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Updated: 27 min 38 sec ago

Royal Enfield tests GT750 retro bike

Sun, 14/05/2017 - 4:00pm

Royal Enfield is testing its upcoming GT750 in India and motorcycle websites are full of spy shots of the bike out on the streets of Chennai.

While there is no confirmation of the engine size which could be 650 or 750cc, we can see from these BikesMedia photos, that it has a similar frame and engine configuration to the Triumph Bonneville.

It features a twin-spar frame and oil-cooled, fuel-injected parallel twin with the oil cooler between the front bars of the frame.

There are two peashooter-style mufflers, twin rear shocks, dual instruments pods, single round headlight and flat bars, rather than clip-ons as used on the GT Continental.

So it’s basically a Bonneville style retro bike, not a Thruxton.

However, the new water-cooled Bonneville range has 900cc and 1200cc capacities, so the GT750 will compete more with the Indian-made Harley-Davidson Street 750 and new 750cc Street Rod. Harley currently dominates the over-601cc market in India, according to Harley international sales VP Marc McAllister.

Harley-Davidson Street Rod

The GT750 is billed as British-designed, engineered and built. It has been spied in testing in the UK but the fact that it has now been seen in the streets of India shows it could be a joint development project.

Perhaps the bike will be built in both India and the new $6.5m Royal Enfield technical centre and factory in Leicestershire, England.

The bike is expected to give the company a hefty boost in sales, particularly in India where it would be classed as a “super bike”.

Royal Enfield recorded its highest monthly sales in April with 60,142 bikes sold, up 25% on the previous month. All but 1578 were sold in India.

The biggest seller is the Classic 350 which sold 4,16,693 in the past year. Sales of their bikes over 350cc actually dropped 23% in April 2017.

The Indian motorcycle market is the biggest in the world selling almost 2 million two-wheelers last year, well ahead of China with 1.6 million sales.

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Open letter to car drivers from riders

Sun, 14/05/2017 - 6:00am

To all car drivers,

Very soon and filtering will be legal in all states of Australia, allowing riders to slip through stationary and slow-moving traffic.

But don’t hate motorcycle riders or be jealous of us. Be thankful that we are there as we are making the roads better for you!


Some of you drivers seem to have some animosity toward riders, but we hope it’s probably just jealousy.

You see us as freedom-loving easy riders who slip through the traffic and enjoy the sunshine, while you’re stuck in traffic. We know you’d love to be riding with us.

The only time you aren’t jealous of us is when it’s raining and miserable, but I hate to tell you this – we are still enjoying ourselves underneath our helmets and wet gear. Sorry.

Anyway, there is no reason for you car drivers to hate riders or to be jealous of us. You should, instead, be thankful that we are there as we are helping you as well as ourselves.

Be thankful

A 2012 study by Belgian consultancy Transport & Mobility Leuven has found that each time one of you drivers gets out of your car and rides a motorcycle instead, it eases traffic congestion, pollution and, of course, stress.

If there were just 10% more motorcycles it would mean 40% less congestion and 6% less pollution. If 25% swapped cars for bikes there would be no congestion. That’s none, zero, nada, zilch!

So don’t be jealous of motorcycle riders, be thankful. And maybe consider swapping to a motorcycle, yourself.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was only bike traffic!

And don’t be jealous of our newfound lane-filtering laws, either.

Slipping down the slow-moving or stationary traffic is actually helping you.

Think of it this way: If you are 11th in line at the traffic lights, but only 10 vehicles can get through in a light sequence, you will have to wait for the next set of lights.

However, if one or two of those positions in front of you were taken up by motorcycles who could slip down to the front between the lines of traffic, it moves you one or two positions forward and you get through this sequence of lights. Result is you get where you are going sooner!

Look twice, thrice

Ok, an abundance of lane-filtering riders means you have to pay a bit more attention, but isn’t it worth it?

For every red light you avoid because of lane filtering, you are saving about 40 seconds. Multiply that by the number of red lights you would avoid on your daily commute and that’s the saving on your commute time. No thanks required.

Meanwhile, look twice and maybe three times for motorcycles before you change lanes, emerge from a side street or turn across the road.

Help keep riders off the endangered species list, because we are vital to your survival!


Motorcycle riders.

PS: All riders should show this to a car-driving friend and help spread the word!

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Moto Expo becomes Motorcycle Show

Sat, 13/05/2017 - 4:00pm

The Moto Expo events of the past few years run by Troy Bayliss Events are now called the Motorcycle Show and will return to Sydney in November 2017.

Troy Bayliss Events started a competitive event to the motorcycle shows run by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries in 2014.

They were so successful in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the original motorcycle shows ceased as manufacturers were not able to afford to support both.

Crowds at the Brisbane Moto Expo

However, the FCAI has now contracted Troy Bayliss Events to run Sydney Motorcycle Show at the all-new Sydney International Convention Centre (ICC) on November 24-26.

It is expected to be followed by shows in Brisbane in early 2018 and Melbourne in November 2018 before returning to Sydney in 2019.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Tony Weber says they toured the ICC last year while it was in the final stages of construction.

Sydney International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour

“When we toured the venue with our brand representatives late last year we couldn’t help but be impressed by the ICC’s location, wireless connectivity, vast open spaces (all under cover) and stand design potential that such a versatile exhibition area creates,” he says.

“The new Darling Harbour facility is now a world-class exhibition venue. Our member brands are really enthused about the show and keen to support it. That’s always a great sign that we can expect a terrific showcase of what the industry has to offer.”

More than 100 exhibitors are expected to participate in the event which will unveil the latest new release motorcycles to the Australian market.

Event organiser Troy Bayliss  expects the show to reach exhibitor capacity before the end of the financial year.

“Moving the show back to Darling Harbour has proven to be popular with the motorcycle industry,” he says.

“Exhibitor sales are extremely high, and I expect we will be at capacity by the end of the financial year.

