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Aussie invited to road safety summit

Australian Motorcycle Council chairman Shaun Lennard hopes to address how roads can be made safer for riders at an international motorcycle safety workshop. 

The online event is being hosted by the transport arm of the OECD, the International Transport Forum, in conjunction with the Swedish Transport Administration. 

The invitation-only event of 150 participants was originally due to be hosted in Stockholm, in June 2020, but was postponed due to COVID-19 and later redesigned into a series of online workshops. 

Shaun has been invited to participate in the sessions on road infrastructure, road management and speed management on 17 June 2021. 

“The idea of making roads safer for motorcycles is not new,” he says. 

“There are some great ideas we have either been talking about, or have seen in practice, for more than 10 years. But things continue to be largely ad hoc.

“One good example is the Austroads Guide Infrastructure Improvements to Reduce Motorcycle Casualties. This was prepared and released in 2016. 

“The AMC was closely involved with the development of the guide, and it contains best-practice information. But five years later, it’s still not a default reference point for most Australian road authorities. It should be. I aim to speak about this at the workshop.” 

The workshop also builds on the ITF’s similar event in Lillehammer, Norway, in 2008.

However, Shaun says follow-up and a commitment to actions from the Lillehammer workshop has been lacking and he hopes this will be addressed this year. 


Riders line up for Tassie election

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Everyone’s favourite riding state of Tasmania goes to the polls on May 1, 2021, and several candidates who are also riders have pledged to support various motorcycling issues

Green candidate for Braddon Tammy Milne rides a Suzuki 650 Bergman, while Independents Jax Ewin rides a Honda CBR500R and Matthew Morgan rides a Ducati ST4.

Apart from Taswegians, the issues, such as the rollout of wire rope barriers, will also affect interstate riders who like to visit and ride a lap of the famous Apple Isle.

MBW doesn’t suggest how you should vote, but the Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia contacted all the candidates with an email address to ask for their views on various issues.

You can read the full party replies on MRAA spokesman Damien Codognotto’s Facebook page. 

“It seems to me that the big three (parties) down here are trying to cover their lack of motorcycle policy by sending ads,” he says. 

“So far we have nothing official related to road motorcycles or scooters from the Libs, Labor or the Greens.

“We have been told by candidates that they are working on putting out something compatible with their transport policies but nothing to April 20. Pretty poor really.”


Labor has now responded with the following:

Tasmanian Labor recognises the significant role of the MRA as a representative voice for the 24,000 road riders across our state.

I am happy to advise you and the MRA membership that Tasmanian Labor agrees that there should be a southern Tasmanian representative on the Road Safety Advisory Committee with a voice for motorcyclists.

In respect of wire rope barriers, a Labor Government will continue to engage with the road riding community to address this important safety issue.

Further, a Labor Government will commit to a full review of motorcycle and scooter parking in Hobart, Launceston, other local government areas and the airports through comprehensive stakeholder engagement including with councils.

Finally, Tasmanian Labor is completely supportive of the MRAT Toy Run, and will commit in Government to working in partnership with MRAT to develop expanded opportunities for local and touring road riders across the state.

Independent candidates who do not ride motorcycles have made positive responses to the MRAA’s policy concerns.

They include: 

  • Reducing the number of animal strikes on roads;
  • A motorcycle representative for southern Tasmania on the Premier’s Road Safety Committee;
  • Stop the roll out of wire rope barriers;
  • Work with city councils to improve motorcycle parking;
  • Encourage intra and interstate motorcycle tourism; and
  • Review Compulsory Third Party insurance premiums and introduce no-claim-bonuses.

“In 2022 we will be contacting all candidates in the Victorian election,” Damien says. 

“We think rider reps in other states and territories should do likewise.”


‘Aussie’ Barry Sheene mementos at auction

There should be a lot of interest among Aussie race fans for an auction of memorabilia belonging to beloved Brit and adopted Aussie Barry Sheene.

The two-time Motorcycle Grand Prix World Champion and all-round larrikin was well loved in his adopted country where he died in 2003 from throat cancer.

Now some famous Bazza memorabilia is going up for auction at the Bonhams Winter Sale on 11-12 December 2020. The auction also includes many rare and collectable motorcycles.

The many Bazza items on offer would make a great Christmas present for the Aussie motorcycle fan who has everything.

