Rider Magazine, March 2020

Rider magazine March 2020 cover

The March 2020 issue was a nice read, with the UJM comparison (“Return of the UJMs”)! Really nice to see the standards get some love. Despite my letter months ago decrying the small fuel capacity of the Katana, it sure delivers on performance. And after sitting on the bikes at the local dealer, I totally agree the Kawasaki Z900RS has the most relaxed riding position.

However, I think you could have easily included the XSR900 in the comparison. Yamaha had the XS750 and XS850 triples back in the day. I think you were too hard on yourselves trying to stay with the in-line fours, as a triple does not color too far outside the lines based on historical precedent. The XSR may well have handed the other bikes in the test a whooping in some areas of do-it-all performance. It certainly is no less mainstream in appearance or overall intended execution than something like the Katana. I know my opinion is just that, and a couple of cents along with it will get you a cup of coffee. With that said, I hope the hearkening back to the days of motorcycling when the bikes were more capable overall and not niche focused continues. And softening the lines while rounding the corners to create that classic UJM look is hopefully part of it too.  

In the meantime, I’ll continue to cherish my almost 20-year-old ZRX1200 that was a throwback to the UJM days two decades ago. Man, I would love a Z900RS in the garage though….

Howard Bonser, Palmer Lake, Colorado

In the March 2020 One-Track Mind article by Mark Tuttle (“Misconceptions”), “permissive use” was discussed. I honestly never thought about that clause before, and I’m one of those guys that swaps bikes with others. I also know that insurance stuff varies by policy and by state, so I felt I should call my insurance company and see if permissive use was covered. They assured me that my policy covers permissive use. Thanks, Mark, for causing me to pause and check into this. I encourage everyone to know what your policy covers, what its limits are and who is covered.

Robert Steinbrook, Northport, Alabama

I followed up with Robert, and he shared that he is insured with Markel. Another reader also checked with his insurance company (Geico), and was assured that occasional instances of permissive use were covered by his policy. –EIC 

I am a motorcycle rider of 55 years. I am also an insurance agent protecting more than 3,000 families. I take my job seriously. When someone asks me a question about insurance coverage I send them a copy of the insurance contract to show them what’s covered. But you are right, so many people don’t know what they have and what they don’t have.  Know your coverage before you need it!

Mark Eller, Savannah, Georgia

Mark Tuttle, you made me sit straight up in my seat—but not my motorcycle seat! Your “Misconceptions” column caused me to immediately send off a certified letter to my insurance agent asking for that company to mail me a written confirmation that what had been originally, verbally stated to me was, in fact, true: that if my friend, while borrowing my Harley-Davidson Road King, were to be in an accident, the company would treat the accident as if I, the insured, was riding it. “No problem Bob,” the agent replied. So I sat back down in my recliner and read every word of my car policy with its attached motorcycle addendum and I never saw anything even close to “permissive use” other than some vagueness. While I await the official answer, I thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Bob Lawson, Palm Desert, California

I just finished reading the March issue of Rider from cover to cover as I always do, but this time I was moved to write to EIC Tuttle about his comments on premium fuel. I run premium fuel in everything except my car and truck, but that’s because here in upstate New York, premium fuel is the only one available in non-ethanol. My motorcycles have a 67-year span in their ages and I don’t believe any of them are designed to use ethanol, any more than my other small engines, lawnmowers, chainsaws, snow blowers, etc. I always thought that was my reason for running premium, please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks, and keep up the great work!

John Brojakowski, Niskayuna, New York

Based on a search at pure-gas.org, it appears there are hundreds of stations selling non-ethanol premium fuel in New York, and some other Northeastern states as well. Although your power equipment and older motorcycles may or may not require premium, they will definitely be better off without ethanol, especially if they sit for a while between uses. Consider yourself lucky that New York has so many places where you can buy non-ethanol gasoline, premium or otherwise. In California, for example, non-ethanol pump stations are virtually non-existent outside of airports; it can generally only be purchased in cans and is very expensive. –EIC 

I am glad to see Mark Tuttle help lay the old wives’ tale to rest concerning the use of premium fuel in all motorcycles. As a lifetime gearhead, I agree. The only reason for raising the octane rating above what was recommended by the manufacturer would be an increase in combustion pressure, either by mechanical alteration or by forced induction such as a supercharger or turbocharger. Engine timing also should not be altered except for the same exceptions.

Jim De Shon, Hesperia, California

On page 32 in the March 2020 issue (“Arkansas Odyssey”) the name on the Civil War plaque refers to a Dr. Jackson who healed wounded troops. However, the caption below the picture has the name as Dr. Johnson. So, who was it really?