“This event will bring together the latest products, services, and offerings from all disciplines of the motorcycle industry for consumers to experience in the one place.

“We will be announcing some new initiatives in the coming months including a fantastic program targeting new riders,” Bayliss continued.

Showcasing the latest motorcycles, scooters, ATV’S, side-by-sides and much more the 2017 Sydney Motorcycle Show will give visitors the opportunity to engage with industry experts, test ride a range of both adults and children’s motorcycles as well as be entertained by a full program of demonstrations, stunts, and special features.

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Jay Leno features Aussie ‘Ducati’

Sat, 13/05/2017 - 6:00am

West Australian motorcycle company Vee Two features its Ritorno Ducati replica motorcycle in the latest edition of Jay Leno’s Garage.

Vee Two specialises in bevel-drive engines and motorcycles and is the largest manufacturing supplier for Ducati bevel parts world wide.

They also build the Ritorno bevel-gear Ducati replica engine to put into an historic bike frame or their own replica frame which is what is on show in this video.

“It takes you Australians to build a perfect Italian bike,” Jay says after riding the bike.

“What a fantastic engine this is. It’s a torque monster.

“Just like my bike only better. An extra 40hp, man what a difference.”

The engine costs about $A38,000 and the complete bike is a whopping $80,000.

However, the former Tonight Show host seems to think the bike is worth the money, saying how smooth and modern it feels, even though it is built off 1978 Ducati factory drawings and specifications as raced by Mike Halewood in the Isle of Man TT.

Vee Two draws on its years of racing experience to ensure the engine and chassis can withstand racing stresses.

The Ritorno engine is based on factory specifications for a 1970s-80s racing engine that never went into production.

However, they have made some changes to make the engine more robust and refined by modern standards.

The Nannup company builds street bikes as well as race bikes.

The post Jay Leno features Aussie ‘Ducati’ appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Braaap recall as fraud case in limbo

Fri, 12/05/2017 - 4:24pm

Pocket-sized Braaap Motorcycles has issued a safety recall on their retro ST-250 as their case against fraud and rebirthing charges stall in court.

Braaap GM founder Brad Smith says they are fighting the charges of “rebirthing” 85 motorcycles, brought by the NSW Property Crime Squad.

“We still have not had an opportunity to submit any evidence of defence in court,” he says.

“In the meantime, keeping everyone focused on what we can control and moving forwards.

“As always we have been very blessed to survive such an attack considering the circumstance.”

The defendants are unable to comment about the proceedings or any details that relate to the fraud case while it is before the courts; a process that is drawing out.

Meanwhile, Braaap has issued a recall on its ST-250 for a loose front fender.

The recall notice say the bracket could “fail”.

Owners are advised to contact their place of purchase to organise an appointment to have the bracket component replaced free of charge.

When we contacted Braaap GM Toby Wilkin last year about the fraud charges he said the future of the company “is bright”.

Braaap released a range of new  models in 2017.

The Government has suspended identification plate approvals for four of Braaap’s motorbikes because of noncompliance issues, but the suspension against the ST-250 was lifted.


In 2005, at the age of 17, Brad sourced factories in China to make bikes to his specifications.

He was named 2008 Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Tasmania’s Young Australian of the Year in 2010 while the company won the Australian Ret­ailers Association’s Small Business of the Year four times.

Last year Braaap issued a safety recall of about 200 bikes over the absence of stickers and stamps on the exhaust and other parts.


Toby referred to it at the time as a “glitch” in their internal auditing process.

“We’re fairly young in the industry as we’ve mainly done dirt bikes and only done road bikes for the past three years with a lot of growth,” he told us last year.

“We’ve made a change in the checking and quality assurance and are now making sure everything is spot on.”

The post Braaap recall as fraud case in limbo appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Yamaha tourer may get reverse

Fri, 12/05/2017 - 7:00am

Yamaha will unveil a new cruiser-style touring bike on June 5 in the USA with reverse, heated seats, grips, backrests, GPS and a Bluetooth music system.

At least that is what is hinted at in this official Yamaha teaser video.

Last year yamaha announced they would scrap the “Star” name for their cruiser range.

However, the Star brand features in the short video.

There are no other details about the coming bike.

The video is the third in a series that interviews current riders and asks them about what they want in a motorcycle.

One of the interviewees says they would love reverse, so that is more than hint that the bike will include that feature.

They wouldn’t include that comment if they didn’t intend to include reverse!

So far the only big touring motorcycles with reverse are the Honda Goldwing and BMW K 1600.

2017 BMW K 1600 GTL

Both use the starter motor as the reverse “gear”.

Harley owners have long asked for reverse and we may see that feature added later this year.

Big touring bikes weight more than 300kg really do need a reverse to help riders out of difficult asking situations.

It is not yet known if the Yamaha tourer will be available worldwide, but it will be unveiled in America at the Americade Rally in Lake George, New York on Monday, June 5, 2017.

A live internet video feed will be available at

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Riders rock for children’s charity

Fri, 12/05/2017 - 6:00am

Rock icons Daryl Braithwaite and Ross Wilson have joined motorcycle rock band the Screamin’ Eagles to produce the single “Brighter Days” to raise money for a children’s charity.

The catchy and emotional song is about the debilitating children’s skin disease Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa.

The Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association (DEBRA foundation) is one of the beneficiaries from the annual motorcycle, cars and music Brighter Days Festival in Bright each March.

The festival, sponsored by Harley-Davidson Australia, was put together by Screaming’ Eagles lead singer Steve “Dundo” Dundon of HD TV fame. Dundo also wrote the Brighter Days song with Brendan Fitzgerald.

Dundo of Screamin’ Eagles

Dundo says he invited rock legends Braithwaite, Wilson, Mick Pealing and Susie Ahern to perform on the single for free and they “jumped” at the opportunity.

All proceeds from the sale of the CD go to DEBRA. You can buy it here.

