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Updated: 33 min 54 sec ago

Honda announces CMX bobber price

Tue, 10/01/2017 - 3:00pm

Honda Australia has announced the CMX bobber will arrive here in April 2017 at $8995 ride away.

While the learner-approved 471cc motorcycle is basically a Honda Rebel with a bit of a Yamaha Bolt ($11,999 + on-road costs) make-over, it won’t be called a Rebel here.

In Australia, it will just be called the CMX bobber and will be available with the removable pillion seat as standard. Colour choices are Matte Armoured Silver Metallic, Victory Red and Graphite Black.

Australia will not get the 300cc CMX version.

The competitive price brings it in under the Bolt, as well as the Yamaha XZVS650 ($10,799+ORC) and Kawasaki Vulcan S ($9999 +ORC), but about the same price as the Suzuki S40 ($7990+ORC).

However, it is probably not cheap enough to tear too many away from the top-selling Harley-Davidson, the Street 500 at $10,750 ride away.

Honda sees the CMX bobber as a blank canvas that will attract customisers.

It’s interesting that, at the worldwide launch late last year, Honda actually pointed out that the late Prince rode a CM400A Rebel in the movie Purple Rain.

We don’t think Honda Australia will make much of a point of that piece of history.

Prince on his Rebel Honda CMX bobber details

The CMX 500 features fat 16-inch Dunlop tyres, large-diameter wheels, 690mm seat height, stamped-steel rear fender and comes standard with ABS.

It is powered by a 471cc, eight-valve, liquid-cooled parallel twin tuned for bottom-end torque.

The cylinder head uses roller rocker arms; shim-type valve adjustment allows them to be light, for lower valve-spring load and reduced friction.

Honda’s CMX bobber has a silent (SV Chain) cam chain, with the surface of its pins treated with Vanadium to reduce friction through its increased protection against dust.

It is suspended with 41mm forks set wide at 230mm apart for handling rigidity, comfort and style, and the lower legs are blacked-out.

2017 Honda CMX bobber is LAMS approved (Overseas model shown) Honda Rebel CMX500 PRICE $8995 ride away ENGINE 471cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin four-stroke BORE x STROKE 67.0 mm x 66.8mm COMPRESSION 10.7:1 CARBURETION PGM-FI; 34mm throttle bodies IGNITION Computer-controlled digital transistorised w/ electronic advance TRANSMISSION six-speed DRIVE/TRAIN Chain; 15T/40T, DOHC; four valves per cylinder DIMENSIONS 2,190 x 820 x 1,090mm WHEEL BASE 1,490mm SEAT HEIGHT 690mm CLEARANCE 135mm FUEL TANK 11.2 litres KERB WEIGHT 187.8 kg ABS Standard TYRES 130/90 – 16 inch; 150/80 – 16 inch SUSPENSION 41mm telescopic fork, twin shocks FRONT BRAKES Single 296 mm disc with hydraulic callipers and ABS REAR BRAKES Single 240mm disc with hydraulic callipers and ABS WARRANTY PERIOD 24 months

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Victory Motorcycles ceases production immediately

Tue, 10/01/2017 - 6:11am

Victory Motorcycles is ceasing production immediately and winding down over the next 18 months, but parent company Polaris Industries will continue with Indian and its three-wheeler Slingshot.

Peter Harvey, Victory Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, says: “Rest assured, customers and dealers are at the forefront of our plans and will be well looked after in the short and longer term.”

Polaris says it will liquidate all Victory inventory and continue supplying parts and warranty coverage for customers for 10 years.

So new Victory prices are expected to tumble, which is some good news. However, Victory owners will also find the value of their bikes tumbling as well.

The production of Victory Motorcycles started 16 years ago in an effort to compete with Harley-Davidson. Polaris bought Indian in 2011 and began the production of the Slingshot in 2014.

Polaris Slingshot SL LE

Victory Motorcycles began in Australia in October 2008 with a “flagship dealership” in Melbourne and has since opened its own Victory and Indian dealerships in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.

Sales halved

The writing was on the wall for Victory which had peaked in global sales in 2012 and had been losing money in the past three years.

In Australia, sales were down 28.1% in 2016 to just 274, one less than Aprilia and about half their 2012 sales figures of 452.

The brand has only two engines and last year streamlined its range from 15 to an even dozen.

In Australia there are only 14 current models, because we never imported the Empulse TT electric motorcycle.

MBW rides the Victory Empulse TT

There is no word on what will happen with the electric brand, but Polaris chairman and CEO Scott Wine says they will continue with Indian which has strong sales growth.

This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team and the Polaris Board of Directors. Over the past 18 years, we have invested not only resources, but our hearts and souls, into forging the Victory Motorcycles brand, and we are exceptionally proud of what our team has accomplished. Since inception, our teams have designed and produced nearly 60 Victory models that have been honoured with 25 of the industry’s top awards. The experience, knowledge, infrastructure and capability we’ve built in those 18 years gave us the confidence to acquire and develop the Indian Motorcycle brand, so I would like to express my gratitude to everyone associated with Victory Motorcycles and celebrate your many contributions.

This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and will materially improve our competitive stance in the industry,

Our focus is on profitable growth, and in an environment of finite resources, this move allows us to optimise and align our resources behind both our premium, high performing Indian Motorcycle brand and our innovative Slingshot brand, enhancing our focus on accelerating the success of those brands. Ultimately this decision will propel the industry-leading product innovation that is core to our strategy while fostering long-term growth and increased shareholder value.

Production of Victory Motorcycles at its Iowa plant will cease immediately.

Only four Victory models – the Octane, Judge, High-Ball and Gunner – are being sold in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for 2017, probably due to the difficulty in meeting emissions standards.

Australian statement

Peter Alexander, Managing Director Polaris Industries, Australia and New Zealand released the following statement.

Peter at a Victory owners’ ride

Today, Polaris Industries Inc. is announcing that we are winding down the Victory Motorcycles brand beginning today and through the next 18 months.

We first launched Victory Motorcycles here in Australia in October 2008 with our flagship dealership in Melbourne that set new benchmarks for motorcycle retail in Australia. Victory Motorcycles, through its innovation and engineering prowess, also set new standards in Heavy Cruiser motorcycle design and performance. In just 8 short years there are now four flagship stores plus independent dealers in major markets in Australia and New Zealand, all conceived and driven by the Victory brand. The learnings and plain hard work of launching Victory has now set Indian Motorcycle on the path to even greater success.

During the last 8 years, Australia established itself as the largest unit volume market for Victory outside North America. That’s an astonishing feat given our population and a testament to the enthusiasm, loyalty and dedication of our customers and our staff.

To all Victory owners both new and old, we sincerely thank you for your passion and commitment. I have been privileged enough to meet and ride with many of you at rides and other events and look forward to riding with you well into the future. We and our dealer network are committed to continue to supply parts, service and warranty to ensure this happens.

