Tag Archives: motorcycles

Throw out unworkable exhaust laws: Barrister

A Brisbane Barrister has called on the Queensland Government to throw out the current exhaust laws after two cases against riders were dismissed in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 14 September 2020.

Barrister Levente Jurth, who wrote an article for Motorbike Writer in 2016 saying aftermarket exhausts were not illegal, says the current rules are “unworkable”.

The Magistrates Court of Queensland at Brisbane recently found Levente’s clients, Craig Rowland and Jason Tziros, not guilty and dismissed charges against them relating to their motorcycle exhausts exceeding the relevant stationary noise level under section 5(1)(a)(vi) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Vehicle Standards and Safety) Regulation 2010.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads who ran the prosecution was also ordered to pay $1500 in legal costs.

Mr Rowland and Mr Tziros were charged in a police operation on Mt Tambourine in May 2018 after having their Harley Davidson motorcycle exhausts tested by Senior Constable Paul Hocken of the Road Policing Command, Road Policing Task Force, Boondall, the State’s most senior and most experienced exhaust noise tester.

The Court found that the mandated test procedure set out in the National Stationary Exhaust Noise Test Procedure for In-Service Motor Vehicles – September 2006 required strict compliance for a valid noise test to support a charge and Senior Constable Hocken had failed to comply with it in a number of respects.

His errors included failing to properly calibrate the sound level meter and failing to properly measure the position of the microphone of the sound level meter.

2015 Sturgis Rally senior citizens

“When the requirements for obtaining a valid noise test are so complex that it involves lengthy legal argument in court and the State’s top cop with some three decade’s experience and one of only two police officers qualified to train other police officers in exhaust noise testing cannot get it right, it’s time to throw the current rules out and start again,” Mr Jurth said.

“This case has demonstrated that the current rules are simply unworkable, both from the point of view of riders attempting to comply with them as well as police officers attempting to enforce them.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Do riders deserve a better deal ?

Last updated:

Riders deserve a better deal that includes free tolls and parking, and lower rego and insurance to encourage more people to ride and ease congestion and strains on road and parking infrastructure.

So says the high-profile 2 Wheel Action Group made up of Australian motorcycle industry figures, led by former GP champion Wayne Gardiner.

They have launched a “Better Deal for Two Wheels” petition to demand more recognition and concessions for powered two-wheelers.

Click here if you would like to sign the petition that will go to appropriate state and federal ministers. Or use this QR Code.

Better Deal Petition

It calls for a raft of concessions to get Australia moving on a more convenient form of transport than public transport which is being shunned by the public with genuine fears of Coronavirus infection.

Key points:

  • Lower the cost of powered two-wheel registration and compulsory third party insurance, making prices standardised across all states ($50 for 50cc, $100 – LAMS, $200 – Open);
  • 50cc scooters and mopeds able to be ridden on a car licence Australia-wide, not just Qld, SA, WA and NT;
  • Incentives for commuters to buy electric powered bikes through green fund rebates (as per current solar rebates) and no stamp duty charges;
  • National exemption from motorway, bridge and tunnel toll charges; and
  • Free parking and footpath parking, except in public thoroughfares and walkways.

The 2 Wheel Action Group has set up social media assets and appointed respected and awarded retired industry veteran Stuart Strickland as its public relations manager.

Zenith Bi-Car

Stuart has urged riders to make comments about registration costs when they sign the petition.

Wayne Gardner’s video content will be rolled out over the next four weeks through Facebook and YouTube.

He will point out that more powered two-wheelers on the road means less pollution, better social distancing, less congestion, lower demand for infrastructure and parking, plus more fun!

Find out more about a Better Deal:

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Triumph Trident makes a comeback

Triumph Motorcycles will return the 1990s Trident name to their fleet in the second quarter of 2021.

The company has revealed their midsized three-cylinder Trident design prototype at the London Design Museum.

