Feb. 12, 2015 [SpeedMob Hideout – Richmond, CA]Arrow Exhaust proudly announces the release of 15 new exhaust fitments for the 2016 Kawasaki ZX10R. The new ZX10R is Kawasaki’s closest interpretation yet of their World Superbike Championship racing machine. Thanks to extensive race development, the 2016 ZX10 features a long list of technical improvements derived directly from the WSBK team.
Raffaele Rossi from the Arrow Technical department states: “This bike really is race ready and we developed these systems with that in mind. Our R&D department worked hard on developing a wide selection of products for this bike and the results are 11 different exhausts (slip-on & half race systems) and 4 full competition race kits. All slip-on silencers can be installed behind the catalyzer or installed on original headers for track-days or racing by utilizing our racing cat delete pipe.”Rossi continues, “Dyno test results were impressive: the stock power to the rear wheel is around 185hp. With just a slip-on this increases to about 186hp. Once we added the cat delete link pipe with the slip-on silencers (half race system) this number increased to 192hp. With the Arrow half systems, and especially with the Arrow Full Competition systems, there’s an improvement in acceleration and also in torque at both the low end and mid-range of the curve.”
These new exhaust systems for the 2016 Kawasaki ZX10R are now available to order from Arrow’s US Distributor, SpeedMob, or through SpeedMob’s national network of dealers.
Full Competition Systems
Half Competition Systems & Slip-on Systems
SpeedMob offers premium power and protection products for the Powersports, Automotive and Bicycle Industries. For more information or to place an order, contact SpeedMob at (510) 232-4040, online at www.speedmob.com, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Five years ago this month MO reported that Bombardier Recreational Products had filed a patent as far back as 2009 for a control system that’d allow the Can-Am Spyder to lean. Later that same year it came to light that Harley-Davidson had been developing a similar tilting three-wheeler (the Penster) for years before scrapping the project and moving in a more traditional-trike direction with the Tri-Glide and recently introduced Freewheeler. Well, guess what? The leaning reverse trike charge isn’t being led or financed by BRP or H-D and their incredibly deep pockets. At the vanguard of the full-size tilting trike revolution is a lone engineer in a garage somewhere in Snohomish, WA.
Yes, Honda displayed the leaning, reverse-trike Neowing at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, but it’s only a prototype. And, yes, Piaggio’s MP3 has been available since 2006, and Yamaha’s Tricity was released last year in Europe (a model for which Yamaha is being sued by Piaggio for copyright infringement), but these are scooters. The Tilting Motor Works Trio is constructed for full-size Harleys: Road King, Road Glide, Street Glide, Electra Glide, Softails, Dynas, Sportsters, V-Rods, and Hondas: Gold Wing, Valkyrie, F6B.
The TMW Trio is the brainchild of Bob Mighell. An engineer and motorcyclist, Mighell put metal to grinder a handful of years ago and transformed an inexpensive Honda Rebel into a prototype leaning tricycle. In 2012, Mighell took to the salt of Bonneville with a slightly more powerful version of his original test mule. The 1197cc V-Max V-4 propelled Mighell to 132.245 mph, breaking the land speed record for three-wheeled motorcycles by more than 10 mph. Perfecting his design since Mighell is now busy enlisting dealerships to install and service his unique reverse-trike kit.
The Trio conversion costs $9,995 plus installation – the cost of which is model-dependent, i.e., Softail vs. Gold Wing, etc. The Trio’s cosmetic grill is from the mind of celebrated motorcycle designer, Glynn Kerr. Both the nose and fenders are perfectly color-matched to the original H-D paint.
“I find it amazing that an individual’s creative mind can come up with such a functional setup where the major manufacturers haven’t,” says editor Evans Brasfield. “The Trio delivers motorcycle-like handling on a full-sized converted motorcycle.”
Like the Piaggio MP3 we brought along, the most important aspect of the Trio’s design is its ability to lean. In fact, the Trio is perfectly comfortable scraping its floorboards while rounding corners. The Trio’s handling is familiarly motorcycle-ish, but two wheels up front, tracking independently of one another, provides foreign feedback through the handlebars.“Although the Trio is doing all the right things when you countersteer, the way the handlebar turns into the corner is initially disconcerting, giving an experienced motorcyclist contradictory sensations,” says Brasfield.
The MP3’s front end is comprised of two leading link fork legs that instead of sharing a common wheel between them, are each outfitted with its own wheel. The two wheels steer in concert, but suspension duties are independent of one another. The black fan-looking thing near the steering head is the tilt-lock mechanism that keeps the MP3 from falling over when stopped: basically, a partial brake disc gripped by a caliper.
“Although the Trio is doing all the right things when you countersteer, the way the handlebar turns into the corner is initially disconcerting, giving an experienced motorcyclist contradictory sensations,” says Brasfield.
EiC, Kevin Duke elaborates, “While the titling MP3 responds almost exactly like a heavy scooter, the Trio feels like a cross between a motorcycle and an ATV. It reacts to a firm shove on the inside bar, countersteering like a heavy motorcycle, but the handlebar then turns into the curve like a quad. It’s an odd sensation that feels less strange the longer it’s ridden.”
Of the three, the MP3’s handling is most similar to that of a two-wheeler. “From the moment I lifted my feet off the ground, the MP3 felt like a motorcycle, not a reverse trike,” says Brasfield. “The steering, while maybe a bit heavy for a scooter, was responsive and predictable. The chassis responded like a motorcycle to steering and cornering forces.”
The non-leaning Spyder feels the most foreign. “The Spyder feels what I imagine a snowmobile fitted with wheels and tires would feel like, with an aggressive rider flopping his body to the inside of corners to optimize weight distribution,” says Duke.
Preceding our ride day, SoCal was hammered by El Nino rains, resulting in gravel-strewn apexes of seemingly every blind corner. If testing two-wheelers was the task at hand, trepidation, and slower speeds would have prevailed, but with two points of contact up front on the Trio, MP3, and Can-Am Spyder F3-T, we flouted these pitfalls with a smirk and fistful of throttle. When braking was in order, the extra grip and stopping power felt like wire walking with a safety net, where a motorcycle is always a front-end slide away from disaster.
What the Can-Am Spyder lacks in tilt-ability it makes up for with engine performance, rider and passenger comfort, and technical accouterments. The Spyder also doesn’t require a tilt-lock device.
The Spyder’s brakes are especially robust. With only a foot pedal activating both front and rear binders, and ABS operating in the background, a rider can haul speeds down from scary fast to a reasonable pace in an easily manageable manner. Producing a claimed 115 horsepower and 96 lb-ft of torque from its 1330cc inline-Triple, the Spyder definitely requires this kind of stopping power. The MP3 is also equipped with ABS, but its 500cc Single doesn’t accelerate you through time and space with the same urgency of the Spyder.
Our Trio was configured to a Harley-Davidson Softail with more power than the MP3 but not nearly as much as the Spyder. For those desiring a more ebullient experience, customers can choose to mount the TMW front end to a Honda Gold Wing, Valkyrie or F6B with Honda’s 1832cc horizontally opposed six-cylinder producing around 103 hp and 109 lb-ft of torque (we requested that Bob bring one of these models to our next test session).
The beauty of Mighell’s design lies not only in the Trio’s ability to lean but also in separating the duties of steering from suspending. Lock-to-lock steering inputs are nearly frictionless, but mechanical stiction can be felt when leaning the Trio from side to side. The quality of the parts and mechanics is top-notch. Note the rim-mounted brake discs.
“The Harley Trio we tested preferred a cruiser-sedate riding pace on a winding road,” explains Brasfield. “Try to enter a corner too quickly, and you’ll hear the front tires protest, but that is largely a factor of us putting the machinery through our extra-aggressive testing regimen.The typical cruiser/Trio rider should find the performance limits more than adequate.”
Adjustable front shocks would certainly go a long way in helping to up the Trio’s sporting prowess. Mighell says fully-adjustable suspension will likely be an optional upgrade. For now, the Trios will come outfitted with purpose-built, non-adjustable Progressive shocks. Front-end feedback is best on the MP3, due to its more narrowly spaced wheels and more conventional suspension.
The 2016 MP3 is the first MP3 to come stateside since 2010. Recent updates to the model include traction control, larger front wheels (from 13 to 14 inches), wider positioning between the front wheels, restyled front end, larger storage compartment with a USB port and a larger windscreen. It retails for $8,999.
At around 600 pounds fueled the MP3 certainly cannot be considered light – especially for a scooter – but it’s easily the lightest of this bunch. Harley claims around 755 pounds for a running Heritage Softail, then add another 100 pounds which is what Mighell tells us is the approximate weight increase of the Trio kit. The Spyder F3-T is the heavyweight of the bunch tipping the scales right around 1,000 pounds.
It may not lean, but the Can-Am Spyder oozes electronic tech in the form of ABS, TC, cruise control, optional semi-automatic transmission, and optional heated grips. The Spyder also offers voluminous storage capacity and very comfortable passenger accommodations. Base model F3-Ts start at $23k, the Limited Special Series we tested runs a tad over $27k.
“The F3-T is my favorite Spyder yet,” says Duke. “I think it looks sharp, and I can appreciate how it could be an attractive alternative for a touring machine for the right rider. The seat treats butts gently, storage is plentiful, it’s easy for almost anyone to ride, and it’s all but impossible to tip over. The absence of a clutch lever and foot shifter requires some acclimatization, but it all works pretty seamlessly once a rider learns the proper procedures.”
One of the most limiting factors of the Trio is its inability to make a sharp U-turn. The forthcoming TiltLock system won’t solve the issue, but it will ratchet down the intimidation factor of U-turns and other slow, parking-lot-type maneuvers.
