Pros and Cons of the Electric Motorcycle

May 25, 2018 John Burns 0

Love them or loathe them, electric vehicles are here to stay. Electric cars are already highly practical: Tesla’s Model S can go over 300 miles on a charge, and even the subcompact Chevy Bolt EV hatchback is supposedly able to go 238 miles. But those are cars, and the Tesla’s battery weighs 1200 pounds, the Bolt’s 960. Not so practical for a motorcycle, where the whole vehicle needs to weigh about half that.

Motorcycle.com’s 2018 Electric Motorcycle Buyer’s Guide

What’s really needed to make the electric motorcycle really take off, of course, is new battery technology that allows those electricity-storage containers to get lighter and smaller. Rest assured, there are thousands of brilliant minds working on that as we speak. I wouldn’t bet against them, but who knows how long the magnesium-ion battery, or whatever it winds up being, will take? For now, these are the benefits and drawbacks of the electric motorcycle as she stands in the year of our Lord 2018.

PRO

They’re Electric!
It costs around 2 bucks to fill your motorcycle up with electricity that will propel it 100 miles; it costs $8.75 to go that far on your typical Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) motorcycle with gas around $3.50 per gallon at 40 mpg. If you commute or just ride a lot, that difference will add up fast. You also save time by never having to stop for gas. Oil? Strictly for salads.

Yes, electricity does come from nasty powerplants that pollute, but not nearly as much as an ICE bike and the petroleum industry that feeds it. Also, an increasing number of people derive their juice from the sun and wind, in which case your energy cost approaches zero.

Will you have to replace your battery? Probably not. Zero warranties its batteries for five years, but states: A typical Zero S or Zero DS can travel over 200,000 miles with the batteries retaining 80% of their original maximum capacity.

Only long-distance travelling motorcycles tend to see that kind of mileage – a mission electric bikes aren’t quite ready to take on.

Low maintenance
No battery to maintain, no clutch, no oil to change, no valves to adjust, no throttle bodies to sync, no air filter to replace… you’ll need fresh tires now and then, brake pads and that’s about it.

Instant torque
Most affordable electrics won’t go much faster than about 90 mph, but lots of them have silly amounts of torque, and their acceleration from a standing start can be just as stimulating, if not more, than most ICE bikes. The Zero DSR we just tested claims 116 pound-feet of torque; most of that’s available as soon as you twist the throttle, which can no longer be referred to as “loud handle.”

Stroke my Energica Ego

For those not restrained by mundane financial considerations, bikes like the $35k Italian exotic Energica Evo come with all the performance most of us could ever want, including an electronically limited 150-mph top end. Wait, scratch that! The Evo’s price is down to $24,900 for 2018!

Silent running

Maybe not so good if you think loud pipes save lives, but after you get used to the absence of noise, it really is nice to listen to nothing but the wind whistling past (you still need earplugs though). If you’re on a dirt road or trail out in the boonies, you’ll even sneak up on unsuspecting wildlife – or neighborhood cats, most of which really enjoy being chased no matter what their owners say.

Modern ICE bikes are remarkably quiet at 80 dB, but if you’re on anything older or with a modified exhaust, your neighbors will probably chip in to help you replace it with an electric. Some owners of bikes with open pipes may even be able to crowdsource funds for an electric bike.

Electrics are pricey, but starting to come down: Redshift’s Alta went from $14,995 last year to $10,495 for 2018.

Now that things like the Alta are here, I’m waiting for the first urban MX parks to open, so those of us who enjoy the occasional roost don’t have to drive two hours to do it. How can the neighbors complain when there’s no noise and no fuel being burned? They’ll still find a way, but getting urban youths on small electric bikes could be just the thing to rejuvenate the whole motorcycle industry.

Easy to ride

Without the need to learn how to shift gears, which scares off quite a few wannabe riders, electrics are as easy to ride as a scooter, which is to say no skills required beyond the ability to ride a bicycle: Twist this to go, squeeze this and press that to stop. Rider training will always be important, but the first hurdle is already overcome with electric bikes.

Government subsidies

In addition to the Feds, lots of states encourage you to go green with all kinds of tax incentives.

CON

Initial cost

Electric bikes are still not far past being a cottage industry, and that lack of scale means they can’t compete with ICE bikes pricewise. Zero’s entry-level S model starts at $10,995 – but again, there are tax incentives and rebates, and again, you’re not putting $15 of gas in the fuel tank every week or every few days. You could also spend $24.9k for an Energica Evo, which is billed as the world’s first electric superbike, with performance to back up the claim. That’s about $2.5k less than a Ducati Panigale V4 S, though, so…

Range anxiety

Just like staring at a blinking fuel light on your ICE bike with 20 miles to the next gas station, it can be unsettling to watch your charge meter go from 20% to 10% to 2% when you’ve still got a few miles to cover. Really that’s just a matter of planning, though. Many electric riders use their bikes for commuting a known, fixed distance, and range is never a concern (unless you get halfway to work and look down to realize you forgot to plug in last night). And if you’re mostly zipping around town less than 80 or so miles a day, like the vast majority of motorcyclists, electrics are fantastic.

As electric cars become more common, charging stations are springing up like proverbial wildflowers, and are easy to find with a phone app or two.

Charging time

You can get a quick top-up charge to get where you need to be most of the time in half an hour, but a full charge is going to take from two to ten hours, depending. Charge rate remains a problem for current lithium ion batteries. Along with greater storage capacity and therefore greater range, new battery technology will also offer much faster recharging times. We’re not there yet. Some say we won’t be anytime soon. Choose your pundit.

Weight

The aforementioned Evo weighs about 570 pounds to the Panigale’s 386-pound dry weight. There’s just no getting around the fact that batteries are heavy, and weight is a major component of how a motorcycle handles and feels.

The Tesla Model S’s entire floorpan is batteries, and weighs 1200 pounds.

On the other hand, though it offers far less performance than the Evo, Zero says its base model Zero S weighs just 313 pounds, and the DSR we just tested weighs 419. Not bad at all. Zippy, even.

No more mechanicing in the garage

If you liked to play with your tools while listening to your Zamfir CDs and tuning out the world, electric motorcycles will give you less opportunity to do that, but then they’re great for running to the Harbor Freight yet again while you work on the old Triumph. For the vast majority of people interested in electrics, the lack of maintenance is a selling point, not a detractor.

