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Updated: 33 min 6 sec ago

Di Jones tackles Superbike championships

Fri, 07/04/2017 - 5:00pm

Brisbane rider Di Jones, is another “superwoman” taking on the men in the premier racing divisions in two Australian motorcycle road racing championships.

She competes this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park in the Australasian Superbike Championship as the sole woman in the FX C&D grade and Formula Oz classes.

Meanwhile, Sydney Detective Sergeant Ashlee De Bakker is competing as a privateer in the superbike category in the 2017 Australasian Superbike Championship.

Read all about Ashlee’s campaign.

Ashlee De Bakker A natural progression

Di says racing against men seemed a natural progression from road riding.

“It is quite an intimidating sport to most women and is hard to break into given we rarely come from motorsport families; and support and knowledge is invaluable,” she says

“It’s nice to be able to show other women that they can do whatever they want to do.”

Di has been competing at the state level since 2011 and at national level since 2013.

“My friends actually convinced me to get into racing back in 2003 and then I competed in my first race,” she says.

“I expected not to do so well being new to it but actually won what was South Australia’s inaugural female-only road race. The next year I won all bar one of the women’s only events.”

She spent several years away from racing and returned in 2011 and was second outright in the 1000cc D-grade Unlimited class in the 2012 South Australian Motorcycle Racing Championships.

In 2013 she competed in the Australasian Superbike Championship and Australian Superbike Championship where she finished third in the C&D Grade Prostock class.

She was forced to quit racing in 2015 for personal reasons and moved to Brisbane the following year.

“This will be my first full year back in the sport,” she says.

“It’s one of those sports that once you start you get addicted to it. It’s also a good break from reality when you are out on the track as you have to focus completely.”

Competing against men

Di is used to competing in a “man’s world”.

“I’ve always worked in male-dominated industries (mining, construction, manufacturing, aviation etc.) and had to prove myself against the guys, so this one isn’t any different,” she says.

“When I started racing I sometimes found I had a bit of a target on my back as a female. At the state level male riders were more likely to take risks to try and beat me – they would often end up crashing as a result! 

“This isn’t the case at a national level, where the riders are more professional and gender doesn’t seem to matter at all.”

Di is sponsored by Australian casual, sports and lifestyle clothing brand Imperii founded in 2010.

Now in its fourth year, the nationally televised Australasian Superbike Championship includes six separately point scored rounds which will be spread over three major weekend events for 2017.

The post Di Jones tackles Superbike championships appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Is the Tri Pod a car or motorcycle?

Fri, 07/04/2017 - 12:00pm

These Tri Pod cars are registered as a motorcycle in a motorcycle category vehicle (L cat), have a motorcycle engine, accelerate like a motorcycle, weigh the same as a Harley and are bought by motorcyclists.

They are even designed and built by a motorcyclist, Andrew Hutchison of the Sunshine Coast.

Yet most people would consider them a car.

However, the laws around this vehicle are quite confusing, Andrew says.

“It’s all a weird grey area and the rules vary from state to state,” he says.

Despite the legal interpretation of the vehicle as a motorcycle or at least a trike in all states, in NSW and Victoria it is registered as a car with a car number plate and in others it is registered as a motorcycle.

To further confuse us, in NSW, Victoria and Queensland you can drive one on a car licence, while in other states you need a motorcycle licence.

However, Andrew says no state requires the wearing of a helmet.

“To me it’s not a big issue as you need to wear a hat for sun protection either way,” he says.

“A simple open-face scooter-style helmet is all that would be required as there is no breeze in the vehicle due to the wind deflector fitted on the bonnet.

“I have driven extensively in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria and spoken to many police officers while doing this and none of them has ever mentioned the helmet status – and I have never wear one.

“I suspect it seems enough like a car that the law doesn’t expect you to be wearing a helmet.

“Queensland Transport actually have given me written advice regarding this; not that a cop has ever asked ‘where is your helmet’?.” Even police are confused

Weird lLicensing laws aside, the Tri Pod is now for sale on eBay for $69,400.

Not just the car/bike, but the whole business including all intellectual property, moulds, jigs, functioning workshop, drawings etc.

Model not included in the sale!

“New blood with a stronger focus on marketing could I’m sure take the Tri Pod to the next level” Andrew says.

“I started designing the Tri Pod while I was on a bit of a sabbatical in ’05 and ’06 and I think I would like to have another one. Life is very short!”

We drove a Tri Pod a few years ago and have to admit it was an electrifying experience almost as good as riding a motorcycle.

“The Tri Pod has come a long way since you drove the very early rough-around-the-edges, not-fully-developed example,” Andrew says.

Tri pod cars cost about $15,000 to $20,000 depending on the motorcycle engine you want.

Visit their website here.

Tri Pod is powered by a motorcycle engine

The post Is the Tri Pod a car or motorcycle? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Three headlights better than one

Fri, 07/04/2017 - 6:00am

Drivers have a better perception of the approaching speed and visibility of a motorcycle if its has three headlights in a triangulated layout.

That’s according to UK research that has been cited in the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) motorcycle safety report.

And if you believe the study and want to add auxiliary lights to your motorcycle, be aware that could render it non-compliant! Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?

The UK study says “misperception of vehicle approach speed” is a key contributory factor in SMIDSY (Sorry mate, I didn’t see you) motorcycle crashes.

There has been research in the past that shows the smaller the vehicle the more the other motorists perceives their speed to be slower than it actual is and to perceive the coming vehicle as less of a threat. This is one reason why motorists tend to drive out in front of an approaching bike.

The UK researchers investigated drivers’ judgments of motorcycle and car approach speeds with different levels of lighting, including motorcycles with triple headlights, such as some touring motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson Road King

“The accuracy of car approach speed judgments were not affected by changes in lighting conditions, but speed judgments for the solo headlight motorcycle became significantly less accurate as lighting reduced in the early night and night-time conditions,” the study found.

