Heron decided to invest in a new, light weight chassis made from Ciba-Geigy Bonded Aeroweb (a honeycomb/composite) material, constructed by Nigel Leaper. The first two prototypes were made with an aluminium cladding (painted white) but the following six frames just used the (black) honeycomb material.
Records show that this bike (TSR08) was the last one constructed, in 1986, and was ridden at Spa by Kevin Schwantz to 10th place (in Rizla colours) – his first points in Grand Prix.
Later in the season it was ridden by Niall MacKenzie in the Skoal Bandit colours seen here. He scored three top ten places and was on the front row of the grid for the last race of the year, at Misano.
The motor was the final version of the square four, the reed-valve XR70RV which produced 148hp at 12,500rpm (with UK developed exhausts, heads & air-boxes). Dry weight was 115kg. Top speed 295kph.
The first bike (TSR1-0) can be seen at the Barber Museum in the US.
Shoei have announced a new iteration of the popular and versatile GT-Air helmet, the Japanese manufacturer claims that the GT-Air II again raises the bar for high-end helmet comfort, style and safety.
Shoei GT-Air II in Deviation TC-9An aggressive and compact shell design has been verified by wind tunnel tests for relaxed rides and less turbulence. The GT-Air II is also prepared for SENA SRL2* (Shoei Rider Link2) Intercom System, which is integrated into the helmet shell with no protruding operating unit.
The 3D-molded visor (CNS-1) with optimised visor base offers extra wide vision and a unique shape for optimum sealing. The modified QSV-2 internal sun visor used on the GT-Air II has been lengthened by 5mm in order to reduce the amount of light coming through the gap between the lower edge and the eye port.
A stainless steel micro ratchet retention system and a fully removable and washable interior ensures maximum rider comfort. The six size options are XS-XXL and will be produced out of three different outer shell constructions cover XS-M, L and XL-XXL) for perfect fit and compact dimensions.
A new developed ventilation system with two inlets at the upper head and chin area as well as four outlet vents at the top back makes for an ideal sports touring and everyday choice for motorcyling enthusiasts!
In terms of helmet graphics, there’s a variety of options available, while also a number of solid options available.
The Shoei GT-Air II is expected to be launched worldwide in March next year. In Australia it is expected to sell alongside the current GT-Air model, with the new intercom ready unit priced slightly higher than the much loved regulart GT-Air.
Alpinestars is expanding its line of urban riding jackets with its new Warhorse. Touring riders haven’t been neglected either, as two new offerings – the Streetwise Drystar Pants and T-SP W Drystar Glove – also make their debut in the US lineup.
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Warhorse Leather Jacket
An aggressively-styled urban sport riding jacket constructed from a durable premium leather for comfort, the Warhorse Leather Jacket incorporates a removable heavy thermal liner, making it ideal for city riding in a variety of weather climates. With CE-certified protection on the shoulder and elbows, plus the ability to upgrade with Alpinestars Nucleon chest and back inserts, the Warhorse offers class-leading protection.
Premium leather main chassis constructed from 1.1 mm leather, with a Nubuck finish treatment for a stylishly unique look.
Stretch panels on underarms and sleeves, plus leather accordion inserts on arms, for an enhanced fit and feel.
Snap buttons on the waist and cuff adjustment for optimized riding fit.
Two zippered hand pockets, plus zippered chest pocket.
Embroidered logos on front and back with heat stamp logos on shoulders.
Low profile collar construction with perforated leather padded edging for comfort.
Pre-curved sleeve construction reduces fatigue.
Removable thermal liner (100g on body, 80g on sleeves) allows the jacket to be worn in cooler climates.
Snap button connection system allows jacket to be attached to the belt loop of Alpinestars Tech Denim Pants.
Chest and back compartments (Alpinestars Nucleon chest and back inserts available as accessory upgrade).
CE-certified class-leading shoulder and elbow protectors.
The garment is CE-certified.
Streetwise Drystar Pants
The Streetwise DRYSTAR® Pant has a multi-fabric main shell construction incorporating strategic ballistic nylon reinforcements and CE-certified protection, as well stretch inserts on the crotch and knee. A laminated DRYSTAR® membrane, for guaranteed levels of waterproofing and breathability without excessive material bulk, and a removable thermal liner mean this pant can be worn in a wide range of weather conditions.
Multi-fabric, multi-panel main shell construction for optimized levels of fit, comfort and durability.
Laminated DRYSTAR® membrane for 100% waterproofing and excellent breathability. The bonded membrane construction makes for lighter garment and reduced material bulk.
Removable thermal liner (100g, thigh, 80g lower leg) means pants can be worn in a variety of climate conditions.
Strategically positioned ballistic nylon inserts for durability and seam strength.
Stretch insert on crotch and knee area offers an enhanced range of leg mobility.
Two deep zippered hand pockets for peace-of-mind storage of belongings.
Ventilation openings feature zippers to easily control levels of cooling and internal airflow.
Reflective prints on side of the pants make the rider more visible to other road users.
Multiple hook and loop volume adjusters on legs.
Hook and loop strap on waist adjuster for improved riding fit.
Waist connection zipper allows attachment to Alpinestars riding jacket.
Silicon print on back seat area in order provides greater grip on seat.
Fixed soft full mesh lining for comfort and breathability.
Developed to accommodate the CE-certified Nucleon KR-H Hip Protector (available as accessory upgrade).
Internal Level 1 CE-certified Bio Armor knee protectors for class-leading protection.
This garment is CE-certified.
T-SP W Drystar Glove
A sport riding glove constructed from advanced stretch textile and softshell, the CE-certified T-SP W DRYSTAR® Glove is waterproof and breathable. With class-leading knuckle protection and a leather palm for comfort and control, this glove is ideal for performance riding.
Sport styled, mid-length cuff glove constructed from stretch polyamide fabric and softshell on the backhand with goat skin on the palm, thumb and sidewall.
Incorporates Alpinestars waterproof DRYSTAR® PERFORMANCE sealed triple layer construction for a highly reduced material construction that promote dexterity and sensitivity of bike controls.
PU coated reinforcement zones on thumb and palm for durability.
Synthetic leather reinforcements with foam padding on the palm and outer hand landing zone to provide abrasion resistance.
Double hook and loop grip wrist closure system for greater ease of use and comfort.
Reflective insert makes the rider more visible to other road users.
Touch screen compatible fingertips for use with smart devices.
Advanced polymer hard knuckle offers class-leading protection without impairing hand flex or movement.
Alpinestars patented third and fourth finger bridge to prevent finger protection rolling out of position.
Here at MO, we’re always happy to learn of the availability of new helmet brands in the US market. NEXX Helmets and Rev’It! joining forces is good news!
