Australian company Benzina Zero has finally launched their electric scooter range for sale after almost five years of development.
The three-model range officially launched in Brisbane recently is led by the Sport at $A7250, plus on-road costs.
It can go up to 90km on a single charge with a top speed of 75km/h and features a twin-speaker Bluetooth audio system and USB charger.
The base model is the $A4250 City which can go up to 80km on a single charge and has a top speed of 45km/h.
I particularly like the look of the macho adventure Duo crossover model at $A4650. It can reach speeds up to 65km/h with a range of about 105km. It has more than 20 different attachments so you can attach luggage or even a surfboard.
All Benzina Zero scooters are powered by quiet Bosch motors, can be charged anywhere like a phone, include an anti-theft system and audible alarm, and have keyless ignition.
A performance version of the adventure scooter, called the Duo+ ($A5250) and a Vasto commemorative edition start production next year.
Australian customers can buy Benzina Zero scooters at 10 Australian dealerships (one in Sydney, two in Adelaide and the rest in Queensland).
Longtime motorcycle and scooter industry stalwarts Joe D’Ercole and Ben Silver have developed the scooters with a Chinese factory.
Ben says motorists are switching to electric two-wheelers for the “social, lifestyle and environmental benefits”.
“We were the first electric vehicle manufacturer in the country to sign up to the B-cycle battery recharging program ahead of all the major players including four and two-wheel vehicles,” the says.
Their innovative company imports and distributes electric first and last-mile mopeds and scooters to more than 18 countries across Europe, Asia and Australia.
Benzina Zero has also been listed as finalists for the innovation award in the 2022 Queensland Auto Awards, announced on November 19.
Melbourne denim riding gear company SA1NT has branched out from denim pants and jackets into nylon Cordura, releasing an armoured puffer jacket.
SA1NT famously developed a six-second single-layer denim, but has now added nylon Cordura products to their lineup.
Cordura is durable and lightweight and has reasonable abrasion resistance. It’s not race track or touring standard, but good enough for street use.
Their new stylish puffer jacket is not cheap at $600 and at that price you only get the jacket – no impact protectors.
However, you can buy D30 Ghost Armour for the shoulders and elbows at an extra $100 and D30 viper stealth back armour for $59.99.
SA1NT ecommerce manager Michael Baxter says they certified the jacket both with and without armour.
The fabric in the impact zones is rated 5.9 seconds (using CE-EN 13595 testing), but without armour the jacket has a class B garment CE-EN 17092 rating which is the third highest of the five levels of protection.
“When sold with the armour our jacket has a AA rating,” Michael says.
“Moving forward we have developed our own SA1NT armours and will start including these in most of our CE-rated moto garments.”
Deakin University Fibre Science and Technology researcher Dr Chris Hurren says that to meet the CE “AAA” and “AA” certifications, jackets must be fitted with shoulder and elbow impact protectors.
I have been riding with this stylish puffer jacket for a few weeks in changeable weather from single digits to the high 20s.
It’s not really a winter jacket as it doesn’t have enough thermal protection for comfortable riding under the low 20s. And on the one day the temperature climbed toward 30C, I was sweating because there is no ventilation.
It’s not waterproof but is claimed to have a “water repellant” coating with a waterproof zipper. I haven’t tested it out in heavy rain, but got caught in a brief shower where the jacket kept me dry.
However, a piece of paper in my outside pocket did get damp because the pocket zippers are not waterproof.
The jacket features some clever ideas such as the wind-cheating cuffs that also stop the loose sleeves from riding up your arms in the wind.
I also like the pocket tag with a catch to hold your keys or in my case to hold my earplug container.
The jacket is extra long so it covers the space between pants and jacket for better protection in a slide and to keep your lower back warm.
It sits up way too high in the front collar which rubs against the helmet buckle.
It’s only mildly uncomfortable if you are sitting bolt upright such as on a cruiser but is quite uncomfortable in any other riding position where you have to lean slightly forward.
The jacket features two outside pockets and one internal wallet/phone pocket. I would prefer at least one more internal pocket.
Some people like hoodies. They can be useful when you get off the bike, but I don’t like how they flap around and hit your helmet.
Thankfully the hoodie is easily detachable with a couple of clips and a zip.
There are no reflective materials, so it’s not really suitable for night riding.