Fewer funny Youtube crashes

With no need to learn to use a clutch, there will be far fewer people launching themselves through fences and parking lots. We’ll miss that.

 

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How About a Nice Lap of the Sacramento Mile?

May 24, 2018 John Burns 0

It looks pretty easy the way these guys do it. This vid is actually from the 2017 race, when Bryan Smith won on his Indian, Mees took second and Baker came third. This year, Mees won, with a best lap of 0:37.625 versus a 0:38.203 best lap in 2017, Brad Baker came home fourth – and the top seven were all Indian mounted. So, just like this but half-a-second faster.

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LMW Leaning Multi-Wheel Vehicle QUIZ!

May 23, 2018 John Burns 0

Right now the new Yamaha Niken is in the news, or it will be Monday when our review goes up. But there’s really nothing new under the sun or over the Grossglockner, is there? So we put together this little quiz to see how much LMWs, (Leaning Multi Wheel vehicles) have stuck in your brain over the last few decades.

 

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Chrurch of MO: 1999 600cc Supersport Shootout

May 20, 2018 John Burns 0

In those days, the rate of publication wasn’t anything like it is today, and so Plummer and Roland Sands and the other three wise men were able to spend not only days at Willow Springs, but even more time at SoCal’s finest dragstrips, wearing out clutches and making passes in an apparently tireless effort to name 600 numero uno – at a time when that class was hugely important. Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki all still produce great 600 supersport bikes, but it’s not like it was 19 years ago.


1999 600cc Supersport Shootout

Head-On Collision

LOS ANGELES February 23, 1999

The hype has been intense: At the end of ’98, pervasive rumors claimed that Yamaha was developing a 600 supersport counterpart to their ground-breaking YZF-R1. Honda, it was said, was tooling up a fuel-injected replacement to the F3. Suzuki? Nothing new here, they just kicked butt on the race track, taking home the coveted AMA 600cc Supersport Championship in 1998 on their supposedly out-dated GSX-R600.

Meanwhile, Kawasaki redesigned the ZX-6R, melding both track performance with street-going comfort, offering a combination of light weight, comfort and performance that proved so popular in Great Britain that for the first time in years the ZX-6R outsold Honda’s CBR600F3.

Parity in the 600 class, it seems, had been achieved. Pete Rozelle wept from his luxury box in the sky. Some of the rhetoric proved to be true: Both Honda and Yamaha developed two all-new 600cc supersports: The still-carbureted but significantly refined CBR600F4 and the R1’s close cousin, Yamaha’s YZF-R6, respectively.

MO Editor Brent Plummer, AMA Pro Thunder and 250 Grand Prix Champions Paul Harrell & Roland Sands get ready to burn it up. MO Editor Brent Plummer, AMA Pro Thunder and 250 Grand Prix Champions Paul Harrell & Roland Sands get ready to burn it up.

Managing Editor Mark Hammond and Plummer decide who will be to blame for the missing van door.Managing Editor Mark Hammond and Plummer decide who will be to blame for the missing van door.

“It seems that enthusiasts are being polarized into two basic platforms from which to choose their dream machine — all-around high-performance bikes such as the Kawasaki ZX-6R and Honda’s CBR600F4, or more single-focused track scratchers such as Suzuki’s GSX-R600 and the Yamaha’s YZF-R6.”
Overview

Back to the real world, early 1999 to be exact. You’ve impatiently waited for the new machines to come out, and now it’s time to plunk down some hard-earned money. So you want to know the skinny, right? Well, to aide in your quest, Motorcycle Online enlisted the help of reigning AMA Pro Thunder and 250 Grand Prix Champions Paul Harrell and Roland Sands to help us out in our 1999 600 shootout.

An unusually pensive Roland Sands caught in a rarely seen moment of calm reflection.

We chose to test the motorcycles using stock tires since many of our readers will use them until they are worn out and because changing tires can significantly change the characteristics of a motorcycle. Not that it mattered much, because the tires are very similar — the Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki are shod with DunlopD207’s street tires and the Kawasaki comes with BridgestoneBT56s. The only drawback in using stock tires was that track and drag strip times would suffer — surprisingly, we struggled more at the drag strip with the relatively slick stock tires than at the race track — otherwise using stock tires didn’t favor one bike over another. Each bike’s performance stood on factors not related to tire selection. Still, for those of you who are fit to be tied that we didn’t swap tires, flame us now.Sands on the highly anticipated R6, performing his most dangerous stunt, the Headless Burnout.

The most anticipated bike heading into the shootout had to be Yamaha’s YZF-R6, a motorcycle seemingly designed to elicit over-the-top superlatives from the motorcycle press. We rode the CBR600F4 at the Las Vegas Speedway and came away impressed with it’s superb balance. We looked forward to putting more miles on the ZX-6R as it’d been months since we rode one. It had also been a while since we rode the GSX-R600, two years in fact, back in our 1997 test, and we were interested in seeing how it faired against the new generation 600s on the Streets of Willow Springs, at the Carlsbad Raceway Drag Strip and highways of greater Los Angeles.

Anyhow, enough of the bollocks, let’s get on with the test.

4: 1999 Suzuki GSX-R600

Paul Harrell carefully assessing the Gixxer's roll-on power: "Yeeeeeehaaaaa!!"

The oldest platform in the test, the Suzuki GSX-R600 has been tweaked throughout its three-year lifespan. In 1998 it received a larger airbox, revised exhaust system, different cam timing and reshaped ports to improve power across the powerband, and in 1999 Suzuki fitted the Gixxer with revised carburetor intake funnels, different jetting and a new igniter box for improved high rpm power.

Peak power was improved: The GSX-R600 made 91.9 bhp at 10500 rpm and 45.1 ft-lbs of torque at 9500. That’s a decent jump over our 1997 test model that posted 88.7 bhp at 12,000 rpm and 43.4 ft-lbs at 10,000 rpm.

The GSX-R on the track, passing other bikes, leaving them behind, until it's out in front and, ultimately ...

“Mid-range power also improved, and next to the F4 the GSX-R made the second most amount of torque.”

The driveline lash that was so prominent on our 1997 test bike wasn’t noticed in this year’s model, but the riders complained of a flat spot around 10,000 rpm. We noticed carburetion difficulties on the 1997 GSX-R600 and we suspect that Suzuki still hasn’t sorted out this problem.

... alone. (sob) Oh, this world can be a hard, lonely place for the swift. Oh, cruel humanity ...

