What motorcycle models face the axe?

Tough European emissions laws threatened to axe several much-loved models last year, but it seems many have had a stay of execution.

The Euro 4 rules introduced in 2016 were almost 50% tougher to pass.

For example, Euro 3 required a motorcycle to pass an emissions test when new, or after 1000km. Under Euro 4 they have to still be compliant after 20,000km or 35,000km depending on the size of the machine. 

Because the requirement was so tough, the European Commission (EC) allowed a couple of years for compliance.

That ended on December 31 2018 and many models are now no longer able to be sold in Europe and several other countries that follow the same stringent rules, such as Japan.

The axe has now fallen on most supersport models, many air-cooled bikes, single-cylinder adventurers and most Japanese cruisers.

Axe reprieve

However, manufacturers are still making some of the models that looked like failing the tougher tests, strictly for markets where the Euro 4 rules do not yet apply. They include Australia, the USA and South Africa.

Suzuki Hayabusa escapes axe
Suzuki Hayabusa gets a stay of execution

That is a big enough market to make it economically viable to continue production of bikes that continue to sell well, such as the Suzuki Hayabusa.

Suzuki Australia and the USA made special mention to customers that the model would continue in their markets.

The hyperbike will eventually be replaced by an updated Hayabusa, but in the meantime, the factory will continue to make the bike for non-Euro 4 markets.

When it does return to worldwide production, the Hayabusa may not even be Euro 4 compliant.

It may be Euro 5 compliant as that standard is coming in 2020 for new models and 2021 for existing models. 

But once again there may be a reprieve from the axe. That’s not because it’s too tough, but simply because the EC has not yet agreed on the exact standards and testing methods.

Emissions reducedLoud Pipes exhausts mufflers blitz axe

Since 1999, the motorcycle industry has gone from Euro 0 to Euro 4 and reduced emissions by 91%.

Despite those reductions, most motorcycles are now more powerful and economical than they were at the end of the last millennium.

And even though sceptics said the technology would make motorcycles more expensive, they are no more expensive in real terms.

Euro 5 will lead to new motorcycles that will have a range of solutions to the emissions problem.

That will include, but won’t be limited to, leaner burn, liquid cooling, forced induction, hybrid technology and, of course, electric power.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

A MotoGP bike going head to head with a Kawasaki H2R

For some perspective, we also compared the Ducati GP machine with something a little more down to earth. The BMW S1000RR is one of the fastest accelerating production bikes to date. Anyone who has ridden an S1000RR will know just how much of a ballistic straight line performer the BMW is, but it is still no match for a dedicated GP bike, as explained in our earlier piece.

The only other motorcycle available to purchase that might stack-up would be Kawasaki’s mighty H2R. Technically, the H2R is a production motorcycle, but one that can’t be ridden on public roads, as the full powered H2R version can’t be registered. In some countries you could probably put lights and indicators on it and legally register it, but definitely not here in nanny state Australia. Here you would have to settle for the less powerful, but recently improved and hardly run-of-the-mill, H2 road going bike.

Kawasaki H
The more sensible but still insane 200 hp Kawasaki H2

In our original piece, we briefly compared the GP bike with the data available for the Kawasaki H2R that is readily available on the net. We thought it fitting to now run the H2R through our supercomputer, to see if our numbers measure up accurately to real life, while also providing a proper graph/visualisation of what it would like to have the two machines go head to head.

Let’s first take a look at the Ducati MotoGP bike numbers.

 Ducati Desmosedici GP18


Liquid-cooled, 90° V4, four-stroke, evo desmodromic DOHC, four valves per cylinder



Maximum power

Over 250 hp

Maximum speed

356.5 km/h (221 mph) Mugello 2018


Ducati Seamless Transmission (DST_EVO). Chain final drive


Indirect electronic injection, four throttle bodies with injectors above and below the butterfly valves. Throttles operated by the new EVO 2 TCF (Throttle Control & Feedback) system


Shell Racing V-Power


Shell Advance Ultra 4



Final Drive

D.I.D Chain


Aluminium alloy evo twin-spar


Öhlins inverted 48mm front fork and Öhlins rear shock absorber, adjustable for preload, new factory evolution damping system


Magneti Marelli ECU programmed with Dorna Unified Software


Michelin 17″ front and rear


Brembo, two 340mm carbon front discs with four-piston callipers. Single stainless steel rear disc with two-piston calliper

Dry weight

157 kg (346.1 lbs.)

