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- Harley-Davidson doom or boom?Critics have been lining up to foretell doom for Harley-Davidson for both being out of date with their pushrod ploughs yet too advanced with their expensive new electric bike. But long-time Harley-Davidson expert Phil Heath (career bio at the end of the article) reckons the doom sayers have got it wrong and Harley is destined to boom in the years ahead. We love a bit of controversy, so we present his case and invite you to leave your comments in the usual place. Doom or boom? Harley set to grow By Phil Heath For a few years now, worldwide sales for Harley-Davidson have deflated and demand from the younger generations has generally not materialised. It seems that under their banner of “More Roads to Harley-Davidson”, the Motor Company has been launching trial balloons to find ones that might stay aloft. I’m sure, however, that there is a modernisation master-plan. It’s pretty clear, and will be extremely successful. Based on the slowing and eventual end of sales to baby boomers, which were just about “guaranteed” sales each year, the search for additional buyer groups is actually proceeding well. MBW on the Harley Street 500Beginning with the 2015 launch of the Street 500, learner and small bike buyers have an excellent bike to buy. The huge sales success of the Street is already bringing the Harley brand into the age-groups needed. And put a Vance & Hines slip-on muffler on to the Street and the “little” bike sounds unbelievably good! ... read more
- Are electric motorcycles taking the Mickey?Ok, so electric motorcycles are not as constrained on design as traditional bikes, but are some of the latest models simply taking the Mickey! We recently showed one that looked like an X and another that had pineapples in the seat and now there is another made mostly of wood while the latest concept looks like a USB stick. Wooden bike Newron Motors founder Sébastien Mahut has spent years on his prototypes and has now unveiled a concept with a body almost entirely made of wood. It’s actually quite beautiful with swirling, flowing lines and glowing blue lights. Does it give you wood? But it’s also a bit impractical. What happens if you have a crash? Do you get out your whittling knife and make a new part? We also wonder about the flexible nature of wood, the ageing when exposed to the weather, splinters in the nether regions, etc. So many issues! And isn’t using wood running counter to the whole greenie thing of electric vehicles? Ok, it’s just a concept and we don’t expect the production model — if it ever sprouts — will be made of wood. Flash bike Polestar SLR conceptCar designer Arthur Martins has now turned his attention to motorcycles with this Polestar Salt Lake Runner (SLR) concept that looks like a USB flash drive. We love a slim bike like the Moto Guzzi Le Mans and Ducati Scrambler, but this just looks totally uncomfortable and unrideable in anything more ... read more
- How riders can help bushfire appealsThe best way riders can help local communities affected by devastating bushfires is to avoid the area for now, but plan a visit when the emergency has passed. Riders are among the most beneficial tourists to local community economies because – unlike other motoring tourists – they take virtually nothing with them. When they arrive at their destination, they need food, accommodation, fuel and other supplies from the local community. Many motorcycle clubs and social media groups are already organising trips to these areas in coming months. Royal Enfield Australia has also announced a five-day “Coastal Tour” departing from Melbourne on 7 March 2020, navigating the east coast to Noosa on 11 March. The event is open to all Royal Enfield riders for the full ride or partial rides in their local areas. Click here to register. Sports stars help out Aussie sports stars and celebrities are also doing their bit to help, mainly by donating memorabilia for sale. They include two-time Dakar rally winner Toby Price and MotoGP racer Jack Miller. Toby is auctioning his starting jersey and pants with proceeds going to the NSW Rural Fire Service. It is open worldwide, just send in your bid in Australian dollars on his Facebook page or Instagram. Current highest bid is still $13,001. Auction closes on 18 January at 5pm (AEST). If you can’t bid, please donate on this link. So far he has raised $2777. Jack Miller’s MotoGP helmetAussie MotoGP racer Jack Miller is also putting his 2018 MotoGP helmet up for auction to raise money for ... read more
