you suffered no injuries and it was your fault.

However, hiring a lawyer could be vital in the following cases:

• You and/or someone else has been injured;

• The crash was caused by another motorist;

• The crash was caused by faulty road conditions, such as a broken traffic light, inferior roadworks, or a missing sign; and/or

• You are uncomfortable with the demands your insurance company is placing on you.

How to choose a motorcycle lawyer

It makes sense that you hire a lawyer with experience in motorcycle crashes.

Motorcycle accidents are different from other crashes because of the high costs of repairs and medical bills even after a minor crash. Riders are also more vulnerable to other motorists, weather and road conditions. 

A lawyer may be able to help you recover medical expenses, money lost due to your inability to work, damage to your vehicle and more.

When consulting with a potential lawyer for your motorcycle crash, look for one who:

• Is experienced in all traffic laws;

• Has recommendations based on crash evidence provided;

• Has worked on cases involving diverse types of motorcycles;

• Is well-versed in personal injury claims;

• Will be able to help you file your claim and deal with your insurance company; and

• Is committed to securing you the rightful financial compensation you deserve in the crash.

You may also ask for the lawyer’s or their firm’s results involving motorcycle crash cases, and peruse reviews online. 

Conclusion

Consult with several lawyers and firms and find someone with whom you feel confident and comfortable.

In Australia, we recommend Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, Macrossan and Amiet Solicitors and East Coast Lawyers.

A lawyer who is realistic about your chances is far better than one who promises you the earth.

Like anything, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

The post Hiring a lawyer after a motorcycle crash appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Should you jump start a dead bike?

Thu, 23/03/2017 - 6:00am

Just because your bike won’t start doesn’t mean the battery is flat and trying to jump- or push-start the bike can actually damage it and cause you injury.

RACQ tech boss and Suzuki Bandit tragic Steve Spalding warns against jumping straight into jump starting your bike.

Checks before jump starting

“If a battery is flat because it’s faulty then attempting to push-start the bike can result in it either continuing not to start or risk damaging the electronics, so the first step is to determine if the battery is flat or it has an internal defect,” he says.

Assuming your bike doesn’t have a kick-starter, if it won’t start there are several things you should consider first.

Have you checked the kill switch, side stand, neutral engaged and fuel levels (and fuel petcock on an old carby bike)? They seem obvious, but I’ve seen people trying to jump start a bike where they have simply run out of fuel, left the side stand down, the bike is in gear or they have forgotten about the kill switch.

Next thing is to check your battery. Are there any lights on your instruments? If not, check the battery leads and give them a wiggle. If they look dirty, try to clean them and tighten the connection.

If the instrument lights work, but it just won’t fire up, you can also check the spark plugs and maybe give them a clean.

Battery starters and jumper leads BuzzTech Multi-Function Jump Starter comes with a host of connectors

If you plan riding in a remote area, it’s a good idea to carry a power pack that can restart your bike or at least a battery tester so you can tell if the battery is the problem or there is something else wrong with the bike.

Riding with a friend is also a good insurance policy as you can use jumper leads to restart off their bike’s battery.

Small dirt bikes can even back up to each other, chock up the back wheel and use the live bike’s spinning wheel to start the dead bike.

If you use jumper leads, attach the red cables first, starting with the dead bike.

Make sure the donor live bike’s engine is running before trying to start your bike.

When taking the cables off, use the total reverse order, starting with the black cable on the live bike.

Jump-start warnings

If you don’t have a starter or jumper cables and you have determined the battery is flat, there are still a few things to consider before attempting to push start a bike, such as rider safety, says Steve.

“Pushing a bike to start it is potentially unsafe because it can topple over, injure the rider if they trip over or become a traffic hazard,” he says. 

“Also, if a bike doesn’t start after pushing then the rider has the additional problem of trying to get it back to where they started from.

“If a bike has starting problems then it needs to be sorted out properly. Have the battery checked and replaced if it is starting to become unreliable or cranking slower than usual.

“Why risk injury, causing a traffic hazard, or dropping a bike and causing a few thousand dollars of damage, just because a $100 battery is past its use-by date.”

How to push-start a bike

Warnings heeded and all checks done, you may now have no other alternative but to push-start your bike.