Ducati MotoGP Acceleration and Top Speed
Ducati MotoGP Acceleration
Ducati Desmosedici GP18
Acceleration From Rest
The data used is as closely based upon the Desmosedici GP18 Mugello gearing as we could accurately gauge.

The mighty GP18 is ballistic, hitting 350 km/h from rest in 14.27 seconds, and has the power to hit the limiter in top at a giddy 368 km/h.

If the Desmo’s frontal area and coefficient drag has been calculated correctly, with long enough gearing and an equally long straight, the Desmo could be good for close to 380 km/h plus. Evident on the acceleration graph are slight dips for the gear changes, as we could not fully simulate a seamless gearbox. We could expect the actual gear changes to be a little quicker in real life, and thus saving even a little more time in the process.

Most impressive is not so much how the Desmo rockets from the line, but how it keeps accelerating. Its 200-300 km/h time of 4.33 is only 1.4 slower than its 100-200 km/h time. Even with very advanced electronics it’s still not entirely possible to put all of the Desmo’s power to the ground below 250 km/h, that would require the bike to be stretched and lowered with a wheelie bar and set up for drag racing. Uncensored full-throttle only likely occurs above 250 km/h, and this is why you witness such impressive high speed acceleration for the Desmosedici. Imagine if this engine/box combination was housed in a chassis designed for straight-line performance only, rather than the all round performance benchmark for cornering and braking that it actually is…

100-200 km/h 2.95
100-300 km/h 7.26
200-300 km/h 4.33
300-350 km/h 4.5
0-100 km/h 2.52
0-160 km/h 4.23
0-200 km/h 5.45
0-220 km/h 6.18
0-240 km/h 6.96
0-260 km/h 7.74
0-290 km/h 9.25
0-300 km/h 9.72
0-320 km/h 10.93
0-330 km/h 11.83
0-340 km/h 12.98
0-350 km/h 14.27
SS/QM 8.99/284 km/h
SS/KM 15.54/358 km/h
S/Mile 21.44/367 km/h
Top Speed 368 km/h (Rev Limiter)

Now we’ll take a closer look at Kawasaki’s H2R..

hr Specs

 Kawasaki H2R


4-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled, supercharged



Maximum power

326 hp (Crank) 242 hp measured rear wheel.

Maximum speed

336 km/h


6-speed, return, dog-ring


DFI® w/50mm throttle bodies (4) with dual injection

Final Drive

Sealed chain


Trellis, high-tensile steel, with swingarm mounting plate


New Uni-Trak, Öhlins TTX36 gas charged shock with piggyback reservoir, compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability, and top-out spring/5.3 in


Kawasaki Corner Management Function (KCMF), Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC), Kawasaki Launch Control Mode (KLCM), Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS), Kawasaki Engine Brake Control, Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS) (upshift & downshift), Öhlins Electronic Steering Damper


190/65 ZR17 (78W) / 120/70 ZR17 (58W)


Dual radial-mount, opposed 4-piston calipers, dual semi-floating 330mm discs, KIBS ABS Rear Brakes: Opposed 2-piston calipers, single 250mm disc, KIBS ABS

Dry weight

216 kg (476.3 lbs.)

Lets first clear some things up. Kawasaki’s 326 hp at the crank claim falls rather short when measured at the rear wheel, with most examples of Kawasaki’s H2R knocking out anywhere between 230 hp and 245 hp, depending on the dyno and correction factors used.

Traditionally we see measured rear wheel hp figures around 12 per cent less than the manufacturer’s claims. This is normal, as due to frictional/transmission losses we expect to lose power. If we deduct a 12 percent loss to the Kawasaki’s claimed figure of 326 hp we are still left with 286 hp at the rear wheel, which is 40-50bhp more than what we typically are seeing on dynos. Before we accuse Kawasaki of exaggerated claims, bare in mind that most dyno’s can not replicate a 300km/h plus wind blowing into the air-box. Thus Kawasaki’s hp claim would not be a static claim but more like the power the H2R produces when flat-out, with full ram-air effect and with the supercharger at full efficiency.

