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Updated: 9 min 17 sec ago

Suzuki six-day sale starts tomorrow

Fri, 10/03/2017 - 4:00pm

Suzuki Australia has announced a six-day sale kicking off tomorrow (March 11, 2017) on virtually all motorcycles and ATVs at participating stores.

The bargains include the V-Strom 650 (pictured above) full-powered and LAMS versions for $9990 ride away.

That’s a substantial saving as the LAMS bike is normally $11,290 plus on-road costs and the full-powered version is $10,990.

Another learner bike discount is the Inazuma 250 at $4990 ride away which means on-road costs are being thrown in for free.

Suzuki GSR250F inazuma

And the ride away offer isn’t a skimpy six months rego and insurance, either.

Ride-away prices include 12-months registration, 12-months compulsory third party insurance (CTP), a maximum dealer delivery charge and stamp duty.

Another example is the GSX-S1000 street sports model at $15,490 ride away which is only $500 more than the retail price.

Off-road enthusiasts haven’t been forgotten either with deals on all models, including the DR-Z400E right up to the RM-Z450 multi-championship winner.

And farmers are being offered “generous factory bonuses” on the entire KingQuad ATV range, including power-steered KingQuad 500 and 750 variants.      

“With fantastic deals on offer during our six-day sale, there has never been a better time to get behind the bars of a new Suzuki and discover why it is one of the hottest brands in the Australian market,” Suzuki Australia Marketing Manager Lewis Croft says in the press release.

Suzuki marketing coordinator Matt Reilly says they have “a large range of deals across our road, off-road and ATV product lines”.

“There might be one or two exclusions officially from Suzuki’s end however that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a deal available on those models from the dealer during the sale.    

“That’s why we’re encouraging, if customers are in the market for a new Suzuki, best bet is to make contact with their local dealer and see what they can offer.

 “Many of them are doing their own in-store specials above and beyond our advertised prices during the sale”.

Suzuki Australia says it may extend the promotion, depending on stock availability.

For further information on all the offers, click here.

The post Suzuki six-day sale starts tomorrow appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Harley-Davidson heads into Burt Munro territory

Fri, 10/03/2017 - 1:00pm

Harley-Davidson is heading straight into Burt Munro territory by taking a bunch of VIPs and media on a ride to the Iron Run in Queenstown via Invercargill.

The VIP/media ride starts in beautiful Dunedin (above photo is at Dunedin’s Lanarch Castle) next Wednesday (March 15, 2017).

It then heads down to Invercargill, which is Burt territory, home of the World’s Fastest Indian and the Burt Munro Challenge.

The ride will include a visit to the Invercargill Motorcycle Mecca Museum which was a private motorcycle collection started in Nelson.

It was bought last year and moved to Invercargill to join the Transport Museum.

The display has more than 300 motorcycles, not just Indians, but a lot of Harleys, and old American and European bikes including the Southern Hemisphere’s largest collection of Brough Superiors and four John Britten bikes.

Motorbike Writer will be part of the VIP/media group which will then head north to Te Anau and on to Queenstown for the third annual Iron Run on March 17 and 18.

It is organised by NZ Harley dealers, but is open to all brands of motorcycles.

The open rally recipe is now being followed in Australia with their Harley Days rally which started last November in Wollongong and returns to the same territory later this year.

The ride to the Iron Run will be led by VIP Harley riders, including Kiwi actress Danielle Cormack, All Black legend Josh Kronfeld, Kiwi DJ Jay Reeve and Aussie Olympian BMXer Caroline Buchanan.

Jay and Josh with Kiwi actress Danielle Cormack

The Iron Run will include free entertainment and activities for rally goers as well as residents and visitors.

Danielle will lead the Thunder Run on Saturday morning when up to 1000 Harleys and other bikes will ride to a Street Party in Arrowtown with music from the Buckingham Belles and the Miner’s Band.

The party will kick off from 10.30am until 1.30pm on Saturday in aid for Camp Quality.

“I like the solitary nature of riding; I find it meditative,” Danielle says ironically, since she will be in front of 1000 thundering motorcycles.  

“But often I go for a run with a group riders and that is such great fun. There is nothing more thrilling than charting scenic roads with other cyclists and hearing the rumble of bikes en masse. 

“My experience in the motorcycle community thus far is that riding doesn’t discriminate. I have met people of all ages and backgrounds who ride and for different reasons. I like that riding has introduced me to so many unique souls.”  

Activities across the two days also include demo rides, Jumpstarts where non0-riders can let the clutch out on a static Harley and a Show n’ Shine.

A highlight will be the display of the electric Harley-Davidson Livewire.

Iron Run started in Queenstown in 2015, move to Paihia in the North Island last year and is back in the South Island again.

Guided rides have been organised on the Friday morning to showcase the breathtaking scenery of the Queenstown and Southern Lakes territory.

One heads to Glenorchy, the ‘Lord of the Rings’ gateway to Middle Earth, and the other is the historical gold rush route to the ‘Old Cromwell Town’.

Mrs MBW at Glenorchy

The event is supported by the Queenstown Lakes District Council. 

For more information on the free activities taking place across the two days, click here.

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Charity ride for domestic violence support

Fri, 10/03/2017 - 6:00am

Riders and non-riders are invited to attend the second annual DV Ride in Ipswich in May to raise money and awareness for domestic and family violence and sexual assault support.

DV Ride coordinator and Ulysses Club Ipswich Branch secretary Amanda Pamenter says they had more than 400 riders last year but would like to attract more members of the public.

“We would have liked more of a presence from the general community to show that domestic and family violence is not behind closed doors and that there are avenues and people who can assist,” she says.

Ride details

The third annual DV Ride celebration will be held on Sunday May 7, 2017, from 10am to 2pm at the Brothers Leagues Club, 26 Wildey St, Raceview.

Rides from around South East Queensland will converge on the club, escorted by a member of the Ipswich Branch of the Ulysses Club.

Riders will leave at 8.30am from the following locations: 

  • North:  BP Caboolture Southbound (Spook 0402 627 418)
  • East:  Loganholme BP, Pacific Highway  (Jay 0407 641 878)
  • South West: Warwick McDonalds (Windsucker 0458 103 939)
  • West: Toowoomba Picnic Point  (Gunther 0421 424 126)
  • Ipswich: Yamanto McDonalds (Eric 0414 732 245)

If you cannot make these times/locations you can attend the end venue where they will have guest speakers, a band, show and shine with five categories, motorcycle-related trade stalls and stalls from community organisations.  

Rizzo from Ipswich Branch Ulysses Club making a stand

Cost is $10 donation which provides a patch/pin, raffle ticket and show and shine entry.

Funds for domestic violence support

Funds raised from the DV Ride go towards producing information cards about domestic and family violence and sexual assault which are distributed to school students in the Ipswich and surrounding region.

“We are obviously very proud of our branch, its members and committee for their decision to run our third DV Ride and the positive impact we are having in the community,” Amanda says. 

A Community Response to DF&V, Federal Government, QPS, DVAC reps and members from the Ipswich Branch

“We believe our DV Ride is unique in SEQ,” says Amanda who also works at the regional Domestic Violence Action Centre, which supports the event.

The DV Ride is also supported with funding from the Ipswich City Council and State Government.