In a press release, Triumph says the British-designed bike will have “torque-rich performance”, “class-leading technology” and “agile and confidence inspiring handling”.

So it sounds like it could be based on the drivetrain and tech of their Street Triple RS ($A$17,650).

However, instead of a 765cc engine, it might be a little smaller as they refer to it as a “new entry point into Triumph’s award winning Triple roadster line-up will be competitively priced to deliver great value for a new generation of riders”.

So maybe it is more like the learner-approved 660cc Street Triple ($A12,850) than the original 900cc Trident.

Triumph Trident 900
Triumph Trident 900

The Trident design prototype is the result of a four-year development programme at their Hinckley design facility with input from Milanese automotive designer Rodolfo Frascoli.

Rodolfo has also designed the Moto Guzzi Griso, Breva, Norge and Stelvio, Granturismo Vespa, Gilera Nexus, Ice and Dna, Triumph Speed Triple and Tiger 1050, Moto Morini Corsaro, Granpasso, Scrambler, Suzuki Katana, Triumph Tramontana, VR46 Mya and many more.

Here is part of the official Triumph press release

The Trident design prototype – the birth of a new icon:
The Trident design motorcycle integrates the original design development model with prototype components – built to showcase the style and attitude of the landmark new motorcycle to come.

Introducing an all new contemporary take on Triumph style & attitude, the Trident design presents a pure, minimalistic form, with clean lines and uncluttered features that incorporates Triumph’s design DNA, with signature tank knee indents and key cues from our iconic Speed Triple’s muscular poise. Central to the overall form and brief, the Trident is built around a compact powerful Triumph triple engine, designed to bring all the advantages of a triple to the category for the first time, with the perfect balance of low down torque and top end power.

With a distinctive and confident stance & poise, the Trident will deliver rider ergonomics crafted to bring all of Triumph’s handling expertise, for the perfect balance of an engaged agile and dynamic ride, with an all-new chassis, married to great rider accessibility, comfort and confidence inspiring feel, including a natural upright riding position.

The design prototype also highlights another key aim with the integration of modern digital technology into the design that brings the features which riders in this world value and desire, in an elegant and easy to use way.

Steve Sargent. Triumph Chief Product Officer
”The Trident design prototype marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Triumph, where the brief was all about fun, from the look to the ride. With its pure minimalist form, clean lines, Triumph design DNA and more than a hint of our Speed Triple’s muscular poise, this gives the first exciting glimpse at the full Trident story to come. Ultimately our aim was to bring a new take on character and style, alongside the accessible easy handling and quality Triumph is known for – at a price that’s really competitive”.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Aussie motorcyclists are happiest motorists

Australian motorcycle riders are the happiest motorists on the road, even in these COVID times, according to a new survey.

The new research survey was conducted by YouGov and commissioned by ING who is launching their new Motorcycle Insurance.

It found that 82% of motorcyclists say riding makes them happy, compared with only half (55%) of motorists.

This is nothing new and mirrors other studies and longheld beliefs that riders are happier.

Therapeutic benefits of motorcycle riding were also highlighted in the ING study.

More than half (51%) of motorcycle riders surveyed said the positive mental health effects of riding was the top reason for them choosing the biker lifestyle.

ING Head of Wealth Cathy Duncan says the research indicates that “riding a motorcycle could be providing many with some of the same benefits of practices like yoga and meditation”.

The study of 1006 Australians aged 18+ years throughout the nation this month found that almost half (48%) of the motorcycling respondents said riding is a form of mindfulness that helps them de-stress.

Other highlights include:

  • 41% say they love the sense of freedom that comes with riding;
  • more than a third (34%) enjoy the fresh air and taking in nature;
  • 35% got into riding because of their friends or family;
  • 24% of riders vow to keep “biking” as a family tradition;
  • 26% will teach their kids how to ride;
  • 43% want to share their joy of riding with friends or their partner.