Begin Press Release:
NEXX Helmets announces exclusive distribution partnership with REV’IT! USA for North American market.
Amoreira da Gândara, Portugal / Brooklyn, NY (November 1, 2018) – NEXX Helmets andREV’IT! USA have formed a partnership that gives REV’IT! USA exclusive North American distribution rights for the Portuguese brand, one of the most trusted, last-standing European manufacturers of motorcycle helmets. The partnership is effective as of December 1, 2018.
REV’IT!, a global leader in protective motorcycle apparel, will migrate all NEXX USA sales and marketing operations to its US East Coast headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. The alliance will create a position for NEXX Helmets to more deeply penetrate the US and Canadian markets, and to deliver the highest level of service and support to its dealers.
For Pedro Gonçalves, Director for Business Development of NEXX Helmets, the appointment represents a significant step forward for the company: “With REV’IT! USA, we have established a valuable partnership with a company that has a solid, strategic approach in the product lines they represent, as well as a proven track record of responsive service and support. We certainly share REV’IT! USA’s corporate values and commitment to product quality and customer support, and we have everything in place to take NEXX Helmets to a wider audience in North America.”
“NEXX Helmets is a trusted name and has delivered relevant and high-quality products to the market for years,” said Paolo Bacchiarello, Vice President of Operations at REVIT! Sport USA. “We’re excited that NEXX’s premium helmets are now part of the REVIT! USA product portfolio and we look forward to delivering more great content in the coming years.”
Under the terms of the new agreement, REV’IT USA will ensure a seamless transition and smooth continuation of dealer- and consumer-facing customer service, including distribution channel logistics and after-sales service.
After a final dinner with the McWilliams family it was time to head for the Belfast docks and join the long queue for the late overnight ferry to the port of Douglas on the Isle of Man.
Luckily, the night was not too cold and there was only a very slight bit of occasional drizzle to dampen the spirits of the hundreds of riders as they waited patiently with their motorcycles in the open air of the Belfast Ferry Terminal at Albert Quay.
As far as docks go these are quite pleasant. From the waiting area you look across the inlet to the blue lights of the Titanic Belfast building. Its leading edge designed to resemble the prow of the infamous ship itself. The Titanic was built in Belfast and launched in front of over 100,000 spectators on May 31, 1911, thus the homage to the ill-fated passenger liner.
While a lot less grand, I was hoping our Steam Packet Ferry across to the Isle of Man would perhaps prove a little more successful in being able to reach its destination.
Get Routed generally book dozens of tickets to ensure his clients have space for both themselves and their motorcycles. Dave also books a few houses on the Isle of Man to put his clients up during the TT fortnight.Some prefer to take tents and camp out in one of the many campsites which spring up for the TT. It’s a cheaper option.
Get Routed had organised our unique package to my requirements. I didn’t want to do the straight-up regular ferry from Liverpool and back from the mainland like most TT goers. I had come a long way and desired a much more diverse itinerary to make the best of our few weeks away.
I wanted to tour the southern climes of Great Britain and Wales before the TT.I was also keen to do some riding in Ireland, including a dirtbike tour up in Donegal, before then catching up with the McWilliams family in Belfast for a good craic.
To cater for this Dave had advised us to book a ferry from the Welsh port of Holyhead across the Irish Sea to Dublin.Then our ferry to the Isle of Man from Belfast for the TT fortnight, and also sourced us ferry tickets that after race week would take us from the IOM across to Liverpool. Where we would then continue our motorcycle touring to take in England’s Peak and Lake Districts before returning our Explorers back to Triumph’s Hinckley HQ. It was a somewhat complicated plan of attack, but Dave had sourced the required tickets and just made it all happen. Obviously he did this over 12 months in advance.
As we waited in line for the ferry from Belfast we realised that we were probably the only first timers onboard for the trip across to the 572 square-kilometre island that has been made famous around the globe due to the 37.73-miles of tarmac that snakes its way up and down and around the central parts of the Isle of Man, the fabled ‘Mountain Course’ IOM TT.
The ferry was jam packed, seats were at a premium. Predictably, there was a little argy-bargy involved in order to try and get a reasonably comfortable spot. The trip itself is around a three-hour affair, and you also spend a good few hours standing around with your bike at the terminal waiting to board. In fact you spend almost as much time dicking around at the terminal as you do on the bloody ferry!Check in closed at midnight but you are advised to get there well before that, despite the ferry not departing until 0200. It is a bit tedious, but the excitement in the air is palpable and makes up for it, we’re going to the TT!
I got to talking to a group of Irish fellas who were long time TT goers. A couple of them clad in full leathers complete with knee-sliders, eager to lap the mountain course themselves when ever the roads are open during TT Practice week and to a lesser extent race week. The roads are generally open most of the time, you can cut a dozen laps or more during TT week without too much bother if you are keen.Doing laps of the TT circuit also affords the time to seek out good viewing spots for when the real speed demons hit the circuit.
These Irish fellas I had got talking to, likely in their early 30s, so ten years or so younger than myself, were seasoned punters and knew the score. They had lost mates themselves at the TT. However, they were all proper Irish motorcycle nutters that had grown up around road racing, it was in their blood.
Their childhood heroes the likes of Joey Dunlop, 24-time winner of the Ulster GP and 26-time winner at the TT. Joey ‘Yer Maun’ Dunlop was a national treasure, awarded both an MBE and OBE before his tragic death while racing a 125 in Estonia in 2000.Conversely enough, Joey died on a closed course rather than ‘on the roads’.
Death is a part of the TT. It always has been, and unfortunately, most likely always will be.You always hear about the deaths of the famous riders losing their lives on road courses, Joey’s brother Robert lost his life on a 250 at the Northwest 200, Robert’s son William passed away this year after an accident at Skerries.
Scores more lives have been lost that never made any headlines. Almost every year a number of racegoers lose their own lives, crashing their motorcycles while on the Isle of Man to enjoy the TT fortnight. These crashes rarely make the news, its just part and parcel of what happens on this pretty patch of dirt in the middle of the Irish Sea.
I don’t wish to be morbid, but it is a simple fact of life, the Isle of Man TT also quite often involves death. It is what it is….
Changing tack somewhat…It was a glorious morning in Douglas as our Triumph steeds turned their wheels for the first time on the Isle of Man tarmac. Dave from Get Routed was there to meet us as we rode off the ferry. We followed him out of town and down towards our digs at the southern end of the Isle, the picturesque Port Erin. That first morning though we were not up for seeing much of anything other than bed!
The next day saw almost perfect weather unfold after a crisp and clear morning over the delightful sheltered harbour of Port Erin. This trend of sun and warmth continued for our entire time on the Island.
