Tag Archives: Uncategorized

Higher speeding fines for the rich?

Is it time for Australia’s speeding fine system to be overhauled so the rich don’t get away with comparatively light fines while working Aussie motorists pay among the highest fines in the world?

According to British website GoCompare, Australians rank sixth in the world with the highest fines and 10th in relation to their average wage.

Ours is supposed to be an egalitarian and fair society, but how can it be fair for a motorist on a low wage to pay the same fine as a millionaire?

The average Aussie speeding fine for 21km/h over the limit is $401. South Australia leads with $771 fine, followed by NSW ($472), Queensland ($435), Western Australia ($400), Victoria ($332) and Tasmania ($163).

Top 10 fines for speeding 20km/h+

  1. Norway $1028
  2. Iceland $750
  3. Estonia $626
  4. United Kingdom $595
  5. Sweden $412
  6. Australia $401
  7. Switzerland $362
  8. Israel $282
  9. Netherlands $278
  10. Canada $275

Rich cop higher fines cops speed speeding radar fast speed camera licence rich

Several countries, such as Britain, Finland and Switzerland, have a system where speeding fines are linked to their wages.

The UK has just introduced a system where fines for excessive speeding have increased to 150% of their weekly income. It is capped at £1000 ($A1770), or £2500 ($A4435) if caught on a motorway.

After all, a rich pro footballer, celebrity or wealthy aristocrat would not be deterred by the average UK speeding fine of £188 ($A333).

Meanwhile, the UK has retained their minimum speeding fine of £100 ($A177) and motorists can chose to reduce that further by attending a speed awareness course.

Switzerland and Finland are much tougher on their rich speeders.

Finland uses a “day fine” system of half the offender’s daily disposable income with the percentage increasing according to their speed over the limit.

In 2002, former Nokia director Anssi Vanjoki copped a $A190,000 fine for riding his motorcycle 75km/h in a 50km/h zone.

But that’s not the world record speeding fine which was handed out in Switzerland in 2010 to a Swedish motorist caught driving at 290km/h.

He was fined 3600 Swiss francs per day for 300 days which worked out to almost $A1.5m.

Click here for our tips on riding in Europe.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Speed enforcement causes herd mentality

Years of rigid speed enforcement have created a herd mentality that could be just as dangerous as having high-speed lunatics in our midst.

Over the past 20 years, traffic in our nation has been beaten into submission by the heavy handed use of speed cameras and police patrols.

The road safety rhetoric has changed from the dangers of hooning to the dangers of even being 1km/h over the limit.

The latest Queensland Transport road safety campaign is about driving “smarter” not faster.

It says that “half of all speeding crashes happen at just 1 to 10km/h over the limit”.

Of course most accidents happen at that speed, because most people now drive within 10km/h of the speed limit!

Herd mentalityHow to ride safely in heavy traffic lane filtering herd

With everyone driving within 10km/h of each other, it takes vehicles ages to pass slower traffic.

We also have a breed of arrogant motorists who think it is ok to hog the right lane because they are doing the maximum legal speed.

Consequently, our highways and major multi-lane roads have a constant herd of motorists travelling in all lanes at roughly the same, legal speed.

But has it created an even and orderly flow of traffic that delivers motorists safely to their destination?


The road toll is still too high, traffic snarls are getting worse while road rage and motorist frustration levels are through the roof (if you have one!).

Riders at most danger

How to ride safely in heavy traffic lane filtering peeved commuters lip automatic brakes
Brisbane traffic

While motorcyclists can now avoid some of the snarls and frustration by legally lane filtering, they are also the most vulnerable vehicles in this deadly mix.

Hemmed in by motorists who won’t move over, motorcyclists are in danger of becoming invisible in the traffic.

Clearly the continuing road safety strategy of greater adherence to strict speed limits and frequently changing speed zones is not working.

These strategies only serve to force us to gaze at our speedos instead of the road which means drivers can easily miss a motorcyclist darting through the traffic.

Lane discipline

One effective safety strategy is more lane discipline on multi-lanes roads as practised in Europe.

Why don’t police patrol for drivers illegally hogging the right lane?

