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Updated: 9 min 48 sec ago

2017 Kawasaki Z1000 more convenient 

Sun, 04/12/2016 - 6:00am

The 2017 Kawasaki Z1000 is now available at the same price as the current model, but with a host of features that make riding more convenient.

In 2017, the Z model range will grow to five with the addition of the Z650L and Z900 joining the Z125 PRO, Z300 and Z1000.

The learner-approved Z650L and Z900 are expected to arrive in early 2017.

Meanwhile, the flagship of the Z fleet has been updated:

  • Addition of gear position indicator;
  • New shift-up indicator;
  • Revised ECU settings for smoother power delivery and to ensure Euro 4 regulations are cleared;
  • Revised front fork settings claimed to deliver more subtle action and lighter handling;
  • Improved rear brake pad material and optimised return spring for better control and performance;
  • Mirrors have a greater range of movement, increasing rearward visibility;
  • Sharper turn signals; and
  • A range of genuine Kawasaki accessories are now available.

It is available now in Metallic Spark Black or Golden Blazed Green at $15,499 plus on-road costs.

The post 2017 Kawasaki Z1000 more convenient  appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Which motorcycles are most theft prone?

Sat, 03/12/2016 - 5:00pm

The most theft prone motorcycles are recent-model, small-capacity Japanese bikes in Victoria, according to official statistics released by the National Theft Reduction Council.

Motorcycle thefts in Australia have increased 3.3% or 255 to 8299 bikes stolen in the past 12 months to the end of November, the figures show.

That’s the most stolen bikes since 8704 in 2012/13.

It’s bad news for riders’ insurance premiums which may hike.

The official theft figures from the Council also show the type of bike and location of the owner that is the most theft prone. These are factors that may also affect your insurance premium.

For the first time, the figures include the age of vehicles stolen. It seems thieves either want a brand new bike, or one about 10 to 15 years old, after which your bike is relatively safe.

The biggest growth in motorcycle theft in the past financial year has been in Victoria which has experienced a massive 22.1% increase to leapfrog Western Australia as the most likely state where your bike will be stolen.

Motorcycle theft summary State or Territory 2014/15 2015/16 % change Thefts % of thefts Thefts % of thefts ACT 124 1.5 110 1.3 -11.3% NSW 1492 18.5 1,343 16.2 -10% NT 171 2.1 141 1.7 -17.5% QLD 1296 16.1 1,466 17.7 13.1% SA 539 6.7 583 7.0 8.2% TAS 149 1.9 118 1.4 -20.8% VIC 1875 23.3 2,290 27.6 22.1% WA 2398 29.8 2,248 27.1 -6.3% AUS 8044 100.0 8,299 100.0 3.2%

However, the most theft prone local government region is South East Queensland (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Logan, Moreton Bay).

Motorcycle thefts by top Local Government Areas State or Territory LGA 2014/15 2015/16 % change QLD Brisbane (City) 288 271 -5.9% QLD Gold Coast (City) 150 224 49.3% WA Stirling (City) 150 201 34% VIC Melbourne (City) 125 200 60% QLD Logan (City) 123 161 30.9% VIC Port Phillip (City) 80 158 97.5% WA Wanneroo (City) 108 132 22.2% QLD Moreton Bay (Regional Council) 123 119 -3.3% WA Broome (Shire) 98 112 14.3% WA Perth (City) 94 111 18.1%

Of course, the most prolific brands on the road are also the most stolen, with Honda again topping the list ahead of the other Japanese manufacturers. KTM is next because a lot of low-capacity dirt bikes are stolen.

Theft prone motorcycles Make 2014/15 2015/16 Honda 1579 1661 Yamaha 1459 1481 Kawasaki 794 799 Suzuki 783 763 KTM 486 479 Harley-Davidson 175 227 Hyosung 160 200 SYM 176 168 Triumph 125 165 Longjia 161 147 Piaggio 153 133 Kymco 101 131 Ducati 72 107 Husqvarna 116 103 Adly 100 99 TGB 108 99 Vmoto 101 92 Vespa 60 89 Aprilia 75 84 Polaris 49 65

In fact, the most theft prone bikes are in the 201-250cc category followed closely by 50cc or less. That’s probably because these are lighter and easier to steal than a big-capacity bike.