  • Don’t be a hero. If there are friends around to help push you, ask them. It’s easier than running beside a bike and trying to jump on board when you get up some speed. Friends pushing the bike will also give you more speed than you can manage on your own.
  • Push it to the top of a hill so you can gather some speed. Again, your friends will be helpful.
  • Engage second or even third gear if the bike has a high-compression engine.
  • Make sure the ignition is on, kill switch off, etc, pull in the clutch and get moving. For older carby bikes, add a bit of choke.
  • If you are doing this yourself, stand to the left of the bike. Make sure the rear footpeg is folded up and any left-side panniers are removed as these can slow down your progress or cause you to trip. If you have help, sit on the bike. If your bike has a high-compression engine, stand on the foot pegs or move as far back as you can to put more weight on the rear wheel. 
  • When you have enough speed, jump on board then let the clutch out swiftly, being ready for the possibility the back wheel could lock up. Don’t let out the clutch until you are on the bike. 
  • Practise jumping on your bike without destabilising the handlebars. Also, note that you can now push your bike without wearing a helmet, but once it starts you’ll need to be wearing one.
  • You don’t need to be going fast to push-start a bike. Try letting out the clutch as soon as you reach fast walking pace. If it doesn’t start, you still have further to roll downhill and more attempts up your sleeve.
  • For big-capacity bikes hit the ignition at the same time as letting out the clutch.
  • As soon as the engine kicks over, pull the clutch in, select neutral and apply some throttle until the bike is running smoothly.
  • It may take several attempts to start and it may not start at all. If it doesn’t start after three attempts, give it away as it could damage your bike.
  • If the bike is now running, you need to charge the battery, so get moving. Half an hour at fairly constant throttle is the best way to recharge the battery.
  • When you get home or near a service station with motorcycle batteries, have the battery tested and buy a new one if it’s still down on voltage. You don’t want to get stuck again.
  • It’s also an idea to take the bike to your mechanic to test the electrics, plugs, fuel filter, etc, and make sure there isn’t something else that prevented your bike from starting.

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Lane filtering extends to South Australia

Wed, 22/03/2017 - 5:01pm

Lane filtering extends to South Australia from April 15, 2017, when the state joins Queensland, NSW, Victoria and the ACT in allowing the road safety practice.

It will have similar restrictions as in other states with a 30km/h maximum speed, fully-licensed riders only and banned in school zones, crossings, next to parked vehicles, between vehicles and the kerb and on roundabouts.

The penalty is also commensurate with other states: $363 fine and three demerit points.

Check the various lane filtering laws here:

There are no moves yet from Western Australia, Northern Territory or Tasmania to join the trend.

However, WA Shadow Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts says it is “worth consideration” and NT Shadow Transport Minister Ken Vowles says that as an “avid rider” who has owned Harleys, a KTM and scooter, he is “monitoring the implementation and use of lane filtering in other jurisdictions”.

The ACT is yet to make lane filtering permanent, but the two-year trial now extends until the middle of the year.

ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury says the trial has been a success and 69% of motorists supported lane filtering as a road safety measure for motorcyclists.

Meanwhile, the South Australian Road Safety Minister Peter Malinauskas has warned motorists to check their mirrors for filtering riders.

“Through engagement with motorbike bodies we identified that motorcyclists feel the chance of being ‘rear-ended’ by distracted drivers reduces when riders are able move to the front of traffic,’’ he says.

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Great reasons to ride to Invercargill

Wed, 22/03/2017 - 12:00pm

The roads around Invercargill are not all that exciting and the weather is usually horrible, but there are still some great reasons to visit the home town of Burt Munro … apart from the fact his streamliner (pictured above) is on display in the local hardware store!

I was in Mossburn heading for Invercargill a few years ago on a Harley-Davidson Road King riding on a 45-degree angle because of the high winds when I made a decision to turn around.

The official weather forecast for Invercargill at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand was “absolute crap” I think I heard the radio announcer said.

In fact, it usually is with maximums of 18.7 °C in January to 9.5 °C in July. It’s the country’s cloudiest place and second windiest after Wellington.

High winds and straight roads around Mossburn

Also, the road south on the map didn’t look inviting with 100km of straights and only one significant corner. Unusual for New Zealand that a road would go for more than 1km without a twist, but this was ridiculous.