This jacket comes in sizes small to XXXL and can be washed inside out with the armour removed.
Aussie riders could be shortchanged when buying protective riding gear that does not include the armour and should demand it be included free, according to a protective clothing expert.
I have noticed that several items I have received for review have been provided with the armour, but when I have checked the pricing I have found that armour is sometimes listed as an “optional extra”.
Deakin University researcher Dr Chris Hurren warns that the armour should be included if the item is CE certified.
The Senior Research Fellow (Fibre Science and Technology) at the Institute for Frontier Materials, GTP Research says recent changes in Europe to certification requirements for motorcycle protective clothing means there is a lot more CE Certified gear hanging in Australian and New Zealand stores.
“One of the benefits of CE certification is that most gear must include impact protectors. This means that riders get the protectors without having to shell out additional cash,” he says.
However, it appears that some manufacturers are not including armour in the listed price.
To meet the CE “AAA” and “AA” certifications, jackets must be fitted with shoulder and elbow impact protectors.
Pants require hip and knee impact protectors. For “A” level certification the jackets must be fitted with shoulder and elbow impact protectors. Pants only require knee impact protectors.
However, Dr Hurren has found during visits to motorcycle stores in Australia and New Zealand that some products from multiple manufacturers are missing impact protectors.
“These are garments that carry CE certification labels but are missing some or all of the impact protectors that they should be fitted with. This is mostly been noticed in pants,” he says.
“As a rider it is important to know that without the appropriate impact protectors the garment no longer meets the CE certification and is less safe to use.”
He urges customers to ask the store to include the impact protectors in the price.
“Point out that they do not meet Australian Consumer Law if they are sold without the impact protectors fitted,” he says.
“If they do not offer to do this then swap to another product or brand that does have the impact protectors fitted.
“I hope that the omission of impact protectors is accidental.
“If enough riders asking about this manufacturers will get the message and in the future make sure that impact protectors are fitted appropriately.”
Somewhere over the past 17 years that Chinese-made CFMOTOmotorcycles have been exported to Australia, they have morphed from cheap and cheerful transportation into good value.
Now, with the launch of their new 800MT range of Touring and Sport bikes, starting at $12,990, they have made another transformative leap — to a desirable adventure machine.
Largely due to their association with Austria’s KTM, CFMOTO motorcycles have improved their build quality while piling on the technology.
But more importantly they now seem to have a better understanding of discerning global markets that view motorcycles as more than mere transportation.
I have ridden just about every CFMOTO model imported into Australia in the past 17 years and have been impressed by how much bike you get for your buck.
In fact, maybe a bit too much bike as they are usually overweight.
Weight is still an issue in the 800MT Touring I have been testing. At 231kg, it’s plump for a mid-sized bike. Most of that heft is up high in the 19-litre fuel tank making it top heavy which is not ideal for an adventure bike, especially when the going is slow and technical.
But my other issues with past CFMOTO models — rudimentary suspension and minor glitches such as riding modes that don’t work and nonsensical instrument info — have been wiped out by the 800MT.
This bike simply entices with its quality of finish, high level of creature features and competent handling.
Look at this impressive array of standard features: cruise control, seat and handgrip warmers, rear wheel hugger, adjustable gear shifter, self-canceling indicators, LED lighting including fog/auxiliary lights, conveniently positioned USB and 12-volt chargers, two riding modes, slipper clutch, cornering ABS, crash bars, a huge iPad-sized TFT screen with comprehensive info, hand-adjustable windscreen, fully adjustable suspension, and even Bluetooth connectivity that provides simple navigation commands on the screen.
I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of months CFMOTO Australia doesn’t do a deal where they throw in luggage as they have done in the past with other models.
The 800MT range is their first non-learner model.
The Touring ($14,490) and Sport ($12,990) went on sale in January 2022, initially for customers who joined their pre-order campaign, which included $800 worth of free accessories.
The campaign just about exhausted their initial shipment but they have since received more containers to crank up the stock levels again.
So far, the most popular model is the Touring model which adds tyre pressure monitoring, centrestand, up/down quickshifter, plastic handguards, luggage racks, alloy bashplate, steering damper and attractive “gold” wire-spoked wheels that accommodate tubeless tyres. They even feature handy right-angle valve stems.
Whew! That’s an exhaustive list of features on top of the already impressive array of standard equipment.