“Incorporation of a tri-headlight formation on to the standard motorcycle frame resulted in improved accuracy of approach speed judgments, relative to the solo headlight motorcycle, as ambient light levels reduced.

Based on their findings, the WHO report recommends motorcyclists cooters and other powered two- and three-wheeled vehicles should be fitted with triangulated headlights.

Or maybe it’s best to accompany two friends on bikes each with a single headlight and ride in a triangulated formation.

BMW with triple headlights

The post Three headlights better than one appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Rider defends standing on footpegs

Thu, 06/04/2017 - 5:00pm

A young rider has successfully defended a fine for standing on the footpegs after NSW police deemed it unsafe.

Over the past couple of years, all Australians states have changed the road rules to allow motorcycle riders to stand on the footpegs, with the caveat “when it is safe to do so”, or similar wording.

Motorcycle Council of NSW representative Guy Stanford says the road rule “safety” wording is “sloppy” and “waters down” the rule.

Guy and his V-Strom

Similar wording is included in many other road rules, including lane filtering. Guy says the vague wording means police can use their opinion to harass and fine riders.

The change to the road rules allowing riders to stand on the footpegs, among other “control” amendments, was the result of advocacy by the Australian Motorcycle Council (AMC) and its state affiliates.

So when a young rider near the end of his P-plate period was fined for standing on the footpegs of his LAMS KTM dirt bike on Henry Lawson Drive, East Hills Park, the MCC NSW decided to test it in court this week.

They won!

Ironically, NSW Police standing on the footpegs This is from Guy’s report to the MCC NSW delegates on the test case:

Traffic is sparse. He stands on the pegs and continues through the McLaurin Ave lights, which are green. A Highway Patrol car waiting behind cars stopped in McLaurin sees him go by and pursues, writing him a ticket for, essentially, being unsafe. 

He contacted the MCC of NSW.

We put him in touch with Kalpage & Co Solicitors and also provided to them, the reasoning and background submissions from AMC used to support changes to the road rule to allow standing on pegs. 

The rider took the matter to court and won his case, all charges dismissed.

Yes, it cost him a few grand to defend.

The problem is that the wording in the road rule allows an opinion of what is “safe”.

This means the law can be applied by police in an unjust manner.

If you simply pay the fine, then you have admitted guilt and agreed that what you were doing was not safe.

In this case, an injustice at law has been addressed, as the solicitor prepared the case well and was able to demonstrate to the court that it was not “unsafe”.

This is where a good solicitor earns their fee. 

Court procedures can be complex to navigate and it takes skill to conduct a good argument and avoid traps or misdirection. 

What does this mean for riders?

Guy says riders will have to assess the safety of their actions whenever they choose to stand on the footpegs.

Standing on the footpegs on a dirt road as pictured above should be fine, but Guy says riders should ask themselves the question: “What will this look like in court?”

“Some may argue I should have asked ‘is this safe?’,” he says.

“A good rider is a good risk manager and would not attempt something that was not safe.

“We’re all adults here.”

The post Rider defends standing on footpegs appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Motorcycle indicator gloves seek funding

Thu, 06/04/2017 - 12:00pm

Recently we highlighted motorcycle gloves with a built-in GPS and now SignalWear has launched Smart Signal Blinking Gloves with LED indicator signals inserted in the back.

Read about the GPS gloves here.

SignalWear CEO and co-founder Troy De Baca says they also hope to launch a GPS version with the chevron signals showing the rider which way to go.

Troy says he invented the indicator gloves after a crash in 2012. He says a rider’s gloves are higher than the indicators on their bike, so the flashing is more easily visible to motorists.

However, you have to take your hand off the handlebars for motorists behind you to see the indicator signals.

BUY SMART TURN SYSTEM INDICATORS

In left-hand-drive countries this might be of some use as left turns are more crucial for indicating as that is the direction for turning across traffic.

In right-hand-drive countries, you would have to take your right hand off the throttle to indicate!

SignalWear suggest that you only use your left hand for right turns as shown in this photo.

They also suggest a pillion could help with the turn signals.

SignalWear’s Smart Signal Blinking Gloves come in a manual version where you tilt your hand or press thumb and forefinger together to activate.

We wonder if these “lane-changer” gloves would become a bit confusing as you have to use your bike indicators and the glove indicator as well.

There is also an automatic variant that uses a controller installed in your bike to automatically activate by syncing with the bike’s turn signals.

Signal controller

SignalWear lane-changer gloves cost $US149 which is almost $A200. The smart gloves retail for $US169 (about $A220).

They are made of cow leather and come in wrist and gauntlet style with gel palms for comfort and a moisture-wicking lining, but no knuckle protectors.

Now the Denver company has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to go to the next step with gloves that use Bluetooth to connect with your phone’s navigation app.

Like the GPS gloves mentioned earlier, they would light up to show the rider which way to turn.

Their crowdfunding campaign has attracted just $835 of their $25,000 target and they say they will go ahead only if they reach their goal by May 19, 2017.

The post Motorcycle indicator gloves seek funding appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Blackbird motorcycle jacket review

Thu, 06/04/2017 - 6:10am

There is no such thing as an all-season motorcycle jacket. You either have a winter jacket or a summer jacket. All else is a compromise.

And if you really want to be realistic, you also need a jacket for the in-between spring/autumn (fall) seasons when it’s warm during the day and cool in the mornings.

That’s where the Blackbird denim/leather men’s and women’s motorcycle jackets fit in. They feature a breathable denim torso with Kevlar lining with CE-approved armour in the elbows, shoulders and back for crash protection. The sleeves are made of abrasion-resistant leather and, let’s face it, that’s the part that will hit the deck first if the unthinkable should happen.

Buy the women’s jacket now.

Buy the men’s jacket now.

Once you’ve parked your bike or scooter, the jacket is stylish enough to walk into just about any establishment without copping those judgmental looks. The front YKK zip is hidden behind typical denim jacket stud-type buttons to retain that casual look.

