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Updated: 9 min 14 sec ago

Harley-Davidson unveils 2018 Softail models

4 hours 29 min ago

Harley-Davidson has reinvented the Softail and unveiled its 2018 line-up including three different Milwaukee Eight engine capacities.

The Dyna family is now gone and in its place is an eight-model Softail family. The combined Softail/Dyna family have lost the Wide Glide, Low Rider S, Fat Boy Lo and Softail Slim S models.

The 2018 Softails now include LED headlights, digital instruments, hand-adjustable rear shock and a mix of Milwaukee Eight 107 and 114-cube engines.

The V-Twins have also been counter-balanced for the hard-mount fit to the frame for a smoother ride.

With a 34% stiffer frame and new Showa forks, Harley claims they are up to 17kg lighter, handle better and accelerate faster.

2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout

Earlier this year Harley CEO Matt Levatich said they would introduce 100 new models in the next 10 years, which is 10 per year.

His announcement was quickly followed by the new Road King Special and the 750 Street Rod. The eight new Softails put Harley on track for its 100-model target.

However, there are several model deletions as already mentioned, plus the V-Rod Night Rod and Muscle have now ceased production.

The new line-up marries the Dyna models with the Softail family, so the Dyna Fat Bob, Low Rider and Street Bob are now part of the Softail family.

The rest of the Softail family are the Slim, Deluxe, Breakout, Fat Boy and Heritage Classic.

2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range Street Bob
  • Smooth-top 13.2 litre fuel tank
  • Black spoke wheels with chopped fenders
  • Low-profile riser-mounted digital instrument screen
  • 7kg weight reduction to previous model
  • Lowest rideaway RRP in Softail range
  • Priced from $23,495 AUD and $24,495 NZD rideaway.
Fat Bob
  • 2-1-2 upswept performance exhaust with a custom finish
  • Largest aggressively treaded tyres from the Motor Company: 150 mm front and 180 mm rear
  • Dual disc front brakes
  • 13.2 litre fuel tank
  • 15kg weight reduction to previous model
  • Inverted 43mm cartridge style front forks
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine
  • Priced from $27,495 AUD and $28,750 NZD rideaway.
Heritage Classic
  • New detachable windscreen
  • New rigid, lockable, sealed, water-resistant saddlebags
  • Taller suspension with increased passenger and cargo payload capacity
  • 17kg weight reduction to previous model
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine
  • Standard cruise control and ABS
  • Priced from $31,750 AUD and $33,250 NZD rideaway.
  • Signature all-LED lighting from front to back: headlight, Tombstone taillight and blade-like turn signals
  • Signature pull-back handlebar
  • 17kg weight reduction to previous model
  • Priced from $29,495 AUD and $30,995 NZD rideaway.
Fat Boy
  • Aggressive, steamroller stance and front end design
  • Modern-day interpretation of the classic headlight nacelle
  • A 160mm front tyre, the widest-ever on a Harley-Davidson production model, wraps the solid Lakester front wheel
  • 16kg weight reduction to previous model
  • Standard ABS
  • 240mm rear tyre with solid Lakester rear wheel
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine
  • Priced from $30,995 AUD and $32,495 rideaway.


  • Dark finishes adorn the laced wheels, Hollywood handlebar, and all-new front-end design
  • Low-slung tuck and roll seat
  • Bold and smooth new front nacelle and fork cover styling
  • 17kg weight reduction to previous model
  • Priced from $26,250 AUD and $27,250 NZD rideaway.
Low Rider
  • Throwback-style dual tank-mount speedo and tachometer gauges, headlight visor and fuel tank graphics
  • 19-inch front and 16-inch rear Radiate cast wheels
  • 2-into-2 Shotgun exhaust
  • Priced from $24,250 AUD and $25,495 NZD rideaway.
  • New smooth-top 13.2 litre fuel tank
  • Long and wide with low-slung raked out 49mm front forks
  • 18-inch rear (240mm tyre) and 21-inch front (130mm tyre) Gasser-style gloss-black powder coated cast aluminium wheels
  • Distinctive Daymaker Signature LED headlamp
  • Low-profile riser-mounted digital instrument screen
  • 17kg weight reduction to previous model
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine
  • Priced from $31,250 AUD and $32,750 NZD rideaway.
Three Milwaukee Eight engines

The Softails get the 107 (1746cc) engine from the Touring range with 92.5hp (69kW) at 5000rpm, compared with the previous 103m (1688cc) Twin Cam’s EPA-rated 80.5hp (60kW) at 4000rpm.

The Fat Bob, Fat Boy, Breakout and Heritage Classic also come with a choice of the 2017 CVO 114-cube 1868cc engine rated at 100.6hp (75kW) at 5000rpm compared with the current 1802cc engine’s 87.2hp (65kW) at 4000rpm.

Now the CVO range gets a 117 (1923cc) engine pumping out 105bhp (78.3kW).

Also, to celebrate Harley’s 115th anniversary in 2018, there will be a range of limited-edition anniversary models across most families.

Anniversary models include the CVO Ultra Limited, Tri Glide Ultra, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Ultra Limited, Breakout, Fat Boy, Heritage Classic and Sportster Forty-Eight.

For the first time, Harley-Davidson Australia can offer their trikes thanks to finally overcoming ADR roadblocks.

Nigel Keough on a Freewheeler trike Harley-Davidson 2018 full price list

Harley-Davidson Australia has increased prices between $500 and $2000 for the extra oomph of the new 107 Milwaukee Eight engine in the new Softail family.

Meanwhile, the price for the learner-approved Street 500 has actually gone down from $11,495 to under $10,000 where it started a couple of years ago.

Prices have remained the same for most of the Sportster range.

Models arrive in October.

Motorbike Writer is flying to LA next week to ride the new Softail family. Stay tuned for full reviews.

(Prices listed below are followed by the 2017 prices only where they differ.)

STREET Street Rod


Street® 500

$9995 (was $11.495)


Street Rod™



XL 883N

Iron 883™


XL 883L



XL 1200X



XL 1200X_ANX

Forty-Eight® Anniversary


XL 1200C

1200 Custom

$19,250 ($18,750)

XL 1200CX



SOFTAIL Street Bob


Street Bob® (107)

$23,495 ($22,495)


Low Rider® (107)

$24,250 ($23,495)


Slim® (107)

$26,250 ($25,495)


Fat Bob® (107)

$27,495 ($25,495)


Fat Bob® (114)



Deluxe (107)

$29,495 ($28,995)


Fat Boy® (107)

$30,995 ($29,250)


Fat Boy® (114)

$33,995 ($31,750)


Fat Boy® Anniversary (114)



Fat Boy® Anniversary (114)



Breakout® (107)

$31,250 ($29,750)


Breakout® (114)



Breakout® Anniversary (114)



Heritage Classic® (107)

$31,750 ($30,250)


Heritage Classic® (114)



Heritage Classic® Anniversary (114)


TOURING Street Glide Special


Road King® (107)

$34,250 ($33,995)


Road King® Special (107)

$35,250 ($34,995)


Road Glide® (107)



Road Glide® Special (107)

$37,495 ($36,495)


Street Glide® (107)



Street Glide® Anniversary (107)



Street Glide® Special (107)

$37,495 ($36,750)


Street Glide® Special Anniversary (107)



Ultra Limited (107)



Ultra Limited Anniversary (107)




Freewheeler® (107)



Tri Glide® Ultra (107)



Tri Glide® Ultra Anniversary (107)


CVO CVO Road Glide


CVO™ Street Glide® (117)

$49,750 ($48,995)


CVO™ Road Glide® (117)



CVO™ Ultra Limited (117)

$52,995 ($52,495)


CVO™ Ultra Limited Anniversary (117)


The post Harley-Davidson unveils 2018 Softail models appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

10 signs you’re a biker at heart

7 hours 50 min ago

Are you a biker at heart? Some things in life cannot be explained unless you live them. Certain sensations, which are hard to describe, can only be felt to be fully understood. Being a biker is one of those things.

Bikers the world over have all been through the frustrating process of trying to explain why they are so attached to their bike to people who don’t ride one. In most cases, it feels like trying to explain algorithmic principles to a three-year-old. It just doesn’t click. 

Perhaps that is why motorcyclists bond so well and so strongly together that they call themselves a brotherhood or sisterhood! They can share the love for bikes, as well as the frustration which comes with being misunderstood. That is also why they all share a number of common traits and characteristics. Name any one of these traits to a seasoned biker and they will nod solemnly in acknowledgment and agreement.  