The Ulysses Branch will have a display and more information about the ride at the second Ipswich Bike Night on April 1 at the Ipswich Country Club.

  • Motorbike Writer invites all motorcycle clubs to promote their charity events for free. Send your information and photos via email. mailto:mark@motorbikewriter.com

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Harley-Davidson adds Street Rod

Thu, 09/03/2017 - 5:38pm

Harley-Davidson has just added the 750cc Street Rod to their line-up.

It’s the second new motorcycle since boss Matt Levatich announced last month that they would introduce 50 new models in the next five years including an electric bike.

The Street Rod is a 750cc variant of the new learner-approved, Indian-made Street 500 and joins the Road King Special as the second of the 50 new Harleys to come.

Harley used to have a Street Rod which was a sporty version of the V-Rod family. It was an aggressive motorcycle, loved by the media, but spurned by riders. It sold from 2006 to 2012.

Harley VRSCR Street Rod

Harley now plans to purge the whole V-Rod family from the line-up this year.

In its place, it appears the company will produce more variants of the Street range, especially the 750cc model, including the just-announced Street Rod.

It will be available from May at $12,995 rideaway and $13,995 rideaway in New Zealand.

Harley Australia had previously said they wouldn’t bring in the Street 750, but with the exit of the V-Rod, that could also change.

Here is the Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand Street Rod press release:

The new Harley-Davidson Street Rod is set to raise eyebrows, and reset expectations. The newest member of the Street family is built to thrive in the city and will provide an exhilarating experience beyond.  

Drenched in Harley-Davidson Dark Custom styling, the new Street Rod oozes purpose and attitude. Powered by the all-new High Output Revolution X 750cc engine, the model is matched with sharper chassis geometry and an aggressive riding position.

To push the rider to new heights, The Street Rod also features a new seat shape, designed to hold the rider firmly in place, and sits 765mm higher than its learner-legal family member, the Street 500, to enhance the rider’s view forward.

“The Street Rod’s new High Output Revolution X 750 has got hot cams, gas-flowed heads, more compression and a higher redline. It gets your attention. We wanted a chassis to match, sharp handling and aggressive, perfect for urban cut-and-thrust and canyon carving.

“It’s attitude and the relationship between seat position; rearset footpegs and wide handlebars put the rider fully in control. The fact the Street Rod looks so good – and very close to our early sketches – gives us all a real charge too!” shared Mathew Weber, Harley-Davidson Chief Engineer.

The exclusive 17-inch front and rear Open Spoke Black Cast aluminium wheels and new Michelin Scorcher 21 radial tyres inject an athletic stance, while the new scoop-style air cleaner cover and sharper snap of the exhaust note draw attention to the engine’s strong design.

The new forged brake/gear levers plus aluminium rear-set footpegs that aid control and make it easier for more riders to get good ground reach when stationary. To suit more spirited riding lean angle is increased from 28.5° left and right to 37.3° right and 40.2° degrees left.

“The Street Rod is a perfect addition to the Street family. It is an exciting time for Harley-Davidson and our riders.” said Adam Wright, Director Marketing, Australia and New Zealand.  

The Street Rod will be available in three colour options: Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim and Olive Gold.

Street Rod target market

No doubt the Street Rod is aimed at the youth market with its aggressive stance, budget price and minimalist “blank canvas” looks.

For Harley to grow its market it needs to reach out to new sectors, particularly young people. It would be a perfect step-up from the Street 500.

However, women and shorter people might not like the fact that the seat height has been raised to 765mm.

Tech talk

Harley says the Street Rod has a “punchy mid-range torque” and an extra 1000rpm from the liquid-cooled, single OHC 8V 60° V-Twin High Output Revolution X 750 engine delivers.

Peak torque is at 4000rpm and it has been tuned to deliver strongly between 4000 and 5000 revs.

It features a larger volume air box and new dual 42mm throttle bodies, new four-valve cylinder heads and high-lift camshafts, plus a higher-volume exhaust muffler – all designed to increase airflow and efficiency

Compression ratio is raised from 11.0:1 to 12.0:1 and the redline goes from 8000 to 9000rpm.

It also features sharper geometry with  43mm upside-down forks gripped by lightweight aluminium yokes. Fork rake is tightened from 32° to 27° for quicker steering.

The new rear shock absorbers feature an external reservoir to increase fluid capacity and maintain damping consistency. Travel is increased 31% to 117mm.

The swing arm is slightly longer to accommodate the taller shocks.

It rides on  exclusive 17-inch front and rear Open Spoke Black Cast aluminium wheels and new Michelin Scorcher 21 radial tyres, sized 120/70 R17V front and 160/60 R17V rear.

Brakes have been upgraded to dual two-piston calipers and 300mm front disc brakes with ABS.

Street Rod will come standard with Harley-Davidson’s Smart Security System.

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Rider group calls to stop ethanol fuel push

Thu, 09/03/2017 - 5:00pm

Governments are continuing to push ethanol fuel on the market, despite the fact that it can damage motorcycle engines.

In Australia, Queensland and NSW force service stations to supply a certain percentage of E10 (10% ethanol blend) fuel.

In the US, there are moves to push that blend from 10% to 15%.

The American Motorcyclist Association has backed a bipartisan move to prohibit the US Environmental Protection Agency from allowing the introduction of fuel blends with more than 10% ethanol by volume.

More should also be done by Australian rider representative groups to resist this growing government push for ethanol fuel.

According to the Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, only post-1986 bikes and ATVs made by BMW, Harley, Polaris and Victory can safely use E10.

No Japanese bikes and no Piaggio products can use it. The FCAI doesn’t mention other brands, but it can be assumed ethanol blends are not suitable.

Ethanol doesn’t work with carburettors or mechanical fuel injection. It is also a solvent which attacks metallic and rubber-based fuel lines, and has an affinity to water that can cause steel fuel tanks to rust.

Inadvertent fuelling

The big concern is that many riders are unaware that their motorcycle could be damaged by using ethanol-blended fuels and are inadvertently using E10.

Some riders are being fooled by the higher octane rating of E10 fuels, usually 95 compared with ULP at 89 or 91 and PULP at 95 or 98.

They have the misconception that the 95 octane rating is suitable for modern engines yet cheaper than PULP.

However, RACQ executive manager technical and safety policy, Steve Spalding, warns that ethanol-blended, higher-octane fuels may not necessarily meet the correct fuel requirements for a vehicle designated to run on PULP.

While the RON may be high enough, there is another property in fuel, called Motor Octane Number (MON), which is rarely specified on the bowser.

MON is usually about 10 numbers lower than RON, so a MON of 85 would be ok for a bike rated at 95 RON.

However, ethanol fuels have much lower MON numbers than their RON which could be too low for your bike.

Riders are also confused and attracted by the fact that E10 is usually a few cents cheaper than ULP and much cheaper than 95 or 98 RON.

However, there is about 3% less energy content in a litre of E10 compared with unleaded fuel which means your engine performance and fuel economy will be 3% worse, or to put it another way, your range will be limited by 3%.

The price of E10 would need to be at least 3% less than ULP for riders to even break even on the fill.

Fuelling advice

Either ask the service/gas station for the MON rating or fill up non-ethanol premium unleaded fuel of 95 RON or higher.