They include:

  • 1976 John Player Grand Prix Senior 500cc race winner’s trophy, estimate £600-800 (about $A630-910). It consists of a sword mounted to a wooden backing. 
  • A Castrol trophy for first in the MCN Super Bike round at Mallory Park 12 September 1976. (£400–600).
  • Plaque for first in the 500cc ‘Gran Prix de Venezuela’ at San Carlos 19 March 1978, 19cm x 14cm; together with three other awards including a Martini ‘rider of the year 1977’ belt buckle inscribed to the rear specifically manufactured for Barry Sheene (£300-500).
  • A stainless steel Gabriel watch awarded at the ‘France de Chimay’ race in 1976 (£300 – £500).
  • Two sets of Suzuki team overalls and bib and brace (£250-350).
  • ‘The Sheene Collection’ leather jacket (£400 – 600/$A$ 720-1100) and a medium fabric jacket with badges and logos (£400-600).
  • A leather holdall featuring his famous number ‘7’, ‘Sheene’ to the end and ‘Suzuki’ logo to the ends and sides (£250 – 350).

Bazza history

Barry Sheene
Barry Sheene

Barry was born in London in 1950, and was back-to-back world 500cc champion for Suzuki in 1976-77 after a spectacular crash at the Daytona 200 in 1975.

He almost died in the crash that would have ended many other riders’ careers, yet he came back stronger than ever and more determined to win.

Barry was also instrumental in many safety developments with track design and racer clothing. 

Between 1968 and 1984, Sheene made over 100 Grand Prix starts, securing 52 podium finishes and 23 victories and remains the last Briton to win a motorcycle Grand Prix race. 

Read this industry vet’s tribute to the late, great Barry Sheene.


Win passes to GOMA motorbike exhibit

How would you like to win one of five double passes to the “one-off, world exclusive” Motorcycle: Design: Art, Desire exhibit at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) running until 26 April 2021?

It’s easy to enter. Just read this article and pick out the bike that you most want to see at the exhibit and then leave the name of the bike in the comments section.

We will pick five random winners and name them next week. GOMA will be in touch to arrange delivery of the tickets.

If you miss out you can buy tickets now on the GOMA website.

Prices range from $18 for a GOMA member to $25 for non-members with concession prices for children, families, seniors, pensioners and season passes. Buying your tickets online in advance will save you waiting at the door with permitted numbers restricted by COVID policies.

It arrives just in time for border openings and school holidays.

I just attended the media preview of the exhibit of motorcycling through the ages and into the electric future and I can tell you picking a highlight is not easy.

There are more than 100 motorcycles from the 1860s to the present day, drawn from private and public collections across the globe.

The world-exclusive exhibition that takes up the entire ground floor in three big rooms features some important bikes, some major coups and some of my personal favourites.

Other highlights include:

Apart from the bikes, there is also a collection of motorcycle helmets painted by 15 contemporary Australian artists at the entrance to the gallery.

GOMA motorcycle exhibit
Literally a brain bucket!

There are also interactive displays where you casn create your own custom bike.

Scattered among the exhibits are big screens that from a Motorcycles on Screen exhibit within the exhibit.

It features old racing and riding footage plus iconic films classics such as The Wild One (1953) and Easy Rider (1969), cult favourites Scorpio Rising (1963) and Akira (1988), plus recent films Finke: There and Back (2018) and The Wild Goose Lake (2019). GOMA motorcycle exhibit

The Motorcycle exhibition will be accompanied by virtual talks and tours, storytelling events, trivia nights, and  ‘Motorcycles on the Green’ on 27 February and 18 April 2021, featuring more than 60 motorcycles from local community groups, live custom bike builds, DJs and more.

You can also grab a gift from The Motorcycle Exhibition Shop, including exclusive exhibition apparel and accessories by cult brand Deus ex Machina, and bespoke design pieces produced by local heroes Ellaspede. 

As a memento, you can buy the publication The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire is  at the QAGOMA Store or online.

You can also show off your ride by posting with #MotorcycleGOMA.

GOMA Director Chris Saines says the exhibition will appeal “not only to bike and motor sport enthusiasts but to anyone with an interest in social history, popular culture, design and technology”.

The GOMA exhibit has been curated by American physicist Professor Charles M. Falco and US filmmaker Ultan Guilfoyle in collaboration with GOMA.

They were co-curators of the landmark 1998 Guggenheim Museum exhibition in New York, ‘The Art of the Motorcycle’ that ran for three months.

It was subsequently seen in Chicago, Bilbao, Spain, and Las Vegas, with a total attendance of more than two million people.

Prof Falco described himself as a passionate motorcyclist who had his first motorcycle at 15, his first crash at 15.5 and last year rode a 90-year-old motorcycle across the USA.

“For a sustainable future, the world needs motorcycles for personal transportation,” he says.