If you’re a biker, you will probably recognise yourself in some or all of these signs. If that is indeed the case, then you’re a certified biker at heart, through and through.

  1. You spend more money on bike apparel than anything else: Guilty as charged. You are unable to pass by a shop with biker apparel, accessories, technology and whatnot without giving in to temptation. Even if that means buying your 11th biker jacket.
  2. You have more photos of your bike than of your children: And of you with your bike. And of your friends and their bikes. You’re not ashamed in the least. With a bike that looks THAT good, especially after a wash, it’s almost sinful not to capture it in a couple of snaps. Make that five.
  3. You live for road trips: Whatever else happens is just an in-between. If you’re not actually on a road trip, you’re either nostalgic about one or planning for another. The reason why you love them so much lies in our next point…
  4. Happiness is an open road and two wheels: Nothing else quite beats the freedom a biker experiences when he or she’s on the road, either alone or in company, with the wind beating against your face, your engine purring beneath you and nothing to stop you. It’s the balance a biker needs to get to his destination successfully – and you’ve got to keep going to keep the right balance.
  5. You do the nod or the wave when a fellow biker passes you by: It’s a question which has baffled many, the arm raise at the sight of another biker. Could they really all know each other? The truth actually is much deeper than that. It’s a universal sign, a silent, mutual agreement. You acknowledge not just the driver (you probably have no idea who he or she is anyway) but also the shared love for your bike. A little bit like saying, I see you, I understand you, I think you’re pretty cool.
  6. You look for moto-themed stuff wherever you go: If you could you’d have a motor-themed party every year for your birthday. You wish they’d produce a reality show featuring bikers. If there’s ever some sort of game involved (like that time you fancied a shot at the slots), you can bet you’ll manage to find something which tickles your inner motorcyclist muse. The tie, the baseball cap, the inflatable pool float, the towel… they all smack of your true biker identity.
  7. You check the weather everyday to see whether you can safely take your bike out: You don’t really care for the weather. All you care about is when you can take your bike out and when you can’t (let’s all admit to having performed a small happy dance when the weather clears after long days of nothing but rain).
  8. You recognise biker friends by their exhaust sounds: They might be 2 roads down, but you’re able to identify Sid from Alex and Samantha from the purr of their engine. As the fondest may tell you, there’s nothing like the sweet melody of pistons, the glorious exhaust sounds of the Yamaha, the scary yet amazing sounds of the Honda or the quasi-GP racer sound of the Ducati Desmosedici RR. Goosebumps.
  9. Your favourite book is Zen and the Art of the Motorcycle Maintenance: A road trip. A bike. A philosophical journey into life. The author himself once said that fixing a broken bike is not a bad thing at all. A masterpiece.
  10. Nothing makes you happier than your trusty bike: It was there when the world came crashing down around you and it was there to take you to extreme heights when you were at your happiest. It truly is incomparable.

Everyone has that one thing in life to which we cling because it makes us happy, perhaps they define what we believe in or perhaps because it helps us fit in with the community which makes us feel part of something. For every motorcyclist, that thing is their bike. If you can recognise yourself in the signs above, then you’re one of the family. Enjoy the ride and stay safe! 

(Sponsored post)

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Is a leather seat better than vinyl?

10 hours 8 min ago

Is leather better than vinyl when it comes to choosing the best seat for your motorcycle?

We asked longtime motorcycle seat upholsterer John Moorhouse of Ergo Seats in Brisbane for his advice when we dropped off our Ducati GT1000 seat for a new cover and comfortable foam.

John with our Ducati GT1000

The seat will be ready in five days and it will apparently take about 1000km to “bed in”, so we will give you a full review of the performance level in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, there’s that issue of whether to go for leather or vinyl.

John talked us into leather, although he says customers are split about 50/50 on the choice.

“Leather looks great and, if you look after it, I won’t see you back,” he says.

“That’s not good business but they last 30 years or more if looked after.”

He suggests “dressing” the leather with lanolin or a special crocodile oil mixture.

That makes sense as I’ve never seen a croc with old-age wrinkles!

Croc skin seat

John says he mainly works with cow leather, but he gets requests for croc skin, kangaroo, emu, snake and even stingray which has an unusual finish.

“I haven’t used stingray yet as you need special machinery to sew it ’cause it snaps needles,” he says.

While John prefers the look of leather, he says there are some “nice vinyls” available now and it is easier to work with.

“You can heat and stretch vinyl to unusual shapes,” he says.

That means he can use one piece of vinyl on a contoured seat where he might have to stitch together several pieces of leather for the same seat.

John stitching leather pieces

“The Harley boys all want leather,” he says.

“I use a local supplier and hand-pick the best hides or I can get the customer to go and choose for themselves.

“Some people even bring in their own hides.”

Leather versus vinyl

Here are some things to think about when you choose between leather and vinyl seats.

Firstly, leather is more expensive, but it has a more aesthetic “character”.

That’s because each piece of leather has a unique grain and fades in varying shades.

You can’t get that with vinyl, but some modern faux-leathers are pretty good and fool many people into thinking it’s leather.

We have found vinyl creates friction with your backside and heats up more on a long trip than leather.

A brown leather Ducati Diavel seat made by John with leather supplied by the customer

Leather also gets softer with age, while vinyl can get harder and more brittle.

Modern leather stands up well to the rain, but it can get soaked and absorb water. To dry it, leave it in the shade, not out in the sun as the faster drying can cause it to harden and crack.

John Moorhouse’s career

John has been upholstering motorcycle seats since he started an apprenticeship in coach and motor body trimming at the age of 15.

“The wages were so pitiful, so I would fix broken pillion straps for pocket money and it just grew from there,” he says.

John shaping the foam on a seat base

John has worked on a lot of prestige cars in his career and worked for MG for about seven years, but has concentrated on motorcycles for the past 10.

“I’ve always been more interested in bikes because my late brother, Rob, was a state road racing champion,” he says.

Rob tragically died on Mt Panorama in 1980 racing a TZ750.

John had a heart attack about five years ago and closed his Capalaba store. He has restarted work at his home in Alexander Hills.

You can reach him via a message to his Ergo Seats Facebook page.

The post Is a leather seat better than vinyl? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

3 awesome performance upgrades for your motorbike

Tue, 22/08/2017 - 7:55pm

Owning a motorbike is an adrenaline enhancing, life-changing experience. There is a bond that develops between a rider and their machine that cannot be explained fully. The thrill of the speed, on the track or the road and the power under the seat, make the riding experience the ultimate adrenaline rush.

The only thing cooler than riding your bike is modifying your bike, and every bike enthusiast knows that modifications can increase performance to another level that can bring back the excitement in your old bike, or turn a new model into a racing machine that’s fit for the track.

So what are the most popular modifications to start with when you decide to spend some money kitting out your machine with some performance parts? Here are our top three recommendations on the best four upgrades for riders that want more speed, power, and handling from their machines.

#3 Air intake and Fuel Management

Air intake system upgrades help your bike’s engine breathe better. The more air going into the engine, the faster the engine will rev and the more it will be able to reach its top power range and speed. Aftermarket air filters can offer the optimal balance of air filtration and increased airflow for enhanced performance.

Fuel management systems can also be mapped out to greater airflow rates, with changes made to the engine’s capabilities under the increased airflow and air-fuel mix. Upgrading your spark plugs to iridium plugs will increase the power of the plugs spark and the efficiency of the engine.

#2 Better Braking Systems

There is no sense upgrading the motor, increasing the performance and speed, without being able to stop effectively. Braking is just as important as acceleration. Go for a set of oversize discs on the front, and upgrade your calipers to accommodate a 310 to 340mm disc. Go for a lightweight trigger pull the brake lever, with a large hydraulic setup that can help the brake pads bite deeply into the discs under emergency stopping situations.

#1 Upgrade the Exhaust System

Adding a full titanium exhaust system to any bike will make it sound completely different than the stock version. Even a slip-on exhaust will make a huge impact on the sound and the performance of your machine. Full systems can come in a variety of different materials, from stainless steel to titanium. The exhaust cans can come carbon fiber wrapped to reduce weight and heat. Speak to pro fabrication specialists to design your motorcycle the perfect headers and pipes for your custom exhaust system.

