They say money makes the world go round, and in this case, it also sent the movie reels rollin’. The making of the 88-minute documentary Greasy Hands Preachers, a cinematic ode to the soul-nurturing value of getting your hands dirty doing what you love, in this instance building custom motorcycles, took the talent, dedication and commitment of the film makers. Next, toss in the participation of several of the planet’s leading bike builders, $103,705 pledged via Kickstarter group funding by a ton of people from all over the world, and cap it off with some corporate coin from BMW Motorrad, Motul, and Belstaff. Bottom line, it was a global group effort with thousands of hands literally reaching into their pockets to make the production of Greasy Hand Preachers a reel-ality. Among the backers was bike fan Orlando Bloom, who is listed as one of the Executive Producers and who appears in the film obviously having a blast.
Preferred free biker parking in posh Brentwood lined up for 2pm Sunday premiere.
First impression as the film rolled was, “thank the Celluloid Gods, they shot it in real film stock, Super 16mm, in fact, not the techno-coldness of digital video.” The resulting warm, diffuse color reflects an underlying theme, the very human passion that infuses the film where guys rely on a bunch of hand tools to shape kinetic art and how it enhances their lives.
With scenes set in the U.S., including SoCal and Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, as well as Spain, France, Scotland, and Indonesia, the “cast” appears in up-close and personal encounters. Bike builders Shinya Kimura of Chabott Engineering, Roland Sands of RS Designs, David Boras and the crew of El Solitario (Spain), Michael “Woolie” Woolaway from Deus ex Machina, Shannon Sweeney of SS Classics (both L.A.-based), Fred Jourden and Hugo Jezegabel of Blitz Motorcycles (Paris) with other industry/sport movers and shakers make appearances.
Jen McClain is seen in the dirt track segment in the flick. She rode in on her Kawi W650 and works at The Mighty Motor, an L.A. motorcycle-related collective that designs bikes, makes films, brands bike product, you name it.
While the film had its red-carpet World Premiere at the 62nd San Sebastian Film Festival in the picturesque Basque Spanish beach town back in late September 2014, its premiere in Los Angeles took place March 29 at the funky cool AERO Theater on Brentwood’s posh Montana Avenue.
“Sex and the City” actor Jason Lewis rode in on his SS Classics custom CB750.
An equally funky cool mix of bikes of all flavors nuzzled up to the curb in front of the theater, their riders chatting awhile before heading inside, free of charge, to take in the film. Word was floating around that Keanu Reeves would show up but no luck, probably stuck in the Matrix somewhere. Still, Roland Sands and Shinya Kimura, as well as Orlando Bloom, were in attendance. Roland and Shinya are certainly two of the topmost designers, and while at opposite ends of the custom stick – one super slick cool, the other super gnarly cool – you could say it’s a case of East and West meeting through a shared poetry in motion and spirit.
The film makers (right to left) Producer/writer Arthur De Kersauson and Director Clement Beauvais joined by co-Exective Producer Thomas Vignali capture the Kodak moment beneath the Aero Theater marquee.
Inside the theater’s cozy auditorium, the seats filled up, helmets and leather jackets piled here and there, and as the house lights dimmed, I took out pen and notebook and scribbled a few semi-legible thoughts as the movie rolled on in five chapter segments. One was titled “Winning is Great If That is All You Can Do.” Yeah, the film sometimes gets Zen-and-the-Art-of-Motorcycling-ish but in a gritty real way that actually focuses more on flesh-and-blood people rather than on any particular motorcycle. I think this helps keep the element of competition out of the formula. What comes forward is the sense of cooperation and comradeship that spans several continents.
While various languages are spoken in the film, captioning, when necessary, was in English. Like they say, poetry is something that is lost in translation, but in this case, the images and common thread of intention projected by all the builders filled any linguistic gaps. There are a lot of close-ups and dialogue in the various shops and not a whole bunch of “action” per se, but there is just enough to highlight and punctuate the discourse. One long shot of 10 bikes flying down a foggy mountain road was enough to feed your head for a long while after you left the theater. Also, I give two thumbs up to the sound track, again a blend of styles with some of it original music by director Clement Beauvais.
Honda CB750 dressed all in hand-hammered alloy, a recent masterwork of Shinya Kimura.
Shinya Kimura, when he spoke, seemed to mold his thoughts into haiku-like phrases as he emphasized the importance of balancing the technical, aesthetic and powerful draw on some of us by motorcycles – “the vulnerability and the thrill,” as Shinya puts it. You also learn stuff about the builders, like that Shinya had set out studying Entomology (bugs), in Japan, and that he designed movie monsters for fun growing up. Seeing his bikes, you can see a hint of that coming through.
Roland Sands, one of the featured bike builders, and ladies who just happened to be wearing his RS Designs jackets. Besides making cool gear and bikes, Roland’s racked up 10 years of pro racing and was the 1998 AMA 250GP champion.
While he founded the Zero Engineering workshop in Okazaki, Japan – so named for his minimalistic design approach – in the film he refers to his previous method of creating the designs then orchestrating a crew to build the bike. Later, he decided to hunker down and hand-build bikes by himself, setting up shop in Azusa, California, to make metal magic.
Then there’s laughing along with Roland Sands when the crusty old Husqvarna dirt bike he’s riding breaks down, and he’s cursing away at first. Next, he starts taking the bike apart, chuckling every time he pulls out a chunk of metal, saying, “well, this doesn’t belong there, and this doesn’t belong there.” In the end, with a little help and tools from friends, he gets the Husky up and running. He also speaks to how growing up roadracing while simultaneously designing custom Harley parts for his father’s business inspired him to come up with his unique custom sportbike blend.
I’ll admit it, I didn’t know some of the European builders, and some captions with names and locations might have helped. Still, the film got me up to speed. The “collective” group of wrenches at the Paris Blitz Motors looked like they were having the time of their lives every minute of the day, and in fact, were. Then there’s David Borras of El Solitario, the controversial Spanish bike builder who left the white-collar world for the blue-collar life and is loving it, saying something like, whatever it is, from butterflies to bikes, do whatever passion powers you. Since the guys who made the flick are French, let’s sum up the film as an expression of motorcycle joi de vivre.
Well, that’s my take, now go see it yourself and add your reactions to the mix, since mix is what it’s all about. Currently you can catch, rent or buy Greasy Hands Preachers on Vimeo. Screenings are forthcoming in New York, San Francisco and elsewhere.
Roland launches off to the post-premier party.
Female rider on a 1960s R50/2 BMW. Several custom Beemers also “starred” in the film.
Custom café BMW built for Deus ex Machina by its bike builder “Woolie” who was featured in the film.
Menacing artwork by Shinya Kimura.
You still meet the nicest people on a vintage Honda…
The movie wasn’t in 3-D but the glasses helped set the mood.
Lots of lady riders in various levels of dress showed their support for the film debut.
A Yamaha YZF-R1 getting along with a 1974 SS Classics custom-built CB750 ridden by “Sex and the City” actor Jason Lewis.