Whether this brings up the H2R’s power to the 280s and matches the 12 percent loss is another thing, but we can certainly assume with good accuracy that the H2R will make a little more power when moving versus a static measurement on a rolling road.

H2R vs MotoGP bike
Kawasaki H2R hard acceleration at the TT

Kawasaki HR Acceleration Graph Solo

Kawasaki H2R 
Acceleration From Rest
Unsurprisingly the H2R is the fastest thing from the showroom, though its acceleration advantage over normally aspirated litre bikes’ only really starts to show as speeds get higher. Like most current litre bikes, the H2R is equipped with anti-wheelie and traction control. While very useful and flattering to the average rider, these systems are still a hindrance in optimum straight-line performance for the most skillful riders. The H2R’s acceleration under 260 km/h is still limited due to traction issues, and the inevitable problem of wheelies, thus the H2R does not get to really capitalise on its 50 hp advantage over other litre bikes in the lower gears. Once the H2R can go wide open, it’s not long until aerodynamic inefficiencies start to eat into its big power advantage over the normally aspirated litre bikes, as it hits its peak of around 340km/h.
Kwasaki H2R vs Kawasaki ZX-10R
Kawasaki H2R vs Kawasaki ZX-10R
Kawasaki H2R vs Kawasaki ZX-10R 
Acceleration From Rest
Comparing the H2R to Kawasaki’s flagship litre ZX-10R, you can see that below 200 km/h there really isn’t that much in it. If we lowered the bike and added a little ballast up front, of course then it would be a different story. In standard trim though, it is after 200 km/h where the H2R better converts its supercharged 245bhp in to forward motion, and here is where it starts to gap the ZX-10R convincingly.

Looking at the 100 km/h to 300 km/h, and the 200 km/h to 300 km/h times, really stamps home the H2R’s performance advantage over the ZX-10R, much more so than the standing start times.

These figures do render just how mind bending the H2R actually is compared to a regular 1000cc sportbike with the blown bike getting from 200 to 300 km/h more than twice as fast as the ZX-10R.

From/To 18 Kawasaki H2R 15 Kawasaki ZX-10R
100-200 km/h 3.62  4.05
100-300 km/h 9.80  17.85
200-300 km/h 6.17  13.80
300-350 km/h N/A  N/A
0-100 km/h 3.07  3.18
0-160 km/h 5.14  5.45
0-200 km/h 6.69  7.23
0-220 km/h 7.51  8.35
0-240 km/h 8.39  9.71
0-260 km/h 9.52  11.42
0-290 km/h 11.84  17.15
0-300 km/h 12.87  21.03
0-320 km/h 16.23  N/A
0-330 km/h 19.90  N/A
0-340 km/h 28.43  N/A
0-350 km/h N/A N/A
SS/QM 9.81/264 km/h 10.10/248 km/h
SS/KM 16.98/323 km/h 18.01/294 km/h 
S/Mile 23.52/336 km/h 25.19/302 km/h 
Top Speed 342 km/h 304 km/h 

Kawasaki H2R vs Ducati Desmosedici GP18

Now to the the main event. Let us just get straight to the point. The Ducati Desmosedici pretty much walks away from the H2R from the get go, much like it did to the BMW S1000RR in our previous comparison. Some of you Kawasaki fanboys no doubt may have thought the H2R would have put up a better challenge but put simply, from a standing start, it doesn’t.

MotoGP Valencia Day Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Desmosedici GP19

As previously highlighted, the H2R is clearly hindered off of the line, and is not anywhere near as efficicint at putting its power down as the MotoGP machine. What is more impressive is that the MotoGP bike likely has 30/40 odd hp more than the H2R at the wheels, and is of course significantly lighter. It is a testament to the advanced electronic packages of a modern MotoGP bike that these machines actually convert their advantages into a staggering rate of forward motion rather than losing momentum via wheelie or wheelspin.

desmo vs HrMaybe the H2R can compete once moving? Sure, it does much better, but still trails the GP bike by 2.54 seconds if rolling from 100-300, but only 1.84 seconds from 200-300 km/h. This clearly demonstrates the H2R’s traction hindering brustish power delivery.

The H2R comes closest from 200-240 km/h, tailing the GP bike by only 0.2 seconds and taking an impressive 1.70 seconds versus 1.51 seconds for the Ducati MotoGP bike. In a real roll on from those speeds, the H2R would only be trailing the MotoGP bike by a few bike lengths. Impressive stuff.