And why aren’t trucks (vans, caravans, etc) restricted to the “slow” lane as they do in Europe?

The answer: Because it is easier to deploy speed cameras which generate millions in revenue.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

How to Find the Best Motorcycle For You

(Sponsored post for our North American readers)

Buying a motorbike is an investment, so you want to get the best motorcycle for you!

“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair…” The Eagles knew what they were talking about.

Motorcycles are a symbol of freedom, of masculinity, and of dreams coming true.

The US Motorcycle Industry Council (or MIC) says that households owning motorcycles rose from 6.94% in 2014 to a record of 8.02% in 2018, which is an increase of more than 1.5 million homes.

Buying a motorbike is an investment, so you want to get the best motorcycle for you! Keep reading to see how!

Your First Step to Being a Motorcycle Owner

Before you can think about which motorcycle you’ll soon be straddling, riding down the highway with the wind in your hair, you need to focus on a few other important things.

You need to learn how to ride. Now assuming you’re not a seasoned rider, this may sound obvious but it’s true. Consider taking a few lessons if you’ve never truly been behind the handlebars of the beast.

Second, do some homework on your safety gear. Consider taking a motorcycle safety course. And then prioritize buying the right gear. You’ll need:

  • Helmet
  • Motorcycle jacket
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Pants or chaps
  • Boots
  • Safety Vest

Depending on the type of motorcycle you purchase, you might also want to add elbow and knee guards, a chest armor plate and a few other odds and ends. Your motorcycle salesman will be able to help you with additional pieces of safety gear should you need them.

Narrow Down Your List

You’re ready now to tackle the overwhelming task of finding a motorcycle that both fits your needs and that you will treasure for years to come. Choosing a type of motorcycle will mean the difference in speed, power, weight and your ability to ride that model.

There are various types of motorcycles in the market, these can be narrowed down and briefly described as follows:


2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout pace
Harley Breakout is a top cruiser

Cruisers are built for comfort. They’re the motorcycles you most often see where riders look stretched out and relaxed while they ‘cruise’ past you on the highway.

Cruisers are generally lower to the ground, making it easier for new riders to handle.

Sport Models California Superbike School BMW K 1200 S track day - simple

Sport bikes are built almost purely for one purpose: speed. They’re made to go fast and they’re made to handle the road well.

They tend to be higher off the ground.

Standard Bikes 

Kawasaki Z900RS worth every cent cafe motorcycle seat - crosby
Kawasaki Z900RS

These are bikes that are created as replicas of what motorcycles were before they got all fancy and modernized. They’re commonly referred to as ‘naked’.

They offer comfortable positions for the rider.

Adventure Bikes action photos

Adventure motorcycles are made for longer trips and are generally bigger and higher off the ground than other types of motorcycles. They’re built with off-road and on-road capabilities.

You Have to Shop Around

Looking at motorcycle catalogs, directories and images can have you sitting on the internet for days on end. The colors, types, models, engine sizes, capabilities can be sincerely overwhelming.

The best motorcycle shopping tip: you have to sit on it.


Motorcycle seat heights differ drastically from brand to brand and make to model.

You may overestimate the reach of your legs, or how high you would be able to stand while still holding a motorcycle up right when you need to stop at a red light or park your bike.

Sit on them, feel them out, you should have a good idea of what you’re comfortable with by the end of it.

Best Motorcycle

Each type of motorcycle has the best in its categories.

The best beginner motorcycle you can get is one you’re not afraid to drop, as a beginner you’re likely to do so. Consider a used bike as your first beginner motorcycle. Browse the dealerships for the best deal, such as this Ford dealership.

The best touring motorcycle would obviously be for a more seasoned, experienced rider. This type of rider will most likely already have a brand preference and know their limitations. If a touring motorcycle is what you’re after, there are also great used options out there.

The Ultimate Motorcycle Shopping Tips

Set a Budget

No matter whether you’re searching for a vehicle or a motorcycle, having a budget is paramount. A salesman will generally sell to his customer what he thinks his customer wants at whatever price.