The decision was easy not to go. Yet I felt a hole in my heart for not visiting the home of Burt Munro and seeing his world’s fastest Indian in the glass display case in the local hardware store in the main street.

“Don’t worry, honey. You’ll go one day,” my wife softly yelled in my Bluetooth ear above the roar of the winds.

She was right. A few years later the invitation comes through the electronic mail from Harley to attend the Iron Run rally with a ride from Dunedin to Queenstown via Invercargill.

Bluff 20km south of Invercargill

Strange that Harley would want to go through a town so closely associated with Indian Motorcycle.

Maybe they don’t feel threatened.

Great reasons to ride to Invercargill, no matter what the weather:
  1. The roads from the east and west are much more interesting with rolling hills, wild shorelines and challenging corners. Invercargill itself is on the flat and most roads and streets are quite straight.

    Rolling hills to the east

  2. Keep going on to the Bluff which isn’t quite the southern most part of the country, but it’s where the fishing boats come and go and you can watch the wild waters of the sea and the rolling horizon to Antarctica.

    Next stop, Antarctica, says Olympian Caroline Buchanan

  3. Those boats are full of famous Bluff oysters which are fat and juicy; just what you need with a beer after a day in the saddle. They hold an annual oyster festival here in May which is just before this area is off limits to bikes because of the climate.
  4. The Burt Munro Challenge has something for every bike fan including hillclimbs, beach races, street circuits, speedway and supercross. It is now held in February which is a much better time weather-wise than the previous date during the November rains. The event started in 2006, a year after the Hollywood film about its namesake and has grown to become internationally acclaimed.

    Invercargill Classic Motorcycle Mecca

  5. The Classic Motorcycle Mecca has more than 300 bikes on two floors in the town centre. The collection was gathered in just two years by Tom Sturgess who opened a museum in Nelson, but fell sick and decided to sell. Thankfully it was bought by the Transport Museum in Invercargill and shifted to the other end of the island. The collection is estimated to be worth up to $20m and about 20% of the value is in the six Broughs and Vincents and the three Brittens on display. There are also 27 Triumphs, 24 Indians, 20 Harleys and some brands you’ve never heard of before. They range from 1902 to a 2004 S&S chopper and most of them are in working order, some with fuel in their tanks. Number 1 Cardinal Britten at the Classic Motorcycle Mecca

    Broughs and Vincents at the Classic Motorcycle Mecca

  6. It’s not the only motorcycle museum in town, either. There’s also Hammer Hardware where the E. Hayes Motorworks Collection off bikes and cars nestles in between the camping supplies, nuts and bolts, and paint cans of the general hardware store in the main street. Among the bikes are the Munro Special and Burt’s MSS Velocette, plus his original streamliner shell and a good-looking replica. When guys tell their wives they are popping down to their local hardware store in Invercargill, they aren’t gone for five minutes … more like an hour! The Munro Special at Hammer Hardware

    Bikes on display among the hardware

  7. Footpath parking. Well, it’s not official, but the people here are so welcoming of motorcycles, you can do just about anything. We rocked up to the Quest Hotel in Dee Street and the manager almost insisted we park on the footpath right out in front of the main door. Secure and undercover. That’s just what Invercargilleans are like!
  8. And that’s the main reason to go to Invercargill. They love bikes, they love tourists and they really love motorcycle tourists! It’s not just because of the renown of Burt and the movie that made him famous. All over New Zealand people grew up riding bikes and they just love them. Maybe just a bit more in Invercargill.

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Dakar Rally legend joins KTM Rallye

Wed, 22/03/2017 - 5:00am

Dakar Rally winner Toby Price (pictured above) was a surprise guest at the second annual KTM Australia Adventure Rallye for customers.

Almost 200 riders took part in the five-night Rallye through the Blue Mountains and Upper Hunter region of New South Wales from March 5-10.

Toby made a guest appearance on the first day at the Jenolan Caves in what was his first ride back after his 2017 Dakar injury.

Jenolan Caves (all photos by Danny Wilkinson)

The treat then went on for four more days when Toby had so much fun with the group and on his bike he stayed for the entire week.