“You can tell this isn’t a vehicle produced by a major OEM by its odd steering responses and ship-length turning radius,” says Duke. The Spyder also requires a wide berth when making U-turns, but then it also has reverse, which can be a real lifesaver in tight situations.
TMW’s TiltLock system supports the vehicle at low speeds and when stopped, automatically leveling the motorcycle with the horizon even when the two front wheels aren’t parallel. The TiltLock system is currently under development but should be ready for public consumption later this year. The system adds $3,000 to the cost of the Trio kit, and will be retrofittable to existing models.
From a nimble, affordable scooter, to a leaning Harley-Davidson and non-leaning Spyder, these three reverse trikes represent the diversity of available tricycles. Others exist such as the Polaris Slingshot, Campagna T-Rex, Morgan 3 Wheeler, to traditional trikes like the H-D Freewheeler, or sidecar rigs like Ural’s Gear-Up. While each offers its own version three-wheeled motorcycling, we hope the to see more leaning versions such as the Trio and MP3. If Yamaha and Honda have anything to say about it, we should be enjoying some new leaning toys in the near future, and that’s exciting!
MotoAmerica partners and AGV/Dainese execs met at AGV/Dainese US headquarters yesterday to shake hands on a deal that brings AGV/Dainese to the MotoAmerica race series as official safety partners and brand promoters. From left: MotoAmerica partners Terry Karges and Wayne Rainey, AGV/Dainese executive VP Roberto Sadowsky, and MotoAmerica partners Chuck Aksland and Richard Varner.
Press Release:MotoAmerica has announced that it has signed an agreement with Dainese and AGV that will see the premium motorcycle apparel brands serving as Official Safety Partners and Supporting Partners of the 2016 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Race Series. As a component of the agreement, Dainese and AGV will serve as members of a newly formed Safety Council with the objective of maximizing the safety of motorcycle racers both on and off track.
In addition to placing trackside branding at every round and participating with MotoAmerica in an advertising campaign, Dainese and AGV will have pop-up stores at a number of MotoAmerica rounds, including Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas (April 8-10); Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (June 3-5); Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama (June 10-12); and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California (July 8-10).Dainese and AGV are also expanding their sports marketing program with MotoAmerica and plan to have a rider-support representative on hand at all rounds to handle the apparel needs of sponsored racers.
Dainese and AGV are also expanding their sports marketing program with MotoAmerica and plan to have a rider-support representative on hand at all rounds to handle the apparel needs of sponsored racers.”It’s good to see Dainese and AGV supporting MotoAmerica again this year,” said MotoAmerica President and three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey. “Making our sport as safe as it can be is vital to all of us and having Dainese and AGV on board with us as a safety partner shows their commitment to both our riders and our series.”
“It’s good to see Dainese and AGV supporting MotoAmerica again this year,” said MotoAmerica President and three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey. “Making our sport as safe as it can be is vital to all of us and having Dainese and AGV on board with us as a safety partner shows their commitment to both our riders and our series.””Dainese and AGV partnered with MotoAmerica in their first year, and I’m very pleased to expand our relationship for 2016,” said Roberto Sadowsky, Executive Vice President for Dainese and AGV in North America. “We fully support their commitment to growing road racing from the grassroots up, and we see the series as an effective vehicle for continuing to grow our brands in North America.”
“Dainese and AGV partnered with MotoAmerica in their first year, and I’m very pleased to expand our relationship for 2016,” said Roberto Sadowsky, Executive Vice President for Dainese and AGV in North America. “We fully support their commitment to growing road racing from the grassroots up, and we see the series as an effective vehicle for continuing to grow our brands in North America.”
There are countless dangers when negotiating your way through traffic on a motorcycle, and the perils have only multiplied with the hazards of distracted driving. And when you’re on a motorcycle, there’s no such thing as a minor fender-bender type of accident. You’re the only one you can rely on to traveling safely. Here are five tips you should always keep in mind when riding through traffic.
Human eyes are attracted to movement, and knowing this fact can expand your strategies for being seen. If you see a car potentially waiting to make a turn in front of you, give your handlebars a push and pull to make your bike lean back and forth, which makes your headlight move to attract lazy eyeballs.
Cover Your Brakes
Time is rarely more precious than when your motorcycle is intersecting with an inflexible object like a car. Quickly bleeding off speed can be the difference between a hair-raising near-miss and a trip to the hospital. Covering your bike’s front-brake lever will save critical moments versus the procedure of loosening your fingers’ grip on the throttle and then reaching for the lever.
Wearing a black helmet and black jacket on a black or gray motorcycle is a good way to get overlooked in a sea of multicolored traffic, and that’s especially so at night. Better to choose brighter colors, at least for your helmet. You do wear a helmet, don’t you…?
Watch Your Six
A texting teen or a distracted dad can rudely and violently interrupt your daydreaming while sitting at a red light. Getting rear-ended at a stop light is unusual, but it’s happened to many thousands of motorcyclists. Do yourself a favor and keep an eye on your mirrors for cars that are too-rapidly approaching from behind, at least until one car has safely come to rest as a buffer to the next car that approaches.
They’re All Out To Kill You!
This is one of the best pieces of advice to dealing with traffic, as it simplifies the equation so that it’s clear your safety is almost entirely up to you. Expecting other drivers to reliably do the right thing is a recipe for disappointment and doctor visits.
Nothing says throwback, retro-cool like denim. Think ’70s jean jackets. Rev’It!’s new Denim collection is the modern, motorcycle-specific equivalent of the quintessential jean jacket – perfect for wearing when aboard a Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 or Triumph Steet Twin. There are three models to choose from. Read about them below, then click over to the Rev’It! website to find out your nearest Rev’It! dealer.
The Tracer is a motorcycle-ready overshirt with a Cordura denim outer shell, and REV’IT! proprietary PWR | shield panels at the critical impact zones. The new, ultra-thin SEESMART™ CE-rated limb protectors – an award-winning REV’IT! innovation – are nearly undetectable, both to the wearer and observer, and the shirt can be upgraded with a SEESOFT™ CE-level 2 back protector insert. The Tracer closes with a robust, full-length zipper hidden behind a row of buttons, and includes a short connection zipper in the back for use with the Safeway belt. Available in dark blue, MSRP $219.99.
The Stealth is a breathable, waterproof hoodie styled after classic garage looks. A Polycotton stretch denim 3L material is laminated to a Hydratex® membrane for waterproofing and minimal water pickup. Impact points are reinforced with PWR | shield material and SEESMART™ protectors, and the jacket is prepared for a SEESOFT™ CE-level 2 back protector insert. The hood can be fixed to the garment with an anchoring button, and a short attachement zipper allows for connection to the Safeway belt. Availble in black and dark blue, MSRP $339.99.
The Intercept jacket is takes the look of a traditional baseball jacket and tranforms it into an abrasion resistant riding jacket. The jacket keeps its slim lines, thanks to the inclusion of CE-rated SEESMART™ limb protectors, and it can be upgraded with the CE-level 2 rated SEESOFT™ back protector insert. The mechanical stretch material in the outer shell keeps things comfortable, and subtle lamination strips keep the rider visible. A short connection zipper allows attachment to the Safeway belt. Available in dark blue, MRSP $259.99.
Wow, World Superbike kicks off in just two weeks, Round 1 in Phillip Island, Australia Feb. 26-28.
Irvine, Ca (February 11, 2016) – The FIM Superbike World Championship Kawasaki Racing Team has been abuzz this off-season with championship cheer and the unrelenting pursuit of speed. The first glimpse of their efforts was revealed today in Barcelona as the team unveiled their 2016 Ninja® ZX™-10R. Team Manager Guim Roda played host to the world as the unveiling was broadcast live via the web and Kawasaki’s social media channels. You can find a replay of the event here; http://kawasakiracingteamworldsbk.com
Jonathan Rea, the 2015 world champion, stated: “Of course I feel the pressure because we made an incredible season last year. I went away after the final round, I had some weeks at home, and then there was the birth of our new baby boy. That gave me some weeks to relax. I needed to find some more deep, extra, motivation to come back and not aim for top three again but defend my position as world champion. I started my pre-season preparations earlier than in 2014 or 2015 and I am already in good shape. We have our hands on a new ZX-10R, which I am really excited about. The best way to approach our season is the same step-by-step way as we did in 2015. I am excited to start the season and we do not have to wait too long. I am excited to start, excited to race and to try and defend my championship with the best support in the world.”
Tom Sykes, the 2013 world champion, stated: “I am very excited and motivated. Last year was a setback for me and the guys around me. Having said that, I am very blessed because I have certainly got the best people around me. Come rain or shine, and even on the difficult days, the guys patted me on the back. They know I give 100%. Likewise they always give their best. If you had a difficult season and still finished third in the championship it is also not so bad. Kawasaki has given me another fantastic tool; the new 2016 Ninja ZX-10R is absolutely fantastic. It is a bike I am very familiar with. It is a bike that feels almost replicated from our 2012, 2013 and 2014 development. The first laps were very exciting and from there on it just got better. Things have come easier for me and the lap times are already impressive and there is still work to be done. I definitely feel that with big help from the people around me, Kawasaki and all our technical sponsors we have the best chance and best package on the grid. Given the form we have had in recent testing this pre-season I cannot wait for it to begin.”
Our Hollywood correspondent was behind the scenes of the new Ghostbusters 3 movie and sent us this image of the ECTO II motorcycle Bill Murray will be riding during a cameo appearance in the movie franchise reboot. Like the ECTO I from the original movie, as well as the forthcoming remake with an all-female cast, the ECTO II is a stylish vintage machine outfitted with proper ghostbusting munitions including forward-facing lasers, and a rear-mounted Proton Pack. The bike looks to be in good, original condition. Can anyone guess what model it is?