Dan Myers, North Bend, Oregon

Well, the sign should say Johnson, of course. Just kidding, Dan, our caption is incorrect. –EIC 

I look forward to each issue of your magazine. With Clement Salvadori’s revealing musings and Eric Trow’s safety insights, I can’t wait to read each issue from cover to cover. I feel a kinship with each writer and an excitement about this hobby, addiction and obsession many of us celebrate. In an age where other motorcycle publications have fallen away, I appreciate the unique vision Rider reveals about the lifestyle we have such a passion for. From the first issue I found on a coffee table a few years ago, I knew there was something special about this magazine. I own three motorcycles that span multiple manufacturers and riding styles, so I refuse to be pigeonholed into a particular subset. I am a motorcycle enthusiast and I take every opportunity to positively share it with the non-riding public. If we are to promote the amazing lifestyle of two wheels (or three, if you are so inclined) we need to work together to learn from our struggles, support each other and celebrate our successes as a community. Riderdoes a great job bringing together all the factions of motorcycling under one roof. Thank you for being a publication for the entire spectrum of motorcycling. Keep up the good work representing all of us.

Derik Yarian, Firestone, Colorado

What a thrill to read about Wendy Crockett’s historic Iron Butt Rally victory (Kickstarts, October 2019)! And then to learn that she rode the same 2005 Yamaha FJR as I do, with the bar risers and Russell Day-Long seat that I’m also crazy about. Last summer I managed a 9,400-mile circumnavigation of the U.S. in 23 days (plus 13 more days camping and visiting family or friends en route). Not the insanity of 13,000 miles in 11 days, but Wendy is an inspiration to us all to keep pursuing challenges (Alaska this summer?) and creating rich memories on two wheels. Thanks, Wendy!

Bruce Ente, Oberlin, Ohio

I’m 68 and don’t plan to stop riding anytime in the foreseeable future. What I tell myself is that as long as I have good balance I will stay on two wheels. If there is a way to ride my bike to the funeral home when the time arrives, I’ll find it. Having said that, I do pay far more attention to safety gear than I did when this long journey began. I recently purchased an expensive airbag jacket. I looked at all the options and decided this Helite jacket was the best “bang for the buck” option. I also wear full knee and shin protectors under my riding pants (I removed the pads that came with the pants). Perhaps you folks would do a comparison of the vests, jackets and leather suits with airbag technology out there. These are tough products to find in dealerships so your insights would be welcome. 

Bill Murphy, Reno, Nevada

Here in northern New England, I look out to my driveway and observe that an early fifth season is upon us: “Mud Season.” It is the season between the epic beauty of winter and that season known to many cold climate riders as “spring forth the motorbike from thee storages.” Of course, some riders in warmer climes ride year round. Very few here do. The approach of Mud Season is also the approach of Mindset Season for me. After reminiscing all winter about the best motorcycling moments of the past (a few Ozarks sweepers, Manitoulin Island cruising, Vermont “lost road” exploring…), I make it a point to think about the unpleasant surprises that exist too. I try to ask friends to share their stories, and share a few of mine as well, like one weekend ride years ago where paying attention to my surroundings and allowing myself plenty of space and reaction time saved me from potential disaster. These thoughts are the ones we tend not to consider all winter, but I choose to remember them every time Mud Season—and Mindset Season—blossoms with the daffodils.

Scott “Hop Along” Henkels, Canaan, New Hampshire

Source: RiderMagazine.com

New Gear: Continental TKC 70 Rocks Tires

Continental TKC 70 Rocks tires

Continental has introduced an easy way to upgrade your TKC 70-equipped ADV bike’s off-road capability with the new TKC 70 Rocks rear tire. It’s designed to be combined with the standard TKC 70 front, with the Rocks’ more aggressive tread pattern aiding performance off-road yet maintaining the road performance and quiet ride of the TKC 70. Handmade in Germany, the TKC 70 Rocks is available in five sizes to fit 17- and 18-inch rear wheels; see your dealer for pricing details.

See your dealer or visit continental-tires.com/motorcycle

Source: RiderMagazine.com

German, Dutch and Finnish Grands Prix cancelled

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: “It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of these three important Grands Prix on the MotoGP calendar. The German GP is raced on a truly unique track with an incredible history, and the KymiRing is an exciting new venue set to welcome Grand Prix motorcycle racing back to Finland for the first time since 1982. And the iconic TT Circuit Assen had the unique honour of being the only venue to have held a round of the motorcycle racing Grand Prix World Championship every year, uninterrupted, since the Championship began in 1949.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

KTM Adventure recall on overheating brake

KTM Australia is recalling 683 of its new 790 Adventure and Adventure R models over a rear brake overheating issue.