It is always best to have a higher octane rating than a lower one even though modern engine management systems have knock sensors that can handle lower octane.

If there is no choice but to fill up with ethanol fuel, make sure your next fill is with a high-octane fuel.

There are plenty of signs and advertising around promoting ethanol, but nothing warning motorcyclists about the potential engine damage!

AMA action AMA wants to stop E15 in American gas stations

Meanwhile, the AMA is calling on American riders to send a message to their representatives by clicking here on their Take Action page and entering your information.

The AMA encourages riders to adjust their messages by drawing on personal riding experiences.

Further reading

Motorbike Writer has published several articles on ethanol fuel in motorcycles.

Check out the articles below under “More stories you may also like”.

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Mugello MotoGP tour for Rossi fans

Thu, 09/03/2017 - 12:00pm

Valentino Rossi fans will no doubt be queuing up for Yamaha Motor Australia’s Mugello MotoGP Tour, although there is no guarantees of meeting the nine-time world champ.

However, the Italian tour does include three days at the Mugello MotoGP in the VIP hospitality tent, so there could be a chance for fans to score a handshake, selfie and autograph.

The $6499 Mugello MotoGP trip also includes dropping into Rossi’s hometown of Tavullia, to the maestro’s dirt track VR46 ranch plus a visit to the VR46 store and restaurant.

For a quick video treat of what that will be like, check out this video by veteran motorcycle journo Mick Matheson who took his family of Rossi fans to Tavullia to stalk the Doctor.

The Mugello MotoGP tour costs $6499 per person twin share or $7699 per person single. All meals, accommodation, entry fees, transfers and coach costs are included in the deal, but flights are not included.

Riders will have two nights in Rome to check out classic sights such as the Vatican, Coliseum, Roman Forum and for shoppers, the Prada outlet store.

There are also six nights in Florence to soak up the vibes of this historic city including a guided tour of the Duomo.

The trip starts on May 29 and ends June 6, 2017.

Click here to register to be one of the limited number of people to join the 2017 Yamaha MotoGP VIP Tour to Mugello.

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What to do if your child asks to ride

Thu, 09/03/2017 - 6:00am

What would you do if your child asked if they could buy a motorcycle? Would you do cartwheels or would you tell them it’s too dangerous?

On the one hand you are probably delighted at the prospect of having your son or daughter follow in your tyre tracks and taking them along with you on your rides.

This could be the greatest bonding experience that keeps your child close at a time when most young people drift away from their parents.

On the other hand, images of your crashes and close calls over the years are probably flooding through your mind and you are frightened beyond belief at the thought of your child being injured … or worse!

There is no getting around the fact that riders are more vulnerable and more likely to be involved in a crash.

Parental advice

So what do you say when they ask to ride?

The most important advice we can give is not to push too hard either way.

Don’t say no or they will push back. They will either hate you for stopping them or go out and buy a bike, anyway. In which case it could be the wrong bike for them, they may not get adequate training and they might not buy the right gear.

But don’t be over-excited either or they might think you’ll cramp their style and insist on an old man’s bike instead of a cool hipster machine.

Instead, present your child with all the facts about costs and safety and let them decide if they want to go ahead.

If you’ve been a good parent, you will have taught them how to ride a bicycle so they should already have a sense of road craft, vulnerability, never assuming they have been seen and preserving a buffer zone around themselves.

If not, then suggest they go cycling first.

In fact, in Queensland, you can’t get a motorcycle licence until you’ve had a car licence for a year.

It’s a strange law. In fact, it would be better for motorists to have had some time on a motorcycle before driving a car.

In fact, in Italy you can get a moped licence at the age of 14. The idea is to instil a sense of safety, road craft and understanding of vulnerability before unleashing a youth on a car.

Setting parameters for your child

If your child is still insistent on riding, you need to set some parameters.

First off, you should also insist on being involved in the motorcycle buying process.

Now that the Learner-Approved Motorcycle Scheme applies in each state, there is a wide choice of bike available to suit any size rider, ability and type of riding.

Check out our guide to buying your first motorcycle.

You can come to an agreement on who pays for what, but you need to outline all the costs involved which not only involves the cost of the motorcycle, but also the costs of learning to ride, getting a licence, registration, stamp duty, insurance, maintenance and, of course, appropriate motorcycle riding gear.

If you really do want to scare them off, make them get some insurance quotes. The exorbitant and extortionate insurance premiums for under-25 riders would be enough to scare anyone!

You should also insist your child does at least one advanced training course after they get their licence. You can work out wether they pay for that or you whether you give it to them as a Christmas or birthday present. It would be the best present you could give them!

The post What to do if your child asks to ride appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

BMW K 1600 GT rider sets world record

Wed, 08/03/2017 - 5:00pm

The new world record for riding a motorcycle the longest distance on a track in one day has been set with a BMW K 1600 GT – and it could have been even longer!

Carl Reese set the new Guinness World Record with 2119 miles (3410.2km) at the Continental Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas, breaking the previous record of 2023.5 miles (3256.5km) set by Matthew McKelvey in 2014.

He actually stopped after 22 hours and 52 minutes because his team ran out of available tyres for the K 1600 GT, so Carl could have gone about an extra 150km.

To save time, Carl ate on the “run”, although he did take toilet stops.

The top speed of the K 1600 GT was 141mph (227km/h), his average speed was 92mph (148km/h) including all stops, but the official average speed for the entire 24 hours is 88.3mph (142.1km/h).

In 2015, Carl set a record for crossing America from LA to New York on his K 1600 GT. He did the 2829 miles (4552km) in 38:48 hours.

The Californian also set six other records in seven months during 2015, all aboard his mile-munching K 1600 GT.

Read our K 1600 GT review here.

Motorcycle world records

Motorcycles have been making and breaking Guinness World Records for more than a century.

Here are some of the more interesting world records:

The biggest simultaneous motorcycle burnout record was set by 300 people on Saturday, April 11, 2015, in Tagaytay City, Philippines. It smoked the previous record of 213 bikes by Harleystunts and Smokey Mountain Harley-Davidson in Tennessee in August, 2006.

The tallest rideable motorbike is 5m tall, 10m long and weighs about 4 tonnes. Made by Fabio Feggiani, it had to travel 100m to gain the record n 2013.

But it wasn’t the heaviest bike. That record belongs to the Harzer Bike Schmiede which weighs 4749kg and was built by Tilo and Wilfried Niebel of Zilly, Germany, out of military surplus parts.

Harzer Bike Schmiede the world’s heaviest bike

The smallest rideable motorcycle was the “Small Toe” made by Tom Wiberg of Sweden in 2003. It has an 8cm wheelbase, 6.5cm seat height and weighs just 1kg. it has a top speed of almost 2km/h with its 0.3horsepower motor. Wiberg rode 10m in 2003 to clinch the record.

Tom Wiberg on his bike Wheelie fast

The world’s fastest wheelie on ice is held by Swedish racer Robert Gull with an overall speed of 183.8km/h over 100m.

Riobert Gull performs ice wheelie stunt

Meanwhile, “StuntWars” creator Todd Colbert did a 100m wheelie at 130km/h on his stock 1992 GSX-R1100 in 1998 with nine people on board, smashing the previous record of eight people.