His co-curator says motorcycles are an example of how “design drives everything”.

Chris says the exhibit will include the earliest 19th century steam-powered motorcycle, right through to electric motorcycles and future designs.

“Over its 150-year history, the motorcycle has undergone extraordinary reinvention, from steam power, to petrol-fuelled internal combustion engines to battery, and from humble backyard creations to custom-made, high-tech chrome speed machines,” Chris says.

“More than just a means of transport, the motorcycle is a design object, with forms and styles that reflect innumerable cultural and societal influences.”


R.I.P. Bill Tuman – Original Wrecking Crew Member Has Passed At Age 99

Gone, But Never to Be Forgotten

It’s with my greatest condolences to inform our readers that one of the original Indian Wrecking Crew member Bill Tuman has passed as of November 16th, 2020 in Bettendorf Iowa.

Tuman was an AMA Hall of Famer, with his racing career beginning as a flat track racer in the 40s and amassing over five AMA Grand National Championship titles; adding to the total of 15 titles that he and the other two Indian Motorcycle riders achieved during the years between 1947 and 1955.

Indian recently revived the riding style with the introduction of their FTR 1200 as well as the FTR 750 of which Tuman was present for the official unveiling of Sturgis in 2016 where he was able to reunite with his former racing partner, Bobby Hill.

Last year, Bill Tuman’s family and friends managed to track down the Big Base Scout motorcycle he used to race in his early days. He was reunited with the motorcycle and shared a heartfelt moment with it when he sat upon it for the last time at age 98.

Bill Tuman will never be forgotten and will remain a staple of Flat Track racing for the duration of the sports existence. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.


Piaggio Group Is Delivering Their Italian Motorcycles and Scooters Straight to Your Door

Order an Aprilia RSV4 Straight to Your Doorstep

Knock knock – Who’s there? It’s the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. The world has been seeing a steady rise in new cases across the board. My hometown didn’t have a terrible initial outbreak, but the news is showing cases skyrocketing due to cold weather and Halloween parties.

Italy had one of the first initial waves on earth, and are taking every possible opportunity to make sure that doesn’t happen this second time around. Ten days ago, the government imposed curfews and the country just divided itself into areas based on COVID cases with a colour assigned to indicate risk levels. Motorcycle dealerships and gear stores remain open, even in the highest risk areas.

If you don’t fancy braving the outside world to go pick up your new bike to help burn some free time during a second lockdown, the Piaggio Group has you covered. If you buy a new bike or scooter on their website they now offer an additional service that gives you the option to have your new vehicle delivered right to your doorstep. 

Piaggio, Vespa, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi’s websites will all have the option to have your new purchase delivered. Although you might initially think that keeping dealerships open in the ‘red zones’ is a bad idea, keep in mind much of Italy’s residents fully commute by motorcycle or moped, so it is important for the brands to keep their servicing centers open in the event a customer needs a tune-up or major repair to keep them mobile during the pandemic. 


Video: Is a $2000 Amazon Dual Sport Worth It?

The chads over at Bikes and Beards are back with another video overview of cheap amazon bikes. Funny enough, I say “cheap Amazon bikes”, but this one happens to be the most expensive model available on the site emptying your wallet with a $2000 cost-to-own. That’s still really cheap in terms of new bikes, as you’re looking at a $4k minimum barrier to entry if you’re looking to pick up a new dual-sport ride.

For an inexpensive bike, you’re definitely getting what you pay for. To put things into perspective, I recently picked up a 2001 Yamaha WR426F used for $2000 CAD. With the Hawk DXL coming straight from China, corners will be cut anywhere to save on costs to provide potential customers with the cheapest bike possible. When shopping for a dual-sport bike catered to offroad riding the last thing you want is cheap parts such as shifters and rims etc, but those are easy to replace in the event they snap or break anyways.

Previously, they unboxed and tested a different version from Amazon by the same manufacturer and it wasn’t quite as bad as you might think. This is the DXL version of the “Hawk” bike they reviewed in the last video, bringing a fuel injection system to the ride providing quite a bit more power. The bike requires full assembly to save money on the packaging/shipping which is odd to me because if you’re experienced enough with bikes to assemble one from (almost) scratch you probably aren’t going to be in the market for a cheap $2000 motorcycle anyways.

After assembling the motorcycle and giving an overview of the cheaper parts used on the bike, Sean gave it a quick test ride around the block to see its capabilities. He says the bike has much more power than the cheaper version, which is hopeful seeing as how the non-DXL version was lacking in power and overall performance. The only real problem that came up on the first impression ride was a frequent stalling issue which I’m sure he will cover and remedy in the upcoming videos.