Kawasaki HR vs Ducati Desmocedici GP

Acceleration From Rest
From/To 18 Kawasaki H2R Ducati Desmosedici GP18
100-200 km/h 3.62  2.95
100-300 km/h 9.80 7.26
200-300 km/h 6.17 4.33
300-350 km/h N/A  4.50
0-100 km/h 3.07  2.52
0-160 km/h 5.14  4.23
0-200 km/h 6.69 5.45
0-220 km/h 7.51 6.18
0-240 km/h 8.39 6.96
0-260 km/h 9.52 7.74
0-290 km/h 11.84 9.25
0-300 km/h 12.87 9.72
0-320 km/h 16.23 10.93
0-330 km/h 19.90 11.83
0-340 km/h 28.43  12.98
0-350 km/h N/A 14.27
SS/QM 9.81/264 km/h 8.99/284 km/h
SS/KM 16.98/323 km/h 15.54/358 km/h 
S/Mile 23.52/336 km/h 21.44/367 km/h 
Top Speed 342 km/h 368 km/h (Rev Limiter)

Kawasaki’s H2R actually makes for an interesting challenger to a MotoGP bike, as on paper, with its monstrous claimed 326 hp, it certainly qualifies as a worthy competitor. Kawasaki’s claimed 326 hp is a figure higher than even the highest rumoured MotoGP bike power figures we’ve heard of, which range from 280-300hp – claims that are likely at the wheel or gearbox rather than true crank outputs.

In this instance we have to work with rear wheel figures and the H2R’s 230-245 hp is somewhat off of the ‘326 hp’ claim. We all know that it’s not all that hard to get a modern sportsbike up to around 210 hp at the tyre these days. A Factory WSBK racer would be another 20 on top of that, even though recent rpm limits have neutered their potential a little.

WSBK bikes clock demonstrably lower speeds in the traps versus MotoGP bikes on tracks they share, underlining the power advantage of the prototype MotoGP machines.

MotoGP Valencia QP Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Desmosedici GP18

In our previous piece I made an assertion that a H2R would need at least another 40 hp at the wheel to have chance of being a threat against a MotoGP bike, and that claim seems to measure up, at least based up our simulation. Still, that extra power would only really help the H2R once it was moving and would still be a hindrance off of the line, maybe more so versus the stock bike.  That extra 40 hp would have to be accompanied with some fancy electronics to enable that power to get down to the ground and translate into serious forward thrust.

The Kawasaki H2R is a wonderful machine and it is a surprise that in this day and age of health and safety obsessing, that a motorcycle as mad as this exists at all, good on Kawasaki for having the balls to bring such a machine to market. Sure it is out of the reach of most, but the stock H2 can pretty much be upgraded to similar level of its mad H2R sibling with some simple bolt-ons and a re-flash, taking the power up to 230 hp plus. Not that a stock H2 is exactly slow or really in need of more power.

The H2R is the the fastest two-wheeled thing from 0-320 km/h that you can buy, and is around 8-10 seconds faster than a Bugatti Veyron to that speed. The only four-wheel production vehicle that might compete would be a Koenigsegg Agera RS. The Koenigsegg is an obscene machine that would even give a MotoGP bike a run for its money. And it is totally legal, albeit a touch expensive, as if it came to Australia it would likely cost you about $5,000,000.

Food for thought maybe for a future comparison…

Koenigsegg vs Kawasaki HR

Source: MCNews.com.au

Gear for Gear Heads: 7 Must Have Motorcycle Accessories

(Sponsored gear heads post for our North American readers)

If you’d rather ride on two wheels than step inside a car, then you should check out these must have motorcycle accessories.

In 2017, the number of registered on-road motorcycles in the United States totaled 8.4 million. That’s a 100% increase from the 4.2 million registered units back in 2002!

Granted, not all share the love for these two-wheelers. But they’re still pretty popular, with dealers having sold 470,000 new bikes in 2017.

Let’s not forget about motorcycle gear that makes these bikes even more worth riding. On a global scale, this market made a whopping $2.87 billion in 2017.