The study also found riders were aware of their safety with 36% saying their riding gear was their ‘second skin’ while 47% said it gave them confidence on the road.

As many as 60% said their gear and leathers were more important than other personal belongings such as their car, computer, phone, watch or wedding ring.

While 40% of Aussie motorists said they found it difficult or stressful to find parking, only 23% of motorcyclists complained about parking.

Destinations and commuting

Great Ocean Road country Instagrammed
Great Ocean Road

Riders also nominated their top five Aussie motorcycling routes as:

  1. The Great Ocean Road (VIC)
  2. Kangaroo Valley Southern Highlands (NSW)
  3. Adelaide Hills (SA),
  4. The open roads of Tasmania (TAS)
  5. Palm Beach (NSW)

The research found that Aussie motorcycle riders aren’t only benefitting mentally from their practice, they’re also saving time and money.

More than one in three (36%) motorcycle riders said they love riding for: the convenience of getting around, the ease of finding a parking spot (35%) and saving money (34%).

A quarter of riders said they started riding because it helped them avoid busy public transport and is a quicker commute.

Even non-motorcycle riders can see the commuting benefits amid COVID-19, with a fifth (18%) considering riding a motorcycle as an easy way to get around and almost one in 10 (9%) believing it is a way to escape busy routes to work.

“The research suggests the pandemic has many reassessing their daily commute and how they get around,” says Cathy.

“With price and convenience benefits along with mental health and wellbeing perks, why wouldn’t you consider it?”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Watch Tassie custom motorcycle film

Custom bikes and Tasmania’s scenery feature in a new 60-minute film called Wide of the Mark which the makers hope will be released on one of the streaming channels next year.

Filmmaker Jake Ashe says the film idea was to send six riders around Tasmania with road bikes that they’d custom-built into off-road bikes.

“We spent two weeks traversing around the rugged landscapes of Tasmania and essentially living off the backs of the bike, pushing them to the limit and taking them where they’re not meant to go” Jake says.

Film inspiration

The inspiration came from Jake and two friends creating a 50-minute motorcycle film last year called Handcrafted which they put out on YouTube for free.

“That was a trip down the east coast of Australia, and we dug into some of the garages and best custom bike builders in Australia,” he says.

“We wanted to keep the adventure going and we were really inspired to push the limits.”

This short film shows some of the more adventurous riding on Benders Track.

Jake says the trip was challenging.

“We were posed with all kinds of new and exciting opportunities and things we weren’t expecting,” he says.

“So many things went right, and we had so many amazing destinations. But a lot of things went wrong, too. It was really challenging in so many different ways.

“The name of the film, Wide of the Mark, comes from the idea of aiming for a point but essentially missing it, in a good way.”

Jake was the director of photography, cinematographer and editor. It was directed by his friend Cameron Grant and another friend, Tom Gilroy, was one of the main riders.

Five other riders were also involved.

The film was recorded just before the lockdown and the makers are now negotiating distribution.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Benellis shatter auction records

Two 250cc Benelli Grand Prix racing motorcycles have broken the auction world records for the marque at the live and online Bonhams Summer Sale last Sunday (16 August 2020).

The auction was held at Bicester Heritage rather than at the International Classic MotorCycle Show at Stafford, due to government guidelines on COVID-19.

Lots ranged from exotic racing grand prix machinery of the twice-delayed Morbidelli Motorcycle Collection to motorcycle spares and memorabilia.

The auction was Bonham’s most successful motorcycle sale to date, achieving a total of £3.67 million over three days.

Benelli records

auction Records
1964 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix (left) and 1950 Benelli 250cc GP bike

A 1950 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix motorcycle, ridden to world championship victory by Dario Ambrosini, was the first to set the new record.

It sold for £138,000 (about $A252,500).

Minutes later that record was shattered by its stablemate, a 1964 250cc Grand Prix machine winner of that year’s Spanish Grand Prix, ridden and signed by two-time world champion Tarquino Provini.

