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Updated: 9 min 33 sec ago

Harley-Davidson world’s strongest bike brand

Sun, 19/02/2017 - 6:00am

Harley-Davidson is still the world’s “strongest” motorcycle brand, although it has slipped 14 places in the annual list of automotive brands, according to Brand Finance.

The global finance analysis company values the brands of thousands of the world’s biggest companies every year, including automotive companies.

Brands are evaluated to determine their strength based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.

Brand strength is used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand. So it’s a complex and confusing equation, not just based on the number of vehicles sold or their profit.

Most valuable brands

The most valuable automotive brands are Toyota with a brand value of US$46 billion, followed by BMW ($37b), Mercedes-Benz ($35b),Volkswagen ($25b) and Nissan ($24b).

However, Brand Finance calculates that the most “powerful” is Ferrari, followed by Porsche. Told you it was complex and confusing!

While BMW is second on the list of valuable automotive brands, the Motorrad section only accounts for 6% of the group’s sales or about $2b. Similarly, Ducati is part of the VW group, but represents less than 3% of the brand’s value at $0.75b.

The world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer is still Honda and the company is seventh in the Brand Finance list, down from fifth with $21b in value. However, bikes represent 13% of the company’s value or $2.7b in value.

Suzuki is 20th with $4.6b value, but bikes are only 7% of the company’s value or $0.3b.

Harley was valued in the survey at $3.1b, down from $5b in 2016.

They are followed by Polaris, maker of Indian and the now-defunct Victory motorcycles, which was 32nd, up 17 spots from 2016 with $2.6b in brand value. However, the motorcycles are only a small part of their business

Yamaha was 56th, up from 75th, with $1.5b in value. No other motorcycle brands were mentioned in the top 100.

However, several Indian and Chinese automotive companies with motorcycle components to their business rated fairly high.

The most valuable of these is Mahindra, which recently bought BSA and Jawa and plans to make motorcycles. The company rated 45th strongest, up nine places last year to $2b.

The post Harley-Davidson world’s strongest bike brand appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

BMW Hover Ride just a toy, for now

Sat, 18/02/2017 - 5:00pm

BMW says it doesn’t have plans to develop a hover bike after this Lego toy collaboration was produced as both a model and a full-size replica.

Lego and BMW recently collaborated to produce a detailed model of the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure made of 603 Lego parts.

It is available for sale at $70 and is the first Lego Technic model be produced in cooperation with a motorcycle manufacturer.

Now the two have got together again to produce an alternative model as is commonly provided with LEGO Technic 2-in-1 kits.

So the parts of the LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure can also be used to build the Hover Ride Design Concept.

Meanwhile, the BMW Junior Company – a BMW Group training unit – turned the Hover Ride model into a full-size replica.

BMW Motorrad Vehicle Design boss Alexander Buckan says the Hover Ride is a futuristic concept “full of emotion and creative energy though not laying claim to technological plausibility”.

“It was a great idea and a superb creative challenge to develop a fictitious model from the parts of the LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure set,” he says.

“Our concept not only incorporates the BMW Motorrad design DNA with typical elements such as the boxer engine and the characteristic GS silhouette, it also draws on the LEGO Technic stylistic idiom.”

While he claims they are “not laying claim to technological plausibility”, we are certain there are hover bike plans on a BMW drawing board somewhere.

After all, BMW recently unveiled its Vision Next 100 self-balancing motorcycle with all sorts off ”technically implausible” technology.

BMW Vision Next 100

Besides, is a hover bike so implausible?

Back to the Future II featured a hover board 30 years ago as a joke. Now you can buy hover boards … although they are not quite like in the cult movie!

The Hover Ride Design Concept involved trainees of the BMW Junior Company Munich.

Numerous components – such as the front-wheel rim modified to form a propeller – were specially made for the project, demonstrating the trainees’ skilled craftsmanship.

The full-size model of the Hover Ride Design Concept will be displayed at various technical and automotive shows around the world.

The post BMW Hover Ride just a toy, for now appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Arrow exhausts liven up Triumphs

Sat, 18/02/2017 - 6:00am

Motorcycle companies have a strong association with aftermarket exhaust companies such as Triumph has with Arrow exhausts.

The first accessory most riders add to their bike is an exhaust system so it stands to reason that bike and exhaust manufacturers would forge strong links. Other examples are Suzuki and Yoshimura, BMW and Akrapovic and Ducati and Termignoni.

They just wouldn’t sound the same with other aftermarket pipes, would they?

I’ve owned two Triumphs with Arrow exhausts and they sound “just right”. Not too loud or aggressive, but a nice trombone note.

Australian Arrow importers Link International say they will son ave shipments arriving of slip-on left and right-side reverse-cone mufflers for Triumph’s new T120 series of Bonnevilles to compliment the recent arrival of slip-on mufflers for the Thruxton and Thruxton R.

Arrow exhaust on Triumph Bonneville T120

“These road-legal mufflers are noise compliant to ADR 83.00 and feature a removable dB killer for closed course or competition use,” a spokesman says.

In other words, remove the baffles at your own legal peril.

Both types of mufflers are made from nichrome stainless steel, a durable steel used for making the jet pipes in turbine aircraft engines.

The Thruxton and Thruxton R mufflers are available to order now for $1649 a pair.

The Bonneville T120 mufflers are availalbe for pre-order with delivery towards the end of February 2017 for $1649 a pair

Arrow exhaust specs 

Thruxton 1200 / Thruxton 1200R

  • Part number: 82-718-51PRI
  • Length: 450mm
  • Inlet diameter: 38mm
  • Outlet diameter: 50mm

Bonneville T120

  • Part number: 82-718-53PRI
  • Length: 450mm
  • Inlet diameter: 32mm
  • Outlet diameter: 50mm

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Add-on speakers improve helmet sound

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 5:00pm

A quick and cheap way to improve the quality of your helmet’s Bluetooth sound system is to buy some aftermarket plug-in speakers like the XSound 2.1 from iASUS.

