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Updated: 27 min 4 sec ago

Troy Bayliss Classic suspended

Tue, 11/04/2017 - 12:00pm

Increased operating costs and an underwhelming turnout for the Troy Bayliss Classic in Taree in January 2017 have forced organisers to suspend the event in 2018.

For the past five years Troy Bayliss Events has been attracting a good crowd with a host of superstar guest riders from around the world to the small Taree oil and dirt track.

However, it doesn’t seem to be enough to keep the crowds coming back year after year to watch the same small-capacity trail bikes going round and round in the blazing January heat.

Earlier this year we suggested they bring out the big Indian and Harley-Davidson flat track bikes from America for an induction of some thunderous big-capacity racing.

Harley and Indian flat trackers

Another suggestion is to host a novelty scrambler race among the various production scramblers on the market from BMW, Ducati, Benelli and SWM even though they are all different capacities.

The Dust Hustle in Brisbane is a popular event each year because it has several novelty races with “inappropriate bikes” such as big Harley choppers and cafe racers.

Dust Hustle

Another problem with the Troy Bayliss Classic is staging the event in January when it is scorchingly hot. The venue has little sun protection and it becomes intolerable standing in the sun and dust all day.

Brisbane’s Ellaspede Dust Hustle is held in spring, which is a much more pleasant time.

Brisbane’s Ellaspede Dust Hustle

However, Troy would have trouble attracting the superstars from overseas as it is right in the middle of their various racing seasons.

But is that really necessary? Half of the superstars are unknown to the crowd, anyway.

The organisers say that this year’s event attracted more than 670,000 views, but even our video of a rider hitting a mattress that fell off a ute has had almost the same number of views in the past week.

There has been a suggestion that the event be moved to a capital city where it would attract more people.

However, Troy has a sentimental attachment to his home track.

“We could move the event to another state or track and gain significant tourism support, but Taree Motorcycle Club is where I started racing and is the home of the Troy Bayliss Classic,” he says.

“It will be held at the Old Bar circuit, or it won’t take place at all.” 

Meanwhile, organisers are hopeful the event will be staged in 2019 and have called for more support and sponsorship.

  • What would make you attend (or return to) the Troy Bayliss Classic? Leave your comments below.

The post Troy Bayliss Classic suspended appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Ruptured Budgie Rally hosts wedding

Tue, 11/04/2017 - 6:00am

A Sunshine Coast couple are so smitten with the Moto Guzzi Club of Queensland Ruptured Budgie Rally, they are planning to marry there next month. Even though they don’t own a Guzzi!

The marriage of Sue Stanley and Don Cameron (pictured above) from the Sunshine Coast will be a highlight of the 24th annual rally from May 19-21 at Mingoola, 56km west of Tenterfield on the Bruxner Highway.

“The Ruptured Budgie Rally was Sue’s very first rally and our first rally together and we fell in love with the venue and the people,” says Don.

“The people are just so accepting, even though we don’t ride a Guzzi.

“We ride a VTX1800 Honda with a camper trailer, but we’ve been sort of been adopted by the Guzzi club.

Don and Sue’s rig

“They don’t care what you ride, just so long as you do ride.”

Old-school rally

The Ruptured Budgie Rally, considered one of the last of the old-school motorcycle rallies, attracts riders of all types of motorcycles from around Australia.

Don and Sue will be married by Bruce Jones, a member of the MGCOQ, while club vice-president John Hoogstraten will be best man.

“The Guzzi club has more special plans for the weddding than we have,” says Don. “We just wanted someone to say our vows at the venue, but they have organised flowers, a pergola in case it rains, special rally badges with wedding rings and the property owner’s daughters will be Sue’s flower girls.”

MGCOQ spokesman Ian Taylor says they expect up to 400 people to attend the rally.

The rally features camping by the river with firewood supplied, fully catered food and bar from Friday dinner to Sunday breakfast, and usual and “unusual” rally awards.

Cost of entry is $25 each which includes the rally badge. Children under 15 enter free.

Ruptured Budgie ‘best’

on says he has been to a lot of rallies, but the Ruptured Budgie Rally is the best.

“It’s a five-million-star venue,” he says. “The nearest street light is 56km away. It’s a back-to-basics rally tat’s really peaceful with bloody nice people.”