After putting hundreds of miles on the 2015 Kawasaki Concours 14, we offer our final installment on the powerful sport tourer that began with our report from the press launch and continued with Part 1 of our longer term evaluation. Of course, we test our share of powerful motorcycles here at MD, but within the […]... Click Here for Article
Sport-tourers include a variety of designs from large technology-laden models such as BMW’s K1600GT, to Kawasaki’s more traditional Ninja 1000 to Ducati’s long-travel Multistrada and Yamaha’s FJ-09. With some luggage and a willing disposition you can, of course, set out for a far away destination aboard your new Yamaha R1 and call it sport-touring. And if you do, the tires in this Buyer’s Guide will certainly be a better choice than the sticky hoops you’d normally install on a sportbike.
According to Avon, the company’s Storm 3D X-M sport-touring tires deliver 15% to 20% more mileage compared to the current Storm range. The Storm 3D X-M features single and multi-compound super rich silica (SRS) tread for increased wet grip, and interlocking three-dimensional points hidden in the sipes to improve stability and grip. These high-performance tires are intended for bikes such as Hayabusas and Kawasaki’s Concours. Best of all, Avon includes a road hazard warranty. Prices range from $193 – $210 for fronts, and $233 – $287 for rears. For more go to avonmoto.com.
Bridgestone lists seven different sport-touring tire models on its website, including radials as well as bias-plys for both current and not-so-current sport-touring motorcycles. The company’s newest offering are the BT-023s. The tires feature silica plus an RC polymer for increased wet-weather performance and tire life. Rear BT-023s features 3LC dual compound technology. Fronts are available in five sizes ranging from $163 – $178, while rears come in two sizes ranging in price from $197 – $251. For more information go to www.motorcycle-karttires.com.
Continental offers four versions of its RoadAttack tires: ContiRoadAttack, ContiRoadAttack 2, ContiRoadAttack 2 EVO and ContiRoadAttack 2 Gran Turismo. The company also has the ContiMotion, a “new premium brand all-season Sport-Touring radial for the price conscious rider.” Continental also claims the 0° steel-belt construction on the rear provides excellent stability and ride comfort. Rear sizes range from 150s to 190s, and in price from $115 – $138, while fronts come in 110 and 120 sizes between $87 and $99. For more information go to www.conti-online.com.
Sport-touring tires from Dunlop consist of one model, the Sportmax Roadsmart II. The dual-compound rear tire incorporates a long-wearing compound in the center of the tire and a lateral-grip compound on the tire’s shoulders. A special silica additive is said to enhance wet grip, while micro-sized carbon particles improve dry-weather grip. “Cosecant-curve tread design with deep and long grooves helps evacuate water in both straight-line and cornering conditions.” Four sizes of front tires range in price from $167 – $178, while eight sizes of rear tires range from $204 – $247. For more information visit www.dunlopmotorcycle.com.
Metzeler claims the Roadtec Z8 Interacts offer the best wet performance in the Sport-Touring segment. A bold statement, backed up by technologies such as three-zone-tension, a high-silica compound with nano particles, and a profile shape inspired by the Greek letter “Pi,” all of which conspire to deliver performance and safety in all weather conditions. Tire sizes are numerous and prices range from $200 – $222 for fronts, and $241 – $318 for rears. For more check out www.metzeler.com.
For Michelin, sport-touring tires are all about the sipes. The company lists five sport-touring tire models, Pilot Road 2, Pilot Road 3, Pilot Road 4 GT, Pilot Road 4 Trail, and Pilot ACTIV. Michelin says its X-Sipe technology in the company’s latest-generation 2CT dual compound tires creates unbeatable wet-weather grip and tread life. Michelin makes a special 180/55-17 “B” version rear specifically designed for loaded sport-touring rigs or riding two-up. The two front sizes retail for $248 – $251, while the four rear sizes retail for $308 – $358. Check out Michelin’s sport-touring hoops at motorcycle.michelinman.com.
For sport-touring tires from Pirelli you get a choice between Angel, Angel GT, Sport Demon and MT 75. The sportier choices are the two Angel models, while the others lean more toward the touring side of the equation. According to Pirelli, the Angel GT is “stretching the concept of Sport-Touring into Gran Turismo, bringing the sporty attitude to a wider range of conditions and for longer distances. We call it EMS Extended Mileage Sport.” The bi-compound tire is said to have excellent performance consistency throughout its life. Angel GT rears come in a variety of sizes ranging in price from $236 – $303, while fronts range in price from $200 – $209. For more insight, check out Troy Siahaan’s review of the Angel GT or go to www.pirelli.com.
Shinko offers four sport-touring tires: Podium, Raven, Verge and Verge 2X. The Verge 2X is Shinko’s newest offering for sport-touring rigs, featuring dual-compound construction and revised siping for improved traction in wet weather and tire longevity. The front tire is an aramid belt construction while the rear is steel belted. The four rear sizes range in price from $199 – $212, the two front sizes are only separated by a dollar, $116 – $117. Check out these and Shinko’s other sport-touring tires at www.shinkotireusa.com.
At $96 for a front and $155 to $162 for a rear, Vee Rubber’s VRM-387R Traveler tires are certainly more affordable than other sport-touring tires in this list. Vee Rubber says the ZR-rated Travelers feature a specially formulated deep-tread design for dispersing water and extending mileage. The center and sidewalls feature compounds for even wear throughout the tires’ life. The VRM-387R Travelers, as well as all of Vee Rubber’s motorcycle tires, can be found at www.veerubber.co.
Children of fathers who pre-ordered Kawasaki Ninja H2s shouldn’t expect daddy to be around Easter morning because he’ll likely be out riding his big, green, super fast H2 Easter egg. Yes, one of the most hyped bikes of year has finally arrived, and owners will be taking possession of their very own super-charged superbikes this week. Deliveries of the Ninja H2R will begin later in April.
Unveiled in Europe last fall, orders for the Ninja H2, and its track-only counterpart were taken in December 2014. The bikes are built to order in a special facility at Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., in Japan. With the first production run completed, the bikes have been shipped to its network of U.S. dealers to be collected by very fortunate customers.
In related news, the majority of less fortunate motorcycle enthusiasts lacking the $25k with which to purchase an H2 are jealously awaiting the first Youtube video of someone crashing an H2.
Answer 20 simple questions and get a shot at a pair of free Flat Track tickets to the AMA Pro event of your choice! If you don’t mind divulging how many alcoholic drinks you take a week (feel free to lie), whether you own a pickup truck or RV, and 18 other probing questions, the AMA will award a pair of tickets to five lucky winners. Go here and get lucky:
Many riders rely on grippy tank pads to help them maintain firm contact with their bike while performance riding. Stompgrip has publicly stated its mission to create a Traction Kit for every motorcycle made. Given how many bikes are currently being manufactured, that’s a tall order. However, today, Stompgrip announced its latest kit additions for 2015 motorcycles, including:
· 2015 KAWASAKI D-TRACKER 125
· 2015 KAWASAKI W800
· 2015 KAWASAKI NINJA 250
· 2015 KAWASAKI Z800
· 2015 KTM 125 DUKE
· 2015 KTM 200 DUKE
· 2015 KTM 390 DUKE
· 2015 SUZUKI RV125 VAN VAN
· 2015 SUZUKI GSR400
· 2015 SUZUKI TU250X
The level of grippiness for Stompgrips varies from Smoothridge to Volcano to Super Volcano (from least- to most- grippy) with standard Grip Kits priced at $55 and special kits for stunting or other activities priced higher. For those of us who don’t own current model motorcycles, fear not, Stopmgrip’s catalog for older models is extensive. Riders who like to do it in the dirt are also covered.
