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Updated: 32 min 31 sec ago

Honda Africa Twin claims altitude record

Sun, 19/03/2017 - 5:00am

A Honda Africa Twin in almost standard trim has claimed the world altitude record for a twin-cylinder motorcycle by climbing the world’s highest volcano.

The bike with the DCT automatic transmission reached 5965m on Ojos del Salado in the Atacama Region, on the Argentina-Chile border.

Honda says they did not change the fuelling.

Only a 6m high wall of snow and ice stopped Chilean enduro champion Fabio Mossini from going further. He was part of a five supporting Africa Twins.

The only modifications to the bike were a Termignoni exhaust, knobby Metzeler MC360 tyres, shorter final gear and some protective parts.

It wasn’t the outright record for a motorcycle.

That is held by the KTM Freeride electric bike. It was set last year by Francisco López, KTM’s Chilean rally raid rider, on the same mountain. He reached an altitude of 6080m.

KTM Freeride sets altitude record

The altitude record for an internal combustion engine bike is 6471m set in 2015 by Gianfranco Bianchi on a single-cylinder Suzuki RM-Z450.

The post Honda Africa Twin claims altitude record appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Iron Run raises funds for Camp Quality

Sat, 18/03/2017 - 2:00pm

More than 1000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles roared from Queenstown to Arrowtown today as part of the third annual Iron Run rally in New Zealand, raising funds for Camp Quality.

The Thunder Run was the highlight of the two-day rally. It was led by celebrities including actress Danielle Cormack, All Black footy legend Josh Kronfeld, Kiwi DJ Jay Reeve, Aussie Olympian BMXer Caroline Buchanan and her fiancé Barry Nobles, an American BMX champ.

Danielle, Josh, Caroline and Jay (Photos by Johny Cook)

Apart from the Thunder Run, there have also been parties, a show and shine, demo rides, tattoo competition, live bands, guided rides and plenty of fun on offer. Another highlight was the display of the Harley Livewire electric motorcycle.

Arrowtown Street Party

Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand marketing manager Adam Wright says while the rally is about fun, he says the motorcycle community is “very generous” to charities and was raising money during the rally for Camp Quality which looks after children with cancer.

Several fund-raising activates over the rally raised $10,000 for Camp Quality.

“It’s a great effort from the local community and all of the Harley riders that attended this year’s Iron Run,” Adam says.

“Very happy to raise these much-needed funds for a great cause.” 

A charity auction at the HOG VIP Party on the Friday night, alone, raised several thousand dollars including $2500 for a football signed by Richie McCaw, the only captain to win two Rugby World Cups.

More than 1000 riders and their pillions attended this year’s Iron Run rally with more than 35 volunteers making sure the events ran smoothly.

Riders rally for charity

The first Iron Run rally open to riders of all brands of motorcycles was held in Queenstown in 2015. Last year, it was held in Paihia in the North Island and has returned to Queenstown in the South Island this year.

In welcoming the rally, Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult said he would gladly have the riders return in 2019.

Adam says they have not yet confirmed where the rally would be held over the next two years. However, he did say it would continue to swap between the north and south islands.

The post Iron Run raises funds for Camp Quality appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Harley Road King Special is the new king

Sat, 18/03/2017 - 4:00am

The new all-black Harley-Davidson Road King Special really should be called Street King as it is an more of an urban crawler or canyon carver than a highway tourer.

The Road King Special arrives in late April with the 107-cube (1750cc) M8 at $34,995 ride away in Australia and $37,995 ride away in New Zealand.

We’ve been riding one from Dunedin to Queenstown, New Zealand, for the third annual Iron Run and the bike has now proved to be the sharpest tool in the Harley Touring shed!

When we first saw that it had a 19-inch front wheel, slammed rear end and wraparound panniers, we thought it would steer slower and corner less.

Well, we are humbled by the new King of the Street and have to admit that the bike really is a precision instrument.

The reason is that the rear wheel is bigger and both tyres are lower profile, so it loses only one degree of clearance on. It also effectively kicks out the front a little to make the steering lighter yet more precise.

While the Road King is a sharp tourer, pointing quickly into corners and changing direction much better than you would expect a bike of its size, the Special is even better.

It now feels more connected with the road, providing better feedback through the grips and the seat of your pants.

The trade-off is that the ride comfort is sacrificed.

With its Street Glide seat, shortened rear shock and lower profile tyres it has a more “abrupt” ride.

If you plan to ride this all day, you will be quite sore in the hands and backside from the jackhammer effect and in the arms from hanging on without a windscreen. (Although you can buy a windscreen as an option.)

But the smile on your face will show that this bike really can carve through the twisties like few other cruiser/style tourers.

Short-shift coming out of corners and it rockets along on its low-down torque.

While the cornering clearance is the same as the Road King, I find it more sturdy in corners and only scraped the floorboards on the hairpins of Coronet Peak oil Queenstown.

We have only had a couple of touchdowns with the elongated panniers which come with skid plates!

Skid plates

So it not only has a badass style, it also has badass performance and handling.

As for the styling, it really looks quite modern and makes the chromed Road King look rather dated.

Apart from the blacked-out Milwaukee Eight V-twin, all the usual chrome is swapped out for matte or gloss black. That includes the instrument cluster, forks, wheels, engine bars, headlamp, mini ape bars and exhaust pipes.

It looks especially good from the rear with the gap between the panniers and fender filled in and a tidier and smaller LED taillight assembly that includes the stop light inside the indicators. So now all it has is a small red reflector for ADRs.

This is Harley’s first attempt at following the custom bagger trend we first saw in a Milwaukee bike show in 2014 and that Victory mimicked in 2015 with its Magnum.

While they have dropped the windscreen and spotties, and added $1000 to the price tag, the turbine wheels alone make up that price difference. They are stunning and first featured on the CVO Breakout.

As soon as you hop on board, it feels light to pick up off the sidestand.

The Milwaukee Eight engine fires up with a deeper roar and more refined, yet more powerful vibe.

The more I ride the new Harleys with the Milwaukee Eight, the more I enjoy the engine.

There is so much torque it pulls in just about any gear at any revs above 2000, making it a much more flexible powertrain to drive.

It also feels more refined, has less mechanical noise and revs quicker and higher than before.

The fuelling and fly-by-wire throttle are perfect with no snatch off idle, making it easy to do slow-speed manoeuvres, such as feet-up u-turns.

In fact, the throttle even works out if you’ve given it enough juice when you let the clutch out in first so it may give a little extra to prevent you stalling.

And if you start the bike, pull the clutch in and it drops the initial revs a little so it doesn’t thump as much. Clever, eh?