After viewing the Ghostbusters 3 movie trailer, we’d rather be seen riding the ECTO II in public every day for a year than watch this movie.
Kawasaki’s slightly delayed response to the GSX-R was the ZX-7, which arrived in the USA in 1991, followed shortly after by the rarer and cooler ZX-7R homologation special. One of the first (maybe THE first) bike with a pressurized airbox, we had a lot of fun cracking wise about its vacuum cleaner intake hoses. Its stiff rear shock was no joke, though, and neither was the rest of the bike, with its close-ratio six-speed, flat-slide carburetors, aluminum gas tank and other racy components. $10K may or may not be a bargain depending on the depth of one’s pockets, but this appears to be a swell, clean California one!
If you’ve got a hankering for a BMW roadster, but the stock S1000R is just a little too mundane for you. Perhaps you should take a look at the trick limited edition Purebreed Cycles “The Brooklyn Project” S1000R. President and main builder for Purebred, Guillaume Brochu, is currently taking orders for 40 custom S1000Rs that he claims put out 175 hp at the rear wheel (a 15-hp gain). Additionally, the bike weighs in at a svelte 380 lb. ready for the road. (In our 2014 Ultimate Streetfighter Finale, we measure the S1000R at 450 lb.) For those who are unfamiliar with Brouchu, he is currently featured on a 10-episode French language TV series airing on Historia (the History Channel) in Quebec, Canada.
This remarkably low weight was achieved by replacing the tank, the seat frame, the fenders, and the wheels with carbon fiber items. An efficient and light racing radiator and oil cooler were added along with an Arrow titanium full exhaust system. No item, from the headlight and speedometer brackets to the custom dash and tachometer, that could be replaced with a lighter item was left untouched. A light lithium-ion battery replaced the lead-acid stocker. The OE levers were replaced with folding race units, and the pegs are mounted to adjustable rearsets.
What you get when the BMW S1000R is put on a diet and a workout program.
While the LED signals located in the handlebar may not make the Brooklyn Project much lighter, they definitely clean up the front end’s appearance. The 7-in. LED headlight, featuring an aluminum bezel, adds to the BMW’s purposeful look – as does the LED taillight built in to the abbreviated rear section.
The fit and finish was also gone over with an eye towards detail. The top triple-clamp features custom engraving and a stainless steel signature plate along with integrated clip-ons. The paint scheme includes custom graphics and paint by Simon Galarneau. The seat exudes a similar level of quality thanks to the premium leather that covers the sculpted tri-density foam. Custom CNC-machined aluminum bits add to the high profile of the bike.
The attention to detail is top notch.
But the Brooklyn Project isn’t just about dressing up the S1000R. The performance gains come from the aforementioned cooling and exhaust modifications coupled with reprogrammed fuel injection utilizing Purebreed-specified mapping. The 530 racing chain lessens the rotating mass and adds to the purposeful look with its gold color.
“We believe that The Brooklyn Project offers riders the best of both worlds,” says Brochu, “Owners benefit from the advanced performance technology and reliable modern engineering of the S1000R, which is far and away the best motorcycle on the road, but we also saw its potential as the basis of the ultimate café racer by incorporating classic café racer styling elements.”
The unique triple clamp features a stainless steel signature plate.
All this high-end goodness is available in the slick package that retails for $39,500 USA, with deliveries beginning in April. For more information or to order, visit the Purebreed Cycles website.
Team Suzuki Press Office – February 11. Team Suzuki World MXGP General Manager Stefan Everts talks about taking over Suzuki’s factory GP squad, winter training and pre-season races before the MXGP World Championship gate drops at Qatar on February 27th. He says moving back to Suzuki, where he won the first of his 10 world […]... Click Here for Article
San Diego has been a championship staple for Monster Energy Supercross since 1980, hosting 33 races over the last 36 years. The Military Appreciation Race is exclusive to San Diego and was created out of respect for the strong military community throughout San Diego County. It has grown to be one of the sport’s most […]... Click Here for Article
Now you’re in a pickle! You thought that with just a little more effort the bolt would turn. It did – only the head twisted off in the process. Perhaps, instead, the corners of the bolt are rounded beyond recognition. Or maybe you just stripped the phillips out of the phillips head screw. Regardless, the fastener is damaged beyond repair. What do you do now?
Home mechanics have a long history with breaking bolts or stripping heads or having a fastener simply refuse to budge. Although the pros may mock the less experienced, amateur wrenches, here’s a little secret: They mangle fasteners, too. What sets them apart is that they know how to get themselves out of the hole they’re in (mostly) without digging it any deeper.
We’ve often admired the resolve motorcycle riders who live in frigid areas have when it comes to sneaking in a ride, even when the conditions are terrible. Evan Hoge, a product developer for Klim, is one of those people. He doesn’t let the conditions stop him, and as Klim is one of the top producers of technical riding gear for off-road motorcyclists and snow-sport enthusiasts, he figured he’d combine the two disciplines with this, a CR500 aluminum frame Timbersled snowbike.
Hoge started by taking the aluminum frame from a 2003 Honda CR125R, then yanked the two-stroke beast of an engine from a 1997 CR500R, and married the two. The engine is massaged all over with carb work and a custom pipe, and has all new seals and bearings. A Rekluse Torqdrive kit is a big upgrade over the old and tired stock clutch system and is meant for high-horsepower applications. The pièce de résistance, of course, is the Timbersled conversion wherein a ski replaces the front wheel and a track system goes out back. The result is this mean snow machine, which Hoge isn’t afraid to toss around. Check him out in the video above.
Husqvarna has two street legal models for the U.S. market this year, both featuring a potent, large displacement single-cylinder engine. The 701 Supermoto and 701 Enduro are completely new, and on paper look like they could be a single-cylinder enthusiast’s wet dream. Let’s start with the engine common to each model. The 690 cc thumper […]... Click Here for Article
You’d think, with the amount of time and effort BMW put into this car, if BMW put the same time, effort, and money into a MotoGP team they could actually be competitive! Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, but the car is cool all the same. Check out BMW’s press release below to learn more.
Millions of motorsport enthusiasts around the world are looking forward to the start of the 2016 MotoGP season. The best riders in the world and breath-taking race action – MotoGP is undoubtedly the pinnacle of motorcycle racing.
We are proud to have been a part of this captivating world championship for almost two decades. Since 1999 we have been a partner of MotoGP organiser Dorna Sports, and 2016 marks the 18th season of BMW M as “Official Car of MotoGP”. We are pleased with the deep trust that Dorna Sports has placed in us. BMW M Division uses technology taken from motorsport, together with innovative ideas, to ensure that race events run safely. In us, Dorna Sports knows that it has a strong partner on its side, for whom the safety of the riders on their high-performance racing prototypes has the utmost priority.
We dedicate all of our know-how to this role. The BMW M MotoGP Safety Cars are innovative high-performance models with thoroughbred racing genes. In the 2016 season, we are presenting another genuine highlight. The new BMW M2 Coupe? enjoyed its much-anticipated world debut in Detroit in January. In the BMW M2 MotoGP Safety Car, we are now taking the pure power and dynamics of this high-performance automobile to the racetrack. Like its predecessors, the BMW M2 MotoGP Safety Car uses technological innovation, performance, precision and agility to help guarantee safety.
The BMW M2 follows on from the concept and success story of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe?. It represents the entry-level model in the BMW M range. The new BMW M2 Coupe? will make BMW M accessible to new and younger target groups.
Dynamics, agility, precision – these are the stand-out attributes of our entire range of models and products, and have made M the “most powerful letter in the world”. MotoGP offers us the opportunity to present the strengths of BMW M to an international public of racing enthusiasts around the world.
We use this platform with an extensive involvement, which goes way beyond simply providing the latest BMW M models for the official fleet of MotoGP vehicles. Since 2003, the BMW M Award has been a highlight of every MotoGP season and is a coveted award among the best motorcycle racers in the world. Our many other activities include the BMW M MotoGP Experience, with which we are able to offer our visitors a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, and to convey the fascination of MotoGP at first hand.
In Episode 63 of Deep Thinking, racers Michael Gougis and Ed Sorbo read the tea leaves left behind by the first 2016 MotoGP test. A discussion ensues about how cool it is to be Casey Stoner right now. Cal Crutchlow favorably compares the Yamaha M1 to a video game. And Sorbo and Gougis agree that if you’re in real trouble and need someone to do some talking for you, Lin Jarvis is the guy you want on the job.
Join defending World Superbike champion, Jonathan Rea and 2013 WSBK champ, Tom Sykes as they unveil the all-new WorldSBK-spec Ninja ZX-10R. The ZX-10R is a whole new model for 2016, and the anticipation of seeing its technical specification and new livery couldn’t be greater. The Barcelona presentation is closed to the public, so consider this a personal invite to an exclusive event.
“It is great that the team organise such an event to officially launch the 2016 racing program,” says reigning champion Rea. “I was involved in a pre-event photo shoot last week, after the MotorLand Aragon test sessions. The new bike looks great and it is quite different to last year. I think everybody will be really impressed with it. The launch is well organised and it shows that it is done by a factory team. I believe there will be Dorna representatives, TV representatives plus other media there on the night, which is really cool.”
“I am really looking forward to the launch now, and it is always a great event,” added Sykes. “Doing it in Barcelona is a good way to go about it. We have had some fantastic form in winter testing on the new bike. We have shown great speed and it has come without pushing, so I am happy. It is fitting to do the launch at this point, as we are ready for the start of the season now. Everything is in place so I am really excited and motivated.”