“It doesn’t really feel like a flat spot,” quipped Editor Plummer after drag strip testing, “but rather, it seems that either the carburetor needles are wrong or the throttle slides are rising at the wrong rate, either too slow or too fast, but in any event the power feels flat when you’re on the gas and shift gears at redline — there’s a highly noticeable lag in the power. In a sense, that’s good news, and jetting is easily correctable, while some strange cam/exhaust pipe problem isn’t.” The Suzuki made the least amount of peak horsepower, a factor that might have helped produce the slowest times at the drag strip — 11.149 seconds for the quarter-mile at 124.84 miles per hour.

However, we believe that imprecise carburetor settings were the most likely culprit, as Editor Plummer — who does the drag strip testing — felt the Suzuki “would have hauled ass” on the drag strip if the carburetion problems were solved. In addition, the GSX-R600 was our least favorite street bike in this test, with many testers complaining of inordinate amounts of vibration, especially at higher rpms. The uncompromising riding position on the GSX-R didn’t win a lot of positive feedback and the bike never felt quite right unless ridden at a ten-tenths pace.

“Suzuki pays more to club racers than anyone else in America.”

Still, the brakes were good and the GSX-R600 might have the best stock chassis set-up in the entire test, although the shake and rattle lends to a perception of a less-than-finished motorcycle. Yet straight out of the box the Suzuki was perhaps the best race-ready motorcycle. Editor Plummer recorded his fastest lap times at the Streets of Willow Springs on the GSX-R (the fastest GSX-R time was Roland Sands at 1:15.02, Plummer was about a second behind) and it wasn’t until the suspension set-up began to be significantly adjusted that the racers’ lap times on the other three bikes began to pull away from the GSX-R600. “Roland and Paul started going much, much faster on the other bikes in the afternoon,” says Plummer, “but I never could get a confident feel from any of them, especially not in the front end — no street bike seems to feel as planted and secure as a good old GSX-R. While pros have the ability to go beyond their immediate impressions, for the rest of us, it’s hard or impossible to go fast on a bike that doesn’t feel planted. If I were going club racing, the Gixxer would be my choice, for sure.”

Also in it’s favor, the Suzuki GSX-R600 has been around for a few years and there is a host aftermarket parts available for racers, not to mention the Suzuki Cup — at over a million dollars, Suzuki pays more to club racers than anyone else in America.

3: 1999 Kawasaki ZX-6R

(Sung to the tune "No Particular Place To Go" by Chuck Berry) "Riding along on my ZX-6R ..."

Last year something rare happened over in Great Britain: For the first time in years the top selling 501 to 700cc class motorcycle was not a Honda, it was the Kawasaki ZX-6R. Aiming at the CBR600F3, the ZX-6R offered light weight, high performance and excellent handling characteristics along with improved aerodynamics, weather and wind protection, and relaxed ergonomics for a more comfortable street ride. The design worked, and Honda was forced to play catch up.

In 1997, the ZX-6R placed last in our comparison. Vague front-end feedback along with low-profile stock Bridgestone tires resulted in a front end that “pushed” and “tucked” in corners.

Even with race-compound tires the vague feedback on the 1997 ZX-6R continued and the lack of front-end feel was responsible for relegating the old 6R to last place.

The 1997 ZX-6R had very narrow triple clamps that didn’t give much turning leverage. Kawasakiengineers addressed this by widening the handlebars, which also made the ZX-6R more comfortable, even though we thought the old ZX-6R was not an uncomfortable motorcycle. Kawasaki also stiffened the chassis and improved the suspension. As a result handling improved all around. At 445 pounds with a full tank of gas, the new generation ZX-6R is also about 18 pounds lighter than its predecessor, but is still the heaviest motorcycle in the test.

"To go fast on this bike is not really that hard ..."

Throttle response on the ZX-6R was excellent, so was the positive-feeling gearbox and strong clutch (try as we might we couldn’t fry the clutch at the strip). The linear power delivery and higher-profile stock Bridgestone BT56 tires helped the ZX-6R post the fastest times in the quarter mile.

With peak power outputs of 94 bhp at 12,750 rpm and 44.2 ft-lbs at 10,500 rpm the 6R ripped off a 10.937 second quarter mile at 127.41 miles per hour at the slower, slicker, sea-level Carlsbad Raceway (the 1997 ZX-6R posted a 10.79 quarter-mile at the LACR, a faster track at higher elevations that also posts very generous corrected times, usually by about three or four tenths of a second).

“Overall we thought the Kawasaki was an excellent street bike…”

Stoplight to stoplight Kawasaki intends to be the fastest, and with the ZX-6R they’re living up to their promise: “The Kawasaki rocks!” barked an elated Plummer after ripping off a 1.7-second 60-foot time and a high 10-second quarter mile. “It’s the only bike with precise throttle response and inherent traction off the line — if you want to smoke your pals at every street light, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any bike, big or small, that’ll run with the 6R from zero to 60.”

"Around and around on a track don't you know ... There's no particular place you go ..." (Repeat with appropriate air guitar)

A comfortable, easy-to-ride street bike with a great engine, smooth throttle response and wide powerband that handled well on the street, the ZX-6R lagged behind the Honda and the Yamaha at the track. It’s at least 10 pounds heavier than the competition, feeling slow entering corners and not reacting well to mid-corner line changes.

The six-piston caliper brakes — which are the same excellent Tokico calipers used on the GSX-R and the Team MO race bikes — didn’t have the same initial bite as the others, so consider changing brake pads if you own one. The ZX-6R’s fastest lap at the Streets of Willow Springs was Roland Sands’ 1:14.31, faster than his best GSX-R time but almost a full second slower than the fastest times recorded by the CBR600F4 and the YZF-R6.

Still, the new ZX-6R is an enormous improvement over the old ’97 model. Overall we thought the Kawasaki was an excellent street bike — two staff members gave it second place votes — with a wonderful motor but its size kept it from overtaking the lighter, more agile Yamaha and Honda.

View all Photos | VideosPHOTOS & VIDEOS

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Big Dam Tour Part Due: BMW K 1600 B vs Honda Gold Wing DCT

May 18, 2018 John Burns 0

When last we left it, in February, the BMW K 1600 B won out over a pack of six other baggers on our overnight whirlwind tour to Hoover Dam, Sin City and parts east. Some didn’t feel the six-cylinder German wonderbike should win since it’s not really a V-twin bagger, but then we’re not really bikers, either, so we just picked the motorcycle we liked best. The BMW was the smoothest, fastest, comfiest, highest-tech two-wheeled vehicle out there that sports saddlebags and a windshield.