Transmission is also much smoother with the gears preloaded so there isn’t a big clunk as you change.

You can even do clutchless upshifts from second gear that feel smooth and precise. Neutral is also now a bit easier to find.

The new Street King … sorry, Road King Special is designed to attract a younger rider to the Touring line-up.

It’s not for long tours, but shorter and more aggressive excursions.

The bagger is also not designed for two-up with the Street Glide’s rear seat sloping down at the back and rear suspension shortened from 76mm of travel to just 55mm.

Harley-Davidson FLHRS Road King Special
  • Price: $34,995 ride away (Australia), $37,995 ride away (New Zealand)
  • Warranty: 2 years, unlimited km
  • Service: 1600km/8000km
  • Engine: Milwaukee-Eight 107 (1745cc) pushrod-operated, overhead valves, 8-valve V-twin
  • Power: N/A
  • Torque: 150Nm @ 3250mm
  • Compression: 10:1
  • Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive, hydraulic assist and slip clutch, belt drive
  • Suspension: 48mm bending valve forks, 117mm travel; twin premium shocks, hand adjustable 55mm travel
  • Brakes: 300mm discs, ABS
  • Length: 2420mm
  • Width: 990mm
  • Height: 1150mm
  • Seat: 695mm
  • Clearance: 124mm
  • Rake: 26°
  • Fork angle: 29.25°
  • Trail 170mm
  • Wheelbase: 1625mm
  • Wheels: 19in x 3.5in; 18×5 black turbine cast aluminium
  • Tyres: 130/60B19 61H; 180/55M18 80H
  • Fuel: 22.7L
  • Economy: 5.7L/100km
  • Wet weight: 372kg
  • Colours: Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim, Hot Rod Red Flake Hard Candy Custom and Olive Gold

The post Harley Road King Special is the new king appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Rare Australian race leathers at auction

Fri, 17/03/2017 - 4:00pm

Two sets of race leathers with historic Australian racing history are being offered at the Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale on April 23.

Apart from a host of interesting race and barn-find bikes, the race leathers of Mike Hailwood (pictured above) and Graeme Crosby will be of interest to Aussie racing fans.

Hailwood’s 1978 Bathurst Grand Prix leathers are expected to fetch up to £4000 (£1 = $A1.60/$US1.21), while the set of Graeme ‘Croz’ Crosby leathers could fetch £1500.

The Hailwood leathers were worn in the Bathurst race as part of his comeback in the 1978 TT.

He had emigrated to New Zealand with his family in 1976 and Aussie race journo Jim Scaysbrook had organised a Yamaha TZ750 for Mike to ride.

In the wet race, Mike finished a respectable ninth. Following his successful return to the Isle of Man, Mike raced for the vendor again in 1979, wearing the same leathers, at the Adelaide three-hour race on Jim’s Scaysbrook’s Honda CB900.

The Crosby leathers were emblazoned with the Apple Computer logo and believed to be the only occasion Apple had sponsored a motorcycle team.

Their only other motor racing sponsorship being that of a Porsche at Le Mans and Spa.

They join a host of interesting bikes at the auction:

1948 Velocette 348cc KTT MkVIII (£120,000 – 150,000)
  • An ex-Freddie Frith World Championship-winning 1948 Velocette 348cc KTT MkVIII Works Special Racing Motorcycle valued at up to £150,000;
  • A rare 1949 Vincent 998cc White Shadow Series C Project (£50,000 – 60,000) one of only 15 made;
  • A never-before ridden 1998 MV Agusta 750cc F4 Serie Oro (£28,000 – 36,000), number 8 of 300; and
  • A1960s Ducati 250GP Racing Motorcycle (£80,000 – 100,000) owned by Mike Hailwood and John Surtees.

Meanwhile a 1925 Douglas 2¾hp Model CW is part of a rare barn find collection uncovered from the coach house of Glyn Cywarch, the Baronial seat of the illustrious Harlech family.

It is part of a Bonhams sale on March 29 of more than 400 items from the Welsh family seat, currently owned by Jasset Ormsby Gore, 7th Baron Harlech.

1925 Douglas 2¾hp Model CW (£3,500 – 4,500)

The post Rare Australian race leathers at auction appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Kawasaki baby adventurer available

Fri, 17/03/2017 - 12:00pm

The adventure market is opening up to novice riders now that the learner-approved Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is available in the Australian market.

It will be available in candy lime green and metallic carbon grey or metallic graphite grey and flat ebony for $6399 (plus on-road costs).

The new breed of baby adventurers to hit the market also includes the BMW G 310 GS, 400cc Royal Enfield Himalayan, Honda 190cc Night Hawk and Suzuki “Baby-Strom” DL250.

To some extent, you could also throw in the Ducati 400 Scrambler and small-bore scramblers from companies such as Husqvarna and Benelli.

The Himalayan is available at $5990 plus on-road costs and while there is still no release date or price yet for the G 310 GS, the R version will cost just $5790 – $5865.

There is also no word from Honda about its baby adventurer, while Suzuki Australia says no to the baby-Strom.

The Versys-X 300 uses the 300cc liquid-cooled parallel twin out of the ever-popular Ninja 300 but has a new and more rugged chassis.

Its adventure credentials are also verified by a 19-inch front wheel, dual-purpose IRC Trail Winner rubber, tall screen, wire spoked wheels and longer travel suspension.

Up front it’s got 41mm telescopic forks with a Uni-Trak gas-charged rear monoshock. Suspension travel figures are not supplied.

It’s no bush basher. After all, it has a small plastic bash plate. However, the 170kg bike should cope well with dirt and gravel roads.

Other features are ABS, an assist and slipper clutch, multi-function instruments with gear position indicator and a huge range of touring and accessories available.