But is it all just frosting on a stale cake? No, this is a fresh and exciting bike with capable performance, ride and handling for touring our wide, brown land.
That’s not to say there aren’t some drawbacks, apart from the top-heavy weight.
That weight issue should be of particular concern to any rider shorter than me.
At 183cm (6’), I have trouble putting my feet flat on the ground when stopped because of the tall 825mm seat. It’s not just the height, but the width that prevents you getting your heels on the ground.
On a couple of occasions I almost dropped the top-heavy bike when stopped on slippery or unstable surfaces.
You will also have to be careful about where you park the bike as the side stand is too short and it could topple over on a sloped or rough surface.
The 800MT range is powered by KTM’s 799cc parallel-twin engine that has been one of their best units for the past five years.
The twin is a capable unit, although the power band here is fairly narrow and you have to judiciously use the gears for stirring motivation.
It will pull strongly from 3200 revs, but loses breath about 5000, well short of the limiter at 9500rpm.
There is also a jerkiness in the throttle and a surging at constant throttle going about 50-60km/h. I believe there is a software fix coming for this.
The engine has little low-down torque for tricky off-road situations, though the low gearing helps.
However, its overall gearing is too low with the engine spinning at 4400revs at highway cruising speed (100km) in sixth gear.
That’s probably why the fuel economy is a disappointing 5.6 litres per 100km.
It’s not as low geared as the 700 range, but an optional sprocket for higher gearing would be welcome for Australian conditions.
Otherwise, the transmission with up and down clutchless quickshifter feels reasonably slick and functional, while the slipper clutch works well to prevent rear-wheel lockups on handfisted downshifts.
When you work the gears and run the engine hard there is an entertaining, but not annoying, growl from the exhaust.
The engine runs quite hot and there is a blast of hot air blown from the radiator directly on to your shins. While this is expectedly uncomfortable in slow-moving urban traffic, it is even noticeable out on the highway.
You will have to wear long boots, otherwise it could become intolerable in a Queensland summer. Of course in winter, it’s an advantage.
The 800MT comes with two riding modes: Sport and Rain. The latter dampens throttle response and is handy for slippery conditions such as wet roads or gravel. It helps compensate for the lack of traction control which many adventure riders may miss.
CFMOTO uses Spanish J.Juan brakes (now owned by Brembo) on most of its bikes and they are reasonable performers.
On the 800MT they feature twin discs up front which lack some initial bite, which is not an issue when riding on gravel.
If you hit the brakes hard in a panic stop, the hazard lights automatically flash which is a great safety feature that should be standard on all bikes.
The cornering ABS is also a worthy safety device that prevents the front tyre from slipping out from under you on a bend.
The ABS does allows minor rear-wheel lockups that may be disconcerting for some but are handy for riding on dirt roads where the tyre tread needs to dig into the gravel.
Ride is on the plush side so it suits our bumpy urban streets as well as B-grade country roads.
Since the suspension is adjustable for compression, rebound and preload, most riders should be able to find suitable settings for their weight and riding style. However access to the rear shock preload adjuster with a C spanner is difficult as it is hidden under the tank and seat.
Steering is ponderous with a 19-inch front wheel and wide bars, but again this suits adventure riding for which it is intended.
Cruise control is a welcome addition and is easy to operate.
It can only be deactivated by hitting the brakes or pulling in the clutch, not rolling back the throttle.
I found it did allow the bike to drift over the set speed by up to 5km/h, even on a flat surface, so keep an eye on your speedo.
The massive TFT instruments have a plethora of information on the home screen which is great. No need to scroll through several screens to get all the info you want.
There are also several other screens for controlling a host of other functions such as the seat and hand grip warmers.
Surprisingly, you can change most of these settings on the fly which can be a distraction.
You can also hook up the bike to the CFMOTO RIDE app, which is available across iOS and Android platforms. All you have to do is punch in the bike’s VIN to register on the app which also opens up the navigation function.
The 800MT has one of the biggest instrument screens on any bike and it is easy to read in most conditions, expect when the sun is shining directly on the screen.
Riders will find the 800MT has a neutral riding position with a plush seat that should see you comfortably through its 300+km fuel range without a break.
Pillions will also find their wide and flat perch very comfy with generous handles to grip.