Organisers say it is a motorcycle-only rally, with “absolutely no cars” allowed on site.

They also do not allow dogs, cats, BYO alcohol, glass, “dickheads or attitudes”.

Origins of the rally name

Our original article called it the Busted Budgie rally, but we were quickly corrected with the proper name.

That got us wondering how it inherited that name.

MGCQ secretary Robin Jones says it was suggested by club member Peter Thompson more than 24 years ago.

“He is still a member and will be at the rally, although his version of how the name arouse can differ depending on how many beers he has drunk,” Robin says.

“My recollection is that the Budgie part relates to how Australian Guzzi riders affectionately refer to the Moto Guzzi eagle as a budgie.

“The Ruptured part is there to suggest that most Motor Guzzis and their riders are not perfect, shiny and new, but are a bit used and abused.

“Plus the words  just sound good together.”

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Rider confusion over tinted visors

Mon, 10/04/2017 - 4:00pm

Australian and European helmet standards allow tinted visors that filter only half the available light, yet car windows can be much darker, filtering as much as 65%.

In a strange twist, you can wear sunglasses that filter more than 90% of light.

Furthermore, the interpretation of the helmet laws seems to vary in each state, making it irritatingly confusing for riders.

It also creates an anomaly where motorcycle police wear tinted visors, yet it may be considered illegal for “citizen riders”!

While we haven’t heard of any fines for riders wearing tinted visors, we asked Australian Motorcycle Council Helmets Committee Chair Guy Stanford for his take on the laws regarding tinted visors:

Guy ad his tinted Vozz helmet

Riders have been using dark visors since helmets were mandated for use in 1972.

In 2010, changes to the NSW road rules changed the definition of a helmet, providing micro-management of helmet labels and what accessories can be added.

These changes spread to some other states, so we now have different road rules in different states.

Use of dark visors is permitted only in Western Australia. In Queensland it is ok under AS/NZS 1698 helmet, but not under ECE 22-05 helmet. All other states require helmets to remain in compliance with the point-of-sale requirements.

Firstly, let’s look at what is a “dark visor”. There is a technical definition, based on Visible Light Transmitted (VLT). A perfectly clear visor will transmit nearly 100% of daylight, whereas a visor with 20% VLT is “dark”, i.e. the lower the VLT, the darker the visor.

Both helmet standards (AS/NZS 1698 and ECE 22-05) require that when offered for sale, the visor must comply with standards that limit VLT of the visor to 50%. This is not very dark at all. For example, car side windows are much darker, being permitted to be tinted to 35% VLT.

The Australian standard for sunglasses (AS/NZS 1067:2003) allows for sunglasses down to 8% VLT. That’s very dark, but there is no restriction on wearing very dark sunglasses when driving a car.

The problem for riders comes from current road rules that require helmets to continue to be in identical condition as they were when in the box at the shop. This also includes labels and instruction books.

There are several visor standards of relevance and all provide for tests to ensure that when impacted by a high speed rock or piece of gravel, the visor does not break in sharp “shards” that could cut you, particularly in the eye.

For ECE 22-05 helmets, visors at point of sale must comply with the ECE 2205 visor requirements. For AS/NZS 1698:2006, visors at point of sale must comply with AS 1609. Neither allows a dark visor below 50% VLT.

Two USA standards exist that are used for dark visors, one from the American National Standards Institute, ANSI Z.87, and one from the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission of the US Department of Transportation, VESC-8. 

Both of these test for impact, shatter, optical distortion, colour transmission, in a similar manner to AS 1609 and ECE 22-05.

The ANSI Z.87 standard allows for dark visors down to 14%VLT and VESC-8 allows down to 20% VLT.

Sunglasses are regarded as an accessory for use when driving and similarly, a dark visor is an accessory for a helmet where sunglasses may not be practical at all.

For example, when entering an underground car park or tunnel, a rider can instantly flip the dark visor out of their vision line, rather than stop, remove and stow away a pair of sunglasses.

The Australian Motorcycle Council has made strong representations to have helmet laws amended to remove the present impediment to use of dark visors in almost all states.