It’s also very comfortable for just walking about, going to a restaurant/cafe or to the movies. If you want, you can quickly remove the armour and make it even more stylish and comfortable.

The full-grain cowhide leather on the sleeves is 1.3mm thick which is the same thickness as on many race suits. Ok, so it’s not exactly suitable for the race track, but it’s right at home on the daily commute, touring, scooting about town and, since it looks a bit like a denim vest over leather, it could be also worn on a cruiser.

The Blackbird denim/leather jacket abounds in convenient pockets including an interior wallet pocket with velcro safety fastener, two outside lower pockets with strong YKK zippers and toggles so you can grab them with gloved hands plus two breast buttoned pockets.
Even though it is a light and comfortable, casual jacket, all seams are double stitched with three-ply nylon for toughness.

On the highway, the collar flapped around and annoyingly flicked at my helmet, so I sewed the collar ends down in a couple of minutes and the problem was fixed.

The jackets come in men’s ($225) sizes S to XXXL and women’s ($195) sizes 8-18.

The post Blackbird motorcycle jacket review appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Remove dangerous roadside hazards

Thu, 06/04/2017 - 6:00am

A United Nations road safety report has recommended roadside hazards be removed as they are a proven cause of serious motorcycle crash injuries and deaths.

The 108-page World Health Organisation “Powered two- and three-wheeler safety” report says a motorcycle crash with a fixed roadside hazard is 15 times more likely to be fatal than a crash on the ground with no physical contact with a fixed hazard.

They also increase the severity of injuries in such crashes, it says.

Read about the report here.

Yet authorities continue to install signs on metal poles, wire rope barriers and other hazards while continuing to ignore flexible non-harming roadside alternatives such as Chevroflex signs.

Flexible Chevroflex roadside signs

It’s probably the fault of short-sighted and tight-fisted politicians who would rather reap cash from speed fines than spend money on primary safety features.

However, these signs may be more expensive in the short term, but in the long-term they don’t need fixing or replacing in a crash.

Besides, they would only need to be placed in known motorcycle “blackspot” areas, particularly on curves.

A special mention here must go to the Victorian Government which is spending $10.75 million improving eight high-risk motorcycle routes.

They are installing rub-rail protective barriers, sealing driveways and roads, improving road surfaces, upgrading signage and making “roadside improvements”. All upgrades are expected to be finished by mid-2017.

Remove all hazards

The WHO report also suggests the removable of other roadside hazards such as trees, guardrails, utility poles and drainage structures.

It says the severity of a motorcycle, scooter or powered-two- or three-wheeler (PTW) crash with a roadside object depends on the speed, impact angle, surface area of the object and the impact absorption properties of the object.

They cite a study that found roadside objects were the primary cause of fatalities and another Australian and New Zealand study presented at the 2015 Australasian Road Safety Conference that concluded that almost all roadside objects are hazardous to PTW users.

“This is mainly due to the fact that all objects have been designed for safety of cars and their occupants rather than for PTWs,” it says.

The report says creating a roadside “clear zone” would not only minimise the risk of a rider hitting a hazardous object, but also provide room for them to correct errors.

“Choice of location of roadside equipment used for lighting or signage can also have a negative impact on PTW safety,” it says.

“Guardrails and crash barriers are often used to separate vehicles from roadside hazards but the design of such devices needs to take motorcyclists into account.”

Guard rail debate

As for what is the best type of guard rail to use, the report acknowledges the debate over the abundant use of wire rope barriers.

Read about the barrier debate here.

“There is increasing evidence that the position of motorcyclists when they impact a guardrail may be more important than the type of guardrail,” it says.

They refer to an OECD report that recommends crash barriers that allow a fallen rider to slide along the surface rather than hit any specific component of the barrier such as a post.

The post Remove dangerous roadside hazards appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Yamaha XSR900 wins design award

Wed, 05/04/2017 - 4:00pm

Yamaha has scored its second prestigious Red Dot design award, this time for its XSR900. It was the only motorcycle company to score an award this year.

The annual Red Dot Award, considered the supreme design honour, is held in Essen, Germany where products from 54 countries are judged by 39 experts from around the world.

It is the fifth consecutive year that Yamaha has received a Red Dot honour, and the third product selected for the “Best of the Best” after the MT-07 motorcycle and JWX-2 assist-type electric power unit for wheelchairs received Yamaha Motor’s first “Best of the Best” awards in 2015.

Yamaha also won a Red Dot last year for the R1, along with BMW’s R nineT Scrambler and the revived Horex V6, while the bold, feet-first, belt-driven Ducati XDiavel S cruiser received a Best of the Best award.

Yamaha’s simple naked XSR900 was this year considered a “beauty” by the judges:

To overcome development constraints, the simple  design openly stresses material beauty and  quality instead of covering it, like the hand-buffed aluminium fuel tank cover — no XSR is the

same. Closer examination reveals painstaking attention to detail, like the design of the nuts and bolts, or the circle motif that creates a timeless appearance.

XSR900 tank

Winners are permitted to display a prestigious Red Dot label on their product.

Read what we thought of the Yamaha XSR900 in our road test.

The XSR900 street scrambler costs $12,990 (plus on-road costs) and is powered by an 847cc liquid-cooled, triple with “gobs of torque with minimal vibration”, yet sings right up to its 11,000rpm red line.

We also thought the design of the bike “flows and everything makes sense”.

Other Red Dot winners this year include a “biobrush” toothbrush made from leftover wood from sustainable forestry and a “PuduBOT” robotic waiter that delivers food and interacts with diners using robotic facial gestures.

The post Yamaha XSR900 wins design award appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Honda Red Sale continues discount war

Wed, 05/04/2017 - 12:00pm

Honda has embarked on a discount war over the past year in an effort to return to the top of the road bike sales after Harley-Davidson has repeatedly topped the list.

We suspect with the motorcycle industry first-quarter results due in the next couple of days that the news isn’t great for Honda.

That’s why they are fighting back with discounts.