Motorcycle thefts by cubic capacity Cubic capacity 2014/15 % of thefts 2015/16 % of thefts 50 cc or less 1039 12.9 965 11.6 51 – 100 cc 189 2.3 146 1.8 101 – 150 cc 798 9.9 850 10.2 151 – 200 cc 135 1.7 132 1.6 201 – 250 cc 1,120 13.9 1,086 13.1 251 – 500 cc 996 12.4 1,026 12.4 501 – 750 cc 857 10.7 907 10.9 751 – 1000 cc 403 5.0 460 5.5 1001 cc or more 296 3.7 318 3.8 Unknown 2211 27.5 2,409 29

The most prominent time for bike theft is over the weekend from 4pm Friday to Monday 5am.

Motorcycle thefts by time of day and day of week Earliest possible time of theft Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Total 00:00 – 03:59 142 124 107 121 125 174 176 969 04:00 – 07:59 120 113 120 104 111 85 60 713 08:00 – 11:59 168 174 169 156 139 170 158 1,134 12:00 – 15:59 133 151 149 152 187 213 208 1,193 16:00 – 19:59 277 277 316 292 382 336 313 2,193 20:00 – 23:59 289 277 289 294 310 328 310 2,097 Total 1,129 1,116 1,150 1,119 1,254 1,306 1,225 8,299  HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BIKE
  • Buy a secure chain so you can chain your bike to an immovable object like a lamp post.
  • Use a secure disc lock with a reminder cord attached to your handlebars so you don’t ride off with it still in place.
  • Also, use the steering lock if your bike has one.
  • Even when parked in a secure location such as your garage or behind a locked gate, consider the extra security of using the steering lock, a disc lock or chain as well.
  • Pull out a spark plug or fuse, or have an immobiliser fitted.
  • Don’t park your bike in railway or shopping centre carparks as these are notorious for theft.
  • Park in a locked carpark. If you have to park in the open, leave it where you can see your bike or in view of a security camera and/or under a light.
  • Otherwise, keep your bike out of sight, maybe parking it behind your car. If parking in a garage, block the bike with your car and ensure the garage is locked.
  • When riding home, make sure you are not being followed.
  • Stay alert for suspicious vans or trucks driving around late at night. These are used to transport stolen motorcycles.
  • Put a cover over your bike. It might slow down thieves and prevent theft of accessories. But make sure it isn’t a flashy lone with the brand name of the bike on it. That only entices thieves.
  • When riding in a group, park your bikes together.
  • Consider marking your bike in a unique way that could aid in recovery and therefore dissuade thieves.
  • At hotels or public parking spaces, try to park in view of parking lot security cameras and lights.
  • If you park your motorcycle outside your house, consider installing a motion sensor light near the bike.
  • Install a motorcycle alarm and/or a hidden kill switch.
  • Buy a GPS tracking system that can track and deliver your bike’s speed, location, and direction

The post Which motorcycles are most theft prone? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Compass Expeditions tours screened on TV

Sat, 03/12/2016 - 5:00am

Two mini-series about riding across Siberia and the length of Africa with Australian-based international motorcycle travel company Compass Expeditions are coming to 7 Mate.

The four one-hour shows, narrated by Charley Boorman, will screen on Saturdays in mid-January through to early February 2017.

While Charley didn’t ride in the Beyond Siberia and Beyond Sahara tours, he has toured with Compass Expeditions on their Australian Outback tour to the Flinders Ranges.

And these two shows follow similar true tracks to Charley’s famous Long Way Round and Long Way Down TV series with Ewan McGregor.

Road of Bones

Viewing schedule: January 14, 21 and 28 January at 3:30pm and February 4 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide at 5pm and Perth at 3pm.

Compass Expeditions founder Mick McDonald says that while he is pleased the shows will be screened on 7 Mate, he is disappointed that the Seven Network didn’t choose to show them.

“According to Channel 7 there’s little interest in biking stories,” he says.

“We need more than dating shows to satisfy our viewing needs when not riding.”


Two one-hour shows feature the 2014 Compass Expeditions trip from London to Magadan including the notorious Road of Bones which was the dramatic highlight of Charley and Ewan’s first round-the-world adventure.

Compass Expeditions took 16 riders from London on the 105-day, 30,000km adventure ride with documentary filmmaker Robin Newell along for the ride.

Starting in Europe they ride the length of Russia, on to the historical Silk Road, deep into Mongolia, through the Siberian wilderness and experience an incredibly moving final ride through the infamous Road of Bones; a spiritual wasteland where two million people perished, with their bodies used as road fill during Stalin’s reign of terror.

Through blazing deserts, inland seas, snow-covered peaks, black ice, torrential rain, raging river crossings and vast empty plains, this is an epic series of extreme highs and gut-wrenching lows.

These riders know that every bend in the road could be their last and not everybody will make it to the end.


This two-part series follows 16 motorbike riders across 20,000 gruelling kilometres through Africa.

For 80 days, they battle blazing heat, treacherous roads, suffocating bureaucracy and bone-crunching crashes, attempting to join a very elite group of people to have conquered this journey.

Riding the vast savannahs and witnessing the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle on the African plains, the riding gets tough as they battle through gravel, sand, dirt and spectacular lightning storms across Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. It’s an incredible journey of vast sandy deserts, high mountain passes and never-ending savannahs on roads and tracks that are amongst the most dangerous in the world.

Starting in Egypt

The post Compass Expeditions tours screened on TV appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

New Suzuki Hayabusa confirmed

Fri, 02/12/2016 - 5:00pm

The ageing Suzuki Hayabusa is finally up for its second major upgrade in its 17-year history as the world’s fastest production motorcycles of the last century.

Suzuki president Toshihiro Suzuki recently confirmed that Suzuki engineers are working on the new bike, but didn’t say when it would be due.

He says it will follow the same style, but gain several electronic riding aids.

There is not much they can do with the styling as the bike was designed to be aerodynamically stable at high speeds.

It was apparently designed on paper by aerodynamic experts, but not tested in a wind tunnel until several years later when it was confirmed the aero theories actually worked.

So when it was updated in 2008, there was no need to change the shape. 

While style may again stay the same, we expect that weight will be lower, and economy, power and torque will be improved.

After all, the company has just released its seventh-generation GSX-R1000 featuring a completely new Euro 4-compliant engine with improved output, better economy and weighing 36k less.

Hopefully weight is reduced substantially as the bike is a hefty 266kg.

There is also a chance that the Hayabusa engine may be turbocharged for even more output than the current output of 147kW and 138.7Nm.

In recent years, Suzuki has unveiled a turbo-charged 588cc parallel twin “Recursion” concept sportsbike and filed patents for turbocharged motorcycle engines.

Toshihiro also says they have been studying how much turbo technology will cost to put into mass-production.

Suzuki Recursion Electronic Suzuki Hayabusa

As for electronics, the new  Suzuki Hayabusa will probably receive most of the aids from the new GSX-R1000 including lean-angle sensitive traction control, three riding modes, a quickshifter, electronic steering damper and one-button starter.

It may also receive the Gixxer’s all-LED lighting and upgraded Showa suspension.

The Suzuki Hayabusa was introduced in 1999 and named after the peregrine falcon which is the fastest animal in the world.

At launch it was the world’s fastest production motorcycle with a top speed of 303 to 312km/h (188 to 194mph).

However, in 2000, Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers agreed to impose a 300km/h limit on bikes to avoid a legislative ban on hyperbole speeds.

The post New Suzuki Hayabusa confirmed appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Custom Arc earphones may suit riders

Fri, 02/12/2016 - 1:00pm

HelloEar Arc custom earphones are claimed to stay put – even when you pull your motorcycle helmet on – are cheaper than personally moulded earphones and you won’t need a professional fitter to make a mould of your ear.

Instead, the company uses a database of “hundreds of thousands” of ear shapes gathered from four years of research with the Tsinghua University from people all over the world.

Database of ear moulds

Just send them photos of your ears with a coin placed beside them for comparison measurements and they reckon they can work out the exact shape of your ear. Within a week they will send you earphones that they claim are a perfect fit.