It seems like Victory is taking a page out of Kawasaki’s book and releasing short clips on Youtube hyping up its next machine, the Octane, similar to what Team Green did with the H2 and H2R. Here, Alex Opperman, who is part of Victory’s Racing Development team, shares his thoughts on the new Octane. As a side note, MO has had the pleasure of working with Opperman when he was employed by that other American cruiser company in Milwaukee and came away impressed with his knowledge and know-how. Anyway, see below for the 15-second promo video.
The American Motorcyclist Association will greet current and future members at 2016’s most iconic motorcycling events, including Daytona Bike Week, Americade, Laconia, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days and Sturgis.
AMA Club 1924, named in honor of the AMA’s founding year, is the association’s presence at these events, celebrating the fun of motorcycling, connecting with riders and looking back on the history of motorcycling in America.
“The AMA includes people who just love to ride motorcycles, and that love of riding and community is why the AMA was created,” said AMA Chief Operations Officer Jeff Massey. “Our AMA Club 1924 locations are the latest opportunity for the AMA to connect to its members and future members and to showcase the great heritage of motorcycling in America.”
Throughout 2016, the AMA will be collaborating with partners to enhance members’ experience at AMA Club 1924 locations.
RoadRUNNER magazine, which offers AMA members an exclusive subscription discount on its touring magazine, has created motorcycle travel maps for the rallies on the AMA Club 1924 calendar.
The maps, created by RoadRUNNER’s RoadMAPS subsidiary, feature the best roads in the rallies’ state. The maps are large, water-resistant and tear-proof. They include six self-guided routes, each with information on local history, nearby points of interest and lunch stop suggestions.
The AMA will distribute the maps for free to visitors of AMA Club 1924 at each rally. The maps also will be for sale in the RoadMAPS online shop following each event.
The AMA Club 1924 schedule includes:
Daytona Bike Week, Daytona Beach, Fla., March 4-13
Rolling Thunder in Washington, D.C., May 27-30
Americade in Lake George, N.Y., June 7-11
Laconia Motorcycle Week, Laconia, N.H., June 11-19
Thunder in the Valley in Johnstown, Pa., June 23-26
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days in Lexington, Ohio, July 8-10
The Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, S.D., Aug. 8-14
Ray Price Bike Fest in Raleigh, N.C., Sept. 23-25
The Florida RoadMAPS to be distributed at the AMA Club 1924 location are sponsored by Ohio’s Windy 9, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tires, Rally Time Trailers, Blue Rim Tours and Americade.
Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha will continue in the MotoAmerica Supersport class with 2015 class champion JD Beach and third-place finisher Garrett Gerloff. See below for the official press release.
Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., is proud to announce that its Yamaha Extended Service (Y.E.S.)/Graves/Yamaha road racing team will be competing in the Supersport class of the 2016 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship. The announcement was made by Keith McCarty, Motorsports Racing Division Manager for Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.
The team’s riders for 2016 include defending MotoAmerica Supersport Champion JD Beach and last year’s third-place MotoAmerica Supersport Championship finisher Garrett Gerloff. JD will pilot the #1 Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6, and Garrett will be aboard the identically prepared #31 R6.
“We’re proud to continue our long-standing relationship with Yamaha Extended Service and Graves Motorsports as title sponsors and vital partners with our team,” commented Keith McCarty. “The Yamaha R6 is the dominant bike in MotoAmerica Supersport racing, and we’re also proud that JD won 8 races, reached the podium 13 times, and earned 3 poles on his way to winning the Championship, while his teammate Garrett notched 2 wins, 10 podiums, and 2 poles to finish a strong third in the Supersport final standings. Both riders are extra-motivated this season, with JD aiming to repeat as Champion, and Garrett will undoubtedly be one of the strongest contenders for the crown.”
Reigning MotoAmerica Supersport Champion JD said, “I’m really looking forward to getting the season started in Austin this April, which is where I got my very first MotoAmerica win. I’ll be running the big target on my bike…I mean, the number 1. We’ve worked hard to get it, and we plan to run it proudly. The team and I have been putting in 195% since the checkered flag waved at New Jersey Motorsports Park to conclude the 2015 season, and we can’t wait to give it our best and keep that number 1 on our R6.”
Garrett commented, “Every year, I learn more and more about what it takes to win, and last year was no different. I changed up my program this off-season, and I’ve been working as hard as I can in some other areas of training that I’ve left off in the past. I’m confident that it will pay off in 2016. I can’t wait to get on my R6 at the first round at COTA (my home track) and ride the way I know how.”
Recently, MO was given the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at KTM and look inside the walls of its hallowed R&D department. Riding a wave of recent success with its strong sales and rapidly growing portfolio in the past decade, KTM felt the time was right to celebrate a little and give its fans a glimpse into what makes a KTM a KTM. While in Austria touring the KTM factory, we also got a chance to visit with Gerald Kiska and tour his studio. While there, we also got a sneak peek into its inner workings, and how a KTM (or Husqvarna) goes from computer sketch to production motorcycle.
KTM’s success is that much sweeter considering the company was on the brink of extinction in the early 1990s. That is, until Stefan Pierer came in and scooped up KTM. However, a new lease on life is one thing; bringing KTM to a point of prominence from nearly ashes is another.
That’s where Gerald Kiska comes in. A designer working to get his name established after founding his eponymous design studio in 1990, he was lucky enough to establish a relationship with Pierer after submitting the winning entry for a design contest. That was 23 years ago, and Kiska has played a role in designing every KTM since.
That’s not all, though. Kiska also set into motion the repositioning of the KTM brand, first by creating the KTM logo we now recognize in 1994. Today everyone knows KTM by its distinct shade of orange, but it was Kiska, also in 1994, that married the two, joking that “All the other colors were already taken by the rest of the manufacturers.”
The bright, in-your-face color suited the direction the brand was headed, as the following year, 1995, KTM adopted its “Ready To Race” slogan it still lives by today. Internally, Kiska helped KTM develop its four brand values – Purity, Performance, Adventure, and Extreme – and the marketing strategy that has led to KTM being relevant again. Today, KTM owns a 24.9% stake in Kiska, and the Kiska Design Studio employs 150 people from 28 different nations.
Kiska is far more than just a design studio, and that was Gerald Kiska’s vision all along. His company takes care of the entire brand: from research and market analysis, to design development and styling, to corporate design and brand communication.
You might remember Craig Dent from the KTM story posted earlier. Kiska’s lead designer for KTM and Husqvarna, Dent’s got quite a challenge with each new design brief, but it’s clear he’s not faking his enthusiasm for the challenge.
“Every time I start on a new project,” he says “the first four things I think about are KTM’s brand values. Purity, Performance, Adventure, and Extreme.” The 1290 Super Duke R and Super Duke GT are the two models Dent considers his crowning achievements so far.
Technically speaking, Dent and his team at Kiska aren’t engineers. However, they are in such constant contact with KTM that engineering questions can quickly be answered and the subsequent design can then be incorporated into the new model. Here are design sketches for the Super Duke GT, showing mockups for the front fairing support and rear subframe design. From the onset, the design of the SD GT factored in the saddlebags, so not only did the rear of the motorcycle have to be structurally sound to support the extra weight, but it also had to look good.
The inspiration board isn’t its official name, but nonetheless, this panel is revealing in that we see what it is that influences Kiska designers. Products, materials, textures, you name it. With Husqvarna now under the KTM umbrella, Kiska has the added challenge of designing for two brands.
To the right you’ll notice the Husqvarna board with a few words that describe the brand. They are:
For contrast, here is the KTM side of the panel. There’s one last phrase, “State of the Art,” situated beneath Lightweight. As you can see, the two sides are almost opposites of each other, which presents a unique challenge when designing. But this is something Dent relishes, as it forces him and his team to constantly think outside the box.
“Having Husqvarna allowed us to define more what KTM is,” Dent said. In some ways designing for Husqvarna is even liberating, as Hubert Trunkenpolz, KTM CSO, admitted that Husqvarna will be the brand in which the company will expand into segments KTM currently isn’t occupying.
Ugly motorcycles rarely sell well, so Dent and his team set out to make the Super Duke GT look pleasing to the eye both with and without saddlebags. Before clay models are produced, drawings like the one below give the first visual representation of what the finished product will look like. Members of the KTM brand management team sit upstairs and are available to give instant approval to move forward, or to provide criticism if something’s not right.
Kiska’s Transportation and Design wing (below) usually has more vehicles sharing space on the floor, but on this day they were moved aside and placed under covers. Nonetheless, it’s in this room where all the magic happens. With KTM personnel within the same building, design is able to progress extremely quickly, and it’s here where P1, P2, and P3 prototypes are made.
Designers work on both KTM and Husqvarna, as well as Kiska’s other clients, which has them drawing up fire hydrants, riding lawnmowers, parking-lot light fixtures, and even water bottles. All in an effort not to become stagnant. In fact, Dent’s latest hire is a 24 year-old Canadian with zero motorcycling experience.
“He thinks outside the box and questions everything,” says Dent. “Usually we have to tell him why things are done a certain way, but sometimes he questions something and we have no answer. This is great.”
Once a design sketch is approved for clay modeling, a full-size model can be ready within a week. More attention to details are then given once the clay model is finished. For example, the gap between the main seat and the passenger seat seemed unsightly and unfinished. So, the team worked on reshaping that gap into something more visually pleasing on the finished production model.
Husqvarna’s 701 and 401 concepts that were seen at EICMA 2015 were born from the Kiska studio. Below you can see that, while each bike retains their KTM engines and underpinnings, none of the three would be confused for a KTM. Dent mentioned how the 701 and 401 concepts are easily adaptable templates, witnessed by the fact the 401 at the far left is the same bike as the 401 in the middle only in scrambler trim, achieved with minimal modifications (the 701 is on the right). More interesting, according to Dent, is that many of the people he’s met who are interested in the 401 have no prior history with motorcycles.
While this is obviously good for the growth of motorcycling, there’s also an underlying benefit as well. Kiska’s rebranding of Husqvarna is focused on what’s to come. To that end, Dent says, “The 401 and 701 don’t rely on the past, they are opening the door to Husqvarna’s future.”
Riders who have cut their teeth in the urban jungle don’t understand the fear that can grip a traveling rider when the fuel light comes on while deep in the American Southwest. I’ve seen stretches of road with no fuel for over 100 miles, and on the Dalton Highway in Alaska, I undertook a section of road that I knew was too much for either my Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra or the hardy Kawasaki Ninja 600 my companion was riding on the final gravel stretch to Prudhoe Bay. In most instances, a little common sense can go a long way towards making sure you aren’t stranded by simply filling your tank when it gets less than half-full while riding remote, unfamiliar roads.
The Rotopax fuel cell fits nicely behind this luggage.
Sometimes, the adventure gets the best of our self-control, sending us off half-cocked into the wilderness – or maybe we just get lost occasionally. You can, without too much trouble, carry some extra fuel with you. On the aforementioned Alaska trip, I strapped a five gallon plastic can on the passenger seat of the Ultra. When I got back to a more civilized environment, I fueled my bike and gave the can to a local bike shop. I considered the cost of the donor can to be a worthwhile insurance payment against getting stranded.
Off-road riders who routinely travel beyond their bike’s range buy fuel cans that are made to be mounted on motorcycles. Roto Pax and other manufacturers make cans in a wide range of sizes and designs mounting solutions that can be adapted to motorcycles. Still, storing that extra gas can be dangerous if not done properly.
Recently, we discovered Magic Tank a fuel substitute that eliminates much of the danger associated with storing fuel. In fact, containers of Magic Tank can be safely shipped for home delivery by shippers like UPS and FedEx. Try that with a container of gasoline and you’ll probably get a visit from feds asking difficult questions. Magic Tank packs comes in a half-gallon container that packs small enough to fit in a saddlebag. Although we didn’t need it on our Ultimate Sports-Adventure-Touring Shootout last year, we carried it along just in case.
Magic Tank will get you as far as a half-gallon of regular gas.
So, when you’re pre-planning your big tour for next year, pay attention to the distances between areas that will have gas stations. If you think you might be pushing your luck, carry a little insurance.
After the runner-up slot in Riders’ and Manufacturers’ standings, Aruba.it and Ducati are aiming for the 2016 title. Strengthening of staff to increase synergies between SBK and MotoGP. Continuity guaranteed with confirmation of factory riders Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano. Unveiling of new livery for the factory Ducati Panigale R bikes, which have several updates […]... Click Here for Article
Ever feel like you need a third hand to get everything lined up and back in place when you’re trying to replace a wheel, only to have a spacer fall out and roll directly into the path of a passing street sweeper? Here’s one thing that may not work on all bikes, but definitely works on many of them, including the last-generation ZX-6R this rear wheel belongs to. Often you can remove the oil seal (the black rubber ring), and flip the spacer so that the collar goes toward the inside. Replacing the seal on top of the collar then holds the spacer in place, i.e., “captures” it, while maintaining the same overall width. Measure to make sure that’s the case if there’s a shadow of a doubt!
What happens when you shoehorn a Ducati 1198 Panigale R engine into a Honda Grom? It burns to the ground due to a leaky fuel line, and you begin again with a new Panigale and Grom. At least that’s what Mario Kleff has reportedly done. According to TodoCircuito, the Thai engineer is quite the mad scientist when it comes to motorcycles. Another project bike of Kleff’s is a Grom powered by a turbocharged 1198 Duc. The video below is the first test ride of the Gromigale R before meltdown. By following this link to TodoCircuito, you’ll see more videos and photos of the bike itself. Enjoy!
Maybe I shouldn’t admit it, but since it became my job a couple decades ago to ride motorcycles, I no longer spend every weekend riding them too. One of the new activities I acquired in the last few years is pedalling around on a bicycle. I always did keep a beach cruiser around the house for short hops and for, ahh, cruising to the beach. When the kid absconded off to college with that fat-tired beater, I decided it was time to find out what I was missing that all the guys with the $5,000 bicycles were so excited about; your Josh Hayeses and Ben Spieses and plenty of serious professionals really love their bicycles. So I bit the bullet and bought myself a nice “hybrid” road bike, what we used to call a ten-speed when I had a Huffy, but with a flat handlebar that makes it what we’d call a standard if it were a motorcycle.
Buying a bicycle is probably more complicated than buying a motorcycle; they even come in different sizes, and the salesmen only agree that the one in stock is your size. I actually spent about $500 on my Specialized Sirrus, which I’d equate to about a CB500F Honda – just a nice-enough bike to give other bicyclists the impression I’m trying to be one of them, but I was really just after good, reliable transpo. I do not wish to wear the Spanx at this time.
It all began as a means to exercise an over-active hound and GF at the same time, with the least physical exertion.
It was good timing when I bought my bike, though, because a forced relocation now has me about a 14.5-mile pedal from the beach instead of my old 3-mile one, and fresh out of $500. Instead of meandering down residential streets, I now pedal 5 miles east to hit the Santa Ana River bike trail, which is a 12-foot wide smooth-paved strip of asphalt which runs 30-some miles from the Riverside County line to where the river dumps into the Pacific. From where I get on the trail, it’s about 9.5 miles to the ocean, and on the weekends when I typically ride, there are usually more than a few very serious bicyclists on the trail, many of them in long drafting pelotons, French for bunch of pushy jerks.
Suddenly, I’m the old guy driving slow on the freeway, not that it ever comes close to being that crowded. I always keep right on the bike trail just like I do on the freeway when I’m not passing somebody, but that doesn’t keep faster people and groups from gleefully shouting when they come up behind me, “Passing on your left!”
“Eating my shorts on your right!”, I think but have so far managed to keep to myself. Now and then I’ll be able to draft off the back for a while if it’s a good-sized group with a thick girl bringing up the rear, but not usually for very long. I attempt to look like I don’t really care by wearing tennis shoes instead of the ones that clip to the pedals, and trunks instead of real bicycle shorts. But it’s just like the old saying about motorcycles: Whenever there’s more than one, it’s a race, and it’s just like people on motorcycles at track days: You really can’t tell by looking who’s going to haul ass until the flag drops, big-boned ladies included.
I’d draft Rita Hayworth any day, you? Say, is that a boom box or is your bike just happy to see you?
Just like riding motorcycles, the fact that most of us have been pedalling bikes since about the time we could walk doesn’t stop other people from letting us know we’re doing it wrong. When I still had the beach cruiser, an older gentleman passed me fully logoed- and Spandexed-out on a Panigale-expensive-looking bicycle, and I latched onto and stuck with him for maybe half a mile. When I fell off the pace in the straw Wal-Mart cowboy hat I favored at the time, an attractive person who may have been his daughter also passed me a minute or so later with a single word I at first mistook for “casserole.” With a bike that pricey, it could’ve been his wife.
Must’ve broken some rule?
It really is a horsepower track; sadly, there aren’t any horses.
People are mostly polite, though, because unlike the motorcyclist who smokes you on the track and is gone within a few corners, on a bicycle, most people who pass you generally make a show of going past pretty quickly before settling into a pace only 1.2 mph faster than yours; it takes them awhile to get out of earshot. The Strava program I loaded onto my phone never lets me forget my average speed over the 29 miles to the ocean and back never exceeds 13.7 mph, and I think it was 13.5 when I started doing it a year ago. Oh well.
Just like the motorcycling ATGATT community, a couple of strangers have let me know I’m a jerk for not wearing a helmet; nearly everybody does wear one, including a guy I passed yesterday in an old Bell Moto 5. I exchange knowing nods with other crusty rebels coming the other direction who also choose to let their freak flag fly. I don’t have to ride in traffic at all on my beach route, and if Baby Jesus wants me to bump my head that hard at 13.5 mph and take me home after all I’ve been through, then so be it. I usually do wear gloves in case I need to break a fall, and pad my noggin with my Bjorn Borg replica headband.
In every field of human endeavor, of course, there are guys who live their lives waiting for an opportunity to yell at you. I bumped into my pal Joe Neric last weekend on the trail, and we were blocking about half of the northbound lane while we stopped to chat. We were the only ones in sight, but after about five minutes, a group of three guys rode past us, one of them yelling “GET OFF THE TRAIL YOU F********G IDIOTS!” When you put some people in uniform, even if it’s just a two-sizes too-small Spandex bicycle-riding one, the authoritarian jerk will out.
Smoking tobacco to stimulate the lungs is currently almost universally agreed upon to be a bad idea. A couple flagons of ale on the other hand…
In the winter, the Pacific’s too cold to swim in, but in the summer I like to run my own little triathlon, substituting the running portion with drinking a beer possibly before and always after the bike ride and swim. Thirty miles aren’t that many for serious bicycle people (Erik Buell told me two weeks ago he was doing 100-mile rides till a back problem sidelined him), but for me it’s more than enough good clean low-impact heavy breathing and a good way to keep in touch with the community.
Just like rural areas where people like to display their wealth in the form of junk cars in the yard, the homeless who’ve taken up residence under the bridges along the river trail always have a variety of bicycles parked outside their shelters to juxtapose the high-end carbon-fiber ones whizzing past their front (lack of) door.
Who needs a flat kit when these guys are around?
