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Updated: 26 min 41 sec ago

Sena releases Cavalry half motorcycle helmet

Fri, 10/02/2017 - 5:00am

Bluetooth experts have produced a Cavalry half helmet with built-in communicator mainly for the American cruiser market.

There is no word on its availability yet in Australia through Sena distributors Earmold.

Earmold owner Aaron Dalle-Molle says the Cavalry is available for sale in the US at $349.

“So I’d be betting on late October before we see it and it depends on demand,” he says.  “I can’t see a big demand here for it.”

Half helmets are much more popular in the USA where several states don’t even require a helmet.

The new Sena Cavalry Helmet is so far only DOT approved and will be available in the US in matte black and glossy black, in sizes XS-XXL.

The discreet, waterproof Bluetooth 4.1 unit on the helmet will allow you to listen to music from a smartphone or the incorporated FM radio, answer phone calls, hear GPS directions and talk on the intercom with four riding mates up to 900m away.

Cavalry audio quality

Its built-in microphone is located above the forehead, not as a boom mic sitting in front of your mouth. That may look neater, but we’re not sure how effective that would be at high speeds.

We also don’t know how effective the HD quality speakers are because they don’t sit next to your ears. They are located above them in the helmet. Hopefully they are loud enough.

Mic and speakers are located in the helmet

The unit features Sena’s Advanced Noise Control technology which they say will reduce wind noise and improve volume control.

There are also optional ear buds to reduce background noise and improve audio quality.

You can share your music with others in your riding group and it features voice prompt control

Cavalry is firmware upgradable, comes with a two-year warranty and there is an iOS and Android app to control the unit.

Charging time is three hours from flat with 10 hours of talk time from the li-ion battery,

As for the Cavalry helmet structure, it has a composite fibreglass outer shell, removable peak visor and double D-ring chin strap.

The post Sena releases Cavalry half motorcycle helmet appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Hedon launches full-face Heroine helmet

Thu, 09/02/2017 - 4:00pm

Exclusive European helmet brand Hedon will soon launch their first full-face model, the Heroine, in Australia.

Hedon helmets are now being distributed in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia by Perth company, The Design Collective.

Spokesman Chris Burke says they will hold an official launch of the brand and Heroine helmet in Sydney in April.

“We are excited to be able to represent such a uniquely designed handmade helmet with a true focus on comfort, safety and fine detail,” he says.

Hedon is one of several new helmet brands Australians we are now seeing on our shelves since the laws were changed to allow Euro-approved helmets to be sold and used here.

It is one of the more exclusive brands of helmet with the name derived from “headonism” or the relentless pursuit of pleasure.

Hedon was started in 2011 by designers Lindsay and Reginald in London. They use exotic materials blended with traditional craftsmanship and modern technology.

Hedon Heroine Classic and Racer Hedon Classic

The new Heroine is an example of this, featuring fine calf leather, brass fittings, Merlin anti-bacterial fabric lining and a lightweight shell made of carbonfibre and fibreglass.

Despite its modern construction, it is a retro 1960s style.

They come in two models, Classic and Racer.

The Classic has no visor, so you can wear them with goggles and/or snap-on visor accessories.

Hedon Heroine Racer

The Racer has a flat anti-fog visor in a choice of three colours that closes down outside a wide-aperture opening.

They both feature three-channel ventilation.

Prices for Hedon helmets vary. The Hedonist open face starts at $499 and the Epicurist open face is $585. The new Heroine Classic will be $849 and the Racer $1100. Those are about the same prices as in the UK.

They might seem expensive, but the superior quality is evident when you touch them.

I first saw their open-face helmets last year at the hipster Bike Shed in London’s now-trendy Shoreditch area.

Hedon helmets in the Bike Shed, London

They feel light, yet sturdy, and the finish of the shell and lining are superb. Like no other helmet I have experienced.

I tried on one and it felt extremely comfortable and quiet for an open-face helmet. It also has a low profile so you don’t look like Mr Potatohead.

We have not tested them yet, but look forward to attending the Australian launch of the Heroine in April.

Stay tuned for more details.

Hedon Australian pricing
  • Hedonist $499
  • Epicuris $585
  • Heroine Classic $849 
  • Heroine Racer $1100
  • Hedonist Shield or Bubble visor $79 
  • Epicurist visor $115 
  • Hannibal Mask $215 

The post Hedon launches full-face Heroine helmet appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

We want Super Hooligan Racing

Thu, 09/02/2017 - 12:00pm

Roland Sands Design Super Hooligan flat track racing is this year touring around the USA with their custom Indian Scout Sixty bikes.