In February, they dropped prices by $500 on the CB300F as well as 2016-model CBR300R, CBR500R, CB500F, CBR1000RR and Special Edition Fireblade CBR1000SE.

The discount war continues during April as Honda conducts its Red Sale with discounts on learner bikes, adventurers, sports bikes and farm ATVs.

Most offer “Honda Dollars” deals which means you can choose to take that amount off the price, or spend the money in the store on Honda accessories or riding gear.

There are also finance offers and ride-away prices, which means free on-road costs.

The Red Sale discount war includes “great deals” on the most popular adventure bike in the market, the Africa Twin.

Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin

They are also offering 500 Honda Dollars on the CB500X learner-approved novice adventurer.

Other LAMS models in the sale, include the tiny Grom at $3999 ride away, or its “bigger street fighter brother” the CB650FL at $9999 ride away.

The LAMS CBR500R is also being offered at $8099 ride away for 2016 year models or older to clear floor stock.

Honda Dollar deals are available on a range of ATVs, including $500 on the TRX500FM2 with electric power steering.

Deals on kids’ fun bikes include $300 Honda Dollars on the CRF110F and $400 Honda Dollars on the TRX90X.

And for bigger kids, there are discounts on the 16YM CRF230F and 16YM CRF250L trail bikes and across the Honda scooter range.

The Honda CRF250R is being offered with 1.99% finance and comparison rate during the Red Sale.

The post Honda Red Sale continues discount war appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Woman driver faces rider murder charge

Wed, 05/04/2017 - 9:41am

A woman charged with the murder of motorcycle rider Trevor Moran in a January 2017 road crash has been refused bail and sent to the mental health section of the Sydney jail.

Vanessa Fraser, 47, did not appear at the bail hearing in Lismore Local Court in February as she was on her way to the Sydney jail. The case was mentioned again in court on Tuesday April 4 and adjourned until June 6. 

Trevor, a 61-year-old Tweed Heads father of three, died after his motorcycle collided on January 6, 2017, with a white Ford Falcon station wagon driven by Ms Fraser, police will allege.

Trevor was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics but died at the crash scene.

He was an active and well-liked member of the Tweed Heads Motor Cycle Enthusiast Club.

Trevor Moran

Police are still urging witnesses to the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

It is unusual that a murder charge is being pursued over a road accident.

The matter is now “sub judice” which means it is before the courts and public discussion is not permitted.

However, in the interests of the motorcycle community, we will continue to follow this murder case.

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Indian adds Chieftain Elite and Limited

Wed, 05/04/2017 - 8:52am

Indian Motorcycles has now launched three new models this year with the hand-painted Chieftain Elite and Chieftain Limited bagger joining the new Roadmaster Classic.

Only 350 Chieftain Elite models will be available worldwide and there is no indication yet how many Australia will receive, but they will cost $47,995 ride away.

Each bike is hand-painted in Fireglow Red Candy with Marble Accents at Spearfish, South Dakota, near Strugis. The painting process takes more than 25 hours.

The Chieftain Elite also comes with a Pathfinder LED headlight and driving lights, flared power windshield, rider and passenger floorboards in billet aluminium, 200-watt Ride Command seven-inch infotainment system (two speakers in the fairing and two in the saddlebags), ABS, tyre pressure monitors and keyless ignition.

The Limited bagger with faster-steering 10-spoke 19-inch front-wheel and 16-inch rear arrives in May from $37,995 ride away.

It features a cut-back front mudguard, colour-matched headlight bezel and a “more streamlined leather saddle”.

Indian Chieftain Limited

Limited also comes with a 100-watt Ride Command seven-inch infotainment system, keyless ignition, ABS, chrome front highway bar, power-adjustable windshield and remote locking hard saddlebags.

We knew in January that the three new models would be coming after the company listed the model names with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

This ramping up of models follows the recent announcement that sister company Victory Motorcycles was closing down.

While these new models are variants on the theme, it lifts the Indian model range to 10 in Australia.

The Roadmaster Classic is now available at $38,995 ride away in black and $39,995 for the two-tone options of Willow Green and Cream, or Indian Red and Cream. The standard Roadmaster costs $39,995, ride away.

Indian Roadmaster Classic

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BMW expands with short GS Tours

Wed, 05/04/2017 - 6:00am

BMW Motorrad Australia is extending its safari program this year by adding shorter two- to four-day GS Tours, including a ride across the Simpson Desert.

GS Tours are designed by BMW Safari to target riders who have limited time and can’t do the week-long GS and TS Safaris that the company has run since 1994.

They will also be limited to a smaller number of riders than the 100-odd who attend safaris.

GS Tours events

The first GS Tours event, which is already sold out, launches from Merrijig at the base of Mt Buller through to Bright, showcasing the stunning Victorian High Country.

The next two GS Tours events are based at Mt Seaview on the mid-north coast of NSW.

Mt Seaview GS Tour river bed

They will be held on May 25-26 and May 27-29 with an optional off-road training course.

Click here for bookings or visit www.bmwsafari.com.

The four-day GS Tours Simpson Desert Crossing from Alice Springs to Birdsville from June 13-16 is “strictly limited” and riders will require a “high level of off-road riding experience”.

Simpson dunes

The tour is designed for dedicated adventure riders eager to watch the iconic Finke Desert Race.

Click here for bookings

BMW Motorrad Australia is also launching a new ‘Bring a Buddy programme’ where GS riders can bring a mate who rides another brand.

General manager Andreas Lundgren says the idea is to introduce new riders to the BMW adventure scene.

Safari bookings BMW GS Safari

Meanwhile the 2017 TS, GS, and GS Enduro safaris are now taking bookings.

The GS Enduro Safari heads to Cape York from August 5-12. Click here for bookings.

For the first time in 23 years of safaris, the combined GS and TS Safari heads to Western Australia. 

2016 BMW TS Safari

The event starts in Perth on October 9 with TS riders taking the bitumen and GS riders choosing alternate dirt routes.

It’s been a long time since a safari combined the road and dirt bikes.