Give yourself a maximum budget. Include your safety gear and monthly insurance costs in this, you don’t want to get caught by surprise with unplanned costs.

Dealers Mean Peace of Mind

First-time buyers should definitely consider dealership purchases. Especially since you can possibly include a warranty package with the purchase of your motorcycle, which you won’t have through private purchase.

They will facilitate paperwork, applications and the entire sales process for you.

Ask Questions

Find out about all the usual things that add to the running cost of a motorcycle.

Ask what the fuel economy is on the model that you have your eye on. Ask what a tire might cost if it needs replacing. Ask about service costs.

Make sure you’re informed on the upkeep of the motorcycle.

A Confident Purchase 

Take your time to make a confident purchase. Don’t be rushed, don’t make a hasty decision to simply get your hands on the motorcycle you think is right for you. Especially without having looked into all your options.

If you take your time, do your homework and shop confidently, you’ll make a decision you’ll more likely be happier with for a long, long time.

As Easy As Riding a Bike … Or Buying One

If you’ve spent time researching, read the tips, made a list and saved some images. You’re halfway there.

Now, you need to go out and sit on a few seats, stretch out your legs and see how it feels. If you’ve found a motorcycle you like, see if you can find more information on it here.

Buying a motorcycle is mostly about being informed, but it can also be “love at first sit down”.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Ducati signs deal for electric scooters

Whoever thought they would hear the words “Ducati” and “electric scooters” in the same sentence?

But now it seems Chinese manufacturer Vmoto has signed a licence agreement with the Italian manufacturer to make luxury electric scooters under the Ducati brand.

They will be sold worldwide through current distribution networks, so they could be coming here.

Electric noiseDucati electric mountain bike plug

Ducati has been making noises about scooters and electrics over the past few years and has licensed two electric projects to other companies.

In 2015, there was the e-Scrambler painted in Scrambler Urban Enduro colours. It was made under licence to Ducati by Italwin, an Italian company specialising in pedal-assisted electric bicycles.

In 2017, Ducati Western Europe managing director Edouard Lotthe said they were looking at both scooters and electrics, while VW Group Chairman Matthias Mueller said Ducati would have an electric motorcycle by 2020.

In the same year the Ducati Zero futuristic design concept was produced by the Milano Scuola Politecnica di Design (Design Polytechnic School).

In 2018, Ducati unveiled its first electric mountain bike, the MIG-RR.

Ducati MIG-RR electric scooters mountain bike
Ducati MIG-RR electric mountain bike

And this year Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali admitted he rides a Hypermotard converted to electric power with a Zero FX powertrain and said the company is about to join the electric bike race.

“The future is electric, we’re not far from starting series production,” he said.

So there could be more electrics from Ducati soon, rather than just a licensing agreement for luxury scooters.

Chinese electric scooters deal

Ducati signs deal for electric scooters
Super Soco electric scooter (artist’s impression with Ducati logo)

The new licence deal signed with Vmoto will result in “CUX special Ducati edition” electric scooters.

Vmoto already make cheap electric scooters and motorcycles under the Super Soco brand which are available in Australia.

The top-of-the-range TS11200R electric motorcycle costs just $4990 ride away but has only 22km of range.

Ducati signs deal for electric scooters
Super Soco TS1200R

They say the Ducati/Vmoto CUX scooter will be marketed as a “high-end luxury product at a premium price” and sold globally over the next two years.

Vmoto and Ducati say they will promote the CUX special edition to the “existing worldwide distribution network”.

Ducati is imported by Frasers Motorcycles and Super Soco by Urban Moto Imports.

There is no word yet on whether they will be imported here or which importer would bring them in.

However, Vmoto managing director Charles Chen says the deal is partly intentioned to further grow Vmoto’s product awareness in Europe.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Lone rider dies in overnight crash

A motorcyclist has died after his bike left the road and hit a pile of rubble near Walgett in central NSW overnight.

Police believe the 20-year-old man was travelling along Opal Fields Road, Cumborah, between 7pm and 7.30pm (Wednesday 1 May 2019), when the crash occurred.

“He failed to reach his destination and people went looking for him,” police say.  

The rider is believed to have died at the scene.