Kawasaki Versys-X 300 KLE300CHF

ENGINE

Type Displacement Bore and Stroke Compression ratio Valve system
Fuel system

Ignition Starting Lubrication

Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke Parallel Twin 296 cm3
62.0 x 49.0 mm
10.6:1

DOHC, 8 valves
Fuel injection: ø 32 mm x 2 with dual throttle valves
Digital
Electric
Forced lubrication, wet sump

DRIVETRAIN

Transmission
Final drive
Primary reduction ratio Gear ratios: 1st

2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

Final reduction ratio Clutch

6-speed, return
Chain
3.087 (71/23)
2.714 (38/14)
1.789 (34/19)
1.409 (31/22)
1.160 (29/25)
1.000 (27/27)
0.857 (24/28)
3.286 (46/14)
Wet multi-disc, manual

FRAME

Type
Wheel travel: front

rear Tyre: front

rear Caster (rake)

Trail
Steering angle (left/right)

Backbone, high-tensile steel 130 mm
148 mm
100/90-19M/C 57S 130/80-17M/C 65S

24.3o 108 mm 40o / 40o

SUSPENSION

Front Rear

ø41 mm telescopic fork

Bottom-Link Uni-Trak, gas-charged shock and adjustable preload

BRAKES

Front: Type Caliper

Rear: Type Caliper

Single ø290 mm petal disc
Single balanced actuation dual-piston

Single ø220 mm petal disc Dual-piston

DIMENSIONS

Overall length Overall width Overall height Wheelbase Ground clearance Seat height

Curb mass Fuel capacity

2,170 mm 860 mm 1,390 mm 1,450 mm 180 mm 815 mm 175 kg

17 litres

 

PERFORMANCE

Maximum power Maximum torque

29.3 kW {39 PS} / 11,500 rpm 26 N.m {2.7 kgf.m} / 10,000 rpm

The post Kawasaki baby adventurer available appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Riding brings champion couple together

Fri, 17/03/2017 - 4:56am

BMX and mountain bike racing couple Barry Nobles of the USA and Aussie Olympian Carline Buchanan share a passion for two wheels that extends to their Harleys.

The couple met about eight years ago through their passion for riding bikes and have recently become engaged.

“We’ve ridden two wheels since we were young, so it was inevitable we would both get on two wheels with a Harley-Davidson and more importantly we’re enjoying the ride together,” says Caroline, a seven-times world champion in BMX and mountain bikes.

We met up with the happy young couple on the Harley-Davidson VIP and media ride from Dunedin to Invercargill and on to Queenstown for the Iron Run this weekend.

Shared passion

Barry, who holds two American Pro BMX titles, says he has an “adrenaline passion” for two wheels.

“When I Met Caroline I couldn’t have asked for a better girl to have by my side and someone else who shared that same passion,” he says.

“Each year she has got a little more into my lifestyle and liked it.”

Barry has had his motorcycle licence since he was 14 in Alabama, but Caroline is only a newcomer, getting her licence when Harley-Davidson released the new Street 500.

“For me that was the perfect entry point for me because I always thought I’d be too small for a motorbike,” she says.

“But as soon as the Street 500 came out that was my opportunity. I thought, “you know what?, it’s time to take two wheels from the dirt to the asphalt.”

Open licence

So she got her licence and a Street 500, then became a Harley ambassador two years ago. Now she has progressed to an open licence and is looking for a bigger bike,

“That’s the hardest decision,” she says. “I’m on the Street Bob this week, so I think I’m pretty set on that at the moment.”

Barry has a Sportster 883 project bike at home and was planning on a Street Bob as his next bike.

“But if she gets one we don’t need two in the garage, so I’ll probably get on a big bagger touring bike and you’ll catch me cruising the country.”

Lifestyle series

Barry and Caroline have a cameraman along with them on the trip, shooting video for an upcoming travel/lifestyle TV show to be called Living the Ride.

Caroline has featured in other travel films that screen on Qantas flights, but Barry says they hope to sell this to a TV network.

“The Living the Ride series is not just about going to competitions and focusing on the one event,” Barry says.

“We got to a point where we were travelling the world and we weren’t seeing everything.

“It’s more about how you should get out there and take advantage of every opportunity cause life’s short.

“Now I just really want to have fn and enjoy things Ive missed out on before.”

Riding style

Caroline says riding BMX and mountain bikes have helped her in her riding, especially her awareness of the road and traffic.

“My mum wasn’t scared when I started riding motorbikes because she knew I had learned race craft in BMX,” she says.

“The knowledge of whose around you. You’ve got to know where seven other riders are.”

She says that has developed her ability to react and get out of trouble.

Young and female

Caroline believes Harley-Davidson has become more attractive to young people and women, mainly through the more affordable Street 500 and models with lower seat heights.

“There are young people who are working hard and have the income to have these toys and obviously a Harley is instant gratification,” she says.

“There are a lot more women who are believing in themselves and they are getting out and forming groups going for coffee or camping on the weekend.

“I noticed through social media it’s really becoming big. A lot of girl riding groups are forming around the world and sharing that common bond.”

The sport of riding

The couple will stay on in New Zealand after the Iron Run to compete in Rotorua in the first of seven rounds of mountain biking that will take them around the world.

They will also compete in a seven-round international BMX series.

“We definitely get around the globe,” says Caroline.

Caroline carried the weight of a whole nation’s expectations in the Rio Olympics last year and unfortunately crashed out in the semis.

“There are a lot of variables in BMX and that’s sport,” she says.

“You’ve got to ride the highs and lows.

“I’ve had two Olympic cycles where I’ve come in as at the world champion and two Olympics where I haven’t had the result that at the end of the day that I’m looking for.

“Tokyo should be third time lucky. That’s the dream and the goal.

“Sport has such a great way to put life into perspective. While I was devastated and had the pressure of a nation, I’ll be back.”

The post Riding brings champion couple together appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

How can police wear helmet cameras?

Thu, 16/03/2017 - 4:00pm

If police are fining riders for wearing helmet cameras, how can police wear them without breaking the road rules?

The question has been asked by Australian Motorcycle Council representative Guy Stanford who says SOME police are misinterpreting the helmet standards and applying them to riders to harass them.

“They don’t know what they are doing and just pretending they understand the standards,” he says.

“But all they are doing is causing confusion and bringing the police into public disregard.”

Police are bound to road rules as are all motorists and only allowed to speed while responding to priority one or two jobs and to go through a red light after stopping to ensure it was safe to do so.

If wearing a helmet camera is interpreted as breaking the road rules, then aren’t police also breaking the road rules, unless they only wear them when responding to emergency situations as above?

We asked NSW police that question as they seem to misinterpreted the helmet standards and have fined at least two riders.

The following response was attributed to a NSW Police Spokesperson: “NSW Police continue to use a range of technology for the benefit of road safety.”   

That really means nothing, but it is believed that NSW police have stopped issuing fines to riders for non-compliant helmets based on attachments and an official position on the issue is pending.

Meanwhile, Victorian police have also fined riders for wearing helmet cameras, but their police do not wear them.

Guy says riders need the road rules clarified to remove confusion over use of “attachments” by riders and police.

He says there is no evidence of increased rider injuries due to use of cameras on helmets and that testing of helmets with cameras appears inconclusive.

If a link was ever established, Workplace Health and safety would probably immediately require police to move the cameras from their helmets and trigger a change to road rules, he says.