The longest wheelie belongs to Yasuyuki Kudo of Japan who rode a wheelie on his Honda TLM220R for 331km at the Japan Auto Research Institute proving ground in May of 1991.

The fastest wheelie is 307.86km/h by Patrick “Ghost Rider” Furstenhoff on a Honda Super Blackbird 1100cc turbo at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, Leicestershire, England, in 1999.

 

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Looking for a romantic bike getaway?

Wed, 08/03/2017 - 10:00am

Just you and your bike, or you and your other significant other – pillion-in-a-million or fellow rider – should try a weekend romantic getaway at Ravensbourne Escape

The luxury retreat is 90 minutes west of Brisbane at the top the Great Dividing Range on the challenging and scenic Esk-Hampton Road. 

It’s 45 minutes north of Toowoomba and 20km from Crows Nest, the latest Motorcycle Friendly Town. In fact, the whole area is very motorcycle friendly.

Ravensbourne Escape is set among the tall eucalyptus forest on the Hampton Range with stunning views east over the Brisbane Valley. A very romantic setting for a couple after their ride.

In summer, it’s several degrees cooler. In winter, it’s a great place to cosy up by a log fire.

Tuskanas Cafe

The retreat is the perfect location to station yourself for a romantic getaway where you can ride the many roads that snake up and down the Great Dividing Range.

They include, but are not limited to the Blackbutt Range, Hampton Range, Murphy’s Creek, Flagstone Creek Rd, the Cooyar Range, Bunya Mountains and MaMa Creek Rd.

Along the way there are plenty of lookouts, cafes and attractions.

Ravensbourne Escape is part of Ravensbourne Mountain Retreat which is a collection of privately owned chalets managed by Rob Clarke and Tuskanas cafe/restaurant and function centre. 

Rob is a former rider who understands the freedom and thrill of riding and wants to attract motorcycle riders and host club rides and other motorcycle events.

He also knows what riders need at the end of a day’s ride: a bit of comfort and a dry, sheltered place to park your bike on concrete.

Romantic chalets Romantic chalets with concrete driveway

Ravensbourne Escape is made up of nine (soon to be 11) individual, self-contained, luxury chalet-style houses connected by proper asphalt driveways, not gravel, so you won’t drop your bike!

The romantic chalets have up to four bedrooms and multiple bathrooms, so you can go with another couple or two.

The chalets are within a gated community with a computer-coded security gate so your motorcycle will be secure. 

In fact, the day before you arrive, you will receive a handy text message with the gate security number. The same number also gets you into a “safe” which contains the key to your chalet. No need to go to reception, go straight to your chalet.

Most chalets have a big-screen TV and DVDs, stereo system, fireplace, big verandahs with stunning forestry and Brisbane Valley views, quality linen, comfortable beds and a self-contained kitchen.

Fireplace

Some have hot spa baths on the verandah or in the bedroom. How romantic … and not bad for easing sore muscles after a long day in the saddle.

Spa bath in the bedroom

Most riders won’t take advantage of the kitchen, but you can walk about 100m to the licensed cafe/bar/restaurant for a drink or meal.

It serves high quality “a la carte” breakfast, lunch and dinner menu with tables looking out over one of the most mouth-watering views of the Brisbane Valley, framed by tall trees and flowering gardens.

Stunning views

For this reason, it’s a popular venue for weddings.

But its main purpose is as weekend retreats for Brisbane and Gold and Sunshine Coast couples looking for a romantic getaway.

It’s quiet with just the occasional exhaust throb of a motorcycle enjoying the nearby sweeping 100km/h bends. 

Don’t worry; you’ll get a good night’s rest as there is almost no traffic at night and the road is rarely used by trucks day or night.

The only sound you will probably hear is the birds and your own pulse as you come down from the day’s thrilling ride.

It makes a great place to kick back with your pillion or riding companion after a fun day riding the many challenging roads in the region.

Beautiful range views Luxury comes at a price

Prices are on the luxurious side as befitting the accommodation, but are cheaper if you have more than one night and if you share with other couples.

And if you stay for the third night on the Sunday it costs only an extra $50.

Rob has organised a special 5% discount rate for Motorbike Writer readers with a $40 brekky voucher thrown in.

Also, if riders book two or more nights before the end of April, they will get a $100 voucher to spend on dinner, lunch or breakfast Tuskanas.

You can also organise a special couples therapeutic massage right in your room from $85 for one massage or $160 for two with private health fund rebates available.

So next time you’re riding between Esk and Hampton, drop in for a coffee, breakfast or lunch and ask Rob if you can check out one of the chalets.

Tuskanas cafe is open from noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9am with midweek opening soon.

Click on this map and check out the squiggly road, especially to the east.

Toscanas Cafe Ravensbourne Escape
  • Phone: 07 4697 8092
  • Ravensbourne Mountain Retreat (formerly Sketches)
  • 3143 Esk-Hampton Road, Ravensbourne Qld 4352
  • Website: www.ravensbourneescape.com.au
  • Email: Info@ravensbourneescape.com.au
  • Rates:

    One night only $320 per one bedroom (up to 2 people)

    Two nights for a one bedroom $500 (up to 2 people)

    Two nights for two bedrooms in the same house (up to 4 people) = $640

    Two nights for three bedrooms in the same house (up to 6 people) = $740

    (You only pay for the bedrooms you use.)

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Midweight Yamaha Ténéré for tragics?

Wed, 08/03/2017 - 6:00am

Yamaha is reportedly working on a midweight Ténéré adventure bike powered by MT-09 849cc inline three-cylinder liquid-cooled engine.

Advrider website is reporting the midweight Yamaha would basically be a more dirt-oriented version of the MT-09 Tracer.

Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

The report is a departure to what has been expected from Yamaha after it revealed the T7 Ténéré concept (pictured at the top of this article) based on the MT-07 parallel twin at the Milan motorcycle show in November.

However, an MT-09 engine would probably be a better competitor in the midweight adventure market against the BMW F 800 GS, KTM 1050 Adventure, Triumph Tiger 800 XC and the new Ducati Multistrada 950.

Ténéré tragics would certainly welcome the midweight addition to the adventure line-up.

While most riders believe there is no replacement for displacement and would prefer a bigger engine, weight is the most important factor in adventure bikes.

We’d rather see a lighter bike, certainly not a “porker” like the 1200cc Super Ténéré which has been criticised for its bulk.

Ténéré Tasmania Devil Run

The news of a midweight adventure bike comes after 75 Ténéré tragic completed their seventh annual rally, this time in Tasmanian.

The Tasmanian Devil Run covered a five-day, 1830km lap of the Apple Isle on dirt roads and byways.

 

Among the machines were the first 1983 XT600ZL Ténéré right up to the latest 1200cc twins.

Event organiser Andrew ‘Captain Tragic’ Clubb said conditions were perfect and there were no major incidents, just one bruised wrist and some panel damage.

“Every Tragic that started the Run, finished the Run,” he says.

MX legend Stephen Gall made his now annual Run with the Tragics and kicked off the event with an ADV Skills Training Session.

A surprise guest on day three was Yamaha Yamalube Factory Racing team Dakar Rally racer Rod Faggotter of Longreach.

Rod retired from this year’s Dakar Rally on stage four with mechanical issues. He was in 13th place at the time and recording top 10 times.