The official notice issued through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the 2019-2020 models experience a material failure of the rear brake line as a result of overheating.

“If the rear brake system fails due to continuous heavy braking there is reduced braking ability or effectiveness,” it says.

“This can increase a risk of an accident to the rider, pillion passenger or other road users.”

To fix the issue, the brake line that leads from the rear brake caliper to the ABS modulator has to be replaced.

During repair, it will also be necessary to replace the round head Torx screw on the rear brake lever with a new screw.KTM 790 Adventure

Consumers will be contacted by direct mail notifying them of the recall. Consumers should contact an authorised KTM dealer.

The vehicle identification numbers of affected bikes is listed at the end of this article.

Dealers will arrange an appointment to inspection your bike and order replacement parts.

For further information, consumers can contact KTM Australia on 1800 644 771 or find their nearest authorised dealer using the online dealer search option.

KTM only had one recall last year.

Most recalls are issued voluntarily and posted online by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Even though manufacturers and importers usually contact owners when a recall is issued, the bike may have been sold privately to a rider unknown to the company.

Therefore, Motorbike Writer publishes all motorcycle and scooter recalls as a service to all riders.

If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites:

• Australia

• USA

• New Zealand

• Canada

VINS of affected bikes

VINS: MODEL:
VBKTS3409LM774455 790 Adventure 2020
VBKTS3403LM774452 790 Adventure 2020
VBKTS3404LM774413 790 Adventure 2020
VBKTS3401LM774420 790 Adventure 2020
VBKTR3406KM773709 790 Adventure R 2019
VBKTR3406KM773631 790 Adventure R 2019
VBKTR3401KM773696 790 Adventure R 2019
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Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

How to Purchase the Right Tires for Your Motorcycle

(Contributed post for our European readers)

Purchasing tires for your motorbike on the web from tyreleader.ie can save you lots of money. However, it is important you to find the right tires as they are a vital part of your motorbike. There are numerous types and models of motorcycle tires available. It is up to you to settle on which tire to purchase, as per your motorcycle’s owner’s manual and specifications.

Are You Using the Precise Motorcycle Tires?

Utilizing proper motorcycle tires can turn to be a life-saver! Utilizing an improper tire for the bike can lead to tragedy! It is quite critical for riders to select the right tire for their motorcycles. There several types of tires for diverse motorcycles and varied tires for different road surfaces. Also, when selecting the type of tire, think about the type typical weather you will be riding in.

Motorbike manufacturers have already fixed their motorcycles with suitable tires. It is worthwhile that riders read the maker’s manual not only to select appropriate tires, but also proper maintenance. You should check your tires frequently, especially for correct air pressures, to guarantee their condition.

A motorcycle ridden chiefly on the street must have suitable road tires. Slick tires for racing might look great on your motorbike, but the rubber is softer and will wear down more rapidly, although you will have a better grip on dry and smooth road surfaces. Harder and more robust tires will give you extra mileage. The disadvantage is that you may also get lower grip.

It is important to know that if your tires become damaged, choose a substitute tire of a similar dimension, speed rating, and brand name.

It may be important to retain the same tire brand as was fitted from the factory. But don’t fit a different size on the rim as it will affect the handling, may fail and may void your insurance in a crash.

Keep in mind that rubber losses its pliability with time and consequently loses its grip on the road. Being informed regarding motorbike tires makes you a safer rider.

Choosing the tire design for your motorcycle

If a rider uses their bike for daily commuting, weekend fun rides and camp-out tours, they must look into all-terrain tires.

Various motorcycle tires offer a wide assortment for a multitude of terrain. The tread patterns may depend on what type of terrain you will ride, such as tar, dirt, sand, gravel and/or mud.

In conclusion, since a motorbike’s safety is reliant on the tires, you should choose the right tires, plus maintaining them will get you the most out of them. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Female rider dies in crash with ute

(File photo of a ute and motorcycle crash)

A female rider in her late 30s has died in a collision with a ute in Bathurst, NSW, this morning (29 April 2020).

NSW Police say emergency services were called to the crash scene on Ophir Road about 9.30am.

Officers from Chifley Police District were told the rider was travelling west when she collided with a ute.

Tragically, she died at the scene.