The problem with many helmet Bluetooth intercom units – even top-quality models – is that they seem to skimp on the sound quality of their speakers.

They are sometimes distorted, low volume and small, so there is little bass response.

You wouldn’t put up with that in your home sound system, so why put up with it when riding and listening to music or receiving phone calls?

Maybe manufacturers consider the helmet environment noisy and unable to conduct reasonable sound quality. That is true and wind noise easily diminishes bass response.

However, we’ve tried several aftermarket speakers systems in the past and all have improved sound quality over the supplied speakers.

The exception is Sena’s latest units which have upgraded sound.

However, the best of the aftermarket speakers we have tried so far are the iASUS XSound 2.1 helmet speakers at just US$49.

Until the end of February, they are offering Motorbike Writer readers three pairs of the speakers for just $99 with free shipping to Australia. Just enter the coupon code AUSXS21 when buying.

These are their entry level speakers, so the CNC aluminium chassis Xsound 3 helmet speakers (US$99) must be very good. 

If you have a Bluetooth unit that allows you to plug in ancillary speakers, that’s great. If not, you may have to get the soldering iron out, buy a connector and do your own handiwork. It will be worth the effort.

The XSound speakers have a bigger circumference than any other aftermarket speakers we’ve tried which means the bass response is better. The bigger the speaker, the more bass.

They have a claimed 20Hz to 22kHz frequency range and are efficient for high volume and low distortion.

The XSound speakers are also the most comfortable we’ve tried.

No sharp edges or hard plastic against your ears. They are quite wide at 1.3cm, but have a deep and comfortable foam cushion.

Comfort will depend on whether your helmet has ear recesses or not and where you can locate the speakers. Every helmet is different.

The sound quality will improve dramatically the closer you can get them to sitting right over your ear cavities.

They come with 3M velcro attachments so you can position them exactly where you want them.

There is also an extension cord in case you just want to plug straight into your smartphone or music player and the cords have “gold”-plated 3.5mm connectors for high conductivity.

You can also get accessories such as an mobile amp to increase sound, a cord with volume control and a throat microphone.

iASUS XSound 2.1 speakers
  • Price: US$49
  • Maximum power: 30mW
  • Sensititvity: 125dB
  • Frequency range: 20Hz to 22kHz
  • Weight: 34g (1.2oz)
  • Impedence: 32Ohm
  • Cable: 1m x 3.5mm extension cable
  • Dimensions: 4.6cm diameter, 1.3cm wide
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

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Lane filtering: Watch for driver doors

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 11:05am

The video below shows the danger to lane filtering riders of a driver who gets out of their vehicle while stopped at traffic lights.

It’s illegal for a driver to leave their vehicle while stopped at traffic lights or on a roadway, unless parked at the roadside.

It is also illegal to “create a hazard” by opening a vehicle door or leaving it open while driving.

In Victoria, it is also illegal for a passenger or driver to open the door of a parked vehicle, accidentally hitting a cyclist, motorcyclist or pedestrian.

However, being in the right is no consolation for the legally lane-filtering rider who runs into a car door and is injured.

How to avoid lane filtering crashes

The rider in the above video has obviously been practising his emergency stopping procedures and is able to stop in plenty of time.

It’s worth noting that all riders should practise these skills.

While filtering through slow or stationary traffic, riders should look for telltale signs that a door will open or a vehicle will suddenly swap lanes.

Look inside the vehicle for the driver and passengers and take note of any head movement which could indicate their intentions.

Also look for indicators, wheels suddenly turning, doors opening or interior lights suddenly switching on.

We recently asked police and transport departments in each state for their statistics for lane filtering offences.

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

So there is little chance of any progress in legislation or safety initiatives without such crash data.

Lane filtering laws

Lane filtering has been common practice in many countries for years.

It is now legal in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales and is being evaluated in the ACT and considered in other states. It is also now legal in California and being considered by other states.

But remember, it may be legal but you are not compelled to filter. Use your judgement and stay safe.

  • Have you hit, or narrowly missed, a car door while lane filtering? Leave your comments below.

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CCM releases Spitfire bike images

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 6:00am

British motorcycle company Clews Competition Machines has released images of a street tracker based on the World War II Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane.

The CCM Spitfire uses a frame made of T45 steel, just like the old Spitfire.

Supermarine Spitfire

It was welded by Ted Unwin, one of the original members of the company back in the 1970s.

But rather than being powered by a 1000hp Merlin engine like the plane, the CCM Spitfire is powered by a liquid-cooled 600cc single-cylinder with 55hp and 58Nm of torque.

It’s derived from the old Husqvarna and is also used in the SWM RS650R dual sport.

The bike weighs only 120kg dry and has WP upside-down forks, Tractiv mono shock, 19-inch spoked rims, 140-litre fuel tank, LED daytime running light, 830m tan leather solo seat, LCD instruments and Brembo 320/240mm brakes.

The project was done by workers in their spare time and the company says production will be limited to 150 from £7995 (about $A13,000).

It will be publicly unveiled at this weekend’s London Motorcycle Show (February 17-19).

Clews Competition Machines started in 1971 with the collapse of BSA’s competition department.

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Footy legends ride Harleys for homeless

Thu, 16/02/2017 - 5:55pm

You could win a Harley-Davidson Roadster in a raffle as part of the fifth annual Hogs For The Homeless  footy legends tour, thanks to Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand.