Bookings open on June 20, 2017.

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SlimBuds bike earphones add comfort

Wed, 05/04/2017 - 5:00am

New SlimBuds Bluetooth motorcycle earphones are claimed to be the most comfortable and secure with an app that dampens wind noise, but highlights important sounds for safety.

Mechanical engineer Alperen Topay came up with the idea of slim-fitting earphones while on his daily motorcycle commute to work as an R&D engineer at one of Europe’s largest TV and home appliance manufacturers.

So he started the company EAOS in Philadelphia two years ago with other motorcycle riders to develop the product.

They launched a Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, aiming to raise just $30,000 to start production.

EAOS financial manager and fellow rider Cihan Bilgin said they were confident of raising the required capital and he was right. It took less than 24 hours! So they are now guaranteed to go into production.

“We believe this product will change the audio game for riders,” Cihan says.

“We use a different approach than traditional active noise-cancellation technology. Our earbuds feature passive noise isolation thus reducing wind noise and excessive engine noise making the ride more comfortable and less tiring.

“This allows for an uninterrupted listening experience.

“We complement this experience by providing smart software (called “EAOS co-pilot”) that filters the environment, and plays back important sounds directly into the earbuds.”

SlimBuds test

Cihan has offered Motorbike Writer a set of the earphones for beta testing, so we will report back soon on how they work.

We have used several different earphones with both active and passive noise cancelling and found all of them, including personally moulded units, become quite uncomfortable after several hours.

It appears these are made of a very light and soft material, yet they claim they will not become dislodged inside your helmet like many over-the-counter earphones.

They come with three different sizes of ear bud tips for a comfortable and firm fit.

Sound quality is claimed to be very good with one of the smallest and powerful sound drivers available, delivering deep bass and clear treble.

SlimBuds Bluetooth earphones

SlimBuds will sell for $US150 (about $A200) when they hit the market, but there will be a “serious discount” for the crowdfunding campaign, says Cihan.

SlimBuds work with iPhone and Android and you will have to use your phone in a cradle on the handlebars to access controls such as skip, answer calls, etc.

However, you can buy a wireless remote which can be conveniently placed on the handlebars costing $US89 (about $A118).

“But again we will be offering serious discount for that as well for the crowdfunding campaign,” Cihan says. 

Slimbuds handlebar remote

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Win an Angry Harley Roadster for the homeless

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 5:00pm

Angry Anderson will sign the tank of a Harley-Davidson Sportser 1200 Roadster being raffled as part of a Rockin’ 4 the Homeless event.

The raffle is part of a big rock concert festering Angry on May 6, 2017, in Redcliffe.

Raffle tickets can be bought at their website at $5 each or discounts on multiple purchases with a maximum of 10,000 tickets sold.

You can also buy tickets at the Redcliffe Sunday markets for the next three weeks where the Roadster will be on display.

Read our Roadster review Harley Roadster

The prize bike comes fully registered for Queensland and has Screamin Eagle pipes, lifetime HOG membership and a couple of other little bits from Morgan & Wacker. It’s value is around $21,000.

The money for the bike was entirely donated/gathered through One Agency Redcliffe event sponsorship and Morgan & Wacker provided a discount deal.

Picking up the Harley Roadster raffle prize from Morgan & Wacker

Raffle organiser Stephan Siegfried says “every cent” from the raffle goes directly to the Breakfast Club Redcliffe.

The community service has been running since 2003 and serves more than 900 meals a month to homeless people and those on low or fixed incomes who are struggling to make their money stretch, he says.

“They provide an awesome service to our local people in need,” he says.

“About 900 meals a month plus outreach services and everyone who helps is a volunteer; no wages, nothing. It’s a brilliant group with a fantastic energy.”

The fourth annual Rockin 4 the homeless concert is a huge event in Redcliffe with more than 20 bands over a full afternoon/evening.

Angry support

Angry’s band is headline act and they are helping to promote the event, Stephan says.

Angry Anderson

“They are angels,” he says.

“The moment I knew Angry was headlining was when the idea for a bike raffle came to me.

“When Angry knew what we were up to, things went to another level with his support. He always is happy to support a worthy cause and he’s been incredible, a true gentleman who understands and cares for battlers. He’s a good bloke.”

Event sponsors include MJ Ferguson.

The post Win an Angry Harley Roadster for the homeless appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Motorcycle jackets for the fashion-conscious

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 12:00pm

Motorcycle jackets don’t have to make you look like you’ve just set the fastest lap at Phillip Island or ridden around the world with Charley Boorman.

Blackbird Motorcycle Wear makes fashionable motorcycle jackets that offer all the abrasion and crash protection for the road, but can still be worn to a fancy restaurant. It’s the brainchild of former Sydney interior designer Belinda McPhee with the help of her three adult children (Belinda, 20, Eliza 17 and Sam 22) and husband Peter who all ride.

The brand has now been added to our expanding range of products on our Motorbike Writer shop.

CHECK OUT THE RANGE IN OUR ONLINE SHOP

“When we all started riding bikes my daughters and son couldn’t find anything they wanted to wear,” she says. “They just wanted a bike jacket that looked good like a normal jacket when they got off their bikes, not with racing stripes like most sportsbikes jackets have.”

Sam in leather jacket Motorcycle jackets

So Belinda started looking on the internet for manufacturers to make some motorcycle jackets to her designs, showed them to a few motorcycle shops and received a favourable response. “In my work as an interior designer I knew how to speak with wholesalers and how to get things made, so I eventually found places to make them to my designs,” she says. “I then showed them to a couple of shops, they liked them, said they’d buy them and it all started from there.”

The designs feature 1.3mm full-grain cowhide and CE-approved armour like many top-quality racing leathers but with designs that are more fashionable. She also makes fabric jackets and a combination denim/leather model, all with abrasion-resistant DuPont Kevlar lining. Belinda started with women’s jackets, but now also makes several men’s designs.