The shoe that had not yet dropped, however, was Honda’s new 2018 Gold Wing. Now it has. American Honda loaned us a brandspanking red Gold Wing DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission), And so we ride! Instead of seven brosephuses, though, it’s just me and my boy Ryan on a long weekend spin up to Calistoga, an hour or two north of San Francisco in the Napa Valley. A place where it does not suck, and where the Calistoga Half-Mile provided us a near-perfect excuse to explore the area.

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour Review

The defending champ is no slouch. The BMW’s bars are a smidge higher than the Gold Wing’s; both bikes are pleasure palaces. Child is now 292 months and 72 inches.

From the time I first threw a leg over one of these new Wings at EICMA last November, the reduction in size and weight was apparent, and that’s the number one impression again as we pull away from Door #8 at Honda HQ in Torrance. She’s so small. Honda says the old F6B weighs 844 pounds; this new one tips the MO scales at 806, both of them all gassed up (the new Wing holds 1.1 gallons less – 5.55 gallons). So, the new one’s in fact about 38 or 40 pounds lighter, but it feels like the new ’Wing weighs much less than the old one. It’s still quite a bit heftier than the 768-lb BMW – but both bikes are substantially lighter than all the other “baggers” the BMW beat up on in February.

Specs say the new Wing is 0.2-inch longer of wheelbase than the old one, but that’s not how it feels, either. The new double-wishbone front suspension allowed rider and engine to be moved forward on the bike – more over the front wheel and more master of the ship. The grips feel a bit lower than before, which reinforces the suddenly sportier nature of the new bike – and the seat even feels a bit lower; the fact there’s no trunk lets even short people swing into the saddle easily and touch both feet to terra firma. The windshield’s no longer the size of a Buick’s. Now, it’s more of a motorcycle windscreen, and it’s electrically adjustable, too.

The glove box right there in the middle of the “gas tank” has a foam sleeve for your phone and a USB to plug it into, along with storage for other small items. If it’s an iPhone, Apple CarPlay recognizes and pairs right up to it. The controls in the middle don’t work when the bike’s in motion; you need to use the buttons on the left grip when you’re underway to adjust your navigation and communications. (Or like me, ignore them.)

Have the fob in your pocket or the bike’s glovebox, turn the ignition knob to the right, hit the starter and oh, what a nice low racket burbles from the dual exhausts as the six horizontally opposed 73mm pistons swing into action and the seven-inch TFT display puts on its little welcoming ceremony. Hit the little D rocker, for Drive, with your right thumb (shouldn’t it be R for ride?) and off you go. I think the DCT works better as the engine warms up, or is that just me? When you ride off cold, it sometimes feels a bit jerky as it automatically shifts back and forth through the ’Wing’s seven speeds, but it seems to smooth out as the oil warms up. Alternatively, it might just be your human software acclimating to the DCT? After riding the bike for a few days, my right hand seemed to know just how to treat the throttle to make the bike shift or not, and I don’t notice anything anymore except that it’s nice not to have to shift most of the time. I love it.

My son still doesn’t like DCT, still insists it’s jerky after more than a few days riding it. My friend Dennis Smith, who’s been riding and racing motorcycles since gas was a dollar, loves his new Gold Wind Tour DCT. There’s an ECON mode, which is pretty lazy and has low-rpm shift points, TOUR is as the name implies. I first toggled into SPORT mode after filling up with gas in Santa Barbara, and when I twisted the throttle in the usual fashion, I nearly wheelied out of the gas station. SPORT makes a big difference in how the bike reacts; it’s much, ahh, sportier.

The Gold Wing does all that with only 10.5:1 compression and runs fine on Regular. The BMW remains awesome, its 12.2:1 motor wants 89 octane at least. The Beemer does have a big hp advantage, but not really until you achieve Go Directly to Jail speeds.

We couldn’t get our DCT ’Wing to run on the dyno, but our man John Ethell at Jett Tuning, in Camarillo, ran a six-speed a couple months ago. In Tour mode, that one made 93 pound-feet of torque as soon as the dyno regained its senses and started recording, at just 1900 rpm. In Sport mode, it’s making 97 at that engine speed, on its way to breaking 100 lb-ft at just 2400 rpm, and a peak of 106 at 4500 rpm. Your big twins in some other touring bikes make that kind of torque at around 2800 rpm, before maxing out at around 75 horsepower at 4500 rpm or so and toddling off to bed shortly after. The big Honda Six hauls drum to 101 horses at 5500 rpm and runs into its rev limiter at 6200 rpm. I think it’s safe to say the new Gold Wing engine is the production bike torque king of all time. It does more before 2000 rpm than most bikes do all day, and you get the impression there’s plenty of room to expand its capabilities.

A lone 50mm throttle body feeding 1833 cc keeps intake velocity high to produce ridiculous low-rpm torque and instant throttle response.

The BMW posts an identical torque peak,106 lb-ft, but it doesn’t get there till 5200 rpm. Horsepower-wise, it buries the Honda, 132 at 8000 rpm to 101 at 5500 rpm, but the BMW remains a little slow on the draw below 3000 rpm, and by the time its rider knows there’s a race on, the Honda has scooted off into the distance. Really, engines are the biggest example of what a contrast in style these two bikes are. One’s an American hot rod from Japan, if you will; the other’s a Ferrari. The BMW would win on a closed road course, and with its greater horsepower should beat the Honda in a quarter-mile. But with the Honda’s tremendous low-rpm grunt (the ’Wing’s got 1833 cc to the BMW’s 1649) and computer brain shifting the zero-lag DCT, you might need Ricky Gadson skills on the BMW to do it. With clear road, it’s a blast (literally) to pin the ’Wing from stops, watch the tach needle bounce between 4500 and 6000, and hang on as the DCT rockets the bike through the gears. Sadly, the rocketing stops at 110 mph and 4000 rpm in sixth, thanks to the bike’s top speed limiter. It’s always something.

All the Honda’s info is easier to read than the BMW’s, especially its big 7-inch TFT screen. Be sure to take California Highway 25 when you’re out that way.

Meanwhile, the BMW’s six-speed shifts great, it’s a magnificent motor once you’re rolling, and its quickshifter takes out most of the work (it still requires too much pressure for downshifts). But using the ’Wing’s DCT paddles in the tight stuff is Formula 1 tech, man!