We were lucky enough to enjoy what was possibly the most glorious weather ever encountered over an entire TT fortnight. Later in the year Classic TT goers were not quite so lucky…
I was taken aback at the beauty of the Island. I guess my thoughts surrounding the Isle of Man had never gone beyond the tarmac of the Mountain Course, and the men that lay black lines of rubber on it. But now my eyes were opened to its beauty and I was keen to drink it all in.
Dave had situated us down on the southern coast of what proved to be a much larger island than I had imagined. We had motorcycles to explore it on, and better still our motorcycles were adventure bikes, thus we could also venture off-road when it suited us.
The beautiful landscapes and myriad walking trails got me to thinking that it would not be a mistake for someone to bring their family to the TT.
There were days where we never even ventured near the mountain course to take in practice sessions, instead hiking our way along the picturesque southern cliffs, which at some points look across to the Calf of Man.
The much needed exercise also made me a feel a little less guilty for indulging in the fantastic ales and awesome pub food that we encountered pretty much everywhere we toured throughout the UK. I am salivating at the memory!
And of course the first pub I visited on the Isle of Man I bump into a group of Aussies, some of which I had crossed paths with before.
We had got so lucky with the weather, the lush rolling green hills were picture perfect and the surprisingly brilliant clear blue of the Irish Sea sparkled in contrast, a backdrop good enough to paint.
The visibility in the water was remarkable and allowed us to spot plenty of sealife from afar. Basking Sharks the most common sight visible from the Port Erin Harbour or the clifftops above.
Clearly, there is a lot more to enjoy on the Isle of Man than just the racing.
It was once a favoured holiday destination for much of the UK, but with these days of cheap flights to the warmer climes of Spain and the Greek Islands, it has fallen out of favour as a mainstream holiday destination for Brits.
The island comes alive for the TT though, and the TT (and farmers exporting rare breed bull semen), is now what keeps the island alive.
Race week saw new records set. Peter Hickman’s final lap to win the Senior TT was epic, his speed across the mountain section in particular was breathtaking and an outright lap record.
Racers that specialise on the ‘real roads’ circuits such as the IOM and the North West call traditional career motorcycle racers ‘car park racers’. Reflecting on the fact that they race on circuits with only a dozen turns, as compared to the hundreds found on the mountain course. The speed of Hickman and Harrison at this year’s TT though showed just what a dedicated season of speed on a Superbike or Superstock bike in BSB now brings to the table as speeds continuously rise and new records are set at the TT.This pair regularly race in the tight cut and thrust of the British Superbike Championship, and look set to dominate TT proceedings for the foreseeable future.
I got a couple of laps of the Mountain Course in myself onboard the Triumph Explorer 1200. One of the days I was stuck near the top of the mountain section with hundreds of others riders, the road had been closed due to a rider making a fatal mistake that would prove his last. Strangely, there was still more excitement than sadness in the air, riders were keen to press on again as soon as the carnage had been cleared and the roads were open again. This is the TT, this is how it is.
I shot down a skinny side-road back towards town before turning my way back up towards the course along another farm lane that eventually met the course again only a few hundred metres from where the other hundreds of riders awaited the road to open again. Here though I was amongst only a few dozen waiting at the police manned barriers.I quizzed the officers as to which barrier would get lifted first, ours or the one I could see just a little further back up the road, they said likely ours. I was keen to get the holeshot, keeping my helmet on as I wanted to get out ahead of the pack.
It turned out just how I had planned, the barrier lifted and I launched that 1200 Explorer hard out of the hole to beat everyone else on to the circuit. This was it. I had a clear run over the final few miles of the mountain section and if I went fast enough, I would keep the hundreds of sportsbike riders behind me at bay due to their delay in getting away.I did not want to get mixed up in that bunch of nutters so I had a crack.
It was glorious, two lanes of perfect blacktop to myself as I sped past landmarks that I had only seen before on TV.Flying past Kate’s Cottage and then flat out down towards the tight right hand bend in front of Creg-ny-Baa.I was still leading and could not see anyone in my mirrors as I sat up to brake for Creg-ny-Baa. Hundreds of onlookers out the front of the pub let out their cheers of congratulation as I lofted the front wheel past them on exit.
Of course that last bit about the crowd was all just in my head, I think the people drinking at Creg-ny-Baa were really just thinking, ‘look at this fat bastard on an adventure bike reckoning he is John McGuinness’. Of course, when the real racers got at it later in the day I would have looked like I was at walking pace in comparison.
I didn’t care, I was on the Isle of Man, I was riding a motorcycle pretty fast, passing milestones and landmarks that I had only before seen a thousand times on TV, and it was glorious. It will stay with me for a long time. Hell, I think I might go again next year, care to join me?
If you want the chance to enjoy riding the Isle of Man then get the low down from Dave Milligan as to the ins and outs of how you can go about it. The old bugger can seem a bit ornery at first but once you get to know him he has a heart of gold.Get Routed have been taking people to the TT for over 20 years. Dave is a font of knowledge and if he can’t help you, he will no doubt put you on to someone who can. Give him a bell on 03 5625 9080 to find out more.
Mick Doohan was as popular as ever at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, where Marc Márquez honoured him by wearing tribute boots and gloves.
Winning the World Championship in Japan allowed Marc Márquez to move level in premier class titles with one of the legends of motorcycle racing, Mick Doohan. Both have five premier class crowns with Repsol Honda team.
Did you give many interviews during the Australian Grand Prix?
“I always do at Phillip Island, especially this year with the fifth title for Marc [Márquez]; everyone wants to make the comparison between his titles and mine, because of the number. We’ve both won five titles, all with Repsol and all with Honda; There are many similarities. Mine were won many years ago, but it’s nice to be remembered in this way, even if it means a lot of interview requests in addition to other commitments that I already have. I’m very happy to be able to do everything. It’s not a bother for me, and it’s simply a matter of finding the time and way to do everything.”
What did you think when you saw that Marc was going to wear your boots and gloves?
“It was fantastic. He actually asked me for permission to use them, and of course I said that he could. It’s an honour that he thought of me like that for the race in Australia.”
What does it mean for you to see Marc win five titles with Honda, like you did?
“I think it’s fantastic. It’s good for the sport and it’s good for the factory. Working for Honda was fantastic for me. They gave me a platform that allowed me to win. I didn’t need any extra motivation to continue riding year after year, as long as they guaranteed me their commitment to continue testing the bike, improving it and bringing me what I wanted. If I had needed a motivation to change the colour of my bike, maybe it would have been time to retire. Not everyone will like that, but it’s how I was and I think it’s good for both parties to have a solid association with a single manufacturer.”
What’s more impressive about Marc? His titles or the way he rides?