The handlebars may be too high for some short riders, but you can easily roll them back for a more relaxed reach. You certainly won’t need bar risers to accommodate riding in the standing position across rough surfaces.
Those bars are also quite wide at 853mm which makes legal lane filtering tricky.
Perched atop the bars are large truck-style mirrors which give a big and clear view behind but can snag on SUV wing mirrors in traffic.
The windscreen provides moderate protection and can be adjusted 5cm by turning two knobs on either side of the screen. It would have been better if it could be adjusted by just one knob or lever on the left so you can keep your right hand on the throttle grip.
Tall riders may experience some wind buffeting even in the highest position.
At night the LED headlight casts a very bright and white headlight with good dispersion and eyebrow-singeing high beam, especially when used with the auxiliary driving lights, although you will have to disable the auto light function.
Despite some shortcomings, this is now a desirable bike for Aussie adventure riders.
The 800MT competently fulfils its design intention to tour a variety of terrain. Just throw on some luggage and go chase the horizon.
“They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom … or the Davidson family cottage!”
That’s the battle cry of a group of Scots fighting to protect the ancestors cottage of the Davidson see of the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson.
The Davidson Legacy Preservation group is a non-profit making group working to preserve, retain and enhance the accessibility of the Davidson Cottage in Netherton, Angus, Scotland UK.
Group chair Nyree Aitken says they hope to promote the family home and its historical importance to the biker community.
“The cottage was put up for sale as the current owners wish to retire but the only offers they have had have been from developers to knock it down and build new houses,” Nyree says.
“We as a community of bikers, do not want such a significant part of history to be lost.”
The group is hoping to secure charity status before launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise £500,000 to buy the Davidson cottage and employ a project worker to run and maintain the Davidson Legacy for future generations.
Harley-Davidson executive Bill Davidson and boss Jochen Zeitz visited the cottage last summer when filming the Sporter S promotional video.
Bill comments in the video below of the “awe-inspiring and emotional experience” of visiting his ancestral home.
“The fact that they have preserved it for riders around the world to come and enjoy and spend time here, pretty awesome,” All says.
“Heritage is so powerful and is really unique to our company which I’m so proud of.”
Nyree says Bill’s comments help to keep them motivated andpgoves their campaign is “truly worthwhile”.
In 2008, Harley-Davidson enthusiasts Mike Sinclair, Maggie Sherrit and Keith Mackintosh found the cottage, by then a crumbling ruin.
The property was earmarked for demolition to make way for a new housing development. Luckily, those three decided not to let that happen.
They bought the cottage and set up the Davidson Legacy to save the site as a tribute to the pioneering Davidsons.
For four years the Davidson Legacy team has worked tirelessly to restore the little house to how it would have looked when Sandy and Margaret left it in 1858 to make the gruelling trip to America.
“The restoration of The Davidson Cottage was a big undertaking and an arduous task even with all the help from local bikers but, in the end, it was all worth it,” Nyree says.
“Maybe it reflects the long, difficult journey that Sandy and Margaret made with their children, including little William C, who went on to become father to the founders of the world’s best-known motorcycles.”
Sandy and Margaret Davidson settled in Milwaukee where Sandy found work for himself as a carpenter in a local railroad company.
Their surviving three sons and two daughters also adjusted well to their new lives, and each prospered in their own way.
His middle son, William C. Davidson (1846-1923) was born in Scotland and grew up in Angus, but he became a man in America.
“He is pivotal to the story of the Davidson Legacy because he had the attributes of technical skill, an analytical mind and an aptitude for problem solving,“ Nyree says.
“These qualities are often considered typically Scottish as a nation of inventors and innovators.
“More importantly, they are key to understanding the spirit of enterprise in America at the dawning of the twentieth century.”
William C. Davidson, a Scot and a naturalised American, set about building the very first Harley-Davidson workshop for his sons and now is famously known simply as The Shed.
“He didn’t know it then, but he had laid the foundations for an iconic, internationally recognised, motorcycle-engineering phenomenon,” Nyree says.
You can find out more on the Davidson Legacy website, including a video of ‘Our Story’ which even includes Jean Davidsons visit and many more by clicking here.
The first number measures protection from foreign bodies such as dust with 6 being the highest, while the second from 0-9 measures resistance to water, so it’s pretty good. Click here for more details.
It also features the option to have the device charged anytime the phone is on the mount, or only when the ignition is on or an auto mode.