Brighter Days Festival began in 2013 and in its first year raised more than $32,000 for DEBRA and Sudden Unexplained Death In Childhood. So far, they have raised more than $1 million for the two charities.

The video for the Brighter Days single features scenes from the annual festival and some of the children who suffer the disease which is like having third-degree burns.

The disease makes every day a struggle as everything that touches their skin causes it to peel off. There is no cure in sight.

The festival name and the single come from the location of the festival in Bright, but also the hope that fund raising can make brighter days ahead for the children.

You can buy the Brighter Days single as part of a five-track Screaming’ Eagle CD for $25 through the Brighter Days website.

The CD also includes Dundo’s song “Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda” about the decision-making process in buying your dream Harley!

The Brighter Days Festival returns on the Labor Day weekend in March 2018. Stay tuned for the full list of attractions.

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Registry for crash victim volunteers

Thu, 11/05/2017 - 5:00pm

A registry of volunteers to help recovering riders injured in a motorcycle crash is being set up by a Hawkebsury couple who also suffered in a motorcycle crash.

Cheri and Greg Nunn are collecting the names and contact details of volunteers and what services they can provide for injured riders.

Greg and Cheri

Services could consist of ferrying the injured to rehabilitation or doctor appointments, getting the weekly groceries or just help with housekeeping, house and yard maintenance and things like mowing the lawn, depending on insurance coverage.

The registry will be an online source once Cheri has collected enough volunteers to get it started.

“We want to set up a registry of those willing to help at no cost in all and any areas nationally,” Cheri says.

“I will seek counsel on the best way to set up a registry of helping hands,” she says.

Meanwhile, she is asking people to contact her via this Facebook page.  

She just needs your name, mobile contact, what area you live in and what service you can offer.

“The service would need to be offered to anyone in need, not just the bikers in rehab, but their families, too, who are struggling to keep the house maintained,” Cheri says.

The volunteer registry idea started after Cheri and Greg were involved in a crash on their 1994 Harley-Davidson Softail Custom on Anzac Day 2016.

Even though it was a low-impact accident, they both suffered extensive injuries and have had a long, arduous rehabilitation.

So they set up a personal Facebook page about their recovery, seeking the help of friends and relatives.

They have both suffered through long rehabilitation with Greg getting a complicated post-op infection and hassles with payments from Centrelink.

However, they say they are now on the mend and want to return the help they have been given in their convalescence.

“I just want to alleviate the frustration we felt trying to get ongoing help with things we can’t do,” says Cheri.

“I’d like to achieve this nationally and set up a registry for different areas.”

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Win Harley jacket, watch at store opening

Thu, 11/05/2017 - 12:00pm

The second Harley-Davidson dealership in Auckland, New Zealand, is opening with a party and a Harley jacket and watch to give away.

North Auckland Harley-Davidson will open on Saturday (May 13, 2017) with a barbecue and drinks and proceeds going to the Pink Ribbon charity, NZ Breast Cancer Foundation.

The electric Project Livewire motorcycle will also be on display, riders will be able to test ride any of the new models, non-riders will be able to let the clutch out on a Harley on the Jump Start stand, and rider trainers will be on hand to answer any questions.

The store will have a 20% discount sale on accessories and clothing, and if you buy anything on the day, you will go into the draw to win a $1000 genuine Harley leather jacket, or a Harley watch worth $200.

While Morgan & Wacker Harley-Davidson dealership in Brisbane recently celebrated 100 years of the brand in Australia, there is no official record of when the brand launched in New Zealand, according to former M&W staff member Phil Heath.

Read about the 100th birthday celebrations

“It’s a bit sad that there’s no certainty about the Harley origins in New Zealand,” says Phil who is now working at North Auckland Harley-Davidson.

“But there’s a strong link,” he says.

North Auckland Harley-Davidson dealership team

“Back in the days when they were a distributor as well as a dealer, M&W from 1984 distributed Harleys and all their associated products in New Zealand too.

“In fact, it was M&W who gave the NZ market a proper structure, and appointed the dealer network in places pretty much as we know it today.”

Auckland Harley-Davidson dealer principal Ray Pratt has opened the second store in Takapuna to better cater for the city’s North Shore population.

Ray’s son, Greg, is the dealer principal at North Auckland HD, 64 Barry’s Point Rd, which has 650sq/m of floor space.

There are now seven HD dealerships in NZ.

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Entire Laverda Museum for sale

Wed, 10/05/2017 - 5:00pm

The entire Laverda Museum collection from Dutch collector and marque specialist Cor Dees is being offered for sale.

The collection features 81 motorcycles, scooters and mopeds and covers the complete history of Moto Laverda from 1950 to 2000.

All machines and Laverda motorabilia, which are housed in the family museum in Lisse, The Netherlands, will be sold as one lot through classic vehicle broker Via Thema.

The Laverda Museum was opened in April 2006 with hundreds of Laverda enthusiasts riding in from around Europe.

Dees had a close friendship with the Laverdas family and was able to buy many of the bikes and associated memorabilia such as photos, films and documents, directly from the factory.

The Laverda fan was attracted by the “beautiful exhaust tone” and the “robust styling” of the Italian marque.

He collected the bikes he liked, but also those that were significant in the history of the Italian brand.

The collection includes one of the first production bikes, the 1950 75 Turismo, plus Massimo Laverda’s personal 1951 Laverda 75 Turismo which was donated to the museum.

There is also an early example of a first-batch Laverda 650 from May 1968 which formed the basis for the successful Laverda 750 range.

The museum also has 12 historic race bikes from the factory’s 1970s hey days as well as selected Milano-Taranto and Motogiro works racers from the 1950s.

Dees is selling because of ill health.

But it’s good news that the collection will be sold as one lot and not broken up and spread around the world.

