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Updated: 24 min 54 sec ago

Ural upgrades 2017 sidecar fleet

Wed, 28/06/2017 - 4:00pm

The 2017 range of Ural sidecars have received some electronic upgrades, cosmetic styling improvements and some striking new colours including Terracotta Metallic.

We caught up with Ural Australia spokesman Mat Hodge while in Walcha last week and he showed us the new Ranger in Terracotta Metallic he had just put together from the packaging crate.

Mat Hodge of Ural Australia

He has promised us a test ride soon and says they are keen to take their product to as many motorcycle shows and events as possible to remind riders of this interesting option.

Mat says they recently attended the Ulysses AGM in nearby Wauchope and he was surprised by the amount of attention they attracted.

“Unfortunately, they are not front of mind when people think about a new bike,” he says.

“One guy told me he had just bought an adventure bike and wished he’d thought of the Ural.”

Mat says the off-road capabilities of the Ural outfit was one of its main attractions.

They don’t have the high seat of adventure bikes, won’t fall over like adventure bikes and can negotiate treacherous conditions with ease and without having to be a highly skilled rider.

However, Mat says they do host off-road training days on their property halfway between Walcha and Uralla in central NSW when there is enough demand.

We followed Mat for a while to get some photographs and he apologised that the bike may hold us up, but his outfit seemed content to travel along at highway speeds.

Mat says they sell about 50 outfits a year. The cT costs $21,780 plus on-road costs and the Ranger is $23,760.

Spokeswoman Clare Mailler says the cT offers a lower starting price with the option to accessorise to suit your needs wile the Ranger is “equipped with all you need for long-distance travel and getting off the beaten track”.

Updates for the 2017 Ural range include:
  • Electronic speedometer with built-in indicators

    New speedo

  • New wire harness with combination relay and fuse box under left side panel
  • Handlebar switch for sidecar spotlight
  • Handlebar mounted parking brake lever, replaces rider side lever

    New parking brake

  • New 2/3 seat, replaces tractor seat on cT model

    New seat

  • Enduro Bench Seat fitted to Ranger model
  • New sidecar seat with extra storage space under the seat
  • Updated Tonneau covers
  • Numerous redesigned and improved internal components
  • New colours available in premium metallic colours with improved finishes

Ural Australia currently have an end-of-financial-year sale with up to $2400 off 2016-plated models.

The post Ural upgrades 2017 sidecar fleet appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

How to file a motorcycle accident claim in the US

Wed, 28/06/2017 - 7:00am

Tips on how to correctly file a motorcycle accident claim in the United States, compiled by New Hampshire motorcycle accident attorney John Sherman.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2015. Since motorcycles do not have the enclosed protection that cars have, personal injuries and fatalities are unfortunately common.

Should a motorcycle accident occur, knowing how to protect yourself is essential.

But even if you have not been in an accident, it can be helpful to understand the laws and insurance guidelines as they apply in your state.

What to Do If You Have Just Been in a Motorcycle Accident in the US

Call the police

First, you should call 911 or the police directly. The police will gather the necessary information to file a report, which will be required to file an insurance claim. This report can also be helpful in court if you are moving forward with a personal injury lawsuit.

Seek medical treatment

Even if your injuries are minor, you should still seek medical treatment. You may have sustained internal injuries or a concussion that is not immediately apparent. Also, when you are evaluated by a medical professional, your injuries will be documented. This documentation can be valuable evidence for any litigation.

Do not admit fault

Assigning fault in an accident will differ based on the state where you live. Regardless of your location, you should stay neutral at the scene and never admit fault. This is not to say that you should not be truthful, but you also do not want to jeopardize your case by admitting blame.

Document everything

This includes:

  • Recording the contact and insurance information of the other driver
  • Taking pictures of the motorcycle, surroundings and landmarks
  • Making note of any witnesses, their names and contact info
  • The more information you provide the insurance company and your lawyer, the better.

Report the accident to your insurance company

Let your insurance provider know you were in an accident as soon as you can. Be prepared for them to ask you for information related to the accident so they can begin the claims process. Remember not to admit blame, but be truthful to the insurance company. If they find that you misled them, they could potentially deny your claim.

Avoid talking with representatives from other drivers’ insurance

It is not uncommon for representatives from the insurance companies for the other drivers to try to contact you to ask questions. They are skilled in what they do, especially when it comes to asking questions in a way that may benefit their company. It is advised that you do not have contact with these representatives until you have discussed the matter with your attorney.

Speak with an attorney

It is recommended that you take advantage of the free initial consultations that are typically offered by accident and personal injury attorneys. They will be able to give you clear answers on how you should proceed based on the specifics of your case.

Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in a Fault State

  • A fault state means that if you are a driver who has been in an accident, you have three options when it comes to filing a claim. These include:
  • Filing a claim with your own insurance company
  • Filing a claim with the other drivers’ insurance company
  • Filing a lawsuit against the other driver

 According to The Claims Journal, 21 states follow the 51 percent Bar Rule. This rule states that a damaged party cannot recover losses if they were 51 percent or more at fault. The damaged party can recover is they were 50 percent or less at fault, but the recovery would be reduced by its degree of fault.  

Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in a No-Fault State

A no-fault state means that if you are in a motorcycle accident, you must file your claim with your own insurance provider regardless of whose fault the accident was. In order to file a personal injury claim in a no-fault state, you must show that you suffered a serious injury as a result of the accident or have resulting medical bills that exceed $2,000. Depending upon the specifics of your case, you may also receive compensation for lost wages and emotional damages.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws

In some states, drivers over 18 are not required to wear a helmet. Despite this, not wearing a helmet could negatively impact any lawsuit you try to bring should you be in an accident. For example, if you suffer head injuries but were not wearing a helmet, your personal injury award may be much less than if you had been wearing a helmet even though there is no law requiring you to do so. In other states, all motorcycle drivers and passengers are required to wear a helmet that meets minimum requirement safety standards. Failure to wear a helmet can significantly impact any lawsuit you file with the courts.

Insurance Requirements

Motorcycle insurance is not required in some states. However, if you choose not to purchase insurance, you must prove that you are financially responsible through a state-specific filing. It is advised that you purchase motorcycle insurance so that you are covered in the case of an accident. Certain states require motorcyclists to buy compulsory liability insurance coverage, which pays for the other drivers’ medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and other costs in the case of an accident.

Statute of Limitations

Every state will have different terms relating to how long a person has to file a motorcycle accident claim. It is important to check that the statute applies to both personal injury and vehicle damage claims.

About the author

This sponsored article was written by New Hampshire motorcycle accident attorney John Sherman, whose firm applies more than 24 years of defense experience to help motorcyclists recover the much-needed compensation they deserve after a serious accident.

Click here for information what to do after a motorcycle crash in Australia.

The post How to file a motorcycle accident claim in the US appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

New Earmold custom earplugs, earphones

Wed, 28/06/2017 - 6:00am

Earmold Australia has added a new service of Lab-Flex custom earplugs to now offer even longer lasting motorcycle rider earplugs and handcraft specialised lab-mould electronic plugs for earphones.

Earmold Australia owner Aaron Dalle-Molle (pictured above) of Brisbane says they still make the original Insta-Mold plugs for $75 with a two-year warranty, but now also offer handcrafted Lab-Flex plugs made from Biopor soft premium silicone which is lighter and longer lasting with a four-year warranty at only  $120.

Finished Lab-Flex earplugs

“We have set up our own lab and do not use a second party lab to produce the new range of Lab-Flex plugs, letting us reduce the cost which we pass onto our customers” Aaron says.

Another advantage is that the material can be shaped to include a cavity to plug in your favourite earphones.

Aaron says he has undergone months of training to make the specialised earplugs from an “ear impression”.

Riders can have their ear impression made for free by Aaron at his office or at one of the many motorcycle shows and events Earmold attends around the country.

BMW gets ear impressions

You can also have your ear impressions made by an audiologist but they will charge $50-$75.

Aaron then creates a cast of the impression, pours the new material into the cast and heat-cures it in an oven before final polishing.

Turnaround to produce the plugs is around five business days because the plugs are heat-cured and not air-cured like Insta-Mold.

Casts and earplugs ready to be heat-cured

Heat curing makes them more refined, sturdy and allows them to be shaped to include a cavity to plug in existing earphones which can also be quickly unclipped and used separately.

Electronic musician drivers can also be permanently fitted to create specialised earphones.

Aaron says he only uses high-quality drivers, rather than miniature speakers as used in some earphones.

iPhone earphones with conventional speaker compared with musician’s driver (top)

The cost of a set of the new Lab-Flex earphones starts at $289, depending on the electronics used.