- Bike memorabilia to aid bushfire appealFormer volunteer firefighter John England is selling his collection of Aussie motorcycle racing memorabilia and donating a portion to aid the bushfire appeal. John says his collection of 22 commemorative bottles of Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix port, six Mick Doohan plates, various mirrors, signed prints and collectible toys could be worth as much as $10,000. “But it’s only worth what someone is prepared to pay,” says the Logan City rider whose Can-Am Spyder we featured in a 2014 article. John and Rose England’s patriotic Can-Am Spyder and trailerHe is also selling his 1981 Honda Bol d’Or 900, bored out to 1000cc, with handmade exhausts. John and his wife, Rose, plan to retire this year and hit the road in their caravan, towing their Can-Am Spyder around the country. “We don’t want this collection gathering dust in storage, so we thought we would sell it,” John says. “I used to be a volunteer firefighter, so we’d be happy to make a donation of a portion of the sale of this collection.” “I just want it go to a motorcycle lover who appreciates it.” He says he would prefer to sell it as one collection and the bike separately. However, he would also consider splitting it up, preferably in groups such as all the ports or all six commemorative plates honouring Mick’s five consecutive GP titles plus a sixth lap of honour plate. John, a former Sydney track racer, started collecting when he bought the first Australian GP port for $25 ... read more
- Toby Price defends against Honda teamThe Honda factory team is shaping to be the biggest threat to Aussie Toby Price scoring his third Dakar Rally win and the 19th consecutive victory for KTM. Honda has the top three outright positions after yesterday’s 453km stage four of the rally in Saudi Arabia with Toby biding his time in fourth place outright. It was a close stage with all top 20 riders, including Queensland veteran competitor Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha), within 13 minutes. Rodney Faggotter“Crazy amounts of different terrain and dusty conditions have made for another tough day, a real reminder that we’re at the Dakar Rally, “says Toby. “As tough as today was I’m happy to have a consistent day with only a couple of little mistakes. We’re sticking to our plan and are in a great position with plenty more racing ahead of us. “I just need to stay focused and stick to my guns, with navigation being so damn full on my brain is fried and actually makes me feel like I do have some brains up there.” The stage was won by Chilean rider Jose Florimo (Honda) followed by teammate Kevin Benavides with Toby sixth and less than three minutes behind. He is now just over 12 minutes behind Honda rider Ricky Brabec who is hoping to be the first American to win the gruelling rally. (Sorry it’s in Spanish, but the images are in English!) Top 10 outright rankings
POS. N° EXP. DRIVE-TEAM MARK-MODEL TIME VARIATION PENALTY 1 9 RICKY BRABEC MONSTER ENERGY HONDA ... read more
- Damon Hypserpsort electric has 320km rangeDamon Hypersport electric motorcycle has launched with some impressive 200 figures: 200Nm of torque, 200mph top speed and 200 miles (320km) of “real-world” range. The Canadian start-up won the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show Innovations Award last week and claims their Hypserport is the world’s “smartest, safest, and most powerful electric motorcycle”. That’s not quite right. The 200hp Lightning LS-218 has a top speed of 218mph (351km/h) while the Energica Evo and Ego have 400km of range. Damon smarts However, it probably is one of the smartest and safest bikes around, as well as the most adaptable. Among its attributes are the ability to scan its surroundings to warn the rider of hazards, powered by mobile phone company BlackBerry’s QNX technology, and transform to suit the rider’s style with handlebars, windscreen, seat and footpegs that move. Orders are now being taken with pricing from $US24,995 (about $A36,350). There are two models, the Hypsersport Premier which is limited to 25 and the Hypserport HS. The Premier adds Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension and a carbon-fibre swingarm. Both have the same performance, less than three hours charging time on level 2 chargers and 320km of highway and city riding range. The Vancouver company unveiled their Damon X prototype based on a Yamaha R1M in October 2018. In July last year, Damon Motorcycles CEO and founder Jay Giraud demonstrated their patented collision avoidance system at TechCrunch Sessions in California. Party tricks Apart from the bike’s electric performance, the party tricks are their ... read more