Which now brings us to the main topic of this post: The must have motorcycle accessories. There are a lot of bike tools, gears, and techies for motorheads out there, which can be pretty confusing.

Don’t worry though, as we’ve rounded them up for you so you don’t have to. Check out this list of the motorcycle essentials you can’t do without!

1. A Bluetooth, Aerodynamic Helmet

What better way to start this list than with every rider’s primary protection?

Only three states — Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire — don’t require a motorcycle helmet. The rest, plus D.C., are serious when it comes to their helmet laws. But even if you live in IL, IO, or NH, you should never go for a ride without a helmet.

Aside from helping keep your gray matter stay where it should, it also wards off bugs and other critters. Today’s helmets are no doubt smarter, even letting you connect Bluetooth devices! Plus, the right look and fit will make you look more badass than if you don’t wear one.

You’d want to invest in a helmet with an aerodynamic design though. This lets you ride with that needle on the right side, but with as little noise as possible.

One last thing: Go for a lightweight, yet sturdy and DoT-approved helmet. Be prepared, as you may have to spend a bit more for the best motorcycle protective gear. But it’ll be worth it, especially if you plan on riding for speed.

2. An Armored Leather Jacket

Only a few things scream kickass louder than a thick, and solid motorcycle jacket. But it’s more than a cool-looking piece of motorcycle riding gear. It also protects your precious skin, taking the brunt of skids and drags in case of an accident.

Look for armored features on the elbows and shoulders, which often sustain injuries. Also, consider the weather in your area — if it rains a lot, you’d want weatherproofing features. Airflow, thermal body warmers, and waterproof materials are what you’d want.

3. Palm Sliders

The body’s instinct is to put the hands out during slips, trips, and falls. In fact, if you think about it, it’s the hands that you use to shield your body from, well, almost anything, right?

To put things in perspective, consider this:

More than one million U.S. workers visit ERs due to hand injuries every year. 70% of them got these injuries because they weren’t wearing gloves.

In Australia, 93% of surveyed organizations reported experiencing hand injuries too. That makes them among the most common injuries in Oz workplaces.

So, imagine how much damage the hands can get when one gets catapulted from their bike. The hands will try to lessen the impact on the body, which may lead to the wrists snapping. The friction put against the palms by the asphalt is a scary enough thought.

A little too visual? Well, that’s the truth, and all beginner riders should be aware of that.

That’s why you’d want to slide your hands into palm sliders too, whenever you go out for a bike ride. With these, plus your helmet and jacket, you’re (almost) done protecting your upper body.

Low-friction, yet quality plastic gloves are good enough to protect your palms. For something longer-lasting (and better-looking), invest in leather sliders.

Better gloves out there have adequate cushioning and armor for the entire hands. With these, you’ll have better protection for your knuckles and wrists too.

4. Earplugs

Alpine MotoSafe earplugs make riders safer sound
Alpine MotoSafe earplugs  

Completing the list of upper body must have bike gear is a pair of high-quality earplugs. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t make it hard to stay focused and connected to the road.

The only thing they cut riders off from is the noise of the high-pitched wind. This then protects the sensitive inner workings of the ear. That actually makes you feel more relaxed and less tired after a long ride!

5. Riding Pants

You’ll rip those jeans sliding on pavement faster than you can say 0 to 60. Even if you think they’re the thickest, most durable pair you have, they’re not built for safe riding. What you want is road armor, and luckily, there are now jeans out there with Kevlar lining.

Their prices are a bit on the hefty side though, so your other option is Cordura textile. The best ones out there offer good abrasion resistance without being too bulky.

6. Tough Boots

Apart from your hands, your feet and legs are at most risk of damage in an accident. So, keep those encased in sturdy, protective riding boots! Don’t worry about losing style, since the best riding footwear out there still looks amazing.

Features like reinforced toe tips, soles, and padding protect the small bones on your feet. They have enough cushioning to make them comfortable and breathable. Although typical work boots have protective toe boxes, they lack feet protection features.

7. Tool Kit

Get a complete roadside toolkit with wrenches, Allen sockets, screwdrivers, and pliers. Get a few cable ties too, a multi-purpose tool, and microfiber towels for cleanup.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking to take your ride out for long road trips, you’d want extra fuel storage. If you’ve got the budget, go for a self bunded fuel tank. This’ll help you reach point A to B with as few stops and top-ups as possible.

