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Hertz Ride offers motorcycle hire

Sat, 24/02/2018 - 11:41am

Famous US car hire company Hertz has widened its business network to include a motorcycle hire and tour service in Europe and the USA called Hertz Hire.

It offers hire services of a range of BMW GS, RT and R nineT models in Spain, Portugal and France, with Italy to be added this year.

Together with adventure motorcycle accessories company Touratech AG of Germany, Hertz Ride also operates road and off-road tours.

They offer up to a dozen self-guided and guided tours, from four to nine days in Belgium, France, Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Spain.

Marketing spokesman Michael Pereira says it is “not another Hertz Collection”.

“Hertz Ride was launched as a startup activity independent from the traditional rent-a-car business,” he says.

“The motorcycle industry and its set of values are indicative of an urban tribe, a highly emotional community engaged through its main passion.

“The understanding of this concept is key to the success of this new venture for Hertz.”

Hertz Ride started in 2011 as a motorbike collection in Portugal only. It was later registered in the USA and launched in Spain in 2015 when they signed an agreement with Touratech AG for protection parts and accessories.

In 2016, it was launched in France and this year will extend to Italy.

Michael says their plan is to to be the “biggest and the most successful rent-a-bike and moto touring provider in the world”.

Click here for more details.

Hertz history

Hertz began hiring cars in France in 1918 with a fleet of 12 Model T Fords.

Today, The Hertz Corporation has corporate, licensee and franchise locations in Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The post Hertz Ride offers motorcycle hire appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Axe plans for hi-vis and older learners, says RTR

Sat, 24/02/2018 - 11:14am

Plans to mandate hi-vis clothing for learners and raise the motorcycle learner permit age to 18 have been slammed by a South Australian rider representative group.

Ride to Review spokesman Tim Kelly (pictured above) says the group has prepared a lengthy submission to the government over new licensing proposals, some of which they agree with and others they oppose.

They also make several counter proposals such as allowing novice riders to lane filter to protect themselves from rear-enders.

The South Australian Government is considering a range of proposals from the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) based on a 2014 Austroads paper.

They include raising the rider age to 18 and mandating L & P plates, high-vis clothing and a night curfew for novices.

The deadline for public submissions has now passed.

Age limit plans

The Ride to Review submission says there is no research to support plans to increase the age limit for learner riders.

They propose that learner eligibility remain at 16 years “with additional focus on cognitive development and higher-order-thinking skills as part of the training processes”.

Plates and filtering

While the Ride to Review submission agrees with mandatory L and P plates, they say novice riders will be put a greater risk of rear-end collisions in traffic, as they will be ineligible to lane filter if required to display a ‘P’ Plate.

They propose that current lane-filtering legislation be updated to permit riders displaying P plates to filter.

Hi-vis clothing

The submission opposes plans to follow Victoria’s mandatory high-visibility closing for learner riders.

They point to several studies that find no conclusive proof that hi-vis reduces “Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You” (SMIDSY) crashes.

Ride to Review’s submission recommends more comprehensive road craft training for riders to increase their conspicuity on the road.

“Being more aware of other road users’ blind spots in a variety of on-road situations …  will provide greater assistance towards motorcyclist conspicuity,” their submission says.

They also recommend that novice motorists be trained to look out for vulnerable road users.

Night curfew

The submission agrees that night time riding poses greater risks, but objects to the proposed midnight to 5am curfew as it does not reflect peak crash times and days.

It posts to Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) research that show peak motorcycle crash times are on weekends between 2 and 6pm.

Ride to Review proposes a weekend-only night time curfew with an exemption for riders using a motorcycle for transportation to and from work where public transport is not available.

Full submission

For those interested we have published the full Ride to Review submission to proposed Centre for Automotive Safety Research changes in the motorcycle graduated licensing system (GLS).

It was compiled by the group’s management committee with input from more than 2100 members and supporters, and research from Road Safety, Education and Psychological experts from within Australia, and internationally.

CLICK HERE To read the full proposal.

The post Axe plans for hi-vis and older learners, says RTR appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Ride to Review licensing submission

Sat, 24/02/2018 - 11:09am

This is the full text of the Ride to Review submission to proposed South Australia Centre for Automotive Safety Research changes in the motorcycle graduated licensing system (GLS).

It was compiled by the group’s management committee with input from more than 2100 members and supporters, and research from Road Safety, Education and Psychological experts from within Australia, and internationally.

Click here for the brief overview.

1.1 Three stage hierarchical model

GLS Elements Recommended by Christie (Austroads, 2014)

Recommendation: As South Australia already has a three stage hierarchical model in place, which parallels the car GLS and is consistent with other Australian jurisdictions, there is no need for change.

RTR response


  • Motorcycle licensing should follow the requirements of Learner, Red P, Green P, full licence, as is currently for obtaining a car licence.
1.2 Requirement for 12 months car licence tenure

Recommendations: In Victoria, a prospective motorcyclist must be 18 years old before being able to apply for a learner motorcycle permit. The required age for a car learner permit is 16; the required age for a probationary car licence is 18. The Victorian system most likely effectively encourages people to learn to drive a car before a motorcycle but does not mandate it. This option would appear to be fairer for those who wish only to ride a motorcycle. It is also likely that the greatest benefit of the car licence prior to attaining a motorcycle licence class is by-product of a delay in exposure and greater maturation at an older age. These can be achieved by simply mandating an older learner permit age without mandating a car licence first. It is therefore recommended that South Australia follow the Victorian system. Accordingly, the minimum age for a motorcycle learner permit in South Australia should be raised to 18 but a minimum tenure with a car licence should not be a requirement for applying for a motorcycle permit.

RTR response

– While Queensland’s motorcyclist GLS requires applicants to have a minimum tenure of one year on a car licence before being eligible to obtain a motorcycle learners permit, “no specific evaluation of the measure has yet been undertaken” (Christie, p 25, 2014), so arguing that this has had a positive impact on fatalities and/or serious injuries to the under 18 age bracket is a tenuous link at best.

– The recommendation that the applicant minimum age be raised to 18 when, statistically, South Australia rider deaths in this age bracket are negligible, especially when compared to the 30 – 45 year age bracket, or the ‘returning rider’ group, predominantly in the over 45 year age bracket, is one that RTR is unable to support.

– Raising rider eligibility to 18 is a move that will have a negative impact on economic, social and sporting access and opportunities.

– Access to employment opportunities for young people with limited funding for a car, and being unable to access public transport due to geographical factors, will be reduced.

– Access to participation in many off-road motorsport pursuits will be denied if applicants are unable to obtain a learners permit at the current entry level, as many of these pursuits require transit via public roads or use public roads as part of their courses.

– Access to social pursuits for many regional and rural young people will be denied through lack of public transport options.

– While it is acknowledged that young people often lack the cognitive skills and neurological development to navigate the complexities of cause and effect in, potentially, higher risk situations, than that of being in a car, training and support as outlined by Glendon (An approach to novice driver training, 2014) with strategies such as testing for ‘risk taking’ propensity, competence in dealing with hazards and hazard perception, ‘fast tracking’ the development of mental imagery appropriate to high hazard environments, and including the role that mentoring can play in supporting young people with appropriate decision making in high risk situations in a ‘safe’ (supervised) environment has the same potential to mitigate the risk of fatality and/or serious injury that is being proposed by a nominal 2 years of maturation for a young person.

– While CASR has acknowledged, through research that is now almost 20 years old and not based on the Generation Y cognitive development, that “riders older than 25 had less than half the risk of those aged 15 – 19”, the researchers, Mullin et al, concluded that greater riding experience was the reason for this, without acknowledging the role that cognitive neuroscience plays in the risk assessment and decision making process (Glendon 2014, Westwell 2011 – Cognitive Neuroscience: implications for career development strategies and interventions) With cognitive supports and training as part of the rider safe courses for licensing, or as part of a post learner mentoring/coaching program, the negative impacts of raising the eligibility age to 18, as listed above, need never need to be felt.

RTR counter proposes that learner eligibility remain at 16 years with additional focus on cognitive development and higher order thinking skills as part of the training processes.

RTR proposes a consultative and collaborative approach to the re-development of RiderSafe courses for Learner and R-Date riders.

1.3 Minimum tenure periods for learner and intermediate phases

Recommendation: The aim of a GLS is to ensure that novices obtain experience in low risk conditions for a considerable period before advancing to less restrictive licensing phases. Having a minimum tenure period for each phase of a motorcycle GLS would help serve this objective, along with the imposition of various restrictions advocated in the present report for the learner and intermediate phases. It is recommended that the learner phase should have a minimum tenure of six months, and intermediate phase (R-Date licence) should have a minimum tenure of three years. These periods should apply regardless of other licences held, and regardless of age.

RTR Response

Agree to 6 months tenure for Learners Permit

Agree to 3 years tenure for R-date licence for riders under the age of 21 years and 6 months (if learner entry remains at 16 years of age)

RTR counter proposes If a learner rider is already over the age of 21 and 6 months, the R-date tenure should only be 2 years as this reflects their greater maturity level, cognitive abilities and potential for having greater road user experience through holding a car licence previously.

– For riders who complete their 3 years tenure on R-date but are still under the age of 21 and 6 months, they will obtain full unrestricted user conditions, with the exception of the ability to ride a non-LAMS motorcycle, as this is comparable to young drivers being unable to drive high powered vehicles until reaching the age of 25

– Full unrestricted licence conditions will only be achieved if the end of the R-date tenure falls after the rider has obtained 21 years and 6 months of age

1.4 Clean record for graduation to next GLS level

Recommendation: Currently, in South Australia, as elsewhere in Australia, behaviour during the GLS for car drivers and motorcyclist is controlled through lower demerit point limits than apply for full licences. The demerit point limits are likely to be sufficiently low that they effectively require very low rates of nonoffending. If these low limits are also applied to the longer minimum periods of tenure in the different GLS phases recommended above (2.3), then novice riders will have to maintain long periods of nonoffending in order to progress through the GLS. For this reason, it is not necessary to recommend minimum offence-free periods before graduation to subsequent GLS phases.