And if Indian Motorcycle Australia country brand manager Peter Harvey has his way, the series will come to Australia.

He says the series with modified Scout Sixty motorcycles is a “bit of fun”.

It is believed they are investigating the possibility of bringing the heavily modified race bikes to Australia.

We asked Peter for an update, but he wouldn’t comment further.

If you’re reading this, Pete, we would love to see them put on a racing display at the Moto Expo this year or next in Sydney this year or Brisbane and/or Melbourne next year.

Racing support

Indian Motorcycle seems keen on being involved in racing in Australia and recently sponsored their Brisbane shop mechanic Ricky Rice in the Troy Bayliss Classic in Taree.

Ricky (left) with the Brisbane Indian Motorcycle store team at the Troy Bayliss Classic

Peter says the sponsorship was an extension of the Indian brand’s long history and success in flat-track racing.

Super Hooligan series

RSD in LA developed its flat track racing bikes for Super Hooligan display races in Las Vegas last year.

They were so successful, Indian and RSD are taking the series this year to The One Show in Portland, Oregon (February 14), then to Harley-Davidson heartland at Mama Tried in Milwaukee (February 19-21), Daytona Bike Week, March 19, at IV Flat Track Del Mar and April 8 at the Hand Built Show in Austin, Texas.

“We had a gas racing the Scout Super Hooligans in Las Vegas, so we really wanted to hit the road and do some more, similar events with riders from around the country,” says Roland.

“At the same time, Indian Motorcycle said it was excited about putting the Scouts on the track, so it was a natural fit to help promote these Hooligan events where we could ride!”

Flat Track series

Meanwhile, Harley and Indian face off in the 2017 American Flat Track (ATF) racing series starting at Bike Week, both with special factory-built racers that are not yet available to the public.

The Indian FTR750 and Harley XG750R are awesome machines with awesome speed and thunder that we would also love to see racing here in Australia.

We asked Harley-Davidson Australia about the prospect of a racing series or even a demo race.

They also said “no comment” but suggested it may be considered.

Production versions

With Harley boss Matt Levatich recently promising 50 new models in the next five years, there is every likelihood that a production version of the XG750R will be available.

It would make a good replacement for the V-Rod range which is being terminated this year.

An Indian FTR750 production bike would also go a long way to placating Polaris loyalists still reeling from the announcement that Victory Motorcycles has ceased production.

The post We want Super Hooligan Racing appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Female cop bike racer pushes training

Thu, 09/02/2017 - 5:00am

A female detective who only started riding three years ago and has already won a national road racing championship hopes to become the fastest woman in Australia.

Detective Sergeant Ashlee De Bakker of Sydney says she got into racing “by accident”.

“I only started riding in September 2014,” Ashlee says.

“On one occasion I ran wide and nearly ran into a rock face. I thought to myself ‘if I don’t get some training I’ll die’.

“So I booked myself into a motoDNA course and fell in love with it.”

Before she knew it, Ashlee was signing up for more and more track days and coaching.

“I did every track day I could get my hands on and had one-on-one coaching with (superbike racer and World Endurance Champion) Alex Cudlin.”

At one of the motoDNA days, she met Kawasaki Factory Team owner Kelvin Reilly who eventually built her first race bike, a Kawasaki Ninja 300. It was Reilly who encouraged her to give racing a try.

“I really jumped in at the deep end,” she says.

“I had one race in the 300s, crashed, broke my pelvis and came back on a superbike.”

Ashlee has since won two D grade championships in the Formula Oz category of the Australian Formula Extreme Championships (AFX) Australasian Superbike Championship (ASC) on her Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Female racers

“My ultimate ambition is to be the first woman on the podium in a 1000cc superbike race and become the fastest woman in Australia.

“But there is a lot of work to put in between now and then.”

She says she knows of few other females racers, especially at a national level.

“We’re all on equal terms out there and no quarter is given I can assure you,” she says.

“Women might have a little bit more finesse and ride smarter, but we’re not as aggressive; that’s the hard part.

“It’s taken me a while to get my head into the space to race aggressively. I’d get up into the front group and find it’s pretty rough in the first part of the race and give way to other riders.

“But now I think ‘get out of my way, it’s my track’!”

Ashlee says she has never received any negative comments from her male racing opponents.

“Although some of them get a ribbing by the other guys if I beat them,” she says.

“I think it’s fun and I tease them as well. But they are all very supportive. My experience has been positive; nothing negative has ever been said to me. They are all very encouraging.

“I’ve been lining up on the grid and they will give me a backslap or thumbs up as they ride past.

“I speak to them a lot outside of racing and they always offer support, advice and contacts.

Words of advice

Ashlee also has some words of support and advice for other novice and female riders.

“The key thing is I had some really good riders teaching me and lots of training early on before falling into any bad habits,” she says.

“I’m a big advocate of training. Rider training should be a lifelong commitment. I think it should be a licensing requirement to do more training.

“I’ve been to a lot of horrible motorcycle accidents and have seen a lot of riders killed and that’s the thing that made me get some training.”

She also encourages other women to try racing as an “outlet”.

“The hardest part is taking that first step, having the courage to race that first time.  I was terrified. But I knew that if I didn’t do it, I’d regret it for the rest of my life. It may not be about wining initially, but participation is key. We all have our own goals or milestones,” she says.

“If my presence on the track encourages other girls to have a serious go, that’s meant something for women in motorsport. It’s time that we made our mark.”

Unlike many racers who don’t ride on the road because they think it is too dangerous, Ashlee still does.

“I still ride, but I do it for the social aspect, not for the buzz,” she says.

“Riders all speak a common language and it is easy to strike up a conversation with another rider.

“I ride for the places it takes you and the people you meet rather than the thrill on the road. If you want thrills, do a track day.

“The closest friends I’ve made are those who I meet at the track. You extend your circle of friends and also stay safe.”

Fundraising and sponsorship

In 2016, Ashlee helped raise funds for Bear Cottage at the Westmead Children’s Hospital and will be involved in larger charity projects this year.

“Motorcyclists love a great cause and are always eager to be involved in fundraising. It speaks volumes about the community as a whole,” she says.

She will contest the 2017 Australasian Superbike Championship (ASC) in the superbike category as a privateer racer, but needs sponsorship support. To help, check out her website.

“Racing is not a sport for those with tight purse strings,” she says. “It has been financially difficult and requires sacrifices on my part. But that’s what you do to chase your dreams.”

Ashlee wishes to thank and acknowledge her sponsors JPM Cranes, BC Performance and MCA Motorcycle Accessories Supermarket and Ricondi Leathers.  

The post Female cop bike racer pushes training appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

KTM invests in HUD helmet technology

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 4:00pm

KTM appears to be joining BMW in pushing head-up display (HUD) helmet technology that integrates with their bikes and other motorists.

The company’s parent, Pierer Industry AG, has invested in American HUD company Nuviz, the first to offer an aftermarket HUD accessory.

The funds will help the company release their device, the Nuviz-770, which includes connected riding technology that warns of and talks to other vehicles.

Nuviz-770

Last year BMW announced they were developing a HUD helmet for production in the next few years.

They say it will not only display vital information such as GPS directions, speed and various motorcycle functions on a screen in the rider’s periphery, but also real-time information for future vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

HUD technology has been around for a long time in fighter jets, then luxury cars and soon as an aftermarket device so riders don’t have to take their eyes off the road to see important information.

A rider’s view with HUD technology

The first helmet with integrated HUD was the crowd-funded Skully which went belly-up after the founders allegedly squandered the millions in funding on fast cars and women.

There has been talk of other HUD helmets from Sena, the Encephalon from Nand Logic and a Russian prototype, but none has yet hit the market.

Now it appears KTM and Husqvarna may also develop a HUD helmet with Nuviz help.

At the moment, KTM funds will help launch the latest Nuviz aftermarket device, but there is every likelihood KTM will want to make their own helmet with connectivity to its bikes and other motorists on the road.

The move toward this type of technology is gaining pace with German techno giant Bosch recently releasing a video of how they see the safe future of motorcycling.

The video features the rider on a BMW so we expect the two German companies have been working closely on this technology.

Nuviz revived

Nuviz had raised more than $200,000 through crowdfunding to release their device in 2014, but refunded the money when they couldn’t meet their target.

They now have $5.4m in corporate (KTM), private and even Finnish government funding.

Their device will attach to the outside of a helmet and show vital information on a transparent display screen in the right corner of their field of view.

It also has a built-in camera so riders can take photos or videos.

It is expected to cost between US$650-$700 (about A$850-$920) when it released early this year.

 

The post KTM invests in HUD helmet technology appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

BMW confirms 2017 models and prices

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:00pm

BMW Motorrad Australia confirms they will introduce a host of new models in 2017 including the K 1600 B (pictured), three more R nineT variants and two learner-approved models.

The Bavarian company says 2017 will feature their widest range of new motorcycles in their 101-year history.

The new models include R nineT derivatives Pure, Racer and Urban G/S, the G 310 R and GS, and the K 1600 bagger which was especially produced for the American market.

However, BMW Motorrad Australia now releases price information and approximate arrival times for most of the new models which confirms the bagger is included in our range from September.

The R nineT variants arrive in the next few months but there is no time announced yet for the G 310 models.

BMW Motorrad Australia

2017 Model and Price List

Model

MRLP (+ORC)

Sport

S 1000 RR (3 variants)

$21,990 – $26,930

R 1200 RS (2 variants)

$23,100 – $25,320

Tour

F 800 GT

$16,300 – $18,290

R 1200 RT

$30,940

K 1600 GT

$36,490 – $38,490

K 1600 GTL – Launch May (2 variants)

$37,990 – $40,490

K 1600 B – Launch September

$TBA

Roadster

G 310 R – Launch TBA

$5,790 – $5,865

F 800 R

$12,990 – $15,115

S 1000 R (2 variants)

$19,390 – $24,540

R 1200 R (3 variants)

$22,100 – $24,530

Heritage

R nineT

$22,490 – $24,315

R nineT Pure – Launch March

$17,690 – $21,445

R nineT Racer – Launch March

$19,150 – $22,655

R nineT Scrambler

$18,750 – $22,505

R nineT Urban G/S – Launch May

$18,750 – $22,255

Adventure

G 310 GS – Launch TBA

$TBA

F 700 GS

$12,890 – $14,655

F 800 GS

$16,940 – $18,805

F 800 GS Adventure

$18,650 – $20,275

S 1000 XR

$22,190 – $27,065

R 1200 GS – From March arrival (4 variants)

$21,850 – $28,405

R 1200 GS Adventure (2 variants)

$24,890 – $30,160

Urban Mobility (scooters)

C 650 Sport

$14,150 – $15,875

C 650 GT

$14,990 – $16,965

The BMW Motorrad Australia price list comes ahead of a special media day in Melbourne tomorrow (February 9, 2017) to update both car and motorcycle journalists on their full range.

It is also an opportunity for BMW executives to talk about the Connected Ride technology and to boast about their sixth consecutive record sales year with global sales up 5.9% to 145,032.

BMW confirms its biggest growth was in Asia, off a small base, with China up 52.7% to 4580 and Thailand up 42.1% to 1819. Europe was their biggest market and US sales were their second best to date with 13,730 bikes sold.

In Australia, sales increased 1.3% with their motorcycles actually down 0.7% or 23 bikes to 3178. They were surprisingly buoyed by their scooters which bucked the -11% market trend to ride 76 to 123.

However, it followed massive years in 2014/15 when motorcycle sales were up 25.7% and 21.3% while their maxi-scooter sales dropped 32.3% and 14.9%.

The company confirms its sales success is due largely to its ever-expanding range of new models.

While the R 1200 GS is consistently their top-seller, their biggest growth in the past few years has been in the R nineT range introduced in 2014.

This year there are five variants: R nineT, R nineT Pure, R nineT Urban G/S, R nineT Racer, and R nineT Scrambler.

We will be riding the Scrambler at the BMW Range Day. Stay tuned for a review.

However, we predict their biggest growth in 2017, at least in Australia, will come from the new G 310 R and GS models.

LAMS bikes are selling like crazy in Australia and these two models should considerably lift BMW’s sales here.

BMW says they may also have a G 310 R available for us to ride!

The post BMW confirms 2017 models and prices appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Around the world on a Vespa scooter

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 5:00am

While many riders wish they could ride around the world on a motorcycle, there are few that would consider doing it two-up on a Vespa scooter!

But that’s exactly what Greek couple Alexandra and Stergios are doing on their Around the World on a Vespa trip.

Since 2013, their laden 2003-model PX200 Vespa scooter has already been throughout Africa and most of South America on their way around the world.

But it didn’t start out that way.

The couple didn’t know each other when they left their economically beleaguered country.

“But we had something in common: the socio-economic crisis which affected our lives and suffocated us,” Stergios says.

He left Greece in October 2013 and traveled to Italy, Morocco and down through most of Africa before meeting up with Alexandra.

“I met Stergios while we were both in the Democratic Republic of Congo and we met again after three months later in Johannesburg – always by coincidence,” Alexandra says.

“I wouldn’t miss the opportunity again. I jumped on the Vespa and here I am, part of the team!”

Stergios says the Vespa scooter coped well with their two-up ‘test-ride’ in South Africa and Lesotho.

Roadside maintenance in Africa

“The Vespa made it with all the weight and we also discovered that we make a good team, so from that day back in December 2014, we’ve been traveling together,” he says.

They crossed the Atlantic to South America and when we got in touch with them they had travelled through Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Brazil.

So far, they have done about 60,000km together on the little Vespa scooter which has clicked over 180,000km in total.

“Our round-the-world journey is a lifetime project and we’ve promised not to stop until we’ve been to every corner of our planet,” says Stergios.

“Traveling was something I loved and before I left for the trip, I had tested myself and the bike in various trips around Europe.

“The decision to leave in that particular period was taken after many conversations on the socioeconomic situation in Greece and in southern Europe. I always had in mind doing a big journey, something crazy that would take me away from the Greek miserable reality.

“I was affected by unemployment and I had become sensitive on social matters. So, it was important to me to see for myself how the rest of the world live and perceive life.”

The post Around the world on a Vespa scooter appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Minister rejects lane filtering updates

Tue, 07/02/2017 - 4:00pm

Two years after lane filtering was introduced in Queensland by the previous government the current Minister still rejects amendments as more riders call for uniform national rules.

The Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland has asked the Minister to change the Queensland-only filtering rule that prevents riders using the breakdown lane or left verge on some occasions. It’s referred to as “edge filtering” and it is only permitted in Queensland, although riders would like to see it introduced in the states.

It is only permitted on roads posted at 90km/h or above. However, when these arterial roads jam with traffic and it is becomes more important for riders to edge filter, electronic speed signs change to a lower speed making edge filtering illegal.

Queensland Police confirm that, in those situations, it is illegal and they have fined riders.

Fine and crash stats

We asked police and relevant departments in each state/territory (Queensland, NSW, Victoria and ACT) where lane filtering is allowed for figures on lane filtering crashes and fines for illegal filtering.

They say figures for crashes are not available because lane filtering is not recorded as an attribute.

We are still waiting on fine figures, but in the first year Queensland’s Main Roads reports 681 infringements issued for motorcycles unlawfully lane filtering. There was no breakdown on which offence they committed (edge filtering, forward of the stop line, faster than 30km/h, etc).

Before lane filtering, fines were about $150 for passing on the left or $75 for failure to stay in your lane. Now fines vary between states but are more than $300 and three demerit points.

Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey says they are pleased with the lane filtering road rules implemented by the previous government.

“Positive feedback has been received from motorbike riders and groups,” he says.

Riders seek amendments

However, MRAQ president Chris Mearns says they are not happy with the edge filtering rule anomaly.

MRAQ president Chris Mearns

“The current inclusion as written has always been a mystery to the MRAQ as to why and how it was arrived at and to date no-one has been able to satisfactorily explain why it is written as it is which did not seem to take account of the ever expanding role out of digitally alterable signage,” Chris says.

The Minister says that when the speed limit reduces on an electronic sign, “it is often because of a traffic incident or road works”. 

“Road workers, emergency services personnel and/or other vehicle occupants may be vulnerable on the road shoulder or emergency stopping lane if edge filtering in these conditions was introduced,” he says. 

“Even when the speed limit is reduced, motorcyclists are still able to lane filter down the middle.”

Forward stop lines Advanced motorcycle stop lane in Spain

There have also been calls among riders for a forward stop line at intersections as used in many European and Asian cities.

It allows riders to gather safe.

However, the Minister also rejected that change to the rules.

“The design of intersections considers many safety factors to ensure the safety of road users,” he says.

“Bicycle storage areas have been installed at many intersections across the state and motorbike riders are permitted to filter through traffic and make use of these areas which are placed in front of existing stop lines.”

Uniform lane filtering rules

There have also been calls for uniform filtering rules across state boundaries so riders aren’t caught out by differences.