Bonus Tip: Trim and Detail

If you take care of the modifications mentioned above, then you should have a bike that sounds like a monster machine. Now’s the time to make it look outstanding and increase its visual appeal. Add in cosmetic touches such as colorful sticker kits and airbrush paintwork. Run some rim tape along your wheels and spray out the hubs. Change your old, dull bolts and screws out for anodized versions. There are so many inexpensive cosmetic touches that you can use to give your bike a final personal touch.

Wrapping Up

Upgrading the power and performance of your motorbike doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and the results are well worth the money. Search online for the parts you like and then arrange assembly and tuning with your local mechanic. For most two stroke and four stroke bikes, the engines are not complicated for many mechanics. However, if you are upgrading a superbike, you may need to speak to a specific performance agent that can arrange a guaranteed fitment of OEM spares.

(Sponsored post)

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Harley-Davidson launches eight new models?

Tue, 22/08/2017 - 4:00pm

Harley-Davidson is expected to launch eight new models tomorrow at the dealer conference in Pasadena, California.

The American company unveils its models at its annual dealer conference, followed by a media launch.

We have been invited on the 480km motorcycle-media launch next week from Pasadena to Big Bear Lake and back.

Why do we think there will be eight new models?

Three reasons:

  1. This is usually the last release of models before the northern winter;
  2. Company boss Matt Levatich earlier this year said HD would release 100 new models in the next 10 years which means 10 a year; and
  3. Since his statement, they have only released two new models – the “new” Road King Special and 750 Street Rod.

The most recent two new models are just styling updates of existing models, so we could expect much of the same tomorrow.

Most companies do likewise. For example, there have been nine models of Ducati Scrambler, but only two frames and three engines, while BMW’s popular R nineT has four models, but only one engine and frame.

Anyway, all will be revealed here at lunchtime tomorrow, including the Australian prices.

However, the Trikes are not included in the new models. They have already been confirmed to finally arrive in the Australian market in October.

The Tri-Glide Ultra will cost $50,995 rideaway and the Freewheeler $40,250.

Milwaukee Eight tip

Our tip for the eight new Harleys is that the Milwaukee Eight engine from the Touring range will be introduced to the Dyna and/or Softail range.

There are currently five Dyna models, so even if they all fit the Milwaukee Eight V-twin, we should expect some Softails to also get it.

Milwaukee Eight

There are eight Softail models, so they could all get the bigger 107-cube (1750cc) engine in a mix of chromed and blacked-out versions like the above in the new Road King Special. 

Matt says the company’s “innovative” 2018 model-year motorcycles will provide a lift in sales.

Harley certainly needs the lift as their full-year bike sales and profit margins are expected to fall 6-8% in the full financial year after a 10-20% drop in this quarter.

They now expect to ship 241,000 to 246,000 motorcycles in 2017, compared with 262,221 last year. The company had previously forecast shipments to be “flat to modestly down”.

That’s a far cry from the nearly 350,000 it shipped annually before the Global Financial Crisis.

Other model tips

It is also believed the new Dyna and Softail range will get the Milwaukee Eight engine from the Touring family.

The Milwaukee Eight will come in three different capacities.

There is the 107 (1746cc) engine from the Touring range with 92.5hp (69kW) at 5000rpm, compared with the previous 1688cc Twin Cam’s EPA-rated 80.5hp (60kW) at 4000rpm.

From the CVO range comes the 114-cube 1868cc engine rated at 100.6hp (75kW) at 5000rpm compared with the current 1802cc engine’s 87.2hp (65kW) at 4000rpm.

And now there is a 117 (1923cc) engine pumping out 105bhp (78.3kW).

While the Dyna and Softail models will get the 107, a special Fat Bob will also come with a 114, the Touring family moves from a 107 to a 114 and the CVO range will get the new 117 engine.

Some experts are tipping that among the eight new models will be a new family of Dyna and Softail hybrids; perhaps Dynas with a hidden single shock or twin-shock Softails! Like this …

Dyna-Softail mock-up

A Dyna/Softail hybrid would combine what some feel are the advantages of the two families.

It would have a rubber-mounted and unbalanced engine from the Dyna family, so it revs easier and vibrates with menace at idle. And with the new 107 this wouldn’t be quite as ridiculously vibey.

Yet, it would have the handling advantages of a mono shock over dual shocks and visually, the hidden shock would create a cleaner rear end.

The disadvantage would be that the Softails have a short shock so they run out of spring quickly. It might be ok for the concrete boulevards of LA, but you would easily hit the bump stops on craggy Aussie roads.

Also, to celebrate Harley’s 115th anniversary in 2018, there is expected to be a range of limited-edition anniversary models across most families.

Anniversary models include the CVO Ultra Limited, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Ultra Limited, Softail Breakout, Fat Boy S, Heritage Classic and Sportster Forty-Eight.

Or maybe it’s time to release the much-vaunted Livewire electric bike!

MBW riding the Harley LiveWire in LA

Whatever it is, we are in for a great ride.

MBW watches bikes heading to Big Bear Lake

Mrs MBW and I rode Victory Cross Country through the Big Bear Lake area in 2014 and found the roads extremely smooth and very twisty in places.

There were a heap of sports bikes there enjoying the challenge!

The roads won’t be much of a test for the ride comfort of the bikes, but they certainly will be a good test for the handling.

The invitation also suggests bringing wet gear because the weather can vary in the region.

I don’t know if I will bother since it will be scorching hot. As a Queensland rider, I find rain is nature’s own air-conditioning!

The post Harley-Davidson launches eight new models? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Veldt gives head start to helmet holders

Tue, 22/08/2017 - 3:00pm

This Veldt Trophy head helmet holder could be one of the best and coolest ways to store your motorcycle helmet when you’re not using it.

Isle of Man helmet company Veldt now makes these “heads” that you mount on your wall to hang your helmet.

They not only protect your helmet, but also make a great “trophy” display in your garage or even your living room!

The design is inspired by French artist Constantin Brancusi’s famous Sleeping Muse bronze sculpture.

Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse

Since the helmet-holder is roughly the same shape as your head, it shouldn’t distort the lining or inner foam of the helmet.

The Veldt trophy helmet holder is not a cheap option at $US100, but it does look pretty cool.

Helmet storage tips

You should never put your helmet on a hatrack-style peg or on your motorcycle mirror as this compresses the foam inside the helmet.

It may not only cause a dent in the foam, but also make the helmet loose-fitting.

Placing a helmet on a flat surface is probably the best way to store a helmet, with the helmet bag as a cover if you are leaving it for a while.

However, be careful in hot conditions as we have found the vinyl on the bottom of the helmet can melt and stick to the surface.

So when you pick the helmet up, it peels away some of the vinyl.

Try to find a cool and dry place to store your helmet.

Veldt helmets

We have a limited-edition Veldt helmet made especially to celebrate the launch of the American Vanguard Roadster motorcycle.

Like the trophy head, the retro-designed helmets are not cheap at €390 (about $A600) for an open-face, €450 ($A680) with visor, €510 ($A775) with chin guard, or €590 ($A890) for a full face.

The design is similar to other retro helmets such as the Bell Bullit and Biltwell Gringo which also feature narrow chin bars.

But the Veldt is different because it can be adapted to four different helmet types: full-face with and without a visor and open face with or without a visor.

The chin bar and visor are fitted by high-quality allen bolts for a very firm and secure fit.

Read our full review here.

Custom Veldt helmets

If you want to design your own Veldt helmet, you can visit their website and use their “configurator” where you select paint, liner colours, trim and styles.

In the wake of Veldt making limited-edition helmets in collaboration with boutique motorcycle manufacturer Vanguard, the company is now making Mark 1 builders edition helmets.

The first is the Clutch helmet with a visor peak made in collaboration with Clutch Motorcycles of Paris.

Veldt Clutch peak helmet

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Motorcycle tour planning app offer

Tue, 22/08/2017 - 6:00am

Danish company Tourstart is offering Motorbike Writer readers a 20% discount on their new motorcycle ride planning and navigation app with free worldwide maps.

While there have been many such apps around, the company claims theirs is “unique” because of “the high level of integration between web and app.

Once a tour is composed, it is instantly available on both web and app, and it also works offline. You also get a free download of maps from all around the world.

Founder and owner of Tourstart, Jan A. Pedersen, has made the app available for our readers at a 20% discount for a one-year subscription, normally costing about $US19 (about $A23) a year.