“It’s been so much fun on the KTM Australia adventure ride, there have been plenty of epic trails and I’ve been riding with some awesome people who love riding their pride and joy – just like me,” he says.

The Rallye started and finished at Wisemans Ferry, in the foothills of the iconic Blue Mountains in NSW, with riders travelling 250-300km a day.

The route was planned to highlight the landscapes and provide some sneaky “Breakout Routes” to test the skills and reward those who dared.

Two New Zealanders, one Irishman and seven Americans took part in the ride. One of the Americans was multiple AMA motocross and supercross champion Ricky Johnson who used to compete against KTM Australia’s own legendary racer Jeff Leisk.

The pair were reunited on their bikes and spent time reminiscing with Ricky vowing to return.

Toby with Ricky Johnson and Jeff Leisk

“This was my second time to Australia,” he says. “The first time was the Freemantle stadium Supercross in 1983.

“I never imagined how beautiful the East Coast and New South Wales could be. The KTM Australia adventure tour was a trip that I will remember for the rest of my life.

“Not only the beautiful country but the awesome people.”

The crew of 28 staff included; Route Coordinator Nick Selleck from Maschine who provided the route.

KTM Australia says there will be another ride next year, confirms KTM spokeswoman Rosie Lalonde.

“Word was released to the Rallye riders on the final night,” she says. “At this stage, we are looking at June 2018 for an Outback Run, finishing at the start of the FINKE desert race.”

Stay tuned for more details.

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Kiwi company launches winter layer

Tue, 21/03/2017 - 5:00pm

With winter just around the corner, Kiwi company Roadog has launched a new line of thermal layers specifically designed for motorcycle riders.

I came across it when I was in New Zealand riding around the bottom of the South Island in single-digit temperatures.

One of the Kiwi journos was wearing one and he swore by it. In fact, he wore only the long-sleeve Roadog shirt under a one-layer leather jacket on a new Harley-Davidson Road King Special with no windscreen and was still warm.

Meanwhile, I wore a t-shirt, two thick jumpers and a thick Harley leather jacket on and I was riding behind a Road King windscreen yet I was freezing.

Ok, a Kiwi rider may be more used to the cold than a Queenslander, but it seems to show that the shirt actually works.

Mind you, the men’s and women’s tops are expensive at more than $300. But what price a warm body on a cold riding day!

Actually pricing is quite complex. They say $303.48–$312.17, depending on size. That’s in NZ$ and includes 15% GST. However, if you order in Australia, they will cost about $A300, even though you won’t pay the GST. That’s because you have to factor in the favourable exchange rate and postage.

Kiwi ingenuity

The material was invented by Glenn Rodgers and includes a combination of modern wind-cheating fabrics with the warmth of good, old Kiwi Merino wool.

“My business partner David Walsh and myself have been riding for many years, throughout the seasons, but winter rides were frustrating because of the thick, knitted jerseys I needed to wear to keep warm,” says Glenn.

“The only clothing available was bulky and cumbersome and I would hunch my shoulders forward to create an air gap across my chest to create an insulating cap.”

This practical, artificial solution was the spark that ignited Glenn’s quest for a better riding shirt.

He needed one that was warm, not too bulky and windproof, especially on the front.

Glenn teamed with his mother and experienced seamstress Lorraine to produce several prototypes.

Together with business partner David they settled on Hydrotex windproof material to keep out the wind chill.

However, after a cold overnight ride home from a Bruce Springsteen concert, Glenn decided on extra insulation.

“I made a decision to add a layer for insulation but it proved to be challenging to find material that would be self-supporting and not start sagging at the bottom, once you put it in the wash,” he says.

They finally settled on American Thinsulate as a thin insulating layer between the Merino and Hydrotex.

The shirt also has a super soft double-merino snood or neck sock cleverly incorporated into the design.

The Kiwi company plans to launch into the North American and European markets in coming months.

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Willie G visits for Harley Aussie centenary

Tue, 21/03/2017 - 3:00pm

Harley-Davidson legend Willie G. Davidson is heading Down Under in May to celebrate the centenary of the American motorcycle company in Australia.

He will ride from the Morgan & Wackers Harley dealership in Brisbane on May 5 in recognition of the establishment of the dealership in 2017.