South Australian riders group, Ride to Review (RTR), has drafted a Lane Filtering Submission which includes the use of bus lanes. The submission is a solid model for all states.

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Has Easy Rider sold out for a luxury car?

Tue, 07/02/2017 - 9:52am

Could it be that the hardtail chopper-riding hippy of Easy Rider fame, Peter Fonda, has sold out to a German luxury car brand?

The following advertisement was featured during the televising of the annual Super Bow football finals in the US.

It not only reprises Peter’s Captain America leather jacket from the cult 1969 film, but also the desert biker saloon scene from the satirical 2007 film, Wild Hogs, in which he also played a cameo role.

The ad, produced by the Coen Brothers, is absolutely hilarious as it pokes fun at ageing bikies with arthritis who get parked in by Peter’s wild new ride, an AMG GT Roadster .

It’s a far cry from this 1973 safety film starring Peter and legendary stuntman Evel Knievel.

Despite its unintentional hilarity with the passing years, it is still surprisingly relevant.

While the film doesn’t endorse lane filtering or splitting, most of the information supplied is still as relevant today as it was in the 1970s when the film was produced.

That is not to say that you will agree wth everything they say; for example that you should wear a white helmet to be more visible.

However, it’s an entertaining 17-minute video that features a segment with Evel.

Evel Knievel

We particularly love the reference to defensive motorcyclists treating all drivers as either “asleep, blind or drunk”.

There is also some great LA motorcycle police synchronised riding. It’s fascinating to watch, but it doesn’t have much to do with the message about how police cops “riding by the book” are actually safer than police in patrol cars. They quote the statistic of 18 accidents per million miles on police bikes compared with 27 in patrol cars.

There is also a true/false quiz to test your motorcycle knowledge.

And it finishes with a cringe-worthy at message from Mr Easy Rider himself: “Have a good trip and don’t ride too easy.”

Peter Fonda on Captain America in Easy Rider

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Crows Nest joins motorcycle friendly towns

Tue, 07/02/2017 - 5:00am

Crows Nest in South East Queensland is the fourth Australian town to declare itself a motorcycle friendly town with more towns including Armidale soon expected to join their ranks.

And why not! Queensland Tourism estimates riders spend up to $160 a day in local communities on food, fuel, drinks, etc, compared with $40 spent by grey nomads in self-contained caravans.

The first Motorcycle Friendly Town was Bicheno in Tasmania, followed by Texas, SEQ, and last December Wauchope on the Oxley Highway joined the welcoming trend.

Texas Motorcycle Friendly Town launch

There currently is no official process to declare a town motorcycle friendly as there is with becoming RV Friendly.

Instead, it just requires the will of the local people to welcome riders, put up some signs, add some motorcycle parking bays and produce tourist information brochures and maps of suitable regional routes. Anything else is a bonus.

And that’s what the people of Crows Nest have done.

I did the following interview with Channel Seven Toowoomba.

Crows Nest visit

We also visited the tidy town at the weekend to reacquaint ourselves and meet up with local riders Ron Anderson, Paul Pelling, Adrian Allen and Body Dunford who are members of the Crows Nest Motorcycle Friendly Town Committee.

They showed us around a couple of scenic routes before heading to the town.

As we stepped off our loud motorcycles in the centre of Crows Nest, an elderly man genuinely greeted us with, “Welcome to Crows Nest; where are you from?” How friendly is that!

Welcoming committee at Ravensbourne lookout

Ron says the idea started when he was approached by Tourist and Progress Association member Grahame Rogers who recognised the tourist potential of riders visiting the town.

“We get up to 100 riders a day on the weekends coming through town,” says Ron who took the photos here.

“There are so many great riding roads around here. Many come up the range on the Hampton Rd past beautiful Ravensborne and when they get to the T intersection with the highway, they turn left towards Toowoomba.

“We want Main Roads to put in a sign encouraging riders to turn right to our motorcycle friendly town.”

Ron says local businesses are “on board and trying hard” and Toowoomba Regional Council is offering support for brochures and local signs.

They also have the support of their local State Member, Deb Frecklington, who grew up riding bikes on her farm.

“I would really like to congratulate the Crows Nest and District Tourist and Progress Association for having the foresight and initiative to establish Crows Nest as a Motorcycle Friendly Town,” she says.