Twenty legends of football will set off on the charity motorcycle ride kicks tomorrow, Friday February 17, from Frasers Motorcycles in Sydney at 6.30am.

Among the legends are: Harley ambassador Nathan Hindmarsh, Brad Fittler, Steve Menzies, Danny Buderus, Josh Perry, Steve Roach, Paul Sironen, Tim Brasher, Kerry Hemsley and Ian Schubert

They will ride Harleys supplied by the company across 4000km of NSW in 11 days, stopping

at 14 towns including Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo and Walgett. 

The tour will raise awareness and funds for Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets youth charity. 

Since its inception in 2013, Hogs For The Homeless has engaged with local communities across NSW to promote and raise awareness of youth homelessness throughout Australia. 

This year HD Australia has donated the Roadster valued at $19,495 ride away as first prize in the Hogs For The Homeless raffle and provided Harleys for the legends to ride.

Harley-Davidson Sportster

Along the way, the Origin legends will set up Rugby League clinics, attend local Rugby League tournaments including three all-girl nines tournaments, and give away 3000 footballs to girls and boys.

The team has also committed to help the town of Walgett re-turf an entire Rugby League pitch, with almost $150,000 in materials and labour being donated.

To date, Hogs For The Homeless has raised more than $450,000 for Youth Off The Streets, the charity supporting young people who are homeless, drug dependent and recovering from abuse, says HD Australia marketing director Adam Wright.

“Working alongside some of the biggest names in Rugby League, we have recognised what can be achieved by coming together, and the impact that we have already received over the past five years,” he says.

The post Footy legends ride Harleys for homeless appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Cars bigger evaders of speeding fines

Thu, 16/02/2017 - 5:00pm

Speeding cars with obscured number plates are much bigger evaders of speed camera fines than motorcyclists without front number plates.

A New Zealand authority earlier this year called for fixed and mobile speed cameras to be turned around to photograph the rear of vehicles after noting many motorcyclists evading fines.

For years Australian police, safety Nazis and transport authorities have been researching the introduction of motorcycle front number plates to address the issue.

Statistics don’t lie

However, our research shows that motorcyclists are not the biggest evaders of speed camera offences, after all.

We asked for statistics from several states, but only received replies from NSW and Queensland transport and police departments.

In the past year, NSW recorded 71,111 speed camera offences unable to be issued because a vehicle could not be identified. It was 60,332 in Queensland, representing about 10% of all 582,554 speed camera offences.

However, NSW says speeding fines could not be issued to only 2712 motorcycle riders, or just 3.8% which is fair as motorcycles are about 4% of all road users.

In Queensland, the stats show only 759 motorists or 1.2% could not be recorded because there is no front number plate. Furthermore, not all of those would be motorcycles as some cars, trucks and other vehicles may have been missing a front number plate.

So the argument that motorcycles should have front number plates so they can’t avoid speeding fines is ridiculous. Statistically, it’s just not that much of an issue!

That doesn’t stop police and mainstream media frequently demonising riders by publishing sensationalist stories showing riders speeding or doing a wheelie past speed cameras.

They claim thousands of riders are wantonly avoiding speeding fines, but the statistics show they are not as big an issue as obscured plates on other vehicles.

Speed camera use

Fixed and mobile cameras can be used to photograph the front or back of a vehicle.

It seems police are often likely to shoot the front of a vehicle so the motorist has less time to reduce their speed when they see the camera.

Also, the rear plates are often obscured by road grime, tow balls and other fixtures.

In fact, in Queensland, unclear plates represent 45,121 (75%) of the unidentified speeding vehicles and in 3081 cases (5%), the plate is obscured by a fitting.

Case against front plates

A comprehensive 2014 Victorian Motorcycle Council report found that implementing front number plates – or “people slicers” as they used to be called – would cost the motorcycle community millions in initial outlay and ongoing annual costs.

Their front number plate policy statement covers issues such as aesthetics, costs, road safety, history, speeding offences, design rules, electronic tags and more.

In one of the most compelling cases, the VMC claims it would cost the Victorian motorcycling community some “$30 million with an ongoing $1 million-plus annually plus the cost of a yet-to-be-determined suitable FNP design. This is a significant impost on any community and such a cost imposition for no net benefit should categorically rule out the proposal”.

They say it would also ruin the resale value of Victorian motorcycles and affect the interstate trade in bikes.

The post Cars bigger evaders of speeding fines appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Harley Days returns to Wollongong

Thu, 16/02/2017 - 1:00pm

The first Harley-Davidson rally open to riders of all bikes will return to Wollongong again this year after organisers considered the inaugural event in November 2016 a success.

The first Harley Days had about 10,000-plus people at the Stuart Park venue, in Wollongong, over the three days. Among the many attractions were demo bikes, escorted scenic rides, BMX stunt shows, trade stalls and free concerts by acts such as Hot Dub Time Machine, Ross Wilson and The Screamin’ Eagles.

The only complaints we have heard about the Wollongong rally was that camping accommodation was limited. However, there is camping available at nearby Corrimal Beach.

Harley-Davidson Australia has yet to officially confirm venues, dates, accommodation and entertainment highlights for the Wollongong event, but we suspect it will be in November.

Early Sunday riser HOG rally history

Harley took over the running of the Harley Owners Group a few years ago and continued to organise popular members-only rallies around the country.

However, in many other countries, these rallies have been opened up to riders of all bikes so Harley can reach out to new customers. So it was only a matter of time before Harley did the same in Australia. The last HOG-only event was the 24th annual rally in Tamworth in 2014.

The first open rally run by Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand was the Iron Run in Queenstown in 2015.