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Harley donates $100k to brain cancer

Wed, 10/05/2017 - 6:00am

Harley-Davidson Australia has invited two brain cancer patients on its 100th anniversary ride with Harley “royalty” and is donating $100,000 to the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

Brain cancer patients Paul McLean and Josh Chalmers are accompanying Bill Davidson, great grandson of a company founder, on the anniversary ride from Sydney to Melbourne.

And when they arrive on Friday (May 12, 2017), HD Australia and Harley Heaven, Melbourne, will donate $100,000 to brain cancer research.

HD Australia boss Nigel Keogh says it’s all about “perspective”.

“Riding a Harley is about freedom and if we can give these guys some temporary freedom from their cancer, then it’s been worthwhile,” he says.

The riders are part of a group of about 40 VIPs, media and HOG riders spreading awareness of brain cancer on the ride which rolled into Canberra last night.

Riders on the 100th anniversary ride

Cure Brain Cancer spokesperson Nici Andronicus (pictured above with Josh and Paul) provided some of the harrowing statistics of brain cancer:

  • Only 20% of people diagnosed with brain cancer survive for five years and that figure has barely improved in more than 30 years;
  • The disease is the biggest killer of children in Australia; and
  • It kills more people under 40 than any other cancer.

“Despite these shocking statistics, brain cancer receives less than 5% of Federal Government cancer funding,” she says.

“That is why initiatives like the Harley-Davidson 100 year ride, which raise funds and awareness, are so important.

“In my opinion, early diagnosis is important to maximise the time for specialists to consider treatment options.”

Paul’s daughter, Annabelle, is joining him on the ride after Paul walked her down the aisle last month at her wedding to husband Sean.

It was 11 years after Paul’s initial brain cancer diagnosis.

“Dad has always been my legend, even before his diagnosis”, says Annabelle.

“Since that time, we have learnt to treasure the special moments we get to spend together.”

Paul says he used to ride a Harley Dyna Wide Glide but had to gave it up after his diagnosis.

He and Annabelle are now pillions on the ride with volunteer HOG members.

Josh, is a keen rider and instructor, who says he is now “addicted” to the Harley Ultra Limited he has been riding with wife, Annabele, in the comfortable pillion seat.

“How can you not be addicted when it’s got this much torque?” he says.

“I’ve always thought of riding as a kind of two-wheel meditation.

“When I was first diagnosed with brain cancer, I was determined not to let this disease hold me back from my passion of riding. I now measure my quality of life on being able to ride a bike.”

The ride is part of the iconic motorcycle brand’s celebrations of 100 years in Australia after Morgan & Wacker opened the first Harley dealership outside the S in 1917.

Harley-Davidson Australia’s generous donation to Cure Brain Cancer Foundation will go towards funding further research, advocacy and awareness.

Paul and Josh have also set up fundraising pages that can be found here.

The ride heads to Albury today, Traralgon tomorrow and Melbourne on Friday.

Josh’s ride with cancer Josh and Annabelle

On June 9, 2008, Josh rode his motorbike into work at the Newcastle Air Force base as normal and completed a mission. In the lunch room, he had a massive grand mal seizure and was rushed to hospital.

Josh was told he had a golf-ball sized brain tumour and had two years to live if he was lucky. He was 22 years old. At the time, he was an Air Combat Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force and was only recently back from an eigh-month deployment in Afghanistan.

Two days later Josh had an emergency craniotomy, followed by six weeks of radical radiotherapy. But, as soon as he had recovered from surgery, he was bungee-jumping in New Zealand!

Josh met his now-wife Annabelle in July 2008 at a party on the RAAF base, and it was absolute love at first sight! Josh was two weeks into his radiotherapy treatment at the time and, inspired by the experience, Annabelle became a radiotherapist.

Josh and Annabelle were married in 2012, two years beyond his initial prognosis.

In 2014, after a string of seizures, Josh was told that the cancer had come back. He had his second craniotomy in March. Since that diagnosis, Josh has trialled three different types of chemotherapies, which has proved successful as his tumour is currently stable.

Josh credits his positive approach to his cancer journey to being able to get out on the motorbike. He terms it “two-wheel meditation” and measures his quality of life on the sense of freedom he get from being out on the bike.

Josh has followed his passion for motorbikes into his current career as a rider instructor and is part-way through an Engineering degree. He has just completed his fourth Ride to Conquer Cancer, a 200km bike ride, and over the last four years has raised over $12,000 for Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. And, of course, more bungee-jumping!

Paul’s battle with cancer Paul and Annabelle with Bill Davidson

In 2005, Paul McClean was successfully building a start-up media technology business with the Ramsay Group as CEO.

He began to suffer various symptoms that were misdiagnosed, until an MRI and CT scans in February 2006 revealed a substantial tumour behind his left eye involving the optic nerve and the front left brain lobe.

The tumour was removed by world renowned neurosurgeon Professor Charlie Teo days later on February 15 and was subsequently diagnosed as Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the Lacrimil Gland. This cancer is very rare and subsequent to consultation with seven leading Australian and international oncologists, impossible to cure.

The ACC prognosis was dire, until Paul discovered the opportunity to gain access to a clinical trial for proton beam radiation with sensitizing cis-platinum chemotherapy at the Harvard Medical School at the Massachusetts General Hospital in April of 2006.

Gaining access to the trial was very difficult, requiring multiple submissions to the Board of Harvard Medical School, including one rejection, before successful resubmission. The reality of the prohibitive trial cost, at $300,000 for the three-month treatment, was a devastating blow.

That was when the local northern beaches community rallied to raise funds for the life-saving treatment and Paul was sent into ‘lock-down’ in Boston to persevere more radiation and chemo-therapy than any other previous patient – Paul has always been a man on a mission. Despite the odds he continues to bravely battle this relentless cancer. But much has changed from his past life of 11 years ago.

Initially Paul returned to his CEO role at Visionbytes Pty Ltd. Over time the pain caused by radiation damage became impossible to manage, and he retired in 2012.