The latter “smart” mode keeps the device switched off until input voltage rises above 13.5V and turns off when input voltage drops below 12.5V to avoid draining your battery drain.
You can easily switch between modes using the toggle.
It also has in-line fuse and reverse polarity protection in the rare event of a fault. It can be hooked up to a USB outlet or your 12V bike battery.
Charley, who famously rode around thew world on three major journeys depicted in book ad TV series with Star Wars actor and longtime pal Ewan McGregor, is this time joined by bike builder Ant Partridge and mean’s health advocate Ben Bowers.
Their new motorcycle culture and mental health podcast is being launched through Motorcycle News and Bauer Media with audio episodes on Apple and Spotify and video episodes on the Motorcycle News YouTube Channel.
Each episode will feature a guest and we suspect Ewan will be near the top of the list.
While he is not yet confirmed, those who will feature include include former F1 driver Damon Hill, Briths actor Grace Webb, artist D*Face and six-time British Superbike champion, and MotoGP and WSBK racer Shane (Shakey) Byrne.
The show will centre around the love of motorcycles, but also also delve into themes of wellbeing and mental health as they look to normalise and empower conversations.
Over the past 10 years, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) raising awareness and funds for men’s health issues has literally gone from the top of the world to sea level for at least two participants.
In 2018, Sunshine Coast riders Carl Burroughs of Woombye Dental Group and Scott Macken of Scooter Style Noosa donned their finest and rode Royal Enfield Motorcycles to the highest inhabited village in the Himalayan mountains.
“It was a spectacular day, blue sky, snow on the ground and we all dressed up the best we could to get into the DGR spirit,” says Carl.
“This trip epitomised why DGR is so important. A couple of the lads on the Indian trip were struggling with personal mental health issues and the trip allowed them to feel supported and ended up helping them make some great choices which have resulted in a vast improvement to their lives” Carl Burroughs stated.
This year Carl and Scott will host the Sunshine Coast DGR starting in Noosa on May 22.
If you have a classic motorcycle or vintage scooter, you can register for their ride by clicking here or you can sponsor Carl by clicking here.
Details about the route will be revealed when you register.
There will be a post-ride event at The Apollonian Hotel at Boreen Point from 11.30am with a band, competitions, Show ’n’ Shine and prizes in various categories such as best-dressed men, women and. kids.
So far 136 riders have registered and $18,087 in funds raised. Their target is 250 riders and $50,000 in funds raised for Movember.
All funds donated will go to DGR and the prostate and mental health charities they support.
Registration is free, but participants are encouraged to raise money and go in the running for several fundraising prizes.
Now in its tenth year, DGR has raised over $31m and the ride has spread to more than 115 countries from its humble start in Sydney in 2012.
The grand prize this year consists of one-off models from Gibson guitars and Triumph motorcycles that celebrate the link between musical and motorcycle rockers.
The 1959 Legends Custom Edition Gibson Les Paul comes with Triumph design details, while Triumph has unveiled a 1959 Legends Custom Edition T120 Bonneville with Gibson design references.
The guitar has a hand-coach-lined pickguard inspired by the Bonneville’s trademark engine fins, and etched pick-up covers, branded truss rod cover and reissue switch backplate.
Triumph’s Bonneville T120 Gibson tribute features a hand-painted sunburst paint scheme like the Gibson with black painted guitar neck and headstock shape, edged with hand-painted coach lining, plus a host of branded touches.
Triumph Australia has urged owners of its 2021/22 Speed Triple RS and Speed Triple RR motorcycles to bring their bikes in for a brake check “as soon as possible”.
They have issued a recall notice for the bike blaming a “manufacturer defect”.
The notice says the brake disc may have been fitted incorrectly and “could become loose and interfere with other nearby components preventing the wheel from rotating freely”.
“This could reduce the expected braking performance,” the notice says.
“A reduction in braking performance could increase the risk of an accident causing injury or death to the rider and/or passenger, or other road users.”
Owners can contact their preferred authorised Triumph Motorcycles dealer to have the work carried out “as soon as possible”, free of charge
The vehicle identification numbers (VINs) of the 200 affected bikes are listed at the end of this article.
This is the first recall for Triumph this year after four last year when there were 46 safety recalls in total, the highest number monitored since 2009 and significantly more than the previous high of 37 in 2018.