I’ll admit, I was one of the many who thought the 2015 MotoGP season would be a fight for second, with the phenom that is Marc Marquez destroying the world’s supply of elbow sliders en route to yet another title. If yesterday’s MotoGP season opener in Qatar was any indication, however, I should have remembered that Sundays are the only days that matter in racing. Here now are my thoughts on the race and the season to come.
Be warned: if you haven’t seen the race yet, stop reading and go watch it. The rest of this piece will have spoilers. Or, you can check out Bruce Allen’s race recap for full results (but really, go watch the race).
Riding like a man possessed, Rossi dug deep to overcome his YZR-M1’s lack of top speed, carrying immense corner speed to come from as far back as tenth to take the victory.
Where else do we start than with Valentino Rossi? After qualifying in eighth, getting pushed back two places at the start, then fighting back brilliantly for the win in classic Rossi style, the Doctor put on a show for the ages, showing he’s still fired up as ever to be racing motorcycles at the highest level. Speaking of ages, Rossi is 36! Father time will catch up with him eventually, but for now Rossi is showing that age ain’t nothin but a number.
In post-race interviews, Rossi commented about how much he still enjoys battling for the win instead of simply leading a procession at the front. He lives for moments like this, and the fact the Yamaha has weaknesses in certain areas – top speed, mainly – gives him a challenge each race weekend that he looks forward to overcoming.
Though the Ducati had more top speed, rarely did it make it ahead of the Yamaha before the finish line.
When talking about overcoming adversity, the work Gigi Dall’Igna has put into the GP15 Ducati is nothing short of remarkable. Having only ridden the bike for the first time 35 days prior to the Qatar race, Dovizioso was 0.174 second away from winning in its debut! Plus, he set his fastest lap on the last one trying to chase down Valentino. The cherry on top is Andrea Iannone rounding out the podium. I had a feeling Dall’Igna would be a force for good at Ducati, but few would have predicted a turnaround like this from Borgo Panigale. Let’s hope the boys in red can keep the momentum for the rest of the season.
If Rossi and Ducati were the feel-good stories to come from Qatar, then Jorge Lorenzo and the Repsol Honda team are the big mysteries. After a strong first half of the race, which saw Lorenzo battle for the lead and have the pace for a victory, the Spaniard faded back to fourth in the closing stages, claiming a helmet defect was blocking his vision and slowing him down. Indeed, an image on MotoGP.com shows the inner liner on Lorenzo’s HJC helmet hanging freely in front of his eyes, severely limiting his view. This surely isn’t good PR for HJC.
A Ducati in front and the number 93 way out in the car park. The Qatar MotoGP race was anything but predictable.
Then there’s the Repsol Hondas. Marquez got bumped wide in the first turn, reentering the course in last place. This wouldn’t have been the first time he’s clawed back from last place to win, but even if he hadn’t run off course at the start, a win was anything but certain this time around. Throughout the race, MM’s pace was on par with the leaders, never significantly faster. In fact, his fastest lap of the race was only fifth fastest overall. The other four to go faster? Lorenzo, Iannone, Dovizioso and Rossi.
Perhaps the most troubling story of the weekend was Dani Pedrosa. On the surface his quiet sixth-place finish seems lackluster at best, especially considering he qualified second. The troubling part came during post-race interviews, when he revealed he suffered from massive arm pump during the race. Pedrosa has had two previous surgeries to try and remedy this problem, neither of which have worked. This explains why he can put in one flying lap during qualifying but then fade during a race.
To his credit, Marc Marquez fought hard to catch up to the leaders but ultimately made the mature decision to settle for fifth place and 11 points rather than crash and walk away with zero.
He sought the opinion of numerous doctors during the off season, all of whom advised against a third surgery. Dani is running out of options, he and the team know this, and nobody knows what to do next. Considering he basically rode his RC213V with one hand, a sixth place doesn’t seem so bad now.
Granted, one race is too early to make any sort of predictions about the season. The Losail circuit is historically a Yamaha track, and one Rossi has done well at since his return to Yamaha. Let’s see how the Doctor performs at Honda tracks like Austin, Rio Hondo, and Jerez, the next three races on the calendar. The Ducatis look to be a threat for race wins during the season, but let’s see how they perform at tracks the team have never tested at before.
Severe arm pump ruined Dani Pedrosa’s Qatar race. Could it ruin the rest of his career?
As for Lorenzo, HJC is likely going through his helmet allotment and making sure he’ll have zero helmet issues going forward. And of course you can never count Marquez out of any race. The real question mark is Pedrosa. Is his career over? Time will tell, but if the Qatar season opener was any indication, the 2015 MotoGP season could very well be the most competitive in years, and I can’t wait to see how it all pans out. On to Austin!
Riders looking to up their game have a new tool available to them. Trackday organization, Fastrack, has announced the 2015 Fastrack Rider’s Academy, a three-month program of on- and off-track training with MotoAmerica racers/Fastrack Academy instructors with the ultimate goal of having graduates leave the program a safer, smoother, and, of course, faster rider on both the street and track.
Attendees will have the opportunity to be coached by none other than MotoAmerica racers/Fastrack Academy instructors Chris Fillmore, Chris Ulrich, Steve Rapp, Jeremy Toye, and Marcel Irnie. Additional features of the Academy are in-helmet live communication while on the track, videos (both in-class and on-board), and social media involvement and voting. All riders who complete the Academy will receive be recognized by KTM and receive a signed certificate from Fastrack Riders and the instructors. Although the final details are still being worked out, at the end of the Academy, three prizes will be also awarded to three finishers :
1st Place: Brand New KTM RC390 Cup Race Bike 2nd Place: 1 year Fastrack Unlimited Trackdays Riding 3rd Place: TBD
With that kind of experience on tap in addition to prizes, you’d expect there to be a huge turn out for the Academy. Well, in April, the Academy will begin its qualification process for riders who would like to attend. According to Fastrack, the Academy isn’t necessarily looking for the fastest guys out there. In fact, the program isn’t directed only at racers. A phone call to the Fastrack office revealed that they are looking for someone who is a Level II or Level III rider (see Fastrack’s information page) who rides a well-maintianed bike with the proper gear and a good head on their shoulders. The rider’s personality, predictability and safety all play a role in qualifying for the Academy. Oh, and there’s a written test.
The end result is that Fastrack Rider’s Academy is looking for 5–6 qualified riders to fill their academy sessions. The cost for the Academy is $3,000 for 3 full days of training and 3 additional practice track days which will take place between September 25th and November 29th, 2015 at Auto Club Speedway.