Peter in leather Family affair

She says she couldn’t have done it without input from her family. “I had ridden bikes when I was younger and I always loved motorbikes, so one school holidays when we weren’t doing anything we did a two-day riding course. It was so much fun,” she says.

Belinda rides a 1980 Honda CB400, Peter has a 1981 Yamaha XJ650 and there is also a scooter for the kids. “I was lucky everyone in the family liked riding as much as I did. It’s pretty unusual for a whole family to ride. There are women I know who are against letting their kids ride. Unfortunately for my kids there are few friends their age who are allowed to ride. Usually it’s only if they have parents who ride.”

The family business has really taken off over the past four years.

“The demand for our style of motorcycle clothing has grown dramatically during this time and our sales are doubling in each successive year,” Belinda says.

“We believe this can be attributed to the evolving tastes of motorcycle riders and their choice of bikes, and the demand for gear that is versatile and can be worn ‘on or off the bike’.”

Eliza in fur-collar jacket Catering for women

She says the women’s motorcycle clothing market is growing quickly, but is not yet being recognised by the industry. “It’s a bit of a Catch 22: Motorcycle shops don’t think there is much of a market in women’s gear so they don’t stock much. When I walk into a motorcycle shop no one serves me. They don’t think I am really interested in buying anything.”

Belinda believes women riders want fashion and protection in motorcycle jackets. “They want to think they look nice. They don’t want to put on something that looks like a raincoat and that is sometimes what motorcycle jackets are. But they need it to be practical too.”

New models Blackbird suede-look motorcycle jacket 

Belinda says her motorcycle jackets are constantly being developed with new models and better quality protection. “We are now using PU rubber which is thinner, softer, more comfortable yet more dense so it has better protection. Women want armour that is softer and smaller so they don’t look like we have big shoulders,” she says. The armour in the back, shoulders and elbows is also removable so you can take it out for off-the-bike fashion occasions.

Belinda says her lightweight cotton and denim motorcycle jackets are good for warmer months and are popular with younger riders, while older riders tend to prefer the leather models.

Blackbird also has some new products coming in shortly.

“They include stretch denim skinny jeans with kevlar across the seat, hips and knees for women, Nubuck vests with faux fur lining – great for an extra layer – and denim jackets with kevlar interwoven into the denim,” she says.

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Road rage driver gets 15 years’ jail

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 6:00am

The driver in this video who intentionally swerved to hit a motorcycle on a rural Texas road has been sentenced to 15 years in jail.

William Sam Crum, 68, has already spent a year-and-a-half in jail since his arrest.

Crum was found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Luckily rider Eric Sanders received minor injuries, but his pillion, Debra Simpson, was hospitalised with a broken arm.

Crum had previously been convicted in 1994 for unauthorised use of a motor vehicle and in 2007 for reckless driving and making a “terroristic threat”. The threat was related to threatening to run little boys over with his car.

We’re glad that maniac is now in jail and off the road. Compare this Texas justice with the minimal fine a river got for an unsecured load hitting an Ipswich rider.

Benefits of a helmet camera

There are plenty of road ragers out there and this video clearly shows the safety and legal value of wearing a helmet camera.

Meanwhile, Victorian and South Australian police are still fining riders for non-compliant helmets if they attach a camera.

In February, Adelaide rider Erica Aria went to the Sturt Police Station to submit helmet camera video of drivers cutting him off in traffic.

However, he was surprised when he was instead given an official warning for an “illegal helmet camera”.

Read all about it here.

Eric Aria (Photo courtesy Channel 7)

 

While some may suggest a bike camera would do the same job, this second part of the Texas video provides evidence of Crum’s intention.

It shows the rider’s friend approaching the driver who can be heard to say “I don’t care”. Clearly he intended to purposely hit the motorcycle.

A bike-mounted camera would not have shown that.

While the rider should not have passed over double yellow lines, there is no need for drivers to take the law into their own hands and act so irresponsibly.

It is sheer luck that the rider and pillion did not fall under the wheels of the SUV following the road rage driver’s car and suffer greater, or even fatal, injuries.

Had the rider or pillion been killed, Crum would be facing a lot longer in jail.

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Ducati 40th raises funds for spinal service

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

The Ducati Owners Club of Victoria has celebrated their 40th anniversary by raising $32,750 for the Victorian Spinal Cord Service.

The funds were raised through the raffle of a Ducati Monster 1200 S worth $26,000 donated at cost price by Frasers and Mornington Ducati.

They also donated riding gear at a discounted rate as secondary prizes, says club president Garry Elphinstone.

“We are donating to the SCI as they often treat motorcyclists and are in need of some funds to upgrade facilities,” Garry says.

“This will allow them to upgrade equipment and facilities and support patients and families during difficult times.”

SCI spokeswoman Melissa Cramp says the donation will help the spinal patients in many ways.

“The funds would be used to purchase new equipment for our supported living (transitional) apartments,” she says.

“The remaining funds will be set aside for the Ward 3 North balcony area which is in much need of a facelift for the patients and families to enjoy. For this, the staff and patients at Austin Health are so grateful to DOCV and everyone that has supported this fundraising effort. You are truly making a difference and it is fantastic to have you one our team.”

The lucky prize winners were:

  • 1st Prize – Geoff Audsley, Elliminyt, Vic – Ducati Monster 1200S (pictured at top of page)
  • 2nd Prize – Allan Mill, Lawson, NSW, – $2,000 of motorcycle apparel
  • 3rd Prize – Angela Butler, Torquay, Vic – $1,000 Red Balloon Voucher
Ducati Club 40th

The Ducati Owners Club of Victoria has about 500 members, is one of the oldest in the world and is very active.

Garry says they organise daily, mid-week and weekend rides, two or three track days a year, barbecues and the annual Festival of Italian Motorcycles which is on this Sunday at the Piazza Italia in Carlton.

“I think last year we held 40 events over the year, including an eight-day tour of Tasmania.