You really can’t leave the Honda in Sport mode all the time, though, because then the bike wants to downshift too early and often. It’s like Shinya Nakano programmed it at Suzuka. The best thing to do when you’re trying to make time on curvy roads is select Sport, and also push the little M that gives you manual control. Then you decide when to make instant up and downshifts with your left forefinger and thumb. (Until I got used to the paddles, I couldn’t figure out why I kept downshifting every time I wanted to honk the horn at a creeper in the fast lane? The horn’s nice and loud when you can find the button.) The paddles also respond even when you’re not in M mode, just in case you’re dawdling along in Econ and suddenly want a burst of speed. Mostly you wind up riding in Tour, which is almost as quick as Sport.

Note how close the front tire is to the engine now that the tire moves straight up as the suspension strokes. Dual radiators are stuck in the sides behind the Honda badges and are vented outward; I didn’t feel any heat from them or the engine. The BMW heats up your right foot when you’re flogging it.

What the mode button doesn’t do on the Gold Wing, that it does do on the Gold Wing Tour, is also adjust suspension damping. The non-Tour ’Wing does not have electric preload or active suspension. Other things it doesn’t have are Honda Selectable Torque Control, a center stand or heated seats. Why a bike this torquey has no HSTC is a question that needs more investigating, and I’m glad I didn’t land on my ear before I realized I was relying on my own skills. Nobody much allows that anymore.

The suspension serves up a great ride anyway, with 4.3 inches of travel up front and 4.1 in back, but that great ride has to do it all, from freeway snoozing to backroad bombing, and so it’s slightly compromised everywhere. You’d never really notice, though, if you weren’t riding it alongside the BMW, where the touch of a button takes you from ROAD and quite sporty, to CRUISE, which is as soft and cuddly as your favorite couch. You can adjust the Honda’s rear preload if you’ve got a tiny hand to reach into the adjuster’s cubbyhole ahead of the right saddlebag. The list price on our BMW, which comes with just about every available option including electric suspension, is only $185 more than the Honda.

Still, neither of us complained about the Honda’s ride. With its lower roll center and whatever effect a heavy longitudinal reciprocating mass has on a motorcycle, the ’Wing needs more input to make quick direction changes, but it always feels perfectly planted to the road and highly “confidence inspiring,” to trot out a favorite cliche. The new front end means there’s more weight on the front contact patch, and the Gold Wing locks onto whatever lean angle you place it at and stays there as if laser guided until you direct it elsewhere. I love that feeling, Ryan did not: He much prefers the BMW’s lighter, quicker big-sportbike feel.

The BMW is lighter by a good margin, but it just looks more bulbous than the Honda, like it’s pushing a bigger fairing, no?

In tight curves, I loved putting the Honda in Sport mode and using its sportier ergonomics and paddle shifters to shove its nose into corners, then blasting out using its awesome low-rev torque (blissfully unaware without benefit of traction control). The kid thought the Honda was too much like work; he liked the BMW’s quick reflexes and didn’t mind keeping its revvier engine spooled up a bit more. We both agreed the Honda’s got the superior brakes. Both bikes use their no-fork front ends to reduce dive and stop really hard; the Wing just has a bit more feel – and again, a lower center of gravity. In faster curves, the Gold Wing will begin dragging its footpegs sooner than the BMW, but you’re going pretty hard when that happens – and we hadn’t yet found the rear preload adjuster to give it more clearance.

Tooo.. be… where little cable caaaarrrrssss…

Back in town, even though the Honda is heavier, its low cg means it’s slightly easier to pick up off the sidestand and roll around on to the taco truck or Trader Joe’s. When you come back out, though, you’ll be bummed that the Honda’s bags don’t hold as much stuff as the BMW’s. They still hold enough, and all you do to open them is push a little black button. Handy.

The ’Wing bags won’t hold a helmet, but it does come with a cool attachment deal that will lock a pair to the bike (if your helmets have D-rings). You can get a helmet in each BMW bag, which might be inferior if the bags are already full of other stuff.

In fact, the whole ’Wing experience including the way it looks from behind reminds me of a big scooter/Pacific Coast mashup. Though our scales say it’s not that much lighter, it just never feels anywhere near as massive as the GL1500 I did the Iron Butt on in the early ’90s, or the later GL1800 – neither of which could ever do better than 34 miles per gallon. Back and forth to Calistoga, the new bike averaged 41 mpg to the BMW’s 39 mpg.

There’s a big knob/joystick just off the bottom of this pic that makes entering info into the computer a snap, but you have to mostly use the little buttons on the left handlebar when you’re moving (which are backlit thank God). The big 7-inch screen and advanced Nav system can plot the shortest route to your destination or the fastest one. You can choose to avoid expressways, tunnels, toll roads and ferries. But if you want Dynamic Route Guidance (which sounds like exactly what we want!), you’ll have to “consult your dealer for details.” Apple CarPlay finds your iPhone without even being asked. There is no escape…

They’re both great for passengers on short hops, thanks to the low seats and lack of top box; for longer journeys, the BMW’s got better grab handles, which are also better for cargo nets. Both windshields, as delivered, are blustery but not as blustery as the other baggers on the market…

At the end of the ride it’s a tough call. It’s like Chrissy Rogers said the other day, “I’d like to get in the hot tub, but I’m too comfortable to get off the couch…”

I love the new ’Wing, really I do. Its user interface, mostly that 7-inch screen, is far superior to the BMW’s fine print, and like I may have already repeated more than once, I dig its lowrider/big-scooter feel, low-rpm whomp and shiftless nature. On the other hand, its lack of what’s almost considered basic tech on a motorcycle in this price range – especially since the Tour version comes with active suspension and Honda Selectable Torque Control – leaves me scratching my head (the Gold Wing Tour DCT starts at $27,700).

In any case, the MO Scorecard does not lie, and on there, you’ll note that the BMW retains its crown both Objectively and Subjectively (but mostly Subjectively because Ryan marked it down mercilessly for its DCT, handling and smaller bags – two of three things I most liked about it). All the experts in the Comments section say you should never buy a first-year new model anyway. After Honda develops this one a year or two, y’all better stand back. Until further notice, though, the BMW K 1600 B remains the bagger of choice. I’d buy the Honda though. Wait, no, it’s the BMW.