We applaud Western Australia for their commonsense and practical helmet laws that allow use of dark visors.

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Pakistan leather gets a second chance

Mon, 10/04/2017 - 12:00pm

We panned a leather jacket we received from Pakistan in August 2016 and warned riders against buying cheap motorcycle goods over the internet.

Read our scathing report here.

The “offending” Pakistani leather jacket

However, another Pakistan motorcycle leather goods company then got in touch with us and pleaded to give the country’s goods a second chance.

They also said they would soon be starting a line of chrome-free “green” leather goods made without using toxic chromium in the tanning process.

Meanwhile, they pressed us for sizes to send samples of their goods.

I tried to explain that it would not be a fair review if they knew they were sending gear to a journalist for review as they would make an extra-special high-quality product.

Your average punter may not get the same treatment.

But here’s the thing; even considering they knew the goods would be reviewed by a professional “moto noter”, it’s simply not up to standard.

The company sent boots ($US56), gloves ($US18) and a two-piece leather race suit ($US98 jacket and $US93 pants). All prices are delivered to Australia.

Even before I opened the small cardboard box I realised it was not great quality from the size and weight of the package.

There is no getting around the fact that genuine leathers are weighty and bulky.

When I opened the box, the next hint was the distinct smell of rubber rather than leather. It just did not smell right.

Next was the fit. Despite giving my measurements, they just don’t fit right.

For example, the pants are too tight, yet the jacket is too loose around the same waist measurement!

The jacket is also baggy everywhere, but at least the sleeves are long enough, unlike the previous Pakistan leather jacket.

They promised that all their armour is “CE approved as per international safety standard”, yet I could not find any CE labels.

I pressed them for certification and they emailed two testing documents that were too small to read. I asked for bigger copies, but they never complied.

Even if there was a label, there is nothing stopping them from simply counterfeiting them.

However, the foam back, shoulder and elbow protectors are skimpy and far too thin to be CE approved.

The only labels we could find were brand labels and a sticker that says “genuine leather”, but it doesn’t say what sort of leather. It feels very soft and thin.

They told us everything was “full-grain cow leather” except the gloves which were “drum dyed aniline cow leather”.

We believe it is more likely goat leather. We gave it a tear test with our hands and it seemed to hold, but stretched quite a bit.

But here is the most ridiculous thing about the leathers; the knee sliders are right around the side of the shins. They look ridiculous and, unless you have a radical style, totally ineffective.

Besides, the protectors are pieces of brittle plastic that would just melt on contact with the road.

Leather boots

The boots have no support and collapse at the ankle and in the middle of the foot.

They are so ill-fitting they are loose everywhere, except across the toes where they dig into my little toes. I don’t have super-wide feet, either. They are just badly designed.

The inner sole is like a piece of paper and are only stuck in with a small piece of glue on the heel, so they came out first time I removed my feet.

Also, the ankle protector and toe sliders are anchored with screws pointing directly at your foot. Ouch!

Leather gloves

Best of a bad lot is the gloves which seem reasonably well made and are styled like race gloves with a velcro wrist fastener and had plastic “protectors” on the knuckles.

We’re not sure how long the protectors they would last in slide down the road, but we gave them a wood and metal file test and they held up well.

Behind the back of the knuckles there is some soft foam, so they feel soft and comfortable.

Conclusion

Many motorcycle manufacturers have products made in Pakistan and other Asian countries.

In fact, even Indian-owned Royal Enfield in “enemy territory” has their gear made in Pakistan, much to the chagrin of many Indian riders!

However, these known manufacturers have strict quality control and usually abide by European approval standards.

A lot of Asian companies make knock-off products that look identical to the brand-name goods, but they simply don’t stand up to the test.

We haven’t mentioned the company name, but once again, we do not recommend buying directly from any Asian manufacturers.

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Riders are the happiest commuters

Mon, 10/04/2017 - 6:00am

Motorcycle commuters are six times less stressed than other motorists, are late less often and spend less on the journey.

That’s according to two British surveys of 3000 commuters, but it’s obviously relevant in just about any city and nothing we riders didn’t already know.

The most recent study, commissioned by motorcycle insurance specialists Lexham Insurance, found that only 6% of riders found commuting stressful compared with 41% of drivers, 37% who took buses, 35% on trains and 26% on the underground.