“I think the two things go hand in hand. His riding is impressive, there is no doubt about that; he makes it exciting for everyone watching, including me. But if he didn’t ride like that, he wouldn’t have won those titles. At the same time, it’s what gets the fans glued to the television. This year we have seen a great season of racing, with many riders at the front and a lot of fighting for wins, which has given us races like Assen. I always try to watch the races, including qualifying, and luckily I can follow it wherever I am – even on my mobile phone. There has been a lot of excitement and Márquez has been part of that. He’s an attraction to get you watching MotoGP to see what will happen, because you don’t know what will happen right until the last corner.”
What is the best quality that Marc possesses?
“I think his determination. His commitment to never give up, his will to compete. Some say he is too aggressive, but every rider is. When you are always on the limit, sometimes there is not much room for error and unfortunately there will be contact. There has always been contact, elbows, and moves that are a little aggressive. But before now, not everything was recorded by the television cameras. Now it’s like a football game; you can’t do anything. If you aren’t aggressive, you won’t win. It seems that Marc has a determination and a desire to win that is greater than that of the others riders.”
Can you imagine him on a 500cc bike?
“I’m sure he would have had no problem on a 500cc bike. The great riders like him, which we saw with Valentino and others, are able to adapt to the bike that they have. That was already the case in my time; there were riders who changed manufacturers, but their results were the same. The rider, the organic part of the bike, is the thing that usually makes the biggest difference. Marc could win for practically all of the factories.”
Do you see yourself reflected in any of the things that Marc does?
“I would be crazy if I said that! No, these are different times and the only thing that we could say is similar would be the will to win and to never to give up. I think that Marc and other riders, like Valentino, go into the race wanting to win no matter where they qualify. It’s the only similarity you can find between someone like me and Marc. I never went into a race thinking “I hope I can finish second.” The aim was always to win, and if that was not possible, then the next best position, but I was always thinking about winning.
“Marc is only 25 years old and, if he doesn’t get injured and maintains the desire to ride, he could win two, three, four or five more World Championships.”
Can you imagine competing against him?
“Yes, but if he were competing in my time, he would think ‘Who is Mick Doohan? Just a rider against whom I compete,’ just as he treats the rest of the riders today. It’s the same with me. When you go out there to compete and to win, the mentality is the same. Even though my time was 20 years before his, just as Agostini came before me and I would get asked about him.”
You rode against Alberto Puig. How do you see his role as Team Manager for Repsol Honda ?
“Alberto is a rider, and that’s what you need in a team. You need someone intelligent, with a good knowledge of the competition, even if he isn’t a rider. I remember that when I competed, he was a fast rider, strong and determined, but he was always very calculating. We have seen him working with young riders for many years, like Dani Pedrosa, and I think he has brought that experience to the team in what is a great step forward. Now he will have to handle Márquez and Lorenzo, and I think he will do well because he knows what each one will be asking for. At least they will not have the language barrier, as happened with me.”
Marc is still only 25 years old. What can we expect from him in the future?
“That depends on him. He is only 25 years old and if, touch wood, he doesn’t get injured, stays fit, strong and healthy, and maintains the desire to ride, then even if he retires at 30 he could win two, three, four or five more World Championships. Statistics are something you don’t think about while competing, although it is important to the media. If everything continues as it has done throughout his career, then if he competes he will do so to win. So if he competes for another five years, he could potentially win another five titles. But if he continues until the age of 35, then who knows?”
What do you think about MotoGP now, with the same tyres, electronics, etc?
“I think it’s fantastic. I think Dorna have done a great job, especially Carmelo Ezpeleta. I love talking to him, because he’s always one step ahead with his vision. I think he has managed the sport very well; If you look at the fans that come to the circuits and the television audiences, it is working out very well. The good riders would be able to ride without any electronics, but they have managed to make the crashes happen through losing grip on the front end, by forcing the limit of the tyre, instead of highsides when opening the throttle. It is safer and at the same time, with the same electronics, it is easier for everyone to manage the power.”
Do you think your son will get to Formula 1?
“He’s like a 15 year old rider in the Spanish Championship who wants to get to MotoGP. I think you need to have a dream. He’s winning races and he’s fast, but he’s only 15. I guess I’m the one who has been putting some ideas that he has into his head and he has the same mentality of never giving up. He is not happy when he finishes second, but I think that comes from him. There is a bit of that and he gets angry when he doesn’t win, and he tries hard when it comes to training and motivating himself, but at the end of the day he’s only a 15-year-old kid.”
What is it like to be the father of a driver?
“For me it’s nice, because I like motorsports. Being my son, you feel a bit of that adrenalin when he is on the track, but I try not to crowd him too much. Obviously you are a little worried about this or that, just like you see with Marc’s father and other paddock parents. He seems quite sensible and, hasn’t had many accidents for the moment. However, as happens in the Spanish Championship, the level rises exponentially and the competitiveness is much greater as you advance through the various series.”
MotoGP heads to Malaysia this weekend as the final leg of the three-week fly-away tour concludes with a visit to the Sepang International Circuit, before returning to Europe for the season finale at Valencia.
The melting pot of Malaysian culture is perfectly reflected in the layout of the 5,543m circuit, a track where extremely high-temperatures can heat the surface to highs above 50°C, while the abrasive asphalt can quickly be soaked by heavy downpours.
All of this is mixed with a technical layout over the five left and ten right corners, interlinked by two long straights. This provides alternating challenges to riders, bikes, and especially tyres, so much so that Sepang has become a regular test venue and one that is synonymous with preparing a MotoGP bike and all of its components for the season ahead, during the winter tests.
Viñales looked unstoppable in Australia and was back on the top step for the first time since Le Mans in 2017, boosting his confidence and adding a spring to his step on the way to Malaysia so he’ll be one to watch for sure.
“After the victory in Australia, sincerely, I’m very happy. The team has worked very hard to overcome the crisis that we were going through. I’m feeling comfortable and I’ve regained my confidence. But we have to think about the next race in Sepang. We are highly motivated. It’s a circuit with very different climate conditions to those we’ve had in Phillip Island and in Japan – it’s always really hot and that makes it a very physically demanding race. I thought we made an important step in Phillip Island and actually I felt really good on my M1. We are on the right path and if we continue like this, hopefully we can finish the season with more victories.”
For teammate Valentino Rossi it wasn’t quite the same weekend, however, as the ‘Doctor’ fought for second before then getting relegated to sixth by the flag.
“Unfortunately in Australia I lost important points for the championship and I’m very disappointed about that, but I’m happy for Maverick and for Yamaha. Now we have to concentrate on the third and last race overseas at Sepang and it will be important to have a good weekend. We must continue to work hard because we have to be competitive at every race. Sepang is not one of our favourite tracks, but we will always try our hardest to get the best results possible.”