Jan Agnoletti Pedersen

You can get a 14-day free trial and, if you enjoy planning your adventures, type in the voucher code “MBW17” to claim your Motorbike Writer discount. It’s only a few bucks discount, but it’s better than nothing!

Jan claims Tourstart makes it easy for individual motorcyclists planning a ride and sharing their tours or for motorcycle groups and clubs to create activities.

The members download the app and share tours planned in the club, or members plan individual tours and share with other members.

Buy Alpine Tour earplugs for your next adventure

“You can plan your own tours, find inspiration from others, no limitations, download to a GPS – TomTom and Garmin – or use our free downloadable app which has built in voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation,” he says.

“The navigation on the app is started easily by pressing the navigation symbol. Further the Tourstart transfer software makes transfer of GPS data to the Garmin and TomTom as easy as never before. No need to handle GPX files which are complicated to upload.”

The app works all over the world and is available in English Danish and German.

You can download the app from the Apple store or for Android devices.

(MotorbikeWriter has not used this app nor been paid for this article. It is supplied as information for readers. If you download and use the app, please tell us what you think of it.)

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Biker sisters vie for world records

Mon, 21/08/2017 - 4:00pm

Biker sisters are a competitive lot with Australian, British and now American women vying for world records at all-female motorcycle rallies and parades.

In 2014 the Babe Raid rally set the record when 284 women rode to the coastal NSW town of Ballina. Record Setter officially declared the record at 221 women on 190 bikes.

In 2015, their Brit sisters broke that record when 661 women rode to the famous Ace Cafe in London to set the world record for the largest female bike gathering with 246 women riding bikes in a parade.

Last year, 1002 Aussie women from as far as Western Australia and aged 16 to 74 took back to the record at Dubbo.

Dubbo record-breaking Babe Raid

Just last month the Brits won it back with 1132 women at a biker meet in Shropshire.

Now the Yanks want their turn.

Last year, they created the inaugural Lace, Grace and Gears Rally in Beaumont, Texas, to do just that, but failed by 200 riders.

Inaugural Lace, Grace and Gears rally

But spokeswoman Julie Nordskog says they hope this year to attract 1200 women to Bandera, Texas, for their second rally from September 28-October 1, 2017.

“This time we hope to break the world record with the all-female Parade of Sisters and bring the record to the US for the first time,” she says.

“We need to raise the bar much higher, not only because the numbers have increased, but also to avoid being knocked off the pedestal too quickly. 

Julie “Squirrel” Nordskog

“While we women riders continue in friendly competition, the stronger message is women in motorcycling are gathering in growing numbers and becoming more visible worldwide,” says Julie. 

If successful, the Americans may not hold the record for long.

Aussies ladies have declared they want to break and/or set several world records at their next 2WheelBabes Mega Babe Raid and World Record Event which returns to Dubbo from November 16-19, 2018.

The records are:

  • Biggest all-female Mega Bike Rally;
  • Most women at a female bike meet;
  • Most women on motorcycles at one time;
  • Longest motorcycle convoy – female only;
  • Longest motorcycle convoy – female and male participants; and
  • Most mother/daughter teams at one female-only event.

Female riders account for only about 10% of the Australian riding population, but about 14% of American riders, so it will be a tall order for the Aussies.

Besides, the event is not being held in a major city, but in the middle of NSW.

The Babe Raid events are organised by Debb Dagger, a mother of two and senior property manager.


She also organises annual Babe Raids in four states. The first in South Australia was held earlier this year, as well as one in Queensland.

The next event is at Byron Bay, NSW, from September 8-11, then Ballarat, Victoria, on November 17-20, 2017. 

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Yamaha T7 adventure bike coming soon

Mon, 21/08/2017 - 12:00pm

Yamaha is expected to unveil its new T7 adventure bike based on the MT-07 on September 6.

The company has released the following teaser video which simple says “Your adventure awaits”.

Several motorcycle companies now release similarly spurious teaser videos about upcoming products.

Yamaha also did it recently before unveiling their Star Venture tourer.

We suspect this adventure bike will be the production version of the T7 Concept that was shown at EICMA in Milan last November.

However, it may not be called the T7.

Whatever it’s called, it will be a welcome addition to the range, replacing the single-cylinder XT600 Tenere.

It will be powered by the MT-07’s liquid-cooled 270-degree Crossplane, 649cc parallel-twin engine.

Yamaha T7 Concept

The MT-07 comes in full-powered and learner-approved versions in Australia, so it is hoped the same will be on offer for the adventure model.

The full-powered version has output of 73.7hp at 9000rpm and 68Nm of torque at 6500rpm.

We suspect the adventure model may have a detuned engine for more low-down torque, also with lower gearing.

Some of the features of the concept model, such as the rally-style dashboard with map reader will obviously be replaced by conventional instruments and the four LED headlights may be replaced with something more conventional.

The carbon fibre bits and pieces, Akrapovic exhaust and KYB suspension of the concept model also may not make it into production.

It is bound to have spoked wheels and knobby tyres, but possibly not as aggressive as the area on the concept and the bash plate will probably be smaller and maybe an alloy or even a hard plastic.

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Harley-Davidson sues Chinese to protect trademark

Mon, 21/08/2017 - 6:00am

Harley-Davidson has the Chinese in its targets for its latest litigation of companies ripping off their trademark on fake products, including motorcycle parts.

And why shouldn’t they? The bar-and-shield logo, bald eagle and are among the world’s most recognised logos. As such, they are worth millions to the iconic American company.

In the late 1990s, the company even tried to trademark their distinctive “potato-potato” exhaust noise, but failed in US courts.

Harley has a 40-year history of suing small and large companies for unlawfully using their brand.

Now the Milwaukee company is suing a group of Chinese online counterfeiters for allegedly selling unauthorised products such as motorcycle parts, jewellery, apparel and other products.

We can understand people buying fake t-shirts, but motorcycle parts? That’s more than just a bit dangerous!

World Intellectual Property Review says the suit filed in the US District Court ion Illinois names the defendants as “interrelated groups of counterfeiters”.

The suit says:

Defendants facilitate sales by designing the defendant internet stores so that they appear to unknowing consumers to be authorized online retailers, outlet stores, or wholesalers. The unauthorized use of the Harley-Davidson trademark is likely to cause and has caused confusion, mistake and deception among consumers and is irreparably harming Harley-Davidson.”

Harley is seeking the domain names of the companies, profits derived from sales, $2 million for “each and every use of the ‘Harley-Davidson’ trademarks, plus legal fees.

Not many companies are brave enough to take on the C hi see who are notorious as ripoff merchants of popular and luxury brands.

But while others, such as Honda and german auto manufacturers have failed, Harley has succeeded.

Just three months ago, Harley sued another Chinese internet store, collecting all money paid into the company’s PayPal account.

Harley is certainly not shy of taking on the big guys!

Harley has twice suedAmerican fashion giant Urban Outfitters for using genuine Harley products and altering them to create new products and designs, such as cutting off sleeves and shredding portions of the product.

Disputed Urban Outfitters clothing

They also took on international fashion company Forever 21 for allegedly selling jackets with a rip-off of their bar-and-shield logo and online retailer Gear Launch and associated companies for unlawful use of their logo.

But they also sometimes target the little guys.

Earlier this year, Harley had several small stall holders shut down at an American motorcycle rally for selling unauthorised products, showing it also seeks out the little guy.

There are so many rip-off Harley products in the world, Harley retains a group of lawyers who actively search for and prosecute offenders.

Most rip-offs exist online and eBay even has a page devoted to helping customers identify rip-off Harley products.

It advises customers that genuine Harley products carry a product number or official Harley-Davidson tags, product numbers and, if new, come in original Harley-Davidson packaging.

Karen Davidson

Harley-Davidson creative director and granddaughter of one of the company founders, Karen Davidson, says the logo is integral in their range of fashion and merchandise products.

She says Harley was probably the first motorcycle brand to offer branded bike clothing, starting in 1912 and adding a line of women’s riding jodhpurs in the ’20s.

In 1989, Harley created the Motorclothes division for apparel and accessories.


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Can you fall asleep on a motorcycle?

Sun, 20/08/2017 - 4:00pm

It seems a strange thing that you could fall asleep on a loud and exciting motorcycle, but it can and does happen; just not as often as in a car.

In a car, you are seated in a comfortable and supported position, the temperature is controlled and noises are muted. It’s a conducive atmosphere for sleep and is claimed to cause about 15% of fatal car crashes.

On a motorcycle, you are buffeted by the wind, you have to hang on and balance and noises are much louder and abrupt. It’s not a conducive atmosphere for a snooze.

But if you are starved of sleep, you can still have microsleeps on a motorcycle.

A microsleep is a short unconscious episode that can last up to two minutes during which you close your eyes and stop taking in and responding to external stimuli.

“Eat Ride Sleep Repeat” keyrings available on our online shop. Click here to BUY NOW! Causes of drowsiness

Even if you are not drowsy, you can still fall into a microsleep if you are riding at a time when you would normally be asleep.

That does not necessarily mean night time. If you are in America, for example, riding in the afternoon could be dangerous in the first few days of your visit because it is late evening at home in Australia.

Obviously, if you have had several nights where you have not slept well, the cumulative affect can cause a microsleep. People who suffer insomnia or sleep apnea are more susceptible to microsleeps.

Of course if you suffer from narcolepsy, riding a motorcycle is not for you!

It’s not just sleep-deprivation that causes a micro sleep. It can also be brought on by a monotonous task.

What! On a motorcycle?

Yes, a long, straight highway with no turns is boring and can induce a hypnotic state.

Avoid straight highways

Alcohol and drugs (legal and prescription) can also cause drowsiness.

Fatigue symptoms

You know you are getting tired when you start to yawn, your eyelids droop, your thoughts wander, you feel irritable, you are drifting around on the road, you lose focus, your vision blurs or your head starts to nod.

Don’t let it get to this stage. Look for early warning signs and pull over.

Read these top 10 tips for beating rider fatigue.

Prevention of microsleep

The problem with feeling tired is most people push through and drive/ride on, according to a 2012 University of Queensland study.

You need to be aware that you are drowsy and take steps to do something about it, before you fall into a microsleep.

If you are overseas, avoid riding at a time that correlates with sleep time back home, or at least wait a couple of days until your body clock readjusts to local time.

It’s a danger for we motoring journalists who are shuttled to the other side of the world for bike launches often the same or next day!

MBW riding a Victory Judge out of Palm Springs

In which case, it’s important to take regular stops to freshen up, or even to take a 15-minute nap.

You can also take stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks, but only in moderation and with less sugar.

In very simple terms, caffeine stops your brain from recognising a drowsy chemical called adenosine. However, your body doesn’t stop making adenosine, so when the caffeine wears off, you have a build-up of the chemical which causes fatigue.

Coffee can also cause dehydration that makes you feel tired. That’s because – in simple terms – when your body loses water, your blood thickens and pumps slower, reducing oxygen which makes you sluggish.

Conversely, drinking lots of water not only fights fatigue, it also makes you pull over more often for a toilet stop which should wake you up!

When you stop to go to the toilet, try taking a short nap as well.

Obviously, stay away from alcohol and other drugs that may make you drowsy.

Even having alcohol the night before your ride can be harmful as it reduces the length and quality of your sleep, leaving you tired the next day.

As for food, try healthy choices that energise you such as complex carbohydrates and protein.

Many riders also suggest listening to upbeat music to ward off fatigue.

Example of a long microsleep

We had never heard of anyone having a long microsleep on a motorcycle … and living to tell the tale!

That is until we saw this article on Quora, a question-and-answer website where interesting questions are answered by experts.

David Wright of London posted this reply to “can you fall asleep a motorcycle?” in which says he slept for four minutes in central London, passing through six sets of traffic lights … and survived!

“Eat Ride Sleep Repeat” keyrings available on our online shop. Click here to BUY NOW!

Absolutely. In a car, you will CRASH – but on a bike…

Back in the Seventies, I lived in N.E. London. And for several months, I worked nights at a West End all-night multi-storey car park. I could tell you a number of bizarre stories about THAT – but this one concerns an experience I had while commuting TO it.

Every evening, around nine, I would ride my BSA motorbike along the same route, to Leicester Square. I had done it hundreds of times – so I could do it in my sleep. I just never thought I actually WOULD.

On this occasion, I had been busy, so had been up all day. But since there were a number of guys on duty until midnight, I figured I could get forty winks after I arrived – and forty more, during the night, after the clubs had chucked out.

But as I passed Mount Pleasant sorting office, it suddenly HIT me. I realised I had hit a wall – metaphorically speaking. I knew if I did not find somewhere to sleep for a few minutes – and quickly – I would FALL asleep where I was.

My mind raced through alternatives – there were hotels where I could walk in, sit in a chair in reception and gather the required few minutes sleep (I was dressed reasonably – so figured I would not be abused as a derelict).

But the hotels were nearly as far away as my destination – I would never make it. There was only one solution. The pavements were dry and at that time, quiet.

Extraordinary though it was, I would park up my bike and lay down for a few minutes and…

…the next thing I knew, I was approaching the Shaftesbury Theatre. And the last four minutes were MISSING. I had SLEEP-RIDDEN!!!

Since I was still moving – and after my impromptu nap, slightly refreshed – I continued on my way to work. But after our “rush” period was over and I was alone, I had time to consider what had just happened.

I had heard of sentries falling asleep standing up – and sleepwalkers performing simple, familiar tasks, like making a cuppa. But I had also heard of MOTORISTS who had nodded off at the wheel and woken up in HOSPITAL – or in The Next World – however, they did not have to retain their BALANCE.

And with what I knew about sleep, this all made sense. When asleep, the upper areas of our conciousness rest – but the lower areas continue. If they did not, we would stop BREATHING. Thus, being able to ride a motorbike along a frequently-traveled route while in the Land Of Nod ought to be JUST possible.

It HAD to be – I had DONE it.

But while keeping my balance and following a familiar route might be possible – sleepwalkers seemed to manage that okay – could I detect a red traffic-light, slow down, change gears, de-clutch, stop, put a foot down, note the green, balance the clutch against the accelerator and move off, changing up again?

NO WAY! Which meant I had just gone through SIX traffic lights – ASLEEP!!!

Over the next few weeks, I carried out a little survey, to determine what the odds were that all of the lights had been GREEN. And at the end, I worked out they had only been ONE IN SIX!

To be fair, two of the lights were pedestrian-only – but that only lowered the odds to one in four. Which means there is still a SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT likelihood that I went zooming across a red light – like in a Keystone Kops movie – narrowly missing DEATH.

But I will NEVER KNOW…

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TV bike cop stars in motorcycle show

Sun, 20/08/2017 - 11:00am

The Royal Enfield-riding cop on the Caribbean-based Death in Paradise TV show stars in a series about a charity motorcycle ride from London to the Valencia MotoGP.

Danny John-Jules, who played Constable Dwayne Myer in the BBC detective show and was Cat in Red Dwarf, is an avid motorcyclist and regularly participates in charity rides.

He features in the four-part series The Easy Riders shot in 2011 with a new series to be shot in September and October in the Caribbean and broadcast in January 2018.

It’s not the greatest viewing, but for bike fanatics, it’s always a pleasure to see motorcycles on the TV screen.

Danny and his pink R1

Danny is joined by MotoGP presenter Matt Roberts and former racer Steve Keys who ride pink Yamaha R1s and wear pink leathers and helmets to bring attention to their charity cause, Riders For Health.

It’s a service that brings medicine and health services to people in remote parts of the world where normal vehicles cannot access.

The Easy Riders

The first episode shows them getting some rider training at a Yamaha off-road course, then moving to the track California Superbike School because when they get to Valencia, they will do a lap of the famed circuit.

They get underway from the popular motorcyclist venue, the Ace Cafe, in North London with an escort of local riders.

Another guest star in the show is British comedian Ross Noble who featured in his own series riding around Australia and stopping at various towns to do his stand-up routine.

The Easy Riders episodes are being screened on the website of British motorcycle insurance broker, Carole Nash.

A new episode will be uploaded to the Carole Nash blog insidebikes every week.

The next series, Caribbean Adventure, will be screened on British community and local TV channels, as well as on insidebikes.

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Munro seeks 200mph Scout record

Sat, 19/08/2017 - 8:45am

Fifty years after Burt Munro set a speed record at Bonneville, his great nephew, Lee, returned to the famous salt flats on an Indian Scout to crack 200mph.

His attempts this week fell short, but the Kiwi still scored a new land speed record of his own.