Officers from Central North Police District established a crime scene and are investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash.

A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

Night rider

Lone riders

He is the third rider in the past week to have crashed and died, lying for some time before being located.

Last week, a passing motorist found a 52-year-old male rider lying on the Nottingham Road Bridge next to his crashed bike.

NSW Police say it is unknown how long the man had been lying on the road.

Paramedics attended, but he died a short time later.

In the second incident, a lone rider appears to have crashed at night.

The body of the 46-year-old Stockington man and his Harley-Davidson motorcycle were found the following morning down an embankment in the Lake Macquarie region.

Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of all riders.

Take care

These incidents highlight the importance of lone riders telling someone where they are going and when they plan to arrive, especially when riding at nightNight rider learner submission.

That way an alert can be despatched if they go missing.

Lone riders should also consider carrying a locator beacon or downloading a smartphone app that provides friends and family with their location.

Click here for some of the important apps riders should consider.

Europe last year mandated “eCall” systems in all new model cars that send an alert to emergency services when they detect a crash.

BMW has already produced the technology for motorcycles with their K 1600 the first bike to fit an SOS button either as as an ex-factory or aftermarket option.

First-aid apps riders should download

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

How wide are your chicken strips?

Chicken strips can be one of the biggest causes of embarrassment for riders and may even be a safety risk.

In case you’ve been riding in a vacuum, “chicken strips” is a term for the shiny, unused part of a motorcycle tyre’s tread.

They signify that the rider hasn’t leaned the bike over very far in the corners and are therefore testament to their apparent lack of talent and bravery, hence the term “chicken”.

Chicken strips can be a source of ridicule and embarrassment among the riding fraternity.

But there is far more to it than that.

Different strips

For a start, there can be a big difference in chicken strips on the front and rear tyres.

Talented/brave riders with no chicken strips on the back can still have chicken strips on the front.

And vice versa.

These are more testament to the riding style of the rider.

No chicken strips on the back, but strips on the front may mean the rider brakes early, turns in late and gets on the gas early while the bike is still leaned over.

No strips on the front, but strips on the back means they go hard into a corner and get on the gas later when the bike is upright again.

But even brave and talented riders can still have chicken strips.

Different tyres and bikes

Tyre pressures track day chicken
Full-width tyre wear

It can depend on the type of motorcycle and the type of tyres.

Some bikes, usually cruisers, run out of cornering clearance thanks to low footpegs, exhaust, side/centre stands and other hard parts.

So the bike can never use the full width of the tread.

Adventure bikes can be the opposite with high pipes and pegs that will never obstruct cornering clearance.

However, their knobby tyres can become really squeamish when run right out to the tread edge.

PIrelli Scorpion Rally adventure tyres chicken
Adventure tyre

Tyre profile can also affect chicken strips.

Usually low and wide tyres such as on sports bikes and some cruisers provide a flatter characteristic to the tyre which makes it easier to use the full width of the tread.

Taller and narrower touring and adventure tyres have a much rounder cross section which makes it more difficult to use the full tread width.

How to delete chicken strips

Motorcycle tyres chicken
Head to the track

If you are still concerned about the chicken strips on your tyres, don’t get the power sander out! That is just destroying your tyres.

Instead, we suggest heading to a track where you can explore the tread limits much easier and with more safety.

Chicken strips are slippery as the tread has not been “broken in”.

So trying to delete your strips can result in exposing your bike to slippery parts of your tyre with obvious safety issues.

The glossy and slippery tread surface should be treated with respect and caution.

Continental tyre chicken
Glossy new tyres

The best way to break in a tyre or to lose that gloss on the edge of your tread is to heat up the tyres.

That doesn’t necessarily mean leaning it over. A long-distance high-speed highway ride will heat the entire width of the tyre, even though the tread edge has not touched the road surface. 

So before you go exploring the limits of your tread and lean angle, go for a long ride, then gradually start leaning more and more.