Viñales has reversed the trend of late and that means the two are now separated by only 15 points in the Championship – will he continue to turn the screw? Or will the vastly different venue turn the tables once again?
15 points is now also the gap between Rossi and second overall Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) – so it’s all in play behind newly-crowned Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).
Ducati took a 1-2 at the venue last year, too – and Dovizioso won that and the 2016 race. Will the Italian be able to do the hattrick and win in 2018 too? He said Phillip Island was important to see how they’d improved this season, given it had always been a more difficult venue – and he took third, and fought for second. That’s a big leap forward so back on ground with a stunning track record, can anyone bet against ‘DesmoDovi’?
“Our main aim now is to try and win in Malaysia and for sure we can be competitive at Sepang, even though things are different than last year for many reasons. The fight for second place in the championship is now becoming interesting, because Rossi is still not far behind me, even though in Australia I gained a few points on him, so we must remain focussed because this is a track where he has always gone well.”
His teammate last time out, Alvaro Bautista, also had great pace at the Island on the GP18 so it wasn’t a one-pony trick for the Borgo Panigale factory. But he now returns to the Angel Nieto Team as, in turn, Jorge Lorenzo returns from injury.
Keyhole surgery undertaken and on the mend, the five-time World Champion should be fit to race – so what can he do? Second last year was a good showing but even more pivotal was Lorenzo’s form in testing earlier in the season: he was at his poetry-in-motion best to put in the fastest ever lap of Sepang International Circuit.
“Only eight days have passed since I had an operation on the ligament of my left wrist, but I’m feeling a bit better. For sure the operation was quite recent and so we’ll have to wait until I get on the bike to see how the wrist responds and if I still have a lot of pain when I ride. On Thursday I’ll go to the circuit medical staff for a check-up on my condition and I hope to be able to race even though I won’t be at 100%. I haven’t been able to train for the past few days and the Sepang circuit is very challenging, so this is not exactly an ideal scenario to return to the track.”
Not so fast, however – at least on paper. The fastest official lap, from a race weekend, remains Dani Pedrosa’s 2015 1:59.053 and the ‘Little Samurai’ has some serious form at Sepang: five poles and three premier class wins. Higher temperatures raise expectations too, so what can Pedrosa do coming back from a DNF?
“The Malaysian Grand Prix is a demanding venue due to both the extreme weather conditions and the track itself, which isn’t an easy one, being wide and requiring precise lines and a good setup. That said, I like it very much, so I hope we can do good work and find a setting that allows me to feel good on the bike and to try to have a good weekend.”
His teammate Marquez, meanwhile, also ended up with a 0 in Australia. Hit from behind by Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and sustaining too much damage, he agreed it was a racing incident but both didn’t manage to finish – leaving a few usual suspects out of the mix at the front. Marquez has only one win at Sepang in the premier class, taken in 2014, but he’s been showing similar signs to that season’s domination a few times in 2018 – and the title is already done. Will he be straight back on top?
“We had quite an eventful race in Australia and it was a pity we couldn’t fight until the end, but that’s gone now and we look forward to the next round in Malaysia with our usual spirit and positive mentality. We still have our target of two more titles to achieve, and we also want to try and win again if we have the chance to do so. Malaysia is a demanding round from a physical point of view but that’s something we’re prepared to deal with, so we’ll keep our concentration high and try to start strong beginning on Friday morning.”
Andrea Iannone is fresh from his second place only a few days ago in Phillip Island and he will be taking this momentum as a further push to try and end the season in the best possible way. He feels that the competitiveness of his GSX-RR and his riding is very close to that of the best contenders, thus giving him high hopes for a positive race in Sepang, despite the hot and humid weather expected there.
“Last year’s Malaysian GP was a strange race because it was wet, but we showed good performance when the conditions were dry. We arrive after a positive weekend and good moments, I hope we can continue to be as competitive as we expect. Overall Sepang is never to be considered an easy one because it’s always very hot, so we struggle both with the physical condition and the tyre management and choice. We will need to manage everything in the best possible way. The last race in Australia of course gave us positive confidence and I also trust in the work they are doing in Japan, we have the important awareness that we are now very close to the best contenders.”
Alex Rins got a result below his expectations in Australia, but he could take important lessons from his solid 5th place. His performance in Japan was good, taking third place in the race, thus his confidence with the bike is getting better and better and he now has a well deserved place among the fastest riders.
“In Malaysia I will try to do my best, as always. We will try the maximum and hope to keep the momentum we’ve had in the recent races where we’ve always been in the Top 5. It is true that after the Motegi podium I expected a bit more in Australia, but the race was like that and we have to take the positive points. Sepang is a good track for us, a track we know really well because we usually test there in the pre-season, so we will work hard again to stay in the front positions. Suzuki is working very well in those matters, we need to improve a little more but we are feeling very positive for the coming races.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin can’t wait to arrive in Malaysia for the second last round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship, with Zarco’s Australian GP ending with a high speed crash that also took Marquez out of the running, leaving him tied with Andrea Iannone on 133 championship points and ranked seventh, with Lorenzo three points behind, and Danilo Petrucci just four points ahead, ensuring the last two rounds will be interesting ones.
“The Sepang International Circuit is a track I like and one, I can be fast on. I hope my Yamaha will give me a good feeling again. It’s going to be like in Thailand with very hot temperatures and difficult conditions to race, but I feel fit for this round, even after the crash in Australia. Therefore, I look forward to have a good race and catch as many points as possible to be the first independent rider.”
Syahrin will be on home ground meanwhile and sure to be the crowd favourite, with Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager Hervé Poncharal explaining that there’ll be plenty going on for the local.
“The next round only in a few days’ time is going to be Malaysia – a very important race for the Championship, great event, great circuit, where we do a lot of testing during the winter, where we have a lot of data and where MotoGP is big like it was big in Thailand. This year it will be even bigger, especially for us, because we have the home hero, the MotoGP star in Malaysia, which is Hafizh Syahrin. He will arrive there as a rock star. There are quite a few things organized around him by the media for the marketing of the Malaysian Grand Prix, so we will be very busy there, helping everyone. In terms of results, this has always been a circuit where we have had interesting races. Hafizh should be fast, we hope, although he has never rode a MotoGP bike on that circuit, but it’s his home country, which is always a very special boost. Especially after the nightmare day we experienced in Australia on Sunday, we can’t wait to be on track for FP1 just to forget about this and to be focussed on Malaysia. I hope there will be many, many fans for Monster Yamaha Tech3 with Johann and of course the local boy Hafizh. See you all there!”