- Rider dies after evading police pursuitA male rider has died in a crash with a pole after NSW police abandoned a pursuit in Newcastle overnight for safety reasons. Presumably the motorcycle reached high speed, forcing police to terminate the pursuit. Click here to read more about police pursuit procedures. NSW police have launched a critical incident investigation. They say officers were patrolling the CBD about 3am today (8 January 2020) when they attempted to stop a motorcycle on Hunter St, near Steel St. Pursuit “A pursuit was initiated after the motorcycle allegedly failed to stop, before being terminated shortly after due to safety concerns,” the police say. They would not comment further on the speeds as the incident is subject to investigations. “The motorcycle continued to travel along Hunter Street before being found crashed on Scott Street, after hitting a pole,” police say. “Officers rendered first aid; however, the male rider died at the scene. He is yet to be formally identified.” Our sincere condolences to the rider’s family and friends. Crime scene Specialist forensic officers created a crime scene, closing off Scott Street remains between Wolf and Watt Streets. A critical incident team from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District is investigating the incident. Their investigation will be subject to an independent review with information provided to the Coroner. Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages. ... read more
- KTM, Husky defy road bike slumpKTM and, to a lesser extent Husqvarna, have defied the Australian road bike sales slump of -11.9% last year, according to official statistics from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries released today. Whatever KTM is doing, it seems to be working because the company, together with its acquisition Husqvarna, is also defying the worldwide downward motorcycle sales spiral. They were the only two road bike companies in Australia to register positive growth last year: KTM was up 292 (18.3% to 1889 for the year and Husqvarna was up 64 (24.2%) to 329. Despite a 2% drop in off-road sales, the result was enough to help KTM leapfrog Suzuki into fourth place overall for the first time. At the other end of the scale was Honda which dropped 24.4% in road bike sales, its biggest fall in more than a decade. Harley-Davidson topped road bikes despite dropping 643 (7.9%) to 6462, ahead of Honda, with Yamaha third. Massive slump The figures are the worst for road bikes since 47,752 were sold in 2016. That’s a catastrophic slump of 16,771 sales or 33% in just four years. The disastrous road bike figures should lead to the usual January sales, with MV Agusta the first with free on-road costs for any in-stock model. We don’t know MV Agusta’s sales figures because they are one of 23 minor manufacturers not included in the FCAI stats as they are not members. The other missing brands are Benelli, Bimota, Bollini, CFMoto, Confederate, Daelim, EBR, Hyosung, Kymco, Laro, Megelli, ... read more
- Is fire retardant really a danger to riders?Apart from riders being aware of rapidly changing bushfire conditions, we have also been warned about slippery fire retardant on roads and falling debris in ravaged areas. A social media alert to riders from Sydney truck driver William Moncrieff carrying fire retardant to rural fire brigades says the substance can be slippery when wet. He supplied the above photo of the red residue on the Princes Highway near Lake Conjola, south of Nowra, NSW. Fire retardant To verify if it really is an issue for riders, we contacted the fire service media centres in all states, but only South Australia and Victoria replied; with differing responses. Simone from the South Australian Country Fire Service says there are a few different types of chemicals that can be dropped from planes on fires, but they all present hazards for all road users when they get wet. “When it rains, any retardant will become slippery, the foam residue will re-expand and the gel also reactivates,” she says. “If motorbike riders are in an area where there have been bushfires, the CFS encourages them to take extra care when driving on the roads. “The reactivated substances will cause the road to become slippery and create increased hazards. “The substances are highly visible when they are wet, so motorbike riders should be able to see areas to avoid. “After bushfires, roads can also be dangerous with debris, falling tree limbs and loose stock. Make sure you take care and always ride to the conditions.” ... read more