The post How can police wear helmet cameras? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Ten tips for riding safely in heavy traffic

Thu, 16/03/2017 - 5:00am

The most dangerous place to ride a motorcycle is in traffic, according to statistics, but it can still be fun and you can do a lot to stay safe.

Traffic is dangerous:

  • There are many vehicles close to you that may not see you;
  • there is more oil on the roads from trucks and old vehicles;
  • motorists are distracted by gadgets and gizmos, traffic lights, passengers, advertising signs, etc; and
  • you have to keep a watch on traffic up ahead, beside you and behind.

Probably the first step toward preservation in traffic is admitting you and other motorists will make mistakes.

You have to ride for those errors, not for what you think you and traffic should be doing.

That means being able to take avoidance and corrective action.

Here are our 10 tips for riding safely in traffic.

1 Practice makes perfect

Unless you live in the country and never ride in a city, you will encounter traffic, even if it’s just to get out of the city.

So it’s important that you get out regularly in traffic and get a feel for how chaotic it can be and how attentive you have to be.

You will start to develop a sixth sense for what other vehicles are doing and about to do.

For example, a vehicle shifting within their lane or slowing down means they could be about to change lanes or the driver is on the phone or changing a radio station.

You can practise in traffic, but you can also practise other techniques such as emergency braking and quick change of direction on quiet roads.

2 Observe traffic and pedestrians

Motorcycles sit higher than most of the traffic, so you get a clear view of what’s going inside vehicles.

That can give an indication of what they might do.

They could be leaning over to change the radio station, they could be turning their head to check if your lane is clear to move over, or they could be arguing with the kids in the back seat.

Also, watch out for pedestrians who are oblivious because they are on the phone or wearing headphones.

They will also illegally cross through stationary traffic, unaware you are filtering up the middle!

Pedestrian wearing headphones 3 Exit strategy

Practising a quick change of direction will help you avoid sudden obstacles such as a vehicle changing lanes or a ute dropping part of their unsecured load.

So it’s important to scan the road ahead for safe places to head if something goes wrong.

Safe places can include breakdown lanes, bike lanes, median strips or in between a queue of stationary or slow-moving vehicles.

You can also plan an exit strategy when stationary. Keep an eye on your mirrors for a vehicle about to rear-end you and plan where you can go to avoid it.

That means always having the bike in gear and the clutch in when stationary. You should have your right foot on the rear brake and your left foot on the ground for a quick getaway.

4 Filter judiciously

Several states now allow lane filtering at no more than 30km/h. That doesn’t mean it is mandatory, so only do it when you feel safe.

Learn the vagaries of the rules that apply in your state and make sure you don’t do anything illegal as police seem to target filtering riders for riding too fast or filtering in the wrong places.

Filtering to the front of the traffic at the lights makes you safer as the traffic behind you is already stopped and you are less likely to be rear-ended.

But be aware that if you filter in front of a big truck, they may not see you as you will be in their blind spot. If you stall when the lights go green, they could run right over the top of you!

Filtering has caused motorist jealousy and road rage, so give people a polite wave as you ride past and you may avoid their anger.

5 Go on green

If you’ve filtered to the front of the traffic at the lights, don’t hang about when the lights turn green or you could get run over!

But also don’t just trust the lights.

They don’t call it “rush hour” for nothing. Most motorists are in a hurry and will take chances such as running red lights just to save a couple of seconds.

So keep an eye on the lights. Since you are so far in front, you will be able to see when the lights signalling in the other direction are changing to red.

As it changes, make sure to look both ways to check if anyone is intending to run their red light.

6 Give yourself a buffer

Many rider trainers talk about giving yourself a buffer zone from other vehicles in front, behind, alongside or approaching from the other direction.

But in heavy traffic that is difficult. If you leave a gap in front of you, a car is liable to slip into it.

Creating a buffer in heavy traffic requires you to constantly shift your lane position. This may look erratic to other drivers, but it actually attracts attention and may cause motorists to avoid you as well as you avoiding them!

7 Be seen and heard

Being seen does not mean wearing a fluoro jacket, pants and helmet!

There are so many fluoro-wearing workers and lollipop people on the road, you may actually blend into the background.

You would probably attract more attention if you wore a clown suit!

The best way to be seen by motorists in front of you is to be able to see their faces in their mirrors. Move around in your lane so you are seen in their centre mirror and their side mirrors.

Being seen by vehicles behind you also requires you to move around a bit to attract their attention.

But never assume you have been seen.

Some say a loud exhaust is important for being heard. If you believe that, you may be relying on inaccurate information.

Most drivers in heavy traffic have their windows wound up, air-conditioning pumping and their favourite radio station on full blast. Only the loudest and most annoying exhaust pipe would be heard.

Besides, you are making noise behind you and moving away from it, so motorists in front of you may not hear you until it is too late.

If you notice a vehicle about to move into your lane, don’t pull your clutch and rev your engine to be heard as you may need to suddenly accelerate past them.

Instead, give them a short beep on the horn. That’s what it’s for.

8 Stay ahead

Don’t just drift along with the traffic or you are more likely to get caught up in an incident as well as fall into motorists’ blind spots.

Keep moving ahead. Traffic will be going slower than the speed limit, so you shouldn’t be breaking any laws by overtaking vehicles.

A great way to create a buffer zone and be seen is to stay ahead of the traffic flow and move to the front of the stationary queue at the lights.

9 Rat run

Why sit in heavy traffic like the rest of the cagers?

One of the great things about a motorcycle is that it will slip through tight spaces and we all love a bit of a twisty road, so why not take to the back streets and avoid the traffic?

But be aware a lot of back streets may have slower speed limits. It may not end up being faster, but it will be safer and more fun.

10 Learn your route

If you are commuting every day, pick the best route and stick to it so you learn all the dangers.

Study the patterns of traffic, which lanes move faster at which point, where the snarls occur and what the potential dangers are.

If you know the route, you will be in the correct lane when it is time to turn or merge and not have to make a dangerous last-minute manoeuvre.

But don’t become complacent, thinking you know what will happen.

Heavy traffic is unpredictable and will operate differently on some days, if there is an incident, or if it is raining – that’s when the real idiots emerge!

* What tips do you have for surviving in traffic? Leave your comments below.

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Nirvana around every corner on a Harley

Wed, 15/03/2017 - 3:15pm

There is nirvana around every corner in New Zealand. That’s my verdict after riding the long way on Harley-Davidson motorcycles from Dunedin to Invercargill in New Zealand’s South Island.

We’re part of a media and VIP ride to the Iron Run rally in Queenstown being organised by Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand through their Kiwi dealer network.

The ride includes Olympic BMX rider and Harley ambassador Caroline Buchanan with her fiance Barry Nobles, an American BMX representative.