He joined the Ténéré Run at Lake Pedder Wilderness Resort in south-west Tasmania to take part in a special Q&A session with MX legend Stephen Gall.

Rod, Andrew and Stephen at the Run

The Dakar Factory team member then rode with the Tragics for the final two days of the Run aboard an XT660Z Ténéré.

The post Midweight Yamaha Ténéré for tragics? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

How does temperature affect a helmet?

Tue, 07/03/2017 - 5:00pm

Extremes of temperature can affect your helmet so it’s important to store it somewhere that is temperate and dry.

A rider recently posted the above photo of his adventure helmet which he had stored in his shed during summer.

It’s obviously a polycarbonate shell which has melted in the extreme temperatures.

While this is an extreme case, temperature, sweat, humidity and exposure to UV rays can reduce the longevity of your helmet.

Temperature

Most helmets are tested for extreme temperatures, usually up to over 50 degrees centigrade and down to -7 in Australia and -22 for European-approved helmets which are now legal in Australia.

So your helmet shell isn’t going to melt, crack or fall apart just from temperature extremes. No one would ride in those temperatures, anyhow.

The interior foam is the same as used in refrigerators and some roof insulation, so it should also not be affected.

However, I’ve stored helmets in my office over summer, sitting on my desk in temperatures up to 40 degrees and the bottom has melted to the desk.

Black marks where the helmet has melted to the desk

So, while the shell and foam should be ok in extremes of temperature, it does have an effect on the soft lining materials.

Sweat

The biggest affect on your helmet’s life is your own sweat.

It degrades the interior lining, causes the adhesives to fail and compresses the foam making the fit of the helmet loose and less effective than when it is tight.

If you start to see black flakes on your head when you take your helmet off, it’s probably time to buy a new helmet.

Hair products can also have a detrimental affect on the helmet lining.

You can prevent sweat and hair products from ruining your helmet by wearing a bandana, balaclava or skull cap. 

You can buy a bandana from our online shop now.

You can also reduce the effects of sweat and hair products by regularly washing the lining if it is removable.

If not, spray the inside with special helmet interior cleaner.

Make sure the lining is dried slowly and thoroughly inside, not in direct sunlight.

Humidity

Like sweat, humidity also has a significant effect on helmet linings, causing mould.

If you live in a humid climate, store the helmet in the bag it came in.

When you bought your helmet, you will have noticed a small bag of silica gel flakes came with the packaging. Don’t throw them out, even though they may say “Throw away” on the pack.

In fact, save those little bags of silica gel flakes that come with a lot of new products. They absorb moisture and are useful for storing with your helmet, gloves and other riding gear, especially if you are not using your helmet or gear for a long time, such as over winter.

In which case, make sure there are no mice where you store your gear as they love to chew the soft interior and turn it int bedding!

Sunlight

Helmet shells are tested to withstand temperature extremes, but constant exposure to the UV rays in sunlight will gradually degrade the material.

Visors also tend to get a creamy, frosted look from long exposure to sunlight.

While there is nothing you can do to protect your helmet and visor from sunlight when you are riding, it is important to store your helmet in the shade or in the bag it came in.

Don’t put it by the window where the sun comes in or store it on the back deck of your car.

The post How does temperature affect a helmet? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Riders to help solve CBD parking scarcity

Tue, 07/03/2017 - 2:39pm

Riders have been invited to form a special council working group to find motorcycle parking spaces in the Brisbane CBD and fringe areas to replace the 200 parking sites lost during the casino redevelopment.

Brisbane City Council infrastructure chair Cr Amanda Cooper says she “supports this casino project but not the loss of motorcycle parking”.

“We think people riding motorbikes is a benefit for the city in terms of pollution and traffic congestion,” she says.

She has now invited riders to form a special working group with council to identify safe motorcycle parking spaces in the CBD and surrounding areas.

The initiative follows recent articles published by Motorbike Writer and ongoing correspondence we have had with Amanda’s office.

MBW was today invited to meet with Amanda and several council staff to discuss CBD parking issues.

While this article is just about Brisbane, it does show that a concerted approach to finding a positive solution could be welcomed by your council. It’s better than just whining about it!

CBD parking strains

I pointed out to Amanda and her staff that the issue is worse than just losing 140 permanent spaces and 60 more while the casino is redeveloped over the next two years.

Even before the 200 spaces were lost, motorcycle CBD parking was at saturation point with riders unable to find a spare space after 7am each week day.

As the casino redevelopment kicks in and building workers arrive, it will put even more strain on the already diminished number of parking bays.

I pointed out to council that riders had been forced to become “innovative” with their parking solutions.

The photos below show motorcycles parked next to City Cycle parks, more than one to a bay and in “grey” areas where there is no specific motorcycle parking allocation.

Council Major Projects Planning manager Lindsay Enright pointed out that parking on the road was covered by the state road rules over which they had no jurisdiction.

He said it was not in council’s power to issue a fine moratorium during the casino redevelopment as I had suggested.

That means riders parking outside designated areas will be fined by police or council staff authorised to issue infringements.

However, council does have jurisdiction over footpath parking and we would hope there would be some dispensation so long as bikes are parked safely.

That is an issue for the special working group to discuss further.

Brisbane City Council maintains their CBD footpaths are narrower than in Melbourne where motorcycle footpath parking works well.

However, Amanda agrees there may be more footpath areas that could be considered by the special working group.

CBD parking solutions

Amanda says they have just about exhausted all council land in the CBD.

However, she says she is looking at some state land, sites in adjacent suburbs and even approaching private land owners.

“We are open to all suggestions of new places to park and I’m prepared to have four or five nominated riders and three council officers form a special working group to work through things,” she says.

At my suggestion, she says she might consider approaching private owners about using their available space, at least in the interim while the casino is being built. However, Lindsay warns there could be liability issues.

“We are happy to take all suggestions and consider them, but it must be safe,” Amanda says.

She already has her eye on some areas as temporary places during the casino redevelopment and will consider areas in neighbouring suburbs.

Amanda suggests CBD “fringe” areas such as in Spring Hill where riders could park and take the City Glider express bus service into the CBD.

In fact, I couldn’t find any CBD parking for today’s meeting. Instead, I parked my bike across the river in West End in the shade for free and walked across the Kurilpa Bridge to the meeting within 15 minutes.

Amanda says the working group of four or five riders will meet with council staff on a regular basis and discuss particular parking sites, including on-site inspections.

Rider representatives will be selected by expressions of interest on the Brisbane Motorcycle Parking Progress Group Facebook page.

Stay tuned for developments.

The post Riders to help solve CBD parking scarcity appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Do double demerit points apply to you?

Tue, 07/03/2017 - 6:00am

Double demerit points apply in certain holidays in NSW, the ACT and WA, but do they apply to the licences of riders from other states?

Unfortunately the answer is not a simple yes or no.

There is no double demerit system in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia.

If you are a rider from those states passing through NSW, ACT or WA during a declared holiday period, then the double points will not apply.

Queensland is different

However, Queensland riders should note that in certain circumstances the double points will apply.

The law in Queensland is that double points do apply to speeding offences of 21km/h or greater over the speed limit and seatbelt offences if they occur more than once within a 12 month period.