- Roadbook controversy hits Dakar RallyAn error in the roadbook has forced officials in the 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia to amend the finishing results after a controversial day three and the second stage of the super marathon. Aussie two-time winner and current title holder Toby Price was running in the top four when he and Frenchman Xavier de Soultrait veered 900m off the track because of the error late in the stage. Toby spent time lost in the Saudi desertThe error was only in the roadbook for the motorcycle category. It showed a waypoint wasn’t where it was indicated. Rally officials wisely decided to record the stage times only up to that point, which meant Toby went from finishing 11th to fifth. Toby now moves up from ninth overall to sixth and less than 12 minutes off the lead. That gives him plenty of time for an attack in the second week of the gruelling event as he did when he won last year. He described it as a “difficult day”. “In the early parts of the stage we were getting on pretty damn good but unfortunately, I made a few mistakes which really cost me,” he said before the officials changed the finishing times. “One of those mistakes was towards the end of the stage, where I had a hard time tracking down a specific WPC which was marked in a really tricky position; not sure what the go is here.” Honda looks set to challenge KTM which is pressing for its 19th consecutive victory with the factory team taking four ... read more
- Elvis Presley’s Harley golf cart for saleFrom 1963 to 1982, Harley-Davidson also made golf carts and the most famous, belonging to Elvis Presley, is now up for grabs. Harley did some strange things during the AMF years and this is one of the strangest! Golf cart The Elvis Harley golf cart is powered by a single-cylinder two-stroke engine but we don’t know the size of this C.C. Rider! It is among hundreds of Presley memorabilia up for auction in support of the Elvis Presley Foundation. Elvis wasn’t known as a golfer. He actually used the golf cart he bought in 1967 to get around his extensive Graceland property in Memphis. Bids are so far $US30,000 (about A43,250) with the reserve not yet met. Elvis Harley However, it should fetch close to its estimate of up to $US70,000 (more than $US100,000). Elvis was a bit of a Harley fan owning several models in his lifetime. Last year, his last motorcycle, a 1972 1200cc FLH Electra Glide, sold for $US800,000 (about $A1.2m), making it the third-most expensive motorcycle sold at auction. The motorcycle auction record remains with an Australian-owned 1951 Vincent Black Lightning aptly sold on Australia Day 2018. Jack Ehret set an Australian speed record on the bike which was bought at the Bonham’s annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction for a record $US929,000 ($A1,155,000, €748,500) by an unknown collector. Jack Ehret’s Vincent Black LightningThe new owner has returned the bike to Australia. The Black Lightning beat the previous motorcycle auction record set by Steve McQueen’s 1915 Cyclone which sold at a 2015 Las Vegas ... read more
- Cleveland CycleWerks goes electricAmerican fun bike manufacturer Cleveland CycleWerks is the latest to join in the electric motorcycle trend that will define Whirring Twenties decade. For years now, the Ohio-based company has been designing small-capacity fun machines that have been built in China and retail for less than $50000. Cleveland CycleWerks Heist and AceHowever, in March 2020 they plan to unveil their first American-built bike and it will be powered by an electric motor. It will join other American motorcycle manufacturers Harley-Davidson, Lightning Motorcycles and Zero Motorcycles in the race to win market share of this nascent market. There is not much detail yet except the blurred image at the top of this page and this video on their Facebook page where they talk about electric bikes with another bike under a blanket in the background. The photo and video show a light and basic street model with a sit-up-and-beg riding position, MX-style bars, upside down forks, bench seat, sprocket for chain drive, electric motor and battery forward of the footpegs and same-size road tyres front and back on spoked wheels. So it’s not an off-roader to replace the now-defunct Alta Motors electric company which folded in 2018. Alta Redshift MXRWe can’t see a clutch lever, so it could be twist-and-go, although they do talk about the use of a clutch on another electric bike in the Facebook video. If it’s like their other product, it will be aimed at the bargain end of the market, not the top end like Harley, Lightning ... read more