Jim Hatch Illustrations Photo Voodoo

bagger bagger

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Ms. Grothes MotoHistory 101

May 17, 2018 John Burns 0

Mary Grothe keeps sorting through the boxes and uncovering things and people that I, for one, knew nothing about. Here’s one:

“Little Giant” Ikujiro Takai, 6th place, on the grid at Mosport 1977, with John Long, #36 in the background. As a Yamaha factory rider in 1974, Takai took two crowns in the All Japan Expert Class. In 1975 he finished second in the French 250cc GP class. Subsequently he became a noted designer for Yamaha, but in 1982 was tragically killed while testing the newly developed OW61 – the first V4 engine in a 500cc GP bike. Kenny Roberts later dedicated his Spanish GP victory aboard the OW61 to Takai.

Bowmanville, Ontario CA: 09/18/1977

RIP Ikujiro Takai

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Fat, Drunk and with a Backfiring Motorcycle is No Way to Go Through Life, Son

May 16, 2018 John Burns 0

A caller to the Harwich Police Department on Cape Cod, Mass, reported a disturbance involving guns, knives and shots fired last night, and the HPD swung into action, eventually also enlisting the aid of Cape Cod SWAT. Serious trouble indeed. The situation wound up being less dire than at first thought, however, and you can read the full account here at CapeCod.com.

Fat, Drunk and with a Backfiring Motorcycle is No Way to Go Through Life, Son appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa Review

May 15, 2018 John Burns 0

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa

Editor Score: 89.0%
Engine 17.5/20
Suspension/Handling 13.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.25/10
Brakes 9.0/10
Instruments/Controls4.75/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.25/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 8.75/10
Value 8.0/10
Overall Score89/100

Speaking of adventuring, on my way home from flogging this new Tiger all over the mountainside, I was inspired enough to explore a new route: Instead of taking the 210 to the 57 like I usually do, I hopped on 5 South, to the 10 West, to the 710 South! (I had to go to Long Beach to do a bike swap with Ryan.) Was it scary? A little. There are some parts of LA where you really don’t want to have to stop, but the Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa had me feeling all omnipotent. Bring it on!

EICMA: 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XC and
Tiger 1200 XR Get Big Updates

Some of that pavement is not the best, but the bike’s WP semi-active suspenders barely noticed, and 1215cc of torquelicious Triple is just the thing for hacking one’s way through the urban jungle, both when the traffic is dense and when it opens up. The big Tiger was a very solid beast before, now it’s a highly refined, more civilized solid beast.

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Matter of fact, Triumph says all the new Tigers are better for their chosen missions, the XCs are all better off-road, and the XRs are better for all roads – lighter, with improved ergonomics, higher technology and better power if not more of it… There are six distinct Tiger 1200s: four XR models with 17-inch street rubber at both ends, and two XC models with 19-inch front and 17-in rear tires on (tubeless) wire-spoke wheels for better performance on non-paved surfaces. Our test unit, fittingly, is the top-of-the-line XCa.

Triumph says this one’s lost 22 pounds, and it actually feels like it’s lost more: Now I can pick it up off the sidestand easily even when it’s parked on a left-leaning slope, without assist. It feels like the seat’s a skosh lower, or maybe the bicycling has made my left leg stronger?

Triumph says it took 1.1 lbs out of the crankshaft, 5.5-lbs from the flywheel, saved 5 lbs more by using a new titanium Arrow exhaust, and a new battery shaves 6 more lbs. A magnesium cam cover lops off a pound; the crash guards on our bike are a few lbs lighter… She’s still hefty, probably around 600 lbs fuelled up (the last Tiger 1200 we rode, a 2016 model, tipped our scales at 625 with 5.3 gallons – 32 or so lbs – of fuel.) Like we said then, though, she’s well-balanced and agile for her size.

For 2017, Triumph doesn’t claim any more power, but it does claim better power, and with that we cannot disagree. In 2016, the claim of 141 PS translated to 116 rear-wheel Dynojet hp at 8500 rpm, and a torque peak of 75 pound feet at 7700 rpm, which still feels about right. (Sorry, we haven’t been able to get the new bike to the dyno and scales quite yet. We’ll update ASAP.) We loved the big Tiger’s spot-on smooth delivery the last time, and it’s even better now with the lightened reciprocating parts and more refined fuel maps. Nobody really does fuelling better than Triumph, and on the street it’s hard to argue against a 1215cc Triple. The Tiger might not make the most power in the class, but it makes plenty enough to propel you way faster than you’ll ever need to go, with almost zero vibration until up around 90 mph, where you will feel a little tingle in the grips. It starts cranking out a big, fat plateau of torque not far past idle, and from there, big power just builds in a linear way all the way to redline. Off road, it’ll pull cleanly from right down at walking speed without complaining. And whatever you’re doing, it always sounds fantastic in finest vintage-Jaguar fashion. It’s just a great, solid powerplant that always returns at least 40 mpg, too.

Don’t forget the new slip/assist clutch – not that you need it much once you’re rolling, thanks to the XCa’s upstairs and downstairs quickshifter, which like many of them works better up than down, but is better than most either way. Shifts at larger throttle openings are smoothest, but the Tiger’s system works pretty well at small ones around town, too – another one of those things you never knew you needed.

Along with more refined fueling comes another ride mode on the XCa: Off Road Pro. Toggle it into the computer and you get: ABS and TC OFF, and suspension set to Off Road, Sport! As for me, I’ll stick to Off Road, which only disables rear-wheel ABS and sets suspension and Traction Control to Off Road medium settings.

TSAS, Triumph Semi-Active Suspension, courtesy of WP is every bit as worthy as it was when fitted to the 2016 Tiger. WP as we know, is owned by the same people who own KTM, and if this isn’t the same stuff they put on the Super Duke GT and 1290 Adventure S, it’s damn close. Working with an IMU, the suspension adjusts itself in real time to whatever you’re up to at the controls, and launched the old Tiger from also-ran to legitimate contender. There are two suspension modes, Auto and Off road. On pavement, in conjunction with excellent new seat foam and 7.5 inches of travel front and rear, the Tiger serves up a magic carpet ride 99% of the time in Auto. Off road, I did not go there – but Ryan Adams did and says, “Any suspension setting in the normal to sport range kept the bike from rocking back and forth at all.” The bike worked great on bumpy fire roads, too.

They even managed to keep the horn in the right spot. That’s the joystick right next to it. Brilliant.