Other special 40th Anniversary events include:
  • DOCV 40th Anniversary Book Launch (15 November)
  • Annual Dargo overnighter and black tie dinner (26-27 November)
  • 40th Anniversary Monster Raffle draw (20 December)

A range of merchandise is also available for members to show their support for the club’s 40th anniversary.

  • If you would like to promote your motorcycle club, organisation or charity event for free, contact us via email with photos and information.

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Driver fined for motorcycle mattress crash

Mon, 03/04/2017 - 3:04pm

A driver has been fined a measly $275 for an unsecured load after a mattress fell out of his ute and hit an Ipswich rider.

Aaron Wood is lucky to be alive after the incident last week (March 28, 2017), in the Clem 7 tunnel.

A police media spokesperson said the driver could be charged with “Fail to ensure load on private light vehicle complies with requirements” and face a $243 fine. 

However, Aaron says they told him the driver, who was located by CCTV footage, would only get a $275 fine for an unsecured load.

When Aaron hit the mattress at 80km/h, it caused an “endo” so severe he tore the grips off the bars of his Honda CBR1000RR.

The video above shows another motorcyclist going past just before the mattress flies off the back of the ute.

Had it come out earlier, it might have taken out two riders.

Luckily Aaron was not injured, but he says his fairing is broken and the airbrushed panels are ruined.

The mattress was lodged under the bike near the exhaust and began to smoulder before being pulled out.

Aaron has contacted solicitors to try to recoup the money from the driver.

The next driver behind Aaron stopped and helped him pull the mattress out of the bike. He was lucky not to be rear-ended.

“I have been riding for 20 years and never had something like this happen,” he says.

“I had luck on my side. I’m ok, not sure, depends on if he pays for my bike.”

Australian authorities receive tens of thousands of callouts a year to collect debris from our roads.

It includes household goods, building materials and green waste, causing road closures, disruptions, injuries and deaths.

Most vulnerable to these unsecured loads are motorcyclists.

Most riders have witnessed all sorts of things flying off the backs of trucks and pick-ups, but the worst culprits seem to be tradies.

Perhaps they are in a rush to get home or to the next job, but too many don’t secure their loads properly.

Take a look at the side of our freeways. They are littered with tradies’ hard hats, rubber boots, gloves and tools.

Other motorists to avoid are weekend gardeners taking their load to the dump in a hired trailer. They are not professional transport operators, so they don’t know how to secure a load properly. Give them a wide berth.

It’s not as if the police and authorities don’t care about unsecured loads.

Police frequently blitz for unsecured loads and the fines range from several hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the risk level of the spilt load.

However, a fine won’t help a rider recovering in hospital from hitting a loose load. Instead, it’s our responsibility to stay away from any vehicle with a loose load.

And if you see a dangerous load, report it to the police.

This video of an American rider crashing into a load that had fallen off the back of a boat trailer being pulled by an SUV is a lesson in never following vehicles with dodgy looking loads.

Rider Brendan Jankowski, 20, doesn’t seem to be following very closely, but it is close enough for him not to be able to avoid the load of rolled-up foam that falls off. He hits it square on and flips over.

Luckily, he only received minor injuries.

It’s a good lesson to be aware of trucks and pickups carrying loads secured only by ropes and ties.

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Easter motorcycle safety messages

Mon, 03/04/2017 - 11:00am

The Easter school holidays have started in several states and there is usually a spike in road accidents as traffic volumes increase and riders have more time to go riding.

Rather than preaching about being safe and responsible, we’ve asked several motorcycle luminaries for their road safety tips and Easter messages.

Double demerit points

And remember, in NSW, ACT and Western Australia, double demerit points apply over Easter from April 13 to 25.

Do they apply to riders from other states? Read this!

Easter road safety message

2003 World Supersport champion and MotoGP winner Chris Vermeulen

I think any time of the year it’s important to be safe of the roads and to enjoy motorcycling but Easter is one of the busiest times of the year for all road users so we all need to take more care than normal, be safe and not use the road as a race track. The weather can be unpredictable this time of the year too so as always ride to the conditions. Happy Easter, enjoy your ride and don’t eat too much chocolate!

Motorcycle Riders’ Association of Queensland

The MRAQ encourages all those riders who will be using their motorcycles over the Easter period to enjoy the time spent but to ensure that the enjoyment does not cloud the necessary good judgement required.

There should be three main considerations particularly at any time when riders may be using their motorcycles for longer periods than they are normally used to.

  • Fatigue: will slow reaction time to situation that may require rapid response. Consider the the amount of time that you will be riding and ensure that you do not exceed your personal limit. Warning signs include body soreness, sore or dry eyes and a lack of mental alertness. Take a break, freshen up and relieve any stiff or sore muscles and joints before continuing and break any excessively long rides into manageable smaller sections.

  • Know your limits: Consider your personal limitations and ride within them. There are very fewMoto GP riders in the general population so always consider your own ability before taking on any ride and stay within these limits. Don’t exceed your own ability just to attempt to keep up with someone else who may have greater capabilities than you. Ride for enjoyment, not for endangerment.

  • Vehicle condition: Ensure your machinery is in good serviceable condition. Items that require particular attention include adequate tyre tread and pressure, correct oil and coolant levels, correctly adjusted drive chains or belts and proper brakes function, Look after your machine and it should get you there and back without problem.

Veteran journalist and videographer Mick Matheson of Phantom2Media

Mick and Anne

Easter brings a change in routine — a very long weekend away from the daily grind. What we never factor in is that the change in routine happens on the road as well as in our work schedule, which I reckon is why so many people don’t deal well with Easter rides. One mental tool will enable you to deal with both major differences between Easter traffic and regular weekend traffic: patience. 

Adopting a little Zen as you ride will help you keep you cool, calm approach to riding while drivers around you spiral out of control (hopefully not literally!). 

The more crowded roads make travel slower, so accept this as inevitable. The holiday is meant to be relaxing but when traffic conditions turn that notion on its head, some drivers lose the plot. Accept this as inevitable, too. From there you can keep the delays and the fools from spoiling your day, and the ride remains the enjoyable escape it should be.    