After running off the track at the first corner on Sunday, Defending champ Marc Marquez re-joined the race at the back of the pack. His subsequent charge all the way up to 5th place was impressive, but it did involve some extremely aggressive riding, including a pass of Aprilia-mounted Alvaro Bautista on the first lap that […]... Click Here for Article
Yamaha has established a new subsidiary to provide financing for U.S. customers. Yamaha Motor Finance Corporation, USA will operate in addition to the manufacturer’s current financing partners, Capital One and Synchrony Financial, with a primary mandate of serving younger first-time buyers.
“Yamaha Motor Finance will primarily focus on younger, first-time buyers and those re-establishing their credit,” says Kim Ruiz, the newly-named chief executive officer of Yamaha Motor Finance, USA. “By focusing on this underserved market, Yamaha Motor Finance can help customers establish a good credit track record while attracting them into the Yamaha brand.”
The focus on first-time buyers is a good idea, as customers in that demographic are just starting to establish a credit history or dealing with student debt. It also doesn’t hurt that Yamaha has just introduced a new entry-level model in the YZF-R3.
“Yamaha Motor Finance is an exciting new tool that will help our dealer partners expand their business and grow future retail sales by supporting an otherwise underserved consumer group,” says Terry Okawa, president and CEO of Yamaha Motor USA.
The new company will begin working with a small group of dealers this month before expanding to other U.S. dealers through the year. Yamaha hopes to get set up across all 50 states by early 2016.
Helping Ruiz reach that goal is Jeff Young, executive vice president and chief operating officer. Young previously served as president and CEO for Mitsubishi Motors’ financing arm.
“I’m excited to join the Yamaha team at this important period in its history,” says Young. “Through controlled growth in this underserved financing segment, Yamaha Motor Finance will make a real difference in our customers’ brand experiences while contributing directly to the success of YMUS and our dealer partners.”
There is a reason 36 year-old Valentino Rossi is still the most revered motorcycle racer on the planet. In his 313th grand prix start, Rossi, on the factory Yamaha, delivered a dazzling performance in the 2015 season opener, going hammer and tongs with factory Ducati #1 Andrea “DesmoDovi” Dovizioso all night before punking his compatriot by 17/100ths of a second to take the lead in the title chase for the first time since 2010.
Including last season, Valentino Rossi has a podium in nine of his last 10 races.
Two-time defending world champion Marc Marquez, the immediate future of the sport, saw his chances for a season-opening win end in the first turn of Lap 1, when he was pushed WAY wide into the runoff area. How far off the racing surface was young Marc pushed, you ask? Far enough, it’s rumored, that a concession vendor offered him an ice-cold Coke. Re-entering the race dead last, he spent the evening slicing his way through the field, grinding his molars to dust, eventually finishing a respectable fifth, securing 11 points, and setting his sights on Austin, Texas. Guys like Marquez have short memories, and it’s a long season; no reason to think young Marc won’t win his third consecutive premier class title this year. Yet anyway.
Aside from Rossi’s heroics and Marquez’ travails, the story of Round 1 is the unbelievable turnaround being engineered before our very eyes in the Ducati garages by Gigi Dall’Igna, the Great White-Haired Hope of Italian racing fans everywhere. Having parted company with longtime employer Aprilia late in 2013, Dall’Igna has given a miraculous and immediate boost to the fortunes of the Ducati racing program. Keep in mind that Dovizioso and “the other Andrea”, Crazy Joe Iannone, first threw a leg over the radical new Desmosedici GP15 35 days ago. At Losail, they qualified 1st and 4th, ran in the front group all day, eventually blew away Yamaha icon Jorge Lorenzo, and finished together on the podium, the first time I’ve seen two Ducatis on the podium since, well, for a good long time.
Jorge Lorenzo tried but he could not overcome the two factory Ducatis.
Now, before you start getting all whooped up about some kind of paradigm shift in MotoGP, let me remind you of several facts. One, this was the first round of the season, run in the middle of the night in the Middle East on the only circuit dustier than Aragon. Two, Marc Marquez is not going to suffer this kind of race very often; I fully expect him to dominate rounds 2 and 3 in Texas and Argentina. And three, the day is approaching when Rossi will no longer be able to perform at his unique level. Losail, recall, is a Yamaha-friendly track, one of the friendliest, in fact, and the Repsol Honda contingent (which claimed 5th and 6th places today) will enjoy significant advantages over both the Yamahas and the Ducatis at a number of circuits on the tour. Relatively speaking, Losail is the MotoGP equivalent of Bonneville, while Austin, Rio Hondo and Motegi are more similar to downtown Washington, D.C. at rush hour.
How About Shutting Up and Telling Us About the Race?
Okay. After a clean start, the early leaders were Dovizioso, Lorenzo (who had jumped up from the six hole), Iannone, Yonny Hernandez on a Pramac Ducati, Bradley Smith on the Tech 3 Yamaha and his teammate Pol Espargaro; Pedrosa was stuck in the mud farther back, and Marquez was cruising the hinterlands. For a good part of the day, Lorenzo led The Two Andreas on a merry chase, while Rossi was working his way back into contention, having fallen as far back as 10th early.
Dovizioso went through on Lorenzo for the first time on Lap 9; the two would ultimately trade positions perhaps a dozen times, MotoGP at its finest. Iannone was keeping his powder dry in third place; Rossi showed up on his rear wheel on Lap 11. The four played Trading Places until Lap 19, when Dovizioso went through on Lorenzo again. Rossi immediately did the same, and then began his series of lead exchanges with Dovizioso, who was showing no signs of fatigue or tire wear. One had the sense that Dovizioso, younger, with more grunt, his years of handling and tire degradation problems apparently solved, would prevail in the run to the line. But it was not to be. Today, the Doctor schooled his students, all of them.
A pair of Yamahas and a pair of Ducatis topped the results sheet. Honda finished out of the top four for the first time since the final race of the 2010 season.
At the end of the day (Lord I hate that expression), we saw three Italians on the podium, which is to say the Spanish riders got blanked. Weird. We were left wondering whether Lorenzo, who showed up for practice 5 kilos lighter than he weighed at the end of last season, ran out of energy late in the day. Personally, I got the impression that Rossi treats practice the way established NBA stars treat the regular season – they only get amped up for the playoffs. Rossi, whose four practice sessions had him running 9th, 7th, 9th and 5th, and who qualified 8th, suddenly is the fastest guy in the joint when the red lights go out. If I’m his boss, Lin Jarvis, I’m okay with that.