M&W is the second-oldest Harley-Davidson dealer in the world, the oldest Harley dealer outside the USA, and Australia’s oldest motorcycle dealership, for any brand of bike.

The Morgan & Wackers dealership was family owned until 2012 when it was sold to MC Holdings who operate the TeamMoto dealerships and Harley dealerships in Sydney and Canberra.

Centenary ride

The centenary ride will head to Gasoline Alley dealership in Slacks Creek, then the Gold Coast Morgan & Wacker dealers.

Willie G. will then fly to Sydney for media interviews, before riding to Melbourne to officially open the new Harley Heaven shop.

His centenary ride will take him via Canberra and country dealerships so there will be plenty of opportunity for fans to grab an autograph from the styling icon.

We will provide more details closer to the events.

Who is Willie G?

Willie G. is the grandson of company co-founder Willian A. Davidson. He made his name as the designer of many important custom models such as the Super Glide, Low Rider and many of the company logos, apparel designs and jewellery.

He is also credited with saving the company when he and several executives bought back Harley-Davidson from American Machine and Foundry (AMF) in 1981.

He retired in 2012 as chief stylist, but still consults and has an office at Harley HQ in Milwaukee where he designs various logos, but isn’t involved in bike design.

If you’ve loved Harleys over the years, you should be a Willie G. fan.

I must admit to being a Willie G. groupie and have interviewed him at the 105th and 110th Harley-Davidson anniversaries in Milwaukee, even asking him to sign my hat.

Corporate bonds

Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson executives will meet with asset managers in Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore on March 27, 2017, to gauge interest in investing in the company.

The American company is considering issuing its first limited corporate bond outside the United States to expand their investor base.

They believe Australian investors would be keen to purchase debt from a large international issuer as they rarely issue in Australia because credit markets are more attractive in the US and Europe.

Harley will need investor support to help finance COO Matt Levatich’s recent promise of 50 new models in the next five years.

Two of those 50 models ave already been unveiled: the Road King Special and 750cc Street Rod.

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Camera to replace motorcycle mirrors?

Tue, 21/03/2017 - 6:00am

A new helmet rearview camera system is safer than conventional mirrors, according to four-time World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty.

In this video, the world champ says the British Zona camera system means he can concentrate on the road ahead while still keeping an eye on the rear vision via a screen in his periphery vision.

The British start-up claims they will guarantee to start shipping on June 30, 2017, at £175 (about A$280) for this who pre-order and £225 (about A$360) after release.

It’s basically a head-up display system just for rear vision, not for other information such as speed and satnav instructions as proposed in some of the other head-up display systems proposed.

Other developers include BMW, KTM, BikeHUD, Seemore and Skully which failed when company directors squandered their crowd-funding funds on fast cars and women.

But this is not a crowd-funding project. It seems it is going to production and with Carl’s endorsement it seems to be legitimate.

We’re not sure whether this sort of technology will consign motorcycle mirrors to the history books, but we can understand some of the advantages.

Inventor and rider John Hale says he decided to make the system after “too many close calls” on his bike.

“The inherent problem with motorcycles is that the mirrors just do not work very well,” John says. “You’ve got a very small reflected image and, because of the position of the mirrors, mostly you’re seeing your elbows.”

We agree that many motorcycles have mirrors that are too low, too small, obscured by your elbows, or vibrate so much because of the engine that all you see is a blur.

The Zona system uses a small camera on the back of the helmet that transmits an image via a secure wireless link to the receiver/battery unit.

The video signal is decoded and then shown to the rider on a screen fitted to the end of a flexible arm fitted inside your helmet.

The flexible arm should allow you to position it just right so it isn’t a distraction but can be seen in your periphery vision.

It sounds like it would make you go cross-eyed, but Zona claims their optics fool the eye into focusing on the screen as though it was about three metres away.

You can also store the video in case you want to review it or use it in evidence after a crash.

Zona says it will fit most helmets. It seems the flexible arm will even allow it to be used on open-face and modular helmets, unlike some other systems previously proposed.

They are also offering a 28-day money back guarantee and £50 cash back and interest free credit for approved British motorcycle insurance.

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Two-stroke engines making comeback

Mon, 20/03/2017 - 5:00pm

Two-stroke engines were phased out by tough pollution laws and fuel economy targets, but they could be making a comeback with KTM, Honda and boutique builders.

KTM and Honda have both registered patents for direct-injection two-stroke engines.

In 2015, Honda filed a patent for a new two-stroke motor using direct fuel injection for a cleaner burn and better piston cooling.

Their patent injects the fuel close to top dead centre, after the exhaust valve has closed, so unburnt fuel doesn’t go out with the exhaust. The result is higher efficiency, less unburned fuel and reduced emissions.

Valve actuation is by pushrod, so it is unlikely to be a high-performance motorcycle engine. It is more likely to be employed in environmentally sound commuter bikes.

However, we are yet to see this patent being used in production.

Now KTM has filed a patent for a fuel-injected two-stroke engine that they plan to introduce to their enduro range from May.

The KTM system uses Transfer Port Injection with the fuel injected into the intake rather than the compression chamber.

KTM says the engine should reduce or eliminate unburnt fuel getting into the exhaust, which means a cleaner burn.

KTM’s two-stroke patent

The system also dispenses with pre-mixing oil and fuel.

KTM will make 250cc and 300cc versions as early as May.

Meanwhile, German company Ronax and Switzerland ‘s Suter Racing are making super-expense two-stroke racers.

The Ronax 500 is powered by a fuel-injected 500cc two-stroke V4 with 119kW at 11,500rpm but weighs only 145kg (dry) with its aluminium beam chassis, banana-tyre aluminium swingarm and carbonfibre bodywork.

Ronax 500 two-stroke superbike

Only 46 will be built and the price is $144,000 plus taxes, freight, duties, etc.

Suter Racing has developed a 576cc two-stroke MMX 500 which blows the Ronax 500 away with 145.5kW of power and weighing only 127kg.

Suter MMX 500 two-stroke

The undersquare engine (56 x 58.5mm) would also have a mass of torque.

It features a six-speed cassette gearbox, dry SuterClutch and tailor-made CNC aluminum twin spar frame and swingarm developed through Suter competing in MotoGP and World Superbikes.

Only 99 will be built and the asking price is $US123,500.

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Strong and sexy world of motorbikes

Mon, 20/03/2017 - 1:00pm

From the bizarre and sometimes shocking world of motorcycles comes a strong man restraining four motorcycles, a Scarlett woman and others making love to and on them!

Strong man

Former World’s Strongest Man competitor Franz “Austrian Rock” Muellner has set a new record for restraining four superbikes pulling at his arms and legs for 24 seconds.

He set the record on the weekly Guinness World Records Italian Show.

The riders were Italian road racer Fabrizio Pirovano, European Superstock champion Lorenzo Alfonsi, and former Grand Prix motorcycle road racers Alessandro Gramigni and Paolo Casoli.

Sexy man

A Thai man, aged 26, has been arrested after CCTV footage showed him “having sex” with three motorcycles.

One victim said her motorcycle was “raped” twice after the man cut a hole in the motorcycle seat.

Police said the man admitted assaulting the motorcycles because he was drunk and needed release.

He was charged with damaging property and obscenity.

Sex on bike

 

A video has surfaced showing a young couple appearing to have sex on a motorbike as it speeds along a highway in Encarnacion, Paraguay’s third largest city.

Police are apparently attempting to track down the man and woman, who could face a fine of 3 million Paraguayan Guarani (about $540) if they are caught.

Scarlett woman

Scarlett Johansson rides a Honda NM4 in her latest sci-fi movie, Ghost in the Shell.

The Honda NM4 is a weird cross between a scooter and a cruiser and is only available for sale in the US and Asia.

We reckon it’s about as sexy as a Dyson vacuum cleaner, but for the movie they made a lot of styling changes to make it more aggressive.

If anything can make it look sexy, it’s Scralett Johansson!

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Things you should know about an oil filter

Mon, 20/03/2017 - 8:51am

Any machinery that uses hydraulics must have an oil filter to sieve and get rid of contaminants (dirt mostly) that could be harmful to your engine.

All engines have a combustion chamber to burn fuel which enables locomotion or action.

Now think of the oil in the locomotive as blood in the human body. What would happen if your body didn’t have kidneys to perform the blood-filtration process? You could die or end up on a dialysis machine. 