Click here for more details on breaking in your new tyres.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

The Best Apartment Amenities for Motorcyclists

Let’s face it, not every apartment is motorcycle friendly, and some seem to forget that motorcycles even exist. Motorcycle awareness is an issue that needs to be addressed over time, but for now, our best bet is finding apartments that have motorcycle friendly amenities. The more successful that these facilities are, the more likely it is that other apartment communities will take notice and include similar amenities. So what should you look for when moving into a new apartment? Let’s find out.

Parking with Motorcycle Space

If you don’t have somewhere to park your bike, you’re going to struggle. Some apartments hand out parking passes for each resident. If you have two passes and you live alone, you can use one for your motorcycle and one for your vehicle. However, if they only allow one parking space, you’ll have to find other options.

If parking is open, make sure that there are designated parking spots for motorcycles. If the parking spots are large enough or if there is a carport, you may be able to park your bike parallel in the back and then pull your car into the spot. Alternatively, if you own a pickup truck, get a ramp and park the bike directly in the back of the truck.

Motorcycle Storage Locations

If you live in a climate where you can’t ride your bike year-round, you’re going to have to find a storage spot for your bike. Ideally, your apartment will have additional on-site storage that is large enough to house a motorcycle. This is usually limited to upscale apartments.

If there is nothing on-site, you may need to make sure there is an affordable nearby storage facility available for use. If you get in a bind, you can probably store your motorcycle in your apartment if it can fit, but you’ll need to check your apartment guidelines before doing so.

Protected or Gated Garages

Unfortunately, even the best areas have the possibility of theft, and we all know how nerve-racking it can be to leave your bike out in the open. As a result, we should limit our apartment search to communities with gated or closed garages. Most luxury apartments have this as a standard option. As an added bonus, a garage will protect your motorcycle and vehicles from potential harsh weather. 

Frequent Community Events

It can be great to meet other motorcyclists in your apartment community and find a group to ride with. Many communities host barbecues, move nights, family events, and more.

(Sponsored post)

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Yamaha Ténéré 700 prices tip

Yamaha will release its much-anticipated Ténéré 700 adventure motorcycle late this year in Australia and we tip the price will be about $16,500.

Our tip is based on the recently announced UK price of £8699 where the Ténéré.

That is 27% less than the UK price of the KTM 790 Adventure at £11,999.

In Australia, the KTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R will arrive in June 2019 at $21,195 ride away and an extra $1500 for the R model at $22,695.

KTM 790 Adventure tip
KTM 790 Adventure and R

Our price tip

So, if the Yamaha is 27% less than the KTM, it should cost about $16,500 ride-away. The previous model XTZ660 Ténéré cost $13,999.

Prices of other mid-sized adventure models include:

  • BMW F 850 GS from $17,990 (+ORC);
  • Ducati Multistrada 950 from $18,790 (+ORC);
  • Kawasaki Versys 650 from $10,499 (+ORC);
  • Kawasaki Versys 1000 from $15,999 (+ORC);
  • Suzuki V-Strom 650 from $10,290 (ride-away);
  • Suzuki V-Strom 1000 from $15,490 (ride-away);
  • Triumph Tiger 800 from $18,550.

Yamaha Motor Australia is expected to release the details soon.

Don’t feel too bad about the late delivery of the Ténéré in Australia as it will not arrive in the US until the second half of 2020.

Yamaha Ténéré 700 2019 tip
Yamaha Ténéré 700

Discount deal

European Yamaha dealers will offer a discount of £300 (about $A550) for online orders.

The online ordering system will go live at 1pm (GMT) on Wednesday 27 March 2019 in the UK.

First deliveries of the Yamaha Ténéré 700 are due to arrive in UK dealerships this northern summer.

Online customers will get theirs first and will be available at the normal retail price from September.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are electric motorbike range claims a hoax?

Electric motorcycles are coming on a wave of hype about range of more than 300km, but are the claims a hoax?

Traditional petrol-powered motorcycles are quoted in terms of miles per gallon or litre per 100km. It provides a reliable and realistic guide to the range from a bike’s tank. Riding hard or conservatively doesn’t make a huge difference to range.

However, the range calculations for an electric motorcycle are not as simple.

Vacuum sucks

We recently bought an expensive cordless vacuum cleaner which was claimed to have a battery that would last for a couple of hours of cleaning.