Lawyer Stephen Hayles of Macrossan and Amiet Solicitors says he has been asked by clients about the system after copping a fine in an applicable state.

“For example if you commit two speeding offences of driving 21km/hr over the speed limit in a 12 month period, you will be allocated 4 demerit points for the first offence and 4 demerit points for the second offence plus an additional 4 demerit points,” he says.

“This means that you will have accumulated 12 demerit points within a 12 month period and you risk having your licence suspended.”

Double demerit periods

Double points apply in NSW and ACT over the Australia Day weekend, Easter (April 13 to 17, 2017), Anzac Day (April 21-25, 2017), Queen’s Birthday (June 9-12, 2017), Labour Day (September 29 to October 2, 2017), Christmas/New Year (December 22, 2017 to January 1, 2018).

In WA, the double points apply on Australia Day (not this year as it falls on a week day), Labour Day (this past weekend) Easter (April 13-17, 2017), Anzac Day (not this year as it falls on a week day), Western Australia Day (June 2-5, 2017), Queen’s Birthday (September 22-25, 2017), Christmas and New Year (December 22, 2017, to January 7 2018).

How demerit points are recorded

If a rider in another state commits a traffic offence in a state during a double point period, the offence is recorded as a double demerit offence on their traffic history in the state where the offence happened.

The state licensing authority will then report the offence to the transport department in your state who will record the offence on your traffic history.

However, the double points will only apply in Queensland under the circumstances described above.

Choice of penalty

Stephen says that if you have committed a traffic offence recently and you receive a Queensland Transport notice that you have accumulated your allowed demerit points, you will have a choice of a good driving behaviour period or a licence suspension for a period.

“When considering whether to agree to a good behaviour driving behaviour period and a licence suspension, it is important that a licence holder understands that accepting a suspension of their licence may preclude them from making an Application for a Special Hardship Order or an Application for a Restricted (Work) Licence for the next five years,” he warns.

If you are unsure about how many demerit points you have, you can search your record online at your state’s transport department website or call them and request a copy of your traffic history.

The post Do double demerit points apply to you? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Himalayan motorcycle tour for ladies only

Mon, 06/03/2017 - 5:00pm

Australian motorcycle travel company World on Wheels is offering the first ladies-only tour of the Himalayas this July and August.

WOW cofounder Denise Ferris (pictured above) says she has been thinking about a “ladies-only tour” for some time.

“There are a lot more women who ride these days, so why not?” she told us when we interviewed her in December 2015.

Now Denise plans to lead what she believes is the first ladies-only “motorcycle and soul safari” across the Indian Himalaya.

Given the popularity of women’s only track days, rider training and “garage parties” where women are taught basic maintenance, it should be a hit.

Women on the tour will ride classic 500cc Royal Enfield motorcycles across the Himalayan mountain range as well as taking part in yoga and meditation classes.

“It is an opportunity to breathe,” says Denise who is one of the most experienced female motorcycle travel guides in the world.

As a co-founder of Ferris Wheels more than two decades ago with husband Mike, she has travelled the world extensively, running motorcycle tours on four continents.

“You will spend time in wonder, listening to the voice of your soul while absorbing the colour, the culture, the cuisine and the connection of India and her people,” she says of the Himalayan tour.

Ladies on a previous WOW tour

Rides will stay in boutique accommodation, contribute meaningfully to a local community, visit sacred temples and celebrate “all that women are”.

The tour from July 28 to August 8, 2017, will cost US$8500 per person twin share.

Safari inclusions: Yoga/meditation teacher, bike rental, 11 nights in boutique hotel accommodation, one night luxury camping (twin share), airport transfers , meals, English-speaking guide, minibus support vehicle, mechanic, first-aid back-up, fuel, maintenance and repairs and third party bike insurance.

The price does not include international flights, taxes, personal expenses, comprehensive travel insurance (about A$300-00) and visa (US$80).

The tour will have a minimum of eight riders and maximum of 12.

Contact Denise for more details and bookings.

Himalayan Heaven – A Safari for the Soul
  • Day 1 Friday 28 July Arrive New Delhi. The Claridges Hotel – 2 nights
  • Day 2 Saturday 29 July Tour opening, Akshardam Temple. Afternoon spa, shopping, explore Delhi.
  • Day 3 Sunday 30 July Train to Chandigarh. Ride to Parwanoo (30k). Swim, yoga, relax. Moksha Resort.
  • Day 4 Monday 31 July Morning practice. Ride to Shimla (90k), Queen of Hill Stations. Meditation. The Cecil.
  • Day 5 Tuesday 01 August Yoga/meditation. (155k) Ride to Shojha, Seraj Valley. Banjara Retreat – 2 nights.
  • Day 6 Wednesday 02 August Optional morning practice. Walk & picnic. Relaxation. Creative mandala session.
  • Day 7 Thursday 03 August Daily yoga/meditation practice. Ride to Manali (105k), explore. The Himalayan.
  • Day 8 Friday 04 August Daily practice. Ride (125k) across Rohtang La to Keylong. Dekyid Hotel.
  • Day 9 Saturday 05 August Personal daily practice. Ride to Sarchu, via Baralacha La (105k). Planet Himalaya.
  • Day 10 Sunday 06 August Ride to Leh (260k) via Taglang La. Meditation. The Grand Dragon – 3 nights.
  • Day 11 Monday 07 August Relaxation. Morning practice. Explore Leh, shopping. Community project.
  • Day 12 Tuesday 08 August Morning practice. Ride to highest road in the world (100k), Khardung La ! Afternoon completion ceremony. Farewell Dinner.

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Crows Nest takes the cake with riders

Mon, 06/03/2017 - 12:00pm

A couple of hundred riders rolled into the tiny town of Crows Nest yesterday to cut a cake and celebrate the town’s new status as Motorcycle Friendly.

The celebration included the usual political speeches, cutting an official cake, motorcycle stalls and a couple of scenic rides through the region.

The local soft drink company also made a special Biker’s Brew non-alcoholic drink for the day which tastes a bit like bourbon and cola. It was offered free to all riders!

As part of the usual political speak, the Federal Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, said such motorcycle friendly projects deserve support.

“This is a project you can be very proud of and that the Australian Government should support as part of their tourism focus,” he said in a statement read out at the launch as the Member was travelling with the Prime Minister.

We’ve asked him what he means by his comments and await a response. By “support” does he mean “funding”?

The crowd listens to the political speak

However,  it would be welcome if more tourism focus was shone on motorcycle tourism and funding made available to local motorcycle friendly groups.

Official estimates of the average daily spend by riders is $160 for fuel, food, drinks, accommodation etc.

Multiply that by the thousands of riders who travel into these small communities each weekend!

The rider tourism dollar is very important in these rural communities and it is about time governments at all levels started to pay attention and offer funding support.

A lot of money is spent on enticing other tourists to discover Australia, but there are scant resources directed to attracting more riders.

It was also comforting to hear the support from Councillor Anne Glasheen of Toowoomba Regional Council.

Of course, she supports the project – she and her husband, Bob, are prolific motorcycle tourists, judging by the road grime on their well-used metric cruisers.

Anne and Bob with their bikes

But cutting a cake and delivering political speeches does not advance the cause of the motorcycle tourist.

We need more politicians like Anne to ride or at least make themselves aware of motorcycle tourism.