The Triumph’s a bit unique in that once you’ve chosen your mode, the joystick allows you to select how stiff you want your damping along an entire continuum from Comfort to Sport. TSAS is standard equipment on all but the base XR, and it even automatically sets rear preload for your weight and who or whatever you’ve got strapped on behind you. For people who are used to buying motorcycles and never getting around to playing with their suspension adjusters, TSAS will be a revelation.

The standard seat adjusts up and down into two heights 20mm apart, and if it’s not adjustable enough, there’s a distinct Low Ride Height XRx that takes it down to 31.1 inches

The seat is still the first line of suspension, and the Tigers all get new “3D net technology,” with more foam, an air channel in the middle, and a different shape that’s said to deform better to the rider’s rear end. Mine felt fine after a couple of long days on the XCa, helped in part by the handlebar having been moved 20mm rearward – a happy change for my 5’8” bod.

Now, you can sit back there and position the electric-adjust windshield wherever it’s quietest; for me, that meant looking through it, which is not optimal but is fine during daylight hours at least. If the Tiger’s still-air pocket isn’t perfect, it’s way better than all of the “baggers” currently in vogue when it comes to traveling (though Ryan was concerned it might bisect his Adam’s apple when standing up through big bumps off road). Between the big windshield, the handguards and the heated grips and seat, the Tiger really is an all-weather fighter.

Whilst luxuriating in the comfy cockpit, you won’t be able to not notice the new 5-inch TFT instrument panel, which can be manipulated into various displays or left to automatically adjust itself to night or day. While on that subject, there are quite a few buttons on both grips, but they’re backlit and therefore still useable after dark.

Along the bottom are icons for different ride modes, right now we’re in sport; the jaggedy ones are Off Road and Off Road Pro. Pick the one you want with the joystick with your left thumb and off you go.

You wanted advanced electronics? The Tiger delivers. The IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), in addition to adjusting the TSAS suspension, also talks to the lean-sensitive anti-lock brakes, traction control and engine mapping. Road mode is soft and docile when you toggle towards comfort: Things become decidedly sportier, and engine response snarlier, when you select the curvy road icon and toggle towards Sport. I usually run screaming when I hear the word “intuitive” describing a computerized thing, but this system actually is.

An integrated baking system using Continental componentry gives a bit of back brake when you squeeze the front, turns off the rear in ABS Off Road mode and both ends in Off Road Pro… Now, there’s hill hold control as well. Of course it’s lean sensitive as well. The Metzler Tourance tires are fine on the road, and surprisingly good off road too, says Ryan Adams. You don’t need no steenkin’ tubes.

Indeed, those 305mm discs up front are bitten by Brembo M4.32 calipers, now fitted with new pads to give more bite, power and feel. When you grab a big handful, of course, the IMU also informs the front fork what you’re up to, and you can pretty much stop on the proverbial dime with very little drama. Electronics good, Mongo.

And that theme is pretty much carried out throughout this highly sophisticated Tiger, which is in fact a big, sweet pussycat. The basic building blocks were already there; the Tiger’s new electronics just make everything work that much better and more comfortably. Chilly? Your three-position heated grip button is right there at your left thumb, and the heated seat control is here somewhere… The passenger’s control is right under her left thigh – and that back seat’s almost as comfy as the front, which is really comfy, especially when the heater heats the foam up a smidge. Ahhhh…

Gnar footpegs, less-gnarly handguards, crashbars and an engine bashplate are part of the XCa package.

You no longer need an ignition key, but don’t lose that fob – and you can lock the fork by turning the bar to the left and hitting a button. All the XCa’s bulbs are bright and maintenance-free LEDs, including its daytime running lights – and after dark there are now adaptive cornering lights. Also fog lights…

You can adjust the angle of that 5-inch TFT display to suit you, then select the one of six displays which agrees with you. There’s a USB port under the seat for your phone, along with a 12v outlet one each for rider and passenger… as for Infotainment, you’ll have to provide your own by wandering off yon dirt road – also, I was not able to locate the setting to heat the water for 4 o’clock tea. All the rest of it’s here, and it all works together very well if you’re looking for a supremely comfortable, highly capable ADV bike.

More off road notes from Ryan A:

  • The big brake pedal was easy to find and useful in the dirt, as were the big footpegs which provided ample grip
  • Feels pretty top-heavy when pushing the thing around, but once it’s rolling, you can tractor through nearly any obstacle. Letting the engine lug down in offroad mode isn’t a problem, even at low rpm throttle inputs are still smooth
  • Windshield is too high for faster bumpy offroad work. It’s like the thing is ready to end up in your Adam’s apple at any moment.
  • The shape of the tank is perfect for bracing yourself against while standing. Really. It’s wonderful. You can grab ahold of it with your legs nicely, and it is nice to brace against so you don’t get your head chopped off by the tall windshield when hitting unexpected bumps.
  • Bashplate looks like it wouldn’t be able to take much abuse without crumpling. Probably worthless if you ever actually needed it.
  • Steering lock is wide open which helps with tight maneuvers offroad. Wide handlebar and risers also feel to be in a pretty good position while standing.

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Two Wins at Imola Makes Jonathan Rea Almost the WSBK GOAT

May 14, 2018 John Burns 0

Way to go, JR!


News from Worldsbk.com:

Jonathan Rea equals all time record of WorldSBK wins

 

Continuing to cement his name in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship history books, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has equaled Carl Fogarty’s record of victories here at Imola. Rea’s second win of the weekend marks his 59th overall, breaking a record which has stood for nearly 20 years.

31 year old Rea first broke onto the WorldSBK scene in 2008 with a one event appearance for Honda, which saw him take a top four position in his debut around Portimao. Putting in 228 race starts since then, we take a look back over the pivotal victories of his career.

He first tasted victory in the WorldSBK in Misano’s race two back in 2009, crossing the line 0.063s ahead of Michel Fabrizio after a sensational on track battle. After getting the monkey off his back for his first win, he stood on the top step every season with the Honda machine, racking up ten victories in 2012. Spraying the Prosecco in front of his home fans at Donington Park for the tenth time, it was clear Rea was a strong talent in the series and a strong contender. His final win for Honda came at the track in which he made his debut – Portimao in 2014’s race two.