Oh, and one more thing: find the back roads and leave the busy highways to the rest of them. 

Steve Spalding, RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy

Steve Spalding

Motorcycle safety must remain a focus for everyone, not just in South East Queensland where many of Motorbikewriter’s readers get to enjoy our great roads and weather, but wherever you are. Whether riding for daily transport, commuting, as part of your work or just to get out and enjoy some great riding time over the Easter period keep safety top of mind. 

Far too many riders continue to push themselves too far on the road and end up in a situation that changes their lives. Of course there’s always incidents where others have done the wrong thing, but as riders we have to ride defensively and within our limitations. Ultimately we have to take the responsibility that regardless of road conditions, bad weather or the actions of other road users, we have to make sure our ride ends safely every time. 

So, if you’re lucky enough to get a few days off work over the Easter holiday, and can get out to enjoy some riding, ride safe and remind your mates they need to ride safe too!

Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand marketing manager Adam Wright

If you’re out on two wheels over the Easter break, remember it’s the journey and not the destination. So please ride carefully and be respectful to all your fellow road users. Everyone at Harley-Davidson wishes you and your families a safe and happy Easter.

I.C.Emergency inventor Tony Walton

Tony Ward with his ICEmergency USB

Easter is a great time to take a few days and go riding. It’s also a time when we see a big spike in bike accidents. Accidents happen, but more accidents happen over the Easter period.

It’s essential that all riders carry relevant identification at all times. having info on your phone isn’t enough because phones often get smashed in accidents. Particularly bike accidents. If something happens and you do come off, it’s vital that emergency responders know who to contact if you’re unconscious.

The information you should carry is WHO to contact in an emergency and their mobile phone numbers, ANY medications you may be taking and any medical issues you have. This info will assist emergency department staff.

The I.C.Emergency USB is available to riders through our online shop.

Motorcycle Riders Association of the ACT

The MRA ACT encourages all road users to keep safe this coming Easter weekend by looking out for other road users, and riding to the conditions. Particularly, keep a safe three-second distance, watch for motorcyclists and scooters, and use common sense.  We’d like all road users to arrive at their destinations safely, to spend time with family and friends, and to treat all other road users with courtesy. Initiatives such as the continuing lane filtering trial improve safety and convenience for all motorists and respect on the roads protects us all.

BMW Motorrad Australia general manager Andreas Lundgren

Andreas with an S 1000 RR

The Easter break provides us all with the perfect opportunity to get out on the open road and enjoy life. Over the holiday period ride at your own pace, you are the one in control;  don’t let others influence your decisions. Have fun and enjoy the unique freedom that life on two wheels offers. Make life a ride!

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UN suggests separate motorcycle lanes

Mon, 03/04/2017 - 6:00am

Cyclists have special lanes, so why not motorcycles?

It’s not our suggestion, but one of many suggested action plans in a World Health Organisation report about motorcycle safety.

The WHO’s “Powered two- and three-wheeler safety” report is part of the 2010 United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety and was compiled with the help of the George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney. Several Australian studies are also cited.

It claims exclusive motorcycle lanes are proven to reduce motorcycle crashes, but only in Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Malaysia, where motorcycles represent more than 20-30% of the traffic.

Malaysian motorcycle lanes

However, it should reignite debate about the use of bike lanes for filtering at 30km/h or less and universal use of bus lanes.

The report says road traffic crashes kill 1.25 million people each year and powered two- and three-wheelers (PTWs) cause 286,000 deaths or 23%. And that rate is growing rapidly with the riding popularity of PTWs, particularly in developing countries.

Apart from identifying the problem, it also identifies the key risks and sets out an action plans, such as exclusive lanes, for governments, police engineers, planners and health authorities.

Key risks

The key risk factors are non-use of helmets; speed; alcohol; mixed traffic conditions; lack of protection from the vehicle during a crash; and lack of safe infrastructure such as poor road surfaces and roadside hazards.

In other words, nothing that hasn’t been identified before.

Action plan

However, the report says any action plan should be guided by evidence, not knee-jerk politics, or anecdotal claims, as often seems to be the case.

They have divided their action plan into proven measures, promising ideas and safety suggestions which are not supported by sufficient evidence.

Thankfully, Australia, Europe and the Americas have largely implemented the proven measures for riders.

However, we would like to see more attention on road infrastructure such as the possibility of exclusive or protected lanes and removing roadside hazards.

Flexible Chevroflex roadside signs Proven measures

Safer roads: exclusive motorcycle lanes.

Safer vehicles: ABS.

Safer riders: mandatory helmets, helmet standards, stronger penalties, mandatory vehicle registration, mandatory rider licensing, compulsory skills test.

Promising measures

Safer roads: protected turn lanes and widened shoulders or lanes, removing roadside hazards, speed bumps and traffic calming, better roads.

Safer vehicles: headlights at night, daytime running lights.

Safer riders: demerit points, reflective clothing, protective clothing, graduated licensing.

Post crash response: On-site helmet/collar brace removal.

First-Aid for Motorcyclists teaches safe helmet removal Insufficient evidence

Safer roads: new roadside barriers.

Safer vehicles: stability controls, airbags, intelligent transport systems and brake lights.

Safer riders: thermal resistant shields, are restrictions on pillions and riders, ban on multiple pillions, mechanics inspections, minimum pillion height, and smaller engine for learners.

Voluminous tome

The 108-page report has plenty of examples of proven solutions and promising suggestions which we will bring to you over the next few weeks as we digest the ample tome.

While it’s good news that motorcycle safety has come to the UN’s attention, our concern is that governments and authorities will cherry-pick from the report.

We could easily see them using the report to ramp up and vindicate speed detection which is income-generating for them while ignoring other promising solutions that cost them money.

There is also concern that reflective and protective clothing are considered “promising measures”. How quickly will the safety Nazis go from “promising” to mandatory?

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