On August 12, Lee managed 191.286mph, followed by a 180.439mph run and 186.415mph, each run smashing the previous record of 176mph for the 1350cc Modified Partial Streamliner – Gas class of motorcycles.

But Lee hasn’t broken his great uncle’s 1967 record of 184.087mph as it was set in the SA 1000 class on his 1920 Indian Scout streamliner. That class no longer exists. It is now called  S-AF (Streamliner special construction fuel) 1000cc.

Lee now plans to crask the 200mph barrier at the El Mirage dry lake bed in California where he qualified for the Bonneville event.

He was accompanied to Bonneville by several members of his family, including Burt’s son, John.

John Munro on a Scout

They paid a special tribute to Burt Munro’s 50-year record with a special screening of the movie that immortalised his life, “The World’s Fastest Indian”.

Even film director Roger Donaldson, was present.

Lee was born and raised in Burt’s home town of Invercargill, New Zealand, and is also a motorcycle road racer.

He won the vintage class at the Methven Street Races this year on a 1941 Indian motorcycle.

Lee and Burt are actually cousins twice removed as Burt and Lee’s grandfather are first cousins. However, Lee knows him as “great uncle Burt”.

That 200mph barrier still beckons for Lee.

Standard Scout and Streamliner Inaccurate record

Meanwhile, Burt’s original record was inaccurate.

Burt Munro

The record on his Indian 953cc Fuel Streamliner in the American Motorcyclist Association Land Speed Record was originally listed as 183.586mph.

That was supposed to be the average of his north run of 184.710mph and his south run of 183.463.

However, John told us at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 2014 that the average is actually half a mile-per-hour faster at 184.087mph.

John Munro and MotorbikeWriter on the Indian Scout and Roadmaster at Sturgis

Only a couple of days earlier, John was notified by the AMA that the record had been adjusted.

“So, he’s dead for 36 years and he just broke another record,” he told us.

Munro Special display

Burt’s Scout is on display in a glass case in the Hammer Hardware store in his home town of Invercargill, New Zealand, among the E Hayes Motorworks Collection.

The Munro Special at Hammer Hardware

Earlier this year we visited the store where rare and historic bikes such as the Munro Special sit among nuts, bolts, screws, tools and cans of paint.

The 1967 record was set on his seventh trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats, not on his first trip as depicted in the 2005 movie starring Anthony Hopkins.

Unbroken records

Burt also set records in the 55 cubic-inch class at 178.971mph in 1962 and in the SA 1000 class in 1966 at 168.066mph.

There are only four AMA unbroken records older than Burt’s 1967 record: the 500cc S-AF class record set in 1958 of 212.288mph by Jess Thomas; the 650cc A-AF class record in 1961 of 159.542mph by Gary Richards; the 650cc S-AF class record in 1962 of 230.269mph by Bill Johnson; and the 650cc APS-AF class record in 1965 of 161.793mph also by Gary Richards.

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Absurd tinted visor laws need simplification

Sat, 19/08/2017 - 6:00am

Our current laws on use of a tinted visor on a motorcycle helmet are so absurd they don’t even distinguish between riders and pillions says rider rights campaigner Wayne Carruthers.

He points out the ridiculous error in his submission to the National Transport Commission (NTC) which is reviewing Australian Road Rules to gain some uniformity across states.

There are three areas of the road rules that affect riders, including harmonising lane filtering rules, motorcycle control (eg allowing riders to push a bike without wearing a helmet, standing up while riding and removing feet from the pegs to stretch) and helmet compliance.

The Motorcycle Council of Australia, Ride to Review and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers have also made submissions.

Wayne has campaigned on helmet compliance and other issues for many years. You can read his full submission at the end of this article.

Wayne Carruthers Tinted visor rule ‘absurd’

“The helmet Road Rule 270 in all states and the Australian Road Rules has some stupid pieces of absurdity,” he says.

“An example is the failure to distinguish between the tinted visor requirements for a rider and a pillion. A pillion is required to use the same visor as a rider, this is utter absurdity.

“Where a pillion has a dark tinted visor, the rider can be fined for allowing the pillion to do so then the pillion is also fined.

“Since there is only one offence of “Not wearing an Approved Helmet” in NSW this means a fine of $311 to each totalling $622. In the ACT the total is $748, WA $1100 and Tasmania $1300. What a load of rubbish.”

We are not aware of any pillions being fined for this absurd tinted visor rule, however the way the rule is written it could happen.

“Imagine if the pillion was visually impaired! That would be fun to watch in any court proceedings,” Wayne says.

Bell Bullitt with tinted visor

Wayne’s submission covers other absurd aspects of Road Rule 270 and calls for the rules to be simplified and for approval of wider standards for visors.

In its submission, the AMC has logically called for helmet visors or goggles with visible light transmission of less than 50% to be used only during daytime.

Wayne says a tinted visor manufactured to other standards should be allowed, pointing out that Bell has photo chromatic lenses that change tint with exposure to the sun.

Apart form changes to the tinted visor ruling, Wayne also supports the use of helmet attachments such as cameras and Bluetooth units, edge filtering, use of bus lanes and using the engine to “walk” a heavy motorcycle while not wearing a helmet.

Timeline for review

A spokeswoman for the NTC says the proposed amendments to the Australian Road Rules will be considered by transport ministers at the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting in November 2017.

“If approved, the amendments will be implemented by States and Territories through their local laws,” she says.

“As of this afternoon, we have received 15 submissions (two of the submissions are already published on our website).

“We are currently processing the others and will publish these on our website next Wednesday, when you will be able to read through the issues raised.”

Wayne Carruther’s submission for proposed Australian Road Rules amendments

The proposed amendments are substantial and would clearly under COAG good governance agreements require a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) prior to any adoption into the Australian Road Rules unlike some earlier revisions which were mainly procedural amendments for which an exemption from a RIS was granted. It would appear this old exemption may have been abused.

Road Rule 151A – Motorcycle Lane Filtering

A nationally consistent road rule allowing for lane filtering by motorcycles should be introduced.

The proposed rule however is deficient in that it does not provide for edge filtering on roads which have restricted pedestrian access such as motorways or freeways. It is during peak hour traffic in urban areas where filtering is most needed to improve motorcycle safety, traffic flow and reduce emissions by allowing motorcyclists to move to the front of stationary traffic. In many instances the safest path forward for motorcyclists is via either the left or right edges of the roadway which quite often also have motorway or freeway entry lanes. Where a motorcyclist is edge filtering on these roads the rider only has one lane of traffic to be wary of.

Road Rule 154A – Bus only lanes

This proposed amendment should not proceed or should make provision for motorcycles to enter and use the lanes but not obstruct the lanes.

NSW is the only State I am aware of which has bus-only lanes. These lanes are predominantly short lengths of road on multi-lane major roads at traffic lights in urban areas. The lanes are marked in the same colour are normal bus lanes and can be very difficult to recognise as different to the normal bus lanes. In heavy traffic the small signs preceding the start of the bus only sections are often obscured by larger vehicles in the LHS lanes preparing to turn left at traffic lights. The NSW lanes may also have markings on the roadway but where a bus is in the lane waiting at traffic lights the markings are not visible. Motorists who are aware motorcycles are permitted to use bus lanes expect motorcyclists to use these lanes and lane filter.

Some NSW police who have a negative view of lane filtering have issued infringement notices to motorcyclists for momentary entry and exit from the NSW bus only lanes in situations where there has been no road safety issue.

Road Rule 270 – Wearing Motorcycle Helmets

Road Rule 270 should be amended to specify the approved motorcycle helmet standards. The explanatory statement in the amendment package consultation draft does not reflect the content of the proposed road rule which means the proposed rule does not meet the intent of the amendment.

“Rule 270 is placing motorbike riders at risk of being penalised for wearing an ‘approved motor bike helmet’ that complies with a prescribed standard, to a level that does not take into account helmet wear and tear or modifications that do not compromise the safety of the helmet.

To mitigate the risk of unfair enforcement outcomes, rule 270 will be changed so that the relevant helmet standards are specified and allowance is made for some wear and tear and modification as long as the helmet inherently complies with the relevant helmet standard.”

Rule 270 (1A)

There is no proposal to amend rule 270 (1A), this rule needs amendment to cover further circumstances.

In emergency situations such as an accident, puncture or a machine mechanical malfunction, a motorcycle may require removal from a roadway or a roadway verge. At the current time the State road rules do not permit the use of the engine to move the motorcycle unless a helmet is worn.