Caroline Buchanan and Barry Nobles

Our ride left the historic gold rush and university city of Dunedin from the McIver and Veitch Harley dealership in crisp conditions, but under aqua skies.

Over the next 350km, we probably rode only about 10km of straight roads in total.

The rest of the day was a combination of every type of corner you could imagine.

All set against a background that looked like painted scenery for a Lord of the Rings film … except those films didn’t need painted scenery to make them awesome.

That’s just how New Zealand is in real life.

It’s almost dangerous riding here because the roads are so challenging and demanding, yet you are constantly distracted by the achingly beautiful scenery.

We scrape our pegs rounding a hill crest to be distracted by a gorgeous valley nestled under a thick mist. Just stunning!

My first choice of ride this morning was the Harley Heritage Softail, a comfy lounge chair of a bike with a windscreen to keep the cold off my chest.

I was soon regretting not having taken the Road King, a much sharper implement for carving along the rugged coastline and over the hills to the quaint town of Lawrence where they claim the world’s first free public wifi!

We stop for a coffee at Gabriel’s, which was awarded in the best cafe in New Zealand honours, and a check on our social media.

Gabriels’ Cafe in Lawrence

Then we roll into the surrounding hills and ranges with their rollercoaster roads and patchwork quilt scenery.

It’s simply stunning, stunning, stunning.

Although there are some roadworks where they leave gravel behind and the coarse chip bitumen of the South Island flicks up occasionally, the roads are actually quite smooth and fee of potholes.

The Heritage is plugging along nicely and scraping its footpegs loud and clear in the corners, alerting the other riders that I’m right behind them.

We stop for lunch in Mataura at the Country Cottage Cafe and it’s time to hop on board the Road King Special with its apt all-black features (given we are in All Black territory), 19-inch front wheel, slammed rear suspension, wrap-around panniers and neat LED taillights.

Country Cottage Cafe

I’ve been following that tidy rear end all morning and it really is very very nice, indeed.

As soon as I hope on board, it feels light and direct, while the Milwaukee Eight engine fires up with a deeper roar and more refined, yet more powerful vibe.

Road King Special in gloss black and denim black

The steering is not as heavy as I suspect and the low-profile front hoop gives positive road feedback.

After several photo stops, we’re running a bit behind schedule, so we blast down the highway and I don’t get much of a chance to test out the bike.

However, it feels more like a naked Street Glide than a Road King with the screen removed. I think I’ll call it the Street King!

Road King Special

A more detailed review will follow when I’ve ridden it through more twisties tomorrow.

The day ended with a quick visit and photo stop at Bluff, 22km south of Invercargill where the land ends.

Road King Special in gloss black and denim black Caroline at Bluff

When we return to our digs at the Quest Hotel, we are allowed to park on the footpath right outside. In fact, the manager insists!

It seems you can do anything in Invercagill if you have a motorcycle.

Motorcycle footpath parking at Quest Hotel in Invercargill

Tomorrow, we ride to Te Anau and on to Queenstown for the Iron Run rally.

For those interested in the route we travelled today (or at least hoped to travel before our shortcut), please check out these maps.

The post Nirvana around every corner on a Harley appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Victory Motorcycles sales frenzy

Wed, 15/03/2017 - 2:30pm

Victory Motorcycles looks like becoming collectors’ motorcycles after sales frenzy following their January announcement they were closing down production.

Victory Motorcycles says the sales frenzy “surprised even the most experienced industry commentators”.

However, we noted a few days later that there was a rush on sales of the bikes in Australia with some wanting them as a collector item. Sales people told us that some customers and the odd collector or two were snapping them up.

Now Victory Motorcycles Australia reports their largest sales in the past two months after reaching a peak in 2012.

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

However, while the road market declined by 17.2% in February, Victory was the only brand to grow significantly with a 44% increase, says Victory Motorcycles country manager Peter Harvey.

Victory ambassador Ben Hannant with Peter Harvey

“Honestly, we have seen a bit of a buying frenzy,” he says.

“We are seeing a mixture of bargain hunters who are after a great bike at a great price but we are also seeing people who believe the collectability of these bikes will result in longer term value.

”We have also seen loads of customers who had set their long term goals around buying a Victory but hadn’t got there yet – now these buyers are incredibly keen to make sure their long-term ambition is met before the last bikes are sold.

“One of the particular models to create excitement is the Octane as it was only launched as a MY17. Given the relative limited production run many people feel this model will be a valuable collectable as well as a great value and a high performance bike to ride and own.

2017 Victory Octane

“When Octane was launched we had a great deal of faith in the model and were lucky enough to buy some extra units – that has turned out to be very fortunate for our market given the announcement.”

Peter says demand has been so strong, they are investigating the possibility of obtaining additional Victory Motorcycles stock from other markets.

He says the company has pledged parts, warranty and dealer support for the next 10 years.

After 10 years, we can’t image they would walk away from a lucrative spares market, nor would aftermarket suppliers.

Customers tell us they hope and believe that Polaris will restart production at some time in the future.

However, there is talk of selling off “factory inventory, tooling, and other physical assets, and the cancellation of various supplier arrangements”.

So it does sound final … making their bikes more valuable as collector items.

Meanwhile, the big Victory signs will remain on the Polaris-owned dealerships in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as they want owners to know they are still servicing them.

The post Victory Motorcycles sales frenzy appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain sells out

Wed, 15/03/2017 - 2:13pm

Throttle and bottle don’t mix, but Indian Motorcycle and Jack Daniel’s certainly does and it seems to be a winning formula.

For the second year in a row, the limited edition models have sold out in one day.

And again, Aussies have missed out.

Indian Motorcycle spokesman Millard says the 100 unique bikes proved just too popular.

The bikes are the actually third joint project with Tennessee bourbon distiller Jack Daniel’s after a limited edition Chief Vintage followed by 150 Springfields released last year to celebrate the distillery’s 150th anniversary.

Indian Motorcycle Springfield and Chief Vintage Jack Daniels limited edition models

The 2017 models are designed in conjunction with Klock Werks Kustom Cycles of Mitchell, South Dakota, who have worked with Indian on a number of custom projects.

The individually numbered motorcycles have a white and black crystal paint job with charcoal accents to suggest JD’s famous charcoal filtering system.

Of course, it has a heap of Jack Daniel’s “Old No. 7” logos and custom badging.

Logos feature on the billet driver and passenger floorboards, leather tank pouch, aluminium tank console with motorcycle number, and the cam, primary and air intake covers.

The highlight is a handmade, pure silver Jack Daniel’s horn cover badge, hand-crafted by Montana Silversmith craftspeople.

The bike also carries the Jack Daniel’s inscription “Bottles and Throttles Don’t Mix”.

Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain features a 19-inch, contrast cut front wheel with an open fender, LED headlight and driving lights, power adjustable flare windshield, gloss black front and rear highway bar, 200-watt premium audio system with fairing and saddlebag speakers, and Indian Motorcycle’s proprietary Ride Command infotainment system.

Each comes with a commemorative American flag handmade from Jack Daniel’s barrel wood. They will be customised to include the owner’s name, motorcycle number and VIN. 

They sold for $US34,999.

The post Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain sells out appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

KTM introduces X-Bow track car

Wed, 15/03/2017 - 12:00pm

Austrian motorcycle manufacturer has been making the X-Bow open-seater car since 2008 and has only now started importing them into Australia.

Only a few years ago KTM Australia was saying they would never import the X-Bow, but times have changed.

The X-Bow R is now being sold through two dealers: Sydney Sports Cars, Artarmon and Motorline at Daisy Hill, Brisbane.

Motorline KTM GM Scott Robinson says they already have a lot of interest in the X-Bow R which starts at $169,990 plus on-road costs. It is a limited edition with only 25 units a year produced.

“Buyers range from someone who to drive it to the race track and drive it home again,” he says.

“It’s more like a motorcycle with wind in your face. It’s a weekend toy for a blast through the hills on a Sunday morning.”

KTM X-Bow R at a Sydney track day

So far, only the R version is homologated for Australian roads.

KTM also makes a standard X-Bow that weighs just 790kg (1742lb), produces 177kW (237hp) and accelerates to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 220km/h (137mph).

The GT version has a windscreen, side windows, doors and luggage space.

The R and RR racers have bigger and more powerful engines with up to 272kW of punch.

By comparison, the most powerful KTM bike is the 1290 Super Duke R with 103kW of power, but weighing 195kg dry and costing only $24,995 plus on-road costs.

We know which one we would prefer to ride/drive!

Obviously KTM isn’t the only motorcycle manufacturer to also make cars.

While some may think it takes the focus off motorcycles, it helps diversify and share research and development costs.

The post KTM introduces X-Bow track car appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Hesketh supercharges its line-up

Wed, 15/03/2017 - 4:00am

Forced induction is the next big thing with several major manufacturers looking down that road and boutique manufacturer Hesketh introducing a Valiant Supercharger.

In Australia, the name is rather funny as we used to have a Valiant Charger in the 1970s which was an iconic muscle car.

Valiant Charger

The Valiant Supercharger is a supercharged version of the normally aspirated limited edition Hesketh 24 V-twin streetfighter.

All 24 of the Hesketh 24 models have already been sold at a cost of £35,000 each (about $56,500).

It is powered by a 1950cc, 56-degree V-twin engine with about 90kW of power and 120Nm of torque.

However, the supercharged version will cost double that when it arrives in 2018.

The Valiant is powered by 2097cc version of the same S&S X-Wedge air/oil-cooled pushrod V-twin, with a Danish Rotrex centrifugal compressor that spins up to 150,000 revs.

It produces 108kW of power and a massive 295Nm of torque.

Hesketh Motorcycles was formed by Lord Alexander Hesketh in 1980 who produced limited models until closing in 1984.

Broom Engineering took over and maintained the brand until Mick Broom sold the company to Paul Sleeman in 2010.

Hesketh is not the only manufacturer looking at forced induction.

Kawasaki produces the supercharged H2 and H2R and has applied for patents for a 600cc supercharged sports bike called the R2 which will feature the same supercharger.

Honda has also filed patents for a supercharged engine, while Suzuki unveiled its turbo-charged 588cc parallel twin “Recursion” concept sportsbike in 2014 and has filed patents for turbocharged motorcycle engines.

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Do you use a mobile phone while riding?

Tue, 14/03/2017 - 4:00pm

If you use a mobile phone while riding, or even if you pull over to make a call, you could still be unwittingly breaking the law.

Australian Motorcycle Council representative Guy Stanford believes using a mobile phone while riding is dangerous and has stopped using a Bluetooth communicator. 

But he says the laws about their use are “too vague and typical of some of the badly written rules that leave riders confused”. He says the laws are also open to police misinterpretation and abuse. 

Guy and his V-Strom

While the rules prohibit learner or provisional riders from even using a handsfree device, there is nothing prohibiting an unrestricted rider from using a Bluetooth intercom paired to their phone to make and answer calls while riding.

Most modern smartphones allow users to perform most of those functions by voice activation.

However, it is legal to access phone, GPS or music functions via the phone with your finger while riding, so long as the phone is secured in a mounting fixed to the bike and doesn’t obscure your view of the road or your motorcycle instruments. You also must not hold the phone with your hand.

Even though it is not illegal to access a phone in an approved cradle, we believe it’s dangerous and recommend pulling over to access these functions.

Park and call

If you don’t have a Bluetooth intercom and want to answer a call because you can feel it vibrating in your pocket or you want to make a call, you must pull over and park your bike.

You can’t access your phone just while stationary, for example, at traffic lights.

However, Guy says the interpretation of what is “parked” is vague.

Is this illegal?

We asked police and transport departments across all states for their interpretation of what constitutes being parked and received different answers.

They agreed it must be to the left side of the road in “an authorised parking spot”.

However, some allow riders to still have the engine running while others say it must be switched off.

Guy says the rules are so vague, you may also have to remove the key and get off the bike.

He says the key words are that the motorists must not be “in control” of the vehicle.

“At what point do you become in control of your vehicle?” he asks.

“Is it from the point of putting your key in the ignition or sitting on the bike?

“If so, you can turn off your engine, take your helmet off and get off the bike, but if your key is still in the ignition, it could be illegal.

“These are the funny little grey areas of our road rules that need to be fixed up.”

Off the bike, keys in hand

(The mobile phone misuse penalty is four points and the law does not apply to CB or other two-way radios.)

Bluetooth illegal?

Guy says there is also still a “grey area” about whether Bluetooth communicators are illegal attachments on helmets.

While we haven’t heard of any riders being fined for a Bluetooth unit, several have been fined for having cameras attached to their helmets. 

Guy disputes police interpretations of the rules about helmet attachments rendering a helmet non-compliant if they project further than 5mm from the helmet.

He says that if an attachment projects more than 5mm the AS/NZS Standard requires it to be tested if it is part of the helmet being certified.

“That doesn’t make it illegal,” he says.

“What about peaks on motocross helmets? They project more than 5mm.

“Using the police misinterpretation of the rules, your helmet would even be non-compliant if you take it out of the box, because the compliance also mentions packaging and labelling.”

Guy is calling for the rules to state clearly that compliance is at the point of sale. Evidence of  this is the presence of an appropriate standards sticker.

AS/NZ1698 helmet sticker

He says the Western Australia rule states that very simply and clearly. The ACT has also amended their rules to disclaim the standard to allow cameras and Bluetooth unit attachments.

“It’s a good Bandaid solution for the time but it’s putting them on shaky ground amending the rules like that,” he says.

“Once you start removing parts of a standard, it is compromised. Standards need to be used correctly.”

Meanwhile, he says police in several states are “just using the rules to harass riders”.

“They don’t know what they are doing and just pretending they understand the standards,” he says.

“But all they are doing is causing confusion and bringing the police into public disregard.”

Guy says there is no conclusive, independent research to show that helmet attachments have cause an increase in rotational head injuries.

“If there is ever a link established between helmet attachments and an increase in rotational head injury, only then should we make a change to the laws to ban them,” he says.

“Speculation about injury increases is the province of those seeking funding for research or having other reasons to make up stuff,” he says.

The post Do you use a mobile phone while riding? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Supercars team goes Harley

Tue, 14/03/2017 - 2:26pm

Most of the Supercars drivers also ride motorcycles and Harley-Davidson has recognised that a lot of their fans also ride motorcycles.

So it comes as no surprise that Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand has sponsored Brad Jones Racing.

Team boss Brad Jones says he spent a lot of time on two wheels as a kid.

“In my youth, all I did was race motorcycles and my dream was to race Harley-Davidsons on the half mile flat tracks in America,” he says.

“For me, a motorcycle isn’t just a product, it’s an experience. Harley-Davidson really connect with their customers in that respect.

“The loyalty people show with their Harley-Davidson motorcycle is a really special thing.”

HD Oz has had a long association with Supercars, sponsoring various drivers and having their display and Jump Start at many events, including the Bathurst 1000.

Even a corner of the famous mountain track, Forrest’s Elbow, is named after motorcycle racer Jack Forrest who scraped his elbow away after laying down his bike on the corner.

Boss Nigel Keough says there is a strong connection between Harley-Davidson fans and motorsport fans, particularly Supercars.

“Brad Jones Racing is an authentic, enthusiastic team that has its origins in bond and family, which resonate through the Harley-Davidson brand and riding community,” he says.

“And of course we have a great association with Freightliner, who are one of the team’s principal sponsors, because they haul our mobile merchandise store and H-D1 Custom Shop across the country.”

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Riding with stylish Falco Ranger boots

Tue, 14/03/2017 - 12:00pm

If you want to ride in the urban environment with some style and so you don’t have to change your boots when you get to work or a social function, these Falco Ranger boots should suit.

They are not only stylish, but are also claimed to have CE European safety standard EN13634,2010 for protective motorcycle footwear. You can read all about the standard here.

The Italian-designed leather boots come in black or brown with D30 molecule impact protection technology that was developed for military use.

It uses “intelligent” molecules that flow freely while regular movement occurs.

In the event of an abrupt force, the molecules lock together to absorb the energy of impact and significantly reduce any force transmitted to the ankle or foot area.

The Ranger boots also have hard-wearing Vibram rubber soles which were originally developed for mountain climbers and have a lifetime guarantee.

These soles were specifically designed for motorcycle use, so they are not only durable and long lasting, but also resistant to oil and other lubricants.

The upper part of the boot is made from premium-grade, oil-treated Italian leather with High-Tex membrane technology to repel water.

They are tested as waterproof after walking 100 steps in 5mm of water above the sole.

Many riders won’t wear laced shoes because they are legitimately concerned about laces getting caught in the footpegs, gear shift or foot brake lever.

However, the Ranger boots have a lace loop hide pocket to keep the laces from tangling while riding.

You can also lace them up for the optimum fit, then use the convenient side side ankle zip with velcro tab which allows you to quickly put the boots on and take them off.

They seem like a great boot for commuting and weekend urban riding in comfort and style.

Falco Ranger boots cost $269.95 and will be available from April in men’s sizes US 8 to 13.

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Win a Victorinox SwissTool in our shop

Tue, 14/03/2017 - 5:00am

Visit the new Motorbike Writer shop and share the Facebook post (link below) on your social media and you go in the draw for a Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X valued at $239.

The Swisstool Spirit X in stainless steel has 26 functions so it’s like an entire tool kit in a compact size for all riders to take with you when travelling.

It weighs just 246g and measures 31.5mm x 105mm and comes with a handy leather belt pouch.

Features include: needle-nosed pliers, wire cutter, locking blade, three screwdrivers, reamer/punch, hook, can opener, crate opener, wire bender, scissors, wood and metal saws, metal file, wire scraper, wire stripper and more. 

You could win one of these handy biker aids simply by visiting the new Motorbike Writer online shop by 30 April 2017 and share the post on your social media.

The shop has a range of gear that we have tested and endorsed. Nothing here that we don’t like, so we hope you love it!

You can choose from keyrings, bandanas, jackets, pants, bike covers, t-shirts, leather bags, smart turn indicators, bamboo shirts and undies, and more.

The winner will be chosen at random and they must be over 18. Winner will be announced on May 1, 2017 via Facebook.

The competition comes as Victorinox launches the stylish new SwissTool BS ($359) and the SwissTool Spirit XBS ($349) in black burnished steel.

Victorinox SwissTool

The elegant finish provides improved corrosion protection and a stylistic alternative to the original burnished steel.

The SwissTool Spirit XBS has 27 functions while the SwissTool BS has 29 functions. Some of the functions on the pliers include a wirecutter, screwdriver, can opener, saw, ruler, corkscrew and lock release.

Adding to their compact nature, the SwissTools weigh under 300g and measure 11.5cm when closed. All Victorinox SwissTools have OneStep access, which allows tools to be opened directly from the outside of the handle without opening the pliers, and a lock with a simple slide release to hold the tools securely in place. 

A nylon belt pouch is also included with the purchase of a SwissTool, that not only looks good, but makes it easy to carry on the job. 

Victorinox also make cutlery, watches, travel gear, apparel and even fragrances.

The company’s headquarters are located in Ibach, in Switzerland, where founder Karl Elsener set up his cutler’s business in 1884.

A few years later he designed the legendary original Swiss Army knife.

The post Win a Victorinox SwissTool in our shop appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Honda Africa Twin Rally coming soon?

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 4:00pm

Honda’s new CRF1000L adventure bike has been a hit and now it seems an Africa Twin Rally production version is about to hit the market with more power and less weight.