At the end of the day, the bicycle thing is great exercise for the mind and body, and I have to agree with the many motorcycle riders who think it makes them better motorcyclists too: It for sure strengthens your legs and core and improves balance, or something like that, and basically gets the positive juices flowing. Most of all it makes you want to fall to your knees weeping and thank God you’re not having to pedal when you do get on a motorcycle, now that you realize how much work it takes to go 29 miles at 13.7 mph. God bless Gottlieb Daimler!
I suppose it’s only a matter of time before I’ll need a better bike, those stupid shoes and some tight shorts with a chamois in the crotch, just so I can go 2 mph faster and yell at people who get in my way. Or not.
Wayne Rainey’s MotoAmerica series enters its second year of operation in 2016. Things get underway at COTA during the MotoGP weekend of April 8-10, with Road Atlanta the very next weekend, April 15-17. Tickets went on sale today for the Road Atlanta round. Show your support of MotoAmerica and Wayne Rainey by attending these races or the MotoAmerica race in your area. Let’s get US motorcycle road racing back to being one the premiere series in the world. Check out the press release below, then follow the link to purchase tickets to the Road Atlanta event.
Press Release from MotoAmerica: There wasn’t a single round of the MotoAmerica Series that had more impact on the outcome of the 2015 Superbike Championship than the Road Atlanta round. Held in soaking wet conditions, there were costly crashes by some of the stars of the series and the first doubleheader sweep of Cameron Beaubier’s Superbike career – two wins that at least in part propelled him to the title.
So what role will round two of the nine-round (18 races) 2016 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Race Series play? We will find out, April 15-17, when the series returns to Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, for a full complement of MotoAmerica racing.
As an added bonus, the best riders and teams from Superstock 600, Supersport, Superstock 1000 and Superbike will be joined this year by the spec-class KTM RC Cup for the first time at Road Atlanta. Last year, the KTM RC Cup, for up and coming riders aged 14-22, didn’t start until round four at Road America, but Road Atlanta will mark the opening round of the series for 2016.
“We’re really looking forward to getting back to Road Atlanta,” said MotoAmerica president and three-time World Champion Wayne Rainey. “I have a feeling the weather is going to cooperate this year to make up for last year, but even with the wet conditions last year’s races were as exciting as they get. We hope to see everyone in that part of the country make the trip to one of the best tracks in the series.”
Perhaps the best bargain for 2016 is the Cycle Corral ticket package – a three-day Super Ticket that includes paddock access, three-day reserved motorcycle parking, the opportunity to participate in the exclusive Motorcycle Parade Lap and an exclusive track walk with a team and/or rider. The cost of the Cycle Corral package is $99 and are available in advance only. They will not be available at the gate.
Other ticket options include: Military Discount; Super Tickets (one day, two day, three day), Camping, free General Motorcycle parking; and kids 12 and under are free with an accompanying ticketed adult). Tickets start at just $20.
For more information and to purchase tickets, Click Here.
The 16th Annual V-Twin Expo commenced on an uncommonly sunny February day at the Duke Energy Convention Center in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. Around 180 different exhibitors from Japan to Florence, Kentucky were doing business in the hustle and bustle of trade-show booths, demonstrations, and seminars. The future of the V-Twin motorcycle industry was being laid out and displayed in the 200,000 square feet of floor space and several annexed conference rooms.
Cincinnati seems like an odd place to be ground zero for arguably the biggest V-Twin business event in the world, but more V-Twin business happens within the 500-mile radius of Cincinnati than any other place on Earth.
Make no mistake, though, this is not Sturgis or Daytona, this is all business. The strictly enforced no-public policy means you can’t get in without a badge, and every year you can see a familiar group of bikers and fans watching from behind security trying to get a peek at what’s happening on the inside.
The show hosts many seminars to aid growth and spur the industry. I sat in on a seminar called “YouTube Video Marketing, Local SEO and Online Reviews” presented by Kent Lewis of Anvil Media. This particular seminar would set an interesting underlying theme that kept creeping into conversation throughout the duration of the expo. It emphasized the importance of social media and the internet itself as a tool for expanding business for anyone in the motorcycle industry.
Paughco “Biker” themed urns for those that want to go out in style.
Wes Perham of L-A Harley Davidson out of Lewiston Maine recounted a story of how one of his YouTube videos demonstrating engine maintenance went viral and increased his business almost 60%. Additionally, other industry folk described how not having an online presence had significantly hurt their business, and coming from an age where they were constantly on the phone, most communication with customers now happens online.
Among the exhibitors, there was definitely a new focus on the online aspect of the moto industry, but according to several attendees, nothing can beat the face-to-face value of meeting other industry leaders at the expo. In the total of my years at the expo, I’ve never witnessed firsthand so many exhibitors networking and forming collaborations. For instance, Erik Paulson of Khrome Werks was telling me about their new partnership with Lincoln Industries, a leader in high-quality finishing, to provide a much more diverse offering of product styles for 2016, including a new touring system for large displacements and a variety of options now in black chrome.
The Garage Brewed Motorcycle Show ran in conjunction with the V-Twin Expo and featured dozens of interesting customs, like this vintage-looking creation built around a 1976 Honda XL350 motor by Terry Heydt.
The mood of the show was excellent and there were good vibes abound. Skeeter Todd of Brock’s Performance was telling me his thoughts on the outlook for this year. “You know, it looks good, 2015 ended strong and, no matter what, being in this business beats the hell out of a real job,” he said with a smile. “I come here every year, and I get to be among friends and talk about motorcycles all day.” He also went on to tell me about the new variety of carbon-fiber wheels Brock’s Performance is releasing this year, Rotobox, and a sleek new bagger swingarm that is in development.
While Harley-Davidson still dominates the product focus of the V-Twin Expo, the Indian Motorcycle Company has an ever-growing footprint at the show every year since their re-emergence at the 2014 show. But the expo, of course, is not limited to a focus of those two companies.
A 1937 Harley-Davidson EL poses. next to an Indian Scout dirt-track racer at the National Motorcycle Museum booth.
Allen Cagle of Rack and Pull Industries described the show as the only place where Harley, Indian, Honda, and other brand-centric product developers can meet under one roof and collaborate and network. And for a guy like Allen whose product applies to all those manufacturers, that’s very beneficial. Allen also had one of the most innovative products I saw at the show. His Straight Shooter is the only live laser-measuring system that exists and can show precisely how a swingarm is out of alignment and display frame damage recognition. Combined with his product, The Rack, they can effectively measure and straighten a twisted motorcycle frame that would’ve otherwise been totaled.
The expo isn’t all business; there is also a bit of showmanship displayed in the many incredible custom bikes in exhibitor spaces. The bike that most caught my eye this year was at the Ken’s Factory booth. Designed and built by Ken Nagai, essentially the Arlen Ness of Japan, and with paint by Buck Wild, the bike was jaw dropping. Ken and the head of his American branch, Nelson Kanno, were more than happy to tell me about the build and their expansion into the U.S. market. Even Dave Perewitz stopped by to take a long look at the bike and talk shop with Ken and Nelson. Ken’s Factory has some of the sleekest grips, risers, bars, and lamp mods I saw at the show or anywhere else for that matter. I predict we will be seeing a lot more of Ken’s products in the U.S. market very soon.
Dave Perewitz checking out Ken Nagai’s Bike at the Ken’s Factory Booth
The expo isn’t all business; there is also a bit of showmanship displayed in the many incredible custom bikes in exhibitor spaces. The bike that most caught my eye this year was at the Ken’s Factory booth. Designed and built by Ken Nagai, essentially the Arlen Ness of Japan, and with paint by Buck Wild, the bike was jaw dropping. Ken and the head of his American branch, Nelson Kanno, were more than happy to tell me about the build and their expansion into the U.S. market. Even Dave Perewitz stopped by to take a long look at the bike and talk shop with Ken and Nelson. Ken’s Factory has some of the sleekest grips, risers, bars, and lamp mods I saw at the show or anywhere else for that matter. I predict we will be seeing a lot more of Ken’s products in the U.S. market very soon.
Vance and Hines Harley drag bike.
Once the lights go down at the show, the fun starts and the free beer and pizza comes out for the exhibitors. While there is an abundance of small after-parties and dinners where the big business happens, there is always one a little bigger and more significant than the others. This year it was an evening motorcycle show called Garage Brewed that focused on Midwest bikes and builders and was held in the Rhinegeist brewery a few blocks from the convention center. Yes, you read that correctly, a motorcycle show in a brewery. The packed show hosted by the Cincinnati Café Racer Club was free to the public and a breath of fresh air for those exhibitors looking to get their minds away from business and back to the simple love of motorcycles and beer.
Yamaha Blaster by Lance Rogers at the Garage Brewed Motorcycle Show.
My takeaway from the 2016 V-Twin Expo was definitely a positive one. I saw several more companies, designers, and builders collaborating than ever before, and beyond that, a focused push on online business. There was a great sense of banding together within the motorcycle industry, learning from each other, and a lot of perspective on where things might go. This seems like the foundation and stability the V-Twin industry has been looking for since the bubble of the TV Biker Build-Off days burst. Badass products, sleeker-than-ever bikes, and technological collaboration and advancement have 2016 looking extremely promising for the motorcycle industry.