Large touring motorcycles are heavy and difficult to move to a safe location when they have suffered minor damage or a puncture. In some cases requiring multiple people to move the motorcycle. The road rules must allow for the use of the engine in first gear to move a motorcycle without the vision restrictions of a motorcycle helmet and allow for non-motorcyclists present at the scene to assist with moving the motorcycle to a safe location without the risk of capricious issuance of infringement notices by enforcement authorities.

There have been a number of serious injuries and more than one fatality of people on the verge of roadways in emergency situations. Enabling moving of a machine to a safe location is an important safety issue.

Rule 270 (3) (a)

This should state was “manufactured and labelled in compliance with” not “was made in compliance with”.

Rule 270 (3) (b)

This rule is completely meaningless. Firstly labelling requirements are specified within the standards so a separate clause is redundant. Secondly Standards Australia does not have a “label or similar mark” indicating compliance of a motorcycle helmet with AS1698 or AS/NZ1698. Standards Australia agreed to discontinue any Certification Trademarks around 1990. Thirdly the requirement for a “label or similar mark” by a body accredited or approved by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand JASANZ) is requiring a mark which has no stated meaning, even a company logo would suffice thus it only promotes commercial interests associated with the NSW Government. In effect a levy by NSW on all other States.

NSW implemented a requirement of JASANZ “stickers” for AS1698 helmets manufactured after 2011. The implementation of this requirement was done without consultation or adherence to the COAG Good Governance agreements not to mention the fact that it met the technical requirements for referral to ICAC.

JASANZ was caught unaware of the rule and was subjected to complaints by motorcyclists who believed JASANZ mandated the change. Motorcyclists overwhelmingly have rejected the requirement for any labelling beyond that specified in AS1698 and AS/NZS1698. Manufacturers should be able to use any internationally accredited conformance assessment body to provide documentation to importers.

Rule 270 (3) (c)

Similar to Rule 270 (3) (b) this sub rule is redundant, the UNECE 22.05 labelling requirement is specified within the standard so there is no need for a rule which repeats the content of the standard.

Pillion Passengers

The current rules in all States do not differentiate the requirements between a pillion and the rider of a motorcycle for visors. Requiring a pillion to wear a visor with restricted Visible Light Transmittance (VLT) mandated for a rider is absurd and discriminatory towards the disabled community. A visually impaired person has the right to be a pillion on a motorcycle as do members of the community who suffer from excessive light sensitivity. At the current time in all States these people and the rider are at risk of capricious fines from enforcement authorities with visors and this should not be allowed to continue.

Visors and Goggles

Road Rule 270 (3) should have an exclusion clause or an additional clause to separate visors and goggles from the helmet standards. A clause should be implemented providing for visor specifications in line with all of the major international standards, UNECE 22.05, EN1938, BS4110, VESC-8, AS1609.

Australia is a small market and it has been observed over many years helmets on sale have had visors specified to different standards fitted to the helmets. Now with both UNECE 22.05 and AS1698 helmets approved for use importers and retailers cannot be expected to hold stocks of the same visors labelled differently for the same helmet models but which are marked as compliant with each of the standards.

Accessories and Attachments

The use of accessories on helmets must be specifically allowed where accessories are attached by a frangible mount. Some current enforcement authorities have been attempting to interpret helmet standards to issue infringement notices which has generated a high degree of conflict with motorcyclists.


The current use of only one proscribed offence for motorcycle helmets in the State road rules is bringing public administration into disrepute. The offence is “not wearing any helmet” where a motorcyclist may be wearing a helmet or visor compliant to a different standard thus creating a legal fiction with a very high penalty which does not reflect the impairment of safety in many situations. This creates unnecessary situations of conflict between motorcyclists and enforcement authorities. The offences need to be separated as is the case in New Zealand and was previously the case in the ACT and NT. The offences should be:

  • Failure to wear helmet to approved Standard 1 points
  • Failure to present helmet for inspection 2 points
  • Failure to wear any helmet 3 points

Damage and Modification

The proposed road rule refers to where a helmet is “damaged or modified” the dictionary should provide basic definitions of the terms as road rules such as the Northern Territory previously did.

Road Rule 271 – Riding on motor bikes

The proposed amendment to Road Rule 271 is not mentioned in the consultation draft document so there is no explanation of the proposed amendment.

Some current State road rules reflect the current ARR rule but still do not provide for all the circumstances which may be encountered by a motorcyclist or pillion.

Motorcycle Riders

A rider must be permitted to remove a foot from the foot peg when standing. There are both comfort and medical reasons to do so on a momentary basis where it is safe to do so.

Road Rule 297 – Driver to have proper control of a vehicle

There is no proposal for amendment of this rule in the amendment package and it needs amendment.

The stipulation in rule 4, sub rule (3) of a maximum distance of 500m in the exemption for farming activity is too restrictive. In the arid areas of many States the distance between farm gates is often greater than 500m and it does not provide for drovers legally moving cattle on the “long paddock”. These drovers often need to get animals to the head of a mob of cattle quickly for road safety reasons which is often best done with a motorcycle. A less restrictive exemption is needed.

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Ex-cop faces jail over hitting rider

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 2:09pm

A NSW court has once again adjourned a hearing over the matter of a police officer throwing an object and hitting a motorcycle rider who then crashed.

Video of the incident in November 2015 went viral but has now been deleted from YouTube.

However, the incident is still available in this video from Channel 7.

Some 22 months after then Senior Constable Brett Rossiter was seen to throw an object – possibly a clipboard – at the rider, the matter has today been adjourned in the Sutherland Local Court.

It will now be heard in the Downing Centre District Court, Sydney, on November 4 at 10am.

The video of the incident shows police performing random breath tests on Hannahs Road at Narwee on Friday November 6, 2015.

When rider Paul Cork fails to stop, Rossiter is shown running on to the road, waving his right arm before an object flies from his grasp, hitting the rider.

Paul has already faced court, admitting he was affected by marijuana, was unlicensed and didn’t want to go to jail.

Paul Cork (Photo Channel 7)

His licence was suspended for two years, but he says he will get a motorcycle licence when his suspension ends.

“I’ll do it all the proper way this time so I will stay out of trouble,” he says.

Paul claims the object ended up hitting his helmet visor which was dislodged, causing him to crash his bike.

“He could have killed me and could have killed a lot of people around me,” he says.

Rossiter had been in the NSW Police for 16 years, but is no longer an officer.

Former officer Brett Rossiter

He was charged with throwing an object at a rider and the court matter has now been adjourned four times.

The charge of “intentionally throw object at vehicle / vessel – risk safety” has a maximum penalty of imprisonment for five years under the NSW Crimes Act.

Police say the rider was not being chased when he failed to stop at the RBT checkpoint, but a patrol car did then give a short pursuit before Paul crashed.

Sutherland Local Court said Rossiter also faced two other charges today, but said they could not release the nature of the charges over the phone.

However, they did say Rossiter entered pleas of not guilty to all charges. He was acquitted on the second charge, but convicted on the third, copping an undisclosed good behaviour bond and fine.

The post Ex-cop faces jail over hitting rider appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Female stunt rider Joi Harris dies on set

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 7:56am

The first African-American female professional road racer, Joi “SJ” Harris, has died while performing a stunt for the film Deadpool 2.

Her motorcycle accelerated when it should have slowed while taking a corner and she crashed into a plate glass window.

Joi was not wearing a helmet at the time as required by the script.

“She was a dedicated and talented stunt person. She will be missed,” says her cousin and Popular Mechanics reporter Juquai McDuffie.

You can leave messages of condolence on her Facebook page.

Joi, who was also known as “sj sidewayz”, only learnt to ride in 2010 at the age of 25.

She began stunt riding in 2013 and became the first licensed African-American woman in US history to compete in American Motorcycle Association-sanctioned racing events in 2014.

Joi Harris

Deadpool 2, which was being filmed in Vancouver, was her first film as a stunt rider.

Shooting for the sequel has been shut down pending an investigation into the incident.

Joi had trained for a full week for the stunt and on Monday they ran the stunt more than five times before filming.

She was doubling for actress Zazie Beetz who plays the character Domino in the film.

The incident follows the recent death of Russian Instagram female stunt rider Olga Pronina.

Olga Pronina

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Why are dealers facing tough times?