Hafizh Syahrin currently sits ranked 18th in the championship with 34 points to his name, and it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to convert the home ground advantage into results, but he’ll have the crowd’s support nevertheless. Heading into his first home Grand Prix in the premier class, the Malaysian crashed out in Australia but took a top ten in Japan and is on form in terms of pace.
“I’m looking forward to arrive in Sepang after the good sensations we got in Phillip Island. Although the result was not great in the end, two thirds of the race were fantastic and I learned from the top riders in front of me, plus I was able to stay close to them. Unfortunately, we lost the front in turn four and also in the straight we were missing some power from the engine. I just can’t wait for my home race, which gives me some extra motivation. We keep working hard and believing in ourselves. For sure, we’ll try to do our best there.”
Aleix Espargaró arrives in Malaysia on the back of a good race at Phillip Island, finishing ninth after a comeback ride with a convincing pace. The Spanish rider, who has apparently suffered no injury after taking a blow to the hand on Sunday, will continue working on an evolution of the RS-GP in Malaysia.
“In Malaysia it will be important to test the new advanced bike. Phillip Island is a particular track and we raced there in decidedly difficult conditions, so I want to put the new solutions to the test on a different circuit. My hand shouldn’t give me any problems. The pain has gone down and I don’t think it will condition me for the next race.”
Getting back into the points will be extra motivation for Scott Redding who has been steadily improving his feeling over the last few races.
“At Sepang I’ll be expecting a physically demanding race, in some ways similar to Thailand. We’ll need to work on grip and tyre life. I want to take on my last to MotoGP races with peace of mind, trying to have fun and achieve the best possible result.”
The Ángel Nieto Team head to Malaysia with two riders bang in form after best results of the season in Australia for both Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham.
The Spaniard took fourth at Phillip Island, riding the factory Ducati GP18 in place of Jorge Lorenzo, and he is looking to fight at the front again at Sepang to round off a strong run of flyaway races.
“We go to Malaysia in even higher spirits if that were possible because this trip is turning out to be really positive. We are on an upward curve, constantly improving. Sepang is one of my favourite tracks, it has a bit of everything and the objective as always will be to have some good practice sessions, work well with the bike and look for a place in Q2. We have seen that if we can start with the front guys we can run with them, so qualifying is very important. Then we can aim for a top ten, which is what we can achieve with the material we have.”
His teammate Karel Abraham took eleventh place at Phillip Island to double his points tally for the season. This weekend the Czech rider shifts back to his Ducati GP16, the race-winning bike at Sepang in 2016, and he is hoping it can power him to another points finish.
“I am going to Malaysia looking forward to racing again and fighting for more points, even though I don’t like the weather conditions there. At Sepang I won’t be riding the Ducati GP17, which I had my best result of the season on in Australia, but I will be back on my usual bike to give my best as always.”
The heat is on at Sepang and another piece of the puzzle will be played out at 300 km/h around the fast and challenging circuit – so who can tame the Malaysian masterpiece? Find out on Sunday 4th November.
Riders for the 2019 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup have been decided at the Selection Event in Malaysia.
The Selection Event to choose the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup riders for next season is now over for another year after taking place at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Following inscriptions on Tuesday and a day of track action to assess the new crop of hopefuls on Wednesday, eight young riders from across Asia and Oceania have been selected to join the grid– as well as five reserve riders.
Aussie youngsters Jacob Roulstone and Harrison Voight are two of the youngest to make it through the selection process while Luke Power has been named as a reserve rider.
The Selection Event took place largely in the wet at Sepang, but it didn’t put too much of a dampener on proceedings.
Over 90 youngsters were put through their paces throughout the day before the Selection Committee made their final decisions.
The committee, led by Talent Promotion Director Alberto Puig, selected riders from Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan to either join the grid next year or be on the reserve list.
Now the grid for next year is decided, it’s time to decide the Champion this season. The 2018 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup will be decided at Sepang this weekend, and young Aussie Billy Van Eerde currently leads the championship by 12-points heading into this weekend’s finale!
SELECTED & RESERVE RIDERS FOR 2019
WEDNESDAY, 31ST OCTOBER 2018 /// SEPANG GO-KART CIRCUIT, MALAYSIA
M IDIL FITRI BIN MAHADI
M SYARIFUDDIN BIN A
HERJUN ATNA FIRDAUS
ABDUL GOFAR MUTAQIM
JACOB JOHN ROULSTONE
HARRISON SAMUEL VOIGHT
MUHAMMAD AIMAN BIN AZMAN
MUHAMMAD HILDHAN KUSUMA
Alberto Puig (Talent Promotion Director):
“It was difficult, especially because of the conditions. It was pouring. We couldn’t do our full intended program of testing but we did what we could. Out of all this I think we’ve selected the riders who were faster today, and the reserve riders. It’s the first time we’ve had rain like this during the selection at Sepang. But we did it and we’re happy, we have some young riders of different nationalities. It’s also important that no one is injured although we had some crashes, everyone is ok. So for one more edition, job completed.
“We always try and find young riders because they always have more potential to learn and grow. We hope we’ve got some potential selected here. They understand they have an important opportunity but at the beginning it will be difficult for them, like it has been for all the riders who have come to race in the Cup. But as always, the guys who are strongest and have the most passion will make it on this road.”
Say, weren’t we just talking about how ebikes are lately cutting into the traditional motorcycle market? Why, yes we were, right here among other places. The Luddites as usual contend that putting a motor on a bicycle is cheating, but then they’re the same people who eschew ABS and TC. Sure, Eddie Merckx didn’t need assist in his prime, but now that he’s 73 I’m guessing he’d love an ebike, if he’s not pedalling around on one right now. And in any case, companies are in business to make money. What does it tell us that Yamaha can’t loan MO a test ebike because they’re selling them too fast?
Ducati Press Release:
An exclusive Ducati e-mtb ready for its debut at EICMA 2018
30 OCT 2018
The wait for the Ducati World Première is almost over and we are starting to reveal some secrets!
DUCATI WORLD PREMIÈRE 2019
DUCATI 2019 RANGE
On Sunday 4 November 2018 the Ducati World Première in Milan (streamed live worldwide on premiere.ducati.com starting at 19.00) will unveil the new Ducati e-mtb, the MIG-RR, an enduro born out of close collaboration with Italian company Thok Ebikes.
E-mountainbikes let cyclists take on climbs that, without the motor boost, wouldn’t be possible and, at the same time, they allow everyone to live the off-road on two wheels in total freedom. E-mtbs sales are booming worldwide. Ducati has now entered this market segment relying on the experience of a specialized company, Thok Ebikes, born from the passion of the BMX and Down Hill champion Stefano Migliorini.