Elsewhere on the Grid
Cal Crutchlow, on the Come What May LCR Honda, enjoyed a relatively successful maiden Honda outing, finishing 7th. He had taken time out of his busy practice schedule to flame Mike di Meglio of Avintia Racing for getting in his way during, like, FP1. Cal has morphed from one of the charming, likeable hard-luck guys on the grid to another mid-level clanging gong, and needs to take a nap. Tech 3 teammates Smith and Espargaro spent much of the day connected at the wrists and ankles, with Smith eventually crossing the line in 8th place, a tenth ahead of Little Brother. Yonny Hernandez completed the top ten in an encouraging outing on his Pramac Ducati, having qualified 5th (?) and running with the big dogs for a couple of early laps. Guy has some skills. In a bit of a disappointment, Big Brother Aleix Espargaro marked the return of a factory Suzuki program to the premier class with an 11th place finish after over-achieving in practice all weekend. The Suzuki is likely to perform better at the Honda tracks than places like Losail where top-end speed is at a premium.
Marc Marquez didn’t start the 2015 season the way he wanted. Yonny Hernandez on the other hand has impressed, qualifying 5th and finishing tenth.
Farther down the food chain, the maiden outing of the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini was a debacle, as expected. Alvaro Bautista got bumped by a charging Marquez early in the race and lost a brake caliper, while sad sack teammate Marco Melandri finished 34 seconds behind Alex de Angelis on his own hopeless Octo IodaRacing Team ART nag. Athinà Forward Racing’s Loris Baz, the record will show, finished his MotoGP debut three laps down, but spent some quality time mid-race in his garage getting his tires changed and spin-balanced and his ashtray emptied. The top rookie finisher today was, unsurprisingly, Maverick Vinales, who copped two points on his own Suzuki Ecstar. And Old Lonesome, Nicky Hayden, pushed his open class Honda to an uninspiring 17th place finish, just behind the once-competitive Stefan Bradl.
Marquez will try to bounce back at Round 2 at Circuit of the Americas where he remains undefeated.
MotoGP returns to the U.S. in two weeks, descending upon the pretentiously-named “Circuit of the Americas” in Texas. (Let’s just call it Austin.) Expect radically different results in Round 2. But if today’s podium somehow repeats in the Lone Star State, MotoGP will have officially been turned on its head. Until then, we will view Losail 2015 as an outlier, while March 29 may be named a national holiday in Italy. Valentino Rossi fans around the world will savor today’s race, one of the best in his 20 years as The Alpha Male of Motorcycles.
Brilliant racing marked the opening round of the 2015 MotoGP series in Qatar today. It is hard to determine which is the bigger story. Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi won the race … declaring it one of his greatest victories ever in 20 years at the GP level. But it was Ducati that really stunned by taking […]... Click Here for Article
Triumph’s Rocket III is a British interpretation of a classic American mantra: “there’s no replacement for displacement.” It’s huge 2.3 liter inline-Triple was a torque monster and ate up flat roads for breakfast. So for 2008, Triumph decided to civilize the Rocket III a tad by introducing the Rocket III Touring. Fittingly, Triumph chose San Antonio, Texas as the locale to host the international press launch for it, allowing the world’s moto-media to experience the expanse of Texas blacktop. MO’s European Correspondent, Tor Sagen, was at the launch, where he can’t help but compare the Rocket to a Harley big twin. Read his thoughts below and be sure to visit the photo gallery to see more pictures.
2008 Triumph Rocket III Touring Review
Rocket alert in Texas!
By Tor SagenApr. 01, 2008
Photos by Riles & Nelson
Rocket calling Houston; 207Nm about to rip up the tarmac! Not too far from Houston, in San Antonio, Texas we ride in the footsteps of Davy Crockett. Past the Alamo, we head out into the Texas hill country on a 200-mile ride on the all new Triumph Rocket III Touring. The message is clear, don’t mess with the Rocket!
We head into proper cowboy country – Bandera, Texas – and shortly after passing the small town we stop to admire a pair of genuine Texas Long Horns. This is the opportunity I’ve been looking for all day to wear my Stetson cowboy hat that Triumph gave us cowboys as a welcome gift.
The 2008 Triumph Rocket III Touring is an all new model based on the Rocket III launched in 2004. Only the engine, brakes, rear light and the mirrors are the same as on the original power cruiser. And the engine has been detuned for even more torque!
The R3 Touring gets an extra dollop of torque at even earlier revs than before. That translates to 209 Nm at 2,000 rpm. To enable this Triumph sacrificed a lot of horsepower as the Touring is down from 141 bhp to 107 bhp at 5,400 rpm.
The massive low rpm torque gives clean drive in 5th gear even from 30 mph. Entering the towns I could just stick to fifth if I wanted to and let the torque do the job. Lacking horsepower compared to the Rocket III or Rocket III Classic is never a problem. The Touring might be less of a red light racer, but it is still brutally fast if you want it to be. No other Touring motorcycle has as much torque as the Rocket III Touring and you could probably tow an 18 wheeler truck if you had enough grip to get it moving.
The Rocket III Touring has more than enough motor, in other words, even if your girlfriend is a horse. Being a pure touring motorcycle Triumph has added a new clip-on/off windscreen as standard developed with U.S. firm National Cycle. It clips onto a brand new Kayaba 43mm conventional fork and is mounted with spring loaded bobbins to avoid any rattle noises. The twin shocks at the rear are chromed Kayaba items and the overall suspension settings are much softer than the standard Rocket for comfortable touring.
The wheels and tires are also brand new for the Rocket III Touring. The Bridgestone Exedra tires are made especially for big, heavy touring cruisers like the Rocket III. The new 25-spoke 16-inch wheels hold a 150/80-R16 front and a narrow 180/70-R16 rear tire. The standard Rocket III has a massive 240mm rear tire, but on the Touring better handling has been one of the goals and Triumph has achieved this as my ride confirmed. But there is one more reason to the change to a narrower rear tire and mudguard. To fit large 39-liter hard panniers (combined volume) the Triumph engineers needed the extra space a narrower tire would provide.
With the new tires the huge Rocket III turns from side to side very easy – much easier than the power cruiser. The steel frame and swingarm, which also houses the drive shaft, is all new. Triumph started to develop the Rocket III Touring already in February 2004 just after the original R3 launch. While the bug-eyed original Rocket III was made to shock the motorcycling public, the Touring has got a more conservative edge to it to appeal to the touring masses out there. This involves a more classic single headlight, a teardrop shaped seamless fuel tank (squashed with 0.37-gallons less capacity) with instruments mounted on top and beautifully designed colour matching hard panniers.
On our 200-mile ride I got the fuel warning light just after doing 114 miles. You have still got one gallon left in the fuel tank and considering the low revving nature the range is very good. The new and wide touring seat is 4 mm shorter than on the standard Rocket III. This enables even better slow speed confidence and the Rocket III Touring is very easy to ride at walking pace. Turning around at low speed is also much easier despite the fact that the Touring is 92.5 pounds heavier than the Standard Rocket. At a claimed dry-weight of 798 pounds it is still not too heavy in the big Touring Cruiser class. But more important than the dry weight figure is how it feels in the real world to manoeuvre. I found the Rocket III Touring really easy to handle at low speed. The turn in is quicker and easier and with a slight blip on the throttle the engine helps to stabilise everything.
On the highway I got a fair bit of wind and turbulence to my head with the standard windscreen. Triumph is offering 75 different accessories to the Rocket III Touring, including a taller windscreen that also covers our tortured heads and a small stylish fly-screen with no wind protection at all.