The Triumph Tiger is the original adventure bike in its line-up, now joined by 800cc and 1200cc adventure siblings. Triumph has now unveiled the 2016 Tiger Sport, which features the latest version of the 1050cc triple first seen in the new Speed Triple. According to Triumph, this engine features more torque everywhere in the powerband, […]... Click Here for Article
The MotoGP™ World Championship is a series that has huge relevance all around the world, being one of the most-followed and exciting sports. Every event, from the winter tests to each one of the 18 races, gathers the interest of millions of fans who follow their champions at the circuits, watching on television, reading the news; or more-and-more important in recent years, via the internet. It’s a huge and continuous flow of news and images that starts at the circuit and spreads all around the globe. For this reason the management of information and news is crucial, as well as managing the promotional appearances of the riders. For this activity Team SUZUKI ECSTAR enrolled in their crew Italian Federico Tondelli, who is in charge of the management of press and communication activities.
Following the opening 2016 MotoGP™ test at Sepang, Malaysia last week, Tondelli reflects on his first year with the team and looks forward to the start of his second season with Team SUZUKI ECSTAR that kicks-off on March 20th at Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
What’s your story with Team SUZUKI ECSTAR?
“My background is in strategic communication and journalism. I’ve worked as strategic planner in digital and non-digital communication agencies and also was a contributor journalist for some Italian magazines and websites. My arrival in Team SUZUKI ECSTAR looked like something that only usually happens in movies; the first time I met Davide Brivio, the Team Manager, was in 2013 in Misano, when it was too early to talk about the marketing crew. We left with the hope of keeping in touch, but then in 2014 I took a break from the journalistic activity and we hadn’t any follow up. Then in February 2015 his call came as a coincidence, when I was completely re-planning my personal and professional life. This allowed us to draft a partnership in a very short time, meaning that in less than 15 days after the phone call, I was flying to Sepang for the second test. It has been a very quick start, it was my very first experience in a Factory MotoGP team and the activities were very demanding, but I found a very professional environment and many experienced people who made me feel “in a family” very soon.”
What do you do exactly in the Team?
“Basically we could say that I am in charge of the execution of all the communication and PR activities of the Team, reporting to Davide Brivio. This can be summarised in two main tasks; media relations and on-line activities on social networks. The last one is a continuous production of contents, mainly visual (as the videos are forbidden according to the general rule of the championship), which aims to involve the fans and followers in the Team’s life. The main objective is to explain the “behind the scenes” in order to get the team closer and closer to its supporters. We started from zero and got positive results in our first season with more than 55k fans on Facebook and more than 20k between Twitter and Instagram, with peaks of over two millions organic reach with some content; in particular all those hashtagged with #MotoGPtech which was a new initiative by us. Particularly for a factory team, MotoGP™ is a vehicle to promote the Suzuki brand itself, therefore everything to do with public relations is handled by myself; meaning the set-up of all interviews and press releases, the distribution of news to journalists and the monitoring of what the media say about us. This part of the job deals with the production of content but has a lot to do with diplomacy and you have to be not only a good writer but most of all an excellent listener.
Assuming this was your first experience, how would you rate your 2015 season?
“To me being in Team SUZUKI ECSTAR is a matter of proudness as it combines my two passions, which are communication and motorbikes. I was not completely new to the MotoGP™ paddock as I had already worked with a Moto2 team, but being in the premier class and in a Factory Team is completely another story. The feelings and emotions changed so quickly and deeply during the early months that I felt like a small boat in a thunderstorm: I still remember the complete astonishment in my first trip to Sepang as well as the sensation of overwhelming I felt when it came to racing the first round in Qatar. When you work with such famous and very experienced team-mates you know you can rely on their support, but you are also aware that you are requested to keep on their pace. Then race-after-race everything becomes easier little by little, because after you start to better understand the dynamics everything runs smoother. One of the good things with our team is that it is a very assorted crew but we all feel like a family, working for the same purpose and supporting each other. Of course the riders are two of the people I work with most of the time and I found in Aleix and Maverick two professionals; they are both ambitious and the early results put them under the spotlight pretty soon, but they are always available to all media activities and this helped me in my daily job a lot.”
What about the upcoming 2016 season?
“The 2015 season was a fresh start for us. With Davide and Hatsumi – my colleague in the marketing department – we have set-up the basic plan and activities, which was a good start but now needs to improve in 2016. Let’s say that the communication office followed the same process as the technical development; a first year to start the engines and now it’s time to step up. Last season we got a lot of attention from the fans and media, which is a good thing, but also a challenge. It was nice to see the affection to the Suzuki brand and the interest in our riders, but this also means that now they are expecting even better performances from me. Pretty much all of our activities had many strengths but also some weaknesses and while the engineers in Japan are working on the technical evolution, here in Italy we are doing the same with the marketing and communication support.”
Since every member of the MO staff has club raced at some point, we understand the importance of any kind of racer support program – particularly when it comes to consumables, like tires. Read on to see if these changes will affect you.
——Begin Press Release——
For Immediate Release
February 10, 2016
Dunlop Motorcycle Tires offers new opportunities for club racers
Buffalo, NY: For the 2016 racing season, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires has redirected its contingency program to offer club racers across the country alternative support. Dunlop polled club racers and determined that contingency wasn’t a big reason why racers choose a tire brand at the club level.
As a result, Dunlop has reallocated its contingency budget into other initiatives that will benefit riders who have used Dunlop tires in the past, and those who may want to give Dunlop race tires a try.
Details of the new 2016 Dunlop Roadrace Program are available at our exclusive distribution partner Race Tire Services (dunlopracing.com).
We know that lots of riders give lip service to wearing All-The-Gear-All-The-Time (AGATT), but we thought that it was time to check to see how the numbers really shake out. Because MOrons are smarter than your average bear, we expect them to score highly on the gear usage list. Still, we know that, while everyone on earth has a reason for existing, some people are destined to become a bad example. Don’t be one of those guys! OK?
Husqvarna’s heavenly 701 Enduro has an evil twin. Not a two-cylinder sister, mind you, and that’s probably a good thing because the potent single-cylinder powerplant and sweet-handling chassis of the 2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto are sufficient to cast a spell on you whenever you ride it. And your driver’s license may be forever cursed.
While Supermoto racing no longer enjoys the stateside popularity that it did in mid Y2K, at least one good thing has come from the aftermath of the sport’s all-too-brief big splash in America: Japanese and European manufacturers continue to sell motorcycles that are effectively off-road or dual-sport bikes with 17-inch hoops, sticky meats and supersport-grade brakes here in the good ol’ U.S.A.—and all the hooligans say, “Amen.”
The 701 Supermoto is the newest in the segment, built by a company that, for all its off-road cred, actually began as a streetbike manufacturer just after the turn of the 20th century and didn’t actually think to get down and dirty until the 1940s. Prior to that, Husqvarna’s racing efforts were dedicated to Tourist Trophy-style street circuit racing. The Supermoto celebrates that history and, at the same time, allows Husqvarna to shoot a gap left open by the fact that sister company KTM does not produce a similar model based on its 690 R Enduro.
While the 701’s KTM-derived single-cylinder engine sports an oversquare 102mm x 84.5mm bore and stroke, its 690cc displacement is large enough to deliver exhilarating performance without requiring that rider rev it to the moon.
Like the Husqvarna 701 Enduro, the 701 Supermoto’s, fuel-injected, SOHC four-valve Single is of KTM lineage. Muscle is supplied via a large, 102mm bore, and relatively short 84.5mm stroke. Its large, 690cc displacement and user-friendly state of tune favor torque and a broad, user-friendly pull over maximum horsepower at high rpm. Husqvarna says that the engine maxes out at 67 crankshaft horsepower at a rather mild 7000 rpm, with 49 lb.-ft. of peak torque occurring at 6500 rpm. That’s plenty of grunt to pull the 701 Supermoto’s roughly 340 lbs. (with its 3.4-gallon cell fully fueled) down any road with authority.
We know this because Husqvarna recently invited us on a 120-mile journey through the twisty two-lane backroads from its Temecula headquarters down to Borrego Springs, California, during one of those horribly sunny El Niño days where temperature plummets to the mid-60s Fahrenheit. Sooo terrible!
The first thing our inseam-challenged tester appreciated about the 701 Supermoto was its 35-inch seat height, which makes it easy to get both feet on the ground. Its saddle is narrow near the front, which affords the rider freedom of movement when transitioning from side to side through the twisties. The seat widens out toward the rear for better weight distribution in case there are any long jaunts between your favorite corners.
The 701 Supermoto may look tall, but it is cut down compared to the 701 Enduro, with a 35-inch seat height and a shorter fork that delivers just under 8.5 inches of suspension travel up front. She still looks fancy, though!
The first thing you notice, once underway, is just how strong and smooth the 701 Supermoto’s engine really is. Fueled by a closed-loop Keihin fuel-injection system with a 46mm throttle body that gets fed from an airbox located forward in the chassis and under a forward-mounted airbox under the seat, the 701 Supermoto’s throttle response through its ride-by-wire throttle is instantaneous without being twitchy. Husqvarna credits some of the engine’s silky feel is due to its Keihin Engine Management System (EMS), which fires two spark plugs in the cylinder with independent ignition curves for each plug. The system was designed to burn the fuel charge more thoroughly for better power and greater fuel efficiency, and it contributes to the 701’s 50-state emissions-legal status. Husqvarna says that it also helps to minimize engine vibration. There’s hardly any to speak of, although that is mostly because the 701 engine boasts a massive crank-driven counterbalancer. Its handlebar is also connected to the triple clamps via rubber mounts, further isolating the rider from any bad vibes.
Hammer the throttle on your favorite serpentine stretch, and the 701 Supermoto doesn’t leap forward like a startled animal, but rather its excellent low-end torque and broad rev range tend to slingshot the bike from corner to corner in a predictable yet very exciting manner. You can also dial up the amount of excitement via your choice of three power modes, Soft, Standard or Advanced. The mode can be changed via a small rotary dial located under the seat, a system that KTM has used for years on this engine. We say enough is enough; it’s time to make the riding mode selection adjustable via a handlebar-mounted switch or through the instrumentation for convenience sake.