It was first shown at the Milan motorcycle show in November as the Enduro Sports model.

Now it has appeared in Italy as a production version Africa Twin Rally.

There is no word on when it will be available in other markets, but we suspect it won’t be long given the huge success of the model.

In Australia, the Africa Twin skyrocketed to the top of the adventure market last year with 740 sales.

It smashed the budget Suzuki DR650E (529 sales) and Kawasaki KLR650 (388) and sold almost as many as the ever-popular BMW R 1200 GS and GSA put together.

That’s despite early problems with supply when the Kumamoto factory in Japan, where they are made, was damaged in an April earthquake.

The Honda Africa Twin Rally features plenty of carbon fibre and has a lighter LED rally headlight so it’s 7kg lighter than the standard model.

The Euro4 engine has 4kW extra at 74kW, so power-to-weight ratio is improved.

Rally means tougher so it is has billet aluminium triple clamps, crash guards, and skid plate, and a beefier radiator and fan guards.

Other features are: a Termignoni exhaust, aluminium navigation holder, off-road seat, aluminium wheel rims, rally suspension, anodised forks, braided steel brake lines, enduro tyres, enduro footpegs, and an electronic rewritable ECU.

It may be lighter in weight, but it will no doubt be heavier on the purse.

In Europe, the standard manual transmission model costs €15,650, but the Rally is €21,490. The dual clutch transmission price is normally €16,800, but the Rally version is €22,640.

In Australia, they sell for $15,499 (manual), $16,999 (ABS), $17,999 (DCT) plus non-road costs. So the Rally version is expected to be over $20,000.

We await confirmation from Honda Australia on its arrival and will update this article when they reply.

The post Honda Africa Twin Rally coming soon? appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Discount motorcycle tour to Himalayas

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 11:00am

If you’ve ever wanted to ride to the Himalayas on the highest road in the world, now is the time to book with Royal Bike Riders of India and tick the tour off your bucket list.

They are generously offering Motorbike Writer readers a massive 20% discount on their Top of the Himalayas motorcycle tour from August 12-26, 2017. To redeem the offer, use RBR20 as the promo code when booking.

The two-week tour costs just A$3950 per rider and $3450 for a pillion. The price includes all accommodation with breakfast and dinner, motorcycle rental, fuel, mechanic, back-up vehicle, tour guide, airport transfers, monument fees and inner line permits. It does not include airfares to India.

The Top of the Himalayas tour starts in New Delhi and rides to the Rohtang Pass, into the Himalayan mountains, to Tso Kar Lake and on to Khardungla La Pass, the world’s highest motorable road at a height of 5606m.

A long the way, riders will visit monasteries, museums, temples and historic statues, all set in breathtaking scenery.

Royal Bike Riders’ experienced crew members ensure you will be safe and comfortable on tour so that you can concentrate on enjoying your ride.

The company not only offers motorcycle tours in the Himalayas, but also Rajasthan and South India in India, and Nepal and Bhutan.

You can join their fixed departure tours and experience your journey with other riders from around the world, or they will tailor a special tour to your specific needs if you have a group of friends and want to choose your own dates and destinations.

Before booking, you can speak directly to their Australian riders for more details.

Royal Bike Riders is a local company located in New Delhi and Manali with eight years’ experience in motorcycle tours.

They have their own fleet of Royal Enfield motorcycles and are registered with the Government of India.

Contact Royal Bike Riders for your discounted Top of Himalayas booking.

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Self-cancelling indicators may save your life

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 5:00am

If you’ve ever had a driver pull out in front of you because you left your indicator on, now you can help prevent that with these self-cancelling indicators.

The Smart Turn System really works and we have such confidence after testing them we have included them in our online shop. For just $210 they may be a life saver.

BUY THE SMART TURN SYSTEM NOW

All cars have self-cancelling indicators as standard equipment, but only expensive motorcycles fit them as standard.

Now you can have the same safe turning system on just about any bike. They work with most models and the developers will soon have a system for BMWs and Harleys with separate left and right indicator switches.

Smart Turn System

The kit consists of a small cigarette-lighter-sized black box that contains the electronic sensors. There is also a short cable with five wires and connectors for left and right indicators, flasher relay, GND and power supply.

It can be fiddly to install. We took almost three hours to fit it to our 2010 Triumph Bonneville T100, mainly because the bike’s wiring diagram didn’t match the actual wiring.

Anyway, with trial and effort, we got it fitted and the wires tuck neatly away with the sensor box in a horizontal position hidden discreetly under the tank.

Best of all; it works!

Self-cancelling indicators in action

For my first test, I headed to a nearby roundabout beside a major shopping centre.

On several occasions I have indicated to exit the roundabout, forgotten to switch off the indicator and queued traffic waiting to exit the shopping centre has driven straight out in front of me.

This time the Start Turn System switched off as soon as I changed direction from the exit turn. I like that they cancel quickly.

The best self-cancelling indicators I have used are on Harley-Davidsons which also cancel straight after your turn. Most others switch off too late and, in my opinion, that’s dangerous.

There have been many occasions I have nearly T-boned a car that has driven out in front of me because I have forgotten to switch off my indicators.

It’s not that I’m stupid. I ride a lot of test bikes, some with self-cancelling indicators and some without.

When I return to my bike from a test bike with auto indicators, I tend to forget to switch off the indicators the first few times.

Even so, there are also occasions when I simply forget, or leave them on too long and give a false impression of turning a corner.

I’ve trialled these indicators in virtually every indicator scenario I can think of and they simply work.

When changing lanes on a highway, they will self-cancel after 12 seconds. If you haven’t done your lane swap by then, you are indicating for too long.

If you need to cancel the indicators sooner, you no longer push the cancel button in. You simply push the indicator the same way you indicated.

If you push the cancel button, you will feel that it doesn’t click any more. That reminds you to push the button sideways, instead.

The kit also includes small rubbers to stop the indicator switch locking into position. It actually gives the indicator a plush and expensive feel.

Rubbers being fitted to indicator assembly How it works

The Smart Turn System uses motion sensors that send 300 data elements per second about inclination, heading, vibration and acceleration.

It’s not a simple lean angle or timed system like on some bikes. It’s a complex algorithm that seems to account for every scenario.

That means it can discern between someone sitting at the lights with their indicator on, lane changes on a highway, using a roundabout or making a simple turn on the move.

While we don’t believe safety devices should be forced on anyone, we do believe that you are safer with self-cancelling indicators. And with these aftermarket units, you don’t need to buy an expensive bike.

However, don’t be fooled that drivers will stop driving out in front of you. They still don’t tend to look, so take care!

BUY THE SMART TURN SYSTEM NOW

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