The Ducati MIG-RR, which will make its public debut on the Ducati stand at EICMA 2018 (Fiera Milano Rho, 8-11 November), is a true high-end e-mtb developed by Thok Ebikes specialists in close collaboration with Aldo Drudi’s D-Perf and the Ducati Design Center.
While the new Ducati e-mtb is an offshoot of the popular MIG series produced by Thok, it features some unique technical solutions: wheels with different diameters and suspension set-ups with different degrees of wheel travel (29″ and 170 mm at the front, 27.5″ and 160 mm at the rear) make it a true enduro that meets the needs of even the most demanding rider.
With high-level components such as FOX Factory Kashima suspension, carbon fibre Renthal handlebars, Mavic wheels, 4-caliper Shimano Saint brakes and an 11-speed Shimano XT gear set, the MIG-RR features a Shimano Steps E8000 motor – which puts out 250 Watts with a torque of 70N – powered by a 504 Wh battery.
The battery is positioned underneath the down tube. The resulting low barycentre makes the Ducati MIG-RR an easy-to-ride yet precise bike even on the toughest terrain.
The Ducati MIG-RR will be distributed throughout Europe via the Ducati dealership network starting from spring 2019.
Royal Enfield 650 Continental GT Review Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor Review
Royal Enfield. That name summons up various thoughts depending on how old you are, where you come from and of course your knowledge of motorcycling history.
Right now though history is not where we should focus when we talk Royal Enfield. The Indian brand is undergoing a thorough modernisation program that aims to shift its perception as somewhat of an antiquated boutique brand for the eccentric, or simply an option for those a little or strapped for cash, in to a mainstream choice in mature markets such as ours.
Royal Enfield is striving to elevate their wares to new levels of quality and performance, but still aim to deliver motorcycles at a price point that makes them not only remarkably affordable for us in more affluent regions. While also remaining realistically attainable for the masses in emerging markets such as India, Brazil and Thailand.
To help them modernise and develop motorcycles with much broader global appeal Royal Enfield recruited dozens of staff from Triumph, and elsewhere in the motorcycle industry, to gain as much expertise as they can in order to bring a new range of much higher quality Royal Enfield motorcycles to market.
Last year they opened their Royal Enfield Technical Centre at the Bruntingthorpe Testing Ground. Here a 100+ strong international team of designers, engineers and test riders are permanent Royal Enfield staff all busy at work designing and refining new products.
The new Interceptor and Continental GT are the initial fruit borne of this new approach, but these are just the first of many new models on the way from the Indian brand as they position themselves to start making a real impact in mature markets.
MCNews.com.au recently attended the worldwide media launch of this new twin-cylinder range to gauge just how well the next generation approach from Royal Enfield is playing out in the real world.
As I first spied the brace of new Royal Enfield models that filled the parking lot of the Santz Cruz Dream Inn, my eyes were drawn immediately to the handsome Continental GT.
They all glistened in their various colours in the Californian sun against the glorious backdrop that is the famous century old Santa Cruz Wharf, the longest pier on America’s West Coast. The Continental GT in white was immediately my favourite.
The plain hue accentuated the clean lines of the machine to my eye, and I must admit to being taken aback a little with just how attractive these new machines were.
I liked the Interceptor also, it was tasteful and promised what looked like slightly more comfortable ergonomics, but the Continental GT had more brooding intent along with a little menace. Clearly the first impressions of these new machines were positive, and as I looked deeper they didn’t disappoint.
The paintwork and chrome looked brilliant, I would later learn these improved finishes are the product of improved production techniques now being used by Royal Enfield. I can’t of course attest to the longevity of both treatments in the long term, but I can say that on all the bikes I examined the paint, chrome, stainless steel and alloy surfaces all looked great.
The bends of the 2-into-2 exhaust leading to the long upswept mufflers are a signature element of the styling and one that has been carried off beautifully. They sound bloody good too, but alas only to onlookers, as they exit too far behind the rider to be heard from the cockpit.
If you want to listen to the concert while riding you will need to tick the optional extra box for some freer flowing units. The rortier pipes also come with what feels like a modest improvement in top end surge in the final third of the conventional 9000 rpm tachometer.
Despite looking quite individual, the two models share almost all the same parts. Primarily, it is only the seat, tank and bars that are markedly different, and along with peg position it is these items that also differentiate the ergonomics of the machines.
The GT has a little more ground clearance and a slightly stiffer base setting on the rear spring, but otherwise it is identical to the Interceptor. Ground clearance is generous on both machines and you are going full pelt with very little in reserve before you touch anything down.
In the corners these machines really do shine.The designers, or ‘felt-tip fairies’ as the engineers and test riders refer to them, decided from the outset that to achieve the stance they wanted the bikes had to roll on 18” rims at both ends. Dynamically, this posed numerous challenges that had to be overcome in order to obtain a sweet steering and handling motorcycle.
The development team left no stone unturned and has delivered a chassis that is remarkably competent and exhibits no bad traits that I could ascertain. They steer sweetly, hold a line well and do not run wide or stand up under brakes.
In fact, the dimensions and geometry of the tubular steel, double-cradle frame had been decided, and the production of tooling was well down the track when test riders found another breakthrough in dynamics while using yet another variation on their Harris Performance produced test frames. The fact that they then managed to convince Royal Enfield management to junk that purportedly seven-figure investment already made in tooling, in order to bring those improvements to the first production run, is a testament to how committed the company is to getting these new twins right.
The suspension is basic but actually works pretty well.41mm conventional forks offer no adjustment and have 110mm of travel while the piggyback rear shocks offer 88mm of travel. They are identical across both machines, save for the five-stage adjustable rear preload on the Continental GT having a base #1 setting equivalent to what would already be three-clicks on the Interceptor, however the spring rates remain the same.
I never copped any significant smacks in the arse or the goolies during my 400 kilometres onboard the machines and remained pretty comfortable throughout. The seats feel quite thinly padded and at the end of each day I was starting to move around on them a little, but overall they do the job reasonably well.
Seat height on the Continental GT is 790 mm while the Interceptor perch is marginally higher but still duck friendly at 804 mm.Both bikes roll on a 1400 mm wheelbase with 24-degrees of rake.
The tyres are of a tubeless specification but the 36-spoke rims they are fitted to are not. However, the extra carcass strength afforded by the tubeless spec’ rubber helps to add stability and poise to the chassis as a whole.
The Pirelli Phantom Sportcomp rubber also looks pukka and offer plenty of grip despite their unusually slim sizes, 100/90-18 at the front and 130/70-18 at the rear.These were jointly developed between Royal Enfield and Pirelli specifically for these machines and the compound was actually tweaked further after testers thought more improvements could be made while doing endless test runs in California ahead of the world launch.