It sold for £149,500 ($A273,560), the top lot of the weekend’s sale.

They were part of a collection of motorcycle gathered over 40 years by motorcycle manufacturer and Grand Prix boss Giancarlo Morbidelli.

It was be the largest single private collection of motorcycles yet offered by Bonhams.

“He spent day and night in the museum,” says his son Guianni. “He had no other life.”

Nieto Morbidelli collection for sale
Giancarlo Morbidelli and a Morbidelli V8

Giancarlo’s collection includes international brands such as Harley-Davidson, Honda and Benelli ranging from immaculate restorations to prototypes and barn finds.

They represent the passion of the farmer’s son and former woodworking machinist who, while building up a successful engineering firm as his day job, spent his spare time on tuning, racing and later building his own motorcycles. auction Records

Another record was set at the summer sale was with a concours 1979 Ducati 864CC Mike Hailwood Replica, a landmark model paying homage to ‘Mike the Bike’s’ historic Isle of Man comeback victory in the 1978 Production Race.

It sold for £36,800, a new UK auction record for this particular model.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Fallout from world’s biggest motorcycle rally

So what is the fallout from the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally last week, the biggest mass gathering in the world since the pandemic was declared?

Organisers had predicted attendance would be about 250,000, down from an annual average of almost half a million.

However, official figures are 365,979 which is only about 7% down on the previous year. Fewer people aged 60-70 attended as this is the age group statistically most vulnerable to COVID-19.

It seems many riders chose to thumb their noses at the pandemic.

This is despite 63% of the town’s citizens voting not to hold the rally. It went ahead anyway after a gift wholesaler in nearby Rapid City threatened to sue the council.

The world’s media was there to record the event, leaving some scratching their heads and others cheering for freedom.

Rally falloutSturgis world's biggest motorcycle rally fallout

The fallout in infection rates and deaths is yet to come as the incubation period ranges from two to 14 days.

However, the damage to motorcycling’s image may already have been done.

One of the results of the rally in the small town of Sturgis is that many of the 7000 residents, especially the elderly, will now go into a 14-day lockdown.

This will put a strain on the town’s Meals on Wheels program, so a fund was set up to collect donations for the charity.

Robert Pandya, a motorcycle industry veteran and founder of the GiveAShift motorcycling lobby group that initiated the fund drive, says they had hoped to raise $US8000.

Instead, they raised $15,750 online and collected an additional $1408 in cash along Lazelle St during the rally in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

That’s a total of $17,158 from motorcyclists and motorcycle brands both attending and electing to skip the rally.

”This was wild and completely unexpected,” says Jamie Helms, manager of the Sturgis Meals on Wheels program. “Due to COVID-19 some of our donations coming in have slowed down in the past few months, this fundraiser from the motorcycle community will help so many here in Sturgis! I am overwhelmed by the generosity!”
USA America Sturgis Rushmore South Dakota rally crowd fallout
Riders in the Black Hills of South Dakota

While the number of infections and deaths from the spread of coronavirus is not known, we do know that there were 50 crashes reported over the 10 days of the rally.

That’s up from 41 last year.

There were four fatal crashes with five people sadly losing their lives.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Researcher explains roadworks speeds

Motorcyclist and road safety researcher Ross Blackman (pictured) has waded into our debate last week about whether roadworks speed limits are appropriate

Ross works with the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) at the Queensland University of Technology in the areas of both motorcycle safety and safety at roadworks.

Here is his take on roadworks speed limits:

Readers’ comments on the article offer a range of perspectives, some of which seem highly speculative. The article also makes a couple of potentially misleading points.

One of these is that roadwork speed limits in the US are only advisory. Although ‘work zone’ traffic management does vary across the many US jurisdictions, the country has produced comprehensive research and guidelines on work zone speed enforcement (see NCHRP Report 746) and has both regulatory and advisory limits. Highways in the US typically have many more lanes than Australian roads and the additional road space often allows more moderate speed limit reductions than required in Australia where roads are narrower. The US approach doesn’t achieve safe outcomes, with a current yearly average of around 600 fatal work zone traffic crashes according to NHTSA data.    

In the UK, the trialling and subsequent approval of 55 – 60mph (~100km/h) highway roadwork speed limits applies, according to Highways England, to situations ‘where they could be safely implemented’. These situations include specific scenarios and conditions, including implementing the higher limits for non-workdays and when no workers are present. They are not default limits for highway roadworks. While higher speed limits can be expected to produce greater compliance, this does not necessarily lead to greater safety. As noted in the TRL report on this issue, selection of roadwork speed limits ‘should be made on a case-by-case basis’. Calls for uniformity in roadwork speed limits are understandable. However, uniform limits would logically be set low to address the highest potential risk scenarios. This conflicts with other calls for flexibility, where different speed limits may be applied as appropriate to specific conditions.\

Australia

Resurfacing Roadworks midweek warriors regional

In Australia, highway roadwork speed limits are typically progressive, with initial warning signs (e.g. Roadwork Ahead/Reduce Speed) placed at least several hundred metres upstream of (before) a work area, followed by speed limit reductions down to 60km/h, and in some situations 40km/h. A 40km/h speed limit will only normally apply on high speed roads where there are no barriers in place and when workers may be operating close to the live traffic lane. Otherwise, the typical reduced speed limit on highways will be 60km/h. There would be very few, if any, situations where an immediate 100 to 40km/h speed reduction is applied without prior warning at roadworks. However, poor compliance with reduced speed limits on approach to work areas indicates that many motorists either fail to see or do not respond adequately to warnings and speed reduction requests. As noted in a 2017 Austroads Report, this is a source of downstream traffic conflicts and a major factor in rear-end crashes which are the most common roadwork crash types. Tailgaiting doesn’t help.   

The issue of roadwork speed limits at unattended and apparently inactive sites (and associated complacency among motorists) is one that has attracted considerable research attention and of which road authorities are acutely aware. From a safety perspective, there are several important issues here. One is that the task of installing and removing signage is in itself a high risk activity for traffic controllers – this is a situation where workers are known to have been killed or injured, such that in many cases it may be considered safer overall to leave signage in place. Reduced speed limits may also be left in place at inactive sites where conditions may be hazardous. The most obvious for motorcyclists may be loose or rough surfaces, but there are other potential hazards such as altered delineation, lane width and lack of line markings, for example. Speed reductions may also be left in place for some time after the completion of work to allow loose aggregate to be embedded in newly laid asphalt by passing traffic. While a roadwork site may not present any apparent hazards for some road users, numerous serious and fatal crashes do occur at inactive sites.

We all want better roads, for our safety as well as our enjoyment. Improvement and maintenance of this infrastructure unfortunately involves some disruption and inconvenience, for motorcyclists as well as other road users. I wonder if some of the people complaining about road conditions are also among those who complain about roadworks. Current arrangements and traffic control measures are far from perfect, but work is ongoing in Australia and elsewhere to improve the safety, efficiency, and management of roadwork operations. Driving or riding through roadworks sometimes causes delays, which can usually be anticipated and managed with a little preparation. Working on roads is a high-risk occupation and those involved have a right to return home safely at the end of the day, just as all road users do, including motorcyclists. 

     

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Why do so many riders have beards?

Have you ever wondered why so many motorcycle riders have beards and whether you should join the club?

It may seem that beards make riders look tougher, matching the so-called tough biker image.

But there can be some practical reasons for having a beard as a rider.

There can also be some drawbacks.