By 2013, five days before celebrating a milestone 50th birthday, Paul returned to Boston for follow up consultations to discover the recurrence of the primary ACC, together another tumour in the centre of his brain and another positioned around the brain stem. But the worst news was the revelation of a metastases, also on the brain, that explained the increasing impact of symptoms and pain. In September that year Paul realised he had a new prognosis of survival measured in months.

The most difficult part of the four tumours in Paul’s head is the complete lack of medical options. The tumours are inoperable, the symptoms and pain are very difficult and there are currently no available treatment options, despite the best efforts of the Northern Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Centre at Royal North Shore Hospital.

Paul’s wife Nici and five children Annabelle (25), Ash (23), Alexander (14), Ava (13) and Alfie (10)  have played a huge role in encouraging a positive, partying, celebration of a survival over this time, with a resolute refusal to accept any other option other than for him to keep breathing at all costs.

Annabelle, his eldest daughter whom he walked down the aisle and gave away to Sean Miller  has been hugely influenced by her father’s medical nightmare and is now studying her third degree, a Bachelor of Health Science and focusing on nutritional medicine to find natural and alternative solutions to Paul’s condition.

Annabelle and Paul are extremely close, the long-term impact of the prospect that her father was highly likely to die sooner rather than later has meant that she has developed well beyond her years and is resolute in her campaign to make sure the right food is consumed at all times!

“As a family we have held a long-term belief that cures for brain cancers can found and that with greater funding and resulting research the outlook is very positive,” she says.

Having now spent 11 years battling his cancer Paul is seeking through his own experience past and ongoing to help others better cope with the dire circumstance that brain cancer presents.

He believes there are many positive and constructive ways of dealing with brain cancer and making the most of every moment that is left.

“Living in the moment and better understanding and appreciating life, family, friends and community is of the upmost importance,” he says.

Paul McClean was born on 23rd September 1963 in London, he is now 53 years old, a father of five children and has lived in Sydney, Australia for 30 years.

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Ducati recalls Multistrada on shock issue

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 5:51pm

Ducati is issuing a worldwide recall on 2016-17 Multistrada 1200 Enduro models over an issue with the Sachs shock breaking.

The official notice through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has now been released.

Ducati says the Sachs semi-active lower rear shock absorber end eyelet may crack and possibly detach from the swingarm.

The official notice says: “An intensive off-road use of the motorcycle could result in a breakage of the lower eyelet of the rear shock absorber, causing the rear shock to become loose from its mounting point.”

Obviously, that could lead to a crash.

“To prevent possible breakage, the lower eyelet of the rear shock absorber was redesigned to make it more robust. The new part number of the rear shock absorber with modified eyelet is 36521464A,” Ducati says.

Ducati is expected to contact owners to arrange for an inspection and free replacement from their dealers.

This follows the recall in 2015 on the 2015 and 2016 Multistrada 1200 and 1200 S models over a sidestand fault that could cause it to fall over.


Recall notices are issued by the manufacturer through a voluntary industry code under the ACCC.

Despite hundreds of recalls by various automotive manufacturers, none has ever been mandatory.  All have been issued by the manufacturer.

While any recall is not good news for the manufacturer, it shows that they are largely diligent in fixing problems.

If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites:

• Australia


• UK

• New Zealand

• Canada

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Ducati seeks Royal Enfield buyout

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 5:00pm

Ducati is reported to have sought a buyout from Royal Enfield owner Eicher Motors, according to the Times of India.

Volkswagen was recently also reported to be looking for a buyer for Ducati to allay some of its massive debts over the 2015 emissions scandal.

Now it seems Ducati has reached out to Indian automotive manufacturer Eicher to buy them.

Eicher boss did not confirm the buyout report.

“We are always open to thoughts and ideas,” he told the Times of India.

“But as you know, we are the most focused and selective company… So basically, without saying absolutely no to anything – because we never say never – we are so zeroed in on our own opportunity that we do not want anything to distract us.”

Either already has links with Sweden’s Volvo for heavy commercial vehicles and American manufacturer Polaris for utility vehicles.

A link with Ducati would make sense since Royal Enfield currently doesn’t have any motorcycles over 500cc capacity, although a 750cc parallel twin Interceptor is coming.

Royal Enfield Interceptor

It is believe Ducati would cost about $1.6 billion (all dollar values in $US).

VW bought the Italian motorcycle manufacturer for $1.12 billion in 2012, including $261 million in debt. It is now estimated to be making $109m a year.

In 2015, VW was sprung for using software that turned off emissions controls and falsified their emissions figures.

The company has agreed to pay $15 billion to US authorities and the owners of about 500,000 affected vehicles.

Volkswagen faces more payouts and has laid off 3000 workers to save money, despite revenue last year of $217.27b which was an increase of 1.86%.

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Davida adds leather liner replacement

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:00pm

Now riders can replace the leather liner in their Davida helmet to prolong its life or create an alternative custom look to match your riding gear.

The replacement leather liner kits for Davida’s English-made Speedster V3 and Ninety 2 helmets include the foam ears, strap covers and comfort liner.

It does not include the satin crown, but it can be removed to be washed.

The Speedster V3 kits cost £45 (about $A77) and come in five colours: black, brown, ZNut brown, ROX blood red and white.

The Ninety 2 kits cost £40 (about $69) and come in black, brown and ZNut brown.

Chin straps can be bought separately for £15 (about $A25).

Both helmets are European ECE22.05 approved which means they are legal in Australia. They are also DOT-approved for the USA.

The leather is cut, sewn and finely quilted.

The lining can be removed and replaced in a matter of minutes.

Each leather liner kit is size specific as the helmet shell is different for each size which is how they are able to make one of the world’s lowest-profile helmets.

Many helmets now have removable linings which is a great idea for extending the life of your helmet and removing that stale sweaty smell.