It would have been nice, however, if the rims were able to be used without a tube as punctures on tubed tyres are not as simply fixed on the run via a plug and gas cartridge. That said, at least tubes should be easy to come by as 18-inch is the size widely used on almost all off-road enduro motorcycles. Thus any motorcycle shop in the back of Bum Fuck, Idaho, should be able to help you out if you get stranded.
The 648cc engine is all-new and will no doubt also power a cavalcade of more new models to come from the Royal Enfield stable over the next couple of years. We are also likely to see a slightly up-sized unit at some stage.
Remarkably, for an air-cooled engine, Royal Enfield have not only met Euro4 emissions levels, but tell us that they will also easily meet Euro5. It does sport a reasonable size oil-cooler but of course no liquid-cooling also means more simplicity, no water pump, hoses or radiator. It was pretty warm during our time in California but the bikes did not seem to get hot and bothered at all and I can’t remember feeling any major levels of radiant heat making their way up to me in the cockpit.
A 270-degree crank was chosen for the same reasons that this crank phasing has almost become the default in modern parallel twins. It gives more of a v-twin feel while retaining the packaging and cost advantages that a parallel engine affords. I am not sure if I agree that was the right move, I quite like the feel of a 360-degree crank and they are now so rare that this could have been another welcome point of difference for Royal Enfield to capitalise on, after all that is the original song of the British twins.
Thumbing the starter from cold sees the twin idles a little over 1500 rpm before settling down to around 1200 rpm once warmed up. The feel and sound brings a smile to your dial.
A single overhead cam actuates the four valves on each of the 78 mm cylinders and the engine runs a remarkably low 9.5:1 compression ratio.Obviously that is to cater for low octane fuel found in some regions, but it certainly doesn’t help the engine muster any sort of immediate urgency under throttle.
Throttle response is pretty much faultless though, from closed to open the response is smooth at virtually every rpm.I don’t think you could even purposefully be ham-fisted enough to elicit any sort of abrupt response. This is a boon for new riders, and a credit to the team responsible for tuning the Bosch engine management system, but I would like to feel a little more instantaneous shove when I hit the throttle, and think this would add a little more to the riding experience.
Of course, a learner legal 47 hp is never going to rip your arms off but still I would prefer a little more urgency when hitting the throttle on the exit of a turn, and feel this could have easily been achieved.
Maximum power is reached at 7250 rpm whilst torque peaks 2000 rpm earlier at 52 Nm. Royal Enfield claim that 80 per cent of that twist is available right down to 2500 rpm. That sounds about right to me as there are certainly no real peaks or troughs to speak of throughout the rev range. It is virtually impossible to stall and a generous 37.5-degrees of steering lock makes tight manoeuvring a doddle.
Cruising at 130 km/h sees you at that 5250 rpm torque peak and proves pleasant enough with no real vibrations to speak of. If you are extraordinarily patient you can see as high as 185 km/h on the conventional speedometer as you eventually brush the rev-limiter in sixth gear just over 8000 rpm.The box itself is smooth and sweet while the clutch is of the slip-assist type and proved light at the lever.
I accidentally tested the slipper function a couple of times. The first machine I rode dropped out of gear a couple of time as I whacked the pair of 34 mm throttle bodies open while still carrying a decent amount of lean on corner exit. This was no fault of the gearbox, but due to the shifter not being adjusted for my size tens correctly, which in turn had prevented me from completing the previous shift properly. Once the shifter was adjusted to a more suitable height it never happened again. That slipper clutch did save my arse though.
Braking performance actually proved quite good considering there is only a single disc front, albeit a large 320 mm item clamped by a twin-piston ByBre caliper. The ABS control unit is a contemporary Bosch dual-channel item quite minimalist in size.
The mirrors work well enough and while the switchgear has a slightly tacky look it proved functional enough. In another cost saving measure the lights are conventional globes and not LED. A small LCD panel housed in the speedometer shows a fuel gauge along with the usual trip and odometer functions. By necessity of the crazy traffic from where it hails from the horn is very powerful by motorcycling standards. The Continental GT is crying out for some bar-end mirrors from the aftermarket catalogue.
The look of the Continental GT had me immediately favouring it over the slightly more upright and little more staid looking Interceptor, however, for day to day commuting and possibly overall riding enjoyment it is perhaps the Interceptor that gets the nod. At 13.7-litres the Interceptor also scores a slightly larger tank than the more sculpted 12.5-litre tank fitted to the GT.
I can’t help myself though, and still think it would be the Continental GT that would get my dough as I really am quite taken by its looks.Then I would be looking at the louder exhaust, a set of high-compression pistons and some hotter cams to add the final pieces of the puzzle to produce some increased urgency to the throttle and a little more thrust out of the bends. But then with more power of course I would then need to tweak the suspension…
As they rock out of the box there is little to complain about. Overall, in my opinion, they are a much better ride in every scenario than, for example, Harley’s Street 500. And dynamically, it is a sweeter handling machine than the outgoing Triumph Street Twin.
As I said in my initial thoughts published on MCNews.com.au immediately after the launch, I would not hesitate in recommending one of these to a new rider in Australia. Or an experienced rider just after a really affordable fun bike, and who doesn’t find a 47hp motorcycle beneath them. That’s something I would have never said of their previous models, but these new twins have broken the mould and most certainly have elevated the Royal Enfield to a new level of engineering competence.
Those of you that have followed my reviews for a long time, know that I am rarely so glowing and overwhelmingly positive about any bike, that’s generally not really the way I roll. You may have also noticed that I use the world ‘surprised’ quite a lot here, even though I went to great pains to try and not be too repetitive. But Royal Enfield really do need to be congratulated on taking this massive step forward. The real test of course will come out in the field, to see how well that lovely finish holds over the long term, and how well the mechanicals hold up as the kilometres are racked up. Early indications are positive in this regard but only time will tell.
Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed but early indications are that the range will start around $10,000. Cost of ownership is also looking attractive with 10,000km service intervals while a market leading three-year warranty adds considerable peace of mind. Hopefully the dealership back-up and after sales support also proves positive.
These new twins are a successful marriage of Royal Enfield’s basic roots of mechanical simplicity, but with just enough modern technology to ensure that the ride is fun, but without the fuss.
I look forward to what’s coming next from Royal Enfield. I am not sure what that will be, but I am damn sure there is going to be a lot more to look forward to from this company than we have ever anticipated before. And I find that pretty exciting.
While they have nearly gone out of business at low points in their history, Royal Enfield have always been producing motorcycles since the brand was first born in 1901. Thus Royal Enfield are the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer to be in continuous production. I think perhaps the best chapters in Royal Enfield’s long history are still to be written.