Start Shopping for these Must Have Motorcycle Accessories Now

This list of must have motorcycle accessories is far from being extensive. But they’re the best motorcycle gear you need, not to mention the most important. So, before you start shelling out money on bells and whistles, start with these seven first.

Want more two-wheeler riding/safety tips and travel advice? Then make sure you head over to our Tips and Training section! We’ve got more nuggets of wisdom to share with you there.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Retrospective: 1980-1984 Benelli 254

Benelli 254
1982 Benelli 254. Owner: John Goldman, San Francisco, California.

Here was a delicious little machine, a transversely mounted 231cc in-line four, putting out some impressive horsepower and weighing, fully fueled, a modest 269 pounds. With a top speed of more than 90 mph. However, in 1980 Benelli dealers also had 500 and 650 fours, along with an impressive six-cylinder 750, on the showroom floor…and Americans interested in Italian motorcycles did not care for these tiddlers. Anyone wanting a 250 could get one much cheaper from a Japanese dealer.

Cosmopolitan Motors was importing Benellis, and in 1980 the factory apparently told Cosmo that in order to get a few 750s they would have to take some 250s as well; Cosmo did so. Actually, when this 250 was conceived it was aimed strictly at the European market, as Italy and some other countries gave sub-250 bikes a good tax break and insurance costs were lower. The American market had never been seriously considered, but when 250 sales in Italy and elsewhere were not doing well, the company decided to foist a few off on the Yanks.

Benelli 254A little Benelli history: In 1911 the six Benelli brothers set up a garage in Pesaro, Italy, and specialized in fixing motorcycles—and soon started fabricating their own spare parts. In 1921 they built their first motorcycle, the 98cc Velo, and like any good Italian manufacturer took a big interest in racing. In 1937 they hired a young engineer named Lino Tonti in the racing department, and two years later he presented his 250 DOHC, in-line-four racebike, which was liquid-cooled and supercharged, ready for the 1940 season. Unfortunately Mussolini signed up with Hitler in June of 1940, and the rest is history.

War ended, Allied bombing had flattened the Benelli factory, but the boys—now older gents—got to work and had a pair of 250 and 500 single-cylinder street bikes for sale by 1947. When the GP races began again in 1949, they had a DOHC 250 single ready for the fray. In 1960 a new DOHC 250 four was at the track, winning a World Championship in 1969.

But the company was in financial trouble, due partially to racing expenses and the unexciting two-strokes they were selling to the public. Then a wealthy Argentinian businessman of Italian origin, Alejandro de Tomaso, showed up, acquiring 85 percent of the company in 1971 and then buying Moto Guzzi in 1973. Coincidentally, Lino Tonti was working for Guzzi at the time, and de Tomaso said he wanted some multi-cylinder bikes for the market. In 1974 the Benelli 500 and 650 fours appeared, which were closely patterned after some Japanese fours. But the next four-banger, the 250, was said to be very Italian, as nobody had made a road-going four that small. But it cost 30 percent more than Benelli’s 250 two-stroke twin.

Benelli 254The 231cc wet-sump engine was of the oversquare, short-stroke design, with a 44mm bore, 38mm stroke and a compression ratio of 10.5:1, happily revving to 10,500. All this was done using one overhead camshaft, two valves per cylinder and four 18mm Dell’Orto carburetors; 27 horsepower at the crankshaft. Ignition was done via battery and distributor, with the battery also powering the electric starter. Hardly necessary on such a small engine, but deemed essential in the modern market.

Primary drive was by a combination of chain and gears, a wet clutch putting power through a five-speed gearbox, with another chain going out to the rear wheel.

The open tubular frame was light, using the engine as a stressed member, and sportily rigid. A single downtube was bolted to the engine between the second and third cylinders. The front fork was a Benelli design, with the damping oil inside the cartridge, the oil in the fork legs for lubrication only. A pair of shock absorbers suspended the rear. The alloy wheels, both 18-inchers, had six twin-spokes, a 260mm disc brake on the front, drum at the back. Wheelbase was a modest 50 inches.

Benelli 254In 1977 similar models were sold by both Benelli and Moto Guzzi. With styling focusing on the sport rider, the Benelli was labeled the 250 Quattro; the Moto Guzzi 254 was aimed at the touring rider..