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 6:52am

Australian motorcycle dealers are doing it tough, with slow sales, tough franchise agreements and pressure from manufacturers, says Australian Motorcycle Dealers Association boss Stuart Strickland.

“I don’t think there is a motorcycle dealer in Australia who wouldn’t get out if they could. It’s really tough,” he says.

His comments follow a significant -41.% downturn in sales in the first half of the year, the first time there has been negative growth for two consecutive quarters in the industry since the global financial crisis of 2009.

They also come on the eve of the annual Aldi one-off motorcycle gear sale. (Read what Stuart thinks of the affect of the annual Aldi sale on dealers.)

“The industry is going through some interesting times and more needs to be done to get young people into buying motorcycles,” Stuart says.

Stuart (left) with Isle of Man racer Cam Donald and their wives at the TT

During his years as Honda Australia boss, the company invested heavily in training and motorsport. He says the industry has to do more, including securing more places for kids to ride as suburban tracks close down from the pressure of urban encroachment.

“Parents pick sporting activities for their children that are convenient and if you live in a capital city you have to devote a whole day to take your kids somewhere to ride,” he says.

Electric future

He sees electric motorcycles, scooters, dirt bikes and mopeds as a future saviour for the industry.

“Electric mini bikes will be great because they are quiet and we can go to local councils and say ‘why not let kids train on footy ovals in the summer time?’

“It would great training for them to acquire motor skills for later on when they are driving cars.”

He says electric bikes and mopeds will also help the commuter side of the business as most urban streets these days are posted at 40km/h.

“They have better lights, brakes and carrying capacity than a bicycle and are a great way for cities to alleviate their traffic problems. Urban infrastructure just isn’t keeping up with population growth

“There are growing incidences of road rage as people get frustrated because they can’t get around fast enough.

“The introduction of electric two-wheelers can cut traffic congestion.”

Avionics electric moped Franchise problems

Stuart identified one of the main issues facing dealers as the relationship with manufacturers and restrictive franchising agreements.

“They are so restrictive, the dealer has nothing to sell when they want to exit the industry. That means we’re not getting new entrepreneurs into the industry,” he says.

Stuart points out that some of the manufacturers’ demands, drafted by expensive lawyers, are “onerous”, including demands to hold excessive floor stock, pressure to shift stock and restrictions from becoming multi-brand dealerships.

“They virtually turn the retailer into an unpaid showroom for the manufacturer,” he says.

“Dealers don’t expect to make returns for up to 10 years, but most franchise agreements are from one to three years and that’s not good enough considering the level of investment required to run the franchise.

“Thankfully some are stretching out to five years now.”

Riders are the short-term winners

Stuart says that while dealers are facing tough times, riders are the winners because there is a wide variety of choice of motorcycle models and gear.

“The amount of people riding bikes versus the availability of motorcycles means they are over catered for.” he says.

“If you want to buy a motorcycle today, there are more models and choice than you can shake a leg at, all competitively priced with reliability we only dreamt about a few years ago!

The post Why are dealers facing tough times? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Riders urged to support local motorcycle dealer

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 6:47am

On the eve of the annual Aldi one-off motorcycle gear sale, riders have been urged to support their local motorcycle dealer.

Australian Motorcycle Dealers Association boss Stuart Strickland says dealers are doing it tough and deserve rider loyalty. (Read more about why he believes times are tough.)

However, he says there is no dispute with the standard of gear being sold at Aldi, pointing out that the selection of gear Aldi sells was aided by Neuroscience Research Australia’s Dr Liz de Rome.

Liz, a rider since 1969, is also working on a star rating system so riders can be guaranteed the quality(abrasion resistance) of the protective gear they are buying which Stuart hopes to be in place later this year.

“It’s good to see Aldi making product available to motorcyclists however a lot more product is are available through motorcycle retailers and specialty accessory stores with much more choice and all-year round availability,” Stuart says.

“One of the challenges the industry faces is from people who buy low cost bikes to commute to work. They also tend not to get good gear.

Aldi annual sale

“Those people don’t frequent motorcycle shops, so I suppose Aldi is a source for them.

“People who have bought Aldi gear seem happy with the price.

“It’s better to have a rider with some gear on than nothing.

“But the problem for recreational riders is that Aldi gear is only available for a limited time and unless you are lined up early when the doors open you will miss out.”

He says a motorcycle dealership is a complex business with a heavy investment in a wide-ranging inventory of motorcycle models and gear that dealers must have on hand to service customers.

“Motorcycle enthusiasts should support the shops that provide them with service year-round and a wide range of choice,” he says.

Click here to find out why motorcycle dealers are doing it tough.

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Girl shows how to lift a motorcycle

Thu, 17/08/2017 - 11:00am

A three-year-old girl using the correct technique to lift her electric toy “Police” Harley has gone viral on YouTube.

Dropping a heavy motorcycle is embarrassing enough, but not knowing how to lift it is even more embarrassing.

It’s more embarrassing still to learn the correct technique from three-year-old Bailey Hensley of Alabama!

Check out the correct method in this humorous Dutch Police instructional video.

The method involves riders using their legs instead of their back to lift the bike.

As you can see, the rider backs into the seat of the bike, grabs the bottom handlebar which comes around to full lock next to the fuel tank and grabs the back of the bike, then lifts with their legs.

Harley teaches the method to new riders and proudly displays the method at their all-female Garage Parties, proving that a woman can lift a heavy motorcycle.

Some of their Touring bikes weigh more than 350kg.

However, young Bailey’s toy electric Harley would weigh a lot less!

The video was posted to the local HOG chapter’s Facebook page on August 13 by her grandmother, Alisa Hensley, 49, who recently bought a Harley.

She says Bailey and her twin brother Aiden loved her bike so much she bought them their own toy “Police” Harleys last Christmas.

Bailey and Aiden with their bikes

“After time and time again of going out to the yard and helping her pick it up I finally sat down Saturday and said, ‘Let me show you baby how to really pick up your bike,” Alisa says.

The video is of Bailey’s very first attempt at lifting the bike.

In some countries, the technique is actually required in obtaining your motorcycle licence.

Glide on its side Tips to lift

You should never attempt to lift a motorcycle if you are injured.

Instead, make sure it is switched off, not leaking any fluids and that some sort of warning is displayed so other vehicles don’t run into it.

Read this advice on what to do after a crash.

The best advice on lifting a motorcycle is to get your friends to give you a hand!

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MV Agusta triples are quieter in 2018

Thu, 17/08/2017 - 7:59am

If you think MV Agusta went quiet on new models while sorting out its financial mess this past year, next year will be 50% quieter!

The company has announced no new models in 2018 and compliance with Euro4 regulations on all their three-cylinder engines making them 50% quieter with exhaust gas emissions reduced by 48%.

The Italian manufacturer had already made the Brutale 800 Euro 4 compliant in 2016. Now it is joined by the F3 675, F3 800 and Dragster 800.

The changes also mean power is down 3% to 107kW in the F3 800 while power is unchanged in the F3 675 (95kW) and Dragster 800 (104kW)

During its financial difficulties CEO Giovanni Castiglioni announced that there wold be no new models in 2017.

Instead, we have been treated to a bunch of limited edition versions of existing models and in June the company opened a ‘special vehicles’ production line at MV’s Schiranna factory in Varese, Italy. It will produce hand-built models like the new RVS#1.

MV Agusta RVS#1

Now it seems the “no new models” dictum will continue into 2018.

This is despite MV Agusta last month announcing it had finalised its financial restructure including buying back the 25% ownership by Germany’s Mercedes-AGM.

What this means for owners and MV buyers is Italian heritage and more certainty about parts supply and warranty. But maybe finances are now stretched so much there will be no new models for a while.

The Euro 4 compliant triples will have a new balance shaft, oil and water pump, drive gearing and primary gearing to reduce noise.

They will also have bigger and quieter exhaust systems.

From the image of the Brutale 800 (top of the page), the bigger exhausts don’t look all that much bigger, nor spoil their svelte looks.

As for the noise, we always found MV Agusta had the best induction sound around and a unique exhaust character.

Despite the engine modifications, MV Agusta claims their bikes’ performance and character will be unchanged.

Internally, the engines now have an updated intake valve, harder-wearing valve guides and new intake and exhaust valve springs.

The engine also requires a new frame mounting point that MV Agusta says makes the chassis more rigid.

It will come with new fuel maps and eight-stage traction control from the Dragster RR.

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