No need to have a personal mould done or wait for them to be produced. Just photograph your ears!

Crowd funding

The Chinese company is now seeking crowd-funding through their Seattle affiliate to bring their product to market.

I’m sceptical of all crowd-funding projects, even though this one is based on university research.

So I decided to contact them.

They said they hadn’t thought about the possibility of the earphones being used by riders, but were delighted by the idea.

They quickly accepted my offer to beta-test a set which shows confidence in their product.

So I sent them a couple of photographs of my ears and will update this article with a review when the Arc earphones arrive.

Earphone experience Earmold earphones

I use Earmold earphones on long motorcycle rides. They reduce tiring and dangerous background noise so you don’t have to turn up the volume to deafening levels to hear music or a phone conversation above the road and wind noise.

They are big enough to fill your entire ear cavity and reduce damaging, annoying and fatiguing wind and road noise. They are also very soft and only become slightly uncomfortable at the end of a long day in the saddle.

HelloEar Arc custom-fit earphones

Arc earphones are made with a soft silicone housing they call an “airbag” and a silica earbud on the inner end, so they should also be flexible and comfortable.

HelloEar says their earphones are flexible and, unlike firm-fitting moulded earphones, do not put pressure on your ears or trap moisture.

However, they appear to be smaller than the Earmold earphones, so we are not sure yet of their ability to reduce background noise.

Arc earphones feature a plug that allows you to leave the earphones in and remove the cable. We are a bit concerned about the comfort level when wearing a helmet as they stick out a bit. I suppose it depends on your helmet and whether it has an ear cavity.

Arc technically speaking

Arc earphones feature Danish Sonion balanced armature drivers claiming 20Hz to 20kHz frequency range, 106.5dB sensitivity and 25Ohm impedance.

They come as a plug-in model with a 3.5mm jack audio cable for a $US69 crowd-funding pledge or as a wireless Bluetooth (4.1) model for a $US99 pledge.

HelloEar Arc custom-fit Bluetooth earphones

Once the campaign ends, the retail price will be $US149 for wired and $US199 for Bluetooth, plus postage. That’s still a lot cheaper than most personally moulded earphones.

The Bluetooth model can be charged from flat in two hours via a USB charger and has a claimed eight hours of play time.

The cables also include a controller and MEMS microphone that work with Android and iOS.

Arc earphones come in transparent, white or black. They weigh less than 2g (0.07oz) and the separate Bluetooth unit weighs 22.6g (0.8oz).

We expect the crowd-funding campaign will be successful given it has raised a quarter of its funding in less than a week with a month to go.

If it does succeed, they say they will ship in March 2017.

The post Custom Arc earphones may suit riders appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

How to lose weight riding motorcycles

Fri, 02/12/2016 - 7:00am

We are bound to put on a bit of Christmas “pudding” over the coming holiday season, but did you know you can actually lose weight while riding your motorbike?

It seems strange because most riding is a sedentary and social recreation. However, an 80kg rider will burn 40 more calories an hour riding a motorbike than driving a car.

There doesn’t seem like much exercise involved in sitting on a bike and we usually do it with our friends, which turns into a long lunch while “bench racing”. It’s not good for the waistline and your health.

However, since losing weight is simply a matter of using more energy than we consume, there are a few simple steps to follow to ensure you at least don’t put on weight while pursuing your favourite recreation.


1 Riding

Research has shown that sitting on a bike requires no more physical exercise than gently pedalling a bicycle. Yet, Sports Illustrated listed motocross as the fourth most physically demanding sports behind hockey, soccer and wrestling.

Clearly, there are different levels of activity required for different types of riding.

If you’re into motocross, then that’s fine, go and do lots of it. Imagine how many calories Aussie Toby Price burnt during his victorious 2016 Dakar Rally!

Toby Price

On the other hand, cruiser riders on a long straight stretch don’t get much exercise at all. (They’re called a Fat Boy for a reason!)

However, there are lots of riding types that require a bit of exercise. Try trail or adventure riding, especially hills and river crossings.

You can also try track riding which can be physically demanding if you are doing it right. Just look at the super-fit MotoGP riders.