Making the switch over to Kawasaki for 2015, the Northern Irish rider has never looked back and this is when his victories began to come thick and fast. Winning his debut race on the green machine at Phillip Island – taking him to 16 overall – his 25th victory came once again in Portugal and this time Rea dominated to cross the line five seconds ahead of his closest rival Davide Giugliano.

Taking 14 victories in 2015, he didn’t secure the title with a victory but with a fourth position finish at Jerez. Entering 2016 as defending champion, it welcomed another strong year for Rea as he secured his 30th WorldSBK victory around Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in race one. Taking a total of nine P1 trophies home that season, Rea was once again crowned champion without taking the win at Qatar with a second position finish.

Hitting another milestone Down Under at Phillip Island, Rea took his 40th victory in the opening round of the 2017 season – one which proved to be a record breaking one for the 31 year old. With a phenomenal 16 victories secured in his third season with Kawasaki, Rea was an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. Securing the title around Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in France, Rea won his 50th race of his career and was crowned champion with two rounds remaining.

Putting himself just nine shy of the record, he dominated the end of the 2017 season to take double victories in Spain and Qatar. As 2018 has become a more challenging season for our reigning world champion, Rea has continued to win and as he sensationally took the double victory around Imola, he took his 59th victory with it.

It now remains to be seen how many more races Rea can win as he career continues to go from strength to strength in WorldSBK. As the most successful WorldSBK rider of all time, he certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Re-live some of Rea’s highlights all on the WorldSBK VideoPass, and watch as he continues to break records in WorldSBK.

Two Wins at Imola Makes Jonathan Rea Almost the WSBK GOAT appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

Things Could Be Worse: You Could Be in Australia

May 14, 2018 John Burns 0

Jeff Corbett, writing in Australia’s Newcastle Herald, sounds like a reasonable if typically angry old white guy most of the time, but has he crossed the line in this piece Evans Brasscannons dredged up from the interwebs this morning? In which he suggests motorcycles should be banned from all “high-risk roads.” 

“It occurred to me that it is not just the motorcyclist at high risk on these roads, that other road users are at high risk from motorbikes. We have a higher risk of having a motorbike and rider slam into our car, and death or injury to the driver and passengers is not the only unfortunate result of that.”

Wait, what?

————————————————————————————————————————

JEFF CORBETT: We need to put the brakes on motorbikes

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​SOMETIMES I have to remind myself that I have been a motorcyclist, that I still hold a motorbike licence. Mostly I feel that need when, as a driver, I come across a motorcyclist fanging around a corner towards me or weaving through peak-hour traffic.

Fleetingly I wonder why it is that motorbikes have the same status as cars and buses and trucks, when clearly their two wheels hardly qualify them to mix with vehicles with at least four. It’s fleeting because I know that when I’ve been on two wheels, cars and buses and trucks are a damn nuisance, and I try to avoid hypocrisy. Not always successfully, I’ll admit.

The risk could have been because the roads were often wet, icy or that there were lots of curves. Many motorbike riders like to get their thrills on winding roads, and in the Hunter two of the deadliest are Putty Road between Singleton and Windsor and Thunderbolts Way heading north from Gloucester. It occurred to me that it is not just the motorcyclist at high risk on these roads, that other road users are at high risk from motorbikes. We have a higher risk of having a motorbike and rider slam into our car, and death or injury to the driver and passengers is not the only unfortunate result of that. There is severe trauma to those involved in the accident and accumulating trauma for the police and ambulance officers who must dread the call to yet another gory accident involving a motorcyclist. It does seem that for many the thrill of motorbike riding is beating the odds.

Is accident the right word for those many cases in which the motorcyclist was riding the high risk road for thrills? An accident is something that happens by chance, and when you’re testing yourself and your machine on a high risk road, or any road, a crash cannot be entirely unexpected. It does seem that for many the thrill of motorbike riding is beating the odds.

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Why should your safety and mine be put at risk by a motorcyclist riding for thrills?

There’s not much more to riding a motorbike than thrills, given that in comparison to many modern cars they’re no longer so economical and that the disadvantages are just split-second grabs of the passing scenery and being too hot when it’s hot and too cold when it’s cold and too wet when it’s wet. The only difference between motorcyclists is how far they’ll push the limit for their thrills. The two big thrills are speed and corners. Motorbikes accelerate quickly to high speed but unfortunately for thousands of suddenly-departed Australians motorbikes are not so keen to stop, and corners can be exhilarating if they don’t tighten unexpectedly, which too often is just as unfortunate. The great lumps of metal called cruisers and preferred by the ageing and deluded don’t like going around any corner.

All motorbikes, all motorised two-wheel vehicles, are inherently unstable and more vulnerable than four-wheel vehicles to road imperfections and wrong camber and potholes and oil spills and wildlife and sand and gravel and heat-softened bitumen and rain and snow. And only someone who’s ridden a motorbike in all weather will know just how much rain impedes the motorcyclist’s vision from behind the visor.

The NSW government’s Centre for Road Safety reported a year or so ago that while motorcycles represented just four per cent of registered vehicles in NSW, motorcyclist fatalities in 2016 were 17 per cent of the road toll. Serious injuries among motorcyclists as a percentage of the total were higher.

Statisticians keep pumping out motorbike-horror stats but they seem only to excite the risk takers. One that may have spurred the increasing sales of motorbikes is the NSW government’s finding less than 10 years ago that a motorcyclist is 20 times more likely to be killed per kilometre travelled than the occupant of any other motor vehicle. It’s all part of the leather and the swagger, the ultimate expression of the it-won’t-happen-to-me myth.

While drivers are required to wear a seatbelt even though they’re in a cabin, motorcyclists are not confined by a belt or a cabin – they’re free to be daredevils, their only concession to safety a helmet. This bravado is at our expense in so many ways and it’s time we did something about it.

First, let’s ban motorbikes on all high-risk motorbike roads, starting with Putty Road and Thunderbolts Way. Second, let’s introduce special motorbike speed limits for winding roads or stretches of road, with a new provision for the sudden-death loss of motorbike licence for those who break those and the general speed limits. There are seldom any second chances on a motorbike and the penalty should reflect that.

For too long our road rules have ignored the threat to us all of a vehicle that is essentially dangerous, that would not be allowed on the roads if it were invented now.

————————————————————————————————————————Hmmmm, we have to hope Mr. C was just hoping for some cheap clicks. Victoria has Alps? Let’s not mention any of this to the Victoria Tourism Board, which touts motorcycle tours as one of the many great things you can do in Victoria.

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