If you do remove the lining from your helmet, follow the washing or cleaning instructions carefully.

The lining is one of the most important safety aspects of a helmet as it not only absorbs some of the impact in a crash, but also keeps the helmet stable on your head, rather than moving around.

It can compress over time and may no longer fit firmly around your head.

Cleaning the lining can restore some of its firm-fit ability.

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SWM adds Superdual adventurer

Mon, 08/05/2017 - 5:00pm

Revived Italian motorcycle manufacturer SWM will enter the growing mid-sized adventure bike market with the arrival of the Superdual this month (May 2017).

A pre-production model was displayed at the 2016 Moto Expo in Melbourne and SWM Australia spokesman Stephen “Tuffy” Tuff says it attracted a lot of interest.

It arrives in the next few weeks at $9990 plus on-road costs and comes with a two-year, 20,000km parts and labour warranty.

Tuffy says dealers have been “inundated with enquiry and quite a few deposits”.

“There’s definitely a gap in the adventure market for a quality single-cylinder machine that’s capable of comfortable long-distance riding,” he says.

The Superdual is based on the Husqvarna TE 630 engine and shares the same Husky 600cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-valve four-stroke engine as the SWM RS 650R.

However, it has slightly more power thanks to an under-slung exhaust.

Suspension includes 45mm upside-down Fast Ace forks with 210mm of travel and a fully adjustable Sachs rear shock with 270mm of travel, so it should be quite a capable rough road rider.

The Superdual comes with a 19-litre tank, spoked wheels, six-speed gearbox, a very high 860mm seat, hand guards, skid plate and Brembo brakes.

To help with touring, a Superdual GT Kit is available for $1500 which contains Givi panniers and brackets and LED fog lights.

SWM (Sironi Vergani Vimercate Milano) was founded in 1971 and forged a formidable reputation in trials and enduro.

It was liquidated in 1984 and given a new lease on life in 2014 with funding from the Chinese Shineray Group.

Their new range of dirt and road bikes is Italian designed and built in the same production plant in Lombadia, Italy, where the company started.

  • Engine: 600cc, liquid-cooled DOHC 4-valve single cylinder four-stoke
  • Power: 40kW
  • Bore x Stroke: 100 x 76.4mm
  • Transmission: 6-speed, wet multi-plate hydraulic clutch
  • Ignition: GET
  • Fuel system: Mikuni D45 EFI
  • Front suspension: 45mm USD Fast Ace fork with 210mm of travel
  • Rear suspension: Fully adjustable Sachs shock with 270mm of travel
  • Front wheel: 19-inch with 300mm brake disc
  • Rear wheel: 17-inch with 220mm brake disc
  • Seat: 860mm
  • Wheelbase: 1510mm
  • Fuel capacity: 19-litres
  • Dry weight: 159kg

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Bell marks 100 years of Aussie Harley

Mon, 08/05/2017 - 12:00pm

A limited edition of 1000 Bell Custom 500 helmets has been produced to honour 100 years of Harley-Davidson in Australia, but you better be quick.


Dealers only have a limited supply in various sizes and all were quickly sold out at Morgan & Wacker on Saturday at their launch party for the week-long 100th anniversary celebrations.

Harley sent the artwork to Bell helmets and they made the special limited-edition run just for the anniversary.

Bell Custom 500 helmets have one of the slimmest profiles of any helmet and Harley has several special models in the line-up.

But the most collectable would have to be this 100th anniversary model for only $199.

Harley-Davidson Australia is also celebrating the special anniversary by giving away a Street Glide signed by Willie G. Davidson, the grandson of founder William A. Davidson.

It includes Willie G. famous autograph on the tank plus special paintwork, wheels and Harley’s Boom! Audio Stage II with pannier speakers.

For a chance to win the Willie G. Street Glide, riders have to buy a commemorative 100 years pin for $25 (including shipping) to go into the draw. You can buy your pin here or at dealerships.

HD 100th Anniversary pin

Harley has also launched a special 100th Anniversary Apparel Collection of men’s and women’s long and short-sleeved t-shirts and hoodies. They are available for a limited time at dealerships. Check out the catalogue here.

Harley-Davidson Australia 100th Anniversary t-shirts

The 100th anniversary celebrations started with an invitation-only party on Friday night (May 5, 2017) with Bill Davidson at Morgan & Wacker in Brisbane.

It was the first Harley dealership in Australia and the first in the world outside of the USA.

Bill then rode to Gasoline Alley, Daisy Hill, and to the Morgan & Wacker Harley dealership on the Gold Coast.

He is now in Sydney for media interviews about the 100th anniversary of the brand in Australia before embarking on a ride to several dealerships down to Melbourne from tomorrow (May 9).

Bill Davidson

You can meet Bill Davidson and help your local dealership celebrate 100 years:

  • Monday, May 8, 6.30pm, Northern Beaches Harley-Davidson Dealer
  • Tuesday, May 9, 6.30pm, Canberra Harley-Davidson
  • Wednesday, May 10, 6.30pm, Phil’s Garage, Albury
  • Thursday, May 11, 6.30pm, Traralgon Harley-Davidson
  • Friday May 12, 6.30pm, Harley Heaven, Melbourne
  • (See your local dealership for invitations and details)
Ask Bill

Motorbike Writer will be tagging along for the Sydney-to-Melbourne leg, so if you have any questions to ask Bill, please email them to us.

There isn’t much Bill hasn’t done in the company since joining in 1984.

He has held many positions and is now the Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum.

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30km/h target in Global Road Safety Week

Mon, 08/05/2017 - 6:00am

Motorists are being urged to slow down to 30km/h in urban areas in the fourth annual United Nations Global Road Safety Week from today (May 8, 2017).

The UN “Save Lives #SlowDown” campaign (May 8-14, 2017) cites World Health Organisation (WHO) “research” that claims a 5% cut in average speed can result in a 30% reduction in the number of fatal road traffic crashes.