Track work is a good workout

For most of us, the best option is lots of corners.

Did you know you will also burn 100 calories an hour if you sing along to the music playing in your helmet Bluetooth unit!

2 Socialising

Ride solo. Pillions tend to want to stop all the time and that usually ends up in morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

Riding in groups also means you stop more frequently and it takes a lot of willpower to sit there and eat a salad-on-rye sandwich while your mates are chowing down on works burgers.

If you must ride with mates, go to more isolated areas where there aren’t as many cafe temptations.

And make sure you ride for long stints. As noted earlier, you burn 40 more calories an hour than driving a car.

Riding in groups can be a waistline disaster 3 Drinking Camelbak helps you feel full

Put a hydration pack on your back and keep sipping water. It’s not only good for preventing dehydration in the summer heat, but it also keeps you feeling full, so you won’t want to stop and eat.

Avoid sports drinks which are full of sugar. Also avoid coffee which has a diuretic effect just like alcohol that makes you want to urinate and stop more frequently. It’s best to keep moving and burning those calories.

4 Parking

Motorcycles are very convenient because you can park them just about anywhere – usually right in front of the cafe where you’ve stopped.

But if you want to lose some weight, park a fair way away instead and walk.

In fact, walking is a great way to lose weight. I’m not suggesting you walk instead of ride, but maybe ride to a destination where you can go for a walk. National parks are usually situated on winding roads!

Put a pair of sand shoes in your panniers or backpack and ride to a national park and go for a walk, rather than riding to a pub.

Zion National Park in the USA 5 Exercising

Did you know you can actually exercise while on the bike?

That doesn’t mean doing sit ups or push ups while riding.

I have a friend who does isometric exercises while riding. It simply consists of tensing his stomach muscles for a few seconds.

It also helps you concentrate and stay awake on long, boring sections of highway.

You can also try squeezing the tank with your thighs. In fact, if you grip the tank rather than hanging on to the bars it makes you tighten your abdominal and core muscles. That not only burns calories, but makes you a better rider with more control.

The post How to lose weight riding motorcycles appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Vanguard is newest American motorcycle

Fri, 02/12/2016 - 6:00am

This Vanguard Roadster was conceived, designed and built in New York City and represents the start of a new and distinct American motorcycle brand.

The working prototype will be unveiled at the International Motorcycle Show in New York City from December 9-11 and it is expected to go into production in 2018.

A spokesman confirms they expect to export the motorcycle to Australia.

“We’re beginning the process of identifying and accepting requests for consideration from importers and dealerships in Australia and around the world,” the spokesman says.

Vanguard was founded by CEO Francois-Xavier Terny and designer Edward Jacobs as “a product without equivalent as well as a brand with the potential to bring new perspectives to the motorcycle industry”.

The Roadster is expected to cost $US30,000 (about $A40,000) and be a “strong alternative to current premium motorcycles”.

It is the first of three models – roadster, cruiser and racer – built on a common powertrain platform.

Vanguard motorcycles will be assembled in New York City at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

“The modular construction, based on large sub-assemblies, revisits traditional manufacturing methods,” the company release says.

“Combined with worldwide sourcing and the support of key motorcycle vendors, Vanguard will deliver exceptional value and quality.”

Key Vanguard vendors

‘One of the “key motorcycle vendors” is S&S who will supply the 117-cube (1917cc) V-twin engine that forms part of the bike’s structure, doing away with a separate main frame.

The innovative exhaust is integrated into the rear subframe and it features a tablet-size digital dashboard with rear-view camera. 

The V-twin will be married to a six-speed transmission with shaft drive. Target weight for the bike is 250kg (550lb).

Ohlins will supply the suspension with 48mm fully adjustable forks ad a mono-shock rear.

Brembo supplies the brakes with four-piston callipers on twin 320mm floating discs up front and a two-piston calliper on a 245mm disc at the rear.

The Roadster sits on a choice of Metzler ME880 Marathon tyres 240/40 VR18 or 200/50 ZR18 at the rear and 130/60 VR18 at the front.

Seat height is 813mm (32”), wheelbase 1664mm (65.5”) and it will have a fuel tank capacity of 21 litres (5.5 gallons).

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