However, that was based on using the low-powered mode. If you want to really suck and use the boost mode, you are flat out getting about 20 minutes out of it. And six months down the track, that’s more like 15 minutes.

I also once drove an early Tesla sportster on a hot day around the Ipswich Motorway for only five laps before the fully charged battery overheated and I had to pit.

On another occasion, I rode an electric Zero DS with a claimed 290km of range from the Gold Coast to home and nearly ran out of battery because I was riding on the highway.

MotorbikeWriter and Zero DS police special electric motorcycle hoax
MotorbikeWriter and Zero DS

Electric hoax?

So is electric motorcycle range a hoax to rope in riders who want to be seen to be keeping pace with the modern world and showing their “green” credentials (that is, if they have access to clean power for recharging!).

Battery range in electric vehicles is subject to so many variables a range figure is almost a pointless hoax.

Factors that affect battery range include:

  • Extreme ambient temperatures;
  • Riding modes such as “eco” and “sport”;
  • Constant throttle at highway speeds that deplete batteries faster;
  • Brake regeneration extends range in stop-start traffic; and
  • Downhill sections conserve battery power.

Riders will have to think totally differently about electric motorcycles and almost disregard the salesperson’s claims about range.

For example, highway and city riding yield totally opposite range yields to a traditional petrol engine.

The latest Zero SR/F comes with this complex table of range calculations that vary from 132km on the highway to amiss double in the city! It’s enough to confuse any buyer.







Highway, 89km/h






Highway, 113km/h






Range (based on EU standard)



Electric sales

But the complex range claims have not stopped the surge of electric motorcycle sales, particularly in Asia and Europe.

Electric motorcycle and scooter sales will hit 55 million worldwide by 2024, according to London technology consultancy Navigant.

While more than 90% of electric bike sales are low-powered scooters and mopeds in Asian, Europe is surging ahead on the back of a host of financial incentives for the sale and use of electric bikes.

While motorcycle sales in Europe rose by 9.9% in 2018, electric motorcycle sales rose 81.5%, although they still represent only 0.75% of all motorbikes sold in Europe.

New range claims

Almost every day an electric motorcycle company makes outlandish clams about extended range.

Indian startup Mankame Motors claims it can make an affordable electric motorcycle capable of 480km range, beating the current (pun intended) longest range record of 360km by Zero Motorcycles.

A Chinese company claims it has a prototype power cruiser made of lightweight aluminium with  up to 400 km of range and charging from flat to full in just 15 minutes.

Battery life

As for the longevity of expensive batteries, there are few examples as electric motorcycles have not been around long enough.

However, Italian electric bike company Tacita says that in almost eight years their batteries have had more than 1700 recharging cycles with unchanged range.

They say they can guarantee 80% of the battery’s energy will remain after 4000 charge cycles.

I don’t say I disbelieve their claims, but they do make a mockery of my vacuum cleaner experience!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Have Your Dog and Ride With Her Too

Riding motorcycles with your dog
The author with her German Shepherd co-pilot, Moxie.

At the end of a 10-day motorcycle trip south from New Orleans, my husband Greg and I arrived at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where we planned to spend a couple of years working remotely, supporting a non-profit and enjoying the wonderful riding. However, a few months in we made a fateful decision that imperiled the latter. We adopted a nine-week-old German Shepherd puppy that we named Moxie.

After those first nerve-racking weeks as new dog owners, the New Year’s holiday presented the opportunity for a riding trip to Mexico. As we packed our panniers and secured the tank bags and duffels, it nearly broke our hearts to read the abandonment in those sad puppy dog eyes!

Eventually, we made it out the gate and down the road and all the way to Mexico for a few days on the coast. However, all along the way we lamented leaving Moxie behind. So, although it seems quite obvious in retrospect, it honestly struck us as inspired when, during the ride, Greg mused over the intercom, “You know, we should figure out how to bring her with us on a motorcycle!”

Riding motorcycles with your dog
The author and her husband Greg enjoy their two-wheeled adventures along with Moxie.