It was even 2% fewer than cyclists.

One of the biggest gripes was arriving at work late because of traffic jams and public transport delays, neither of which impact on motorcyclists.

Riders can use bus lanes in London. No wonder they’re happy!

The survey also found that Brits commute an average of seven miles (11km) a day for a working life total of 171,080 miles (275,326km) and spend £48,708.92 ($A80,508.20). About a third of that cost is on snacks while driving, a cost riders don’t incur.

The study follows a similar British survey last year commissioned by another motorcycle insurance firm that found 87.9% of motorcycle and scooter commuters believe they are happier than their colleagues.

Some 67.8% also said they believed commuting to work had a positive effect on their enthusiasm and ability to tackle work.

And why wouldn’t it?

Commuting by motorcycle is not only cheaper and more efficient, especially now with lane filtering (except in WA, Tasmania and NT), but also fun and challenging.

So when you arrive at work, you feel invigorated, rather than bored into a stupor because you have been sitting in a slow-moving car or crowded into public transport like sheep.

And it’s getting worse for other commuters with a Google study last year finding Australian commuter traffic speeds are now down to as low as an average of 29km/h in Sydney, 34km/h in Melbourne, 52km/h in Brisbane and 58km/h in Perth.

While the UK studies are no surprise to riders, it is surprising that more people don’t commute by motorcycle!

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Meet Tex the trike-riding dog

Sun, 09/04/2017 - 1:00pm

Just about every dog loves to dangle its tongue in the wind and Tex the Toowoomba trike-riding dog is no exception. And do you blame him?

Dog lovers Paul and Mel Goodin say their five-year-old mastif/dane has been riding with them in their Touroz trike for about nine months and he loves it.

“We go for a ride every weekend and he’s normally sitting there in the garage just waiting to get in,” Paul says.

“He’s always happy on a ride and he even leans into the corners.”

The couple have always had motorcycles, but cashed in their bikes last year to buy the 1600cc trike so they could bring Tex along on their rides.

“He’d always been in the ute, so we thought he’d love to ride in a trike,” Paul says.

Paul says he built a makeshift “dog box” on the trike to see if Tex liked it and when he did, he strengthened the design with a metal frame and plywood so Tex could drop down out of the wind when he gets cold or tired.

They tried Doggles on him, but they didn’t fit, so they rigged up a pair of safety glasses with some elastic and Tex seems to love them.

“He loves it in there. He even goes to sleep sometimes,” Mel says.

The dog box includes a tether so Tex doesn’t jump out, although they say he has never tried.

The couple usually stop 20 minutes into their ride to let Tex relieve himself and they make regular stops to walk and water him.

“We usually know when he wants to get out as he gets a bit restless,” Paul says.

Tex makes quite an impression on other motorists and the couple say they are always asked by people if they can take photos wherever they stop.

“We even had one driver use both hands to film us with his tablet while we were riding along,” Mel says.

What are the laws on dogs on bikes?

Laws vary around the world on how a motorcyclist can transport a dog or pet.

Dogs are allowed to ride in the UK, USA and New Zealand where they simply have to be restrained.

In Australia, dogs were banned on bikes in 2011, but the rule was amended in 2013 to ban pets being between the rider and the handlebars. That allows them to be behind or beside the rider, depending on their vehicle.

The rule also says the animal must be seated or housed in an appropriate area of the bike, restrained with a tether or cage and the rider cannot lead the animal, while the bike is moving.

The only rider in Australia still allowed to have a dog in front of him is Terry “Tex” O’Grady.

Tex – the human, not the trike-riding dog – was given official dispensation to allow his cattle dog, Bundy, to sit in front of him because of the charity work they do.

Tex and Bundy (and Cash before him) have travelled around Australia for years and raised millions of dollars for various charities.

We’ve met several other riders who take their dogs with them.

There’s John Skinner and his little black dog, Scrambles, who have ridden right across the continent, and Anny Seaton on her 1986 Kawasaki Z1300 with her dog Mandy sitting alongside her in the sidecar.

Every dog we’ve met on a motorcycle, outfit or trike seems to love it. After all, if you have a dog in a car, they love nothing more than sticking their head out of the window into the wind.

Riders should understand that feeling!

Penalties

The RSPCA can issue fines under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act if an animal is injured because it was unrestrained in a vehicle.

Owners face up to six months’ jail and fines of up to $5500. Carrying dogs untethered on the backs of utes can land drivers with fines of $500.

Rules, demerit points and fines differ slightly between states, but penalties are about three demerit points and $425 (more in a school zone).

To find out what rules apply in your state or territory, contact your state or territory transport department:

The post Meet Tex the trike-riding dog appeared first on Motorbike Writer.

Italian motorcycles whet collector appetites

Sun, 09/04/2017 - 6:00am

A significant European collection of 16 Italian motorcycles is a highlight of the Spring Stafford Sale on April 23, 2017, that should whet the appetite of any collector.

Bonhams Motorcycle Department secured the bikes for the Spring Stafford Sale from one collector with a passion for Italian brands such as MV Agusta and Ducati. The sale will be held at the 37th Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show in the UK.

The collection includes a perfectly presented 1973 MV Agusta 750S estimated to fetch £60,000–90,000 (pictured above).

Far beyond the reach of many enthusiasts at the time, the 750S was arguably ‘the’ superbike of the 1970s. Few machines could match the 750S on price nor top-end speed, fewer still on stylistic beauty. A fine example of the model described by Bike as ‘one of the most dramatic-looking bikes ever made.’

If a 750S wasn’t rare enough on its own, the collection includes an equally awesome  1976 MV Agusta 789cc 750S America (£50,000-70,000), which produced a solid 75bhp, enough to propel the Italian sportster to a top speed of approximately 135mph. This example is signed by four legends who are inextricably linked to the MV name; the late John Surtees, Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read and Arturo Magni.

Rival marque Ducati plays an equally important role within the collection including a 1973 Ducati 750 Sport (£24,000-28,000), a true landmark machine and rightly one of the most sought-after of all Ducati. Only 1625 were ever made, and a smaller number still reached the UK market. This iconic twin-cylinder ‘café racer’ is an early example presented in beautiful condition.

The sale includes more than 200 collector motorcycles and about 90 lots of motorcycle spares and memorabilia.

One of the most evocative names in motorcycling is that of Brough Superior. George Brough famously added the crucial ingredient of style to his father’s recipe for innovative and reliable machines when creating his rival company, and this machine is a fine and interesting example.

The 1930 Brough Superior OHV 680 Black Alpine (£100,000-140,000) was so named as a reference to the lavishly equipped SS100 Alpine Grand Sports and its distinctive all-black eggshell finish. The history of this marvelous example is known from new, and it has been cherished and well used by its former owners including European tours, classic rallies and even television appearances – ‘JO 1134’ starred in The Big Breakfast alongside Wallace and Gromit in 1996. A matching numbers machine, the motorcycle is presented in fantastic age related condition and with a substantial history file.

A lesser-known marque but equally as charming is the 1912 Williamson 964cc 8hp motorcycle combination (£35,000-40,000) offered with an incredible patina. A heavyweight air-cooled example, it was designed to do business and is a rare survivor of the Coventry based make. It is believed that these air-cooled machines were primarily used for racing, and this example is a regular participant in the London-Brighton Pioneer Run. Formerly part of the Potter Collection, noteworthy features of the machine include a Brooks saddle, Bosch magneto and Binks carburretor.

On the heavyweight theme, the Harley-Davidson EL overhead-valve v-twin – known as the ‘knucklehead’ due to its distinctively shaped rocker boxes- is one of the most striking and easily recognizable motorcycle engines of all time. Far from just a pretty face, the EL performed well too, with Joe Petrail setting a new speed record of 136mph at Daytona beach in 1937. This restored Harley-Davidson 61ci ‘Knucklehead’ (£30,000-35,000) dates from 1942, a time when the Milwaukee factory was increasingly concerned with the production of military models, making this example rare and a true collector piece.