The same thing happens to hydraulic machinery. There must be oil filters for them to function properly and not break down or even “die”! 

The first oil filter was not complicated. It had a screen positioned at the oil pump. It was named the Purolator and oil had to pass through it before entering the engine.

But there was a big problem with the filter. During cold weather, an engine can be deprived of fuel due to a lack of lubrication of the pressurised systems. But that was not the case when it came to the first oil filter. Some engine mechanisms created room for sticky oil to bypass the filter which meant that all the dirt went through as well.

Types of Oil Filter designs

  • Mechanical oil filters: The worst kind of filters because they required regular changing due to a blockage of the filter paper by contaminants. The more the pile of dirt on the filter paper, the less oil passes through so you are left with no choice but to change the filter.
  • Magnetic oil filters: The powerful electromagnet in magnetic oil filters attracts and traps any material that is ferromagnetic found in the oil before it goes into the engine through the large centre opening.
  • Sedimentation oil filter: Gravity plays a huge role in making particles heavier or denser than the oil so they settle down the bottom. The problem was lighter contaminants could still get inside the engine.
  • Spin-on Oil Filter: They work like a milk centrifuge, but with a seal and special type of bearing. The filter rotates at high speed so large particles settle.

So, all oil filters are not made the same or have the same quality or cost.

Difference between paper and plastic oil filters

The main reason people prefer a plastic oil filter is that the material used to make the filter is synthetic, making it durable. It also holds more oil and is more efficient than paper-based oil filters.    

Reasons to change oil filters and oil

Regular oil filter and oil changes will lengthen engine life.

Your engine needs regular servicing and on these occasions you should also change your engine oil.

However, the filter media is prone to clogging due to contaminants. When this happens, the lubrication pressure system will strain your engine due to a lack of oil.

So you may need to change the oil and filter more frequently than regular service intervals.

If you notice white smoke coming out of the exhaust or your vehicle is starting to lose power, it may be time for a change.

Also, if you ride off-road frequently, you may consider changing your engine oil and filter more frequently.

Conclusion

Not all oil filters are made the same or are of the same quality.  You should give them a regular check and ensure your oil is clean.

When an oil filter operates well, your engine is better protected from contaminants.

Engine oil filters are not that expensive when you consider the expensive damage that could be done to your oil by a clogged filter.

 Sponsored post

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Simulator helps design cheaper bikes

Mon, 20/03/2017 - 6:00am

Motorcycle simulator software is now helping one manufacturer develop their motorcycles for the road which could make their bikes a little cheaper.

British software rFpro will allow the unnamed motorcycle manufacturer to evaluate and develop chassis configurations quicker and cheaper.

Company technical director Chris Hoyle says it can evaluate alternative chassis configurations using riders with different styles and ability levels in a controlled and safe environment.

He says the test riders can explore the limits of the motorcycle without risking an expensive crash.

Other cost-saving advantages of simulator testing over real-world testing are that it can compare the bike’s behaviour around various test tracks without shipping the bike and rider to those countries.

Testing is also available year round without being interrupted by the weather.

Left and right eye virtual reality output from rFpro

The application is being developed for a “confidential customer” by system integrator Ansible Motion.

We hope the cost savings of the software are passed on through the manufacturer to customers!

It would also be great if the software could also be applied to existing bikes so novice riders could learn handling and road craft.

The British company’s simulator software has previously been used on everything from F1 cars to commercial vehicles.

However, Chris says the motorcycle application raised new challenges.

“Simulating the dynamics of a motorcycle accurately is incredibly challenging due to the mobility of the rider and the unique steering characteristics of the vehicle,” he said.

“By working alongside a motorcycle manufacturer to create our technology we have been able to develop and validate solutions to these hurdles and so enable DIL simulation to significantly reduce development time and cost.”

Major differences arise between motorcycle applications and other vehicles, because of the completely different steering dynamics and the freedom of the rider to move around on the machine. In a car, the steering angle is an input from the driver and the steer torque is fed back to him as a system output. On a motorcycle the opposite happens; the rider applies a steering torque to the handlebars and the vehicle model calculates the appropriate steering angle for the front wheel.

Hoyle says the rider also has a higher field of vision which required a more complex graphics system.

“A car driver is restricted by the windows, bonnet and roofline; he can look around freely, but only upwards and downwards through a range of 20-30 degrees,” he says.