2015 Iron Run

It was a great success that was repeated last year on the North Island and returns to Queenstown in March.

Gaz says they already have 650 registrations and are aiming for 1000 registrations.

“A good turn-up is expected and there’s great riding to get to Queenstown,” he says.

Highlights include a display of the Harley Livewire electric bike and a show by the Screamin Eagles band on the Friday night Saint Patrick’s Day themed special event for HOG members.

Outreach needed

Harley’s core customers are ageing white males who are dying off.

Consequently their global retail sales dropped 1.6% in 2016, including a 3.9% drop in the US.

Those losses were offset by international sales growth of 2.3%. Australia almost doubled that with 5% growth to again top road bike sales.

To address the sales slump, Harley is reaching out to new riders, young people, women, Hispanics and Black African Americans.

Olympian Caroline Buchanan with the Throttle Dolls at Harley Days

In the US, dealers trained more than 65,000 new riders through the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy last year. The company plans to increase that to 100,000 globally by the end of the decade.

Another important sales tool is open rallies such as Harley Days.

It is important for Harley to reach out to younger riders on smaller bikes such as their new Street 500 who don’t want to ride as far from capital cities as some HOG members with big Touring bikes.

Their outreach tactics seem to be paying off with sales to “outreach” customers higher than core customers for the past five years. They now represent 40% of all their sales.

  • What do you think of Harley Days returning to Woollongong in 2017.

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Harley Davidson: historic motorcycle manufacturer

Thu, 16/02/2017 - 9:19am

Think of a motorcycle manufacturer and chances are Harley-Davidson comes to mind. From humble roots to becoming one of America’s most iconic brands, join Custom Lids, retailer of Bell motorcycle helmets, as they delve into some of the key moments in the rich history of the world’s best-loved biking brand:

1901

The story begins in 1901, when William S. Harley — one of the brand’s founding fathers — drew up a blueprint of an engine that can fit into a bicycle. Designed for use on a regular bicycle, the engine would offer a displacement of 7.07 cubic inches and four-inch flywheels.

While variants of the motorcycle existed prior to this point, it was certainly an important moment in biking history, giving rise to what would become one of the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturers.

1903

In 1903, the world got one step closer to Harley-Davidson as we know it today. William and his friend Arthur Davidson decided to work together to make the blueprints a reality and manufacture a motorcycle.

Unlike the futuristic production lines of our times, the very first Harley was built in a 10ft by 15ft wooden shed. The first Harley Davidson motorcycle the public could get their hands on was designed to race, with a 3-1/8 inch bore and 3-1/2 inch stroke. One of their first customers was an old school friend, who bought his bike direct.

1904

Just one year later and Harley-Davidson’s success began to snowball. The first Harley-Davidson Dealer, C.H. Lang of Chicago, is established and sells the first three of the brand’s production motorcycles ever made.

1905

As well as their size, the performance of their motorcycles started to make headlines in 1905. July 4th saw one of the brand’s bikes win a 15-mile race in Chicago.

1909

The first V-twin powered Harley-Davidson motorcycle is introduced, offering displacement of 49.5 cubic inches and a horsepower of seven. The cylinders were arranged in a 45-degree layout — a now iconic feature of motorcycles.

1912 Harley-Davidson

1920

By 1920, Harley is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, with 2,000 dealers in 67 countries around the world.

1925

In 1925, gas tanks were modified to have a distinct tear-drop gas tank, which would go on to become one of the bikes’ most iconic features.

1931

By 1931, Harley-Davidson’s superior quality motorcycles, class-leading innovation and exceptional sporting performance had seen off all other American brands expect Indian (Hendee Manufacturing). The pair would remain the only two American motorcycle manufacturers for more than 20 years to come.

1933

A reaction to the Great Depression, all Harley-Davidson gas tanks are painted with a now-iconic eagle design, which triggered the start of graphic design on the bikes.

1941-1945

In 1941, America and the rest of the world was rocked by World War II, with the production of military bikes now taking priority over civilians’. Over the coming years, Harley-Davidson dedicates their business and manufacturing to supporting the US war efforts. Activities included:

  • 1941 — Service School converted to aid the training of military mechanics.
  • 1942 — XA750 bike was produced, designed for desert use although the contract was terminated early when war combat moved away from North Africa.
  • 1943 — Wins the first of four Army-Navy “E” Awards for excellence.
  • 1945 — Over 60,000 WLA models were produced during the war. After the war ends, civilian bike production resumed in November.

1947

Harley-Davidson created and retailed the now essential and iconic black leather motorcycle jacket.

1953

Harley-Davidson’s 50th anniversary. In the same year, Hendee Manufacturing goes out of business, leaving Harley Davidson as America’s sole motorcycle manufacturer — a position they would occupy for the next 46 years.

1957

The world was introduced to what would become the first of Harley’s superbikes. Named the Sportster, it featured a 55 cubic inch overhead valve engine.

1960

The first (and last) Harley-Davidson motor scooter was produced — the Harley Davidson Topper. In the same year, the company partnered with Aeronatica-Macchi to form Aermacchi Harley-Davidson. The European division produced single-cylinder bikes.

1962

Harley-Davidson began manufacturing its own parts using fibreglass.

1970

As well as introducing the XR-750 Sportster-based motorcycle, 1970 saw racer Cal Rayborn break the world land speed record set by a motorcycle. His 16ft streamliner — which was powered by a single Sportster engine — reached just over 265mph.

1981

Thirteen Harley executives bought the company back from AMF, with the purchase finalised in June 1981.

1983

Harley Owner’s Group was formed; the world’s largest factory-sponsored motorcycle club. By 2000, the club had reached 500,000 members.

23rd HOG Rally in Cairns

1986

Harley-Davidson is listed on the American Stock Exchange.

1993

Harley celebrates its 90th anniversary in Milwaukee. The motorcycle parade contains an estimated 100,000 riders.

1998

The company reaches its 95th anniversary, where 140,000 riders join the celebrations.

2001

The VRSCA V-Rod is introduced, inspired by the racing version of the bike. It combines fuel injection with overhead cams and liquid cooling, delivering horsepower of 115.

2016 Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle-Davidson, motorcycles

2003

Milwaukee hosts a massive party to celebrate the local company’s 100th anniversary, attracting tens of thousands of Harley fans.

2008

A new frame is introduced for the Touring family. It delivers a lower seating position, improved manoeuvrability and has a longer wheelbase.

2009

Expansion into India is announced.

2011

HD-1 is announced, giving riders the chance of a factory-built custom motorcycle.

2016

Harley launches its ninth Big Twin engine, called the Milwaukee-Eight, referring to where it’s made and the number of valves. 

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Display promotes motorcycle rider safety

Thu, 16/02/2017 - 6:00am

South East Queensland riders are invited to attend a major safety education display at Nerang this Sunday after a horror start to the year with eight motorcyclist deaths.

A safety display will be held at the Country Paradise Parklands on Nerang-Beaudesert Road from 8am-1pm on Sunday, February 19, 2017.

It follows on from several similar Operation North Upright police displays last year, but organiser Senior Constable Graeme Reeves of the Nerang Police Station says this year’s events will be slightly different.

Police talk to riders at a 2016 Operation North Upright event

“This promotional day will be a major upgrade to 2016’s sausage sizzle and coffee voucher days,” he says.

They will also include giveaways, radio interviews, bike stores stalls and local motorcycle club displays.

Members of the police, ambulance, and fire and emergency workers will be available to answer riders’ questions and show how radar gear, jaws of life and emergency equipment work.

Surveys and statistics

They will also conduct surveys to gain an insight into rider ages, riding experience and attitudes.

This comes as police reveal that men aged over 40 represent more than 75% of all rider deaths and that while riders account for 4% of road users, they accounted for a quarter of Queensland road deaths last year.

In the past, these displays have been accompanied by a high police presence in the coast and capital hinterland regions. However, this year may be different.

“The event is strictly promotional – no enforcement – to enhance rider safety in our patch,” Graeme says.

“You can assure your readers this event is for education purposes along with a good opportunity of a large number of riders that enjoy their Sunday ride to drop in for 10 minutes or as long as they want and mix with Emergency Services, other clubs and social riders.

“Although I state it is a promotional event, this is not a ‘Get out of Jail Card” for riders in the area. 

“We are promoting safe riding practices and although there will be no targeted enforcement at this event, if local police see someone exceeding the speed limit in the hinterland then they can expect to get a ticket.

“I would expect that any rider that drops in to this event will be showing their support of safe riding practices by riding in a like manner in the surrounding area on this date.

“I believe that bike riders are some of the best road uses in our area and I always promote this with staff at this station that have no real knowledge of motorbikes.”

Long-time rider

Graeme is a 51-year-old former bike cop with safety close to his heart after breaking both legs and arms in a crash on his work bike in 1986.

He grew up on trail bikes, progressed to road bikes and spent seven years as a bike cop in the ’80s  and ’90s. 

“I have owned a variety of bikes over the years and currently have a Triumph Tiger 1050 that is my pride and joy,” he says.

“I’m also restoring a 1981 Yamaha RX-125 for my partner as her first bike.

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Benelli reveals 750cc Ducati Monster copy

Wed, 15/02/2017 - 5:00pm

Benelli plans a product assault this year, among them a new 750cc naked bike that looks incredibly like a Ducati Monster.

These photos of a production-ready bike have been circulated on several websites in India.

It is believed to be called the 750GS streetfighter and it is powered by a 750cc water-cooled parallel twin engine with about 70kW and 65Nm of torque

It sits inside a trellis frame and together with the droopy headlight, it looks like a copy of the popular Ducati Monster.

The bike has been around for some years at various shows, but we now believe it could be released soon.

We contacted Australian distributers Urban Moto Imports but they dd not comment.

It is expected to be part of a 2017 major model assault that began late last year with the release of the BN251 ($4990 rideaway).

In Australia, all models will also have ABS available as an option. Currently, none of their bikes has ABS.

The Italian-owned-and-developed, Chinese-made Benelli range is expected to have as many as 14 motorcycles and a scooter available in Australia by mid-2017.

Benelli BN251

Other models coming include a fully faired BN302T Tornado, 502TRK adventure bike, 502 Leoncino scrambler and the BN135T to compete against the Honda Grom and Kawasaki Z125 in the adult mini-bike market.

 

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Honda first with emergency braking

Wed, 15/02/2017 - 1:00pm

Honda Motorcycles look like being the first to introduce emergency braking that automatically stops a motorcycle if it detects an imminent crash.

In 2015, the United Nations #STOPTHECRASH campaign called for autonomous emergency braking on all bikes.

The system activates usually at slow speeds if an obstacle is sensed in front of the bike.

There are already similar systems in many cars, including Honda, which has now filed patents that show their system would work on motorcycles.

In their cars, it’s called a Collision Mitigation Braking System.

It uses various sensors and radars to detect an imminent crash.

Their patents say it would be linked to the front and rear brakes controlled by an automated system.

If the rider doesn’t apply the brakes, the system begins to apply rear brake pressure, determines the surface traction, then starts applying the front brake. It will continue until the bike stops or the obstacle is no longer in front.

If the rider does apply the brakes, the automated system would apply maximum pressure, taking away the onus for riders to learn how to perform emergency braking.

LEARN HOW TO DO EMERGENCY BRAKING

While automated braking is in its early stages in motorcycles, it has been around for the past decade in cars.

Once the systems have been fine-tuned by motorcycle companies such as Honda and BMW, as well as automotive technology providers such as Bosch, Continental and Denso, we can expect to see them introduced in many top-priced bikes.

The next step would be mandatory fitting.

Don’t think it won’t happen.

ABS and ESC (electronic stability control) is mandatory in cars in most parts of the world and it’s quickly coming to motorcycles.

More than one in three new motorcycles manufactured in Europe is now fitted with ABS and Japan, Europe, India, Brazil and Taiwan have already mandated anti-lock brakes on designated motorcycles.

  • Should ABS and emergency braking be mandatory on motorcycles? Leave your comments below.

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Top apps for modern motorcycle fans

Wed, 15/02/2017 - 7:05am

A good way of helping you get the most out of your motorbike trips is to download some useful apps that can help and entertain you in plenty of different ways.

Here is a look at some must-have apps for motorcycle fans, including one with an important crash safety feature, plus traffic-busting data and ways to connect and share rides and experience with others who are on the same wavelength.

App with a backup plan

There are plenty of fellow bikers who consider EatSleepRide to be an app worthy of space on your smartphone, as it offers a number of key features that helps you connect with other riders and even detects a crash scenario.

The safety feature within the app is known as CRASHLIGHT and it uses your accelerometer to detect a motorcycle crash and send an emergency alert to your pre-selected contacts, giving your location details so that help can be on the way as quickly as possible.

Another cool feature with this app is the ability to track and share your favourite rides, letting you replay them to review speed, lean angle, and elevation, as well as discovering new routes submitted by other bikers.

Beat the traffic

Even though every bike journey should be fun, if you are using your bike for commuting, you will want to find a way of cutting through the traffic and arriving at your destination in the most efficient way possible.

Waze is one of the most comprehensive community-based traffic and navigation apps around, and with so many people using the app, you should be able to get useful real-time data about road conditions and traffic information.

It is also well worth downloading a detailed weather app so that you know what sort of conditions you will be facing along the way and can take the right precautions to prepare properly.

On tour with the biking community

You will probably have some favourite routes that you have taken on your bike and the same applies to other enthusiasts within the biking community, so it makes sense to share your experiences and even hook up with some new friends for a few new adventures.

A couple of apps that help you share routes and get in touch with others in the biking community are Rever and Best Biking Roads.

Rever helps you to expand your horizons and discover new places to ride your motorcycle to and gives you the chance to find people to ride with. Best Biking Roads is billed as the one of the largest motorcycle touring resources around and the fact that there are more than 8000 routes to check out, gives you an idea of the size of the community using this app.

If you are committed to a life on two wheels there are plenty of apps around that can enhance your enjoyment and let you share your passion for motorcycles with others.

About the author
  • Jack Woods became passionate about motorcycles from a young age thanks to his Dad. He writes about his hobby, and his passion, aimed at other like-minded people.

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Royal Enfield custom projects show wide appeal

Wed, 15/02/2017 - 6:00am

The simpler the motorcycle, the more scope there is for customisation, or so it would seem from these two very varied Royal Enfield custom projects.

On the one hand we have the Green Fly scrambler (above) and on the other we have the Nautilus Harley-lookalike.

Bulleteer Nautilus

A recent competition in Australia also showed the scope of custom projects that anyone with a bit of imagination can make of the simple motorcycle.

Check out this selection of the competing custom projects which included a bobber, scrambler, turbo and even a chopper.

Royal Enfield Spain recently commissioned the Green Fly from Jesus de Juan who used a Classic 500 with Continental GT frame.

Jesus says the Continental GT frame is more robust and suitable for an off-roader. It also provided the ability to eliminate the air filter, battery box and twin shocks.

It features an offset mono shock, upside down forks and fat 140/150mm knobby tyres.

Green Fly

An intended road legal version will receive fenders, mirrors and a catalytic converter to comply with Europe’s emission norms.

The Nautilus is also made from a 500cc Classic and comes from Bulleteer Customs of Bangalore, India, who modify Royal Enfields into choppers, cruisers and bobbers.

This custom cruiser is a tribute to Captain Nemo’s submarine, the Nautilus which was featured in Jules Verne’s novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island.

It looks more like a Harley Fat Boy, but features dual Gatling gun exhausts.

Bulleteer Nautilus

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BMW G 310 to become top seller

Tue, 14/02/2017 - 5:00pm

The new BMW G 310 R and GS models could become the company’s top-selling motorcycles, says BMW Motorrad Australia GM Andreas Lundgren.

“The segment below 500cc is the biggest worldwide and we want to get a piece of it,” he says.

“That’s why we decided to develop this entry level model.”

While the top-selling BMWs worldwide are the R 1200 GS and GSA, followed by the S 1000 variants, Andreas believes the G 310 models will become the “volume seller”.

And why not? The Harley-Davidson learner-approved Street 500 quickly became the American brand’s top-selling bike in Australia.

Andreas with a BMW G 310 R

Andreas was speaking at a BMW range unveiling in Victoria last week where they previewed a pre-production version of the learner G 310 R.

We weren’t able to test ride it because it is unregistered. However, we did start up the single-cylinder bike and heard its gentle purr and felt its very balanced and refined engine.

Put your hand on the tank and, even with plenty of revs, it has very little vibration. That should be a big selling point for the motorcycle.

G 310 advantages

BMW Motorrad Australia marketing manager Miles Davis points out that another big attraction is the reverse engine which has the inlet port at the front and exhaust port at the rear.

He says this means it can be placed further forward in the bike giving it a lower centre of gravity and a longer swingarm for greater high-speed stability while retaining a short wheelbase for dynamic handling.

Australia should have had the G 310 R by now, but it has been held up by quality control issues at the Indian factory with some of the components, says Andreas.

“We’re getting it absolutely right first,” he says.

“There were some components that the factory wasn’t happy with. Instead of going out with something less than optimal, they delayed the launch until it was 100% right.

“It’s much better to release the bike 100% right than to launch early.”

Hero role

BMW Motorrad regional manager Kostas Bras says Kostas says quality plays a “hero role” in the prestige company.

“It’s better to bear the cost of not launching a bike than to face recalls,” he says.

There is still no release date for the G 310 R which will cost $5790 – $5865. There is neither a launch date nor pricing yet for the GS version.

However, Andreas says the GS is likely to be the more popular model.

BMW G 310 GS

“Our GS models represent more than half of our sales, so it should be the bigger seller,” he says.

Indian made

Andreas rejects concerns that an Indian-made motorcycle in collaboration with Indian manufacturer TVS would dilute the prestige brand.

BMW Group Australia boss Marc Werner agrees, pointing out that critics said the 1 Series would also dilute the BMW car brand.

He says the 1 Series introduced a younger breed to the prestige brand and the G 310 models would do the same.

Andreas says there may be other variants of the G 310, but he ruled out a retro model.

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Kawasaki Z900 – more power, same price

Tue, 14/02/2017 - 1:00pm

Kawasaki has ditched the Z800 for a Z900 with more power, more sound, but the same price of $12,499 (plus on-road costs).

The Z900 is now a 948cc in-line four based on the Z1000 with the same power output of 94kW (up 9kW on the Z800), but weighing 1kg less at 210kg.

If that sounds good, apparently the intake note has been “crafted specifically so that acceleration can be relished”.

They say their sound engineers shaped the airbox based on acoustic tests carried out in a sound room.

“Distinct from the edgy, powerful howl of the Z1000, the intake note of the Z900 is clear and mild,” they say.

“The frequency of the note varies with engine speed, adding to riding impact – especially at high rpm.

They also say the airbox inlet faces upwards so the rider can hear it better.

All this effort is probably to keep the rider happy with a fruity note while silencing the exhaust note to keep within the legal noise limits.

It’s a smart move that luxury car companies have been doing for several years.

The Z900 may be a little close in capacity to the Z1000 and it remains to be seen if they drop that bike which marked the return of the Z to the brand in 2003. The following year a Z750 was introduced and terminated when the Z800 took over in 2013.

It comes with a lightweight steel trellis frame, 41mm upside-down forks and rear shock both with adjustable rebound and preload.

Brakes are 300mm front discs with Nissin four-piston calipers and ABS.

Other features include Assist and Slipper clutch, stacked instrument cluster with gear position and shift-up indicators and a low 795mm seat height.

It comes in a choice of Pearl Mystic Gray or Metallic Flat Spark Black.

The Z900 will compete against the popular Yamaha MT-09 ($11,999+orc) and XSR900 $12,999+orc), the new water-cooled Triumph Street Twin ($13,350+orc), new Suzuki GSX-750 ($10,790+orc) and BMW’s R nineT variants ($17,690-24,315).

Kawasaki Z900 tech specs
  • Price: $12,499 (+ORC)
  • Engine: 948cc liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, 16-valve, DOHC in-line four
  • Bore x stroke: 73.4 x 56.0 mm
  • Compression: 11.8:1
  • Power: 92.2 kW @ 9500rpm
  • Torque: 98.6Nm
  • Suspension: 41mm USD forks with rebound damping and spring preload adjustability; horizontal Back-link with rebound damping and spring preload adjustability
  • Transmission: 6-speed, wet multi-disc
  • Tyres: 120/70ZR17; 180/55ZR17
  • Brakes: Dual semi-floating 300mm petal discs, dual opposed 4-piston callipers; 250mm petal disc, single-piston
  • Length: 2070mm
  • Width: 820mm
  • Height: 1065mm
  • Wheelbase: 1450mm
  • Clearance: 130mm
  • Seat: 795mm
  • Weight: 210kg
  • Tank: 17 litres

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No more retro BMW R nineT models

Tue, 14/02/2017 - 6:00am

The BMW R nineT model range jumps from two to five this year, but it could be the last of the retro models on this platform.

BMW Motorrad Australia GM Andreas Lundgren says the new Pure naked roadster, bubble-faired Racer (pictured above) and Urban G/S (pictured below) could be the final retro variants in the R nineT range.

BMW R nineT Urban G/S

“That’s it to my knowledge on this platform,” he says.

“There will be more retro models. They are playing around with all sorts of things, but not on this platform. I can’t think of any more concepts on this platform.”

BMW has been fostering several custom retro models such as the beautiful R5 Hommage, the original Concept 90 by Roland Sands Design, plus the RSD Classic bobber (see video below) and this streamliner project, all of which we would love to see.

Hopes remain buoyed though, as BMW Motorrad regional manager Kostas Bras says “never say never”.

“In general the group is looking into the heritage sector which is growing so we will have to see,” Kostas says.

We asked about retro versions based on their single-cylinder G 310, parallel twin F 800 and four-cylinder K models, but neither would comment.

New model prices and arrival

The retro or “heritage” range in Australia consists of the R nineT ($22,490 – $24,315) and Scrambler ($18,750 – $22,505).

They will be joined in March by the Pure ($17,690 – $21,445) and Racer ($19,150 – $22,655).

BMW R nineT Racer and Pure

The R nineT Urban G/S will arrive in May at $18,750 – $22,255 to complete the line-up.

2017 R nineT updates

All models are powered by the previous air-oil called Boxer engine with a new new catalytic convertor and ECU to comply with the Euro 4 pollution requirements.

However, power remains the same at 81kW, but torque is marginally down from 119Nm to 116Nm.

The base model now comes with fully adjustable upside-down forks for better handling and steering and classic speed wire wheels.

Other changes include totally separate twin instrument pods for more classic styling, black Paralever swingarm and, for the first time, a choice of colours.

The cheapest model in the range will be the minimalist Pure with single-pod instruments like the Scrambler.

Andreas says a personal favourite and his hope to become the leader in sales is the bubble-faired Racer.

R nineT Racer

He also says the new Urban G/S variant will have slightly better dirt skills than the Scrambler with its bigger 19-inch front wheel, narrower 170/60 ZR 17 rear tyre and high GS fender.

Surprisingly, it stays with cast alloy wheels.

The R nineT is the fastest-growing segment in BMW Motorrad, but the R 1200 GS and GSA are still the top sellers in Australia, followed by the S 1000- R, RR and, to a lesser extent, the XR.

Andreas with an S 1000 RR

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Honda recalls Goldwing airbags again

Mon, 13/02/2017 - 5:00pm

Honda has recalled the GL 1800 Goldwing for the second time in a year over faults in its revolutionary airbags.

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission voluntary recall notice says the airbag inflator may degrade over time.

“If the airbag is deployed, this degradation may cause the inflator body to rupture, causing metal fragments to pass through the airbag,” the notice says.

“The metal fragments may cause serious injury or death to the motorcycle rider.”

Bikes affected are 2012 models only with airbags fitted.

Owners are asked to contact their authorised Honda dealer to arrange for a free inspection and repair.

The recall notice is a month behind a similar recall notice in America.

Previous recall

The Goldwing was also recalled last year after the airbag fault was linked to 13 deaths and more than 100 injuries in car crashes.

The recall was initially for 85 millions cars fitted with the Takata airbags, but was extended to about 2700 motorcycles.

Honda says there have not been any reported ruptures involving the motorcycles.

When the airbags were fitted to the Goldwing in 2006, it was the first motorcycle to feature the safety device. It was designed to deploy in a severe head-on crash and stop the rider from flipping off the bike.

However, those built from 2006-2010 used a non-desiccated inflator module that has since been found to cause ruptures in airbags.

YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS ON RECALLS

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

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:

• <a href="http://www.productsafety generic clomid australia.gov.au/products/transport/motor-bikes” target=”_blank”>Australia

• USA

• UK

• New Zealand

• Canada

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BMW calls for low emissions ‘carrots’

Mon, 13/02/2017 - 12:00pm

Tax incentives, import subsidies and/or charging infrastructure are needed for Australia to catch up with the rest of the world on low-emissions vehicles, says BMW Group Australia boss Marc Werner.

“I call on Mr Turnbull and the Federal Government to action a robust policy to import low-emission vehicles,” he says.

While his comments mainly concern their electric and hybrid cars, BMW also has electric maxi-scooters which are not yet sold in Australia. They are also planning more with the unveiling last year of the eRR electric superbike concept.

BMW eRR electric Low emissions line-up

“We have a strong low-emissions product line-up,” Marc says. 

“We are notably the leading premium manufacturer in alternative drivetrain technology, but now we are in a position to push it from a product offering perspective.

“We’ve been very active in lobbying to promote low-emissions vehicle technology.”

Marc points out that the German government recently announced cash incentives for low-emissions vehicle purchases that have sparked sales interest.

“But it needs to go hand in hand with infrastructure,” Marc says. 

“Australia has a big challenge there with a big stretch between cities. NZ is definitely the front runner in the roll-out of charging infrastructure. We can learn from that.”

But that doesn’t mean the C evolution electric version of the C650 maxi scooter will be coming to Australia anytime soon.

BMW electric scooter

BMW Motorrad Australia GM Andreas Lundgren says the business case in Australia “does not stack up yet”.

Cash carrots

Consumer cash carrots could change all that.

The UK Government is providing a £1500 ($2400) subsidy on the price of electric motorcycles and scooters to encourage uptake.

Subsidies for electric and hybrid cars are provided by most European countries, Asian nations, Canada and most American states. Only California so far includes motorcycles.

Meanwhile, the Australian Government has refused to offer subsidies on any electric vehicle.

In fact, the Luxury Car Tax acts as a disincentive since many electric or hybrid vehicles cost more than the price threshold.

The only concessions are in Victoria which has a $100 rego discount on hybrid and electric vehicles and the ACT which waives stamp duty on electric vehicles. 

Electric revolution

The world is slowly turning electric while Australia drifts further behind.

There have been many small and cheap electric scooters churned out of China for several years.

Many boutique start-up electric bike companies mainly in the USA have been making more expensive models.

Traditional motorcycle manufacturers are also waiting in the wings with plenty of electric product:

  • Yamaha and KTM make moto and off-road electric bikes but they are available in few markets;

    Yamaha PES1 electric motorcycle

  • Kawasaki is considering a small electric Ninja;
  • Harley-Davidson says its Livewire will be available in the next few years; and
  • Polaris bought and now sells the Empulse in the USA as a Victory although that could change with the demise of that company.
Honda/Hitachi deal

Now the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer, Honda, has signed a deal with Hitachi Automotive Systems to develop and make motors for electric vehicles.

While the Memorandum of Understanding doesn’t specify electric motorcycles, Honda has already confirmed it will have the EV-CUB electric scooter (pictured above) available from 2018.

The move by the world’s largest motorcycle company could be the most significant spark that kickstarts the electric motorcycle market.

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