The styling fellow who did the Benelli bodywork had been charged with making the bike look modern, as well as appearing sleek. The end result was not very aesthetic; light thermoplastic panels, using straight rather then curved lines, covered the small gas tank and then angled down to where separate side panels would normally be. Moto Guzzi, on the other hand, had more traditional styling, with small panels making the gas tank look normal. Long panels traveled under the seat to a curved tail section, creating an attractively sporty look.

Benelli 254In an attempt to declutter the handlebar area on both bikes the speedo, tach and warning lights were positioned flat on top of the gas tank, requiring the rider to take his eyes off the road to see how fast he was going—not a good idea. Much better to have the instruments up by the headlight. For further decluttering, the reservoir for the front brake fluid was also tucked under the top of the tank.

Time went on, neither 250 selling well, and in 1980 the Mark II version came along. The Guzzi-labeled 250 was dropped, with the new Benelli 254 retaining the better-selling Guzzi styling and adding a little quarter fairing. The only picture we could find of the little Benelli sold in the U.S. was in the “1982 Motorcycle Buyer’s Guide” and it showed that slab-sided 250 Quattro model (the bike pictured in this article was imported to the U.S. from Europe). Cosmo dropped the model after 1982, while the factory went on producing the 254 version in Europe for another two years.

Benelli 254

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Motorbikes you most want to ride in 2019

The Indian FTR 1200 is the motorcycle that most excited our readers in 2018 and tops our poll of the 2019 models you and we would most like to ride this year.

Throughout the year we have unveiled the many new models that are expected to be released in 2019.

There is a host of new models from just about every manufacturer.

But the model that continually rated the highest in our readership figures was the Indian FTR 1200.

It arrives here this year in several models starting at under $20,000.

Some of the reader interest in the bike was negative after the production model revealed a less aggressive pipe than the prototype.

Indian Motorcycle Scout FTR1200 - learner bike coming? Travis Pastrana FTR750 Evel Knievel stunts recreated on Indian FTR1200 usb
Scout FTR 1200 Custom prototype

Even before its release, Indian Motorcycle has announced a host of accessories to customise the bike for touring, flat tracking and rallying. 

Indian FTR 1200 adds accessories 2019
FTR 1200 with all the Tracker bling

Electric shock

Electric Harley-Davidson LiveWire leads parade smart desert charging 2019
LiveWire unveiled in Milwaukee

The next bike to arouse reader interest was a bit of a shock … the Harley-Davidson electric LiveWire.

While the bike will be unveiled next year and we hope to ride it again in September in the USA, it will not be available in Australia until 2020.

If our ride on the initial model in 2014 is any gauge, riders will be in for a real treat on a motorcycle with instant torque and fast acceleration.

Royal twins and more

Royal Enfield 650 twins factory axe gap 2019
Royal Enfield 650 twins

At the other end of the scale is the Royal Enfield 650cc twins. 

The Interceptor INT naked and Continental GT cafe racer arrive in February starting at $8440.

A motorcycle that has sparked interest for the past couple of years is the long-awaited Yamaha Tenere 700. 

Yamaha Ténéré 700 2019
Yamaha Ténéré 700

It arrives late this year in Australia after being unveiled as the T7 Prototype a couple of years ago.

There is also a lot of interest for the Moto Guzzi V85 TT which arrives mid-year. 

It looks like having good off-road ability, but it’s just beautiful to get dirty!

Moto Guzzi V85 TT arrives mid-2019 season 2019
V85 TT

One bike which sparked a lot of interest — both positive and negative — is the return of the venerable Suzuki Katana brand.

Some love the new shape, while diehard fans of the old model say it is an abomination.

2019 Suzuki Katana deposits
Suzuki Katana

There is certainly a lot of interest already and Suzuki Australia says they are already taking $1000 deposits for the bike even though it doesn’t arrive until the third quarter this year and price is not yet known. 

Triumph always rates high among our readers, but the model that piqued most interest was the 1200 Scrambler.

We have known it is coming ever since they unveiled the new liquid-cooled models in 2015. 

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE Google and GoPro 2019
Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE

Tell us which 2019 model are you most looking forward to riding?