Although a tough time for all of our staff, dealers and of course riders who have put an enormous amount of blood, sweat and tears into Victory, there is a lot to be proud of and celebrate. Victory will always be a great motorcycle and a great brand that has punched well above its weight in Australia and New Zealand and forged a legacy that will take a lot of beating.

Victory Owners will always be part of the Polaris family, they will always be welcome and we will be continuing to sell these world class motorcycles for some time. Although the history books will start being written a little earlier than we would have liked, I’d like to thank all current and future Victory Owners for helping write a little bit of that history.

Comment Mr and Mrs MotorbikeWriter on a Victory Cross Country Tour in the US

Motorbike Writer has fond memories of Victory Motorcycles.

From the clunky bikes of their first days, they gradually improved powerplant refinement and build quality and were quite an enjoyable ride.

We travelled 6500km halfway across America in 2014 on a Victory Cross Country Tour and it remains Mrs MBW’s favourite bike for its plush ride, comfortable pillion position and industry-leading luggage capacity.

The introduction of the Octane cruiser  in 2016 showed that the company could still produce relevant and refined cruisers.

The company also showed that it was prepared to invest in research and development and prove their worth by going racing.

They compete in US drag racing, raced their electric bike at the Isle of Man TT and charged up the Pikes Beak International Hillclimb on a prototype.

It’s sad when any motorcycle brand dies, but one with this much passion and commitment will sorely be missed.

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Secure your plate against thieves

Tue, 10/01/2017 - 5:00am

Number plate theft is rife around the world with tens of thousands stolen every year in Australia alone. Now you can secure your plate with this stylish Benzina Anti-Theft Plate Holder.

This Brisbane invention by new motorcycle gear company Benzina features a stylish base in black.

You can also paint it to match your bike or soon it will also be available in chrome as shown in the how-to photos.

The holder can be secured in any position thanks to its many sighting dimples for bolt holes.

BUY IT NOW FOR $35

That allows you to drop it down, or lift it up above the present plate position to tidy the tail of your bike. 

In my case, I used it to cover the ugly rubber attachments on the indicators.

Then, simply screw or rivet your number plate to the base using the special stainless-steel shear-off bolts provided, leaving a blunt end that thieves cannot undo.

Not only does it make your plate more secure, but the holder prevents you scratching your hands when cleaning around the tail.

The Benzina anti-theft holders cost just $35 including postage and five shear-off bolts (normally more than $10). They are available exclusively through the MotorbikeWriter shop.

Strangely, each Australian state has different-sized number plates so these are only precisely matched for Queensland sizes only. NSW, Victorian and Tasmanian plates are 1mm different. Sizes for other states will be available at a later date. 

However, they can be fitted to a variety of motorrcycles and scooters as shown below.

You can also add a $4.95 branded decal for your model or a “Benzina” or “Live to Ride” logo.

More Benzina products

Benzina also makes keyrings and wallets, and will soon have more products such as gloves and tailor-made jackets with a personalised name patch.

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Ducati bonanza at Las Vegas auction

Mon, 09/01/2017 - 4:00pm

Nearly 40 Ducatis, including 15 from the famous Silverman Museum Racing Collection, are up for sale at the seventh annual Bonhams Las Vegas sale on Thursday, January 26, 2017, at the Rio Hotel & Casino.

They will feature alongside Ewan McGregor’s Panhead and a host of other collectible bikes.

The Ducatis include street singles and scramblers to twins and works racers, spanning the decades from 1948 to 2001. 

Of particular importance are these very significant factory racers and GP models:

  • 1984 Ducati 750 TT1 Works Road Racer – one of three European endurance factory racers and the “rarest of the rare”; estimate $125,000-$150,000.
Ducati 750 TT1 1984 racer
  • 1975 Ducati 900 SS Superbike Prototype – the 1979 AMA Superbike Winner; estimate $80,000-$120,000.
Ducati 900SS
  • 1973 Ducati 750 Works Road Racer – one of three factory racers of its kind and former Bol d’Or 24 Hours team bike and Isle of Man TT entrant; estimate $100,000-$140,000.
Ducati 750 Works Racer
  • 1958 Ducati 125 GP – rare early competition Grand Prix bialbero model; estimate $100,000-$130,000.
Ducati 125 GP

The annual Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction has attracted huge interest, record prices and featured bikes belonging to Easy Rider stars, Mike Hailwood race bikes, Evel Knievel bikes and motorcycles belonging to Hollywood actor and bike legend Steve McQueen.

Last year, McQueen’s famous Desert Sled Triumph was sold to an unknown Aussie buyer.

This year, a feature is Ewan McGregor’s 2012 “Indian Larry” Panhead Chopper.

Ewan on his Panhead chopper

Although Ewan is now a Moto Guzzi ambassador, he has an extensive collection that includes everything from track bikes to 1960s classics to customs.

The Panhead is expected to fetch up to $36,000.

Other auction highlights are a 1949 Indian-Vincent Factory Prototype combining a Series C Rapide engine with an Indian frame and electrics and an original, unrestored 1913 Flying Merkel Twin.

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Boom times for bike nights

Mon, 09/01/2017 - 11:12am

Bike nights are mushrooming around the country with the latest one in Ipswich such a success they are planning an event every second month.

Co-organiser Brad Palmer, duty manager of the Ipswich Country Club and a Yamaha MT-09 rider, says he had noticed the growth of bike nights in other cities and the amount of interest they attracted.

“Our country club didn’t have any recognition among the motorcycle community that we were here, so we thought we’d put on a bike night,”  says Brad who organised the event with course superintendent Luke Nowlan.

The first Ipswich Bike Night last Saturday (January 7, 2017) at the Ipswich Country Club was a huge success, attracting about 300 bikes, including 40 for the show and shine.

It was such a success the organisers are now planning more bike nights. The next is scheduled for 5-8pm on Saturday April 1, 2017, and every second month after that on the first Saturday of the month.

“I wasn’t too sure how many we would get,” Brad says.

“However, we did have a big backing by the Ipswich Ulysses Club, so we were quite impressed with the turnout.

“I was thinking we might stage it once a quarter but we are now planning them every second month.”

Ipswich Bike Night is set around the golf course clubhouse and is very family oriented.

Visiting rider from Melbourne, John Eacott (BMW Clubs of Australia president), says he was very impressed with the turnout for the inaugural event.

John Eacott

Ipswich Bike Night includes a free-entry show and shine, a live band, a host of motorcycle-related stalls plus food and drink from the clubhouse.

“We want to make it a bigger event next time,” Brad says.

“We’ll have a lot more categories for bikes, a lot more prizes from motorcycle venues around the area as well as 10-20 different stalls and the band as well,” he says.

Three’s a Crowd entertain the crowd (Photos courtesy of Louisa Angel and James Wawne)

If you are interested in having a free stall at any of the next Ipswich Bike Nights, contact Brad on 0422 040665 for bookings.

“We will also start using some food vendors so it is easier for people to get food and there is not as much stress on our kitchen.

“We want to make it like a motorcycle market but with a show as well and a lot for families to look at.”