The engine hums effortlessly at very low rpm on the highway. I missed cruise control on endless stretches of Texas highway, doing speeds between 60-70 mph. At these speeds the throttle is heavy and my right hand tired a bit. The throttle is chunky and for the U.S. the Rocket III Touring is begging for cruise control. Triumph told us that both Cruise control and ABS brakes are on its way for the big touring model.
On the right handlebar Triumph added a scroll button for the clock, trip 1 & 2 and fuel range functions. I found this to be very practical and I can’t understand why more manufacturers have not done this. I could see about 110mph on the speedo on a couple of occasions with more to go and the Rocket III Touring was well behaved and stable at high speed.
Both the rider and passenger get huge, comfortable teardrop shaped footboards. So that you don’t ruin the chromed look Triumph added wear plates for inspired riding. And it is easier than you think to get a bit inspired on the new and better handling Rocket III. The heel/toe gear lever is fully adjustable and the gearing is positive if not as refined as on one of the Tokyo cruisers.
The brakes remain the same as on the original 2004 and current models. That means that they are still powerful enough and the Rocket III Touring is one of a few big bruiser cruisers where it feels natural to only use the front brakes from time to time. For really hard braking or emergency the rear must be applied too, though. All the levers are new and chunky for a nice quality feel.
After having a proper cowboy lunch at the Steel Horse we all rode back to San Antonio. When entering the city centre it must have been 90 degrees and during the whole journey I was impressed about how little of the engine heat reached my legs. Heat radiation to the lower legs is a problem with various reputable makers of fine cruisers, but not on the big Triumph.
The 2008 Triumph Rocket III Touring is entering a very conservative, but lucrative market. The Rocket has lost some of its big, fat flare and that suits this market just fine. Triumph has built a classic touring motorcycle with class-leading engine size and torque. On the weaker side the Rocket III Touring would benefit from Cruise control as the throttle is heavy. The finish is still a bit away from a comparable Harley, but the big Triumph rules in the all important torque war and has done so for a while now. The detachable windscreen, good footboards and excellent manoeuvrability are all nice touches that will make the Rocket III Touring a winner.
The engine (torque, torque and torque)
Handling from a new chassis and wheels
Less horsepower equals a better price and better value for money
Acceptable heat radiation to lower legs
Heavy throttle amplifies the need for cruise control
With conservative styling elements it will not be as recognisable on the road as the original Rocket III
Why not add more readable info from the ECU on a Touring bike (such as average fuel consumption, outdoor temperature, average speed etc…)?
ST. LOUIS (March 28, 2015) – For the sixth time this season, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey was victorious en route to winning the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, race at the Edward Jones Dome in front of 58,552 fans. Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin won his fifth Eastern Regional 250SX Class […]... Click Here for Article
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi pushed hard this evening at the Losail International Circuit to take sixth and eighth respectively on the grid in qualifying for tomorrow‘s Grand Prix of Qatar. Lorenzo was the last rider to start the 15-minute qualifying heat to be ensured of some clear track space to […]... Click Here for Article
Team Suzuki Press Office – March 28 Team SUZUKI ECSTAR ended tonight’s final qualifying for the opening round of the 2015 MotoGP™ World Championship on a positive with team riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales fighting hard for a top-10 place. Espargaro worked hard in Q2 after yesterday’s strong performance with fourth position on […]... Click Here for Article
Andrea Dovizioso put in a splendid performance in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Qatar as the Ducati Team’s Italian rider powered to pole position with a time of 1’54.113, at the same time taking the brand-new Desmosedici GP15 to its race debut in the best possible way. Team-mate Andrea Iannone also had a really […]... Click Here for Article
EVEN IN THE FINAL SESSIONS DEVELOPMENT OF THE APRILIA RS-GP DOES NOT STOP. BAUTISTA PUT HIS BEST TIME OF THE WEEKEND ON THE SHEETS IN QUALIFYING Losail (Qatar), 28 March 2015 – The Saturday practice, the final free practice session and then the timed qualifiers to determine the starting grid order, concluded the final approach […]... Click Here for Article
When it comes to fast laps, Ducati is definitely on pace with the best in MotoGP. Taking three of the top five spots in qualifying, the new Desmosedici Gp15 was ridden to pole position by Andrea Dovizioso with a blistering lap of the desert circuit. Now Ducati must prove that its riders can manage the tires for […]... Click Here for Article
Back in October, Evans Brasfield penned a preview of Suzuki’s then forthcoming GSX-S750. “The middleweight Naked class just got a lot more interesting,” read his kindly subheading. At the beginning of this month (March) Suzuki hosted a press ride of the GXS-S750 in some very non-optimal weather conditions in Austin, Texas. With the first-ride review a literal washout, we withheld reporting our typical evaluation of, and Scorecard for, the Gixxus until we could perform an honest shakedown. Well, that day has arrived, and we can honestly report that Suzuki’s new naked performs almost flawlessly in the most underwhelming way possible.
There’s some minor driveline lash, the suspension is a compromise between comfort and handling with the fork exhibiting some harshness when compressing rapidly, and the seat-to-footpeg ratio becomes tighter as you inch past 5-foot, 9-inches. Otherwise, the Gixxus goes about the business of being a competent motorcycle with the mechanical astuteness and uninspired confidence often associated with Japanese UJMs.
And therein lies the rub. At $7,999 the GSX-S is a nicely styled, comparably priced 750cc wallflower. In the words of one of our readers from the comments section of the First Ride Review, “Not a bad looking or expensive machine, but it’s just not a great value or even a novelty like the Yamahas.” And by “novelty,” we’re assuming Reid is suggesting the inline-Triple and parallel-Twin with crossplane concept engine architecture of the FZ-09 and FZ-07, respectively.
The re-tuned GSX-R750 mill features revised cam profiles and timing, as well as reshaped intake and exhaust tracts to give the naked bike more low- and mid-range power. In true Suzuki fashion, the transmission shifts smooth as butta.
Suzuki has identified Yamaha’s FZ-09 as a competitor for the GSX-S750, and its engine is clearly more potent and exciting than the Suzuki’s. The FZ’s combination of more power and less weight will be difficult for the Gixxus to overcome. A comparison test is in the works.
With 96.5 horsepower, 52.5 lb.-ft. of torque, and weighing 465 pounds fully fueled, the Gixxus produces less horsepower (8.1 hp) and torque (6.8 lb.-ft.) than the FZ-09 while weighing 49 pounds more.
For its weight, the GSX-S handles urban riding as well as faster-paced canyon carving with equal ability. With 57.1 inches between contact patches, the Gixxus is neither exceptionally long nor short. It doesn’t flit through traffic or a tight set of S-turns with the agility of a hummingbird, but it’s no Dodo bird, either. Leaned over, repeatedly arching through a fast, bumpy sweeper for a photo op, the Gixxus gave no cause for concern as it held a tight line and absorbed the worst of the road imperfections without complaint.
The seating position is comfy with footpeg-to-seat ratio just a little tight for my 5-foot, 11-inch frame – but that keeps cornering clearance acceptable (see image below). The Gixxus seat is wonderfully supportive and comfortable.
Comfort levels for commuting and/or touring duties are first noticed in the rider triangle that features a short reach to the handlebars and enough legroom as to not cramp my 5-foot, 11-inch frame. A little less bend in the knee would be nice, but it’s not really a factor for anyone under six foot. Seat foam, however, is dynamite, perfectly blending comfort and support. You’ll notice an occasional high-frequency buzz from the inline-Four but nothing to really complain about.
Power delivery and EFI tuning are electric-motor-like, with no undue abruptness. Clutch pull is on the stiff side, but the transmission shifts so smoothly there’s not much use for the clutch when up-shifting. So far, our test unit has delivered 37.7 MPG.
No apparent reason for the brakes being as weak as they are. Fork is of the inverted variety, and it keeps the front end in order even when the pace gets hot.
The front brakes on the Gixxus are notably underpowered for a bike with this much sporting potential. It takes a strong pull on the front brake lever to produce quick deceleration. This can probably be easily and affordably rectified with the purchase of some up-spec aftermarket brake pads, but as is, Ducati’s Scrambler Icon with the single front disc exhibited more impressive stopping performance in our Scrambler Slam shootout than do the dual front brakes on this Suzuki.
The Gixxus handles well enough to invite peg scraping, and has enough cornering clearance to keep things exciting.
The true test for the Gixxus is the upcoming shootout with its FZ-09 nemesis and a couple others. We know the Suzuki suffers a performance disadvantage to the Yamaha, but the FZ has issues with too-soft suspension and unrefined ride modes that kept it from being our pick for 2014 Bike of the Year. So, it’s no sure-thing the Yamaha’s going to win, because we know the Suzuki is better suspended and doesn’t suffer the fueling issues of last year’s FZ; updated ECU tuning for 2015 has significantly improved the smoothness of its throttle response. But if you enjoy supporting the underdog, start waving your Suzuki banners.
Comfy, comfy seat
Perfectly average performance
Underpowered front brakes
Should be lighter
Nothing here to get really excited about
2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 Specs
$7,999 / $8,149 for the GSX-S750Z
4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-cylinder
Bore x Stroke
72.0 x 46.0 mm
Close ratio, 6-speed
Inverted, KYB telescopic fork, preload adjustable
KYB monoshock, preload adjustable
Twin 310mm discs with dual piston calipers
Single 240mm disc with single piston caliper
Metallic Matte Black/Metallic Triton Blue/Pearl Glacier White (Z model only)
Tudor, the famous watch brand, enters the Land of Joy, presenting the most recent version of the Tudor Fastrider at Baselworld, the World Watch and Jewellery Fair which took place in Basel (Switzerland) from March 19 – 26. This new product strengthens – through the Ducati Scrambler brand – the relationship between Tudor and Ducati, which began in 2011.
While creating the Fastrider models, the Style Atelier of Tudor took its inspiration from the Ducati Scrambler world, characterised by creativity and free expression. Three different dials have been designed for the new Tudor Fastrider, to reflect the colours of the various Ducati Scrambler versions: ’62 Yellow and Ducati Red for the Icon version and Wild Green for the Urban Enduro version. Stripped back to the essentials, the dials are legible and colourful, bringing versatility and new-found energy to the Fastrider line.
The Ducati Scrambler is characterised by a combination of authentic and sophisticated materials, such as the aluminium of the rear swingarm and engine cover, and the steel of the tear-shaped fuel tank and frame, with new-generation components such as the front and rear LED lighting, the LCD instruments and the USB socket underneath the seat. In the same way, Tudor blends noble materials such as steel with high-tech materials such as rubber.
The new Tudor Fastrider chronograph has a brushed steel case that is waterproof to a depth of 150 metres (492 feet). The bezel is made of matt black ceramic and the push pieces and crown are also matt black. It holds a self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of approximately 46 hours, providing a calendar function with rapid corrector which may be read through an aperture positioned at 4:30.
The application of the motorcycle aesthetic does not end with the middle case of this new Tudor model. One of the two bracelets available with the Fastrider chronograph is an interpretation of typical leather saddles with gadroons, offering an additional sporty effect. The other option is a matt black rubber strap that reinforces the technical language of the watch.
Just as the Ducati Scrambler takes the best of the past and reinterprets it in a modern way, so the Tudor collection was developed according to two main cornerstones, heritage and technology. All of the watches in the collection combine elements of the brand’s history with a contemporary touch, present in different proportions in each different model, depending on which of the two elements should be predominant. This is why both Tudor Fastrider and Ducati Scrambler use modern language to express the pure essence of their two individual worlds.
Honda Racing Corporation are pleased to announce Casey Stoner’s return to competition racing. The two-time MotoGP Champion (2007 and 2011) will form part of Honda’s MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO three person team at this year’s Suzuka 8hr race, taking place on Sunday 26th July.
Casey, together with Honda’s World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark and MFJ All Japan Road Race JSB1000 Championship and HRC test rider Takumi Takahashi, will be looking to clinch Honda’s sixth consecutive win in the prestigious endurance event which runs for eight hours consecutively where entrants (composed of two or more riders) alternate during pit stops.
Having recently renewed his testing contract with HRC, Casey tested the Suzuka CBR1000RR machine during January’s Sepang test, reporting positively on the machine to Honda engineers.
Casey will have further opportunities to test the Honda machine on the 7th/8th and 14th/15th July.
“After riding the bike in Sepang a few months ago, I’ve been speaking closely with Honda about the possibility to take part in Suzuka. It’s always been an event I wanted to do and something I was never able to consider when I was racing in MotoGP, due to our busy schedules, so I’m really looking forward to taking part! The bike is very different to a MotoGP machine, but it will be a new challenge and a chance for me to try something new and unlike what I’ve been used to in my racing to this point. I’ve been impressed with Michael van der Mark this season and Takumi Takahashi has a lot of experience on this machine, so I’m looking forward to hearing their comments and working together with them in preparation for the July race. Now I need to concentrate on my training to be ready for the race!”
Shuhei Nakamoto – HRC Executive Vice President:
“We are very happy that Casey agreed to take part in the 8hr with Honda. It will be great to see him back on a bike in a racing environment and I’m sure he will enjoy it. Together with van der Mark and Takahashi they form a strong team to compete in this endurance race – I’m excited to see how they will do.”
Shigeki Honda – Team Principal MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO:
“This year, MuSASHi Racing Team HARC-PRO is aiming to win the Suzuka 8hr for the third consecutive year. In addition to our riders, Michael van der Mark and Takumi Takahashi, who together have celebrated the past two victories , we are very happy to invite the legendary Casey Stoner to join our team. Casey has an enjoyed an incredible career and achieved a huge amount of success. We believe that with his fantastic experience, coupled with our team’s know how after many years of involvement at this event, we can make our dreams come true.”