Aaron says the advantage is that the sound is clearer, the driver is smaller and therefore more comfortable inside the earplug, and they last longer because there are no moving parts.

He is currently making a set of custom Lab-Flex earphones for us to test which uses the standard cable from a set of iPhone7 earphones together with musician drivers.

That means we will be able to use all the functions of the iPhone7 ear-phones, but in a noise-reducing plug. Stay tuned for our coming review.

Aaron says there are many applications for the new plugs and he is making sets for V8 race drivers, RAAF pilots, TV presenters, musicians and others who require specialised frequencies.

He says the only slight disadvantage is the noise reduction of Biopor is an SNR25 compared with SNR29 for Insta-Mold.

Check out their website for more details.

The post New Earmold custom earplugs, earphones appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Motorcycle helmet considered weapon

Tue, 27/06/2017 - 6:25pm

Motorcycle rider David McDowell has been refused entry to Centrelink in Maryborough because his motorcycle helmet was considered a weapon.

David said he visited the office on Monday (June 26, 2017) for his fortnightly visit, took a number to get an appointment and went to sit down. Then a security guard told him to leave the open-face helmet he was carrying outside as it was classed as a weapon.

“I objected and stuck my digs until they threatened to get the police and I thought ‘I don’t have the money or the time for this’,” he says.

“I was flabbergasted. I was also embarrassed because I was made to feel like a criminal.

“It’s not as if I’m a bikie type, either.”

David as he was dressed at Centrelink

David says he spoke to the female office manager who told him it was national policy and there was a notice posted on the front door.

However, when David later returned, he took a photo of the office doors which do not have any such notice.

Centrelink front doors

David rang to get answers from Centrelink, but was kept on the phone for more than 40 minutes and still could not get any satisfaction.

We contacted Centrelink’s Canberra headquarters for clarification on David’s behalf and they promised a reply by close of business today.

We are still waiting.

David said he wanted to protest against the Maryborough’s discriminatory treatment of him because “it’s the thin edge of the wedge”.

“We can’t wear helmets when we fill up with petrol. What’s next?

“I told them that if I had a bag with bricks in it or a skateboard it would be more of a weapon than a helmet. They told me they were trying to get bags banned, too.

“They wanted me to leave my helmet in the foyer, but I have several helmets and my Shoei Hornet cost over $1000. I’m not going to leave them unattended to be stolen.”

The post Motorcycle helmet considered weapon appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Zero electric motorcycles pulls plug

Tue, 27/06/2017 - 12:00pm

The biggest electric motorcycle company, Zero of California, has pulled out of Australia and Asia, citing unfavourable exchange rates and taxes.

However, they promise to continue owner support through distributor GBT Imports who took over in 2013 after the first importer pulled out in 2010.

Current (‘scuse the pun) Australian Zero dealers are: Euro Bikes, Noosaville, Queensland (07 5474 4927); Procycles St Peters, Sydney (02 9564 8000); Mototecnic, Knoxfield, Victoria (03 9763 1433); and Darwin Motorcycles (08 8948 0995).

Zero’s exit is a significant backward step in the introduction of electric motorcycles in this tough market.

Unlike Europe and some major American cities, electric motorcycles have been slow to take hold here not only because of high prices, but also limited battery range and big distances travelled by Aussie riders.

The failure of Zero Motorcycles, the biggest player in the electric motorcycle market, will have ramifications for other companies.

BMW, Yamaha, Honda and KTM have electric road and off-road motorcycles and scooters that could be imported here, but the companies have decided against it because of the problem of “range anxiety” in our vast continent.

Harley-Davidson Australia will also be taking note when considering introducing their Livewire electric motorcycle which is expected to go into production in the next few years.

Zero Motorcycles says they will continue to offer bikes for the police and authority fleet market, and “continually monitor the region for changes in economic and consumer trends that could create more positive market conditions for electric motorcycles in the future”.

Zero electric DS police motorcycle

Their 2017 fleet ( Zero S, SR, DS, DSR, FX and FXS) ranges in price from $18,000 to $25,000 on the road. You can also buy an optional $4790 Power Tank battery which extends range up to 320km.

Vincent Tesoriero of Procycles at St Peters in Sydney says they have not had one person buy the Power Tank and few have bought the $1600 quick cargo which halves charging time to three hours from empty.

“Just treat it like your iPhone and keep recharging it, rather than letting it run out and fully recharging,” Vincent told us.

“If you can keep your phone charged, then you can keep an electric bike charged.”

They also include a free smartphone app that monitors charge.

We have road-tested the Zero product and can understand their argument that range anxiety should not be an issue, but convincing riders is another thing.

Read our Zero DS test here and watch the video below.

The post Zero electric motorcycles pulls plug appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Town delivers as motorcycle friendly

Tue, 27/06/2017 - 6:00am

The first Motorcycle Friendly Town in NSW admits it declared itself before many facilities were in place, but the town is now delivering to riders.

Wauchope Motorcycle Friendly Town Co-ordinator Jenny Pursehouse and committee members Nadia Stocks and Roger Fance took us on a quick tour of the town last week and showed what they have been doing since declaring themselves motorcycle friendly in November 2016.

“We kind of put the cart before the horse but we had a certain amount of things in place and we had the Ulysses AGM coming soon, so we wanted to get it up and running,” she says.

“But now we are looking at doing even more including 12 motorcycle parking bays in the CBD near a popular cafe. Not a single business has objected. In fact, they were all very supportive.”

Official Motorcycle Friendly Town register

Her comments come as it has been revealed that the Motorcycle Council of NSW has launched a committee to look into regulating MC Friendly Town status.

We launched a survey of our readers to find out what they thought. You can have your say here. Results released later this week.

“An official register is a good idea because it would be a bigger group overseeing it,” Jenny says.

“What would concern me is that we wouldn’t like a really heavy structural criteria.

“Every town is different and has different capacities and facilities.

“And, in a way, motorcycle riding is about freedom and not following all of the rules.”

Our short tour of the town included Meanstreak Choppers, Curly’s Cafe and Timbertown Resort and Hotel which, like the CoOp servo, offers a free bike cleaning and maintenance kit.

The motel has a MC Friendly flag outside, there is a sign on approach to town, more banners will be posted during specific events such as the Moto Fest on November 18, stickers and patches have been produced, and they are planning maps of various dirt, adventure and road routes in the area.

Committee member, new resident and First Aid for Motorcyclists founder Roger also joined our town tour.

He says he chose to live in Wauchope because it was near the Oxley Highway which is motorcycling nirvana.

But Jenny says there are many other challenging dirt and tar roads in the area for road and adventure riders, as well as forestry tracks for dirt bikes.

Diverse motorcycle attractions

We were also joined on our quick tour by Nadia of Meanstreak Choppers in the main street which started building custom cars 20 years ago but now devotes 80% of their business to motorcycles.

Nadia with her personal custom bagger

“We changed direction because motorcycles are such a huge part of our area,” Nadia says.

“We do dirt bikes through to custom choppers because riding here is so diverse so our business reflects that.

“Most business are aware of how many rides pass through here and that we are a Motorcycle Friendly Town now and they do as much as they can.”

Jenny points out that the town and nearby Port Macquarie have a wide variety of accommodation to suit most budgets, two motorcycle shops in Wauchope and three more in Port plus the 24-hour Recover Your Ride motorcycle towing service for crashed or broken-down bikes. Nadia says Meanstreak also pick up and fix bikes.

Timbertown owner and previous Chamber of Commerce president Rob Hamilton, who was instrumental in declaring the town MC Friendly, says the business community has embraced the concept and it has brought a lot of diverse businesses together.

Rob at Loggers Cafe next to his motel Wauchope Moto Fest

Jenny says there has also been a lot of community support for Moto Fest on November 18, 2017, which will include a show and shine, swamp meet, motokhana, tattoo competition, trade and market stalls, live music and more.

“Following the Ulysses AGM, there has been a lot of positive feedback and encouragement from the Wauchope community for us to hold another event for our motorcycle friends,” Jenny says.

Rob says riders are already booking accommodation to attend and the community hopes Moto Fest will become an annual event.

By the way, coffee at Curly’s Cafe is Sydney standard. Onwer Kylie Hack says they us a local blend supplied by Dopeio who regularly train staff.

The cafe is open for riders from 7am to 4pm, or 3pm on weekends. Drop in before and/or after your next Oxley ride.

Curly’s Cafe owner Kylie Hack

The post Town delivers as motorcycle friendly appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Future of disc motorcycle wheels

Mon, 26/06/2017 - 4:00pm

Will we see disc wheels on motorcycles in the future to cut drag, increase performance, and improve handling and fuel economy?

The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy has had a solid wheel for many years and there are a lot of custom aftermarket disc wheels available, but these are designed for aesthetics.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S with disc wheel

However, there are possible practical advantages in using a solid wheel as cyclists have shown since the 1980s.

Ducati began trialling a rear disc wheel on its MotoGP bike in free practice sessions last season. Some suggested the fat and ugly wheel could also be hiding a regenerative braking system to store energy for quick acceleration bursts.

2016 Ducati disc wheel

The disc wheel has been rolled out again this season in free practice which confirms they are serious about its development, although we are yet to see it used in qualifying or racing.

Ok, it looks hideous in both the 2016 and 2017 versions, but the stylists haven’t got to them just yet.

If made of carbon fibre, they could be stronger and lighter which has advantages for handling and performance. There would also be aerodynamic advantages.

Seems odd that Ducati hasn’t yet used the wheels in racing. They are certainly not against pushing the boundaries of technology. Just look at their MotoGP winglets that were subsequently banned.

And there doesn’t seem to be anything against its use in the Dorna regulations.

We asked Former Triple 8 engineer and now race engineer for the winning Porsche Le Mans team, Jeromy Moore, of Brisbane, to assess the possible advantages and disadvantages of solid wheels for motorcycles.

Jeromy Moore

“Disc wheels are purely for drag reduction,” says Jeromy who also cycles.

Drag reduction means more speed, better handling and lower fuel economy which would be important in production bikes which don’t have such great mileage figures.

“We would use it in race cars also for drag but it’s not allowed,” Jeromy says.

“Negatives are the increased side-wind sensitivity on a bike.”

So, will we see disc wheels on more production bikes in future?

The post Future of disc motorcycle wheels appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Indian Roadmaster Classic mixes old and new

Mon, 26/06/2017 - 9:00am

The 2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic is a perfect mix of traditional styling and modern technology for a supremely comfortable long-distance tourer with class.

There is no doubting the retro feel of the 1950s Chevy bodywork and that rustic cowboy tanned leather with the Indian tassels.

But it also now boasts perhaps the most advanced and user-friendly infotainment system on any motorcycle yet.

The seven-inch Ride Command infotainment system with touchscreen has all the information you would ever need and has the best sound system on any bike I have experienced.

It is now available on the Roadmaster Classic for the ride-away price of $38,995 for black and an extra $1000 for the two-tone options of Willow Green and Cream, or Indian Red and Cream. (Ride Command is also available on the Roadmaster hard bagger for $40,995 and on the Chieftain range.)

I road tested a red-and-cream Roadmaster Classic on a 1500km+ ride into NSW, over bumpy roads, on super-smooth highways, across the twisting and testing Oxley Highway and into bitterly cold conditions in the New England Highlands.

When I finally arrived home after three long days in the saddle, I still felt fresh.

This is one of the most comfortable, stylish (if tassels are your thing), well-mannered, hi-tech and entertaining touring bikes yet produced.

Infotainment

The Ride Command system sits nice and high on the comprehensive dashboard and is easy to see in all lighting conditions.

You don’t need to avert your eyes too far from the road to see every piece of information on offer.

The screen is flanked by two analogue dials with small LCD screen inserts.

On the left is a conventional dial speedo with the fuel range constantly displayed in the insert screen. That is so handy and it is surprising more manufacturers don’t do this.

On the right is an analogue tacho with the odometer and gear indicator in the insert screen.

The Ride Command screen has five buttons underneath that provide quick access to the main functions: on/off, slit screen, music, Bluetooth and navigation.

The split-screen function allows you to split the screen vertically and display two different features.

You can choose from eight different screens: trip one and two, vehicle status, vehicle information, audio, bluetooth status and map.

Choice of eight screens per side

The amount of information available is stunning and includes fuel range, average and instant fuel economy, average speed, moving and stopped time, tyre pressure, voltage, engine hours, oil change, etc.

I fully expected it to show my horoscope!

Across the top of the main screen, no matter what you select, there is another small display in the display showing compass bearing, temperature and time which, like the fuel range and gear position, is very handy.

Despite all the information and choices available, it is not daunting technology. In fact, because it is touchscreen, it is intuitive and I was able to navigate around, change sound equaliser settings, navigate, select music, etc, without having to read the instruction manual.

Some functions are not available while on the move for your own safety, but it can still be a distraction.

Thankfully functions are so easy to access, you will not have your eyes diverted for long and because it sits high, the road ahead is always in your periphery vision.

The touch screen function works perfectly. It even allows you to pinch the screen to zoom in and out on the map like on your phone or tablet screen.

I rode in very cold conditions and found the touchscreen even worked with thick winter gloves.

There are also control buttons on the left switch block so you can access most functions without having to take your hand off the bars.

A function I really like is when you are low on fuel it asks if you would like the sat/nav to guide you to the nearest servo.

Apart from being a great source of such relevant, helpful and interesting information, it also has a great sound system.

I normally don’t like stereo systems on bikes because you can’t hear anything over 80km/h thanks to wind noise.

However, with the electronic windscreen in the high position, it was very quiet and I was able to clearly hear the speakers which are also set nice and high and pointed right at you.

Even at 110km/h on the highway, it was as clear as a bell. No distortion. And I could hear subtle sounds in the background – including little bells!

Interestingly, the volume control goes up to 11, not 10, but 11. Maybe that’s a reference to the ThunderStroke 111-cube engine, but I’d like to think it’s a humorous reference to the cult Spinal Tap movie.

You can Bluetooth your music and/or your helmet to the system, or plug your music directly into a USB in a little compartment on top of the dashboard. It is lined with rubber to take out some of the road shock.

I plugged in my big iPhone7+ which was a tight squeeze that crimped the connecting cable.

I’m also concerned that in summer, in that exposed position under black plastic in the blazing sun, the heat could stop the device from working.

It didn’t happen on this trip because it’s winter, but I’ve had a phone stop working when placed in the top map pocket of a tank bag, so it could also happen here.

Other technology

If it seems I got carried away with the infotainment system, I did.

It made those long highway stints go by so much quicker.

However, there is a lot of other tech here that makes your journey more comfortable.

Thankfully, there are heated grips and seats that helped warm me up one morning on the New England Highway where the temperature was -3.5, but felt like -7.2, according to my weather app. That doesn’t include the windchill factor which subtracts one degree about every 10km/h.

The grip button is mounted on the tank and easy to access with 10 degrees of heat control, while the two-stage seat heat control switch is on the left side of the pillion seat and a bit more difficult to find when on the move, especially while wearing winter gloves.

Unfortunately, they didn’t work too well.

The seat became too hot no matter which position was selected and the grips seemed to vary in heat for no reason at all. Perhaps there is a bug with that particular controller.

The electronic windscreen can be operated via a button on the left switch block.

It goes up and down about 10cm, but doesn’t really go down far enough, leaving the top of the screen annoyingly in my field of vision for eye-balling a corner apex.

I left the screen at its top level so I could see through it and get the best wind and cold protection.

In summer, it could be a problem getting enough cooling fresh air.

In some lighting conditions the screen also had a glare right in my field of vision, but it was quickly rectified by dropping the screen slightly.

How does it ride? Indian Roadmaster Classic

Ok, it’s a motorcycle, so how does it ride?

Well, this is simply the most comfortable long hauler there is, with the added ability to carve up some twisty roads.

The riding position is neutral with plenty of room to move your feet around on the floorboards and adjust your backside in the soft and generous leather seat with an easy reach to the bars.

In this position, you have commanding control of the bike.

Or you can hook your feet up on the engine bars when cruising the highway and relax.

I did a three-hour stretch without stopping and felt like I’d just ridden to the corner shop.

Although the Roadmaster Classic weighs just over 400kg with fuel and no luggage, it picks up easily off the side stand and, once moving, it feels light and easy to manoeuvre through traffic and perform feet-up u-turns.

The steering head angle is sharper than the Chief, so it turns a little easier and more precisely, yet it still has plenty of highway stability.

However, that big fork-mounted fairing does mean it gets the highway wobbles if you follow another vehicle’s turbulent air, even just another bike.

Ride is on the plush side, swallowing up some enormous potholes and bumps caused by recent heavy rain.

Consequently, the rear end tends to float a little which makes bumpy corners unsettling.

The floorboards are slightly tilted up which provides greater cornering clearance than any other cruiser and I only scraped them a handful of times on the tight Oxley Highway.

Head-to-head with a Harley tourer, the Roadmaster would be in front over a smooth twisty section because of its extra clearance, but would lag behind on rough corners.

Brakes are strong with plenty of bite and control for a hefty cruiser and the ABS is smooth and unobtrusive.

In fact, I could hardly feel them at all, but was thankful they worked when I pulled up sharply to get a photo one frosty morning. I stupidly hadn’t figured the road would be icy!

The 111 ThunderStroke engine and six-speed transmission seem to be more refined than when I first experienced them on the Chief range.

It idles at just 800 revs and hardly vibrates at all. Under load, it gets a nice grainy feel and pulls strongly in most revs.

At 100km/h it ticks over about 2200 revs and hits peak torque at 3000 revs, so roll-on overtaking is easy without having to drop down a gear.

The gears don’t clunk as much as before and neutral is very easy to find.

Niggles

This is a touring tour de force, but there are still some niggles I have.

I feel like an old grouch bringing them up but if you are spending this much on a bike you expect perfection!

Apart from the windscreen glare, heating problems, floating back end and the dash-top music compartment, here is my list of other niggles:

  • The GPS doesn’t show distance to the next town, or even display the next town when you zoom out. It also rarely shows the names of the road you are on nor the road at the next intersection.
  • Fuel economy was 6.1L/100km for my trip, which is not as good as I expected with a lot of legal highway cruising.
  • This bike had a stage 1 exhaust fitted which sounds nice under load, but has an annoying drumming sound at highway cruising which gave me a headache. I also don’t understand why you would spend money on a great sound system then drown it out with a loud exhaust.
  • While I can understand some people prefer the leather saddlebags and top box, I prefer the security and convenience of the remote-lockable hard bags. Instead, there are eight clasps to fiddle with and if you are constantly stopping for photos, like me, it becomes annoying. However, there is a convenient weatherproof zip pouch on top of the top box for convenient access to small items such as spare gloves, wallet, etc.
Conclusion

I’m not exactly a tassels guy, but I have to admit, this certainly draws attention and admiring glances.

More than once I saw people in cars taking photos as I passed them on the highway and pedestrians stop to take a photo when it was parked.

It rides well, punches strongly, is supremely comfortable and has more technology and entertainment than you can imagine.

So if you are looking to do a lap of Australia in comfort, style and grace, check it out.

2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic
  • Engine: Thunder Stroke 111 (1811cc) V-twin
  • Bore x Stroke: 101 x 113mm
  • Compression: 9.5:1
  • Transmission: 6-speed, wet clutch, belt drive
  • Power: N/A
  • Torque: 161.6Nm at 3000rpm (119.2ft-lb)
  • Suspension: Telescopic 46mm fork (119mm travel); single shock with air adjustment (114mm travel)
  • Brakes: 300mm floating discs, four-piston caliper (front); 300mm floating disc, two-piston caliper (rear) ABS
  • Wheels: 16 x 3.5in; 16 x 5in
  • Tyres: Dunlop Elite 3 130/90B16 73H; Multi-Compound 180/60R16 80H
  • Wheelbase: 1668mm (65.7in)
  • Seat: 673mm (26.5in)
  • Clearance: 140mm (5.5in)
  • Height: 1491mm (58.7in)
  • Length: 2630mm (103.5in)
  • Width: 1000mm (39.4in)
  • Rake/trail: 25°/150mm (5.9in)
  • Fuel tank: 20.8L (5.5g)
  • Wet weight: 406kg (896lb)

The post Indian Roadmaster Classic mixes old and new appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Helmet camera Bill debate adjourned

Mon, 26/06/2017 - 6:00am


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Debate over a “ludicrous” ban on helmet cameras in the South Australian Parliament last week was adjourned along party lines.

Shadow Minister for Police, Emergency and Correctional Services, Stephan Knoll introduced his Private Members Bill in Parliament on Thursday, June 22, 2017.

(Scroll to the end of this article to read the full text of his speed.)

However, debate was adjourned as the Labor Party is seeking a national road rule agreement to amend the ban.

Road Safety Minister Peter Malinauskas says they want a national approach, rather than a “hotch-potch” of state rules.

Riders have been fined in South Australia, NSW and Victorian for using helmet cameras while there is no ban in Western Australia or Queensland where a previous Police Minister actually encouraged their use and last year the ACT ratified the legality of helmet cameras and Bluetooth units.

Malinauskas says the states are now working to agree on a national rule “so riders know exactly where they stand”.

“While we welcome the Opposition’s support for our effort, we think it’s got to be done in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety of motorcyclists,” he says.

He confirmed that NSW has been nominated as the lead legislator to trial new legislation before introducing it nationwide.

Meanwhile, Malinauskas suggested riders attach cameras “in a way that is compliant with the manufacturers’ recommendations”.

He says incorrect attachments could lead to neck and brain injury in a crash.

Eric Aria (Photo courtesy Channel 7)

The SA Bill follows an incident in February 2017 when Adelaide rider Eric Aria was warned about wearing a motorcycle helmet camera.

Eric went to the Sturt Police Station to submit video of drivers cutting him off in traffic but was instead given an official warning for an “illegal helmet camera”.

Eric welcomes the moves to legalise helmet cameras nationwide.

“It would be great for riders safety for insurance and also reporting to the police,” he says.

The issue of the legality of helmet cameras stems from police interpretations of the Australian Design Rule AS1698 on helmets that says nothing can be attached to a motorcycle helmet and that a helmet shell cannot be modified such as by drilling holes.

However, now that helmets do not need to have Australian specification and Euro-approved helmets are allowed, it has heightened confusion among riders.

The UNECE 22.05 rule now includes a clause which effectively places the onus on a manufacturer to ensure that any attachment fitted internally or externally to a helmet is safe, this effectively moves the responsibility to the point of sale.

Riders would welcome a national rule change so they can ride across state boundaries without risking a fine.

Private Members Bill speech: Shadow Minister Stephan Knoll

First off, there is a road safety benefit attached. It encourages compliance by all road users. It encourages compliance by those who are wearing the cameras and it encourages compliance by everyone they come into contact with. It is a measure that essentially takes advantage of the new technology that has come about in the last few years and allows that to complement the existing road safety rules so that we can move ever closer to having a safer road for everyone. The reason this is important, especially for cyclists, motorcyclists and scooter riders, is that they are at greater risk than other road users. We have seen sickening footage of cyclists, and motorcyclists especially, having accidents and having a greater propensity to be involved in an accident because they are more difficult to see and are far less protected than other road users. This measure helps to give them comfort that there is evidence there for them in the event that something does happen.

That brings us to the second point: the wearing of these cameras and the keeping of this footage can be used as evidence in a situation where road rules have been broken. Again, that is important because it is a longstanding principle that the more people we can prosecute for doing the wrong thing the more we can encourage people to do the right thing. A greater conviction rate, or a greater understanding in the community that if you do something wrong then you will be caught, will help to encourage compliance with the Road Rules. That is extremely important. It can be important for insurance purposes, especially when, in the absence of an absconded third party, that evidence is there to help support an insurance claim—again, a very important measure. This amendment is simple. It does not pretend to be anything other than that, but I can tell you that the feedback since we announced that we were going to move this amendment has been quite strong. It may not be important to those of us who use cars or public transport, but it matters to those who are most vulnerable on our roads. It matters to cyclists and it matters to motorcyclists and scooter riders because they are the ones who see their friends getting involved in accidents. They are the ones who get on their bike and get on the road with a sense of fear and trepidation. If this measure goes any way to providing them with some comfort and some greater confidence, then I think that it is indeed a very good thing. By letting this grey area of law hang over the heads of otherwise law-abiding road users, this government is taking the easy path and continuing to subject these road users to the ambiguities of the law. Where I find it most frustrating is that we have heard comments by people, such as, ‘This is not illegal.’ I would like that to be told to Eric Aria, who received a police caution and was threatened with a fine over the use of wearing a camera. He does not think that it is legal. Certainly the police he went to visit did not think it was legal. Absent some sort of directive otherwise, this is the only way to ensure that the use of these cameras is legal. So, it is an extremely important measure in that regard. The minister was very quick to come out and say, ‘We’re not going to support this motion,’ which I find quite frustrating because in the same breath he said it was a good idea, said it was very worthy, said he agrees with the concept but then says, ‘We are not going to support your bill.’ It is extremely frustrating. The minister went on to say that there’s a national approach being led by New South Wales and that they are looking into this issue.

The first question I have is: how long does it take to look into this issue? It is not like this is something new. Mobile cameras like GoPros have been around for a number of years now, and our legislation needs to keep up with the realities of people on our roads. This is the second thing that I find frustrating with the minister’s answer. He says, ‘No, no, there’s potential evidence from overseas that the wearing of these things may increase the severity of an accident when an accident happens.’ If that is the case, why does the police minister allow his own police to use them? If they are unsafe and this needs to be looked at a nationally consistent approach, why are our police using them? Essentially, we have a situation where the minister thinks it is a good idea, the minister lets his own police use them, but he cannot bring himself to support our idea. To my mind that is rank partisanship. That is the worst excesses of partisanship in this place, and it is a position that is going to hurt the riders of South Australia simply because the government cannot bring itself to agree with an opposition idea. The other part is that this law has already been enacted along extremely similar circumstances in the ACT. Certainly that parliament did not see the need to wait; in fact, the Legislative Assembly decided in its wisdom that they were going to act to end this ambiguity.

The bill allows for a very clear interpretation and understanding of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable for cyclists, motorcyclists and scooter riders. The bill itself talks about ‘frangible mountings’, a term that I have become a little more familiar with. It says that ‘the device is affixed to the helmet by means of a frangible mounting’. In layman’s terms, it means it gets stuck onto the side. Proposed subsection (4)(b) of the amendment bill states, ‘The frangible mounting is affixed to the helmet in a manner that does not penetrate or fracture the outermost shell of the helmet.’ Essentially, that helps to make sure that there is no ambiguity around the fact that you cannot screw a camera in, you cannot nail a camera in, you cannot affix the camera in any way if you are going to ruin the structural integrity of the helmet. It is extremely clear. Having said that, every attachment that I have seen to date is as simple as double-sided tape in some fashion with some adhesive sticking to the helmet. What I am also given to understand is that the ones that are used and the ones that I have seen are actually designed to break off in the event of an accident. Again, it is extremely clear about what is legal and what is illegal, and consideration is given to the safety implications. But here is the point for me. There was some discussion around, ‘How are we allowing riders to do this if it potentially makes them less safe?’ I would contend that it does not. Even if it did, we are not forcing riders to use them. All we are doing is giving back a small centimetre of freedom to people to do what they want. The rider gets to choose what they feel is more safe or less safe for them. The rider gets to choose whether they want to wear these things. The interesting thing is that in this place we take away liberty metres at a time, but we only ever give it back in inches and centimetres. If this measure helps to give back the briefest of centimetres back in freedom to the road users of South Australia, then it is worthwhile. The amendment also allows other communication devices, if they attached to the camera in the same way, which could help facilitate training of motorcyclists and could help facilitate ensuring that when inexperienced road users get on the roads they are able to be in contact with more experienced road users, especially for motorcyclists and young and inexperienced motorcyclists traversing more difficult terrain, either at night or on windy roads. This is the part that I found extremely interesting: there is a tourism element to this. What could be better than having a cyclist or a motorcyclist riding around the beautiful landscapes of the Barossa Valley, GoPro stuck to their helmet, videoing the beautiful landscapes in my electorate and around country South Australia and then going home, posting those videos to social media and providing a birds-eye view of the beautiful landscapes in South Australia? It helps to give people and the family and friends of those who post those videos, a real understanding and a real look at the true beauty of our state. This is not a small tourist measure. Motorcycle tourism is worth an estimated $350 million to the Australian economy, and that excludes the sales around bikes, petrol and accessories— $350 million is the conservative estimate of what motorcycle tourism means to the Australian economy. Allowing these road users to show to their friends the fantastic and wonderful places that they have explored, and the beautiful landscapes that go along with that, can only enhance South Australia and our economy and is something that we really need to look at. It is an extremely important part of this amendment. For those in this house who would like to give back some small measure of freedom to road users in South Australia, to those who would like to give back some small measure of comfort to motorcyclists in South Australia, I would suggest that we support this piece of legislation. It does not purport to do anything other than it does, but for those tens of thousands of road users who would love the opportunity to have the ambiguity taken away, they would certainly appreciate it. They are vocal in the way that they express their views. Since we announced last Saturday that we were going to introduce this, the positive feedback I have received has been quite startling. On behalf of those people, I implore this parliament to give back to them something so simple yet something that they deeply desire.

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Speed camera fines suspended, not cancelled

Sun, 25/06/2017 - 4:00pm

Victorian Police have suspended, not cancelled, fines recorded by 55 fixed speed and red light cameras infected by “WannaCry” ransomware virus from June 6-23.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said almost 600 fines had been “cancelled” and “withdrawn” to retain the public confidence in the system.

However, we checked with VicPol who confirmed that the fines are only suspended until the Road Camera Commissioner has completed his investigation of all 280 fixed speed and red light cameras starting tomorrow (Monday, June 26, 2017).

So those fines could still apply. As it is, three motorists caught for major offences have had their licences cancelled.

Also, we checked on reports that said VicPol had posted a list of the 55 affected camera sites but received this reply for VicPol media: “Victoria Police does not post lists of where traffic cameras are located so we cannot assist.”

Contrary to what Guenther said, public confidence is surely shattered by a system that veils camera locations in secrecy and doesn’t scrap fines that accrued when cameras were considered to be compromised.

It also makes us wonder how many other cameras in other states are affected by hackers or the accidental infestation of computer viruses.

Police say there is no evidence this was the result of cyber hackers, but confirm the virus has been removed and all cameras are active again.

Motorcycle campaigner Wayne Carruthers says the police statement that a contractor with a memory stick updating a camera was the start of the problem is not plausible.

Wayne Carruthers

“The entry point of WannaCry into the UK NHS was via an port open to the internet and from one PC spread to many in the NHS,” he says.

“It is more likely that the PC used to retrieve images from cameras was infected and that would explain how all cameras are now suspect.”

The public would have every right to express a lack of confidence in any infringement notice issued from the beginning of this intrusion into the camera network

How can we motorists have any future confidence in a system that could so easily fall prey to hackers or a virus?

Former No 1 member of the Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia and longtime rider advocate Rodney Brown who boasts an advanced diploma in justice says the suspended fines should be cancelled.

“If a speed camera has been proven to be faulty that should be enough in itself to refund all fines and penalties associated with that camera to make it fair just and equitable,” he says.

Victorian Motorcycle Council vice-chair John Eacott says they are generally concerned with speed cameras that reverse the presumption of innocence.

John Eacott

“We are concerned where you are guilty until proven innocent as is the case with speed cameras, especially if they are relying on a system that has been hacked,” he says.

Victoria has had ongoing problems with its speed camera system including an incident in 2003 when a 1970s Datsun 120Y was booked at 158km/h on the ring road; a speed it was impossible for that old four-cylinder to reach.

“It took a massive publicity campaign to change the government’s dogmatic response that the speed camera system works. That’s happened a few times over the years,” John says.

“It is debatable that the whole speed camera system contributes anything to road safety since they are all in known locations where people slow down then speed up again.

“Our taxpayer dollars would be far better spent on properly teaching road users to drive carefully and responsibly.”

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Oxley Highway may set safety benchmark

Sun, 25/06/2017 - 6:00am

The famed motorcycle nirvana that is the Oxley Highway may soon set the benchmark for rider safety with some innovative safety strategies being considered.

While riding the Oxley last week, I bumped into a group of road safety and transport workers at Gingers Creek.

They can’t be named nor their organisations, but they were happy to discuss some of the safety strategies they plan for the road to create a new safety benchmark for motorcycling.

This follows a 2015 safety review of the highway after a disproportionate number of crashes, mainly involving riders. The review found 15 plans of action.

However, the Roads and Maritime Services seemed to only be interested in reducing the speed limits by as much as 40km/h on the mountain section.

This prompted a heated protest and popular petition by riders, local residents and business owners, so the RMS was asked to do another review.

That was expected by Christmas, but has been pushed back by the new minister who is also the member for the area.

Now the review is imminent and our sources tell us it could include some innovative safety strategies.

They wouldn’t say whether the speed zones would be reduced, but the suggestion is that, if they are, they certainly won’t be as drastic as originally touted.

Among the suggested safety measures that would create a new safety benchmark are:

  • Radar-activated signs that identify riders and flash some sort of warning if they are approaching a bend too fast;
  • Yellow plastic capping on the top of the armco (similar to the yellow end capping being used now) to reduce the hazards to riders and also provide a visual alert of a corner;

    Yellow capping may continue across the top of the armco

  • More turnout areas for slow vehicles to pull over and signs alerting them to allow vehicles to pass;
  • “Look for Bikes” signs as used in Victoria and on Mt Glorious Rd in South-East Queensland; and

    Look for bikes signs on Mt Glorious

  • Road work on blind decreasing-radius corners to chamfer the bank so you can see further around the corner, signage warning of the tightening curve or roadwork to reduce the turn severity.

One of the workers explained the radar signs a little further, saying they wouldn’t be like the signs that flash “slow down” or display your speed.

He says flashing signs could be too distracting while a speed display can become a challenge for riders to see how fast they can go.

The signs would be set to detect riders only and would be activated at a speed threshold that alerts the rider they are going too fast for that corner.

The worker said they wouldn’t have a lot of those signs as the more there are, the less effective they become.

He says there would only be two or three on the mountain section and they would be positioned where there was a high incidence of crashes on corners.

He says their statistics show that the biggest cause of crashes on the mountain were riders going too fast for a corner and running off the road or into oncoming traffic.

We believe various government departments are working with the Motorcycle Council of NSW on the safety initiatives. If they were all implemented, it would create a new safety benchmark for motorcycling roads.

The MCCNSW has already been instrumental in having emergency satellite phones installed on the mountain which is a black spot for mobile phone reception.

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Riding with brain cancer to Harley Heaven

Sat, 24/06/2017 - 4:00pm

We recently met brain cancer patient Joshua Chalmers on a ride to celebrate the 100th anniversary for Harley-Davidson Australia.

Josh and his wife Annabelle (pictured above) had been invited on the ride as part of the company’s donation to the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Together with Harley Heaven in Melbourne they also donated $100,000 and a Street Rod for auction.

Josh, a sports bike rider, was bowled over not only by the generosity of Harley but also by the bikes, themselves. We asked Josh to write about his experiences and this is his story:

Josh and Annabelle My first Harley Davidson experience

During the time I have had brain cancer – almost 10 years now – I have relied on motorcycling as a touchstone for my quality of life.

I was first approached to be part of the Harley Davidson 100 year ride when my wife called me at work and asked “do you want to ride a bike in a convoy from Sydney?” and my response was an immediate and emphatic yes.

But the standard why are we riding, what am I riding, who is it for were the questions that soon followed. The answer was that The Vincent Chiodo Charitable Foundation had arranged for The Cure Brain Cancer Foundation to be the charity partner for the 100-year ride, commencing at the Morgan & Wacker dealership in Queensland and riding all the way down to our hometown of Melbourne.

We would be stopping at different Harley dealerships on the way down and I would be part of a small contingent of people living with brain cancer on the ride. As a sports bike rider and having never been on a Harley before, my first thoughts instantly moved to the weight and handling of the bike and then to how much more comfortable it would be for touring than my daily workhorse.

Our next step into this eye-opening experience was to go and get kitted out! The generous team at Harley Heaven in Melbourne decked both my wife and I out head to toe in Harley gear. An early indicator of how generous and friendly Harley people are.

The level of service and support we received from the people at Harley Heaven was mind boggling. I also got my first up-close look at the bike I was going to be riding, a 400+kg 2017 Ultra Limited.

Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited

You could not pick a more different bike to my daily ride if you tried! At 400 odd kilos, I knew that some forms of riding were going to be very different control skills then what I was used to. Once we had our goodies from Harley, we returned home to try and fit them in our luggage for the trip up to Sydney.

Misconceptions Riders on the 100th anniversary ride

I had always had misconceptions about Harleys and the people who ride them. Some turned out to be flat-out untrue, most were based on misinformation or my own ignorance.

I had never been massively interested in cruisers, but as soon as I managed a wobbly trip over to Manly the Monday before the convoy started, I was starting to see why people love them.

For lack of a more accurate term, the bikes have a soul and character not found in any of the bikes I had ridden previously (mostly Japanese sports bikes).

Josh with his usual ride (Facebook)

This common love shared by the people who ride these bikes is infectious and once you’re in, you’re in! There is only one other place I have experienced camaraderie like this and that was when I was a member of the RAAF.

The Ride

The first morning we met the riding group at Brookvale, Sydney. The set-up was very professional with a morning briefing from the ride captain and I was very happy to be up the back of the convoy given my lack of Harley experience.

We also met two great guys from the Sydney HOG chapter, Brett and Hutch. These two guys helped out by giving me space in traffic so I could practise my slow riding without collision, gave lots of helpful tips along the way, and even shook a collection tin for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation at a couple of the stops.

We were also introduced to the Harley-Davidson corporate staff and the legendary Bill Davidson (great grandson of a company founder) that morning. Everyone we met on the trip was very kind and welcoming.

Bill Davidson

The first leg was intended to be a short ride from Brookvale down to Stanwell tops, but Sydney traffic had different plans. The next two hours was to be slow riding and me remembering to put both feet on the ground at a stop for balance.

Once the traffic cleared the bike was in its element, effortlessly completing the first leg with me comfortable in the rider’s seat. Continuing to lunch and then to Canberra that afternoon was relatively easy and much less tiring than my regular bike.

Arriving in Canberra, we checked in and then headed off to the birthday celebrations at the Canberra store. It was amazing to see and talk to so many enthusiasts. Bill Davidson spoke of the company’s plans for the next 10 years and why the 100-year ride was so important. It was touching to see an executive of the company so personally invested in customer satisfaction and success of the brand.

At the event, the guys I had ridden with that day started to talk weather forecasts, as most riders do. It was supposed to be very cold with a chance of rain. Thankfully we were proven wrong the next day with an uncharacteristically sunny 10 degree start for our next leg to Albury.

Again, the convoy assembled and the standard morning briefing occurred, the time on the bike flew by as we rode down some of the most beautiful non-congested roads I have ever seen.

Bill on the Great Alpine Rd

About 10 minutes after we left our morning tea stop, as we mounted a rise, a kind of euphoria settled over me. Looking at all these riders stretching off into the distance with one common pursuit, then taking a glance in the mirrors to see our support vehicle with my wife onboard, made me feel incredibly lucky to have this experience- and the scenery was so beautiful I had to keep reminding myself to stay focused on the task at hand.

The next day would prove to be the most challenging and rewarding, as this leg was from Albury to Traralgon through the mountains. Leaving from Albury was a cold start, the first section not too challenging.

As we started to ascend toward Omeo and Dinner Plains, the riding got very technical, so much so that I think I may have heard the footboards complaining once or twice! Somehow I managed to get stuck behind Bill Davidson for this leg. Following someone like him through this section of road was challenging but ultimately rewarding when finally getting off the bike that afternoon in Traralgon.

The next morning, we woke to find the bikes covered in dew from being left out overnight – not the most welcoming sight for a motorcyclist! This would be the last leg of the convoy back into Melbourne via the Northside Harley Davidson and the collection of bikes they have there, to the Harley Heaven launch event at the new dealership on Spencer St.

Last-night party at Harley Heaven

I was honestly both sad that the convoy had ended and jubilant that I and the bike had made it in one piece. I met some amazing people on the ride and shared experiences I will be forever grateful for.

Thank yous

A special thanks to Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, Darren Munro and the Vincent Chiodo Charitable foundation, Mick Sinclair from Harley Heaven and Nigel Keough from Harley-Davidson Australia for making it all happen.

The post Riding with brain cancer to Harley Heaven appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Why riders should avoid road rage

Sat, 24/06/2017 - 7:21am

There have been many You Tube videos showing riders copping the worst of a road rage incident, but in this case, the rider does seem to avoid the worst.

The incident occurred on the 14 Freeway near Santa Clarita in California this week.

What we don’t see is what led to the rider kicking the car. Maybe he was cut off. But is that any reason to kick the car?

The reaction of the driver is to swerve, hitting the bike and sending him into the centre divider. It could have ended very badly for the rider.

But he hasn’t necessarily been able to avoid the consequences. The police are now searching for the rider who fled the scene of an accident leaving behind two injured drivers and two smashed vehicles.

The rider also has a damaged bike.

If he was provoked, he still faces prosecution. In California, he faces either a misdemeanour or a hit-and-run felony charge and face up to a year in prison.

The usual result of a rider kicking a car has a different result as riders are vulnerable road users and no match for cars weighing a lot more.

Just check out this incident.

There are plenty more examples of riders yelling abuse or gesturing at drivers in retaliation to their stupidity.

They take their eyes off the road to indulge in a bit of road rage which is dangerous and can lead to them crashing.

Even at 40km/h, you are travelling 11m per second in which time you could hit something.

Is it really worth it?

In another video which has now been deleted, a rider flicks the finger and yells abuse at a driver as he passes, taking his eyes off the road for a split second.

When he turns around, he finds he has run out of space and time to avoid a collision with a rubbish skip (dumpster).

Now, check out this video from Florida.

It started when the rider was splitting lane which is illegal in Florida. The driver took offence and a dangerous high-speed followed.

Florida must be the capital of road rage, because in another incident we published a Florida driver intentionally ran over a motorcycle, sending the rider and his female pillion flying.

Police arrested and charged the driver with attempted murder on the basis of the rider’s video evidence. But that doesn’t help the rider who suffered extensive leg injuries and a broken bike.

 

Most riders have experienced aggressive, inconsiderate, rude, uneducated, distracted, dangerous and plain incompetent drivers on the road.

But we should do all that we can to avoid being lured into road rage as we usually come off second-best.

Queensland Police Senior Sergeant Ian Park who created the #ridesafely4me Facebook site says he’s not sure if it’s perception or reality, but “our roads appear to be becoming angrier places”.

“Unfortunately, it seems to involve individuals from all road user groups as both the victims and the perpetrators. Motorcyclists and bicyclists are of course the most vulnerable due to the lack of physical protection around them. But the fundamentals of personal safety of the roads are no different to anywhere else,” he says.

Sgt Park and a group of riders IAN’S TIPS TO AVOID ROAD RAGE

If you find yourself feeling unsafe as a result of the actions of another road user, the first priority is to remove yourself from the situation as safely as possible. Unfortunately far too often incidents of poor behaviour by one road user to another are only exacerbated when the ‘victim’ retaliates. If another party chooses to yell at you, beep their horn or flash their lights – so what? Let them get it out of their system and get on their way. Inflaming the situation by ‘biting back’ rarely assists, and often only makes the situation more unsafe for everyone.

However if the other party continues to behave in a manner that makes you feel unsafe, then consider your environment. Perhaps pull into a service station, licensed premises or shopping centre that is likely to be fitted with external CCTV. This will often discourage the aggressor from taking the matter further if they know their actions (and registration details) are going to be recorded.

If no such place is available continue to drive without reacting to the aggressor until a place of safety is available, avoid making eye contact and attempt to disengage from the situation as best and safely as you can.

If you feel that you are in imminent danger, pull over and call triple zero (000). Don’t forget that ‘000’ from a mobile phone doesn’t necessarily go to your nearest operator, so always be ready to say ‘I need police in (name of City/town or nearest regional centre)’.

When speaking with a 000 operator, pass on relevant information that could assist police to investigate the matter, for example, registration details, descriptions of the person/s in the vehicle, time, date, correct location (in case there are traffic monitoring cameras located nearby etc.), descriptions about any features of the vehicle that are not standard (i.e. post factory fitted wheels, decorations, accessories, damage).

If you carry any kind of video recording device, ensure the footage is set aside so that it doesn’t get recorded over before being provided to police. Make sure you don’t just secure the footage of the incident – also keep footage leading up to and beyond the incident to help clarify any potential counter claims by the other party that it was actually you that was the aggressor.

If the situation is over, but you are still of the belief that the matter warrants investigation with a view to action by police, you always have the right to report it. You can either attend your nearest open police station to speak to someone, contact the non-urgent police reporting number which is now 131 444 in almost all Australian Police Jurisdictions. Similarly most policing services across Australia also provide on-line reporting services. Just search the police service in your State or Territory to find their websites and follow the prompts.

Be mindful, however that any complaint of an incident involving one person upon another without any supporting evidence is often difficult to successfully prosecute. A successful prosecution requires sufficient evidence being presented to a court to determine that an offence was committed beyond reasonable doubt.

However, this should not prevent you from reporting the matter, but is something to keep in mind if police determine there is not sufficient evidence for a matter to proceed. It doesn’t necessarily mean police don’t believe you! If you provide police with a video recording you must be willing and able to give evidence.

The post Why riders should avoid road rage appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Ducati adds Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro

Sat, 24/06/2017 - 6:00am

As Ducati faces a buyout by several suitors, the Italian company is busy releasing new model variants with a recent Scrambler Mach 2.0 and now a Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro.

Ducati Australia says there is no scheduled arrival date or pricing for the new adventure bike model.

The Pro features a sand colour scheme, two-tone seat, Pirelli Scorpion dual-purpose tyres, engine bars by Touratech with LED lights, a low screen and a Termignoni exhaust.

It also comes with a host of electronic rider aids: ABS Cornering, Cornering Lights (DCL), Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC), the semi-active Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) Evolution system with 200mm of wheel travel, cruise control and Vehicle Hold Control (VHC) for smooth uphill starts.

The bike has a Bluetooth module that allows riders to connect a smartphone to the Ducati Multimedia System (DMS) to manage functions  such as incoming calls, text messaging and music via the switchgears and display information on the TFT dashboard.

 

The post Ducati adds Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Moto Guzzi V7 III prices confirmed

Fri, 23/06/2017 - 12:00pm

Moto Guzzi has launched its third iteration of the modern V7 and added a limited edition Anniversario V7 III (pictured above) to celebrate 50 years of the range.

Australian importers PS Imports have announced that the Moto Guzzi V7 III have arrived in dealerships with very attractive price tags: V7 III Stone – $12,990; V7 III Special – $13,990; V7 III Racer – $16,490; Anniversario – $16,990 (plus on-raod costs).

That’s as much as $1000 less than previous price on the Stone and a $510 saving on the Special and Racer.

Chrome tank

The Anniversario and new V7 III models were unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan in November.

The limited edition model uses the same chassis and engine as the V7 Stone, Special and Racer but with new graphics, chrome fuel tank with their gold eagle logo, lockable billet aluminium fuel cap and a new leather seat.

Paul McCann, spokesman for importers PS Importers says there are only 750  Anniversario models being produced from the factory in Italy and only 20 will make it Down Under.




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The whole V7 III range has been updated for Euro 4 pollution compliance with new pistons heads and cylinder plus a new exhaust with double manifolds for better heat insulation.

The bottom end has a new crankshaft and sump, with a reworked ventilation system to reduce power loss due to the internal pumping of the crankcase chambers and a reduced capacity oil pump capable of absorbing less power.

Timing is controlled by a traditional system of pushrods and rockers with two valves per cylinder, now arranged in an inclined position.

Moto Guzzi V7 III Racer

Moto Guzzi says power is up 3kW to 38kW, but torque remains the same at a healthy 60Nm.

The Italian brand has fallen further behind other retro models such as the 900cc and 1200cc Triumph Bonnevilles and BMW R nineT, which both come with more power and torque and more equipment.

So all the updates are really about catching up with the herd while the V9 tackles them more head-on.

Meanwhile, the 2017 V9 Bobber and Roamer have longer and thicker seats, higher bars, and higher and farther back footpegs. All these updates are also available as accessories for existing 2016 models.

They also come with a lot more options such as fly and touring windscreens, racks, etc.

Moto Guzzi V7 III updates Moto Guzzi V7 III Special

The V7 III is now a more capable handler with steeper steering geometry, a reinforced headstock and new Kayaba twin shocks with preload adjustment.

Riders and pillions will find it more comfortable with a lower 769mm rider seat, lower and pillion pegs set lower and further forward.

The shaft-driven bike also has a new rear brake master-cylinder and the first and sixth gear ratio are changed for more acceleration but also an easier highway gait.

It now comes with two-stage traction control that can also be switched off. The system can be recalibrated for different tyre circumferences.

Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone

All V7 models come with the Moto Guzzi Media Platform that connects your smartphone to the bike via a dedicated app.

The Bluetooth connection allows you to use your phone to view speed, revs, instant power, instant torque, instant and average fuel consumption, average speed, battery voltage and acceleration. It’s also an extended trip computer.

The “Eco Ride” feature helps to reduce fuel consumption.

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Fifth Dust Hustle set to sell out

Fri, 23/06/2017 - 6:00am

Tickets to ride in the fifth Ellaspede Dust Hustle go on sale on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, at 6pm and the 140 rider spots are expected to sell out within an hour.

Tickets, which have sold out quickly in the past, are only available online here.

Rather than being held in Spring, the fun racing event will this year be held on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at the Mick Doohan Raceway, 61 Raubers Road, Northgate, Brisbane.

Ellaspede spokesman Hughan Seary says to get fans in the mood for the fifth Dust Hustle, they have released this video of their fourth Dust Hustle at Biddaddaba in April.

Hugh says the fifth Dust Hustle and the second one for this year will have the same racing categories as usual: Clutchless Scooters & Posties, Old Mates (pre 90), Risky Road Bikes and Enduro & MX.

“We’re partnering with the Food Truck Round Up again to bring 10+ gourmet food trucks to the event again, as well as some new sponsor displays that we haven’t seen at the event before,” he says.

“Lunchtime will feature some sponsor demos, as well as two full-gate-start pro dirt track races with some current and former champions.”

He says they are still confirming the start list.

Entry price is $2 per person or free for kids under 16.

To see what all the fun is about, check out this video of their 2016 Dust Hustle event featuring GP legend Garry McCoy and a host of wacky bikes and riders.

Motorcycles, scooters and sidecars featured included old dirt bikes to choppers and a showdown of modern scramblers from BMW and Ducati.

It was also a huge crowd-pleaser with plenty of on- and off-track action and entertainment for the 2000 spectators.

 

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Improved features for Obi Obi bike show

Thu, 22/06/2017 - 4:00pm

Organisers of the Obi Obi Motorcycle Show have promised to fix any teething problems from their successful inaugural 2016 show when it returns on September 10, 2017.

“We were taken a bit by surprise at the number of people rolling up,” says spokesman Steve Walker.

“We planned for 500, would have been happy with 300, and had 1057 attending. This year we are planning for 1200.

“Thank you to all those who helped make the first Obi Obi bike so successful. We listened to all you told us about last year’s show, and we are glad you had such a great time, both at the show, and all the various rides there and back.

“So this year, we can say the food will be faster, there will be more shade, the entrance will be freer flowing, and parking trailers will be easier.”

Almost 100 bikes were displayed last year and they hope to increase that number this year.

“The bikes were a wonderful mix of the outstanding and the everyday, and a surprising number of the outstanding ones were ridden in,” Steve says.

Admission is still $5 and it costs $5 to enter a bike in a class for judging. Show classes are currently being fine tuned, and will be posted on their Facebook site once set.

Gates open at 9am on the Sunday and show bikes should be entered by 11am. Food, coffee and beverages will be available and the band this year is The Spirit Coasters.

The show last year raised $10,000 to help preserve the historic 104-year-old Obi Obi Community Hall.

Steve says many riders will have ridden past the hall and probably not noticed it.

“I am sure that you have ridden past it, although as it is at the start of the braking area for a right angle bend with no safe run-off area, so you may have been too busy for sightseeing,” he says.

Steve says they hope future events might include a road closure for timed 0-to-100 single bike sprints.

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KTM 390 Duke recall on two issues

Thu, 22/06/2017 - 12:00pm

KTM Australia has recalled the 2017-model 125 and 390 Duke models over two issues where the instrument panel and headlight could suddenly turn off.

The voluntary safety recall, issued through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the Head Light Control Unit software may cause the LED headlight to reboot while in operation and the  instrument dashboard may lose information or not display all information.

“If the headlight control unit reboots this may lead to the headlight operation being affected as it may go off and on without warning, potentially causing dangerous riding situations for the rider and other road users,” the notice says.

If you lose instrument information, riders would not know what speed they were going.

2017 KTM 390 Duke

Owners known to the company will be contacted by direct mail.

However, second owners who bought through a private sale may not know of the recall.

Owners are asked to contact an authorised KTM dealer to arrange an appointment for an inspection of their motorcycle where the software version of the vehicle Headlight Unit and Instrument cluster will be updated free of charge.

KTM Australia had two other recalls in recent months.

In February 2017, they recalled selected models of the 1290 Super Duke GT motorcycle over leaky fuel hoses and last November, all 2013 to 2016 KTM 1190 Adventure, 1190 Adventure R and 1290 Super Adventure motorcycles were recalled over a brake issue.

KTM Super Duke GT

YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS ON RECALLS

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

• USA

• UK

• New Zealand

• Canada

– See more at: https://motorbikewriter.com/harley-touring-models-recalled-oil-leak/#sthash.KbaKaSfO.dpuf

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Harley-Davidson interested in buying Ducati

Thu, 22/06/2017 - 6:44am

Harley-Davidson is the latest motorcycle company to xxpress an interest in buying Ducati and is expected to make a bid in July.

Global investment company Evercore, acting for Ducati, has sent out information packages to a number of motorcycle companies including Harley who has asked Goldman Sachs to look into the deal.

Other companies who have shown interest in buying Ducati include private equity firms, known for stripping assets, and Indian motorcycle manufacturers Eicher Motors who make Royal Enfield, TVS Motor Company, Bajaj Auto and Hero Motocorp.

TVS and Hero have stepped away from the deal because of the hefty price tag, while there are reports that BMW, Honda and Suzuki showed some interest but decided against bidding.

While no one is going on the record about the buyout, the reports have been covered in a range of reputable financial news services around the world.

The interest in Ducati by Harley seems strange.

Harley doesn’t have a good record with sports bikes having bought Buell only to close it down within a few short years.

The Milwaukee company also once bought fellow Italian sports bike company MV Agusta for $US109m and sold it two years later to the late Claudio Castiglione for about $5 after the GFC hit.

However, it may be a good fit given a HD executive once pointed out that a survey of their owners found that the most common second bike they owned was a Ducati.

Interestingly there have been a lot of rumours about Harley being bought out. They surface every now and then, but there has been no substance to them.

The Ducati buyout started in April when owner Volkswagen started looking for buyers to help pay off its multi-billion-dollar costs of the 2015 emissions scandal.

VW’s Audi division bought Ducati for $US1.12 billion in 2012, including $261 million in debt. Ducati is now making about $109m a year and is estimated to be on the market for $1-$1.6 billion.

VW needs the money to finance billions of dollars in payouts over its 2015 emissions scandal.

The Germany car manufacturer has already agreed to pay $15 billion to US authorities and the owners of about 500,000 affected vehicles.

It has also laid off 3000 workers to save money, despite revenue last year of $217.27b which was an increase of 1.86%.

Ducati may not yet be sold. It depends on whether the asking price is met.

The company was actually bought by Audi, but was strongly backed by former VW CEO Ferdinand Piech who had been CEO of Audi and is a fan of Ducati motorcycles.

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Free fun app for motorbike sounds

Thu, 22/06/2017 - 6:00am

Here’s a free fun app that provides interactive motorcycle exhaust and engine sounds for those who are disappointed with their quiet legal exhaust.

RevHeadz Motorbike Sounds was developed in Australia and spokesman Chris Wise says it’s basically “a novelty app for people who love automotive sounds”.

The free app includes two free bikes – a Yamaha R1 and an Indian Chief Dark Horse. If you like them, you can buy an additional pack of 12 bikes for $4.49.

The extra bikes are Adventure 1170cc, Ducati Diavel 1198cc, two-stroke 250cc dirt bike, four-stroke 450cc dirt bike, MotoGP 1000cc, Suzuki GSX-R1000, Kawasaki Ninja 636cc, Harley-Davidson Panhead 1200cc, Ducati Panigale 1198, Triumph Speed Triple 1050cc, KTM Super Duke 1301cc and 11988cc superbike.

The app doesn’t just have static exhaust noises, but real engine sounds that simulate real-world mechanical physical parameters including speedometer, tachometer, throttle, brakes, drive ratios, turbocharger, drive lashing, engine load, gear-shifts and backfire logic.

RevHeadz Motorbike Sounds lets you control the throttle, gear shifts, braking and even perform tyre-screeching burnouts.

You can download the iPhone version here and the Android version here

About RevHeadz

RevHeadz is a three-man Aussie operation including artist Chris, audio engineer Greg Hill and programmer Derek Long.

They are responsible for providing motor sounds for a number of popular games including Test Drive Unlimited, Need for Speed, Juiced, Colin McRae Dirt and more. They also make a car version of this app.

MBW readers may remember Chris from a project to develop a special safety training simulator which unfortunately failed to gain funding support despite a lot of interest from crash research facility CARRS-Q at the Queensland University of Technology.

Chris says this new app is in “no way related to the motorbike simulator project” which was his own personal project via a different business.

“The bike simulator is pretty much dead now as I can’t get the level of interest needed to pursue it any further,” he says.

Chris says he hasn’t ridden bikes for 30 years, but would love to buy another sometime.

“Trials bikes were always my favourites, but my main interest in bikes these days comes from the TT and top fuel drag bike,” he says.

“In fact I’ve thought seriously about developing a drag racing simulator at some point in the future.”

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