I was skeptical. It felt like having your cake and eating it too. But for Greg, the metaphorical gauntlet was thrown and so our bold endeavor began as do all those of the modern era: we “Googled” it!

We discovered trailers and sidecars but dismissed them, preferring to maintain as much of the original form and physics of my BMW G 650 GS as possible. Now, when you search “motorcycle travel carrier,” you find a variety of clever do-it-yourself creations and even a few commercial products. Parenthetically, the cutest are those that involve carrying a small pup in a tank bag or backpack. Unfortunately, our Moxie was on course to grow into a large beastie and few commercial carriers contemplate such large dogs. The few that do are bike model-agnostic and tend to look the part.

So, Greg set to work sketching, measuring, cutting and welding. His first try fell flat. Inspired by the motorcycle pizza delivery boxes that are ubiquitous in Guatemala, the carrier was ugly and heavy. It threw the GS’s handling out of whack and strained the chassis.

A little dispirited, he put Frankenstein’s failed dog carrier aside and hit pause on the project. Then, a couple months later Greg’s self-described moment of inspiration struck. He shook me awake and exclaimed, “The carrier doesn’t need to carry her!”

The next day he left for the workshop and a few days later he brought home the K9 Moto Cockpit. It’s a semi-enclosure of metal tubes that look like crash bars suspended along either side behind the rider. The cushioned bars secure to Moxie’s harness at several anchor points to prevent her from leaping out to chase cats or from being launched in a sudden stop or crash.

Riding motorcycles with your dog
The trick to the carrier is that it doesn’t have to actually carry her!

The exciting part is this, and I’ll repeat the pun because it really is a giggle, the carrier does not “carry her.” It has no bottom. Instead Moxie lays on a cushion, which itself lays directly on the seat and luggage platform. This means her 65-plus pounds rest entirely on the motorcycle like a cross between passenger and luggage.

Now, of course, Moxie is neither exactly passenger nor luggage, but she is certainly a member of the family. That means her safety is most important. All of the best commercial carriers provide for harnessing the dog rather than allowing for an easy get-off. Our initial tests indicated harnessing as the better option and our subsequent riding experience has definitely confirmed it. For more about the build and safety, check out this video and to see how we secure her before a ride watch the beginning of this one.

Riding motorcycles with your dog
Moxie travels everywhere with her family.

OK great, you’re thinking, but how does a slender woman lift a 65-pound German Shepherd onto a motorbike? Initially, Greg constructed a small platform that unfolds to be used as a step. However, when we began teaching Moxie to “saddle up,” we found that the promise of Guatemalan blood sausage sent her leaping directly onto the motorcycle seat and into the cockpit. From there, the training process went: sausage, “turn around,” sausage, “sit,” sausage, “lay down,” sausage and strap her in.

Finally, it came time for trial runs. At first Greg ran alongside while I foot-paddled the bike and feathered the clutch. After a couple of laps on the dirt road along the river beside our house, the clutch slipped out, my feet came up and we were riding!

Riding motorcycles with your dog
The author and Moxie.

It feels a little like carrying a duffle bag–only different–and also a little like carrying a passenger–only different. About the best I can do to describe riding with your big dog is to say it’s like love, sex and chocolate: it can’t be described, only experienced.

So, I guess on one level this story is another among many that celebrate the proverbial “can-do spirit.” On another level, however, I suppose there is a lesson–dare I say moral–and it is this: sometimes with a bit of cleverness and some hard work, you can actually have your dog and ride with her too!

Riding motorcycles with your dog

Jessica Stone is a former international aid worker who, with her husband, Greg, started Ruff on the Road handmade dog apparel to beautifully and ruggedly equip dogs for adventure while creating dignified work-to-empower indigenous Guatemalan artisans. Jess’s German Shepherd co-pilot Moxie shares their motorcycle travels and outdoor adventures around Mexico and Central America in a video series called “On 2 Wheels + 4 Paws”–think Motorcycle Diaries meets A Dog’s Purpose. Come visit ruffontheroad.com to experience motorcycle adventures through Moxie’s eyes and the lessons she learns along the way!

Source: RiderMagazine.com