Michael van der Mark:
“The Suzuka 8 Hour race is such a special event for all the fans and the Japanese people and not many riders get the chance to take part, even though many would like to. I also know what an important event it is for Honda so it’s a great honor for me to be asked to race the CBR1000RR once more, and this time with Casey as our teammate! The testing and race schedule is quite tough to combine with the World Superbike Championship but I really enjoy riding at Suzuka so I’m very happy to make time for it. The bike is very different to my World Superbike CBR but it’s easy to ride so it’s not big problem to change. I’ve had two fantastic years with a great team and it would be really nice and something quite special to get a hat-trick of wins.”
“The Suzuka 8hr this year means a lot to me and my team since our goal is to win for a third consecutive year, and I’m even more excited to take part together with Casey. Nonetheless, we know our rivals are all set to beat us, so I know it will not be easy to accomplish this goal. I will try to get the best out of the remaining few tests so that we will be able to run the 8hr race as fast as possible without any mistakes. We guarantee to demonstrate our extreme professionalism and excitement to those who will come to Suzuka to support us!”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has officially announced the recall of 43,426 BMW motorcycles for a problem with the rear wheel mounting flange. News broke earlier this month about the recall which affects about 367,000 motorcycles worldwide, but we now have more details about the U.S. models affected.
The recall affects the following models in the U.S.:
2006 BMW HP2 Enduro (364 units)
2008-2009 BMW HP2 Megamoto (93 units)
2008-2010 BMW HP2 Sport (196 units)
2006-2008 BMW K1200GT (3,057 units)
2006-2008 BMW K1200R (1,373 units)
2007 BMW K1200RSport (488 units)
2005-2008 BMW K1200S (3,866 units)
2009-2010 BMW K1300GT (1,148 units)
2010-2011 BMW K1300R (4 units)
2009-2011 BMW K1300S (1,289 units)
2005-2010 BMW R1200GS (11,991 units)
2006-2010 BMW R1200GSAdventure (5,238 units)
2007-2010 BMW R1200R (1,920 units)
2005-2010 BMW R1200RT (11,367 units)
2007 BMW R1200S (477 units)
2005-2007 BMW R1200ST (555 units)
As previously announced, the rear wheel mounting flange may crack if the mounting bolts are attached with too much torque. This may cause the rear wheel to loosen, potentially causing a loss of stability and increasing the risk of a crash.
According to documents released by NHTSA, BMW first became aware of the problem on Aug. 6, 2014, after receiving a report of an accident in Spain involving a 2004 R1200RT. The manufacturer began in analysis of the affected motorcycle and concluded the rear wheel had separated from the flange. BMW continued to analyze the crashed bike and found no other issues except for cracks at the rear wheel flange’s threaded bolt holes.
In January 2015, BMW began inspecting 58 customer motorcycles around Munich, Germany with between 2,500 and 40,000 miles on them. Three of the inspected bikes had cracking rear wheel flanges that needed replacement. Those three faulty flanges were examined in BMW’s lab which concluded the cracks were caused by excessive tightening during servicing.
On Feb. 5, BMW decided to start notifying customers about a service action. On Feb. 26, the KBA, Germany’s federal motor transport authority, requested BMW increase its actions to a full recall.
BMW dealers will inspect recalled models and replace the original aluminum rear wheel flange with a new steel one.
Team Suzuki Press Office – March 27 Aleix Espargaro put Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s 2015 GSX-RR into fourth position in tonight’s third qualifying session at the Losail Circuit in Qatar as team-mate Maverick Viñales dramatically upped his pace from yesterday. In the second day of practice and qualifying for Sunday’s season-opening MotoGP™ World Championship race, Espargaro […]... Click Here for Article
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi faced a difficult and very close second and third free practice session ahead of the Grand Prix of Qatar. The teammates finished in eighth and ninth place respectively in the combined session times. Lorenzo and Rossi were keen to hit the Losail International Circuit at the start […]... Click Here for Article
Both Ducati Team riders had a good run in today’s two further sessions of free practice held at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Andrea Iannone ended up third overall in the combined standings, just 170/1000ths away from provisional leader Marquez, while Andrea Dovizioso was classified in sixth place, 222/1000ths away from the top. The […]... Click Here for Article
AURORA, Ill.(March 27, 2015) – Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, makes its annual visit to the heart of the country tomorrow night with the 13th race of 2015 from St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome. After three consecutive wins, Red Bull KTM rider and 450SX Class leader Ryan Dungey had his streak come […]... Click Here for Article
SECOND DAY OF TESTS AT THE QATAR GP. BAUTISTA AND MELANDRI AT WORK ON THE RS-GP BIKES Losail (Qatar), 27 March 2015 – On the second day of free practice for the Qatar GP the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini was hard at work on new solutions, especially concerning the chassis, on the RS-GP bikes that […]... Click Here for Article
Arezzo/Borgo Panigale (Italy), 27 March 2015: It will be Spanish rider Xavier Forés to substitute for injured rider Davide Giugliano, still convalescing after an accident during testing at Phillip Island, at the next two rounds of the 2015 Superbike World Championship, scheduled to take place at Aragón (12 April) and Assen (19 April), riding the […]... Click Here for Article
The original plan was Top 10 James Bond Motorcycle Chase Scenes. Sadly, it seems like there are only about five or six good ones, which surprises me since James has been fleeing bad guys or in hot pursuit of them ever since Dr. No in 1962, in everything from submarine Lotuses to jetpacks to forklifts. One of the best things about old Bond films now is checking out the period vehicles. Why not begin, then, with Thunderball, from 1965.
WARNING: The scene from The Great Escape where Steve McQueen’s character flees the Nazis isn’t in here. It was too obvious and I’ve already seen it a hundred times…
Pre-Release Honorable Mention: The latest Mission: Impossible film, Rogue Nation, will be released this summer. Like many Tom Cruise movies, it looks like it will have some crazy motorcycle chases in it. Shame nobody can ever find a helmet anymore…
Several riders have told the media in Qatar that this could be the most competitive MotoGP series in a long time. Not only have new faces appeared near the top of the time sheets in testing, a single second blankets 10 riders, or more, in much of the pre-season testing. Round 1 in Qatar is […]... Click Here for Article
Yamaha has today released this video of Yamahalube/Westby Racing’s Dane Westby speaking his mind after the recent MotoAmerica test at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. For those unaware, Westby recently lost his life after a street bike accident while on his way to his parent’s house.
The entire motorcycling community is mourning the loss of Westby, as those who knew him all attest to the fact he was a great and kind soul, on and off the racetrack. One with a ferocious desire to win. This video captures Westby’s competitive spirit perfectly, as one can see the desire burning in his eyes. After setting the fastest Superstock 1000 time on his Yamaha YZF-R1, and fourth fastest time overall, Westby repeats again and again how his sights for 2015 were on the three Superbike riders ahead of him on the timesheets.
All of the pieces were lining up for this to be Dane Westby’s year, and the confidence he is beaming in this video makes you believe Dane felt it too. It’s sad and unfortunate we won’t get to find out. Motorcycle.com expresses our heartfelt condolences to Westby’s family and friends.