RTR Response


1.5 Display of distinctive plates

Recommendation: South Australia should require riders with an R-Date licence class to display P plates whilst riding.

RTR Response

Agreed that Learner riders need to display an ‘L’ Plate while riding

Agreed that R-date riders display a Red P for the first 12 months, if over the age of 21 and 6 months, or first 24 months, if under the age of 21 and 6 months (given that the learner eligibility age remain at 16 years).

– All R-date holders must display a Green P for the final 12 months of their R-date tenure

– As this will put a far greater number of riders at risk of rear end collisions while travelling in traffic, as they will be ineligible to undertake lane filtering if required to display a ‘P’ Plate, RTR proposes that current lane filtering legislation be updated to permit riders displaying P plates to filter

  • As it is currently part of the R-date course that riders are required to control their motorcycle while travelling at low speed (the situation for lane filtering), riders holding an R-date licence have been taught the necessary skills to undertake this manoeuvre safely.
1.6 Mandatory carriage of licence

Recommendation: Strict mandatory carriage of licence laws could be considered in South Australia for all operators of motor vehicles, which includes motorcyclists. These laws would remove the opportunity for motorists to produce their licence at a later date or time and may help deter unlicensed motorcycle riding.

RTR Response

  • Agreed
1.7 No carriage of pillion passengers

Recommendation: As a pillion is likely to make riding more difficult for a novice, both in terms of maintenance of balance and as a potential source of distraction, and as pillions have a greater risk of serious injury than riders in the event of a crash, it is recommended that South Australia prohibit riders on learner permits and R-Date licences from carrying pillion passengers.

RTR Response

Agreed to no carriage of pillion passengers for Learner riders

Partially agree to no carriage of pillion passengers for R-date riders

RTR counter proposes If R-date tenure is to be extended, pillion passengers should only be permitted in the final year of tenure (whether this be year 3 for a rider under the age of 21 and 6 months, or year 2 for a rider over the age of 21 and 6 months), while the rider is displaying their Green P plates

– The R-date course must include the training of riders in both how to be a pillion, and how to train a pillion, so that safe carriage will be undertaken once licensing conditions permit, exemplified in the Northern Territory’s intermediate course to obtain a restricted motorcycle licence.

1.8 Night-time Curfew

Recommendation: Night time curfews for novice drivers have been enacted in South Australia without a marked loss of mobility, and initial results are suggestive of a decline in night time crashes among this group. Currently, riders with an R Date licence who are under 25 years of age, and who are without a car licence or only hold a P1 car licence, are prohibited from riding between midnight and 5am. This restriction would ideally be expanded to include all riders without a full motorcycle licence. However, as the car GLS specifies only those under the age of 25, it would arguably be inequitable to apply the motorcycle night restrictions to riders of all ages. However, it should be applied to all appropriately aged riders with an R Date licence regardless of other licences held. It should also be applied to all riders with a learner permit, regardless of other licences held and regardless of age

RTR Response

– while it is accepted that night time riding poses greater risks to a rider, not only from other vehicles who may ‘look but fail to see’ a rider, but also from wildlife and other road hazards that are not present during the day, the total restriction from night time riding from midnight to 5am is not reflective of peak crash times and days.

– The Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) outlined in their Motorcycle Safety fact sheet of May 2012 that peak crash times occurred on the weekends, and between 2 and 6pm.

– “Crashes involving a motorcycle fatality peak in the day (9am to 3pm) and evening (3pm to 9pm). One third of fatal motorcycle crashes occur on a weekend between 9am Saturday and 9pm Sunday.” Motorcycling Safety BITRE May 2017.

RTR counter proposes that a weekend night time curfew be put in place (from midnight until 5am) for learner riders, irrespective of other licences held, and R-date riders displaying Red P plates and being under the age of 21 and 6 month, to be comparable to the rules for probationary car drivers. This is also reflective of peak crash times and days for motorcycle riders.

– Exemptions to this need to be made for those riders using a motorcycle for transportation to and from employment only, where alternative opportunities, such as public transport, do not exist.

1.9 Zero BAC

Recommendation: There is a strong relationship between alcohol consumption and crash involvement among motorcyclists, and a zero BAC when riding a motorcycle is a requirement as part of the GLS in the majority of Australian jurisdictions. Therefore, it is recommended that all

riders with a learner permit or R-Date licence, irrespective of other licences held, must have a zero BAC when riding.

RTR Response

  • Agreed
1.10 No towing of Trailers

Recommendation: Given that towing may increase risk for novice riders and that few riders would be negatively affected by prohibition of towing, is recommended that a towing restriction be put in place for riders with a learner permit. It would be reasonable to permit towing for riders with an R-Date licence.

RTR Response

Agreed for Learner riders

RTR counter proposes that R-date riders should only be allowed to tow a trailer in the final year of their R-date tenure, while displaying Green P plates, if tenure is extended beyond current terms.

1.11 No use of mobile phone or other communication device

Recommendation: Mobile phone use, whether hand-held or hands-free, is known to impair driving related tasks. All phone use while driving has therefore been prohibited for novice car drivers within the South Australian GLS. This should be extended to all novice riders (learners and R Date) within the motorcycle GLS, irrespective of other licences held

RTR Response

Agreed regarding mobile phone use – hands free or hand held

RTR counter proposes that other communication devices such as rider to rider communication and GPS navigation should be permitted as these have benefit to a rider when being mentored/coached, and for navigation purposes.

– Novice car drivers are able to take GPS navigation instruction and communicate with passengers, so this will keep restrictions comparable.

1.12 Lower demerit point threshold for licence disqualification

Recommendation: It is recommended that the lower demerit point thresholds that are applied in the learner phase also be applied when the rider holds an R Date licence. However, if a minimum three-year tenure is required for R Date licences, then consideration should be given to demerit point limits per year rather than across the entire tenure of the R Date phase.

RTR Response


1.13 Automatic transmission restriction for novice riders

Recommendation: There is a sound theoretical basis for requiring that a rider demonstrate competency on a manual motorcycle before being licensed to ride one. South Australia should adopt the restriction to an automatic motorcycle if tested on one that applies in the majority of other jurisdictions in Australia. This should be the case for both the learner permit and R-Date licence

RTR Response


1.14 Enhanced visibility requirements

Recommendation: Requiring learner riders to wear high visibility clothing should provide a benefit not only in aiding conspicuity but also would alert other motorists to the inexperienced nature of the rider. As such riders are likely to still be learning road craft (including positioning), their feeling complacent about their visibility is less likely. South Australia should follow the lead of Victoria and require that motorcyclists with a learner permit wear high visibility clothing when riding.

RTR Response

RTR does not agree with this recommendation

– As outlined in the CARR-Q ‘State of the Road’ fact sheet, 2012, 58% of fatal motorcycle crashes involved another vehicle. In multi-vehicle crashes, the other vehicle was most often at fault. Commonly, this involved violations of the motorcyclist’s right of way – highlighting the importance of defensive riding skills and active risk management for riders.

– At no point is the use of HiViz suggested as a way to mitigate these violations.

– A Victorian parliamentary enquiry into motorcycle safety in 2014 failed to find conclusive correlation between the wearing of HiViz clothing on a motorcycle and increased conspicuity on the road, as the confounds of studies such as HURT and MAIDS, and the, now over a decade old, NZ study used to justify this recommendation, are that those who voluntarily wear HiViz clothing are likely more conservative by nature in their riding style to maintain conspicuity on the road.

– Recent research by the Australian National University has purported the ‘look but fail to see’ phenomenon towards motorcyclists, irrespective of headlights or clothing worn.

– Motorcycles, being small and often faster moving than other vehicles, are not perceived as a ‘threat’ when information from the eyes is processed by the amygdala (lizard brain – area that processes the ‘fight or flight’ response), thus often producing the ‘look but fail to see’ reaction from car drivers.

– Cognitively a person will retain approx. 80% of what they have personally experienced, thus alerting the brain to its relevance – meaning that those who have ridden motorcycles, or have them as part of their ‘awareness’ will be far more likely to see them in traffic and on-road situations. This is supported by research conducted by numerous insurance companies in the UK, concluding that those who ride motorcycles are 30% less likely to make a claim for a car incident. The University of Nottingham concurs in its 2012 paper “Driving experience and situation awareness in hazard detection” that motorcyclists have up to 50% greater hazard detection when in a car than those who only drive a car.

– Australia Post, who’s delivery staff are all required to wear HiViz, has no significant data to support the wearing of HiViz either. Some regions report no significant change in incidents. Some report a reduction in incidents – it’s subjective. Australia Post reports a reduction overall, but they can’t account for whether it was the hi viz, the extra safety training or whether reporting has dropped due to disincentives of more detailed investigations and remedial programs following a reported incident.

– As the brain detects movement before registering colour it is recommended by RTR that more comprehensive training be undertaken on-road at learner and R-date level to instill road craft skills and the necessity for greater conspicuity on the road. Being more aware of other road users blind spots in a variety of on-road situations, eg dual carriageway, multi-carriageway, in filtering situations, etc, will provide greater assistance towards motorcyclist conspicuity to other road users than the wearing of HiViz clothing – particularly in urban areas where there is a plethora of visual distractions and colours along carriageways.

In addition, since, as reported by CARRS-Q, and outlined above, in over half of motorcycle fatalities another vehicle is involved, and overwhelmingly, in these cases, it is the fault of the car driver violating the motorcyclist’s right of way – providing opportunities for car drivers to be more aware of motorcycles on the road by adding greater emphasis on specifically looking for them as part of the on-road learner phase (whether this is through formal instruction, or parental instruction) will share the responsibility for conspicuity in incidents between cars and motorcycles.

1.15 Mandatory protective clothing requirements

Recommendation: The use of protective clothing is a proven countermeasure for particular types of injury and its wider use by motorcyclists would be likely to have a benefit for road safety outcomes. However, the rating of the protective benefit of particular articles of motorcycle clothing has yet to be established and such guidance for choosing protective clothing would be essential for the effective operation of a mandatory system. Therefore, mandating the use of protective clothing at this time cannot be recommended, although developments in this field need to be monitored so that such a requirement can be introduced in the future

RTR Response


– While it is acknowledged that protective clothing has effectiveness against some motorcycle injuries, and is strongly encouraged by Ride to Review, the mandating of protective clothing other than helmets (as is currently the case) is highly unlikely to be supported by RTR in the future.

– Standards of protective clothing vary wildly in Australia, and even the adoption of European standards will not bring high quality, affordable, purpose built for motorcycling and weather appropriate clothing to Australia.

– It is currently the remit of insurance companies, in regions such as the UK and USA, to determine coverage and liability based on protective clothing being used. This is not an area for government regulation, either at learner level or beyond.

– Ride to Review would like to see better education and awareness of potential injuries that may result from lack of safety gear which would fall under the category of risk assessment.

1.16 Power to weight ratio/Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme

Recommendation: The LAMS has been in operation in South Australia for over 10 years and is in use in every jurisdiction in Australia, as well as New Zealand. It is recommended that LAMS be retained in South Australia.

RTR Response


1.17 Moped (under 50cc) requirements

Recommendation: In light of the high crash rates per distance travelled with mopeds and the fact that mopeds are exposed to similar risks in traffic to motorcycles, it is recommended that riding a moped without a motorcycle licence in South Australia be prohibited. Those wishing to

ride a moped would have to progress through the motorcycle GLS in the same way as those wishing to ride a scooter or motorcycle

RTR Response

– While it is agreed that moped (under 50cc’s) users need to undertake training as they are currently exposed to the same risks in traffic as a motorcyclist, it is not agreed that they be obligated to undertake the full range of GLS training and restrictions.

– South Australia currently offers a ‘moped rider’ course through its RiderSafe programs.

– This course is currently a voluntary undertaking

RTR counter proposes that this course be made mandatory and a specific ‘moped’ endorsement be added to a rider’s car licence (as is currently done for a rider wishing to ride a Can Am Spyder without a motorcycle licence).

1.18 Novice rider testing

Recommendation: There is a trend towards the requirement for demonstration of riding skills on a road before a rider is permitted to ride on-road unsupervised. This requirement has been recommended by the EU and OECD, and has been adopted in Victoria. South Australia currently requires a demonstration of motorcycling handling abilities off-road. It is recommended that an on-road testing component is added to this. The Victorian test could potentially provide a model for this.

RTR Response

Agreed. RTR wholeheartedly endorses on-road training and testing to be included in accredited training and licensing courses.

– RTR supports the adoption of a Victorian style “Check Ride” component to the R-date course requirements with appropriately trained coaches/mentors.

– RTR also recommend the introduction of external and accredited 3rd party training organisations as prevalent in other states.

Areas that have been marked for further research

2.1 Exit test for novice riders

Recommendation: South Australia currently does not require riders to undertake an exit test before graduating from an R Date to a full, unrestricted motorcycle licence. The arguments in favour of introducing an exit test are largely theoretical in nature: ensuring that riders have gained sufficient experience during the restricted phase to develop a larger skill set for riding without restrictions. It may be that evidence from the evaluation of the new Victorian GLS will provide guidance as to whether the addition of an exit test has benefits. However, at this stage, it is recommended that South Australia retain the automatic progression from an R Date to a full licence if the minimum tenure of the R Date phase is increased to three years.

RTR Response

RTR supports “progression” testing/training to move between Red and Green P plates – this needs to include carriage of a pillion, towing a trailer, further hazard detection for night time riding, slow manoeuvring of a motorcycle and further braking training

RTR counter proposes that riders under the age of 21 and 6 months continue to be restricted to LAMS approved motorcycles upon completion of R-date conditions (on the proviso that Learner eligibility remains at 16) as this will be comparable to novice car drivers being restricted from high powered vehicles until the age of 25.

2.2 Hazard Perception Test (HPT) for novice riders

Recommendation: Motorcyclists should be required to complete the new Austroads Motorcycle HPT as part of the GLS in order to qualify for a learner permit. This should apply regardless of any car licence already held by the rider and regardless of whether the rider has already completed the Car HPT.

RTR Response


In addition, it should be compulsory that all learner rider applicants undertake a basic eye screen test (as is done for road users with prescription lenses) to ensure that their eyesight is 20/20.

– As it is accepted that riders are in a more vulnerable and unprotected position than car drivers it stands to reason that measures such as good eyesight be required.

2.3 Risk-based screening tests

Recommendation: It may be difficult to design a suitable risk-based screening test and even if one could be developed, there is limited evidence for a benefit related to risk based training programs beyond discussions of attitudes, motivations and risks during standard training. A risk based screening test should not be included in a South Australian motorcycle GLS.

RTR Response

RTR counter proposes that risk-based screening tests be used as part of the cognitive assessment for learner riders.

– Further consultation with psychologists and neuroscientists will yield greater support and models for this assessment requirement.

– Risk-based testing, while it may not be able to predict risk taking behaviour with 100% accuracy, does indicate those who have a predilection towards risk-taking behaviours, which provides an opportunity for post course mentoring and coaching, as outlined by Glendon in An Approach to Novice Driver Training, 2014.

Elements not currently recommended by Christie, 2014

3.1 On-road supervision of learner riders

Recommendation: On-road supervision of all learner riders is potentially dangerous through increases in riding exposure and rider distraction, both for the novice and the supervisor. Riders in South Australia already need to demonstrate basic competency prior to riding on public roads with a learner permit. It is recommended that South Australia does not require supervision of learner riders.

RTR Response

Agree, with the provision that on-road training become part of the learner training course or, failing this, far more comprehensive training is undertaken in order to obtain a learner’s permit than is currently delivered through approx. 8 hours of instruction, therefore a review and revamp of the learners course is required.

– If the above-mentioned provisions are unable to be met, RTR does not agree with the above statement

3.2 On-road coaching or mentoring of novice riders

Recommendation: This is a rare case in which considerable effort has been undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of a potential component of a GLS. The findings of the evaluation of the VicRoads on-road coaching trial suggest that on-road coaching or mentoring of newly licensed riders should not be included in a GLS. However, the new Victorian GLS includes coaching of riders with an intermediate licence. It is possible that a compulsory program undertaken with less experienced riders is more effective. Nonetheless, the lack of promising findings in general for on-road coaching make it difficult to support its presence in a GLS. It would be prudent to monitor the outcomes of the Victorian GLS, particularly any that can be related to the on-road coaching component, to allow for consideration at a later date.

RTR Response

RTR counter proposes that post learner, pre R-date, mentoring be undertaken in similar fashion to that of the Victorian ‘Check Ride’ program as it is vital for novice riders to be given appropriate on-road instruction in a ‘safe’ and structured learning environment – as outlined in Glendon, 2014. This also provides opportunity for attitudinal training for younger novice riders in respect to their limited cognitive development in respect to risk-assessment and hazard perception.

– While the Victorian program has not made conclusive links between on-road training and support and a reduction in novice rider incidents, this is likely due to its relatively recent introduction into the Victorian GLS, and is not sufficient reason to discounts its importance to riders when recommending changes to the South Australian GLS system.

– If the argument that a significant link has not been made between coaching and incident reduction, the same argument can be made for the wearing of HiViz, yet that has been included as a recommendation by CASR, and there is far more research done that is inconclusive than around the benefits of on-road coaching/mentoring.

3.3 Mandatory rider training

Recommendation: The experience in Victoria suggests an appetite for pre-learner training among nearly all novice motorcyclists and having a competency assessment prior to riding on the road is consistent with the need for training. By making such training mandatory, it is possible to control the training curriculum, structure and duration, and ensure that all riders are receiving uniform safety messages and equivalent instruction in skills. Such training should include an emphasis also on attitudinal and motivational issues, and control of risk. South Australia already has mandatory pre-learner training and it is recommended that it be retained

RTR Response

Agreed, with provision that the curriculum reflect best practice content and delivery methods, that trainers and training providers are regularly audited for quality assessment and that training delivery be opened up to ‘user choice’ delivery by allowing interstate providers, such as HART and Stay Upright, to deliver the South Australian curriculum to South Australian riders.

RTR proposes a consultative and collaborative approach with the rider community, training providers (private and government) to review and re-develop current training curricula for riders in South Australia.

In Addition:

Review needs to be undertaken on the current speed restrictions on learner riders and moped (under 50cc) riders, as it is a dangerous practice to force riders to travel below the flow of traffic on the open road.

Training for the increasing number of Can Am Spyder (reverse trike) riders needs to be considered at a future date, as there is currently no training for this vehicle.

Can-Am Spyder F3

The current licensing regime for those wishing to ride a Can Am Spyders, but who do not currently have a motorcycle licence, also needs to be reviewed. Step 1

(pre learner)

Step 2

Learner permit

R-date endorsement

Step 3

R-date licence

Step 4

R class licence endorsement

Step 5

Full unrestricted R class licence

Min age 16

Pass the theory test (not required if hold drivers licence)

Pass Basic Ridersafe course

Min age 16

LAMS restricted


Pass advanced Ridersafe course

Pass HPT (not required if hold drivers licence

No pillion unless a qualified supervising rider

If no drivers licence, must hold learners for at least 12 months, 6 months if over 25

Min age 17

LAMS restricted

Hold R-date for at least 12 months

Subject to P1 conditions (not if already hold unrestricted drivers licence)

Min age 18

No LAMS restricted

Period on provisional licence for those without a full car licence

Min age 20

The post Ride to Review licensing submission appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

City transport draft plan ignores motorcycles

Fri, 23/02/2018 - 4:27pm

Motorcycles are not mentioned once in the 128-page Brisbane City Council draft transport plan, yet bicycles are mentioned 25 times.

It is indicative of continued government ignorance of the advantages of motorcycles to traffic flow, air pollution levels, parking accessibility and less strain on existing infrastructure.

However, not all councils are as ignorant as Brisbane.

Melbourne City Council’s transport plan actually encourages motorcycling as a “sustainable form of transport, which assists in reducing traffic congestion”.

And the Motorcycle Council of NSW worked with the City of Sydney to develop a transport policy that addresses the needs and concerns of riders in the CBD.

Footpath parking in Melbourne Council contact

Motorbike Writer contacted several relevant Brisbane councillors and planning, transport and infrastructure committee chairs to ask why motorcycles are ignored in the plan while bicycles are targeted.

So far, the only reply is from Chairman for Infrastructure Cr Amanda Cooper who says submissions are accepted from all transport users, including riders.

She didn’t address why motorcycles were not mentioned in the draft plan.

MRAQ comment

Motorcycles Riders Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns says it is “extremely disappointing” that motorcycles and scooters are again ignored in another level of Government planning.

MRAQ president Chris Mearns

“This lack of inclusion is happening at all levels of Government starting at Federal level which continually ignores two-wheel powered transport in the mix for transport plans with the lack of consideration then trickling down to all other levels,” he says.

He points out that the draft plan states: “Traffic congestion is a major cost to business and industry. Road management and travel demand strategies aim to free up road transport capacity for more efficient movement of commercial and freight transport.”

“It is hard to understand why two-wheeled powered transport is not included as it offers considerably reduced vehicle space on the road as well as better fuel efficiency with corresponding pollution reduction,” Chris says.

“As the plan is focussed on the CBD and other business areas and with the clear goal of achieving a reduction in personal vehicle mass the use of two-wheeled powered vehicles seems opportune.

“With other capital cities now including motorcycles and scooters into their forward planning it is the right time for the Brisbane City Council to review the current plan proposal and to include these realistic alternatives as part of the solution instead of completely ignoring them.”

Bicycle fixation CityCycles

It seems BCC has a fixation on bicycles with their 25 references to them in the draft transport plan.

That’s probably because BCC persist with their ill-conceived and little-patronised CityCycle bike hire scheme.

These yellow hire bikes clutter the footpaths and lose about $1m a year in ratepayer revenue despite having Lipton sponsorship.

There is actually one mention of “scooter” in the draft plan. However, it refers to children’s push scooters!

To their credit, BCC has been working on securing more free footpath parking for motorcycles.

Brisbane CBD motorcycle parking

Cr Cooper points out that “Council has nearly doubled the number of new free motorcycle parks in the CBD and installed dedicated motorcycle parking bays and lockers in Council’s King George Square Car Park”.

However, BCC is still well behind its own targets for motorcycle and scooter spaces.

Draft plan

Brisbane is inviting the public to have their say on their draft transport plan.

We recommend all riders – whether they live in Brisbane or not – have their say.

If you live interstate, there is every possibility that at some time you will be up this way and be affected by Brisbane’s transport planning policies.

And let’s face it … everyone wants to move to Brisbane, anyway!

So if you have a few minutes, CLICK HERE and please have your say on how motorcycles can help Brisbane’s future.

It’s not a questionnaire with loaded questions, but simply an opportunity to have your say and you don’t even have to provide a real name or any postal address, just an email address.

Online submissions

Motorbike Writer filled out their online feedback. Rather than a long-winded submission, we provided the following which you may like to use as a guide.

Why is there no mention of motorcycles and scooters in your 128-page transport plan when they are considered so vital that Sydney and Melbourne councils have special two-wheel transport policies?

The transport advantages of motorcycles are manifold:

  • They ease demand on parking spaces;
  • Lane filtering rules improve traffic flow;
  • Motorcycles and scooters reduce overall traffic emissions; and
  • They ease pressure on existing infrastructure as they have a low impact on pavement and reduce the need to widen existing roads.

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Suzuki America sued over brake failure

Fri, 23/02/2018 - 11:52am

Suzuki in America has been successfully sued for $US12.5 over a motorcycle crash caused by a brake failure which was later the focus of a global safety recall.

Rider Adrian Johns crashed his 2006 GSX-R1000 in 2013, shattering his spine, breaking his back and leaving him with mobility problems which ended to his postal career.

He had sued for $14m, but after a three-week trial, a Georgia jury awarded $10.5 million to Adrian and $2m to his wife, Gwen. The jury found 49% of the responsibility for the crash was due to rider error.

Adrian claimed his crash was caused by a front brake defect that Suzuki knew about months before his crash, yet did not warn its riders or issue a recall notice.

Two months later, Suzuki in the USA recalled 200,000 various GSX models made between 2004 and 2013.

Suzuki Australia recalled the GSX-R1000 and some other GSX models in 2013 and again in 2015 over the same brake issue involving a fluid leak in the front master cylinder.

2015 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Worst case

Adrian’s lawyer, Randy Edwards, said it was the “worst failure-to-warn case, not that I have ever seen, but that I have ever heard of”.

“This is like a landlord not telling a new tenant that your heater spits out carbon monoxide, and a family dies the first night. This is outrageous.”

The defence counsel said the rider had changed his mind about the cause of the crash after immediately blaming a patch of gravel.

However, skid marks, the evidence of a crash reconstruction expert and post-crash brake testing proved the brake failure caused the crash.

Two other crash victims who rode Suzukis also gave testimony that the same thing had happened to them.

Jurors were also shown a Suzuki internal memoranda that said the company was ordering hundreds of thousands of new parts to fix the problem, but did not issue an official recall with there US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Even though manufacturers and importers contact owners when a recall is issued, the bike may have been sold privately to a rider unknown to the company.

Therefore, Motorbike Writer publishes all motorcycle recalls as a service to all riders.

In Australia, recall notices are issued by the manufacturer and the Department of Infrastructure through a voluntary industry code under the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

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

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Swiss watches tribute to Indian Motorcycle

Fri, 23/02/2018 - 11:18am

Swiss watchmaker Baume & Mercier is again paying tribute to Indian Motorcycle with a two-piece collection in their Clifton Club Legend Tributes range.

The new limited-edition chronographs (fancy name for watches) honour the Scout and Chief models and will be available from April. No prices are yet available.

But don’t get too excited as their previously released Indian Motorcycle Burt Munro Commemorative Watch would set you back a healthy $US3750 (almost $A5000, €3200).

Scout Watch

The Scout watch features a semi-opened dial to reveal the inner-mechanics much like the bike.

It is powered by a Valjoux 7750 automatic movement and is water resistant to 50m.

The dial is opaline grey with a gold second hand and green Super-Luminova on the numbers.

It is housed in a 44mm stainless steel case with a brown calfskin strap to mimic the motorcycle’s saddle.

Chief watch

The Chief watch does not show the inner workings, has a red second hand and a stainless steel bracelet.

Both feature Indian logos on the rear of the case and only 1901 examples of each will be released to reflect Indian Motorcycle’s debut year.

Motorbike watches

It is not the first time Baume & Meercier has got together with Indian Motorcycle with their Burt Munro tribute watch last year.

Other motorcycle manufacturers have had similar exclusive watches in recent years so devoted fans can wear their “heart” on their sleeve – or wrist!

They include a Ducati Scrambler watch in 2015 with Swiss watchmaker Tudor, a BMW GS watchBMW boxer watch designed by Marc Jenni and a host of Harley-Davidson watches with New York company Bulova.

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Feel like a veteran on your first motorcycle tour

Fri, 23/02/2018 - 7:03am

It doesn’t matter how long you ride for, you’ll never forget your first tour. It’s the maddest. It’s the one that makes your heart-pound the most, the one that gets you hooked, the one that is peppered with as many hard times as good, the one that you’ll always look back on with a smile. Of course, with every new trip, you’ll get better at it. Experience pretty much guarantees that. Still, there’s nothing worse than having a bad first experience. Luckily, there is a simple way to avoid this happening; it’s called preparation.

So, if you want to revel in those “hell yeah” moments from the moment you first kickstart your motor instead of enduring years of trials and errors, we recommend you read these insider tips and tricks and learn how the lifelong tourers do it.

  1. Comfort Is Key

Not all tours are born equal. Some people want to test their legs, arms and spine by riding the off-road for three days straight while others prefer big, open highways. Whatever you are doing, pick a bike that will make you as comfortable as possible.

  1. Break Your Habits

Especially your eating habits. Why? Because the thing with a tour is: you want to cover as much tarmac as possible on any given day. That means you won’t have time for busy restaurant stops. Our advice: plan your day so that you get hungry when everyone else doesn’t. Have breakfast either earlier than 7am or later than 10am, and get used to mid-afternoon hotdog stops.

  1. The Sensible Thing To Do

Nothing is going to get your blood boiling more than wet clothes and a lost spare key. That’s a fact. To avoid this happening, either tape your spare key to your bike or hand it to someone you’re riding with and, when it comes to keeping your bits n’ bobs dry, wrap your belongings in the thickest garbage bags money can buy. Trust us, it works wonders.

  1. Drink Lots And Often

And the best way to do this is to ride with a Camelbak rucksack so that you can stay hydrated while still moving. It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding through an arid desert or an ice-packed salt-plain, keeping hydrated is crazy crucial.

  1. The Morning Once Over

It doesn’t matter if you bought your bike from a highly-praised company like the American Motorcycle Trading Company or from a guy called Jimbob that lived in the woods, you should always check your bike over in the morning. Check the air pressure, oil level and look for any missing fasteners, that sort of stuff. Yeah, it’s simple, but it could save you from getting into trouble.

  1. Road Assistance Always

It doesn’t matter which roadside assistance service you opt for, don’t leave until you have signed up for something. And even then, make sure you always keep a note of where in the world you are so that they can quickly locate you should something happen. It’s one of those little tricks that could save you big time.

(Collaborative post)

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Association of Recovering Motorcyclists: Riding keeps alcoholics sober

Thu, 22/02/2018 - 10:55am

Riding motorcycles is keeping alcoholics sober says Association of Recovering Motorcyclists (ARM) NSW Chapter spokesman Warren Cartledge.

“For me, riding helps my recovery and I also need that fellowship which is a big part of Alcoholics Anonymous,” he says.

ARM was founded in 1986 by Judy and Jack Jensen of Wisconsin and now has more than 100 chapters in the USA, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Guam, England, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Thailand and Netherlands.

Saying the “Serenity Prayer”

Australia has had a chapter in Western Australia since 2005 and has a new Chapter forming in NSW.

“One of the original members in WA was directed to an alcohol counsellor by police after an incident and that counsellor directed him to an AA meeting that was founded by ARM members; he is still sober today, nine years later,” says Warren who is also proud of being sober himself for over 20 years.

Blackout drunk

Warren says he was a “blackout drunk” when he was in the military in his 20s.

“I came out of blackouts in other countries. I’d start drinking in one country and wake up in another and not know how I got there and that can be extremely dangerous in the military,” he says.

“The military didn’t help me at all with my drinking problem, and at the end when I was at my rock bottom, I made a desperate phone call to AA.

“An AA member spoke with me, and then arranged for three other AA members to visit me at home, and the next day took me to a meeting and thankfully I have been sober ever since.

“But I still had this void because I loved riding and there were no other sober bikers that I knew of to form that brotherhood and bond with.”

Warren says ARM was formed because AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) told recovering alcoholics to cut their hair and sell their motorbikes and live a “normal lifestyle”.

“To a biker, riding and brotherhood is a normal lifestyle.

“We didn’t fit the norm of what AA portrayed, so ARM was born out of necessity,” says Warren, 55, who has been riding all his life.

He started riding a Honda CB350 twin, has owned numerous bikes over the years and now rides a 2000 Harley-Davidson Night Train and has a Kawasaki 650 Vulcan S.

Warren got sober in 1992 and became a full member of ARM in 2005.

ARM membership

ARM has more than 1000 members globally. Warren is unsure about Australian membership but says there is “always room for one more”.

“We are bikers who have chosen to remain clean and sober without forsaking the lifestyle of brotherhood in the wind,” he says.

“We are not associated with any other group, nor are we a 1% club.”

ARM owns no property or clubhouses, claims no territory and rides “free of inter-club politics”.

Australian members do not wear the international ARM back patch to ensure there is no conflict with 1% clubs.

“We have been able to grow through our respect for other MCs in the areas we live and ride and by respecting the individuality of our members,” Warren says.

“We do not require members to ride a specific brand of motorcycle nor do we ridicule the member’s personal choices.

However, motorcycles must be 500cc or more.

“We do not claim our modified lifestyle to be the only truth, nor do we suggest that any other lifestyle is inappropriate,” Warren says.

“We are bikers who have chosen abstinence from alcohol and drugs because it is what we believe in for ourselves. For some of us, it is the only way we can continue to survive.”

Warren says they have regular monthly get-togethers and rides in the fledgling NSW Chapter while the WA Chapter has weekly rides to and from AA and NA meetings and get-togethers.

The sister organisation for recovering female riders is called Recovering Women Riders. Warren says ARM and RWR membership varies from 22 years of age to over 70.

Recovering Women Riders

To be a member of ARM or RWR you must be active in recovery from alcohol or drug dependence.

“Our members are not affiliated with any particular 12-step program, however our members attend AA and NA meetings and respect the traditions,” Warren says.

“We are not part of the Salvos or any other particular charity although we support many other charities around the world.”

Click here if you are interested in becoming a member, click here to email Warren, or call him on 0407 447051.


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Kawasaki announces Z900RS Cafe price

Thu, 22/02/2018 - 10:32am

Kawasaki Australia has announced that the Z900RS Cafe is now available from $18,299 ride away. That compares with the standard Z900RS at $18,000.

Click here to read our Z900RS review.

Kawasaki Z900RS

Both bikes are styled as tributes to the original 1972-75 Z1 which featured in the cult 1974 Australian bikie movie, Stone.

Kawasaki Z900RS and Z900RS Cafe

The Z900RS Cafe is even more like the Stone bikes as it adds a 1970s bikini fairing, drop handlebars, cafe racer seat, satin-finish frame and muffler.

It comes in special retro colour options: Vintage Lime Green and Pearl Storm Grey.

Z900RS Cafe style

Like the Z900RS, it is based on the Z900 that is about $4000 cheaper.

However, the X900RS Cafe comes with better suspension, a more tractable engine, improved brakes, full LED lighting and that intrinsic value of timeless styling.

One of the cleverest styling cues is the cast wheels which have polished the edges of the mag wheel “spokes” to give the impression of classic wire spokes.

The 948cc inline four engine in both models has been retuned with 9kW less power and 3Nm less torque for a more rideable power delivery.

They both also feature Kawasaki’s traction control and an assist and slipper clutch for a lighter lever feel at the lever and to prevent rear-wheel lock-ups on downshifting.

Other features are: teardrop tank, LED headlight and tail light, traditional twin-pod instrumentation with multi-function LCD screen.

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Will Harley electric bike be a Revelation?

Thu, 22/02/2018 - 7:57am

Harley-Davidson has launched two new Sportster variants – Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special – and applied for the trademark name H-D Revelation which could be the name for their electric bike to be released next year.

CEO Matt Levatich last month defrayed concern about their fourth consecutive year of sliding sales by announcing they would have an electric motorcycle available within 18 months.

This brought forward the previously announced due date by two years.

While their electric bike concept unveiled in 2014 was the Livewire Project, the company has not been talking about releasing the Livewire, but an “electric motorcycle”.

So it could have a different name.

H-D Revelation

H-D Revelation would be a suitable name for their electric bike as many of the riders – both public and moto journalists – who have tested it have described it as a “revelation”.

MBW riding the Harley LiveWire in LA

The name is also similar to the Evolution engines in their Sportsters and the Revolution X in the Street family.

This is the fourth new name Harley has registered in the past few months with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The others are Pan America, 48X and Bronx.

Pan America could be a new Tourer model, while the 48X and Bronx are believed to be Sportsters, a family which hasn’t had a significant drivetrain upgrade in years.

The new model names may not be used this year, as companies have a couple of years to use them before they expire.

However, we do expect about 10 new Harley models in 2018 as part of Harley’s “100 models in 10 years” policy announced early last year.

In the first year of the policy, Harley released 10 new models including nine new Softails which now include the Dyna family and the Street Rod.

Iron 1200

Meanwhile, Harley has announced two new variants with hardly any changes.

Harley-Davidson Iron 1200

The Iron 1200 is basically the blacked-out 883-powered Iron, but with the 1200 Evolution engine.

It also features satin-black Mini Ape bars, Café Solo seat, black nine-spoke wheels, black belt guard and black rear sprocket.

The Iron 1200 arrives at the end of April and prices start from $16,495 ride-away in Australia and $16,995 in New Zealand. That makes it the cheapest 1200 Sportster.

Forty-Eight Special

The Forty-Eight Special has a wide front tyre, wide forks, gloss-black Tallboy handlebars and black split nine-spoke cast aluminium wheels.

Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special

It arrives at the end of April and prices start from $18,995 ride-away in Australia and $19,750 in New Zealand. That’s the same price as the current Forty-Eight.

The 8-litre “peanut” tank features rows of bold, horizontal stripes framing a simple Harley-Davidson text logo. The fuel tank come in three colour options: Vivid Black, Wicked Red, and Billiard White.

Both Sportsters comes standard with ABS and the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System.

They are not exactly a revolution or revelation in new models, but new models all the same.

It is typical of Harley to release a couple of “mid-year” mild variants around this time of the year.

We still expect a substantial upgrade in the Sportster line-up in August when they usually announce their major upgrades.

This year it will coincide with Harley’s 115th anniversary celebrations in its hometown of Milwaukee.

And here’s our wild tip: Like the Street family, which is made in both the USA and India, the new Sportster may also be produced in two countries.

Harley is building a plant in Thailand, so they could also be produced there.

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KTM Australia joins global Brembo recall

Wed, 21/02/2018 - 6:58pm

KTM Australia has finally joined the global recall for the Brembo brake problem that has resulted in thousands of European bikes recalled around the world.

The official Australian recall notice says bikes affected are 2015-17 model 690 Duke R, 1290 Super Duke R /SE and 1290 Super Duke GT.

Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) of the 486 affected motorcycles are listed at the end of this article.

KTM Super Duke GT

The official Australian recall notice says the piston component material made of polyphenylene sulphide in handbrake master cylinder may crack.

“Should the front brake master cylinder piston fail, the consequence is a loss of front braking ability. A failure of the front brake would pose an accident hazard,” the notice says.

However, KTM Australia says there are no reported cases of KTMs suffering from any issue due to the master cylinder.