“It’s great not only for the township itself, but also for the surrounding districts with some terrific rides taking in countryside to the north and west including destinations like Kingaroy, the Bunya Mountains and Maidenwell areas.”

Where is Crows Nest?

Crows Nest is about 40km north of Toowoomba on the New England Highway.

“We are in the middle of five crossings of the Great Dividing Range which are all terrific motorcycle routes, but there are so many more,” says Boyd.

The group has already produced one brochure of recommended tarred routes which includes the nearby Bunya Mountains, Blackbutt Range and south to the Murphy’s Creek, Flagstone Creek and Heifer Creek.

It includes detailed route descriptions, links to on-line maps and downloadable GPS waypoints so you can’t get lost.

They are also hoping to produce a second brochure suggesting routes for adventure riders which will include The Bluff ascent from Toogoolawah, Seventeen Mile Rd from Ravensbourne to Helidon, Fifteen Mile Rd, and many others through regional forests.

Crows Nest sits on the top of the Great Dividing Range with breathtaking views of the Brisbane Valley at Ravensbourne, the Cressbrook and Perseverance dams, plenty of fresh-scented forests, picturesque waterfalls and beautiful sweeping views of the Darling Downs.

The town itself features several cafes, restaurants, antique shops, craft shops and a seven-day-a-week service station

Ron says riders can base themselves in Crows Nest overnight and do several of the regional routes with contrasting rides.

“There’s the tar ranges of Cooyar, Blackbutt, Bunyas, Hampton and more for the sports bike riders, some great sweeping roads on the Downs and challenging dirt roads and forestry tracks for the adventure riders,” he says.

Places to stay

Ron points out that there is accommodation available to suit riders’ all budgets including $50 a night for a three-bed room at the Grand Old Crow which is registered a Motorcycle friendly Pub, a caravan park with camping facilities and cabins, a motel and even $200-a-night resort for couples.

Perseverance Dam

He says motorcycle clubs can also arrange for the showgrounds to be opened for camping.

Boyd says they get riders from all over SEQ, but also interstate riders heading north on the New England Highway for winter and North Queensland riders heading south for summer.

Beautiful range views Official launch invitation

An official launch for the Motorcycle Friendly Town will be held on March 5 so circle that on your old-fashioned wall calendar or save the date on your smartphone calendar.

Ron and Boyd are helping to organise the event and plan to include a group ride around the area.

They have invited riders from far and wide to attend. More details will be published here closer to the event.

Plenty of adventure riding as well More Motorcycle Friendly Towns

Do you know of any other towns moving toward declaring themselves motorcycle friendly?

What are you doing to help them become motorcycle friendly?

Leave your comments below.

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What will the new Jawa motorcycle look like?

Mon, 06/02/2017 - 4:00pm

Indian tractor manufacturer Mahindra has bought BSA and Jawa and plans to revive the brands, but we’re not sure the latter will look like this concept.

It was built by Urban Motor of Berlin and unveiled at the annual Glemseck motorcycle festival in Stuttgart where it took part in their inaugural Essence sprint.

Jawa 350 by Urban Motors

Their minimalist concept bike is based on a 1964 Jawa 350 two-stroke.

There is no word yet from Mahindra about what their bikes will look like or how they are powered.

However, they may not revive two-stroke engines as they are banned in most places because of emissions regulations.

Jawa 350 two-stroke

Mahindra has said it plans to build BSAs for the global market, but will only build Jawa motorcycles for the domestic market.

The company began in 1929 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and exported its mainly 350cc models to more than 120 countries. They also produced 650cc models including a Dakar version

The Czech bike brand was famed in speedway, dirt track and ice racing, and was introduced to India in the ‘50s.

While they are a rare site these days except at historic motorcycle meetings, they are still quite common in Cuba where there are plenty of old Eastern Bloc motorcycles and cars. 

Jawa in Santiago de Cuba

While we are fascinated with how the Czech brand will be revived by Mahindra, we don’t expect it will look anything like this radical Berlin custom.

We’d prefer they look more like this sketch of a custom Californian 351 by Italian motorcycle designer Oberdan Bezzi.

Jawa Californian 351

We’d love to see this brand shared around the world and believe there is a lot of potential given the move toward smaller-capacity motorcycles.

There is also hope for a return of two-stroke engines with modern direct injection making them even more efficient, and more importantly, cleaner!

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Bosch video shows future of motorcycling

Mon, 06/02/2017 - 5:00am

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