It calls for a reduction of the speed limit in urban areas where motorised traffic miles with pedestrians and cyclists to “under 30km/h”!

WHO “fact sheet”

Like the Australian Fatality Free Friday road safety initiative, the UN campaign asks motorists to “take the pledge” to slow down and join their social media bulletin board.

It might seem very noble, but it’s a simplistic campaign to a very complex problem.

In fact, the recent 108-page WHO “Powered two- and three-wheeler safety” report identified how complex the problem is.

It gave a multitude of suggested solutions including reducing roadside hazards and providing special motorbike lanes.

Instead, the UN response is a simplistic pledge and a reduced speed limit that ignores the deeper issues:

  • Driver education;
  • Improving road standards;
  • Proper accident research; and
  • Increased policing patrols.
  • These all cost governments money.

Instead, the UN pledge puts the emphasis on the motorist to slow down and is free, so it will no doubt be embraced by governments.

The pledge is also a concern because the UN gives credibility to the politically easy move to decrease speeds and increase speeding fines and for authorities to step up speed camera deployment.

Not only do these not cost governments a lot of money; they actually generate revenue!

So guess which way the authorities will go on this – follow the UN #slowdown campaign and reduce urban speed limits, or initiate expensive and complex solutions?

Video lesson

Meanwhile, we just thought we’d throw in this video from Portugal of a rider who hits the back of a car and lands on the roof.

What caused this crash?

Is it a case of speeding, following too closely, incorrect lane positioning by the driver, lack of rider education, a driver slowing down at the wrong time …

Like many crashes, it has a complex cause.

So the solution needs more thought than a simple pledge to slow down or to implement urban speed limits of 30km/h.

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Reader reviews Helite airbag vest

Sun, 07/05/2017 - 5:00pm

Rider Karen Curley of Canberra recently sent us photos of her wearing a Helite airbag vest at Mount Panorama Circuit on a ride with my fellow FRoCers (Female Riders of Canberra).

She won the Helite airbag safety vest earlier this year in a Motorbike Writer competition to launch the safety product via our new online shop.

“As you can see from the photos the vest is no longer shiny new. It gets worn every time I am on the bike,” she says.

“I am loving the vest. Been promoting it when asked about it.”

Buy Helite airbag vests and jackets in our online shop

We asked Karen for an honest review of the jacket and she didn’t pull any punches!

Is it comfortable? 

At first it was heavy and I would think females who are slight of build might find it too heavy for them. You are definitely adding an extra layer. I also had to adjust the velcro straps as it needs to accommodate the female form, which would be handy to have instructions on where the front of the vest is meant to be. I am wearing it so not to be too restrictive across the chest. But if you look at the pictures of the guys wearing the vest, the front of mine isn’t sitting like that.

Is it hot?

It could be in heat of summer especially if you don’t have a summer weight/mesh jacket. For me it was a little uncomfortable in the heat, mainly when at a standstill but it helped that I have a mesh jacket.

Does the extra layer keep out the chill?

At the back it is very good as it is long and covers your lower back where the pants and jacket usually meet. But not so much at the front for me as I have a gap that lets the wind straight through.

Helite hi-vis airbag vest


How long does it take to put on and take off?

In under a minute to put on or off including clicking or unclicking the three snap buckles together. Just be careful you don’t click the snap buckle for the canister and the vest together … it happens. Another 10 seconds tops to click into the release cord strap that is anchored to my bike frame. With gloves on it can be tricky to unclick quickly. And yes, you remember quickly that you are attached to your bike after the first few times of that tugging sensation as you go to walk away from the bike.

Does it hamper your movement?  

Yes and no. At first try-on I felt like the neck line was too high and was restricting my head movement. But once you start wearing it and adjust the straps, I don’t notice it anymore.  Also walking around in the vest and riding position are two different things. Riding position I have no issue.

Helite airvest Any comments from other riders?

Yes, some fellow riders have asked what I am wearing. They notice the canister first. I explain what it is and what different styles/colours you can get it in. Some have taken note and are looking at investing in the future, others it is all about a having a go at wearing the vest and exploding it. I am not encouraging that.

Helite textile jacket Any other comments?

Not knowing if the front of the vest is sitting in the right position, it is a little firm across the chest but if feel if I loosened the straps any further the vest would be gaping at the front too much. I think going up another size wouldn’t help as it would add extra length at the back and front which then would, for me, hamper the comfort when sitting on my bike, being too long both front and back, folding on itself and digging in at the front and the back resting on the seat pushing the vest up.  The hi-vis does get grubby compared to if it was black. I haven’t switched to my winter jacket so some further adjustment may be required.

Helite is also available in a leather jacket Are you happy with the vest?

Overall I am very happy with the vest. When out travelling I feel safer knowing I have it on. I like the hi-vis vest as you are more visible and the vest makes it easier to switch to different jackets. If someone asked  “Is it worth it?” YES! How can you put a price on yourself? It might be the difference between riding again or not. But with most bike gear they don’t accommodate for females with boobs. I think manufacturers think female riders are small/flat-chested pillions.  That is so not the case.


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What makes a good motorcycle cafe?

Sun, 07/05/2017 - 6:00am

What are the criteria for a good motorcycle cafe and which is your favourite?

There are thousands of cafes around the world that dedicate themselves to motorcycle riders and the most famous would be the Ace Cafe in North London.

Yet, despite its rich history, the cafe is a bit of a letdown. It’s on the shabby side and feels a bit touristy.

We’ve been to many motorcycle cafes around the world and some of them are motorcycle cafes in name only.

So what makes a good motorcycle cafe?


Like a good property it’s location, location, location.

It has to be on or near a good motorcycling road or track.

Cafe Fahrtwind (pictured top of the page) would have to be near the top of any motorcycle cafe list, not only for its hilarious name (translation = ride wind), but also because it is near the famous Nurburgring where motoring fanatics on two and four wheels go to get a blast of high-speed adrenalin.