“The motorcycle rider can look anywhere, even down at the road surface, and once banked into a turn, because the rider is still upright on the motion platform, the horizon must be banked over to provide the correct visual cues.”

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Which motorcycle jeans have most protection?

Sun, 19/03/2017 - 5:00pm

A war of words has broken out between Australia motorcycle clothing companies Draggin Jeans and Saint over which motorcycle jeans offer the best protection.

A Draggin Jeans spokesman contacted us a coupe of weeks ago saying they would issue a press release debunking protection claims by Saint.

The promised release was delayed several times, but eventually has arrived as this magazine advertising campaign which doesn’t name Saint at all.

Claims and counterclaims

Draggin Jeans disputes Saint’s CE-approval and 5.9-second abrasion claim for their new single-layer Unbreakable 6 jeans. 

They told us they would complain to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission about the claims.

They say Saint’s testing was not done on the right equipment and have submitted their own sample to Deakin Uni, claiming the result was closer to 3.14 seconds.

Saint says their original single-layer denim was CE rated to 3.69 seconds.

Draggin says the CE approval quoted for that material is the same as protection approval standards for gardening gloves, not for motorcycle clothing.

But Saint says their new Unbreakable 6 is the first single-layer jean in the world that has an all-over CE EN13595 certified single-layer denim.

And in May, they will release the first single layer CE EN13595 certified single-layer stretch denim.

They say the material is tested by two different European protection standards agencies: Dolomiticert in Italy and Satra Technology Centre in the United Kingdom.

Draggin says that last year they conducted 149 impact abrasion tests at one lab on their gear as well as competitor brand jeans.

“We also conducted testing at four other test labs in Europe,” the spokesman says.

“No other brands do this. We do this testing so that we can be 100% confident of the performance of Draggin as well as comfortable with the numbers that we publish on competitor product.”

Stronger

Another claim Draggin questioned when they spoke to us is that Saint jeans are 200 times stronger than normal jeans. They say Saint should stipulate that they are talking about durability in normal wearing conditions compared with standard jeans, not under riding or crashing conditions. 

Saint agrees the wording could be misconstrued, but says it is “semantics”.

Some readers have complained to us that their Draggin Jeans have a short life and fall apart quicker than standard jeans.

However, we have several pairs of Draggin Jeans and have not had that happen, despite being washed numerous times and ridden in harsh weather conditions.

Melting point

Draggin also claims Saint’s singe-layer denim material with a high blend of Dyneema (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene or UHMWP) has a low melting point and can melt on to your skin in a slide or even if your jeans touch an exhaust pipe.

However, the melting point of UHMWP is around 130°C, which seems pretty high to us. We have also tested this claim by pressing the material directly on to a hot exhaust pipe for several seconds and found no signs of melting.

However, I have burnt a hole in a pair of Draggin Hydro Roomoto pants.

Single layer Vs patch protection

The idea of a single-layer protective denim is certainly attractive.

Draggin has also been working on a single-layer denim, but says they are not yet happy with the results.

Instead, their jeans have patches of kevlar protection in the most vulnerable areas.

Critics claim this is not good enough because as you slide down the road, your loose pants may twist around and expose your skin through areas with no protection.

Conclusion?

The war of words does not clear up the issue for riders, but could just make us more confused.

And it may not be resolved until the independent rating system for motorcycle protective clothes being developed by Deakin University and the Neuroscience Research Australia is finished and accepted. There is no timeline for that, either.

Meanwhile, we will have to make our own choices based on the information provided on labels.

My cupboard is full of motorcycle jeans from Draggin, Saint, Neds, DriRider, Shark, Icon, Harley-Davidson and more. Some have CE labels, some don’t. 

The labels are confusing, anyway, and often printed with such small type as to be impossible to read.

I haven’t crash-tested any of them for their protection values and I hope I never have to.

Like many riders, I take a calculated risk about riding pants.

Almost all protective riding jeans are too hot to wear about six months of the year in Queensland, so I usually choose to take my chances with a cool pair of normal jeans.

At least I am comfortable enough to concentrate on my riding and not distracted by thoughts of how I would prefer to just turn around and go home so I can cool off in the pool.

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