- Do you wear gloves over or under cuff?Do you wear your motorcycle gloves under or over your jacket cuff? Yes, we cover the BIG issues here at Motorbike Writer! Surprisingly, this issue has resonated with riders in the past when we have mentioned it in glove reviews. So we thought we would investigate the issue further and invite you to comment. There are many issues here that include glove type, rider position, comfort, rain and safety. Off the cuff! Glove type Obviously the most important aspect of whether you wear the glove over or under your cuff is whether the glove suits. With a shorty glove you have no choice. Some don’t even reach the cuff to tuck under. This is particularly evident on bikes where there is a long reach to the bars such as sportsbikes and cruisers with ape hangers. The jacket pulls up your arms and leaves a little strip of wrist that can get sunburnt! On one trip I found this a major problem so I invented my own gauntlets from Maccas chip packets. Necessity is the mother of invention! Maccas chip packets make temporary gauntletsIn the opposite corner, racing and long gauntlet gloves are way too big to fit under most cuffs. However, there are many gloves with a moderate sized wrist section that will fit either over or under a cuff, giving you the option depending on comfort and safety. Comfort Comfort is very important for riders as an uncomfortable glove can not only be annoying, but ... read more
- Icon Motorcycles plan new-age TritonDutch company Icon Motorcycles plans to hand-make new-age Triton motorcycles with Norton featherbed frames and modern Triumph 900cc engines. Original Triton The original 1960-70s Tritons were not factory models but private builds where enthusiasts mated the lithe-handling Norton featherbed frame with Triumph Bonneville engines. Now Dutch company Icon Motorcycles plans to supply handmade Triton cafe racers for private orders with bespoke specifications. However, they won’t bear the name “Triton”. Wouter Pullens of Icon Motorcycles says the frame is special build. “It’s a replica from the famous Norton ‘featherbed’ frame of the sixties,” he says. They will use the air/oil-cooled 900cc parallel twin from the previous model Thruxton, so it’s not liquid cooled and doesn’t have an ugly radiator. He says the “Triumph engine is standard, not tweaked”, so that means 51.5kW of power and 71.8Nm of torque. “They are available in the second half of this year, I expect about July,” he says. “This is depending on the final inspection/approval of the Dutch Government.” There is no word on pricing because each bike will be handmade to order, but Wouter says they can can “ship to every country”. As a bit of a guide, Triumph 900 models cost around $15,000 while Norton 961 models cost more than $30,000. So we expect they will cost around the Norton prices, or more depending on how much exotic kit you want to add. Hyperbole Icon Motorcycles says the original Triton was “perhaps the most influential motor movement the world has ... read more
- Toby Price 9th after super marathon« Previous 1 … 18 19 20 21 Next »Tough navigation, rocky terrain and a super marathon second stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia dropped two-time winner and current title holder Toby Price down the order. He finished 15th on the day and is now ninth overall, but still happy with his performance. Super marathon Toby works on his bike in parc fermeA super marathon stage lasts two days and all riders have to work on their own vehicle without any assistance, putting team riders such as Toby from the Red Bull KTM team on the same level as the privateers. “A very challenging day with our first Super Marathon stage complete, it is all new for everyone and doesn’t really allow us much time to work on the bikes which made things interesting,” he says. “Navigation today was really difficult and the conditions were tricky with so many lines to choose from. “With such heavy navigation, it leaves you feeling like you’re gambling with your decisions all day, but it makes it interesting for all competitors.” Toby out on his ownNavigation was made more difficult because Toby started first after winning the first stage of the rally. “Starting first is always going to be a disadvantage and today was a day I knew the rest of the field would make time on me,” e says. “I don’t plan on starting first too many more times after my efforts today.” Toby usually reserves his efforts in the first week to attack in the second week, like his come-from-behind win ... read more
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- Damon Hypserpsort electric has 320km range