Then they will understand the advantages of riding to the economy and its effect on pollution, traffic congestion and parking problems.

Unfortunately, a challenge last year to politicians to ride, pillion or learn more about motorcycles failed.

What is needed is for more towns, shires and regions to declare themselves motorcycle friendly. That sort of grass-roots support should attract the attention of politicians.

Then the tide could start to change in our favour.

Meanwhile, congratulations to the residents of Crows Nest who have worked hard to make their town Motorcycle Friendly.

They join other Motorcycle Friendly towns and shires: Glamorgan Spring Bay, Tasmania (July 2007); Texas, Queensland (July 2013); Wauchope, New South Wales (November 2016); and the Avon Valley region in Western Australia which stages its official launch on April 23, 2017.

The latter seems to be doing an exemplary job of becoming motorcycle friendly. They will have motorcycle friendly signs, noticeboards and brochures as well as a website that lists more than 100 local motorcycle-friendly cafes, restaurants, accommodation and attractions.

There are also rider-only discounts available through their Facebook page.

This is a great effort, thanks to the hard work and financial support of Avon Tourism, the Motorcycle Riders Association of WA and a $16,180 allocation from the Wheatbelt Development Commission’s 2016, Royalties for Regions supported and local councils.

More areas are also considering the move to motorcycle friendly status. The most recent is the South Burnett Regional Council which has agreed to discuss the issue at its next council meeting.

Let’s hope it backs up its support with appropriate funding like the Avon Region.

There currently is no official process to declare a town motorcycle friendly as there is with becoming RV Friendly. Check out their criteria here.

However, it is believed that may change in the future.

By the way, the Crows Nest Motorcycle Friendly Town cake and Biker’s Brew were both delicious!

The post Crows Nest takes the cake with riders appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

How to overtake on a motorcycle

Mon, 06/03/2017 - 6:00am

One of the great joys and advantages of riding a motorcycle is being able to quickly, efficiently and safely overtake slower vehicles.

However, there are right and wrong ways to do it.

It would seem like a fairly simple task, but many riders get it wrong from both safety and legal issues.

Many riders follow too closely before overtaking, pass too closely to the vehicle and cut in too soon in front.

Following distance

We have already covered reasons riders tailgate other motorists.

READ ABOUT FOLLOWING TOO CLOSELY

There is no need to follow closely to overtake quickly.

You can sit a safe distance behind a vehicle and, thanks to the rapid acceleration of a motorcycle, overtake them in a short space of time.

Sitting back from a vehicle allows them to see your headlight in their mirrors.

It’s a good idea to switch wheel tracks a couple of times or gently weave around in your lane so the driver is alerted to your presence.

Another reason not to follow too closely is that it obscures your forward vision.

Sit further back and you will be able to see a longer and safer distance down the road to check for oncoming traffic and other obstacles such as road surface problems, stray livestock or wildlife.

Wheel tracks Move to the right wheel track

Before overtaking, move to the driver’s side wheel track, a little outside the edge of the vehicle in front.

This will put you in the driver’s wing mirror, give you a good vision of the road ahead and allow approaching traffic to see you.

You not only need to scan the road ahead for approaching traffic and obstacles, but also for turnoffs.

These can be side streets or property entrances that the driver may suddenly decide to take without indicating.

Passing manoeuvre

Before overtaking, check your own mirrors to see if you are being overtaken!

Start your indicators for a couple of seconds before moving, but don’t wait too long or other traffic may believe you have accidentally hit your indicators.

When you start to overtake, move immediately into the farthest wheel track from the vehicle.

Don’t sit in the closest wheel track as you will be in the driver’s blind spot.

Too close!

Riding in the farthest wheel track from the vehicle you are overtaking gives you the biggest buffer in case the driver decides to overtake a vehicle in front of them or suddenly turns across in front of you.

Also, if the vehicle you are passing has a blowout, you will be farther away from any shrapnel.

Even the farthest wheel track may still be in the driver’s blind spot, so you need to accelerate swiftly up to the point where you are right alongside the driver.

Now that the driver has seen you, start moving into the closer wheel track while you accelerate past.

While you should avoid speeding, I would rather break the law and speed for a short time and clear the vehicle than sit alongside for a long period as you crawl past.

The shortest time you can spend heading toward oncoming traffic, the better and safer!

When you start to move in, it is a legal requirement to indicate again.

Cutting back in

I’ve seen many riders cut in sharply after overtaking a vehicle.

Sometimes it is done in anger or frustration after being held up by an inconsiderate driver.

However, there is no point in road rage. Besides, it is illegal to cut in close on a vehicle you have passed.

Once in front of the vehicle, stay in the driver’s wheel track and claim the lane.

However, if you are being followed in your overtaking manoeuvre by another motorcycle, move int the passenger wheel track to allow the other rider to slip in quickly.

When you’ve passed, don’t slow down. Continue to ride at your faster pace, having regard for the speed limits, of course!

Passing another motorcycle

It is legal in many jurisdictions to pass a motorcycle in the same lane.

In fact, it may also be legal in your area for two motorcycles to share a lane and for a third to overtake in that lane.

However, three motorcycles beside each other in one lane is dangerous.

Since riders often move from wheel track to wheel track within a lane, it is important that the rider you are about to pass knows you are there.

Maybe give them a quick honk on the horn to alert them.

Undertaking

Avoid undertaking. It is illegal in many countries — for good reason — even on multi-lane roads.

While motorists on multi-lane highways may expect people to pass on the driver’s side, they may not be aware of a bike passing on the passenger side and may suddenly move over on you.

Similarly, riders won’t expect another rider to pass up the inside, especially in the same lane!

Thank-you wave

I often give the driver of the vehicle I have passed a polite wave.

It’s not only good karma, but it might also prevent them from tailgating you.

It might also make them more aware of motorcycles and more likely to move over or slow down to let riders overtake in the future.

The post How to overtake on a motorcycle appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

What should you buy as your first bike?

Sun, 05/03/2017 - 5:00pm

Selecting your first bike is important as a good experience will lead to a lifetime of joy, while a bad experience may end your two-wheel career.

I’m often asked by young people what bike they should buy first up.

Thankfully, there is a wide choice now with the Learner-Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS).

However, the options they give me lead me to believe they want me to make a lifestyle choice for them, rather tell them which is the best of a particular type.

For example, I was asked by a young wannabe rider whether they should buy a Kawasaki Ninja 300 or a Kawasaki Versys 650L.

Clearly they were in love with the lime green brand, but their problem was the type of bike and riding they wanted to do.

Instead, I expected he would ask which is the best in the 300cc sports bike range or which is the best learner-approved adventure bike.

My answer to this question would have been that it really doesn’t matter. Bikes these days are pretty close on spec and very competitive on price.

Often, it will come down to your choice of brand.

If you really want that exotic brand such as Ducati, Harley or BMW, you are in luck as they all have LAMS options.

So here are my five tips:

1 BRANDS

Don’t buy a cheap Asian knockoff model. Buy a known brand with a reputation for reliability, a good dealer network and warranty support.

During the scooter craze about a decade ago, a lot of cheap Chinese scooters flooded the market. They broke down and were discarded and a lot of would-be riders are now driving cars instead.

2 PRICE

Get the cheapest of the known brands.