Owners will be contacted by direct mail and advised to contact an authorised KTM dealer to arrange for the faulty part to be replaced for free.

Global recall

Brembo issued a statement earlier this year that the global safety recalls only affect radial master cylinder pistons in 15mm and 16mm diameters produced between 2015 and 2017.

They were supplied to Aprilia, Ducati, KTM, MV Agusta, TM Racing, Moto Morini and Horex. They do not affect aftermarket units.

Aprilia RSV4

Click on the following brand names for more details and VINs of affected bikes in Australia: Aprilia, Ducati, Husqvarna and MV Agusta.

This KTM recall notice appears to be the end of the long and expensive recall saga.

Brembo brake fault Brembo PR16 master cylinder

The saga began when KTM discovered that a crack in the internal piston of the PR16 radial master cylinder could result from prolonged and hard use such as track work or frequent use of ABS.

Obviously, if it breaks, not only will braking force be diminished, but owners could also end up wth highly corrosive brake fluid leaking over their bike.

Brembo says the problem is with the plastic (polyphenylene sulphide) they used. To fix it, they will replace the plastic piston with an aluminium piston.

Here is the original official notice from Brembo about the fault:

The anisotropy of the piston material, in addition to potential porosity introduced during the injection process, could lead to crack generation and thus potential component failure. The failure may occur with no warning to the rider, although a significant loss in brake effectiveness may be an early indicator.

In May, 2017, Ducati received initial information from the field regarding front brake malfunction involving a motorcycle in the European market. During the same month Ducati received a second European front brake malfunction report.

Ducati initiated an investigation and began to jointly conduct an analysis with Brembo, the component manufacturer. In September, 2017, a third European case was discovered. Failure was found to have occurred during race track use in two of the three cases. In November, 2017, the investigation was finalised and the root cause was identified as above. On December 14th, 2017, Ducati determined that a worldwide safety Recall was justified. For subject motorcycles sold in the US, there have been no reports of injuries due to the defect.”

The only previous recall for a Brembo brake fault we could find was an ABS modular in Triumph Street Triple and Daytona models in 2013.


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

VINs of affected KTM models VBKLDW400GM780985 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW400GM783403 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW400GM783417 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW400GM783420 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW400HM704586 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW400HM799487 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW400HM799506 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW400HM799599 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW401GM783409 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW401GM783412 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW401GM783426 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW401HM704614 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW401HM799448 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW401HM799451 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW401HM799465 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW401HM799479 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW402GM780969 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW402GM783399 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW402GM783404 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW402GM783421 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW402HM799474 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW402HM799488 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW402HM799524 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW403GM780964 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW403GM783394 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW403GM783413 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW403GM783427 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW403GM783430 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW403HM704601 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW403HM704615 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW403HM799466 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW403HM799497 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW403HM799502 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW404GM780956 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW404GM783419 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW404GM783422 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW404HM799444 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW404HM799461 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW404HM799475 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW404HM799508 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW404HM799511 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW404HM799606 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW405GM783395 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW405GM783400 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW405GM783414 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW405GM783428 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW405GM783431 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW405HM796018 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW405HM799467 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW405HM799470 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW405HM799484 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW405HM799517 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW405HM799520 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW405HM799534 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW406GM780960 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW406GM781042 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW406GM783406 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW406GM783423 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW406HM704575 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW406HM704592 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW406HM799493 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW406HM799526 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW407GM780966 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW407GM783396 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW407GM783401 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW407GM783415 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW407GM783429 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW407GM783432 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW407HM704603 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW407HM799440 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW407HM799468 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW407HM799485 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW407HM799499 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW407HM799504 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW407HM799518 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW408GM783391 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW408GM783410 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW408GM783424 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW408GM783438 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW408HM799477 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW408HM799494 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW409GM780984 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW409GM781049 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW409GM783416 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW409GM783433 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW409HM704604 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW409HM796023 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW409HM799469 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW409HM799486 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW409HM799519 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW409HM799536 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW40XGM780993 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW40XGM783392 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW40XGM783411 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW40XGM783425 690 Duke R 2016 VBKLDW40XHM799447 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW40XHM799464 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW40XHM799500 690 Duke R 2017 VBKLDW40XHM799612 690 Duke R 2017 VBKV39400GM937637 1290 Super Duke R 2016 VBKV39400GM937668 1290 Super Duke R 2016 VBKV39400GM940358 1290 Super Duke R 2016 VBKV39400GM940375 1290 Super Duke R 2016 VBKV39400GM941980 1290 Super Duke R Special Edition 2016 VBKV39400GM941994 1290 Super Duke R Special Edition 2016 VBKV39400HM957775 1290 Super Duke R 2017 VBKV39400HM957789 1290 Super Duke R 2017 VBKV39400HM957792 1290 Super Duke R 2017 VBKV39400HM957808 1290 Super Duke R 2017 VBKV39400HM957811 1290 Super Duke R 2017 VBKV39400HM957999 1290 Super Duke R 2017 VBKV39400HM958019 1290 Super Duke R 2017 VBKV39400HM958036 1290 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VBKV69407HM953553 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69407HM954198 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69407HM954718 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69407HM954752 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69407HM955528 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69407HM955559 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69407HM955562 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69407HM955576 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408GM946092 1290 Super Duke GT 2016 VBKV69408HM953531 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408HM953545 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408HM954128 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408HM954131 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408HM954145 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408HM954212 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408HM954713 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408HM955540 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408HM955568 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408HM955571 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69408HM956056 1290 Super Duke GT 2017 VBKV69409GM946103 1290 Super Duke GT 2016 VBKV69409GM953004 1290 Super Duke GT 2016 VBKV69409GM953035 1290 Super Duke GT 2016 VBKV69409GM953276 1290 Super Duke 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Change mindset on electric motorcycles

Wed, 21/02/2018 - 10:21am

If riders want to adopt the coming era of electric motorcycles they will have to develop a totally different mindset to how they ride and refuel.

Recent developments show electric motorcycles are coming … and coming fast! In fact, there is even an electric MotoGP series coming next year.

Harley-Davidson recently announced it will have an electric vehicle next year, possibly called the H-D RevelationIndian-made Emflux ONE (pictured above) will be coming to Australia soon from about $12,000 and Zero claims almost 360km range.

Harley-Davidson electric Livewire

But while more electric motorcycles are coming to market, prices are dropping and range is increasing, recharging times and battery life remain a mental hurdle for riders.

New mindset

However, electric cars have been around for a while now and researchers have found that drivers are changing their mindset to accommodate the slow recharge times.

They have found that EV owners don’t drive until the gauge shows empty, then head for a recharge station.

Instead, they get used to plugging in their vehicles when at home or work so they are always topped up whenever they head out.

Longer life

EV drivers are also finding that their lithium batteries are lasting longer than their stated “life” because of this constant top-up ritual.

Lithium batteries should last up to 1000 complete cycles, which means charging from totally flat to 100%.

However, because drivers are trickle charging and topping up whenever they have their car at home, the batteries are lasting much longer.

In fact, battery life can be increased to as much as 20,000 cycles if charged to only 80-90% and recharged only 10-20% at a time.

That might not seem like a lot, but it is enough for about 80-90km of driving, which is far more than the average daily commute.

Other factors that can prolong the life of a lithium battery is cool storage and operating temperatures.

Charge together

Meanwhile, EVenergi’s Charge Together public participation program has received $172,215 of Australian Government funding to encourage more EV buyers.

Charge Together will involve a social media and marketing campaign to identify prospective EV buyers, and undertake consumer research to help understand the barriers for uptake. 

Participants will receive a home and EV monitoring system which will emulate the cost and logistics of owning, as well as charging and maintaining an electric vehicle. 

With the data collected, Evenergi will build an online tool for consumers to model the influence of rooftop solar, home batteries and electricity tariffs on a decision to buy EVs. 

Evenergi’s consumer research will inform a report for government and industry that will identify barriers, potential infrastructure hotspots and lay the groundwork for EV charging stations as uptake increases. 

After the program was successfully trialled in the UK, the $349,573 program will be rolled out initially in South Australia. If successful, it could be expanded in other states. 

The program will also show how EVs can work together with rooftop solar and battery storage to reduce the load on the grid, and will provide energy networks with insights into the impact of electric cars on the grid. 

Evenergi founder and CEO Daniel Hilson says Evenergi will help accelerate electric vehicle adoption in Australia. 

The post Change mindset on electric motorcycles appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Curtiss Motorcycles returns to business

Wed, 21/02/2018 - 9:43am

American motorcycle company Curtiss Motorcycle is back in business, replacing Confederate Motorcycles, releasing a new Warhawk model, the last with an internal combustion engine before the company reverts to electric bike production.

Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company was formed in 1916 by famous aviator and motorcycle racer Glenn Curtiss. It produced mainly planes until it was taken over in 1929 by Wright Aeronautica.

Last year, Alabama motorcycle company Confederate decided to ditch its now-controversial name after race riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one person was killed and 26 injured when a car has slammed into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally.

Confederate Motors president H. Matthew Chambers says the company changed the name to honour Glenn Curtiss who invented the first American V-Twin motorcycle.

Only 35 Curtiss Warhawks will be built at a massive $US150,000 ($A190,000) each, before swapping over to electric motorcycles.

It might sound like a lot, but there are bound to be some wealthy buyers.

Confederate has had many celebritiy owners such as Nicholas Cage, Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves.

Nicholas Cage’s Confederate Hellcat

“We’ve spent the past 27 years working to optimise and perfect Mr Curtiss’s V-Twin invention,”  Matt says.

“Everything we know is built into this machine. Because the Warhawk is based on our acclaimed P51 Fighter, the engine, powertrain, and chassis are as solid as a bank vault.

“But now, we’ve cranked it to 11. There are no more rabbits we can pull out of the proverbial hat. There’s simply no way to make a more explosive hot-rod American V-twin than the Curtiss Warhawk.

“The American V-twin is undoubtedly the most iconic and revered powertrain in motorcycle history. As we prepare to lead an all-new golden age of electrified motorcycles, this Curtiss Warhawk represents the best and final chapter in American V-Twin power and refinement.”

Curtiss Motorcycles has business links with Californian electric motorcycle company Zero. They plan to build the Hercules powered by two Zero electric motors with about 127kW of power (170hp) and a whopping 393Nm of torque.

Confederate was previously imported into Australia by Urban Moto Imports, but there is no word on future plans.

Curtiss Warhawk

The Warhawk is named after a famous World War II fighter plane ancestor.

It is powered by a 2163cc (132 cube) air/oil-cooled triple-camshaft V-twin with old-fashioned pushrod OHV.

Curtiss claim it has 150bhp (112kW) at the rear wheel and a massive 217Nm of torque for a top speed of 165mph (265km/h).

The engine is mated to a five-speed transmission with a dry clutch and chain final drive.

Suspension features a double-wishbone parallelogram fork with tubular aluminium struts. Front and back have Racetech monoshocks fully adjustable for high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping.

It is all bolted to a machined aluminium monocoque frame with the fuel in the spine, carbonfibre wheels and Beringer brakes.

The Warhawk is very similar in specs to the last Confederate model, the FA-13 Combat Bomber.

It was their most powerful model with a 112kW (150hp) V-twin and a hefty price tag of $US115,000 ($A145,000).


The post Curtiss Motorcycles returns to business appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Tilt at world’s fastest Softail title

Wed, 21/02/2018 - 8:40am

Sydney custom motorcycle startup Elliott Motorcycles hope to smash their Aussie speed record and grab the title of the world’s fastest Softail next month.

Owner Elliott Andrews says he is taking his modified 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 114 to Lake Gairdner in South Australia on March 8, 2018.

“With this bike I’m feeling confident I will achieve between 170-189mph (273-304km/h) smashing my current record,” he says.

Elliott holds the current Australian land speed record of 155.885mph (250.872km/h) held in the M-PF200cc modified production motorcycle classification.

The record was broken on a Harley-Davidson Street Bob designed, built and piloted by Elliott at the 2016 DRLA speed week.

Street Bob at Lake Gairdner

Elliott came up with the idea to build the world’s fastest Softail with products he designed when Harley-Davidson last year released a new Softail family that included the Dynas powered by the new Milwaukee-Eight 107 and 114 engines.

Dream to be fastest

He says his dream of setting speed records started after drag racing for two years.

“I needed a new fix and I was attracted to the unknown of going flat out on a Harley-Davidson,” he says.

“No known records have been set with the new Milwaukee-Eight Softail. Our aim is to be the first and set the bar high.”

He not only hopes to set a new record, but also plans to film the 4000km round trip from Sydney to Lake Gairdner.

“We have teamed up with Bondi Films a professional film crew to capture our journey and create a short documentary, The Ultimate Ride,” he says.

“This would be a great opportunity for Elliott Motorcycles to show the passion and hard work that we have put into our land speed record attempt.

“After months of product design our motorcycle is in the final stages of completion.”

Passion for motorcycles

Elliott grew up in Birmingham, UK, with a passion for motorcycles from his father.

“When I was 11 my dad opened up his own motorcycle shop,” he says.

“It was at that point I was hooked on the technical side of motorcycles.

“I started working with Dad when I was 12, initially as a Saturday job. After school I started work in my dad’s motorcycle workshop full time.

“He gave me a level head, teaching me the humility, focus and discipline I needed to be a top mechanic and a leader.”

In 2010 Elliott became a master technician for Harley-Davidson and In 2012 he moved to Australia.

“The move was a critical step forward in my motorcycle career having the opportunity to be a designer and racer of Harley-Davidson customs,” he says.

He has now started Elliott Motorcycles in Sydney to build custom motorcycles. 

Elliott’s Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 114

Engine: Custom made pistons to be at the top of the 2000cc class; Worked cylinder heads; camshaft yet to be chosen; modified balance shafts; race fuel by ETS

Modifications: Buell wheels; Buell upper & lower fork clamps; XR1200 forks; custom front & rear fender; partial front fairing; custom exhaust; mid-mount primary conversion; custom seat pan; ABS system removed; clip-on handlebars

Elliott Motorcycles products: Rear set mounts & controls; footpegs; derby cover; shift lever; suspension adjuster; timer cover

Sponsors: Shinko tyres, LDV Australia, ETS Racing fuels Australia and Rams Head Service.


Facebook: Elliott Motorcycles

Twitter: @elliott_moto

Website coming soon: i

The post Tilt at world’s fastest Softail title appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Touratech Travel Expo returns

Tue, 20/02/2018 - 9:41am

The Touratech Travel Event, Expo & Adventure Challenge returns in March 2018, this time being held at a new location in Myrtleford, Victoria.

The expo is usually held at nearby Bright, but will now be held on March 16-18 in the Myrtleford Showgrounds, where an “Adventure Village” will be created under the shady elm trees with full camping facilities on offer.

Motorcycle manufactures and suppliers of all things adventure will present their latest products, provide expert advice and the chance to check out the latest accessories for your bike.

The event will again provide an opportunity for riders to test the latest models from Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Honda, KTM, Suzuki, SWM, Triumph and Yamaha. Bookings for the test rides are essential.

The Touratech Travel Event, Expo & Adventure Challenge is a rare event outside the major metropolitan centres where motorcycle manufacturers and suppliers gather to present their products.

Regular adventure presentations over the weekend will provide the opportunity to see and hear from experts in the adventure motorcycle industry.

The weekend also includes the Touratech Adventure Challenge, a unique skills-based challenge for riders – both on and off the bike – as well as including some team components that will form part of the judging process.

Adventure Challenge returns

The Adventure Challenge is back for the third year and is open to riders of all abilities.

It starts with qualifying on Saturday morning, followed by the event finals held on Saturday afternoon.

The Touratech Adventure Challenge will provide spectators with great viewing from the event base and at specified spectator locations.

Organised by local company Touratech Australia, the event will be centred at the picturesque 

Click here for more details on the Touratech Travel Event, Expo & Adventure Challenge.

Back in black

The famed German motorcycle accessory company was last year bailed out of a voluntary insolvency.

Touratech filed for insolvency in August 2017 after an increased demand in sales saw them unable to fulfil many orders – attributed mostly to the late completion of their new factory and showroom.

The new owner is interior design and accessory manufacturer Happich who took over on January 1, 2018.

When the company went into involvency in August, Robin Box of Touratech Australia importer R & V Aqualine Industriestold us they were independently owned.

He said the parent company’s troubles would have no affect on either the Australian operations, or to its customers and that Touratech production would continued unchanged.

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What riders need to know when moving abroad

Tue, 20/02/2018 - 8:43am

International relocations are more common than ever and they require wholesale changes. However, embracing certain factors from your old life can make the transition far smoother. As a motorbike rider, taking your wheels abroad with you can be one of the best solutions.

Migrating with a bike is a lot easier than doing it with a car, especially when the new country drives on the other side of the road. Nevertheless, there are a number of factors that you must take into consideration for a less bumpy ride. Here’s what you need to know.

(This guide is written specifically for UK riders, but the general issues affect any rider moving overseas and taking their bike with them.


 The chances of riding your bike across the globe to your new location are very slim. Therefore, your first job as a rider is to ensure that the motorcycle reaches its destination quickly and in perfect condition.

Vehicle transportation services like Shiply are the best solution, not least due to their ongoing advice. When coupled with a thorough inspection before, especially for leaks, you’ll be riding the bike around your new hometown in no time.

It is a fairly big job, though, which is why you must make those preparations ASAP.


Taking a motorbike out of the country on a permanent basis is a big deal. One of the most important jobs that you’ll face is to ensure that you are permitted to ride it in the new country. Of course, the exact methods will depend on which country you are emigrating to.

Before making the new registration, though, you must inform the DVLA about your plans to take the bike outside of the UK. Only then will you be able to pick up the new registration plate in the new country.

Even if you own a personalised number plate, the transfer of bike registration is vital.  


If your bike is designed by one of the main manufacturers, it’s likely that finding new parts over the coming years will be an easy task. However, some brands aren’t as universal as you might think. When this is the case, you need to take those factors into consideration.

This is particularly true when riding a Norton Commando or another classic British bike. If keeping the bike in great health is going to be difficult and expensive, it may be worth selling in favour of a different model. Then again, nobody should feel forced into this action.

Whatever you do, just make sure you ride in a sensible fashion and continue the regular precautionary jobs to reduce the need for major works.


Getting the bike to the new country in great health and with the right registration is one thing. However, keeping it in perfect condition is another altogether. Frankly, this is an ongoing challenge. Although the principles are no different to the UK, it’s vital that you make the right changes.

Every bike rider should take responsibility with regards to safety on the road as well as potential theft. Meanwhile, it’s equally crucial to switch the insurance coverage at the earliest stage possible. If a problem does occur, the financial worries of not having that safety net are the last thing you need.

When combined with the points above, you’ll be cruising the new lands with a bigger smile than you ever thought possible.


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Ducati Scrambler Hashtag 400 online now

Tue, 20/02/2018 - 7:58am

The Ducati Scrambler Hashtag 400 is now on sale as the world’s first motorcycle model only available online.

As we predicted on February 8, it’s a version of the 399cc Sixty2.

Price is €6990 plus on-road costs which is about $A10,990.

Ducati Australia spokesman Simon Leplaw says he does not yet have local pricing and arrival dates.

“Confirmation overnight from Italy is that the Hashtag is available exclusively to Western Europe markets for the immediate future,” he says.

At $10,990, it would be $1000 less than the Sixty2, which is the most expensive 400cc bike on the market.

What makes it different from the Sixty2, apart from price, are Midnight Black tank, mudguard and handlebar, a Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled-style seat and an orange Scrambler logo.

To buy one, you will have to go to their dedicated Scrambler Hashtag website to buy a €500 (about $A785) deposit voucher.

Then you need to visit your nearest Ducati dealer which you nominate when buying the deposit voucher, sign a contract, finalise payment and agree on delivery date.

Deliveries are expected to start in mid-March, but Ducati Australia is yet to confirm arrival.

Buyers will also be entitled to a 20% bonus on original Sixty2 accessories and Ducati Scrambler apparel.

The Scrambler Hashtag is obviously aimed at millennials who are more at home with shopping online than in dealerships.

Novice riders will also be able to ride this learner-approved bike, rather than the 800 (803cc) or 1100 (1079cc) models.  

Give a Shift

When the Hashtag model was announced a couple of weeks ago, we suggested it could be the dawn of a new way of buying.

Motorcycle sales are declining around the world and the industry has been doing some soul-searching to find a solution to engage millennials in motorcycling.

An American motorcycle industry group called Give a Shift recently observed that one of the main problems was traditional dealerships were too interested in selling powerful and expensive bikes.

The group found that dealership staff did not know how to deal with new customers interested in more “approachable” bikes.

Would you buy a motorcycle online without testing it first? Leave your comments below.

The post Ducati Scrambler Hashtag 400 online now appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Sahara charity ride for African health

Mon, 19/02/2018 - 12:05pm

Former Gold Coast rider Kenn Bannister is riding solo from London to Africa and back over almost 2000km of Sahara Desert to raise money to train African doctors and nurses.

Kenn left last week and is headed through Europe to Africa, covering 7200km and nine countries in four weeks.

He has been planning the ride for two years and has some support from the Royal Army.

Kenn is a member of the King’s College London Alumni and is raising money for the college’s Sierra Leone Partnership in support of their vital work with Sierra Leonean medical schools to train urgently-needed doctors, nurses and surgeons.

“The expedition is a very demanding solo, unsupported and self-funded London to Freetown rally navigation endeavour which, at its core, includes a 16-day Paris-Dakar segment,” he says on his expedition Facebook page.

He started at King’s College in London on February 16 and hopes to reach the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone in mid-March 2018 before returning home.

The most challenging part will be the Sahara Desert.

His Yamaha Tenere is fitted with a satellite tracker updating every two hours.

Click here to follow his progress on his tracker page.


Kenn’s expedition Facebook page says it costs about £10,000 (about $A17,700) for King’s to send one medical specialist to Sierra Leone for six months.

“This is the critical area that I wish to support,” he says.

“Achieving the fundraising target (£50,000, $A88,600) will allow King’s Global Heath to send up to five specialists to Freetown in an effort to strengthen the Sierra Leonean medical services following the devastating effects of civil war and Ebola.”

So far he has raised only £730 ($A1290).

You can donate from his expedition Facebook page.

Soldier Kenn

Kenn left Australia in the 1980s to backpack through the UK and is still there. 

He did four years as an enlisted soldier, attended Sandhurst and became on officer in the tank regiment. 

His father served in Vietnam as a professional soldier on two tours.

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Vespa unveils Sei Giorni special edition

Mon, 19/02/2018 - 11:35am

Vespa has released a limited-edition Vespa 300 Sei Giorni to honour the model built for the 1951 Sei Giorni Internazionale di Varese regularity competition.

It is based on the GTS 300 Super Sport, but adds black highlights, a special edition serial numbered plate, dual-coloured saddle with piping and contrast stitching, exposed metal pipe and a circular instrumentation with an analogue speedometer on a white background.

However, the retro instruments also have a modern screen with a wealth of rider information.

The Sei Gironi costs $10,290 (+ORC) which compares with the GTS 300 Super at $9290 and GTS 300 Super Sport is $9590.

Apart from the price tag and green colour with race number, you can tell it from the GTS by its traditional handlebars and the low fender-mounted headlight with LED daytime running lights.

Serial number on front cowl and fender headlight

It features a large steel body powered by a single-cylinder, four-stroke, four-valve, liquid cooled, electronic injection engine with 15.6kW of power at 7750rpm and 22Nm torque at 5000rpm.

All GTS 300 models have a USB port in the leg shield and ABS as standard.


Like all Vespa GTS models, the Sei Giorni has a touring windshield and 42 litre top box available.

There are also front and rear luggage racks and a chrome perimeter guard kit for this model.

The Vespa Multimedia Platform allows your smartphone to communicate with your Vespa to access on-board computer info such as speed, revs, instantaneous engine power and torque output, longitudinal acceleration, instantaneous and average fuel consumption, average speed and battery voltage, trip information and more.


Vespas are not only a great transport option, but also a fashion statement.

Vespa has created a range of special, Sei Gironi clothing, a demi-jet helmet and more to go with the scooter’s colour scheme.

Sei Giorni

Vespa built 10 special models specifically for the taxing “Sei Giorni Internazionale di Varese” regularity competition in 1951.

Regularity competitions were popular in the post-war period and featured taxing trials on difficult off-road routes, hundreds of kilometres long.

The most prestigious competition was the Sei Giorni Internazionale which was held in Varese in the 26th year.

The 10 Vespa Sei Gironi scooters won nine gold medals and a speed trial on the Monza circuit that also earned Piaggio the Industry Gold Medal as the only Italian team to win the trial.

The Vespa Sei Giorni was similar to the standard model of the time, but had a larger fuel tank, more streamlined shield and a larger right side bag for the carburettor.

Only 300 were built and they are now collectors’ items.

Vespa Sei Giorni technical specifications Price  $10,290 (+ORC)


Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 4 valves, electronic injection



Bore x Stroke

75mm x 63mm


15.6 kW (21.2 HP) at 7750rpm


22Nm at 5000rpm

Fuel system

P.I. Injection (Port Injected)


Electronic, with variable advance

Cooling system



Wet sump


CVT with torque server


Automatic centrifugal dry clutch


Load Bearing Structure

Sheet metal body with welded reinforcements

Front suspension

Single arm fork with coil spring and hydraulic control

Rear suspension

Double hydraulic shock absorber with four-position spring pre-load adjustment

Front brake

Hydraulically operated 220 mm stainless steel disc – ABS

Rear brake

Hydraulically operated 220 mm stainless steel disc – ABS

Front tyre

Tubeless 120/70 – 12″

Rear tyre

Tubeless 130/70 – 12″



1950/770 mm


1375 mm

Saddle height

790 mm

Fuel tank capacity

8.5 litres

Emissions compliance

Euro 4

The post Vespa unveils Sei Giorni special edition appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Put Sri Lanka on your motorcycle tour bucket list

Mon, 19/02/2018 - 9:57am

Sri Lanka may not feature on many riders’ bucket list for motorcycle travel, but after recently completing a 13-day ride with Extreme Bike Tours it comes highly recommend.

There is so much diversity in terrain in an island nation the size of Tasmania; just check out the video below!

However, my report on the first half of the trip gave only one side of the country.

Click here to read my report.

Mopuntain roads in the first half of the tour

I declared Sri Lanka a rider’s paradise with a wide variety of riding conditions and roads.

“There are billiard-table smooth asphalt roads that wind through the hills, dramatically tight hairpin turns that drop down a step at the apex, bumpy and gnarly mountain goat tracks and everything in between,” my report said.

Another side of the country Dambulla Golden Rock Cave Temple

However, we then moved from the south-eastern beaches and mountains to the jungle plains and beaches of the west where the roads are flatter and straighter.

But we still faced many challenging surfaces while scanning the roadsides for jungle animals.

Varied road conditions

Of course, we also faced and conquered the intense challenges of dealing with hectic traffic in the popular centres.

Busy streets

These sections were actually very exciting, dicing with maverick bus drivers who didn’t seem to want to stop for any traffic.

Horns blaring constantly and rapid overtaking certainly get the blood pumping.

We also passed through three amazing national parks in search of elephants but didn’t see any. Instead, we saw a lot of other wildlife and birdlife.

Roadside water buffalo

The only elephants we saw were unexpectedly roadside and somehow that’s even more exciting than seeing them where you expect to see them.

Unexpected pleasure

Like the first part of the trip, the food was delicious, the people overtly friendly and the accommodation top quality.

Extreme Bike Tours runs a professional set-up, they own and maintain all the bikes rather than hiring them and the three owners live in the country.

Two are British expats and the third is Sri Lankan, so they are experienced local guides who know the best and most interesting routes, sights, restaurants and hotels.

Royal Enfield

As for the Royal Enfield Classic 350s we rode, they are perfect all-rounders for the island nation’s varied terrain and conditions.

They are low, stable, comfortable and easy to ride. They also attract a lot of attention from the locals as there are few in the country, even though they are made in nearby southern India.

Most of the time you will be riding between 60-80km/h on tight and twisting roads, up and down mountains and the 350 is plenty fast enough for these conditions.

The Enfield’s torquey single-cylinder engine pulls in any gear and the big flywheel makes them extremely stable for riding feet-up in heavy traffic or bouncing over rocky mountain trails.

On the rare and lonely four-lane highways they tapped out at almost 120km/h with the rider crouched over the fuel tank, downhill with a tail wind.

Lonely four-lane highways

Yet they only needed refuelling every other day as they are so economical.

The retro bikes are so endearing, several of the riders on tour said they would consider buying one when they returned home.

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