One small problem with the first show was the lack of parking spaces, but Brad promises to have that fixed for subsequent bike nights.

“We didn’t clean out the carpark of cars, but we will for the next one,” he says. “It was meant to be blocked off earlier in the day.”

Congratulations to Brad and the local Ulysses branch for a great event with plenty to do, see, eat, drink and hear!

With Australian motorcycle sales the highest since 2009 and the fifth highest in history, motorcycling is currently booming and riders need more successful events and nights like this.

Motorbike Writer will have a stall at the next Ipswich Bike Night, so come up, say hello and check out some of the products from our new online shop. Book the date (April 1) in your diary now.

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Inter-vehicle ‘talk’ may benefit riders

Mon, 09/01/2017 - 5:00am

America has mandated vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology in all new cars, but riders also want the technology to recognise motorcycles.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) says the technology can benefit all road users, but they demand to be included in the discussion, planning and implementation of the policies and regulations governing the rollout.

It follows a crash in which a female motorcycle rider was rear-ended by an automated Tesla S under test in Norway.

V2V and automated self-driving cars, trucks and even motorcycles are hurtling toward us at an accelerating rate and authorities are struggling to control the development and implementation.

While some say the technologies are good for all motorists, there are serious concerns about their detection of motorcycles.

BMW Motorrad spokesman Karl Viktor Schaller says autonomous vehicles will make motorcycle riding safer. His company is also working with Honda and Yamaha to developed “connected motorcycles” with electronics that talk to each other and other vehicles to make them safer on the roads.

BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 balancing motorcycle

Motorcycles are now being considered in European driverless tests in the wake of the Norway crash, however the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative is yet to identify the dangers to riders.

In America, AMA spokesman Wayne Allard says they recognise the potential for improved safety as vehicles communicate.

“But we want to ensure that the detection and response sensors and software can detect motorcyclists and respond appropriately,” he says.

The V2V technology, sanctioned by the US Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration, would also allow vehicles to “talk” to roadway infrastructure such as traffic lights, stop signs and work zones to improve mobility, reduce congestion and improve safety.

“This new technology could help motorcyclists immensely by alerting drivers of a rider’s presence as they prepare to make a left turn or approach a motorcycle from the rear,” Wayne says.

However the AMA has the following concerns:

  • Software and sensors must be designed to recognise motorcycles and respond appropriately.
  • Personal privacy must be protected.
  • The communications systems implemented, whether Wi-Fi or another technology, must be secure from hackers.
  • The vehicle operator should have the option to turn off the signal to prevent unwanted tracking.

Motorcyclists wishing to keep track of the technology advances and their effect on riders can subscribe to AMA Action Alerts.

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Harley-Davidson Ultra not-so Limited

Sun, 08/01/2017 - 4:00pm

Harley-Davidson’s big touring Ultra Limited isn’t limited by much at all now with its 107 Milwaukee Eight engine and upgraded suspension.

This has always been one of the most comfortable and powerful touring motorcycles on the market and now it’s even more comfortable and more powerful.

And all this goes to making it an even better tourer.

The bigger capacity 107 cubic inch (1745cc) engine, up from the 103 (1688cc), not only provides more beefy acceleration, but is also cooler on the rider and pillion and quieter.

Borrowing from our own review of the Harley Road King, the Milwaukee Eight is so called because they have gone from the Twin Cam to a quieter single chain-driven camshaft with four lighter valves per head. There’s eight valves in all, hence “Milwaukee Eight”.

Finer internal tolerances and lighter components have made it mechanically quieter which means Harley’s engineers have legally been able to ramp up the volume and bass in the exhaust.

It also means you can hear the stereo on the Ultra Limited even better without fighting against mechanical noise bouncing back off the front fairing at you.

Ultra cool

The new Ultra is now a cooler bike to ride because the developers advanced the ignition, dropped the rear header down from exhaust port and moved the catalytic converter rearwards.

I had just tested the Road King which only has a screen and doesn’t have lowers, yet found the Ultra a cooler bike to ride.

While the heat shifted on the Road King from scorching the inside of the thigh to the back and outside of my leg and to the pillion’s ankles, there was no such change in the Ultra.

Pillions stay cool

It’s still a hot beast in slow traffic on a hot summer’s day, but it’s less than the previous model.

There are also no particular “scorching” zones like on the Road King and the pillion says she was quite cool.

There are two reasons the Ultra is cooler.

First, it has twin radiators in the lowers which cool the engine. When you stop, the fans sometimes run on for a while to cool the radiators.

I reckon the other ingredient in making it cooler are two small plastic flanges that sit behind the rear cylinder head and under the seat. They effectively deflect heat out and away from the rider and pillion.

Notice that flange at the top left while the radiators are in the lowers Ultra plush

Like the rest of the Touring range, the Milwaukee Eight also gets upgraded suspension.

It now has Showa dual bending valve forks that eliminate the jackhammer effect through the bars on rough roads.

At the rear are new emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers that can be easily adjusted with a single knob.

They also don’t need to be readjusted all the time like the old air shocks that slowly leaked.

Simply set and forget.

Ride is substantially improved as a result even with heavier loads as they have 15 to 30% more pre-load adjustment.

It’s certainly a plush ride with that set-up and the deep-cushioned seats.

I attended the world launch of the new Touring Milwaukee Eight models and found:

  • The transmission is slicker with neutral easier to find and less “clunk” between changes;
  • It idles smoother (and a little higher), revs easier and doesn’t feel as asthmatic at high revs;
  • Seating position is slimmer thanks to a narrower primary and the bevelled air filter; and
  • Steering feels sharper and more direct.

My impressions on all these points remain the same after a longer ride here in Australia.

It costs $1745 more than last year, but all these improvements combine to make this a great touring bike to munch up long Aussie days in the saddle.

And nights!

Bright lights

We didn’t get to test the Daymaker headlights at the US launch, but we did on our recent test. They are simply amazing with an even, wide long spread of bright light.

Ultra complaint

My only complaint is with the instruments … and it almost seems churlish of me to mention it, but here goes.

Instruments difficult to read

Riding in Australia requires a constant monitor of the speedo, but the analogue speedo on the Ultra is simply too small and it is difficult to see exactly what speed you are on.

Therefore, you have to hit the home button on the “home” toggle switch on the left handlebar, then flick the right toggle to the right and down two places to “Navigation”, then hit it again for the “Map” which shows your exact speed. Then you can set the cruise control.

But now you have lost the time display!

I suggest the “home” button takes you to an info screen that gives you all the relevant data (speed, time, ambient temperature, etc) in one clear display.

Told you it was a churlish complaint on a bike that is just so damned good!