A six-speed transmission offers nicely spaced ratios combined with the 701 Supermoto’s road-friendly 16/42 final gearing. The transmission does not shift as precisely as it should, but the APTC slipper clutch’s action is light and linear.
The 701 Supermoto uses the same six-speed transmission found in the 701 Enduro, and it also gets a slipper-type Adler Power Torque Clutch (APTC) that is actuated via a hydraulic master cylinder. The clutch is a real beauty, with smooth action and a light and linear feel at the lever. Of course, for Supermoto-style riding, its slipper action adds to the fun factor as you learn to bang down multiple gears at once while entering the corner and then let out the clutch. The 701 Supermoto will respond by allowing the rear wheel to skid without chattering, which allows an experienced rider to slide into a corner, flat-track style. It’s a lot of fun!
Less fun, however, is the 701 Supermoto’s inconsistent transmission action. The overall shift feel is notchy and far from Japanese quality, and we missed several shifts during our ride, particularly the 1-2 upshift and also the 5-6 upshift. We wouldn’t go so far as to call the 701’s transmission performance a weak link in the chain, but it is something that should be addressed. At least with the Supermoto’s 16/42 final gearing, you shift it a little less, and after having ridden the 701 Enduro, we were surprised how the 701 Supermoto’s abundance of low-end power and broad pull still allowed the Supermoto to accelerate briskly and top out at over 120 mph as indicated on its digital speedometer.
It’s almost too bad that the 701 Supermoto’s trellis chassis is covered by so much bodywork, because the WP-designed, hydro-formed and robotic-welded chassis is a thing of beauty. It’s rigid yet very forgiving, which makes for a sweet-handling motorcycle.
The 701 Supermoto’s chrome-moly trellis chassis makes it easy to maintain a pulse-quickening pace through your favorite canyon. With a 58.3-inch wheelbase, it’s long, and its center of gravity is relatively low. Combine this with a 27-degree steering head angle and 35mm triple clamp offset (3mm more than the 701 Enduro) up front, and you get a motorcycle that is stable as a rock in a straight line and steers precisely without being twitchy. The chassis is produced by KTM subsidiary WP and is composed of laser-cut/hydroformed and robot-welded tubes mated to Husqvarna’s unique Polyamide subframe/3.4-gallon fuel tank. The mainframe/subframe combo weighs only about 30 lbs. combined, with the 701 Supermoto’s lightweight, one-piece die-cast aluminum swingarm adding another 8.6 lbs. The whole shebang helps make the Husky feel lighter than its claimed dry weight of 319 lbs.
While the 701 Supermoto may not receive the WP 4CS fork spec’d on the 701 Enduro, its 48mm open-bath cartridge fork is more than competent for spirited road work. Mated to the front end via a beautiful, black-anodized, CNC-machined triple clamp. The spring fork’s design splits the damping circuits between its two legs, with the compression damping in the left leg and the rebound damping in the right. We didn’t need to make a single change in order to have fun on the Supermoto, which delivers 8.5 inches of smooth travel over low and high-speed road chop. Out back, a WP shock delivers 9.8 inches of travel. It, too, is fully adjustable for compression and rebound, and we had no complaints about its road performance. We can’t speak to the 701 Supermoto’s abilities in the dirt, but we’re confident that, if your route included a little bit of fireroad on it, you’d be fine.
We also have no doubt about the stopping power in the 701 Supermoto’s brakes, which are perhaps the most serious looking hardware on the 701 Supermoto. The massive, 320mm floating rotor and radially mounted Brembo four-piston caliper on the front of the machine scream “performance!” louder than any other component, and perform they do. We’re talking serious pucker power here! At the same time, we found the front brake to be a little on the grabby side, so we were glad that Husqvarna had fitted the 701 Supermoto’s Bosch 9M two-channel ABS, a Husqvarna catalog accessory dongle that allows the front ABS to remain activated while the rear ABS is deactivated. It gave us added peace of mind while rushing the corners since we knew we would be less likely to inadvertently tuck the front end. Without the accessory dongle, the ABS is either fully active, or the rider can choose to completely deactivate it.
The 701’s 320mm disc and radial-mounted Brembo four-piston front caliper combo deliver tremendous stopping power but is grabby. Fortunately, Husqvarna offers an accessory dongle that directs the Bosch two-channel ABS to deactivate the rear anti-lock feature.
Husqvarna also made a good tire choice in the Continental Attack radials fitted to the 701 Supermoto. The 17-inchers deliver consistent grip on the asphalt and telegraph when they are about to slip.
Fun is fun, but if you can only ride for 20 minutes before your back is aching and your butt is sore, how much fun is that really? Fortunately, the 701 Supermoto shares the comfortable seat and seating position of its Enduro sister. With Husqvarna engineers doing a good job of isolating the big Single’s vibration from the rider, long stints in the saddle are easy. The 701 Supermoto delivers a spacious feel with a wide and flat handlebar, well-tucked radiator shrouds and a well-shaped seat. We wished for a little more seat padding past the 100-mile mark, but overall, we still have to give the 701 Supermoto high marks for comfort.
2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto
690cc Single delivers a lot of thrills at moderate rpm
Chassis is stable yet flickable for raging ‘round the bends
Not WP’s latest and greatest suspension, but it still works well
It’s way too easy to miss shifts
320mm Brembo front brake is powerful but sensitive
Power modes should be accessible via handlebar or instrumentation
If Husqvarna would perfect the transmission for us, about the only other thing we would change on the 701 Supermoto is its front numberplate/headlight design, which offers absolutely no wind protection whatsoever. That’s no problem if you live in a warm climate, but breezy morning rides will make your choice of jacket and gloves more critical. Husqvarna already has an accessory windscreen in the works. We’d buy one.
There isn’t a lot to complain about in the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto. Its tractable engine, supre-footed handling, and comfy suspension and ergos can make scorching the backroads a lot of fun.
Alas, maybe we’re trying to be too civilized with a motorcycle that’s really meant to cater to a more edgy, mischievous, thrill-seeking crowd. The Husqvarna 701 Supermoto definitely has the performance and the looks to attract them, but its smooth yet thrilling power delivery, predictable handling and comfortable ergonomics are likely to broaden its appeal.
As evil, mean and nasty types go, the 701 Supermoto is a real angel.
2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto Specifications
690cc liquid-cooled, SOHC, four-valve, four-stroke Single
Female motorcycle riders are becoming more common, as this segment is quickly growing. This is clearly a positive sign for the industry and gender equality, but imagine being a woman living in a society where simply going outside alone is frowned upon.
For some, this isn’t a dream. Four years ago, Zenith Irfan had never ridden a motorcycle. Today, the 21 year-old student from Lahore, Pakistan, has explored the vast landscape of her home country on two wheels, shattering stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a female – let alone a female motorcycle rider – in the conservative country.
“I discovered the sheer force that existed within me,” she told us via email.
Zenith Irfan wasn’t going to let gender roles keep her from riding.
Her inspiration for even attempting the feat comes from her late father, who passed from cardiac arrest when Zenith was only 10 months old. His dream was to travel the world via motorcycle. In 2013 Zenith’s brother purchased a small motorcycle, and it was her mother who encouraged her to learn to ride, with the ultimate goal of completing her father’s dream.
Learning to ride wasn’t easy, but after a few local trips running errands around Lahore, she made the decision in June 2015 to try a six-day solo trip to the Kashmir region to the Northeast. Following a successful journey, that August she set her sights even bigger – traveling nearly 2,000 miles, north to the Khunjerab Pass on the border with China.
Along the way she experienced Pakistan’s beautiful landscapes while visiting villages which are rarely visited by outsiders. Most of them were accepting of her and her journey, though that’s not to say she was accepted everywhere she went.
Irfan at the border to China along the Khunjerab Pass.
“When it comes to security, I don’t focus too much on it,” says Irfan via email. “I believe my country is safe enough for me to travel without any harassment. I recently bought a small Harley-Davidson pocket knife and I am hoping to take it with me the next time I go on a tour.”
Typifying her positive outlook, when asked about her biggest challenge during her journeys, she doesn’t give a thought about any potential danger she might have faced from other people, instead mentioning the brake failure she experienced while traveling from Saif-Ui-Mulook to Naran Kaghan. “I had to come down with the help of a gear [using engine braking only], and it was the most scariest yet challenging experience for in me in the whole tour.”
Overcoming that challenge of a failed brake helped Irfan to realize she was capable of far more than she thought. “Before I departed for my journey,” she told us “I did not undertake any physical training for my tour. Once I was on the road, I could see my body not giving up to anything and I could see how strong my willpower was.”
Becoming an inspiration for other motorcyclists was never a goal of hers, but as she’s gaining more notoriety from her travels, she’s happy to accept the role. She’s even been invited to speak at Tedx talks. And for those looking to achieve an unconventional goal, heed Irfan’s words of advice:
“If you’re thinking how society will look at you, know that society will always be critical. They’ll call you a crazy breed. All you have to do is prove them how happy you are in your craziness.”
Ultimately, exploring Pakistan on two wheels has been the perfect medium for Zenith Irfan to connect with her late father “on a very spiritual level,” she told us.
“At times when I wanted to give up, I could feel his spirit beside me wanting to ride further into the wilderness. For me, it was the most liberating experience. I saw a new Zenith being born from my soul, a Zenith who was much more wiser and free.”
C’est Beau – It’s Beautiful– An Epic 3 minute Journey from the rich culture of Punjab to the frosty mint mountains of Khunjerab Pass.
This is C’est Beau.