Our sincere condolences to her family and friends.

The driver of the ute, a man believed to be aged in his 50s, was uninjured. He was taken to Bathurst Hospital for mandatory testing.

Inquiries continue and a report will be prepared for the Coroner.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Commute traffic lane filtering speed wet NSW sydney police commuting slow speeding speed limitIndeed, slow down and back off

Ute crashes

Without suggesting any blame for this incident, it seems that a lot of motorcycle crashes involve a ute.

Just do a search for “ute crash” on this page and you will see.

We suggest riders exercise extra caution when riding near utilities and trucks.

Ute drivers often use them as their work vehicle and may be distracted by calls involving their work.

They can also be loaded up with equipment and tools that could illegally disrupt a clear view of a small motorcycle in traffic.

You should also be aware that in some states, such as Victoria, there is no legal requirement for these drivers to cover their load.

So watch out for hazardous objects that could fall out of them.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Kriega launches Max 28 expandable backpack

Motorcycle backpacks are becoming more technical, lightweight and packed with features, but they are also becoming expensive such as this Kriega Max 28 expandable backpack.

Before we get into all the features, here’s the thing — it costs $385!

I reckon you could go to an outdoor, camping, hiking, fishing shop and buy a decent, lightweight backpack with many of the same features for a lot less.

Motorcycle-specific backpacks usually cost more, but this costs a lot more than sopme other hi-tech bags such as the Ashvault at $165, Ogio Dakar ($189.95), Kriega R15 ($199), Dainese D-Exchange ($169.95) and Dainese D-Dakar ($199).

So this “ultimate” Kriega backpack better be good.

Kriega Max 28

They say it is “bombproof and waterproof” with enough storage space to carry a laptop or full-face helmet.

The Max 28 has three sections and an expansion zipper that allows it to grow from 22 litre to 28 litres.

The waterproof section features a roll-top closure where you can secure a 14-inch laptop.

A third section up front folds down to expose an organiser pocket for quick access to small, everyday essentials.  Kriega Max28 backpack

The Max 28 expandable backpack features a light version of Kriega’s proprietary Quadloc harness system as found on all its backpacks.

They say it takes the weight off your back and shoulders and redistributes it to your chest and torso.Kriega Max28 backpack

There’s also a removable waist strap for stability and it has a soft back panel for rider comfort.

It is made of 420D Cordura Lite Plus and Hypalon, features YKK heavy-duty zippers and comes with a 10-year warranty.

The bag weighs 1.85kg, has four internal zip pockets and is compatible with a hydration reservoir.

Backpack warningKriega Max28 backpack

Many riders wear backpacks because their bike doesn’t have luggage.

You could use a tank bag, but they can scratch the paintwork.

A tail bag on the back seat may provide you with a backrest, but it makes it difficult to throw your leg over.

It could also fall off or you could accidentally leave it unzipped allowing it to spill its contents in a trail behind you, all without you knowing!

However, riders should be aware that a backpack can not only be tiring but also promote injuries in a crash from the contents or by rotating your body as you slide down the road.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Indian to add FTR 1200 Carbon model

Indian Motorcycle will add a Carbon version of its popular FTR 1200 model on Friday (1 May 2020), according to this YouTube video.

This time last year, we revealed that the company was planning FTR 1200 Tracker, Street and Adventure models under their Apollo program, thanks to this leaked brochure.

2020 Indian Raptor ApolloPart of the Indian brochure

Carbon copy

This carbon-clad model could be the Tracker as they pay homage to the 750 which has swept America’s flat track series over the past couple of years.

All FTR 1200 models are powered by their 90kW (120hp) 1203cc liquid-cooled V-twin.

Currently the FTR 1200 range consists of the basic model in black for $20,995 ride away and the FTR 1200 S in red and grey or titanium and black for $22,995.

From the Indian Motorcycle Australia website it appears the Race-Replica paint scheme with red frame at $23,995 is no longer available.

This Carbon model would probably take the Race Replica’s place as the flagship model with an equally “flagship” price.

There is no word on what carbonfibre bits and pieces it would have, but carbon wheels alone would certainly make it a lot more expensive than $23,995.

Indian has also released a variety of accessories packs called Tracker, Rally, Sport, and Tour.

Indian FTR 1200 adds accessoriesIndian FTR 1200 with accessories pack

We won’t have long to wait to see what the Carbon entails.

It comes after Indian Motorcycle parent company Polaris announced its sales in the first quarter were up 2% despite the crippling pandemic lockdown.