2017 Harley-Davidson FLHTK Ultra Limited Not-so-limited Ultra Limited
  • Price: $39,995 ($38,250) – $43,750 NZ
  • Warranty: 24 months, unlimited mileage
  • Service: 1600/8000km
  • Engine: Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107, eight-valve, V-twin
  • Torque: 152Nm (112ft-lb) @ 3250rpm
  • Power: N/A
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Cruise Drive
  • Length: 2600mm
  • Seat: 740mm
  • Fuel: 22.7 litres
  • Dry weight: 398kg
  • Tyres: 17”/D408F BW 130/80 B17 65H; 16″/D407T BW 180/65 B16 81H
  • Colour options : Vivid Black; Black Quartz; Two-Tone Billet Silver/Vivid Black; Two-Tone Mysterious Red Sunglo/Velocity Red Sunglo/Two-Tone Superior Blue/Billet Silver; Two-Tone Black Hills Gold/Black Quartz; Two-Tone Charcoal Denim/Black Denim; Custom Colour Bonneville Blue/Fathom Blu

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Dakar swamped by water, errors

Sun, 08/01/2017 - 8:26am

The 2017 Dakar Rally has been swamped by flood waters and complaints about vague road books and errors by officials.

Stage five was halved because of torrential rain and the sixth stage was called off, leaving some competitors stranded and the second week of the rally in doubt.

Defending champion Aussie Toby Price is out after a crash in stage four left him with a broken leg. He later apologised to Aussie fans for letting them down.

He’s since been swamped on his Facebook page with well wishers saying he didn’t need to apologise, just heal and return to have another go.

Toby Price in a Bolivian hospital Aussies fight on

There are two Aussies remaining after Queensland Rod Faggotter retired also in stage four with mechanical issues in his Yamaha. He was in 13th place at the time and recording top 10 times.

“Better luck next time,” he says.

KTM rider Todd Smith of Condobolin is still in the top 20 at 13th overall position and Dakar debutante Matt Hart (Husqvarna) is in a credible 62nd place.

Todd is 1h 41 m59s behind the leaders, but has been consistent. He may yet be called on to help out the lead factory riders.

Matt, who is raising money and awareness for wounded soldier charity Soldier On, is more than five hours behind the leaders, but just to be still competing in such conditions is a real achievement.

Matt Hart

The outright lead is now held by Brit San Sunderland for KTM, ahead of Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) of Chile and Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha).

KTM’s chances of winning a 16th consecutive rally title are firm with three fellow KTM riders in the top 10 to help Sam to the finish.

Swamped by controversy

However, the rally has also been swamped by controversy with road books that have vague, missing and even incorrect information.

Riders have swamped officials with complaints such as a T intersection not having an indicated left or right turn but a “go with what you think” instruction.

They have also complained of missing crossings, officials being slow to stamp books and improper markings such as bunting tape.

The 39th running of the Dakar Rally involved sweltering conditions up to 40 degrees in the first week in Paraguay.

Now in Bolivia, rain has swamped the course and could cause more cancellations.

OVERALL STANDINGS

1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 15h22m05s

2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) +12m00s

3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) +16m07s

4. Gerard Farres (KTM) +20m57s

5. Matthias Walkner (KTM) +29m01s

6. Xavier De Soultrait (Yamaha) +36m06s

7. Sven Svitko (KTM) +48m43s

8. Pele Renet (Husqvarna) +54m45s

9. Diego Martin Duplessis (KTM) +1h10m20s

10. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) +1h12m39s

17. Todd Smith (KTM) +1h41m59s

62. Matt Hart (Husqvarna) +5h11m16s

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Street ‘Scrambler’ goes through its paces

Sun, 08/01/2017 - 5:00am

The new Triumph Street Twin with a Scrambler kit attached goes through its paces in this video that shows it doing jumps, forest trails and other tough terrain.

The production version Street Scrambler may perform even better!

The Street Twin was introduced early last year with three accessory kits including a scrambler kit costing $3123. It included a compact rear LED light, ‘barrel style’ handlebar grips, brushed aluminium sump guard and knobby tyres.

In November, the company unveiled its dedicated Scrambler production version of the 900cc Street Twin.

It is expected to arrive in Australia in March with pricing announced later this month. The previous Scrambler was about $1000 more than its brothers, so this should be more than $16,000.

I the above video, they have done a bit more than just add the scrambler kit. They’ve also removed the front guard so we suspect there may be more mods involved along the lines of the production Street Scrambler.

Triumph Street Scrambler

The new Street Scrambler features a tougher frame, uprated forks, longer rear shocks, wider tapered aluminium handlebars, 19’’ front wheel, dual-purpose Metzler Tourance tyres, wrap-around black bash plate, steel adventure footpegs and uprated brakes with switchable ABS unique to this model.

Rider aids also include ride-by-wire throttle, switchable traction control and a torque assist clutch.

An interesting innovation is the ability to quickly go solo with removable pillion pegs and separate pillion seat.

They’ve done a better job with the twin high-set exhausts than the previous Scrambler. However, we expect most riders will again ditch them for an aftermarket single unit.

Triumph has now added Vance & Hines to its exhaust collaboration, so you can choose between that and an Italian Arrow exhaust

Powering the bike is the 900cc engine from the Street Twin, but with more black like the T100 Black.

Apart from a more responsive throttle and better low-down pull, it has long 16,000 service intervals.

Even though it has the single instrument pod, the LCD screen shows a variety of important information. There’s an odo, tacho, clock, gear position indicator, two trip meters, service indicator, fuel range, average and immediate economy and traction control settings.

There are no tech specs available yet. However, Triumph says it has an “accessible low seat height”, so presumably it’s lower than the previous Scrambler’s 825mm.

The Alcantara-style twin seats have tasty contrast stitching with a Triumph embossed logo. There is a USB port underneath the rider’s seat.

It comes in three colours schemes including a return of army green, Korosi red and silver, and gloss jet black. However, we are yet to see if all colours will be available in Australia.

There are also more than 150 accessories available.

Off-road accessories include adjustable rear piggy back FOX shocks with threaded preload adjustment and 24 position compression damping, black glass-filled nylon headlight grill with a pressed steel matt black finish bezel, handlebar brace and engine protection bars.

Style-wise, there’s a bench seat and 70mm bar-end mirrors in anodised black or clear aluminium.

Creature comfort accessories include internally wired heated grips, centre stand and auxiliary power socket.

The post Street ‘Scrambler’ goes through its paces appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

David’s heartfelt plea for a pillion ride

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 4:00pm

Can you help David Black by offering him a regular pillion ride?

You may say you never pillion another male as it’s a “dangerous threat to one’s manhood” as this funny video shows. 

Or you may think David should simply learn to ride.

But after you read his story, his love of bikes and his inability to ride, you may reconsider.

Or maybe there are women out there who would love to have a male pillion!

READ OUR TOP TIPS FOR PILLION RIDING

MBW and Mrs MBW go for a ride

Hello my name is David; I have been a fan of motorbikes since my early 30s. I grew up in Hurstville and went to a private school and in those days’ motorbikes were something that tough kids did. It never entered my head then to learn let alone become a bikie.

After many years working and then a brother-in-law who rode a bike, I soon became hooked after he took me for a ride on his Honda that wasn’t really built for two but we travelled anywhere we could in a day as it wasn’t my sister’s idea of fun.

He was struggling with a mortgage and three young children when I got a loan and bought a BMW R 100 RT and it was like riding in an armchair after the Honda.

I guess I owe my love of riding to Bill. He taught me how to pillion. Sometimes I felt so comfortable with him that I would nod off to sleep.

I never learnt to ride as my school years were something of a bully session — both physically and mentally — that left me with no confidence at all. At 15, I tried to end it all but as you can read I’m still here. Those years I have learnt has scarred me for life, so you see learning to ride was never an option.

After a year Bill decided to sell the Beemer. I paid the loan out and he bought a Harley and even though he looked the part I still hung on and spent many a day travelling to places I would never have known. Just before I turned 40 he divorced my sister and I never heard from him again.

Then things took a change for the worse. After two major operations I was pensioned off never to be the same again. Since then I’ve lost a lung and suffer chronic pain.

I’m now 55, but am interested in wanting to ride again.

Nearly three years ago I put a call out for someone to take me for a ride just to see if I still could ride without major pain trouble. Three riders took time out of their Sunday to take me for rides around Nowra where I lived at the time.

I took a Honda to Berry, Virago to Culburra and was speeding though the hills of Nerriga on a sports bike having the time of my life.

I will always be very grateful to those three as they did a wonderful thing.

Now I have moved to the Sutherland shire for health reasons and I have contacted every local motorcycle club I can find searching for a rider that wants a pillion.

But it seems no one wants another bloke on their back.

I’m writing this as I’m hoping there is a rider or riders that would like to take a guy that just loves bikes and riding pillion to see the sites I would never see.

So if you think you would like to take this desperate pillion please contact me by email as I would love to hear from you.

Will you help David? Sharing the thrill of riding a motorcycle with a pillion is a treat that many riders don’t experience. Try it; you might like it.

The post David’s heartfelt plea for a pillion ride appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Toby Price apologises for Dakar crash

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 6:45am

Dakar Rally champion Toby Price has apologised to his Australian fans from his hospital bed for crashing out of the rally on the fourth stage.

However, he is already talking about returning to the most gruelling event in the world.

“We’ll hopefully heal up and we’ll come back stronger and go better again,” he says in a live Facebook feed from his hospital bed.

“We’ll get it sorted and we’ll go again.”

Toby started the fourth stage in fifth place and was in the lead when disaster struck.

“How things can change so quick,” he says.

“Was all going fine till one rock caught me out. That’s how it is, though, I guess. Can’t have all Dakars go perfecto. I wish it was a dream though.

“Huge thanks for all the messages.”

Toby was at the 371km mark of the stage, just 45km form the finish, when Price crashed and broke his left thigh bone.

He was evacuated by helicopter just over 10 minutes later after outright leader Joan Barreda Bort stopped to help.

Although Toby Price crashed and broke his neck and back in a rally four years ago, he is renowned for his consistency.

He finished third in the Dakar three years ago on debut and became the first man to win the Dakar on only his second participation last year and the first Australian to win the coveted title.

Toby says he is “shattered”.

“Far out, didn’t even make the first week,” he says.

“At the time everything felt comfortable and good.

“Sucks to lose that. One important race and over and done with like that.”

Meanwhile, Toby is frustrated by the language barrier in the hospital where no one speaks English and it took him 45 minutes just to get a bottle of water.

“i don’t know what the plan is now or next and what happens; lay here for a little while and get sorted,” he says.

“Thanks to everyone back home for the support and wishes and following along for four days.

“See everyone back in Australia soon.”

Australia started the rally with four riders, but Toby Price and Queenslander Rod Faggotter exited on the fourth stage, Rod with mechanical issues in his Yamaha.

“Bad luck, but at least it is a mechanical problem, not human,” he says. “Better luck next time.”

Todd Smith finished today’s stage 15th and remains in the top 20 overall, while there is no word yet on debutante Matt Hart (Husqvarna) who is raising money and awareness for wounded soldier charity Soldier On.

Please send them all messages of support on their Facebook pages by clicking the link in their names above.

Matt Hart

Meanwhile, Toby’s KTM partner Sam Sunderland of the UK won stage 5 from Honda’s Paulo Goncalves (Portugal).

Sam is now in the lead after the Honda riders were all penalised an hour for illegal fuelling.

Second is Husqvarna rider Pablo Quintanilla of Chile.

The post Toby Price apologises for Dakar crash appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Is motorcycling entering a golden age?

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 5:00am

The last golden age of motorcycling was in the ‘70s, but with bike sales in Australia the best for seven years and fifth best of all time, maybe we are returning to the golden ages.

Unfortunately, the sales figures aren’t reflected elsewhere in the world except India which is up by more than a quarter and South East Asia, although mainly with small capacity bikes and scooters.

An Australian sales surge in the final quarter of 2016 led to a 6.6% (7073 bikes) annual increase in motorcycle, ATV and scooter sales to 114,783.

It was the fifth highest sales result in the Australian motorcycle industry’s history, according to the official Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) figures.

Honda was again the top-selling brand with 22.9% (26,276 units) of the market, but Harley-Davidson beat Honda for the second consecutive year to be king of the road bikes.

Road bike sales were up 5.3% to 47,753, accounting for 41.6% of the market. Harley took a 21.5% safe with a 5% increase to 10,282 to lead the road bike sector despite a comeback from Honda with a 25.5% increase to 9651.

Third in road bikes was Yamaha with 16.3% (7768), then Kawasaki 10.1% (4798) and BMW with 6.7% (3178).

Road bike sales Rank Manufacturer 2016 2015 % CHANGE 1 Harley Davidson 10,282 9,794 5.0% 2 Honda 9,651 7,691 25.5% 3 Yamaha 7,768 6,914 12.4% 4 Kawasaki 4,798 5,404 -11.2% 5 BMW 3,178 3,201 -0.7% 6 Triumph 3,125 2,900 7.8% 7 Suzuki 3,124 3,404 -8.2% 8 Ducati 2,013 2,194 -8.2% 9 KTM 1,656 1,355 22.2% 10 Indian 640 734 -12.8%

Sales are up mainly in learner bikes, so much so that the FCAI has actually included the list of top 10 LAMS bikes for the first time.

There was also growth in nakeds, cruisers and adventure bikes, thanks largely to the influx of new and upgraded models.

It’s a good sign of a healthy motorcycling future.

Golden age for riding

Meanwhile, off-road sales were up 6.3% to 39,710, ATV grew 14.4% to 22,834 and scooters continued their decline, down 11% to 4486.

Off-road and ATV sales reflect farming sales from good conditions in the country, but the road sales show indicate that learners are entering the market and we may be heading for another golden age of motorcycling.

Motorcycles are already the fastest-growing vehicular sector in Australia and we expect the ABS registration statistics fro 2016 to reflect that when they are released early this year.

Now we just need the authorities to recognise this in their road rules and infrastructure planning.

(Note: The FCAI statistics are only for those manufacturers who are members. Brands not included are: Benelli, Bimota, Bollini, CFMoto, Confederate, Daelim, Erike Buell Racing, Kymco, Laro, Megelli, Mercury, Norton, PGO, Royal Enfield, SWM, SYM, TGB, Ural and Viper.)

Top 10 motorcycles Manufacturer Model Total  2016  2015 % Chg Honda NBC110 2,558 2,112 21.1% Honda CRF50F 2,400 2,343 2.4% Yamaha PW50 1,960 1,953 0.4% Yamaha TTR50E 1,930 2,375 -18.7% Harley Davidson XG500 1,664 1,608 3.5% Yamaha WR450F 1,653 1,185 39.5% Yamaha YZF-R3A 1,522 1,156 31.7% Harley Davidson FXSB 1,509 1,552 -2.8% Honda CRF110F 1,483 1,381 7.4% Kawasaki KLX110 1,433 1,259 13.8% 2017 Harley-Davidson Street 500 Top 10 Road Bikes Manufacturer Model Total 2016 2015 % Chg Honda NBC110 2,558 2,112 21.1% Harley Davidson XG500 1,664 1,608 3.5% Yamaha YZF-R3A 1,522 1,156 31.7% Harley Davidson FXSB 1,509 1,552 -2.8% Yamaha MT07L 1,382 1,427 -3.2% Kawasaki Ninja 300 1,375 1,947 -29.4% Honda CBR500R 1,275 1,215 4.9% Honda GROM 1,162 – 0.0% Honda CB125E 903 981 -8.0% Harley Davidson VRSCDX 902 702 28.5% Yamaha MT-07L Top 10 Cruisers Manufacturer Model Total 2016 2015 % Chg Harley Davidson XG500 1,664 1,608 3.5% Harley Davidson FXSB 1,509 1,552 -2.8% Harley Davidson VRSCDX 902 702 28.5% Yamaha XVS650/A 779 753 3.5% Harley Davidson FXDB 654 736 -11.1% Kawasaki Vulcan S 571 483 18.2% Harley Davidson FXDLS 499 – 0.0% Harley Davidson FLSTFBS 480 92 421.7% Harley Davidson XL883N 452 459 -1.5% Ducati Diavel 418 307 36.2% Kawasaki Vulcan S Top 10 Learner Approved Manufacturer Model Total 2016 2015 % Chg Honda NBC110 2,558 2,112 21.1% Harley Davidson XG500 1,664 1,608 3.5% Yamaha WR450F 1,653 1,185 39.5% Yamaha YZF-R3A 1,522 1,156 31.7% Yamaha MT07L 1,382 1,427 -3.2% Kawasaki Ninja 300 1,299 1,947 -33.3% Honda CBR500R 1,275 1,215 4.9% Honda GROM 1,162 – 0.0% Honda CB125E 903 981 -8.0% KTM 500EXC 902 633 42.5% Kawasaki Ninja 300 Top 10 Sports Touring Manufacturer Model Total 2016 2015 % Chg Yamaha YZF-R3A 1,522 1,156 31.7% Kawasaki Ninja 300 1,375 1,947 -29.4% KTM RC390 513 358 43.3% Kawasaki Ninja 650L 361 453 -20.3% Honda CBR650FL 345 19 1715.8% Yamaha MT09TRA 179 308 -41.9% Yamaha XJ6-F 174 118 47.5% Kawasaki Ninja 1000 165 160 3.1% BMW S 1000 XR 158 75 110.7% Kawasaki Verys 650 153 147 4.1% 2017 Honda CBR650F Top 10 Adventure Touring Manufacturer Model Total 2016 2015 % Chg Honda CRF1000 740 4 18400.0% Suzuki DR650SE 529 610 -13.3% Kawasaki KLR650 388 397 -2.3% BMW R 1200 GS 383 411 -6.8% BMW R 1200 GS Adventure 370 322 14.9% Triumph Tiger 800 XC 276 334 -17.4% Honda CB500XA 271 322 -15.8% Ducati Multistrada 1200 255 244 4.5% BMW G 650 GS 241 263 -8.4% BMW F 700 GS 211 168 25.6% Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Top 10 Naked Manufacturer Model Total 2016 2015 % Chg Yamaha MT07L 1,382 1,427 -3.2% Honda GROM 1,162 – 0.0% Honda CB125E 903 981 -8.0% Yamaha MT-09 692 822 -15.8% Yamaha MT03LA 622 – 0.0% KTM 390DUKE 391 305 28.2% Triumph Thruxton 367 152 141.4% Honda CB500FA 292 249 17.3% Triumph Bonneville T120 289 – 0.0% Ducati Scrambler 800 284 395 -28.1% Honda Grom Top 10 Super Sport Manufacturer Model Total YTD 2016 YTD 2015 % Chg Honda CBR500R 1,275 1,215 4.9% Honda CBR300R 611 1,044 -41.5% Ducati 959 Panigale 350 – 0.0% BMW S 1000 RR 345 363 -5.0% Yamaha YZF-R1 267 561 -52.4% Honda CBR1000RR 242 341 -29.0% Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R 217 191 13.6% Suzuki GSX-R1000 216 189 14.3% Ducati 1299 Panigale 192 148 29.7% Suzuki GSX-R750 167 142 17.6% 2016 Ducati 1299 Panigale S Anniversario Top 10 Touring Manufacturer Model Total YTD 2016 YTD 2015 % Chg Harley Davidson FLHXS 441 394 11.9% Harley Davidson FLHTK 250 240 4.2% Harley Davidson FLHR 202 149 35.6% BMW R 1200 RT 171 181 -5.5% Yamaha FJR1300 149 134 11.2% Harley Davidson FLTRXS 141 129 9.3% Harley Davidson FLHXSE2 138 154 -10.4% Triumph T/Bird LT 86 96 -10.4% Honda GL1800 64 99 -35.4% Harley Davidson FLHTKSE 63 58 8.6% Harley FLHXS Street Glide

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Outback riders rely on Flying Doctors

Fri, 06/01/2017 - 4:00pm

The uniquely Australian Royal Flying Doctor Service attends a “significant” number of rescues of riders involved in motorcycle crashes in remote parts of our Outback.

So the RFDS has urged motorcyclists riding in the Outback to plan their journey properly and exercise caution.

In the past year, the South Eastern Section of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS SE) helped more than 49,100 patients. They transported almost 8200 people including a “significant number” of motorcycle crash victims, says spokesman Ryan Young.

The RFDS’ recent report Responding to injuries in remote and rural Australia showed that up to a quarter of their emergency medical evacuations are city travellers on Outback adventures.

In one incident in October 2016, rider Andrew Bourne, of Toowoomba, hit an emu with his KTM on the second day of a trip with a group of friends.

Andrew and his KTM

He was thrown 40m on to the dirt. When the accident occurred, the group was 50km out of Brewarrina, in north-western NSW. His mates quickly pulled over to phone for an ambulance and give first-aid.

Andrew had been knocked unconscious and had a range of serious injuries, including suspected spinal injuries.

His story shows how vital the Royal Flying Doctor Service is for people in remote areas who are hundreds of kilometres from the nearest specialist hospital.

Andrew being loaded on by RFDS flight nurse Jamie Corbett

“I was knocked out for about five minutes,” Andrew says. “Fortunately the Brewarrina ambulance arrived pretty quickly and I was taken to Brewarrina Hospital for initial examinations. But because I had suspected spinal injuries they couldn’t scan, they called the RFDS.”

Andrew was airlifted to Dubbo Hospital where he spent the next week being stabilised and treated. “I had a broken neck at the C2 vertebrae, five broken ribs, a torn spleen and a lot of bruising,” says Andrew. “I was fitted with a halo brace around my head to keep the vertebrae and spine from moving while it healed.”

The RFDS warns that kangaroos and emus are always a danger on Outback roads. Find out what other animals are dangers to riders. Click here to find out how to avoid becoming roadkill.

“I was one of the lucky ones,” says Andrew. “I lived to tell the tale. I can still walk around, I have all my faculties and I have no spinal cord damage.”

Andrew and his wife have decided to add the RFDS to the organisations they support.

“I’m extremely lucky to be where I am now,” says Andrew, who is recovering well. “I can’t speak highly enough of the service. The RFDS was brilliant.”

Andrew with flight nurse Jamie Corbett

RFDS Senior Flight Nurse Karen Barlow says preparation and planning is essential before setting off in Outback conditions.

The RFDS website features a Travelling Outback section which has a handy checklist.

Royal Flying Doctor Service top Outback tips
  • Get good quality maps (paper and GPS) and plan your route.
  • Don’t travel in the hottest part of the year.
  • Be careful not to pack too much. It makes the bike heavy and difficult to control in soft sand, mud and gravel.
  • Store water in small containers instead of one large tank to spread the load. Check all water containers for leaks. In very hot conditions aim to carry 10 litres of water per person per day and don’t rely on waterholes, dams, bores, mills, tanks or troughs for water. A back-up vehicle is ideal for extreme Outback adventures.
  • Take a summary of your medical history with you and bring all medication and repeat scripts.

    We recommend a I.C.E.mergency USB to store medical information. BUY NOW for less than $20.

  • Pack a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • In an emergency, dial 000 and be prepared to give your location. If you own a smartphone download the Emergency + app which gives your longitude and latitude. It will help emergency services such as the RFDS to find you. If you don’t have a smartphone, keep an eye on the crossroads as you travel and mark your journey on a map. Be aware that some very remote areas have no mobile coverage so pack an EPIRB or satellite phone.

The RFDS SE also recommends that people travelling to remote areas do a first-aid course and carry a kit with them. 

Motorbike Writer recommends doing a motorcycle-specific course such as First Aid for Motorcyclists.

The RFDS also has a Fast First Aid booklet with advice for people with no medical training on how to manage first-aid situations. It includes managing a heart attack, snake bites, choking, burns and severe bleeding. 

It is free in NSW and ACT only. To receive your copy text ‘NOW’ to 0428 044 444. Delivery may be slightly delayed over the holiday period.

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Honda plans self-balancing motorbike

Fri, 06/01/2017 - 7:40am

It seems self-balancing motorcycles that can’t fall over are coming with Honda now the third company to unveil a working prototype.

BMW Motorrad unveiled its self-balancing Vision 100 Next “crashproof” bike at the Cologne Intermot show in October. They did not reveal how it works, but this video shows it in action.

It was shortly followed by Thrustcycle’s electric-powered GyroCycle employing a full-time gyroscope. Here it is in action.

Honda’s self-balancing bike doesn’t use gyroscopes like the Thrustcycle or a Segway.

Instead, they use their own 2012 Uni-Cub technology employed in their personal mobility devices.

Uni-cub

When the Honda transforms from regular riding mode to balance mode, the forks extend the front tyre away from the rest of the bike.

They call it Riding Assist technology and it not only balances the bike, but like the Yamaha Motobot, it will also drive itself without a rider.

Yamaha Motobot, a robot that rides a motorcycle

None of these prototypes is yet scheduled for production, but it is looking increasingly likely that they eventually will.

Many riders have questioned why you need a self-balancing bike or a robot bike that rides itself.

It certainly seems to take  much of the fun and talent out of riding.

However, the technology will open up riding to a lot of people who wouldn’t normally try it for fear of crashing.

And with the big swing on to automated self-driving cars and trucks, there may be a market for two-wheeled self-riding taxis and courier services.

Meanwhile, we’ll stick with balancing and riding our own bikes, thank you Mr Honda.

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Toby Price’s Dakar dream ends in crash

Fri, 06/01/2017 - 6:02am

Defending Dakar Rally champion Toby Price (pictured) crashed out of the rally this morning, ending his dream of a back-to-back win.

Price was having a good day, closing the gap to outright leader Joan Barreda Bort of Spain, then taking the lead in the fourth stage as Bort was delayed at the border crossing from Paraguay to Bolivia.

However, disaster struck at the 371km mark when Price crashed at 90km/h, broke his left thigh bone and shattered his Dakar dream.

He was evacuated by helicopter just over 10 minutes later and is sadly out of the rally.

“How things can change so quick,” he says on his Facebook page.

“Was all going fine till one f#@king rock caught me out … that’s how it is though I guess. Can’t have all Dakars go perfecto. I wish it was a dream though.

“Huge thanks for all the messages.”

Although Toby crashed and broke his neck and back four years ago, he is renowned for his consistency. He finished third in the Dakar three years ago on debut and became the first man to win the Dakar on only his second participation last year and the first Australian to win the coveted title.

Please click here to send him your messages of support.

Toby Price

The first rider on the scene of the accident was Honda rider Paulo Goncalves who stopped to help and lost more than 20 minutes. He was credited with time and now lies in 10th.

Today’s stage was won by Price’s factory KTM teammate Matthias Walkner by 2m02s over Barreda, whose overall lead now stands at 22m16s.

The loss of Price is a blow to KTM’s bid to pull off a 16th consecutive Dakar title with Honda holding the outright lead from Husqvarna rider Pablo Quintanilla of Chile, then Sam Sunderland (KTM) of England and Walkner of Austria and two other KTM riders.

KTM has four riders in the top 10 who can support each other, while Bort has 10th placed Goncalves and Ricky Brace of America to help him. Quintanilla has little support.

Meanwhile, two other Aussies are doing ok with KTM rider Todd Smith of Condobolin moving up to 13th position from 28th and Dakar debutante Matt Hart (Husqvarna) in a credible 54th.

However, Queenslander Rod Faggotter (Yamaha) who was 19th after stage three and was setting top 10 times today, failed to complete the stage with mechanical issues.
Bikers turn to cars

Cyril Despres in his Peugeot

In the car category, the dream of former five-time bike winner Cyril Despres (Peugeot) to win in a car is starting to become reality with his first stage victory and an outright lead of four minutes.

The Frenchman took advantage of the problems encountered by his French team-mate Stéphane Peterhansel a six-time Dakar winner on a Yamaha.

In the quad race, Walter Nosiglia finally won his first victory on the Dakar in his home country.

The post Toby Price’s Dakar dream ends in crash appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Two motorcycle crash investigations stall

Thu, 05/01/2017 - 3:00pm

Police investigations into two controversial motorcycle crashes in Melbourne have stalled after almost six months, infuriating the rider victims.

The first crash happened on July 17 at 1.40pm when a woman in a Camry drove in front two motorcycle riders in Melbourne.

The riders, Steve Caruana and Marc Logan, have left hospital but are still undergoing intensive rehabilitation.

Even though the case seems pretty straightforward from the video, no charges have yet been laid.

Police say the car driver “has had a child so police have had issues finding a time to interview her”.

Steve says he is “stunned” by investigations stalling.

“So she is calling the shots by the sounds of things,” he says.

“I’m sure she could leave her baby with a family member or friend or the police could interview her at her house.

“Why do they have to interview her? She was clearly in the wrong and all they have to do is charge her.

Steve and Marc in hospital

“I can’t believe how pathetic the police are and how long this is dragging on. I’m still waiting for this to finish ‘cause I still can’t get my access money. What a joke.”

The other crash investigation is a little more complex as it involves a collision with an ambulance.

The crash happened at a set of lights on September 28 at 11am in Vermont South between a Victorian Ambulance Ford Territory and Karen Caruso on her Ducati.

Karen Caruso

It is claimed the ambulance went through a red light while Karen was on a green turn signal.

The incident involves the vagaries of the law involving emergency vehicles and their commence with road rules.

Police say they are still waiting for a collision reconstruction report.

Karen has been trying to contact the officer handling the case, but she’s been on leave and not returning calls.

Husband Max says another police officer told them the matter had been pushed back as it wasn’t a fatality.

“They claimed they have no access to the motorcycle which is untrue and they’ve never asked to view it even though we’ve offered it up to them,” he says.

“But the real clincher, she alluded that her findings can easily be over ridden by her superior.”

Karen on her beloved Ducati

Karen finally got through to the officer in charge this afternoon.

“She is hoping to have the report from MCIU (Major Collision Investigation Unit) at the end of next week. This isn’t guaranteed to happen,” Max says.

“She also said the MCIU have never requested to see the damaged bike. She is now going to call them and insist they view the bike.”

We will continue to contact relevant police and ambulance services for updates.

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Blue lights make motorcyclists ‘safer’

Thu, 05/01/2017 - 12:00pm

Riders in one American state can now add a special blue light to their rear brake light which they say increases awareness and avoids rear-end crashes.

The Illinois chapter of motorcycle rights organisation ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) has successfully lobbied the state government to introduce the rule from January 1, 2017.

They believe the blue dot creates a contrast to the usual red lights and draws motorists’ attention.

Lincoln Land Chapter of ABATE Illinois Public Communications Officer Josh Witkowski says it works.

“I was behind one of these bikes while this bill was pending in the legislature, and I was amazed by how quickly it grabs your attention as a motorist — and it’s been a good thing,” he says.

“It’s good for visibility out there on the road, which increases safety and reduces the risk of accidents.

“The faster people can see a motorcycle while it’s on the road, the easier it is for them to see us, the better it is for everybody’s safety. And it reduces accidents out on the road.”

The blue dot in the centre of the red brake light was a stock feature on many cars and some bikes years ago and some modern customs have been bringing it back.

Josh says ABATE functions state to state and he is unaware of any other states attempting to introduce the rule.

Perhaps it is something our motorcycle groups could advocate in Australia, or at least softening the complex and restrictive Australian Design Rules on motorcycle lights so riders can take steps to make themselves more visible.

For anyone interested in adding the lights, you can buy them from JP Cycles or Amazon or customise them yourself as in this video. However, be aware they may be considered illegal in your jurisdiction.

Whether you believe the blue light will actually work or that riders have to take the responsibility to be seen rather than educating motorists to look for riders, this is a great example of motorcycle lobby groups influencing legislature.

Josh says ABATE regularly talk to “our friendly state lawmakers” and get them to write or amend legislation for them based on rider issues.

He says the number of sponsors for the Bill rapidly increased after hundreds of ABATE members from around the state descended on the capitol to talk issues with reps and senators.

The post Blue lights make motorcyclists ‘safer’ appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Hard day for Aussies at Dakar Rally

Thu, 05/01/2017 - 5:33am

Defending Dakar Rally champion Toby Price (pictured) had navigation issues that set back his title defence as the three other Aussies in the event also had a hard day.

Toby finished the third stage in the Paraguay mountains and canyons in ninth place and has dropped from first overall to fifth.

Queenslander Rod Faggotter (Yahama) finished the day 19th, Todd Smith (KTM) of Condobolin was 28th and in a credible 36th place was Dakar debutante Matt Hart (Husqvarna) who is raising money and awareness for wounded soldier charity Soldier On.

Rod Faggotter Support our Aussies

They all need support from their home country, so click on their names and go to their Facebook pages to leave a message for our Dakar heroes.

Toby experienced problems with navigation, losing time even on the liaison stage and misreading the guide tape as he entered a river section of the course.

“Hopefully my bad day is over and done with now and the rest of the days will be good,” he says.

There is still seven thousand five hundred kilometres to go in the two-week rally.

The stage was won by Honda rider Joan Barreda North of Spain, followed by Toby’s KTM partner Sam Sunderland of Great Britain.

Joan Barreda Bort

They are now first and second overall, followed by Paulo Goncalves (Portugal) on a Honda, Quintanilla on a Husqvarna, then Toby.

A hard day at the office

“The first part of the road-book was definitely tricky and I think we all got a little bit out of whack there and a little bit lost,” Toby explains.

“We had to climb our way back from there. All in all, we got through that part not so bad and then we led the last little bit.”

He was frustrated by a long liaison section that left him waiting for an official sticker for his time card.

“I lost out on a bit of time there and I didn’t quite start my special on the second part straight away,” he says. “Something needs to happen there, because we didn’t get enough time to get through that part of the liaison section.”

Toby clawed back some time toward the end with fast conditions that suited his style, but suffered another setback by course markings.

“Just through the end there wasn’t too bad; nice, smooth and fast-paced,” he says.

“I made a little mistake there near the end. It looked like the bunting had all tapered off down the side to get into the river bed and you couldn’t quite catch the finish there. It made it a little bit difficult.

“I think the top three or four of us all did the same things, so… I don’t know, perhaps there was an issue there.

“Other than that, we’re here for another day and I can’t complain. We definitely lost a bit of time today; but there’s still a long way to go – we’re only three days in.

“Give it time and we’ll see how we go. We’re definitely going to work our way back. I won last year by almost forty minutes so surely we can try and do something there – it should be good. It’s the way it is – you’re never going to lead the thing from start to finish.”

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