Until the late 1950s, nearly every major UK manufacturer fielded a works team, under the pretence that their riders were winning competitions on regular, unmodified bikes. This was far from true, with factory machines being tuned to be much lighter and peppier – until Ariel came along. To their enormous credit, they created their new HT5, a machine on which riders could genuinely win awards without having to resort to modification. This 1954 Ariel 500cc HT5 trials machine (£8,000-10,000) has received a considerable amount of mechanical attention and represents an opportunity to own a significant and evocative component of Britain’s post-war trial scene.

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Deals on West Coast motorcycle rental

Sat, 08/04/2017 - 5:00pm

If you are planning a ride on the West Coast of North America this northern 2017 spring, MotoQuest has some great “transporter” rental deals.

These cheap “transporter” rental deals come up from time to time with American rental companies who want to transport bikes back in the other direction from one-way rentals.

There are probably also some good deals going at the moment to transport bikes back from the East to West coasts after Daytona Bike Week. And again in September, taking bikes home from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The MotoQuest deals involve riders wanting to discover the northwest from Long Beach, to San Francisco, Portland or all the way to Anchorage, Alaska.

Deals range from $50 to $75 a day for minimums of six to 10 days riding between Long Beach, San Francisco, Portland and Anchorage. 

Bikes include Suzuki DL650 V-Strom, BMW R 1200 RT, BMW R 1200 GS, BMW F 700 S, BMW F 800 GS and Harley-Davidson Street Glide and Ultra tourers.

Transporter rental deals are available on a first-come-first-served basis and all requests must be submitted through this online form.

These deals allow riders the freedom and flexibility to explore the roads and scenery between the two locations.

The rental specialists can also recommend the best riding routes, pit stops and activities along the way.

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Kawasaki offers free KLR650 luggage

Sat, 08/04/2017 - 6:00am

Kawasaki is currently doing a great deal that makes the versatile go-anywhere 2017 KLR650 adventurer even more attractive.

Buy the bike now and they will throw in a free luggage kit valued at more than $800.

It includes soft saddlebags, matching tank bag and tail bag, so you can carry a lot of gear.

The luggage has a unique rubberised vinyl finish that is durable and water resistant.

If you want them to be absolutely waterproof, you will probably have to pack your goods in a watertight bag inside the luggage.

The tank bag fits to your tank with a stretch “bra” that has flips up so can easily access the fuel tank. On top is a clear map case and there are two power and drink tube ports with hose stays for hydration systems and to connect headphones to your phone or music player.

It also expands from six litres to eight litres of storage space.

When you arrive at your destination, it comes off quickly and there is a convenient handle.

The tail bag also expands.

 

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Di Jones tackles Superbike championships

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

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

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

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

Read all about Ashlee’s campaign.

Ashlee De Bakker A natural progression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Competing against men

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Is the Tri Pod a car or motorcycle?

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

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

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

Yet most people would consider them a car.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Model not included in the sale!

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

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

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

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

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

Visit their website here.

Tri Pod is powered by a motorcycle engine

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

Three headlights better than one

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harley-Davidson Road King

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

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

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

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

BMW with triple headlights

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

Rider defends standing on footpegs

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

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

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

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

Guy and his V-Strom

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

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

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

They won!

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

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

He contacted the MCC of NSW.

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

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

Yes, it cost him a few grand to defend.

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

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

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

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

This is where a good solicitor earns their fee. 

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

What does this mean for riders?

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

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

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

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

“We’re all adults here.”

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Motorcycle indicator gloves seek funding

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

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

Read about the GPS gloves here.

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

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

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

BUY SMART TURN SYSTEM INDICATORS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signal controller

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

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

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

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

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

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Blackbird motorcycle jacket review

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

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

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

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

Buy the women’s jacket now.

Buy the men’s jacket now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Remove dangerous roadside hazards

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

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

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

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

Read about the report here.

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

Flexible Chevroflex roadside signs

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

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

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

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

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

Remove all hazards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guard rail debate

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

Read about the barrier debate here.

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

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

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Yamaha XSR900 wins design award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XSR900 tank

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

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

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

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

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

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Honda Red Sale continues discount war

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

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

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

That’s why they are fighting back with discounts.

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

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

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

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

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

Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Woman driver faces rider murder charge

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trevor Moran

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

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

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

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

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Indian adds Chieftain Elite and Limited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indian Chieftain Limited

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

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

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

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

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

Indian Roadmaster Classic

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