Chief Financial Officer Mike Speetzen says sales growth has been driven by new products such as the FTR 1200 and the new liquid-cooled Challenger tourer.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda plans 850cc parallel twin

Honda has filed a patent in Japan for a new 850cc parallel-twin engine to replace the current NC750 range and possibly also go into a smaller Africa Twin.

In Australia, there is only the NC750X, but there are several other 70cc models overseas.

The new model will not only have a new engine to meet the more stringent Euro 5 emission regulations but also a new chassis.

Parallel twin

Honda 850cc parallel twin

A bigger parallel twin means they can meet the emissions targets without having to reduce power output.

The patent drawings also show a dual-clutch transmission, so it should have a semi-automatic gearbox.

Just because the patent drawing shows a naked street bike doesn’t mean anything. Honda wouldn’t want to telegraph its true intentions by showing the engine in an adventure bike.

We think it would be an excellent engine for an Africa Twin.

While the Africa Twin has this year gone from 1000cc to 1100cc, there is room for a smaller and lighter model to compete with the mid-sized Triumph Tiger 900 and BMW F 850 adventure models.

Honda patents

This is one of a blitz of patent applications by Honda over the past couple of years.

Some are quite weird and impractical, but others may actually make it to market.

We suspect Honda is just trying to dominate intellectual property on motorcycle inventions, rather than planning to put them all into production.

The patents include:

Forks Goldwing patentGoldwing forks patent

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

WTH is David Edwards Up To Anyway?

The man who served as Editor-in-Chief of Cycle World for a couple of decades, until October, 2009, and one of the finest people I ever had the privilege of working for, was always into classic motorcycles in a big way. That knowledge and experience segued nicely into working as a consultant for Bonhams  Auctions for the last ten years. Now that that business is on temporary hiatus thanks to the global pandemic, David found a little time to post this 1985 memory on Facebook the other day:

Gixxer Throwback Photo: How can this be 35 years ago? That’s me in my Vanson leathers (that, sadly, don’t have a hope in hell of fitting today), astride a first-gen Suzuki GSX-R750 at the Ryuyo test track in Japan. The day before I’d selected this blue Gixxer and a matching red model from the production line at Suzuki’s nearby Hamamatsu factory, then wired and lead-sealed the cylinder head to the block, and the engine itself to the frame. Back in the U.S., both bikes would be run flat-out in a Cycle World magazine attempt to set the 24-hour world speed record for motorcycles, and we wanted to prove that the GSX-Rs – at the time, ground-breaking for their lightness and power – remained bone stock.

Suzuki laid on some shakedown laps at Ryuyo the next day. At 4 miles long, the company test circuit had a fearsomely fast 1.5-mile back straight and precious little runoff room. Orientation laps in a car were a bit sobering. My guide was none other than Mitsuo Ito, the only Japanese rider (still) to take a win at the Isle of Man TT. His 1963 victory in the Ultra Lightweight class helped put Suzuki on the world map of motorcycling and ushered in a racing heritage that continues to shape the company. A lifelong Suzuki employee who went on to direct the race program, Ito helped design Ryuyo in 1964 and had logged countless laps there. When he pointed to a battered foam wall a few yards off the track and implored that I shouldn’t crash here, he had my full attention.

David surrounded by Suzuki personnel at Ryuyo. “The hand-formed aluminum tank in back held almost 4 gallons, and with the main tank was supposed to give us an hour’s running time — mpg at 150mph was about 15 per. Unfortunately during the record run the rear tanks did not drain at top whack which led to frightening speed wobbles as the main tanks emptied, so we took the damn things off.”

Suited up and on the bikes, I followed Ito for a couple of warm-up laps, at which point he looked back, nodded and buried the throttle, jetting away in his all-black leathers, sitting bolt upright in the saddle and never putting a knee out, until he was just a speck in the distance.

Mr. Ito passed away last year at age 82. It was an honor sharing the track with you, sir – if only for a short time.

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Wow, those are the kind of big-deal stories the big magazines used to be able to get away with before the www existed, and nobody had to be bothered making a video of the whole thing either. David Edwards was there for the best part of the bike-magazine era, leading for most of that time what billed itself as the World’s Biggest. A year or two later, CW‘s arch-enemy Motorcyclist broke the same 24-hour record with the new 1986 Honda VFR750F.

In any case, Mr. Edwards is still comfortably living the Southern California dream, and happily reports that though the auction biz is in the dumpster for now, sales on his eBay site, MotoViejo Store, are up 200% compared to this time last year.

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