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

The Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

With Phil Aynsley

When it launched in 1975 the Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert became the first production motorcycle fitted with an automatic transmission. Honda’s CB750A followed in 1976.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert – The first motorcycle to boast an automatic transmission

The impetus behind the idea came from De Tomaso who thought Guzzi’s future lay in more touring oriented models, rather than sporting ones. While the chassis and running gear was almost unchanged from the 850 T3 California the motor received considerable attention.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

It was one the first Guzzis to use the 949cc version of two-valve V-twin. A Sachs torque converter and dry multi-plate clutch replaced the normal 5 speed gearbox and single plate clutch.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

However a manual two-speed gearbox (requiring the use of the clutch) was used so as to enable low or an overdrive high range. Low was good for about 130km/h and while the manual advised against it, high could be selected under 65km/h.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

Normal practice was to engage either high or low gear before riding off, depending on whether town or open road use was planned. A wet weight of 272kg and maximum output of 71hp at 6500rpm limited the top speed to around 170km/h.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

Other modifications to accompany the transmission was an ATF pump, holding tank and cooler with associated plumbing.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

The Convert was updated in 1979 and was sold until 1984 but it was never a big seller. This US model is in unrestored, standard condition, apart from the mufflers.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

Source: MCNews.com.au

Will ABS regulations reduce motorcycle toll?

Regulations requiring anti-lock braking systems (ABS) on new motorcycle models this year may not have much of an initial impact on the road toll, experts say.

From November 2019, all new motorcycle models sold in Australia over 125cc must have ABS, while bikes with lower engine capacities must have either combined brakes systems (CBS) or ABS.

But don’t expect a sudden drop in crash deaths, despite the Federal Government declaring it can reduce motorcycle-related road trauma by more than 30%.

That’s mainly due to the fact that most new motorcycles sold in Australia are already fitted with ABS because Europe has had ABS laws since 2016 and Japan introduced them in October this year.

There has been no subsequent decrease in the motorcycle road toll in Europe in the past two years, so we are not sure why our government would assume a magic drop by almost a third in Australia.

Motorcycle Council of NSW chairman Steve Pearce disputes the affect of ABS on the road toll.

Steve Pearce siege highway combined braking ombudsman scrooge poor road repair reduce killer holiday regulations
Steve Pearce

“The statistic of 30% is a vehicle-based figure. How many motorcycle crashes involve front-end loss of braking?” he asks.

Critics of ABS say it gives riders a false sense of security that the technology will save them.

In 2016, university safety researcher Ross Blackman criticised a VicRoads brochure that stated: “A motorcycle with ABS enhances your riding skills and techniques by preventing the wheels from locking, skidding and sliding under.” 

Quite simply, no technology makes you a better rider. It only helps compensate for poor skills or emergencies, he said.

The VicRoads brochure also suggested riders retro-fit ABS, but there is no known aftermarket product.

VicRoads apologised for the misleading information and error when we pointed them out.

ABS is simply no substitute for good rider skills and the only way to get them is through training and practice.

ABS regulations

abs mandatory regulations
ABS being demonstrated

The new Australian ABS regulations only affect new models made from November 2019. 

All other existing models won’t need to be upgraded to ABS until November 2021.

There are exemptions for enduro, trials bikes and trail bikes under 250cc.

If the bike has switchable ABS, the default setting when the bike is turned off and turned back on again will be for ABS to be active. We do not know of a motorcycle that allows ABS to switched off on the fly.

Click here for the full regulations. 

CBS is described as any braking system where one control pedal or lever activates some portion of the brakes on front and back wheels.

ABS regs worldwide

ABS brakes regulations
India makes ABS mandatory

While ABS is becoming mandatory around the world, the USA has no such requirement.

Europe: Mandatory ABS for all new models above 125cc from January 2016 and for all existing models above 125cc from January 2017. 50cc can have ABS or CBS.

Japan: ABS on new models above 125cc from October 2018 and all existing models above 125cc from October 2021. 50cc must have ABS or CBS.

India: ABS >125cc on new models from April 2018 and all models >125cc from April 2019. Under 125cc ABS or CBS.

China: New models >250cc from July 2019 and existing from July 2020 must have ABS on front and rear wheels. Under 250 ABS or CBS.

Brazil: ABS for 300cc and above ramping up from 2016-19. Below 300cc ABS or CBS, off-road excluded.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com