Advantages of beardsDistinguished Gentleman’s Ride record year Brisbane

Apart from looking tough there are several reasons why male riders might consider growing a beard:

  • A nicely trimmed beard can make you look distinguished, hence their prevalence at the annual Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride;
  • They make your face and neck a bit warmer, negating the need for a neck warmer and/or face mask;
  • A beard will protect you from wind burn and sunburn, especially when wearing an open-face helmet;
  • They also protect you from hitting insects and wasp and bee stings; and
  • If you are on a multi-day trip, it means you don’t have to pack shaving gear and you have more time in the morning for an extra cup of coffee before hitting the road.

Beard disadvantages

I’ve only had a full beard once when I was at uni and didn’t ride much.

Every subsequent attempt at growing a beard has been thwarted by the disadvantages of growing a beard.

The biggest hurdle is in the early stages where your face gets itchy. It can be a distraction having to frequently scratch your face to relive the itch.

In those early stages of beard growth when the hairs stand straight out, they also get caught in the chin strap and can be quite painful.

A neck sock or face mask can alleviate this, but it makes your neck and face extra hot in summer.

beard

For many mature-aged riders, a beard can make you look much older as they often have more grey hairs than on your head!

Then there is the comical and embarrassing phenomenon “beard lift” for those with long, established beards.

It’s caused by turbulence behind the windscreen. As you go faster, the windscreen pushes the air away causing a negative air pressure zone behind the windscreen and right in front of the rider. Air rushes in to fill that vacuum and it lifts your beard.

It not only makes you look comical, but also causes buffeting which is noisy and jostles your head around. It’s no joke, either. Over long distances, it can cause neck pain from the constant jostling as well as fatigue from the noise.

However, there are several strategies for beard lift. Some plait their beard, some use a series of elastic ties, some tuck it into their jacket, face mask or neck sock.

beard
A beard “ponytail”

Motorcycle companies have also spent a lot of time researching aerodynamic windscreens to reduce beard lift and buffeting. The turbulence from large windscreens on big touring bikes is the most difficult to resolve, but the best solution seems to be to allow some air to flow up behind the windscreen to negate the back pressure effect.

The Honda Goldwing was the first to use this method with a vent the rider can open. Harley-Davidson also added an adjustable vent on its Rushmore Project Touring bikes.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Pando Moto update Steel Black jeans

Lithuanian motorcycle clothing company Pando Moto have updated their Steel Black 02 single-layer riding jeans for men and women which are claimed to be tougher and blacker.

We reviewed the Steel Black 9 jeans last year, but the new 02 version has updated the Dyneema technology to make them tougher.

Dyneema is a Dutch invention which blends the abrasion-resistant material into a single-layer denim that meets CE standards for protection without the need for a separate layer.

Updates also give the pants an even darker sheen inside and out.

They say their 13oz single-layer stretch denim has 25% Dyneema and is CE approved personal protection equipment under EN 17092, level AA (speed 70km/h) safety.

Steel BlackPando Moto Steel Black riding jeans

They are also more expensive than the Steel Black 9 ($A470) at $590 and come in a small array of sizes from 29” waist to 34.Pando Moto Steel Black riding jeans

Using the same updates, and Moto has released a version for women called Kissaki DYN 01 with the same slim-fit design and same price. They also come in five sizes from 27W to 34.Pando Moto Steel Black riding jeans

Both come with SAS-TEC Triple flex armour knee and hip armour.

Safety

The benefits of single-layer protective jeans is that they are lighter while still having abrasion protection.

That makes them better for urban riding and more comfortable when you get off the bike to visit your favourite restaurant.

However, single-layer protective material does sacrifice some protection as explained in our article quoting Dr Chris Hurren, a research scientist at Deakin University in Geelong where he and his laboratory work on protective motorcycle clothing.

It is worth noting that in another article, Chris points out that urban and country riders need different levels of abrasion, impact and seam-bursting protection in their riding gear.

He explains the differences in this video from MotoCAP, the world’s first safety and comfort ratings system for motorcycle clothing which launched on 18 September 2018.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com