Sadly, you are likely to drop your bike or damage it in some way, even if it’s scuffing the tank with your belt buckle or the triple clamp with your keyring.

Veteran riders know not to do this, but you are bound to make some basic errors which leave your bike damaged.

Better to damage a cheaper bike than an expensive one.

Besides, you may only keep your learner bike a year or two before moving up.

That’s not because you will outgrow your bike.

LAMS bikes are up to 650cc and may suit you for some time. However, you may change your mind about what sort of riding you want to do or you may seek a more powerful bike.

And don’t blow your entire budget on the bike. You’ll need about $2000 for decent riding gear and insurance which will be hefty as you are a novice rider!

3 HEIGHT

Good riding training will inspire confidence on just about any bike height.

However, most novices feel more comfortable on a bike that is low enough for them to put both feet flat on the ground when stopped.

Check out our guide to seat heights:

What are the lowest motorbike seats?

You should also sit on the bike before buying. Two bikes with the same seat height will feel different. A narrower seat will make it easier to touch the ground.

4 WEIGHT

Just as a low height can inspire confidence, so will a lighter bike.

Check the tech specs of the bikes you are considering and lean toward the lightest.

Again, like the seat, two bikes with the same weight can feel different.

A cruiser with a lower centre of gravity will actually feel lighter and have better balance than a sports or adventure bike with a higher centre of gravity.

2017 Harley-Davidson Street 500 5 PURPOSE

Get it clear in your mind what you want to do with your bike.

Is it for commuting, cafe “racing”, showing off to your mates, touring, adventuring through the bush or weekend rides in the mountains.

There are bikes suitable for each purpose. There are also multi-purpose bikes that all do several of these, but they will always be a compromise.

CONCLUSION

Ask a friend or send us an email. Seek the advice of more mature riders, rather than your peers.

The post What should you buy as your first bike? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Virtual reality threatens motorcycles

Sun, 05/03/2017 - 6:00am

Virtual reality computer games may just spell the end of motorcycles as they prevent young people from throwing a leg over a motorcycle.

Rather than playing games, true riders would prefer to be riding, cleaning their bike, maintaining it, reading about bikes in a mag or on this website, or dreaming about their next bike.

However, it must be getting more and more difficult to get kids on to bikes when computer games are now so realistic and virtual reality is now so affordable.

Why run the risks of falling off or being t-boned by a SMIDSY idiot when you can sit in the safety and comfort of your bedroom and get your virtual knee down?

Unrealistic and wrong

Computer games have never moved me. I just don’t get it.

Recently, I was completing a Sudoku on my iPad — it’s not a game, but a mental exercise! — when an ad appeared for some computer game where you use your finger to move things around a battlefield.

This is supposed to be fun?

In what parallel universe is that any fun?

I’ve also played several motorcycle computer games, but, try as they might, the programs are just not realistic.

They are also often wrong.

For example, the screen rotating from side to side while you corner is simply wrong. You should always keep your head vertical when cornering and let your body and the bike lean!

Don’t these programmers even ride?

Unrealistic racing game Virtual reality

Anyway, that is old-style gaming. Virtual reality has virtually changed the whole game.

Now gamers can totally immerse themselves.

They can race on the world’s greatest circuits next to Valentino Rossi, ride trails through the Rockies and perform stunts greater than Robbie Maddison.

And now prices have been dropped by about a third, making them much more accessible!

Oculus Rift virtual reality drops price

Ok, virtual reality gamers don’t cop the wind blast, the heat on their legs from the headers, the whiff of unspent fuel, the vibe from the engine, the G forces of an endo, the gut-churning feeling of hitting gravel mid-corner, or the sheer childish thrill of performing a wheelie outside the cop shop.

So how are we ever going to get these youngsters hooked on riding?

We desperately need the younger generation to become motorcyclists or the research and development for new models will dry up!

So I give thanks to the hipsters of the world.

MBW and a hipster

They may not be into bikes for the same reasons we were at their age, but at least they are into them and not sitting in their bedrooms playing with themselves … or gaming against opponents online!

At least chopping and dicing a motorcycle into a brat street tracker or scrambler cannot be attained on a computer screen.

Or can it?

  • What motorcycle computer games do you play and are they realistic? Leave your comments below.

The post Virtual reality threatens motorcycles appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

KTM 390 Duke adds tech and style

Sat, 04/03/2017 - 5:00pm

The 2017 KTM 390 Duke arrival in Australia has been pushed back to late May. It will cost an extra $990, but will have more tech features and stunning styling like its biggest brother.

The new model is now $6995 (+ on road costs), but has a host of changes.

They include: bigger 13.5-litre metal fuel tank up from 11 litres, a new orange and white trellis frame, ride-by-wire throttle, TFT instrument display, LED headlight, larger 320mm front disc brake, new exhaust and looks more like the biggest and baddest naked KTM, the 1290 Super Duke.

The 390 Duke has sadly never reached its potential in Australia, although last year, it increased sales 28.2% to 391, while KTM road bikes also showed a spike of 22.2% to 1656.

It sits behind the Yamaha MT-03 but ahead of the Honda CB500F.

That could change with the 2017 model which has sharper and bolder styling highlighted by the 20-piece LED headlight replacing the old halogen light. It also has a more modern LED taillight.

KTM has also improved the ergonomics with a bigger rider saddle section.

Apart from the styling, the biggest attraction is the longer range from the now-metal fuel tank.

Together with the more comfortable saddle it means longer trips aboard the new bike.

KTM claims the ride-by-wire throttle and Bosch engine management give better fuelling and throttle response.

Braking is also improved with a 320mm front disc and there is now a slipper clutch to prevent rear wheel lock-ups under downshifts.

Otherwise, the six-speed transmission and 375cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine are the same with 32kW and 37Nm of torque.

It now comes with a TFT instrument display rather than the old digital instruments, plus handlebar-mounted controls and KTM’s My Ride app to allow you to connect to an android phone to the bike.

However, it remains to be seen whether this budget novice end of the market wants all that hi-tech and a premium price tag.

The post KTM 390 Duke adds tech and style appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Marc Marquez scooters in the snow

Sat, 04/03/2017 - 6:45am

Triple MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has taken to the snow again and this time, not on an RC213V-S race bike, but this time on a scooter!

Marc rode the specially equipped Honda X-ADV adventure through the snow at Hahnenkamm mountain in Kitzbuehel, Austria.

The adventure scooter was unveiled last year at the Milan motorcycle show and is now confirmed for European markets.

However,  the X-ADV won’t be coming to Australia. At least for now.

Honda Motorcycles Australia spokesperson Kristy Ganter says “I can advise that currently there are no plans to release this model in  Australia”.

That doesn’t mean it won’t ever come here. They may test the market first.

The X-ADV is claimed to have a tough chassis, long-travel suspension, four-piston radial-mount brakes and a 745cc twin-cylinder engine driving through Dual Clutch Transmission.

It is also equipped with a five-level adjustable screen, underseat storage space for an off-road style helmet, hand guards, rally-style instrument display, centre stand, and the Honda Smart Key system.

Of course, this one had snow tyres!

It follows Marc Marquez’s recent ride on the RC213V-S.

What’s next for the triple champ; a ski jump on a Honda Lead?

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