The Ace Cafe is steeped in history.

It was a London truckers’ café before becoming a favourite haunt of Britain’s bikers and a powerful symbol of post-war counterculture. The Ace Cafe gained notoriety as the biker hangout in the early 1960s and formed an instrumental piece of the café racer culture of the era.

Modern cafes just can’t manufacture history. However, they can at least ensure there is plenty of historic memorabilia on display.

Good coffee Waitress Tayla at the Pit Stop Cafe on Mt Mee

Gone are the days of instant coffee. Thankfully you can stop in the middle of nowhere these days and still get a decent coffee.

But if we’re paying up to an exorbitant $5 for a coffee, we expect good quality. And don’t think we don’t know what a good coffee is!

Also, there are a lot of tea drinkers these days and a wide selection of teas that could be provided, not just English Breakfast or Earl Grey.

Coffee stop at Flavours Cafe, Boonah Bargain prices

While there is a good mix of people from all walks of life who ride motorcycles, we do seem to be a fairly tight-fisted bunch. So don’t overcharge for coffee and cake.

Sure, there are some well-off professionals who ride, but make sure there are some cheap options on your menu, as well.

Motorcyclist owners

Cafe owners don’t have to be motorcyclists, but the best motorcycle cafes are owned by riders.

They understand what a ride wants and needs.

They’re also a good person to talk to about bikes when the cafe is near empty on a midweek afternoon.

A motorcyclist cafe owner will also support rider issues and provide vital information about policing and speed camera activity.

Good view

We’re not necessarily talking about a view of the scenery, although the Pit Stop Cafe on Mt Mee has one of the best views!

We’re motorcycle fanatics and we love looking at bikes. So it would be just as entertaining to have a view of the parking lot or of the road going past so we can watch the bikes.

Mt Glorious Cafe Reading material

Apart from bench racing, riders love to read old copies of motorcycle magazines while sipping their lattes or for taking to the loo.

But cafe owners should make sure there is a good spread of material.

Not everyone is interested in chopper mags, or MotoGP mags.

And remember there is a growing number of female riders, so anachronistic mags with centrefolds are not appropriate.

Extras Royal Cafe, Walcha

Cafe owners can do more than just having a motorcycle name for the cafe or menu items with names such as a Laverda Latte, Beemer Burger, Suzuki Salad or Triumph Toastie.

Some cafes supply free visor cleaning kits and chain oil. And how about a drying cabinet to put wet gloves in while the riders are having a coffee?   

If you’re really going all out, how about installing an air pressure hose, or at least supplying an air pressure gauge?

Riders don’t expect everything for free, though.

How about stocking a range of gloves, balaclavas and neck socks available to purchase? It’s extra revenue as well.

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CFMoto 650MT adventurer coming

Sat, 06/05/2017 - 5:00pm

It’s taken more than three years, but CFMoto is finally releasing its 650MT adventure tourer in Australia at a bargain price.

CFMoto Australia is offering the bike from launch in mid-May until end of July 2017 at a $500 discount on the ride-away price.
The bike comes in two models: $6990 ride away for the standard 650MT or $7490 ride away for the 650MT including the 32-litre Shad pannier kit.

CFMoto Australia director Michael Poynton says the 650MT is being introduced with a price differential between 30-50% over competitors.

The 650MT is a learner-approved road-biased adventure tourer with its 17-inch wheels, rather than a hard-core adventure bike.

Its main rivals are the Honda CB500X ABS ($7999 +ORC), Kawasaki Versus 650L ABS ($10,199 +ORC) and Suzuki DL650 V-Strom (from $10,290 +ORC).

The Royal Enfield Himalayan 400 ($5990 +ORC), SWM Superdual ($9,990 +ORC) and Yamaha XT660Z Tenere ($13,999 +ORC) have more adventurous wheels and rubber.

The 650MT seems to be oriented toward about 80% road and 20% smooth dirt as this video shows.

It shares the same platform as the 650NK and 650TK and also gets styling treatment from KTM’s design house, Kisha.

Read our CFMoto 650NK review

Like the other 650 models, it is powered by a 649.3cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin engine, with an 8-valve, DOHC, Bosch EFI system and Ducati ECU.

Peak power is restricted via a throttle stop to 41.5KW at 9500rpm with peak torque of 62NM at 7000rpm.

It comes with adjustable engine modes of sport and rain.

Brakes are the same as on the naked and touring models supplied by Spanish company J.Juan with dual 300mm discs up front and a 240mm disc at the rear and Continental ABS.

Suspension features upside-down forks with 140mm of travel and a rear cantilever shock with 145mm of travel. Clearance is 170mm, so it should be fine to tackle light dirt-road duties.

Touring features include an adjustable windscreen, large 18-litre fuel tank with up to 400km of range and LED lighting.

The seat height is 840mm but there is a low-seat option that drops it 20mm.

The instruments include a trip meter, clock and fuel warning light.

CFMoto Australia has more than 80 dealers across the country.

CFMoto 650MT
  • Price: $6990 ride away (standard), $7490 (with panniers)
  • Warranty: 2 years 
  • Engine: 649.3cc, liquid-cooled, 8-valve, DOHC parallel twin
  • Power: 41.5kW @ 9000rpm
  • Torque: 56Nm @ 7000rpm
  • Compression: 11.3:1
  • Bore x stroke: 83x60mm
  • Transmission: 6-speed, chain drive
  • Suspension: USD forks, KYB air-gas shock with 7-step adjustment
  • Tyres: 120/70-17;160/60-17
  • Brakes: dual 300mm discs, 240mm rear disc, ABS
  • Wet weight: 206kg (454.2 pounds)
  • Seat: 840mm
  • Clearance: 170mm
  • Fuel tank: 18 litres
  • Colours: Blue and white

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