Be sure to keep up to date with the series as he has a video planned to put the Hawk DXL up against more traditional production bikes in the same category to really illustrate the difference in cost-to-performance.

Travis Pastrana recreates Evel Knievel stunts


Motorcycle Theft Drops During Pandemic

Motorcycle theft fell a surprising 2.7% to 9021 in the past financial year (2019/20) while overall Australian motor vehicle theft increased 2% to 56,312.

It appears motorcycle thieves stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic as motorcycle thefts had been on course for a bumper year.

Thefts were trending up with a 10.% increase to 9672 in the 2019 calendar year. In fact, that was the biggest increase of any category of vehicle.

Instead, motorcycle thefts have dropped dramatically during the pandemic which seems to run completely contra to thefts of other motor vehicles.

The National Motor Vehicle Theft Council even points out that there is a correlation between the performance of the economy and crime.

They tip that with the recession caused by the pandemic it is “almost certain the current uplift in vehicle crime will extend into 2021 at a minimum”.

However, that may not include motorcycles.

Motorcycle thefts

London motorcycle theft
(Image: Met Police)

The biggest drop in motorcycle theft was in NSW, down 251 (11.6%) from 2160 to 1909.

At the other end of the scale, Tasmania was up a whopping 27.1%.

State or Territory 2018/19 2019/20 % change
Thefts % of thefts Thefts % of thefts
ACT 104 1.1 110 1.2 5.8%
NSW 2,160 23.3 1,909 21.2 -11.6%
NT 100 1.1 77 0.9 -23.0%
QLD 1,864 20.1 1,956 21.7 4.9%
SA 711 7.7 783 8.7 10.1%
TAS 170 1.8 216 2.4 27.1%
VIC 2,037 22.0 2,056 22.8 0.9%
WA 2,121 22.9 1,914 21.2 -9.8%
AUS 9,267 100.0 9,021 100.0 -2.7%

Motorcycle thefts by Local Government Area

Once again, the South East Queensland and Perth regions were the most popular targets for thieves.

As a consequence, these areas usually attract higher insurance premiums.

State or Territory LGA 2018/19 2019/20 % change
QLD Brisbane (City) 466 599 28.5%
QLD Gold Coast (City) 273 277 1.5%
VIC Melbourne (City) 232 247 6.5%
QLD Logan (City) 168 185 10.1%
QLD Moreton Bay (Regional Council) 169 185 9.5%
WA Cockburn (City) 117 151 29.1%
NSW Newcastle (City) 156 119 -23.7%
WA Stirling (City) 156 116 -25.6%
SA Adelaide (City) 52 114 119.2%
WA Rockingham (City) 85 114 34.1%

Most stolen

As usual, the most stolen motorcycle brands are also the most prevalent in the market such as Japanese bikes.

However, scooters and off-road bikes were also prime targets of thieves as they are lightweight and easy to steal. Some are also used on properties and tourist destinations where they may not be re-registered.

That explains the high theft rating of off-road brands such as KTM and Husqvarna, and scooter brands such as SYM, Kymco and Piaggio.

Top motorcycle theft targets

Make 2018/19 2019/20
Honda 2,010 1,938
Yamaha 1,582 1,574
Kawasaki 854 884
Suzuki 816 819
KTM 647 598
SYM 287 336
Kymco 223 257
Piaggio 203 221
Harley Davidson 219 186
Triumph 182 160
Husqvarna 145 146
Longjia 142 130
Hyosung 173 129
Ducati 92 101
Aprilia 94 99
Vespa 78 94
BMW 78 92
Bolwell 65 68
CFMoto 60 57
Vmoto 65 56


Triumph Street Models Recalled

Triumph Motorcycles Australia has issued a recall for 217 2019 and 2020 Street Scrambler and Street Twin models over a wiring issue.

The official notice issued through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says: “Misrouted harness wiring may become damaged by the lower lug on main frame headstock when the handlebars are rotated. Damaged wiring harness may cause the engine to stall, and increase the risk of injury and death of the rider or other road users in an accident.”

Owners of affected vehicles will be contacted and asked to present their motorcycle to an authorised Triumph dealers to have recall work carried out free of charge.
A new VIN label protector will be fitted to the motorcycle to prevent contact between the wiring and the headstock lug. Some motorcycles may also need a rework of the harness.

Click here to find a Triumph dealer.

Bonneville recalls

The “Bonneville” range has been the subject of several embarrassing recalls since they were introduced in 2016:


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.

Kirsh Helmets

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: